I've been asking the same questions as you and here are some links to affordable DCC equipped (ready to run DCC) locomotives....in N and HO scale. Some reviewers say some of these bachmann's are noisy at slow speeds but otherwise good performers for the low price. My friend has at least a couple in N scale....and says they are fine. I'm thinking about ordering one in N scale....but don't have any yet.
If you order make sure it says.....DCC equipped....or....w/DCC....or DCC onboard. I would call and confirm if any doubt. I often catch myself thinking DCC ready means DCC equipped.....which of course is not correct. I have ordered from this supplier several times and they are great.
:: Mike Day :: N scale dismantler :: BNSF :: Canadian Pacific :: CSX :: NFS :: Union Pacific ::