You can get a i5 CPU with 4 GB for under $500 on sale - saw one earlier today at Office Max ad. Here it is. The i5 is a great chip, but this is teh previous generation i5. Current generation is Ivy Bringe:
Thanks, guys, very thorough and very informative. I did not realize prices were that low for so much performance.
Great posts all.
There are also some better build quality computers, especially the newer thin "ultrabooks." There are also the last generation, higher build quality thin computers, like the Dell 14Z and similar if you check Techbargains.com