First, I'm sorry for starting another thread on this. I've pretty much read everything available on the web, including pretty much everything here on this topic. Sadly I leave unsatisfied, since the recommendations are either too big, or rarer than gold. So ignore this, or if your in charge; delete it, if I'm doing something stupid or rude by posting this (yet again).
That said... I'm looking to upgrade my computers speakers, and I have around $200 to do it. Right now I have a set of Creative Inspire 5.1 surround speakers (T6100), I don't like them. The 5.1 set-up is a pain, especially in my small office (10'x10'), I have the rear speakers mounted on my ceiling, which keeps me from owning a fan, which is something I need in a room in Arizona with western exposure. The rear speakers are pretty anemic regardless, so I barely register their presence in the rare times they are useful. The set is really "boomy" too, the sub is dialed down as close to off as I can get it, any higher and it drowns out everything. The satellites are very high-happy and tinny, and the mids sorts of disappear. In short, they are typical PC speakers.
My main audio use case is music. I'm not as big of a gamer as I used to be (when I had free time, alas), though I still play a bit of Skyrim from time to time. I barely ever watch movies on my PC. I do listen to a lot of music, though, generally while working. If it matters, I don't listen to big bassy music like electronic or hip-hop, I'm more of a prog, and classic rock type of guy (with a smattering of blues), so I really don't feel the desire to make the walls shake. I do listen, occasionally, to some German industrial, but it isn't my general thing. As stated, I have a small room, so I don't really need huge volume earth-shaking volume. My desk is rather shallow as well, so I can't have behemoths like the KRK Rokit 5's, or big Swans/HiVi pairs. My desk is 2' deep, which, sadly, is something I need to live with.
I realize that my budget is limiting, and if I could boost it by another $100-∞ do much better, sadly I really can't. $200 is above my original budget, and might only be doable if I cash in on Amazon gift-cards, or get REALLY excited (or can't find any other options). I want to ride the price-performance curve to its highest point, within that limited scope, fully realizing that anything I do is a compromise. Such is life, sadly.
So, nuts and bolts. Like a good boy I've done my homework, and has some options. Sadly my top choices don't exist, and thus aren't actually choices; these being the Swans/HiVi M10's. I have a better chance of finding a living, breathing, dodo than finding these. I was pondering the Swans M20's, but there is no information or reviews on these, and the one review I could find said that their amps overheat, so the author couldn't finish listening to Pink Floyd. Hardly a ringing endorsement, granted with a sample size of 1, this could means nothing. In an online only world, I really don't want to risk the PITA of returns though, especially on a complete unknown. I also looked at the Swans 1080, and their more expensive brothers, but those things are HUGE, and probably couldn't live on my desk, much less live on my desk with enough room for them to be properly ventilated. 7"x10" is too big, unless I'm doubling them for arm-rests. I suppose it could work, but I'd be completely blocking their rear port, which, according to my reading, isn't good. It also is hard to get them from proper suppliers, that are either official or trust-worthy...
Moving on... I was pondering, originally, the M-Audio AV40, but I keep getting conflicted reviews. Some people say they are good, some say crap... I do know they are ugly, looking like 90's boombox speakers. Aesthetics aren't a primary concern, but... I'd rather have form AND function, than either alone. I also worry about the complete lack of a bottom, I'm not a bass head, but I also want enough to get a full impression of my music collection. This might be a universal concern. On the powered monitor (light) side, these also fall into my budget/dimentions; Audioengine A2 (very mixed reviews, either very awesome or over-rated), the Behrenger MS20 (very little information, but somewhat negative), the Alesis 520 (decent reviews, but I'd probably be using my own soundcard; a Xonar DS), and on the big side the M-Audio BX5. I'm not as interested in passives/cheap amp solutions. More wires, more hassle, and probably more wasted space). 2.1 PC-branded solutions scare me, since PC speakers are generally bad. I've had some supposedly good sets about a decade ago, and they still were rather wretched compared to cheap bookshelf speakers, or even bad headphones (speaking of which, no headphones, my ears get claustrophobia). I did see some nice things about the Corsair SP2500 (these seem to have rising in price a fair amount, with reviews saying $200, but retailers saying ~$300), but I'm a bit leary, ditto with the various Klipsch systems that are bandied about... They are good PC speakers, but are they good SPEAKERS? I can't tell without knowing where the reviewer is coming from.
I can't find as much information about these later ones as I'd like. All the information I can find is either from musicians, non-budget minded audiophiles (under $1000=suck), or from people comparing them to cheap Logitechs (I'm in this camp, but I also have had some decent audio sets, and my girlfriend's father is a snobby musician who will judge me).
So, what am I actually asking, or looking for? A bit of advice from people who actually might know something, and who know where I'm coming from/wanting to go. A bit of MODERN advice, since it seems that everything over a year old is garbage now, since a lot of things don't exist anymore. And perhaps a bit of moral support, since I'm pretty boggled right now, I might get desperate and just sort by price/rating and get the number one item on Amazon, no matter how terrible it is, just to be done with this. Seriously, I've filled two pages of graph paper, and have a bunch of measured footprints done with colored pencils. I've been working on this for over 2 weeks, just doing research and reading threads as far back as 2007, I'm beating my head into a wall.
Thank you for your time, and sorry for rehashing something that I'm sure is very tedious.