After assessing your needs, doing some research is a must. Online resources should be your first stop. A number of Web sites can be quite useful for finding out about PC products and their prices, making it easy to comparison-shop online. Some computer manufacturers even have small-business Web sites showcasing products designed specifically for small companies so you don't have to sift through consumer models to get to what you need. In addition, most of these Web sites will let you order PCs directly online.
Try Hewlett-Packard's Small Business Home Page (http://www.hp.com/sbso): Click on the Helping You Choose feature within the Business Toolkit to access a listing, by type, of Hewlett-Packard's entire line of small-business products. Clicking on the type of PC you're interested in aligns similar models side by side for an easy comparison. There's also a Best Offers area that lists the best deals Hewlett-Packard has to offer.
Computer Discount Warehouse (http://www.cdw.com) has a CDW Compare feature that lets you compare and contrast up to five systems simultaneously. Select a class of products and a price range, click on Compare, and you'll get a look at all the PC models that meet your specifications, complete with links to the latest magazine reviews of these products. What's more, a Hot Deals section gives you the scoop on companies offering rebates, savvy bundling offers and dirt-cheap prices.
In addition to online information, sound out your peers and ask for their opinions on computer manufacturers, models and methods of purchase.