Some of you may notice a similarity between this thread's title and another...
My sister's just come running to me with her laptop shouting bloody murder about a failing HDD - a bit of checking later reveals something ridiculous like 1800 bad sectors, which even in my relative inexperience (and a quick google) sounds like an actual bad thing.
We've been through god-knows how many laptops in this house - dodgy hard drives, dodgy motherboards, cups of tea inverting themselves on the keyboard; all happening almost as soon as they leave warranty. Laptops also have a horrible habit of becoming slow as buggery year or two, even with thorough services/autorun/hard drive cleaning, I've found.
Since she uses an iPad (eurgh) for mobile stuff, with the laptop just living at home, even she's suggested just getting a desktop (and if nothing else, I can actually have a go at fixing a PC). I would usually happily build one myself - however, I see the chance of getting the parts delivered and everything put together by the time I leave for uni (few days into January) as almost nil. For the specs I'm thinking she requires, it probably won't be such a huge saving in absolute terms to buy ready-built anyway.
The only requirement I've been given for it is that "it runs The Sims 3". So, are there any good online or retail locations to buy a desktop PC in the UK? Even if it won't get delivered by the first few days of January, as long as I can point the family in the correct general direction it should be fine.