What we think about the major brands, why we recommned them, or suggest that you avoid them.

Summary in order of preference:

Notebooks/Laptops: Lenovo, MSI, Toshiba, Dell

Desktops: Panther Computer/local build with MSI, Lenovo, Dell

Hard Drives: Seagate or Hitachi

No.  As a former Acer dealer we have some business complaints about Acer, but they are also the proud owners of the three worst names in computing history for reliability IOO (in our opinion) Gateway, Emachines, and Packard Bell.   In the 80s Acer was the proverbial "Taiwan piece of crap" parts many small guys used to make money quickly, leaving owners with buggy computers and non working parts.

We became a dealer for them after we opened Panther Computers in 2004 because it appeared they had cleaned up their act and were producing good equipment.  In retrospect, the LCD screens were burning out soon after warranty, and most laptops since they bought the other three brands, have become cheap.  Cheap as in mouse buttons breaking, keys comming off, and LCD screens going out.  It seems to meet the box store prices, they had to cut corners on their products.

Maybe.  Dell isn\'t as plagued as some of the other brands with quality and engineering problems.  Theirs is more a matter of overall cost and support.  It can be frustrating to many US based customers to deal withthe Indian support centers that aren\'t always staffed with technically knowledgable employees.

Most call centers use scripting software that they are reading step by step to get to possible answers.  Consider that anyone with sufficiaent knowledge will be working for themsleves, or in an IT center, not answering phones from funny speaking Americans that are easily frustrated when you try to help them.

Dell shares the same problem that all name brand computers have in that your warranty with is with them alone and is usually limited to one year or less (some as litle as 60 days).  Local built computers use components that have individual manufacturer warranties that range between 1, 3, and 5 years.  Go to Seagate with a hard drive that came in your Dell and they will politely point you back to Dell and giggle after you hang up.

Another shared problem is proprietary cases, motherboads, and power suplies.  Once upon a time everyone worked towards interoperability, and common hardware platforms.  These days all brands have at least some computers, usually the cheapest brands at the box stores, that have non standard power supplies, motherboards, and cases.  You need a replacement, it has to be a like model at usually 3 times the price of a standard part.

No.  One of the three worst names in computing history for reliability IOO (in our opinion) I wouldn\'t recomend an Emachines to my worst enemy.
No.  One of the three worst names in computing history for reliability IOO (in our opinion) I wouldnt recomend a Gateway to my worst enemy.

No.  HP Compaq have serious engineering problems IOO. Almost yearly they have a major problems with motherboards.  From laptops to desktops we\'ve seen thousands of computer models that are either forced through litigation or offered through their kindness to repair at no chanrge to their customers.  The problem is that many people find out after the recall has ended, and those that do get in before the deadline report (around the internet) that they have to have motherboards replaced several times.

Models like the DV2000, DV4000, DV6000, DV9000 and their Compaq counterparts were covered in one such recall that it seemed that many of our customers went to get the recall work done only tobe told "you bought that a week too late" which we interpret to mean, we ran out of replacement boards and cant afford to do any more recall work.  Slim line models like the a3100 series had similar problems with the recall recently ending in December of 2009.

Why buy a brand with continual problems that will cost you more in downtime, lost data, and frustation.

Yes!  Lenovo is our recommended brand for all notebook computers.  They are the former IBM Thinkpad computers and still maintain the quality while having become more cost competitve with other brands that don\'t hold up to daily use.

MSI - Microstar Insternational

MSI is panther computers preferred brand motherboard when building a Panther PC.  We have also found that their video cards ae the best price, performance, and reliability so use these for our high end systems and as replacement and upgrades for your PC.  We have only sold less than a dozen of their notebooks in the last few years, but have had zero complaints from the customers who own them.

Motherboards - Yes

Notebooks - Yes

Video Cards - Yes

You\'re joking right? NO!  The absolute worst name in computing history for reliability IOO (in our opinion) I wouldnt recomend a Packard Bell to my worst enemy.  They were cheap pieces of junk dumped into the US market in the 90s and once the warranty repairs became too costly, they bailed on the US market, went back to Europe and you can\'t find any information on their website for any US sold product (drivers etc).
No.  Sony is expensive period.  Even if you get a great "deal" most Sony laptops can be expensive in repairs and upgrades.  I\'ve seen some laptops require special memory at 4 times the price of normal RAM that can only be used in a Sony.  Memory and hard drive replacements and upgrades can be labor intensive requiring the unit to be nearly fully dissasembled instead of through access panels like most brands.  If you\'re going to spend Sony prices either get a better Lenovo with the extra money, or buy a Machintosh if you want to burn money for a brands name and fancy features.