I've been using QEMU for emulating other architectures on my PC for quite some time. But when I needed to emulate an ordinary PC (x86_64 on x86_64), I had been using VirtualBox most of the time.
When I tried QEMU for such emulation I always felt it's terribly slow. Only once I read the docs more carefully I realized what I had been missing was -enable-kvm. Adding this switch makes a huge difference. Interestingly, when I read other documents about QEMU, I don't see this mentioned more prominently.
KVM only works when the architecture you emulate is the same as the host architecture and the host has KVM support. But that is something I assume all recent PCs have, so KVM should work for you.