Hey seeing as you're from the twin cities metro area, I would recommended going to General Nanosytems. You'll save a lot of money over HP, dell, or god forbid overpriced alienware. And if you have problems you can drive over instead of dealing with crappy tech support. I bought my first gaming computer from them, and it's still going strong to this day. I spent about $1600 four years ago and it can still game it like a champ, in 1080p
heres a link:
They basically build your computer for you, as powerful or as cheap as you want it, then add a little bit because they have to assemble it. If you don't know a whole lot about building computers, getting the parts and building it might not go over so well. Also keep in mind that if your computer gets outdated, you can always upgrade it yourself.
I've started building computers myself since then, and once you know what youre doing, it's not hard at all, but getting a prebuilt is a good starting point. PM me if you have any questions.