Ok, I've teased you enough with my post about Aero. Here's the story...
I found a Compaq SR2150NX at Staples for $250 after rebates and jumped on it. Sorry, but it's way more than that now.
This is a 3.3GHz, 512MB system. It has a 120MB hard drive and a LightScribe DVD burner and came with Vista Home Basic. That'd never do.
I ordered Vista Home Premium upgrade from Academic Superstore for $69.95 and 1GB of RAM from LD Technology for $61.99.
In my usual manner, I put the memory in before I ever powered it up. I used a paper clip to open the DVD drive and inserted the Vista Home Premium DVD and did the initial boot from that. I deleted the boot partition and recreated it. Then I used the technique described by Marc Liron to do a clean install of the upgrade DVD. Worked like a champ.
With the added 1GB of memory, I had 1.5GB total and the on-board video card had 128MB of RAM so I have Aero!
I ordered a 2GB USB drive from ZipZoomfly for $4.95 after rebate thinking it'd do ReadyBoost but it won't. The A-Data folks won't respond to my inquiries but for $5...
I am waiting for Active Virus Shield to release a Vista version and trying to figure what to do about Tivoli Continuous Data Protection which won't release it's Vista version until April.
I installed the Office 2007 that I got at the Microsoft Launch event so I've got both of the new UIs.