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in the USA, many OEMs produce sub-$400 dollar models, Acer, Dell, HP come to mind.
The only desktop I've ever purchased for myself "new in the box" is my Dell Inspiron 510S,
bought in 2008, plus a Lexmark all in one printer/scanner, for under $500. Have not had any issues. If you shop around, many big box stores (Staples, WalMart, Best Buy etc) run specials all the time, and you may find something at those. I bought my Dell with WinXP SP2, since updated to SP3, and added an additional gig of RAM to total of handles everything I have to throw at it so far. As for notebooks, most of the lower cost models have lower specifications, especially on RAM. You might get lucky though and find one with 2 or 3 gigs RAM, around 500 gig HD, on closeout. I inherited a Compaq Presario CQ62 with 2 gig RAM, 500 gig HD, with Win7 Pro, and it does a good enough job for my purposes...I was given that in trade for a loan I'd made to my daughter's former boyfriend, oh well, guess it wasn't a total loss.