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Get a quad-core desktop PC for $279.99 shipped

It's a Vista-equipped refurb, but it's also a powerful, well-appointed system that's perfect for anyone looking to upgrade an old XP machine on the cheap.

It's hard to believe, but this quad-core desktop can be yours for just $279.99.

Finally ready to replace that old Windows XP box? Here's your chance to score a seriously powerful system for a seriously low price: Buy.com has the Gateway DX4200-09 quad-core desktop for $279.99 shipped.

I know what you're thinking: too good to be true. But I'd say this system has only two shortcomings, both of them minor.

First, it's a refurb with the typical 90-day warranty. You know my thinking on that: any problem that might have existed with the system has been fixed, so in some ways it's actually better than new.

Second, the DX4200-09 comes with Vista Home Premium (64-bit) with SP1--not, as I'm sure most users would prefer, Windows 7. My thinking: Vista is a perfectly acceptable OS as long as it has sufficient power behind it, which this system definitely delivers. And you can always upgrade later if you want.

Meanwhile, just look at the specs: a 1.8GHz AMD Phenom X4 9100e processor, 4GB of RAM, a 640GB hard drive, Gigabit Ethernet, and a SuperMulti drive with LabelFlash technology (LightScribe's red-headed cousin).

On the video side, you get a decent (but not great for games) integrated ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics processor that borrows up to 256MB of system memory. One nice perk: it sports an HDMI port, meaning this system can easily pull media-center duty. Alternately, expansion slots are available if you want to pop in a more powerful video card.

Not so long ago (OK, two years), I was jumping up and down over a refurbished quad-core system for $600. This one is $279.99. It packs all the power most users need (and then some) for a price that is really, truly hard to beat.

Sellout risk = medium high.

P.S. Your voices have been heard, Cheapskate fans, and I'm back to posting deals around 10 a.m. ET. Don't worry, left-coast friends: I'm redoubling my efforts to find deals that won't sell out before you're even out of bed.

Update: Damn! It's already sold out! Man, is my face covered with egg. Covered! Very sorry about that, everyone. Please check back later for something newer, better, and actually available.