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Computer Brands - [Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc.]

(21 posts)
  • Started 6 years ago by jmcguire
  • Latest reply from 0zSpitt
  • Topic Viewed 5835 times

jmcguire
Posts: 552

When it comes to desktops I think most would agree there is not a big difference, though some differences do exist. Many of the HTG users may have built their own desktop. With laptops though, it is a completely different story. Laptops must be bought pre-assembled.

The purpose of this thread is to discuss the different brands of computers, both desktops and laptops. The pros and cons of each companies products. What are the features that set the company apart and make you want to buy the computer and the features or lack thereof that make the company or their product undesirable?

Personally with desktops, there is something about building a computer yourself, but if I pre-buy one, I essentially check to see what the best "bang for the buck" is. I also check to see that the computer can be upgraded if I wish to do so, though most computers today are upgradable. I have an amount of trust in certain brands, such as eMachines or even HP, but am willing to go with almost any company. I have an eMachines for example that lasted me all the way though my time at my university and I am still using it, even as I type.

Laptops I tend to have more faith in brands. I am a big fan of the Lenovo laptops because I feel they are put together solid and are available with very handy features such as face-recognition password protection, fingerprint reader, and smaller sizes. The downfall of course is the price.

The only company I tend to stay away from is Dell, simply because I have had horrible experience with the company itself.
-- In 2005 a friend of mine had a Dell and wanted a video card to play games. I told him the card to buy online, but he insisted on calling Dell. They blatantly lied to him on the phone and sold him, what was essentially a worthless card for a huge mark-up.
-- In 2006 another friend and I took apart a Dell computer that was only a year or so old. The computer still worked, we were just changing components. We noticed the heatsink/CPU area looked a little strange, and after taking off the clamp that holds the heatsink on, we noticed the processor had been put in place AFTER the lever was lowered, so that the processor was not held in place. (How it was connecting is beyond me.)
-- The same computer we took apart had a slot for a floppy drive in the front panel of the case, yet no mount inside the case.
-- In 2006 I had called Dell Tech Support for a friend whose computer I was repairing about specific drivers to save time and essentially ended up figuring it out on my own. I had all the drivers that were specific to his model but there were a few that were specific to his customized components.

I gave these examples to show my dislike of Dell has reasons. I realize the one complaint about the case is small, but it showed a non-caring attitude.

I have heard good things about Dell, and would gladly change my mind if given the evidence, as I know all companies have slumps, though I would like this thread to stay on topic and not become a "Dell" thread.

Posted 6 years ago
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JadeEmperor
Posts: 244

i bought my first laptop from Dell mainly because i didn't know any better and second that's where my budget allowed me. to date, i bought my second laptop from Dell too but this time it is because i never had any problems with the first one.

looking around this are my rankings Sony Vaio, Toshiba, Dell, HP. the main points that i use to judge if i should buy that laptop are:

performance (must be good for gaming)
video RAM (must be good for gaming)
hard disk size (160 GB minimum; i keep my stuff on usb hard disk)
design (pleasing to the eyes; nothing too shiny or attracts to much fingerprints)
and of course price (varies depending on my savings) :-)

i use notebookreviews.com as my basis for buying

Posted 6 years ago
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Scott
Posts: 5618

I'm afraid rating laptops is as subjective as AV apps, beer or autos. I've had nothing but good, albeit occasionally frustrating, experiences with Dell. Case in point, I sent back an out of warranty 15" Inspiron 8200 for fan issues. When it came back, the repair tech had configured it to the original specs, including replacing my 1GB of RAM with the 512 that came with the system, lol. A supervisor in India was so enraged, he sent out a new 17" Inspiron 9400 that is positively loaded.

Dell's prices for whole systems are competitive, maybe not for parts. If I choose not to buy a new laptop from them it wouldn't be because of pricing or service issues. My .02c

Posted 6 years ago
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drifta
Posts: 446

since im a 15 year old gamer and one of the most tech aware dudes in my household, i am often doing the comparisons and finding the best bang for your buck.
since i am a gamer and a movie enthusiaist, i look for performace, graphix, sound, hard disk size, and ram. i currently have a dell dimension 9200 baught from dell jsut over a year ago. at the time the machine was advertised for a special offer of $1000 of the RRP and after looking at the specs i decided it was the best.
a month later i found myself reconsidering but it was too late for that. service with the dell guys has been ace; since i paid extra for a 3yr warranty as i knew i was going to screw up my pc and wanted protection. i had issues where windows was habnging and after consulting with the dell guys through the phone and online i was given a free 80 gb hdd in addition to my 500gb so taht i could install my os onto the 80gb and see if that made a diffrence. recently i had issues with my dvd drive not showing up and i requested for assistance on these forums but no one was able to provide any assistance so i was about to do a clean isntallation but decided to simply reinstall sp1 and see if that works, forutnatley it did. i was at the smae time consulting with dell techs and they gave me a number of different possible fixes and in the end offered to come and replace my drive the next day, but since i had fixed the issue i declined. i have gained some more knowedge into comps and in the future i want to make my own pc rather than buy a pre packaged one.

Posted 6 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

I have had 5 laptops in my time (and repaired another, seriously damaged). They all worked/work fine.
Amstrad/Acer/Panasonic/Dell/Gericom.

Posted 6 years ago
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Aleeve
Posts: 2818

My Acer works fine
And runs really well
Also, product support is good too - my hard drive failed around half a year ago

Posted 6 years ago
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0zSpitt
Posts: 1037

i was a dell fan until i bought this xps and delt with their customer service/tech support. i'm only going to keep my dell account open to purchase monitors and maybe another notebook if i need one. i'll never purchase another dell computer or recommend them. as soon as my asus mother board get exchanged (lol, piece of crap) i'll put this xps on craigs list.

Posted 6 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@0z,
You know I would (NEVER) purchase a larger Pre-Built machine from any OEM or Retailer.
I think?? if one searches hard enough, one could find all the parts and pieces to build a smaller Laptop Machine although I've never tried to do a project like that.
Would be interesting to hear if any of our members have attempted such a Custom Laptop Build ??
Rick P.

Posted 6 years ago
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drifta
Posts: 446

building a laptop machine would be one hell of a task

Posted 6 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@drifta,

Why ????

If one can find the right parts, they would go together like a big Build.

Rick P.

Posted 6 years ago
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drifta
Posts: 446

well it would be too fidly, there isnt a lot of room to work with

Posted 6 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 14920

@drifta,
Not so.
Phoenix installed plastic injection molding machines for a small Laptop assembly plant for Dell which made a non brand / off brand product for some big box stores.
I observed the whole Laptop assembly process while there.
The complete laptops were assembled on revolving tables with (8) work stations per table.
The workers were all UNSKILLED labor off the street.
Each worker was trained to put a couple of parts in the assembly.
Parts were in boxes on small stands beside each worker.
From start to finish, if I remember correctly, the total process time was about 5 minutes per Laptop.
Very few jigs and fixtures were used. Just enough to cradle the Laptop and of course air tools.
Final test was some kind of very simple machine before packout.
Scrap machines were thrown into a bin for teardown on an off shift.
The workers only wore, white cotton gloves, hairnets and ground straps.
The total assembly operation for a Laptop could be classified as (simple) at worst case.
Of course this was a very small, one product sku, assembly operation.
NO custom builds or build to to order process sheets.
Rick P.

Posted 6 years ago
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drifta
Posts: 446

wow 5 mins per laptop,
what are the chances of those laptops screwing up within 1 year of purchase? i would say somewhere close to 90%
i would be very cautious in buying one of those laptops thats for sure

Posted 6 years ago
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fastbullet
Posts: 26

I'd dearly love to see someone like Alienware come out with a few models of laptop cases and some components.

Notice that while prices for desktop memory and HDDs are falling through the floor, those same components for laptops remain ridiculous. The reason, I'm sure, is simply because they are the only freaking parts the end user can (and so they will) change.

I, also, do not like anything about Dell. As with all things Microsoft, it burns me up that many people buy that junk simply because the name is ubiquitous and easily bought. (Dell's Phillipino tech reps are very courtious and friendly while also managing to be largely useless).
As you said, this is not a Dell thread though, so I'll move along.

In February I built the first computer I have ever owned. I undertook this project only because the "bang for the buck" you mentioned was not in evidence in the (many, many) machines I looked into. What possible use could I have for a reader of 2,642 different flash cards and formats? Or, not one, but TWO CD/DVD ROMs? Half a gig of Ram? 80 or 120GB of storage?
But nearly all of them had dual core processors which, just like the card readers, were the fad of the day. How pitiful.

I built my machine for me, not for an ego. It has a Pentium 4 single core, originally 250GB of storage and 2GB of RAM (now 500 and 4GB, respectively) 2 very fast DVD decks and an 8400GT video card (because I chose a board without integrated video). It runs only a Linux OS.
With the 19" LG screen and Logitech Z-4 for noise, I have what I need and I have real "bang for the buck". I'm a very happy 55 year old man.

As far as Brand Names go, I'm loyal to things that work. Yeah, I threw in the LG and Z-4. Maybe I should've also mentioned Intel, EVGA. Seagate, Cyberpower, Samsung, Lite-On and a few more.

Posted 6 years ago
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drifta
Posts: 446

i would love to build myself a brand spanking new pc sometime in the near future. it just seems like so much fun in a geekish way

Posted 6 years ago
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jmcguire
Posts: 552

So, I see people are split on Dell. I myself really like Lenovo laptops, but what would someone say is a good laptop for a non-techy who just wants a mobile computer (with good battery life).

Posted 6 years ago
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ScottW
Posts: 6609

jmcguire, I'm reminded of a previous thread where the discussion turned to laptop brands:
http://www.howtogeek.com/forum.....post-28091

I had googled around and found this article on laptop repair records:
http://www.pc-repairs4you.com/19.html

Although it has been 6 months since that discussion, nothing has changed my mind -- laptops are all fragile and, on average, 1 in 5 will need repairs no matter which brand you choose. If you ask a crowd of people (or a forum) for a laptop recommendation, everyone will have anecdotal experience with those that failed. One guy says Sony is no good, another says IBMs or Levnovos break a lot, and others have seen/heard of Dell problems. My mom has had nothing but trouble with her Toshiba. They all have problems! There are probably more sad Dell stories because they are so affordable.

I would be interested to hear from someone who runs a repair business on which brands break more often and how well they are built based on taking them apart for repair.

Posted 6 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 3814

That is interesting, I didn't know so many people have had issues with Dell Computers. I've got a few Dell computers over the years with zero or minor problems.
The Dell I got in 2001 had a small fan problem that was fixed by talking to support and changing the fan location in the case. My Mom actully did that instead of me (Can't remember why). She said that she was unhappy that Dell had her mess with the insides of the case when she didn't really know much about the inside of computers. Not a good thing but still minor overall.
I got a Dell XPS 420 for an older couple who had an old Windows 98 computer before that was slow. When it arrived at our house so I could set it up (Transfer old data, Remove Dell crapware, do windows updates, etc) the LCD display worked but when we sent it to their house the LCD display didn't work at all. The older lady there was told to check the inside of the case to make sure the graphics card was seated right but she refused due to knowing nothing about the inside and not wanted to mess it up. So Dell just sent a new LCD display that worked.
My Dad got a Dell Vostro laptop recently and it hasn't had any issues. My Dad got my sister the same laptop as her older ASUS laptop had some problems.
The two Dell Vostros and the Dell XPS are still working without any issues.
The Dell I got in 2001 still runs too though I think the Power Supply fan isn't working right as it makes a bunch of noise when running. It's not a big deal though as I hardly ever use that computer anymore.
I also got a Dell PowerEdge 1800 for use as a Home Linux Server and it hasn't had any problems.

Also one thing to note is even though I know how to build a computer, I always buy my computers as I just don't feel like researching every part and then building one.
Besides Dell, I also got two computers from eBay that someone else built and cost wise it was about the same as building it myself.

As for brands I don't like Compaq/HP would be the main one. I have worked on many Compaq/HP computers for people that have had hardware failures and hard to open desktop cases. Dell makes nice cases that are easy to open and change parts. I also haven't had any big failure problems with Dell computers.

Posted 6 years ago
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0zSpitt
Posts: 1037

i've had 4 dells and never had a problem until i delt with their customer service. they couldn't fix their problem which turned out to be their oem vista disk.

Posted 6 years ago
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LH
Posts: 20002

OzSpitt. I think you were just unlucky. I have done a hundred (or so) reinstalls on Dells with their own OEM disks (Home Premium and Ultimate, both 32bit), and not had a problem.

Posted 6 years ago
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