Amazon has put together a desktop PC buyer's guide that has categories for just about every computing need and use case a potential customer could have. The problem is that the product recommendations Amazon makes could leave people seriously unhappy if they want to game or work in more strenuous content creation applications. For example, clicking on the gaming subcategory of the buying guide yields the first two options as iMacs. Say what?
An iMac as a gaming system? No. The other options near the top of the page have not-so-great hardware for the money. And of course, any gamer worth their thermal paste knows you can build your own rig, with much better parts, for less money. The awful thing about the Amazon computer buyers guide is that people who don't know any better might buy one of the machines at the top of the list and expect good results.
Sort the list by "Everyday Tasks" and the options offered by Amazon are not that great in that segment either. The Mac Mini is at the top of the page and of course you can get better performance for a lot less than its $1000 asking price in this category as well. It seems like Amazon is unnaturally weighing its recommendations toward Apple products and it's quite odd. There are some budget offerings from Dell that would work for basic tasks, such as the Dell Optiplex for $257, packing a Quad Core i5-3470, 16GB of RAM, and 2TB HDD.
The previously noted ultra-cheap Dell PC isn't bad if you can stomach a "renewed" machine; presumably that means refurbished. This rig will certainly handle checking email and surfing the web. The list is also packed with many names you will recognize, including ASUS, HP, Intel, Dell, and Lenovo among others. However, the bang for the buck on many of the recommended machines just isn't there.
Pop into the Business & Productivity section and guess what, iMacs are at the top again. This category is quite similar to the Everyday Tasks segment, with lots of older, slower hardware for the money. Not everyone has the inclination or knowledge base to build their own PC but short of that, the recommendations here are just so bad it's painful in many of these segments Amazon provides a sort list for. Amazon needs to hire someone truly familiar with