I have a 17" dual-core laptop that is not a weakling by any means, but it is not as strong as I've needed in the last year. I do a lot of photography work, so I'll be editing a couple thousand pictures using Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, and on my laptop after 30 minutes it would just get sluggish and take longer to render changes/images. In my spare time, I do like to play some games with friends and siblings, and same thing. I don't know much about the bells and whistles so to speak of this desktop, still learning more about it, but I'm extremely satisfied with its output. Editing images is a breeze now, I can quickly apply changes and move on without waiting for it to catch up. As a benchmark, it can even run Crysis 2 on low settings with ease. While only using 40% of the CPU. If you upgrade the graphics card (easily done yourself, I'm planning on doing it soon), then it really will be a very affordable, powerful machine. It is not high end, if you pay +1000 for a computer, there will be a difference. Doesn't mean this will compete with top of the line machines. But, it's powerful and most people will be happy, and I ask a lot from a computer. If you do stuff on a computer that'll exceed this one's capability, then you probably already know what individual components you need in your computer.