Recommend me a good computer

I’m looking at buying a new computer for Christmas this year. I’m thinking I’d like the most blazing fast box I could get with the most memory, and most of all, the best video capabilities. And I’d like to get the most bang for my buck – I’m not interested or capable of paying top dollar for a computer system. But my present system is quite old and the systems advertised on the low end at big retailers are a lot better than mine.

For benchmarking I’ve got an HP Pavilion A330n that is rated at 2 gig speed but is weirdly slow at many things, and has been since I got it out of the box several years ago (hence, not a virus problem). I mean, its performance is in some respects worse than my 350 mhz Mac G3. I don’t want to repeated that mistake, I want a fast computer that is actually fast.

Dopers have a lot of opinions. What’s yours?

Go build one from

For what do you wish to use the computer? Games? Video processing?

I heard a bit about buying computers this Christmas on NPR last night. Unfortunately I can’t find reference to it anywhere. The guy being interviewed had written a column outlining the best computers to get for some specific needs (gaming, video processing, basic email/web, cheap, etc).

All I can remember is that:

  • He thinks that prices/deals will be the same or better in stores than online (because of shipping)
  • Look at Sunday circulars and price match if you can
  • Don’t get a Vista machine with less than 2GB of RAM

I looked all around for this guy’s column but I just can’t find it…sorry.

Hi Evil Captor, to help us out a little bit, how much are you willing to spend on this machine? Also, when you say the best video capabilities, do you mean a computer that is good at making home movies, etc. or a good video card for playing video games?

Thanks for the responses. I’m thinking in the $400-$1000 price range, depending. And I plan to get two computers: one for me, for video processing (mostly just screen grabs at present, but I’d like something capable of video editing as well to make some good Youtube-y stuff. The other would be a gamer computer for my son. He likes all kinds of games, adventure, FPS, etc. He says he doesn’t really need a machine that can play Chrysis, whatever that is, but he still wants one that can handle most games easily.