Well, if you’re going to buy brand new pc speakers and you want them to sound good when playing music, you might want to pay a little more than just $50 which was what I spent last year on a pair of Altec Lansing VS2621. They were meant exactly for that purpose, every day use but focused on music playback. They work and does a much, much better job than built-in laptop speakers, but they’re not great. First of all, there’s no on/off button on the speaker satellites themselves, so they’re always turned on. What a waste of energy. Second, the subwoofer is “too much”. That’s personal taste, but in general, I think it’s too much. However, the speakers look good, design-wise. I’d recommend you to buy them if you don’t care too much about the sound quality but you just want something cheap and better than laptop speakers.
There’s also the JBL Creature II speaker system. You can get them in white and black. The satellites are really small but I think they play very well and they look great on most desks, especially if you have a white Mac and you buy the white speakers. Unfortunately the on/off button is located on the subwoofer itself, which you probably want to place on the floor. Volume buttons on the satellites are touch sensitive – cool.
My favorite 2.1 speaker system for computer use is from Logitech but they don’t make them anymore. Logitech Z-2300 are very similar though and also THX certified. For the price of $120 I think they are a really good speakers. The controller will allow you to adjust volume, subwoofer and turn the speakers on/off.
I probably should mention the Logitech Z-5500 THX certified speaker system also. It’s a 5.1 digital surround system and maybe not what you want for your computer, but they’re very capable for your television and home entertainment solution. At $372 they’re not exactly cheap but you do get what you pay for and they certainly have better sound than the average surround system you pick up at supermarkets or that might come with your DVD player.
The best advice I can give you on pc speakers: listen to the speakers first, using your own music. Reviews might tell you whether or not the reviewer thinks the speakers sound good, but that doesn’t mean you feel the same way. Your music, your ears, your taste.