How do I chose a good budget desktop computer?

Started Nov 14, 2012 | Questions thread
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How do I chose a good budget desktop computer?
Nov 14, 2012

I'm willing to spend up to $1000 on a new machine. With that said however, I'm wondering if it is really necessary to spend that much on a new computer.

The computer will be primarily used for improving upon, organizing, and archiving my photo collection (about 60GB and counting). About 95% of them are in JPEG format and I very rarely shoot raw (my current camera is a Rebel Xsi). I generally don't make any major adjustments to them other than shadows/highlights. Google's Picasa suits my needs at this time and likely for the foreseeable future. My ultimate goal will probably be to make some decent prints so a good display would be nice (assuming it's reasonably priced and easy on the eyes).

I also would like something that would handle scanning old family photos well, but I'm sure just about every pc is capable of that.

Other than that it will be used for music, internet, Microsoft Office, and maybe to watch a movie occasionally.

Would a $400 baseline pc (not including monitor) be sufficient to do the above tasks well or should I spend the extra money and get something better.

So far I have given serious consideration to the base models from dell and lenovo with intel i3 processors and the entry level Mac Mini which has an i5. I'm open to other suggestions as well.

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