I made an HP a730n, Pentium 4 (w/Hyper-Threading), desktop computer last eight years with no fancy tricks, till a Server 2008 and a couple Windows 7 virtual machines became too much for the CPU. Once I knew I needed a new computer, I went to HP straightaway.
After settling on the p7xt, I shopped around to look for anybody who could sway me from it, and found none, lower prices notwithstanding. Also, though I am quite capable of it, I do not like to build computers; that's what other people get paid to do.
My p7-1070t was upgraded to the i3-2120 cpu, 8 GB RAM, and an extra hard drive. As well, I have the machine adjusted with certain, unnecessary resource-hungry services disabled, a page file of 12,000 MB init/max, and visual effects performance set to Best performance (with 5 selections that keep the look and feel "fancy"). I mated it with the HP 2511x monitor, tested the whole thing "as-shipped" for a few days... and then proceeded to wipe it clean for a Windows 7 Ultimate installation (I made sure to back up everything that I could use from the bundled software, first). After all the appropriate installs and security detailing, I am happy to say this machine should last me well into the time when desktops are endangered and solid-state drives are the norm.
In short, I have what I need: rock solid performance with five virtual machines loading at the same time (with still only 50-60 percent cpu utilization), RAM that allows 1 GB per virtual - with oodles (technical term) left for the OS and other apps, and movie experiences which are top-notch (with the addition of a good set of headphones, that is).
My advice: get an HP, keep it clean of freeware/hackware/shareware, use only top-rated malware protection (but be prepared to feed it with something like the p7xt-series can give it), get a Windows 7 users guide and learn how to maintain this super OS... and enjoy for years to come.