The key is "First Time". Go cheap and then use the computer for a few months figuring out what you wish you had. Then your second computer will be the wise investment.
It's not a Q with a simple answer, depends on your budget and needs. Value for money wise and overall quality wise with desktops it's generally better to get something built to order via an independent computer co. Though another consideration especially if you're not too tech savvy is "Do I want to go Mac" I've worked in the industry since 1997 and it's a recommendation I make to a lot of people even though it costs me business. The reason being the average non techy person running Windows usually ends up with a system loaded with adware and malware within 6 months of starting with a clean slate and the computer runs like an absolute pig until its all been cleaned out. Given that 99.9% of those nasties run on Windows the average Mac user never sees any problems with their operating system and everything runs just as quick 2 years down the line as the day the system was bought, the things usually only need service when hardware fails. The other good thing is Apple are generally very decent with their after sales service which helps a lot for non technical people, some OEM's can be an absolute nightmare to deal with at times (HP I'm looking at you). Downside is Apple do charge a bit of an excessive premium for their hardware, but it's good quality and they look after their customers better than most. If you were the average joe looking to go this route I'd suggest grabbing a Mac Mini (grab an Apple wireless keyboard as well if you go this route they're sweet, the mice though you can get whatever wireless or bluetooth mouse that takes your fancy (bluetooth will connect to the mac direct and wont need a usb port for a dongle), get your monitor elsewhere (Samsung make nice ones, look for one that can do full hd 1920x1080 I'd suggest 24" minimium as a good size for value for money and ease on the eyes). If you're looking at a lappy and want to go the Windows route I'd suggest Lenovo's G570 range as pick of the litter at the moment when it comes to value for money, while they don't excel in any one category they're at least decent in every category (build qual, battery life, running temp, overall hardware specs, speaker quality, screen quality etc.) , they give you a lot for your dollar and don't have any niggling flaws and Lenovo is one of the better OEM's to deal with if you have issues, Sony and Toshiba are also pretty reasonable, though with Sony you'll pay a premium. If you want to go the custom desktop route drop me a message I can bang together some specs you can take to a few stores for something that'll be good value.
get a off the shelf unit at walmart.
hey less than 400 for everything. unless you wanna run game with tons of grafix. its all you need. i build my own foor home use but thats me.
Avoid crap stuff - which would be anything Made in China.
Which means you either going to shelve out $2,500+ for Sony Z-line, or end up with crap.
Now if you're ok with made in china crap - then it comes in different colors and shapes, but smell would be the same.
Dell inspron 17r windows 7 64 bit 500gb 6400rpm hard drive 4gig memory
PC Magazine! You'll find best answer there!
Something that is upgradeable and not completely OEM locked. I'd go with PCI-e slots, the more the better. 64X so you can utilize more RAM.