Get a quad-core desktop PC for $325
It's a refurb, unsurprisingly, and you'll have to pay a few bucks for shipping, but otherwise this powerful system is a seriously good deal.
It's remarkable how much bang for the buck you can get from a PC these days.
For example, if you're looking to replace an aging desktop with something far more powerful, Tech For Less has a refurbished HP Pavilion a6700y quad-core desktop for $325.04. Shipping will run you about $25.
The system offers some mighty impressive specs for the price, starting with an AMD Phenom 9150e quad-core processor. Multitask all you want; it won't break a sweat.
It also comes with 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, a DVD burner, and built-in 802.11b/g (a rare perk in a desktop).
The system runs Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit. I'm sure most users would prefer Windows 7 at this point, but you can always upgrade later--and there's really nothing wrong with Vista as long as it's running on a powerful machine like this one.
The only mediocre spec here is the integrated GeForce 6150SE graphics--fine for everyday computing, but insufficient for high-end gaming and video. At least you can drop in a discrete graphics card later if you feel the need.
Like most refurbished PCs, this one has a 90-day warranty. But, hey, for $325, you can afford to roll the dice a little. And for what it's worth, you can buy a one-year extended warranty for $30.
Not long ago I paid nearly double this price for a system with fairly similar specs. Suffice it to say, this is a helluva deal (check out the stellar user reviews at TigerDirect, where it runs $379.99), one that's hard to pass up if you're in the market for a well-appointed desktop.
Backup deal: It's rare to find deals on Microsoft's new Zune HD, but J&R has a solid one: the 16GB Zune HD for $177 shipped. That's after applying coupon code paypal20 and using PayPal as your payment method.