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Building Computers - Recommendations

Posted on 2006-05-22
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Dell, Gateway, Compaq, others?

Recommendations from you pros out there on who to go with. Dell used to be pretty good but I have my own horror stories with them now and a few from other people.

If you were recommending a new PC to your brother or sister, who would you recommend? Other than you yourself buying the parts and building it for them, I don't want to get into that! Whew!

Thanks! By the way, you guys are great, I am so happy that I subscribe to this service!!!
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Question by:tmcghee
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by:zephyr_hex (Megan)
ID: 16738683
hp (high end of compaq, and usually only $50 - $100 more than a similar compaq), sony (higher quality, but pricey).  gateway has a high number of returns, although the last pc i bought was a gateway and i've had no issues with it (although their customer service people are idiots).
dell is ok for basic computers.  if you're getting anything other than a basic computer, dell's prices aren't competitive.  you can save hundreds of dollars by getting in on rebates at retail stores like circuit city or best buy.
stay away from emachines and acer.  they are cheaply made.
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by:zephyr_hex (Megan)
ID: 16738691
when i said gateway has a high number of returns, i was referring to a retail store i worked at... the #1 returned computer was gateway, with emachines a close second.  gateway owns emachines.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16738705
I've never liked compaq/hp - too proprietary and inflexible - tend not to offer drivers for new or old OSs - just what it was sold with.

Gateway had some problems years ago - but may be getting better... you could TRY them.

Dell... I know what others say and I'm not saying they aren't correct... but... at this point, I'd still go with them.  I generally follow this rule:

Desktops - 1 year warranty.
Laptops - 3 year warranty.

Buy from whomever you like, but don't plan on upgrading your OS unless you buy from Dell.

And I tell people, I can build you a computer, but I can't warranty it for more than 90 days - after that, it's warrantied based on the individual parts warranties and THEY would have to deal with getting them replaced.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16738714
Can't stand sony - maybe they changed their policies... but when I last had to work on them I found they offered 1 year warranties and if you didn't register, it was 90 days.  That is simply awful.  And the service was horrid... had to return a laptop and it took a month to get it back (and 3 calls before they accepted it needed to be sent in in the first place).
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by:b0lsc0tt
ID: 16738725
tmcghee,

They are expensive, but I like IBM, especially for laptops or machines the way you want it.  I have heard very few complaints and lots of compliments.  Most people I meet will not buy them for their own personal computer, just because of expense, but love their work computer.  Dell would be second but they can have issues with models.  I agree with the other comments.

b0lsc0tt
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by:jhance
ID: 16738751
While I used to be a big fan of Dell, they have shot themselves in the foot with poor product quality and ROTTEN support.  While I still use them, some of the older systems are excellent, I would not purchase or recommend purchasing one to anybody.

I also used to be very anti-HP and anti-Compaq but in the last year I've purchased more than a dozen HP and/or Compaq (they are essentially the same) desktops for laptops for clients and have bee very favorably impressed.  The systems are rock-solid, and the HP/Compaq support has been outstanding.
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by:ECNSSMT
ID: 16738756
Corporate wise; I still like Dell Dimensions and Latitudes and for the pricing; I like them better than IBMs.  I don't have anything against IBMs.  

Now I'd still like Dell for my own at home use, but if I was to build something from the grounds up (including laptops) I'd look at ASUS motherboards, ASUS laptops as their parts are nice and interchangeable.

my 2 cents

Regards
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by:GinEric
ID: 16739752
You're always better off finding a local computer store and getting them to show you all the stuff and build it for you.

Why?

Mostly because you can either walk to the store or take a short drive and get anything and everything fixed and replaced with personal on the spot service.  While it may cost a little more, it's worth it.  Buying parts from some mogul outfit 2,000 miles away is just throwing your local economy and your community well being out the window with the wash.  You don't get personal service from a big corporation they don't care if it works after they get your money, they won't talk to you [they get robots and minimum wage people to give you excuses], and, you're just better off without them.

Even CompUSA can be considered a local type because at least you can take things back in your neighborhood and get replacements the same day.  But mom & pop computer stores are the ideal for service because they give you personal service.

HP stinks, its service is lousy, untimely, expensive, and everything is proprietary; a great waste of money when you try to upgrade.  Dell and Compaq seem to be going the same way; if they all go broke, good riddance.  That's the price of their own arrogance.  Why are you supporting California's economy?  They're not supporting yours, believe it!

You can find a local, or, you can wait from 3 to 6 weeks and pay all kinds of shipping, get all kinds of excuses, and receive computers that can't be upgraded.  It's your choice.
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by:ClickCentric
ID: 16739816
Lenovo (formerly IBM) really is one of the best choices.  But, Dell is still what I recommend.  Reason being cost for performance.  Unless the Lenovo price is in your range, Dell will give you the best bang for the buck.  As for custom built computers, the shops that do those are usually full of sharks.  Unless you are really in the know and know exactly which parts to request, they will always screw you over.  Building your own machine is the best way to get what you want, but I'm guessing that's not an option.  

As for service, it's all in who you talk to.  If you call any of them enough times, you'll have both horror stories and fan stories.  There's no brand I've never had a problem with.  Anyone in tech support for a while will say the same thing.  

The real key is to ignore the home computers.  Look at the business models.  They're built better with better parts.  That's the reason why the base warranty is better on them.  Think about it, similar system configuration but the 'home' model has a 1 year base warranty and the office model has a 3 year.  The reason is because they used the better parts in the business model.  They're not concerned with customer loyalty with home pc buyers because by the time they get a new computer, the company may be gone.  But with businesses, they're always adding and replacing machines and the major brands fight for that market.
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scrathcyboy earned 1000 total points
ID: 16740110
If you are ready to build your own, now is the time.  One you have built your own computer and had total control over the quality and choice of components, you will NEVER NEVER go back to the name brands.  Why?  because your own-built system is of higher quality components than the cheap choices that the name brands now make to compete on price.  Lets face it, almost all of them are made in mainland China and by maybe even convict labour.  SO if you cant to better than that, you might as well sell the Dell ....
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by:rindi
ID: 16740504
I tend to support leew's ideas here. Although I've heard of others having problems with Dell, I haven't had any that couldn't be solved, and they are the most priceworthy on the market. Also I haven't yet had any problems with their support, they usually are uncomplicated and replace broken hardware fast (they often allow you to do the change, which I prefer).

Compaq, which has now been HP for a couple of years, is in my point of view too consumer product oriented, like sony, once a product is sold they forget about it, and if you can't find the fix on the download page you are up to problems. Sony is even worse, probably the worst in terms of user support of them all.

Gateway I don't know enough, but hearing that emachines belongs to them, they can't be good.

Acer are laptops I've almost only heard good of, and those I've had to do with were worth the price.
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by:ClickCentric
ID: 16743742
Sony I will always avoid like the plague.  It's a personal bias and not one I just assume others to follow, but in my younger days I was working retail.  For a short time, they were carrying Sony computers.  They looked really 'cool', but we decided to open one up at one point to see the insides after it wouldn't turn on.  We found parts that weren't soldered properly.  A lot of them.  Now if it had stopped there, I'd think it was just a bad unit, no big deal...but then one by one, they all started coming back because they'd just suddenly die.  After that, I wrote Sony off.  They broke what I feel is the cardinal rule of computers.  They clearly weren't testing every machine and they probably weren't testing them long enough either.  

I vote Dell as well.  Many of my clients are all-Dell and while there have been issues, it's mostly been with the laptops (how many out there have a dell latitude that overheats..you know what I'm talking about).   But, tech support has never been an issue.  Even with the laptops, they'd willingly send parts and it wasn't a problem getting them to look at it...they just had no clue how to fix a design flaw.  
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by:rindi
ID: 16743911
It just shows the cheap consumer electronics image sony has to me. They build a PC like a transistor radio for the mass market without user support and an expected life time of an year at the most. The problem is that PC, particularly notebooks, really aren't cheap consumer products yet, and they often need after sales support.
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