I have been looking for a new PC for my parents. I wanted something that ran fast, had lots of memory and disk space (so I wouldn't need to upgrade it again any time soon), and it also needed to have Windows XP. I wanted XP since all my parents use are a few games and programs that only run on XP, and from my experience, I prefer XP over Vista. That, and they are just used to XP, so why make them learn a whole new OS when XP works great for them.
Anyway, I talked to Best Buy, they could not sell me a PC with XP on it. Had to be Vista. They didn't even offer the XP downgrade CD that some vendors offer. Online I tried Dell, no luck. Only Vista. The only vendor that offered a XP downgrade that I found was Lenovo (in China). But due to my time constraints for wanting the gift for the holidays, it would take too long to ship from China.
I ended up checking out refurbs on Amazon.com. I came across this reseller (A Computer For Everybody). They offered a pretty nice system for $279: Dell Optiplex Multimedia Computer With 250 GB (Gigabyte) Hard Drive, 2 GB RAM, DVD-RW Dual Layer (Plays and Records DVDs and CDs), P4 Desktop PC, Single Core 2.8Ghz. Processor, XP Pro (with CD - pre-installed) along with a keyboard, mouse and speakers.
I'm not a big Dell fan, but the Optiplex line from Dell was designed for government agencies, corporations and educational institutions. From what I've read, it had a higher standard of quality. And for $279, you really can't go wrong since they offered replacements if your system did not work, etc.
So I ordered one. It was supposed to arrive on the 24th of December, but unfortunately UPS delayed it until the 29th. I finally got it and fired it up at home to test it out before giving it to my parents. Worked great! It started up very quickly, and it already had XP Pro SP3 installed, along with some anti-virus software and OpenOffice applications (Microsoft Office alternative). I thought the XP Pro disc they sent along with alone was worth $100... so overall so far I'm very pleased with my purchase. I recommend them if you are in the market for an affordable XP machine... Search for them on Amazon.