I'm new to photography and was wondering what the best machine and editor would be. I have read a lot about people using Macs (I have been a long time PC user) but I'm not sure I can spend that much on a new Mac
The most important thing for photo editing is a color-corrected display, such as an IPS display. These provide the widest color gamut, have accurate colors, contrast, and brightness, and would make the biggest impact on the final product. For hardware, it really doesn't matter a whole lot, anything that is current will work with Photoshop. The lower the specs, the longer it will take to do certain tasks such as convert RAW to JPG, but they will work.
For software, I'd recommend Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom.
If you don't want to spend money on a software, I've been using UFRaw for quite a while now, it allows you to edit your RAW. I find it even more complete than what you can do in Lightroom (tested last year).