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Is there any difference in PC brands?

crazyquik

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Being computer illiterate, I've always wondered if there is any damn difference in PC brands.

Are you getting anything when you buy the 'brand', or should you just shop the 'guts'? They all have either AMD or Intel chips (not that I know what the difference is) and they all come installed with Windows Vista now.

Dell
HP
Compaq
Gateway
Toshiba

Also, is a Sony Vaio materially different than any other PC?

Is there any reason to be brand conscious when buying a computer?
 

Nouveau Pauvre

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No.

Any tech geek worth his salt (and believe me they are all him) will tell you to go new egg and build something for yourself for cheaper. After all vista is vista, and a 15" lcd screen is a 15" lcd screen no matter what brand it is.

However, I have an HP laptop that I love. It has a 17" screen, fingertip scanner, remote control and webcam/microphone all in one sleek package. Was it a bit more expensive? Yeah, but as a non-tech geek who mostly uses it for watching dvds, websurfing or word processing, I can pay a bit for aesthetics and not worry about getting raw computing power at a good price.

(though of course I was still value minded - an equivalent mac would have been literally $1000 more then what I paid during a good promotion.)
 

feynmix

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lenovo thinkpads > everything else.
 

dah328

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Magician oversimplifies to the point of being wrong. At the low end, there is generally little difference between brands. At the higher end, there is a huge difference and there is the middle, too. As an example, LCD monitors vary in the uniformity of their backlights, their viewing angles, color reproduction, and refresh rates. The better ones cost more money. After working for a while with a cheap LCD that has a poor backlight and refresh rate, you'll probably wish you had spent the extra $40-60 on one that was better. Similar things are true of motherboards, power supplies, and other components.
 

dah328

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If you're talking exclusively about laptops, it's a little easier to pick among manufacturers. As feynmix says, if you're looking for a general-purpose machine (not high-end gaming or graphics), it's hard to go wrong with a ThinkPad.
 

danyllau

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Yes, a bit aside from Customer Service and Shipping/maintainance center. Personally if you don't need something too customized for your need or if you dont' really care, I think branded can be cheaper when discounted. For example, the case make a difference, I know some of the HP and Sony case/Power Supplies are well ventilate and extremely quiet even for a high powered one. It would cost you a fortune to get such a case that works remotely close to it.
 

who8mahrice

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^I've never seen branded stuff from Dell/HP/Sony for cheaper. Then again, I've never been on the lookout for power supplies as in your example, so I could definitely be wrong.

But from what I've looked at, brands seem to charge more for the convenience of having everything you need right in front of you, rather than having to take time out to learn what parts you need, what parts you want, and what each model offers. These brands do offer some great models for individual parts, but they'll cost an arm and a leg compared to finding the item separately and buying it. For example, I remember looking at Dell laptops about two years ago...they were charging $100 or so for another 1gb stick of RAM (which I think was probably Micron or something)...which would cost you around $40 back then.
 

breakfasteatre

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It is incredibly easy to put a computer together. Before my first year of school, i built a computer for about 1200 bucks (budget gaming pc) that still feels just as fast now as when i first put it together, i cant play any of the newer graphic intesive games because of my video card but for all of the downloading and surfing ive been doing since i stopped gaming, there has been no need for me to upgrade anything on it, besides the harddrive.
 

danyllau

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Originally Posted by who8mahrice
^I've never seen branded stuff from Dell/HP/Sony for cheaper. Then again, I've never been on the lookout for power supplies as in your example, so I could definitely be wrong.

But from what I've looked at, brands seem to charge more for the convenience of having everything you need right in front of you, rather than having to take time out to learn what parts you need, what parts you want, and what each model offers. These brands do offer some great models for individual parts, but they'll cost an arm and a leg compared to finding the item separately and buying it. For example, I remember looking at Dell laptops about two years ago...they were charging $100 or so for another 1gb stick of RAM (which I think was probably Micron or something)...which would cost you around $40 back then.


Well, i was referring to getting the entire system as a package. For sure, those upgrade are usually way more expensive than DIY with OEM parts, but then a lot of the manufactures offer free upgrades occasionally.

Also, if you have little clue to assembling a system from random parts (even ppl at the avg. store), you may run into stability problems. With just simple memtest and benchmarks, I have find some branded system (NOT DELL) to be quite well tuned with good parts and drivers out of the box.
 

Jumbie

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Originally Posted by danyllau
Personally if you don't need something too customized for your need or if you dont' really care, I think branded can be cheaper when discounted.

Agreed. A few years back it was cheaper to build than buy but if you keep a look out on deal sites for sales + coupons, it can be cheaper to get a very good machine.

Building is more for enthusiasts (mainly gamers) who want to squeeze out every last bit of performance from their parts and maintain better control of things. At one point in time I know Dell, at least, was using non-standard components e.g. motherboard, so it made it harder (or impossible) to upgrade. I don't think this is the case now but that would be another reason why building a machine yourself would have been preferable. There is also the customization aspect.

In addition, with specialized machines such as a HTPC where noise would be a concern, building can be a huge advantage and significantly cheaper.
 

Jumbie

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Originally Posted by Magician
No.

Any tech geek worth his salt (and believe me they are all him) will tell you to go new egg and build something for yourself for cheaper. After all vista is vista, and a 15" lcd screen is a 15" lcd screen no matter what brand it is.


As dah328 already pointed out, you are very wrong.

The OS may be the same and besides any reliability issues similar speed drives will likely be similar in performance (not taking into account platter size, etc.) but with things like a monitor there can be significant differences. One heat sink can also be a lot better than another at cooling. Etc, etc.
 

zeitgeist

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Originally Posted by Magician
Any tech geek worth his salt (and believe me they are all him) will tell you to go new egg and build something for yourself for cheaper.

The days of PCs being cheaper to build yourself out of the components are long gone.

You cannot compete with the deals PC manufactures such as Dell & HP have. Especially when you factor in the price of PSU, OS, case, etc.
 

JoeWoah

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Originally Posted by bluemagic
Get IBM/Lenovo MTM.

lolz @ mtm!

For laptops, get an Asus. I haven't found a PC manufacturer that actually uses the quality components that Mac does except for Asus. Dell laptops, when built close to Mac specs come out more expensive on their site... and it's still a Dell (that's not a good thing).

For ultra portables, nothing beats a Lenovo. Their other stuff isn't anything special.

Sony's are most "Mac" like. Their screens and form factor is what Mac copied. They are awesome laptops, but you'll never find an affordable Vaio with the right components put together. They always go cheap on something without passing the savings to you.
 

zeitgeist

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Originally Posted by JoeWoah
For laptops, get an Asus. I haven't found a PC manufacturer that actually uses the quality components that Mac does except for Asus. Dell laptops, when built close to Mac specs come out more expensive on their site... and it's still a Dell (that's not a good thing).

That's why you pay a premium for Apple's hardware.

They use quality components (such as IPS screens for their monitors) but there is still a pretty hefty mark-up.
 

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