Erin, First of all find out what is required & recommended for the course your taking. If game design is your goal, then its a PC all the way.The new Mac's today can run Vista as well. I too recommend you get a Custom built, that way you can choose good quality parts.You can easily get a great computer in your price range. You want 2 Gigs of ram minimum.(Unless you get a 64bit operating system thats all you need) For a PC get a Intel Core 2 Duo CPU. Here are some quality reliable parts I have in my own computer... Asus Workstation Motherboard, 2 Gigs Corsair ram DDR2 667(Kingston ram is also a good choice), Western Digital hard drives,Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4 ghz, LG DVD burner, Ati Graphic card. LG 23" LCD Widescreen 16x9 1920x1080P Monitor,Enermax Liberty 500w Power supply,Logitech Keyboard & Mouse. Running XP Pro & Vista Home Premium. Find a Computer shop were you live,most of them will do Custom builds.