You looking for a basic computer, a decent CPU, a decent hard Drive, and good Memory! My suggestion would be a AMD XP 2600 (or higher) 512 megs of ram (memory is cheap right now so save the upgrade cost by getting it now) 40 gig Hard Drive will do just fine.
If you planning to use any of your old software (anything Dos based) avoid XP as your operating system. However Microsoft XP is the best OS that Microsoft has made since Windows 98. So if your not using older software get XP Home or pro (If your office computers are networked get pro) if they are not networked get home)
I would suggest in your case that you avoid the brand name systems and find a local computer shop that has a good name! If you were in Pa I would do it myself however I don’t ship units (Only because I want to do any warranty work myself so I don’t ship out of my area) Anyway the reason I tell you to find a local shop is because of your use and your future. Your system does not need to be a super server! However you want to avoid the Celeron CPU. It’s an office (work System) so lets set it up as one right away! A Shop will customize a computer the right way (remember be sure they have a good reputation)
Now for the bad news. The system will cost you about $100.00 more up front! Good Parts, and good service are well worth it! The good News 3-5 years from now when you need to upgrade the upgrade with cost you 1/2 of what a dell, gateway, IBM or Compaq will cost you.
These companies make the case and motherboard match. So once it’s time for a real upgrade and you have to change the motherboard it becomes (It’s cheaper to buy another system) that’s the gimic they use to keep you buying. And that’s OK if you are a state of the Art kind of guy! I simply don’t like to spend that much money. Now if you’re in a remote section or can’t find a good computer shop then and only then I would suggest that you go with dell.
Gateways support is very bad! They have closed the gateway stores. Now when your gateway breaks you need to send it too them. This means weeks of downtime. If you buy there extended warranty (on-site) they use the cheapest local company they can find. Sorry but when my tech’s go on a repair they take pride in the systems they build. Yes they fix all makes but they take it personal when one of ours breaks. I would hope all companies take the same pride in what they do!
Compaq and HP have merged and both companies have suffered ever since. The support calls get bounced from one too the other and they have started to outsource the calls out of country. Some people don’t mind that. I simply want to understand the people I have too talk too to fix my computer. I have nothing against anyone from any country. I simply wish for a better understanding when people are talking shop too me. I feel sorry for the everyday user! If my guys can’t make heads or tales from Compaq/HP support the everyday user must go crazy.
Now One last thing! The computer Business has become almost like used car sales. There are plenty of bad techs and bad companies in the world. You need to make sure that you do your homework on this companies before you do anything. Check out there background ask around see if anyone has heard of them etc. Just be very careful.