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.
I highly recommend www.walmart.com
It is one of the best kept secrets in computing. A huge plus for me is that they let you buy the same extended warranty on their refurbished units
as on their new computers. With free shipping or in-store pick up, I believe they are a good deal for desktops or laptops... especially when you are on a budget.
“When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.” -Pres. Obama
"A great democracy does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon." -Pres. Clinton