What kind of desktop computer should my father-in-law buy?

Question by striasl: What kind of desktop computer should my father-in-law buy?
Can anyone make a suggestion about this? My father-in-law only does chat, email, some internet surfing, listens to CDs, and uses the basic Windows office suite to do stuff like use excel to keep track of his assets. I think he may not like windows Vista if the change in interface is too dramatic, but there may not be any solution to that.

He wants to spend like 350 to no more than 500 dollars. Is this even possible? Should he get a refurbished computer, and if so, what kind? (not a mac — that wouldn’t work for him). Are there any good sales or promotions that anyone knows of (am also checking cnet and dealnews)?

He doesn’t need a printer, I don’t think. We are getting him DSL, so I guess he needs an ethernet card (right?).

Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Best answer:

Answer by Onay
If you get a great deal, you can get a pretty nice computer for only 500 with a little bit of searching and patience.

Check this one out
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883113025

For the things that he does, I’d say he needs these basics.

2 GHz processing clock speed
160 GB hard drive
1 GB RAM
128 MB graphics card

Ethernet cards in computers are pretty standard now.

As for the vista info: I’d say that he can stay on XP if he likes it. Vista hasn’t released it’s first service pack yet, so there are still some bugs in it. The menu’s are rearranged a bit, so if he doesn’t wan’t to make the switch, he doesn’t need to. XP is still great and MUCH less resource hungry. Check some of the sites below for some decent deals on desktop computers.

EDIT: On a side note, however, you may want to consider looking ahead. Spending a bit more money on a nicer computer will make it more future proof, and you may save money in the long run. For instance, the computer you’re looking to buy may only meet minimum standards for 2 or 3 years, whereas a nicer computer will last even longer.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!