If you're thinking of purchasing a newpersonal computer (PC) for yourself or foryour back-to-schooler, you're in for apleasant surprise. An article in the pointed out that basic PCprices are dropping. The Dell Dimension2400, with monitor, is one of a handful ofentry-level PCs that are selling for lessthan $300. That's a decrease of 40% froma year ago, when a similar system cost$499. Other computers, including twobasic Hewlett-Packard (HP) models, dippedbelow $250. Some analysts point to $300as the line for "consumer electronics" (ie,electronics priced at costs that the averagehousehold can afford). The article alsostates that about 75% of US homes nowhave PCs, something not considered likelyjust 10 years ago. Printer prices havesharply decreased, but ink hasn't followedsuit. At $29.99, the entry-level HP Deskjet3740 printer costs less than some ink cartridges.Despite hardware costs, the priceof software is holding steady. MicrosoftOffice 97 was $499 when it was introduced8 years ago, and its updated MSOffice 2003 sold for around the sameintroductory price.