I am all for you saving uour money and nothing you have listed thst you purchases is remotely near competetive. All of those items were bloated prices. Do you not have craigslist in VA? Or even FB marletplace as big.a trainwreck as thsy place.is?. just got a 5170 pc AT for about $130 came complete last summer. I turn down most 5150s I get offered at this loint. Those cards are all mostly easy to find as well. If you are patient. as far as a woeking hard drive.. Its an mfm drive.. it will die. sooner thsn later. Getting the xtide is a good choice as the mfm will probably not last long so i dont see it as a desirable thing to purchase.
For some reason, and I don't understand why, I've never seen a desirable
vintage computer, or many at all, show up on Craigslist/FB Marketplace/etc. My Goodwill ships the computers they get to Dell and that is the only "thrift shop" type of deal that even sells electronics.
People have their preferences, and if one did want a working HDD just for the "authentic experience", from what I can see a working one is again 2-300 bucks. This is vintage computing after all. Some people prefer XT-IDE's, Goteks, and the like, and others would like to go period-correct if possible. I know it will die, just as the computer will die, but at least I will have it for a while.
A big I bought the things I did is because I wanted to make the purchase now, and not have to wait. Yes, yes, I know it's ridiculous, but it's something I wanted to do.
All of my 3 PC form factor machines (two 5150s and a 5162) have a pair of ST-225 hard drives in them. That model runs like a raped ape.
The fact that my ST-225 survived shipping from California has given me a bit of hope. It was definitely a pleasant surprise.