If you’re looking for a good entry level computer, a good bet is to focus in on systems using the Intel core i3 desktop PC processors. There are a wide variety of these systems and they should generally be towards the low end of the price spectrum. Keep in mind these computers will do all right for basic gaming but any hardcore gamer will probably be dissatisfied with the lack of higher end performance. For basic home computing it’s plenty of processing power though, and can easily handle everything email, web browsing and other common uses.
The Intel core i3 desktop PC processors are also great for office use. Systems built on this platform should breeze through most basic applications and can even handle some of the more processor intensive ones. For artistic work or graphical design though, it might be prudent to move up at least to Intel’s core i5 processor in order to get good performance from the more processor intensive apps. Office applications like Word and Excel are not among these however, and run great on the core i3.
Not all systems are created equal though, even with the same processor. Two different systems might both be built on Intel core i3 desktop PC processors with the same CPU speed but could offer different amounts of RAM, hard drive space, or additional features like re-writable DVD drives or even technical phone support. Don’t shop on price alone, but consider these “extras” and how important (or unimportant) each one might realistically be to you. For instance, if you love to take family photos and bring your camcorder everywhere then that extra hard drive space could be important for storing photos and videos.
Other considerations might be more specific to your situation. If you are looking for an ultra-small desktop PC, perhaps to keep in the kitchen, then that’s an important detail that can help narrow your selection considerably. Likewise if you plan to burn a lot of DVD’s then you should get a writable DVD drive, if you will be doing database processing or photo editing then more RAM could be helpful, etc. There are so many options available these days that it’s almost always in your best interest to take your time choosing a system and be a little picky. Even if you’re not sure what you’re being picky about at first, after comparing a number of similar systems you will get a feel for what one may offer that others don’t. When you get that feeling you know there’s a good chance you’ve found the right computer for you.