Acer or HP/Compaq - great quality for a superb price, and after sales service is excellent.
Absolutely *NOT* a Sony - Overpriced - you pay for the name not the equipment, and their after sales so-called service is - not to put too fine a point on it - disgusting.
I worked 6.5 years in ISP Tech Support, 5 as a Senior Technician, decided I wanted Windows 2000 on my Vaio to replace Win ME, so I downloaded all the drivers for my *exact* model from Sony's own website. The modem driver consistently blue-screened the system and killed it.
Despite telling their technical support the *exact* nature of the problem and informing them of my profession they repeatedly informed me I didn't know how to install a modem, and was I sure I had the right driver.
In the end I rang them and to rub salt into my wounds I was told they DID have an installation CD for my laptop for Windows 2000 but would NOT supply it unless with a new CD.
I will never buy a Sony PC again.
(should you think this is an isolated case a friend in America had the same with a Vaio desktop so it seems company wide).
Rule of thumb - don't buy a computer from a company whose core business is something else!