I have been asked to look for and buy a desktop system for my Sister-In Law. Well she lives in Phoenix AZ and i Live in Pa. Well i am visiting Phoenix in a few week and my job is to come up with a system. I have been online shopping and trying to find the best for around $600. Looking for a basic system that allows for everday tasks (Internet and word processing) I looked at Dell,Hp,Gateway The system they offer have older processors and boards. Then i looked at E-Machines and they have Althon 64 processors which i know are a better product,but i know little about the company and if they are reputable. Any knowlege or experance with these companies and or input on systm to buy would be a big help.
Unless the thought of being on the hook for trouble shooting this system long distance for the rest of its life appeals to you I would take her to Best Buy and get her hooked up. Lots of machines with older hardware will do just what you said "a basic system that allows for everday tasks (Internet and word processing)"
Unless you want to be hassled by dealing with proprietary design, I would go with PowerSpec. Not many people have heard of it because only Micro Center sells it. And not many people have heard of Micro Center because there are only 19 locations in 14 states across the U.S.
PowerSpec has gotten some good ratings, and if a hardware component fails, you can easily purchase an off-the-shelf replacement part and stick it in there easily (even motherboard), instead of having a technician who works for HP/Dell/Sony/etc service it for you for a helluva big fee.
Micro Center is a good store. Consumer Reports rates it as the #1 computer store in the U.S. If you want guaranteed protection in your investment then they also have really nice service plans for desktops and notebooks, which include coverage for shipping, handling, tech support, spills, and accidental damage. Maybe I'm biased, since I work there lol.