My main machine crapped out in February with a hard drive crash, and I'm now on an older (c. 2006) HP running Windows XP and only 2 gig ram.
I'm going to have to start saving up for a new machine, and will likely wind up buying through Office Max, as they have a store close by and I usually buy computer related supplies there.
I've used HP, Asus, and Acer in the past, but have no idea what's considered a good brand these days.
Based on what the crapped out machine had, I'm going to want at least 4 gig ram and 600 gig on a hard drive. Money is a scarce commodity for me though, so it will probably have to be something around $500.
I primarily use computers for internet and 3d modeling/animation software. I do not want a laptop.
If your monitor is still good, there's this:
It's an Avatar FX6161OC, which has an nVidia 610 graphics card, 8GB RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. It's a mid-range gaming PC, which should help you because you deal with 3D modeling. It also has Windows 7 pre-installed. It's a good deal for $499.