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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    Dell HP or Local Built?

    Just needing some input on purchase of computer for my daughter and son-in-law. He is currently in school getting his Masters and they need a reliable, fast computer. We have had Dells here at work as well as "locally built" systems. I like the ability to take our local built ones directly to the techs here when there are problems, but they seem to be a bit more costy and the kids are on a "budget". On the other hand, I hate it when we have an issue with a Dell and are on hold for 1/2 hour or longer and then it takes 2-3 calls to get the issue resolved. So - what do you all recommend from your experiences? Just need a good, reliable system that they won't need to replace in the next year or so!
    lynndelap

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Dell HP or Local Built?

    As a builder of my own systems, I would opt for the "white box" (what you are referring to as locally built). Most of the difference these days is the support you prefer. Why they would be more costly is hard to understand, though. An unbranded system could end up giving you a lot more for your money since you are not paying for a brand name, but you then rely on the local repair shops (or yourself) if problems arise. It may take two or three calls to a tech support department but so long as the ultimately solve the problem, then maybe the calls and hold times are not as important. Consider the need and your experience and go from there.

    Another thing to consider is that a system from an OEM such as Dell or HP will likely be a configuration that has been tested extensively and should work harminously. That isn't to say that they will not give you trouble and the white box will, but in the interest of fairness it is worth mentioning.
    -Mark

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Dell HP or Local Built?

    Also, the OEM machines are usually designed and built with little or NO room for expansion or changes. For example, the power supplies are the bare minimum to run the original hardware and little else. Don't try to add another drive or Burner or something else without running into wierd problems. What you see is what you get. Period !
    BUT, if you only expect to use it for very basic uses, the OEM's can be a good buy. <img src=/S/compute.gif border=0 alt=compute width=40 height=20>

    Bob
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  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Dell HP or Local Built?

    In a fashion similar to Mark's comments, I used to recommend highly to people that, if they can afford the (usually) small price difference, that they'd be far better off to have a machine from a local vendor who builds his own boxes. My thinking at the time was mostly the availability of immediate and thorough support - if necessary, put the machine in the car and take it to the builder for repair or troubleshooting. Since my retirement, I haven't kept up with the local prices in my area, but I still do have three or four favorite local vendors to whom I don't hesitate to send people. At the time, my opinion was that one of the worst things a person could do would be to buy a computer from an "order taker" like Best Buy and the like. After all, when you buy from places like that, you get essentially NO support and are gonna have to rely on the brand manufacturer for assistance, frequently (occasionally) requiring the shipment of a PC back to a factory for repair. Local is usually better, as long as the price is affordable and the warranty is good and the "rep" of the builder is solid.

  5. #5
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Dell HP or Local Built?

    I used to be a big fan of the white box computers. I had even gone as far as recommending the local shop to others asking me 'where should I buy my PC'. They've all come back to me, saying the white box machines they got were garbage (which I agree with, but they didn't ask me what to put in them).

    I've since gone the way of the OEMs, and have been happy (so far). I've got both an IBM desktop, and a DELL notebook, both work wonderfully.

    I've only had one problem with the IBM, but it was resolved with a simple phone call to the IBM Support line.

    Basically, it all comes down to what you (or they) are comfortable with doing to the PC, and whether or not you need a 24x7 type support line.
    Christopher Baldrey

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Dell HP or Local Built?

    <hr>...They've all come back to me, saying the white box machines they got were garbage... <hr>
    Of course, that depends on the local builder and his reputation. There are a couple of shops here in my area that I would never recommend to people because of the cut-rate components they use. It's obviously a tough decision to make and the factors of price and support are only the beginning, as you rightly pointed out.

  7. #7
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: Dell HP or Local Built?

    Well, I've just bought a new Dell 8300 and the annoyances were:

    a) a week late in delivery, because "they were short of some parts", so I had to delay reinstallation of broadband
    [img]/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img] courier was instructed to deliver "between 8am and 6pm" - so a waste of someone's day
    c) it came with five, yes, FIVE speakers - where can I put all those? A couple would have been enough. And that was the cheapo selection!
    d) it had AOL on the hard disk -- but not for long!
    e) you have to download a new video card driver to enable the flat panel to display text/graphics the right way up when you rotate it through 90 degrees (if you see what I mean!). Just a 15 MB download...
    f) the fan noise is greater than the (very quiet) 8250 it replaced.
    g) no information about whether it was preferable to use the digital video cable or the analogue one (trying the former tonight)

    Apart from that, and after about two hours of setup / use, it's quite excellent!
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  8. #8
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    Re: Dell HP or Local Built?

    John,
    OTOH, at work we buy almost nothing but refurbushed Dell machines (usually Optiplex). They come with almost nothing other than XP or 2k. Takes a couple hours to install the software we want. Have had exceptional luck in deliveries in less than a week. Often just a couple of days. Have had several people @work buy PCs for home and had delivered to work. I know that is not always possible but sure is a big time save if it can be done.

    Joe
    Joe

  9. #9
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: Dell HP or Local Built?

    Joe

    Yes, a good point about delivery to work, but the system unit box is pretty hefty and we don't have SUVs over here (thank heavens!). (Well, we do a bit...)

    The other annoyance I would have mentioned is that I "only" have a 512 MB Flash USB disk to transfer data from another PC to the new one -- when are we going to be able to buy (at sensible prices!!) flash memory disks with several GB capacity? The largest I've come across is 1 GB, at well over
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  10. #10
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: Dell HP or Local Built?

    If you've got a PCMCIA slot, you can get an IBM 1Gb Microdrive for the GBP you're paying for a 512 Mb Flash USB.
    Gre

  11. #11
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    Re: Dell HP or Local Built?

    John,
    No network available? Might be worth checking into a null cable and using the XP file & settings transfer wizard. I've recently read some pretty good stuff about that. If it works all you need is time.

    Joe
    Joe

  12. #12
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    Re: Dell HP or Local Built?

    No PCMCIA slots on a desktop!
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  13. #13
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    Re: Dell HP or Local Built?

    How about serial ports? May be slow, but it'll get the job done.

    Joe
    Joe

  14. #14
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: Dell HP or Local Built?

    I used the File & Settings Transfer Wizard on a previous move between computers about a year ago, and regretted it utterly.

    The "null modem" cable would have to go almost between opposite corners (and floors) of a house!

    In about half a dozen trips up and down stairs clutching the USB PenDrive in my hot, sweaty, hand I've managed to set up a directory on the new computer which contains as much of the stuff on the old computer I wanted to keep. But you staill have to set up everything in Office more or less from scratch...! Heaven knows how the average computer user copes with this saga...
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  15. #15
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    Re: Dell HP or Local Built?

    They cope very poorly. I spend a fair amount of time answering questions from firends and family about the exact situation.

    Joe
    Joe

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