How can you find a computer that fits the needs of your entire family?

Matthias Tunger/Getty Images

There was a time when families gathered in the den after dinner to discuss their day or watch TV. These days, Mom checks e-mails while Dad watches his favorite sci-fi movie on Blu-ray and the kids Skype with their friends.

Today, your family computer is the focal point of your home. It's where you do everything from organizing your family finances to catching up with your best friends from college.

Because so much of what you do relies on your computer, when it comes time to buy a new one, you want to find the brand and model that's just right for your family. Yet it can be daunting to sort through all of the different options at your local electronics store. Just trying to decipher the acronyms -- CPUs, GBs, RAMs, GHZs -- can leave you with a technology-induced headache and a lot of unanswered questions. Do you need to splurge on a top-of-the-line model, or is a basic PC enough? How much memory should you get? Is it worth investing in a graphics card?

This article will get you started on your search. It will help you sort through your options to find the computer and peripherals that best fit your family's needs.