Going to give you a basic run down on what you might need, if you are thinking about a new computer.
I will break things down with what you are using it for.
Basic computer users who surf the net, email and are members of social networking sites really don’t need an expensive computer. If that is all you are using your computer for, you could use a tablet with an android or IOS software. Both the Ipad and the Android tablets will run you from $300-500. The advantage of going with a tablet is portability. It doubles as a kindle or book reader as well as being able to watch movies on them. Most now come with an HDMI slot so you can even watch a movie on your TV. Now the drawbacks to tablets is you will have to either buy a Bluetooth keyboard or get used to typing on the screen. The screen typing is something I have yet to master. Another draw back is the ability to run a little more intensive programs as well as programs you might be used to like MS Office, as well as adding memory for pictures. One counter to that is cloud storage but you will have to pay for anything over 5 gigs…
Your other alternative is to get a core I3 laptop. Speed will be about the same and you will be able to use more programs. The core I3 is not meant for heavy duty programs like Photo shop etc.…
For those who need a little more power you can go with what I call the Best Buy special. By that I mean is your basic computer that you can pick up for under 450. You want a minimum of an core I5, with 4 gigs of ram or more. An example of this is the Asus INTL – K-Series 15.6″ Laptop – 4GB Memory – 500GB Hard Drive. Yes I know Asus is not a household name yet. They have been making computer parts for a long time. I am a huge fan of their motherboards as well as their tablets. I currently have 2 Asus laptops in my household as well as two of their tablets. I use one of the Tablets daily and the kids use both that laptop and tablet daily as well. Very few problems with any of their products. I make no money from recommending their products.
Moving up a bit for those who like to edit a few pictures, crunch lots of numbers and have the need to have more then 3 programs running at a time, I would recommend stepping up to the core I7 with 8 gigs of ram. One of my favorite stores has just what you would need. The Acer Aspire V3-771G-9456 With those specks you will not have any problems doing just about anything. While I would not recommend editing movies, but you would be able to do so. It would just be a little more time consuming.
If your a person who plays games such a BF3 or World of War Craft or your editing pictures and movies you already know what you need so I am going to skip those.
The bottom line is to buy what you can afford and what you need. A lot of folks tend to buy way more then they need. You can shop on line at stores like Newegg and Tiger direct and get some great deals on both new machines as well as refurbished.