Hey SHeriff, your comment on soft synths kind of pre-supposes that we are all after analog emulations. Truth is, most soft synths go far beyond emulations of analog. But to be honest, virtual analog synths do sound damn good and in some cases even better than the real thing. I agree, there are limitations and definite differences in character of sound, but even with all that virtual analog synths sound pretty damn analog in the mix. OFten times even better.
Now, back to what I was originally saying...
Synths like Absynth, FM7, PPG 2.V, Reaktor, Reason are pretty much what drives the virtual synth market. Sure, manufacturers like Arturia and Gmedia tend to focus on the retro shit; but really, how many times does a modern days electronic musician need a Moog emulation? THere are fanatics writing tributes to Tonto's head Expanding band and Tangerine Dream but there aren't too many of those.
Most of us are after grooves, motion pads, heavy morphing textures and your average meat and potato stuff like pianos, strings etc.
So if anyone wishes to limit themselves and stick to just recording TB303s and Moog modular systems using PCs or ancient atari systems - be my guest.
As it was once brilliantly put: "There are too many freaks and not enough circuses".
Now, back to our PC or a MAC delema. A used G4 Mac will do a much better job than any PC. THey won't cost you a fortune BTW.