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HP Desktop vs. Dell Desktop PCs for Home Use

written by: M.S. Smith•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 4/8/2011

This article focuses on comparing HP desktops and Dell desktops. Both of these companies are big names in the computer hardware industry and offer a lot of choices for consumers. But which one makes better consumer PCs?

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    HP Desktop vs. Dell Desktop PCs for Home Use: Which Brand?

    The Desktop PC market is exceptionally competitive, and consumer perceptions are generally based on brand awareness; HP and Dell may have two separate products which have a practically identical technical specification, in terms of the hardware constituents of the product, but one customer may prefer the Dell brand and another may prefer the HP brand.

    With that said, there are ways of measuring a computer's value. Let's dive into the HP Desktop vs Dell Desktop battle and find out which offers the best deal.

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    Design and Quality

    HP desktops HP and Dell both are mass-market brands. They're not luxury companies, so neither brand has computers that are comparable to the best available from high-end brands like Apple and Sony. However, both HP and Dell have unique design languages.

    Dell's desktop computers tend to be simple, but not nessicarily easy to ignore. The most basic Dell desktop PCs in the Inspiron line are usually clad in simple black cases, bringing memories of the days when Dell made nothing buy unexciting gray boxes. However, Dell's XPS line contains a number of beautiful PCs like the Studio XPS 9100, which features a slick silver, black and red-trim exterior. You'll also find a handful of speciality products from Dell, like the Zino HD and the Inspiron One all-in-one PC.

    The basic computers from HP are not much different from Dell's; in fact, I'd say they're a bit more boring overall. However, HP offers some of the best all-in-one and touchscreen computers in the entire industry. If you're looking for something different from an normal desktop tower, HP is likely to be be the better choice.

    Winner: HP. Dell and HP offer comparable traditional desktops, but HP's all-in-one computers are the envy of the industry.

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    Dell Studio XPS 9100 Both Dell and HP offer entry level computers at $299.99, but Dell's offering looks better overall. The Dell Inspiron 560 comes with a dual-core Intel processor and a 500GB hard drive, while the similarly priced offering from HP comes with a single-core AMD processor and a 320GB hard drive.

    Dell seems to retain this value advantage throughout most of its line. For example, the $749 Dell XPS 8300 has a second-gen quad-core Core i5 processor, while the HP Elite 560z has a six-core AMD processor. HP has a tendency to load certain computers up with cheap upgrades that have a curb appeal, such as six-core processors and gobs of RAM, but the Dell in that comparison would generally be quicker due to the superiority of Intel's current generation of processors.

    There are always going to be exceptions. Sales are common, and a particular sale on a particular day can change the value equation. However, it looks as if Dell generally offers better hardware for your money.

    Winner: Dell

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    Selection and Service

    Both Dell and HP offer an excellent range of choices through their websites. Most desktops from both companies can be purchased with a range of processor options and with a number of special features, like TV tuners or sound cards. I did find, however, that the upgrade options seemed to be more reasonably priced on HP computers. That could have an effect on how you choose to use their selection.HP's superior all-in-one computers also offer choices that you can't fine at Dell.

    Service can be very hard to judge, and neither company seems to have a major advantage. Both HP and Dell have received similar customer service rankings in the past. In the most recent Laptop Magazine survery, HP was found to have better customer service (Laptop Magazine focuses on laptops, of course, but the findings should apply to desktops as well). But the results of customer service and satisfaction surveys vary from year to year.

    Winner: HP. The company's all-in-ones and cheaper upgrade prices provide more choices. HP has also done well in recent customer service surveys.

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    So, the winner in the HP Desktop vs. Dell Desktop battle is...


    Honestly, this is a tough call. Although HP does seem to offer better selection, better product design and better customer service, the difference is not gigantic. Dell also has lower prices on their pre-configured models, so if you don't dive into the options you'll often end up with better hardware for less money.

    My advice is decide what you want and then see which company can fill your desires for less money. If you want an all-in-one PC or a touchscreen PC, HP is the way to go. If you want an inexpensive and basic computer, however, you may find that Dell is the better choice.

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    Dell Inspiron Range,

    HP Pavillion Range,

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