Mitch, as Jay said there's usually a discussion on the "best" unit. The "best" could be price, dependability, efficiency, etc. Everyone has their favorites, however, if you visit some A/C forums you'll see that all brands have their problems. I installed Goodman products for years and had very few problems with them. They are cheap! They do not have all the bells and whistles that higher priced units have but 12 SEER is 12 SEER no matter what the brand. "Most" condensing units use either Bristol or Copeland compressors regardless of the price of the unit. Same compressor regardless of price. All have a condensing fan motor. Again, same brands of motors on most brands. The difference comes from the looks of the unit and the controls that they use. Goodman keeps it simple so there are very few problems. Goodman skimps on the cabinets but have made some major changes in the last few years. They keep the control system simple so almost anyone with any A/C knowledge can work on them. Not so with some of the higher priced units. Now for the second part of your question regarding cost. I have no idea if that's in the ballpark for the area you live in. Again as Jay suggested, get estimates from various sources. Don't know if this helps or confuses you but it's the best I can do right now. Good luck.