Microsoft says any PC with a 300-MHz chip and 128 MB of memory can run Windows XP. But you'll probably want more. Here are three good bets, depending on your needs:

IF YOU WANT... MODEL/COMPANY SPECS PRICE

AN XP STARTER BOX Presario 5300 1.1-GHz Intel Celeron chip, $569 Compaq 256 MB of memory, 20 GB of compaq.com storage, CD-ROM drive

A MID-RANGE CHOICE Dimension 4300 1.6-GHz Intel P4 chip, 959 Dell 40 GB of storage, DVD, and dell.com recordable CD-ROM drives

TO MAKE THE Pavilion 7965 1.7-GHz P4 chip, 512 MB of 1249 MOST OF XP Hewlett-Packard memory, 80 GB of storage, hp.com high-speed Firewire connections

IF YOU WANT... MODEL/COMPANY PRICE THE SKINNY

AN XP STARTER BOX Presario 5300 $569 More than enough power for Compaq basic Web surfing, game playing, compaq.com and such. Sold only in stores.

A MID-RANGE CHOICE Dimension 4300 959 Good choice if you plan to Dell explore XP's digital photography dell.com and online music features.

TO MAKE THE Pavilion 7965 1249 Has what it takes for making MOST OF XP Hewlett-Packard home movies or other complex hp.com multimedia projects.

Data: BusinessWeek, Company Reports, ARS Inc.

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