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Buying a Desktop - Dell or HP?

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 6/30/2010

Dell or HP? Which is the better choice for a desktop? This article compares the two to see who stacks up better.

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    Which one?

    question mark It's time to replace that old PC of yours and now you're at the crucial moment - which computer should you get? A desktop from Dell or one from HP? Which one is better? Which will work with what you need? Which is reliable?

    While the ultimate decision is user based, this article will hopefully give you some help when it comes to deciding.

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    The Categories

    Price - price wise, both companies are fairly low, though that could also be that desktops have gone down in price over the years. For the more 'bang for your buck', Dell wins here. Their lowest priced desktop's subtotal came $200 cheaper than HP's and this included a faster processor, more memory, a free monitor, and one year tech support. HP doesn't even offer any of their support free (as Dell does for the one year).

    Winner: Dell

    Customization - both Dell and HP allow you to customize your computer the way you want before you purchase it. Everything from the operating system, to the processor, to the graphics card is customizable. However, just like with price, Dell is a bit of a winner here as they have a little more leeway. HP seems a little behind the 8-ball when it comes to the upgrades; a mini laptop at Dell naturally comes with Windows 7, while HP's comes with Windows XP and charges $20 extra to upgrade it. Not to say that there aren't people who still want XP, but with the Virtual XP that comes with the pro version of Windows 7, it would make sense to spend more for that, especially when Microsoft announced they would no longer support XP.

    Winner: Dell

    Reliability - this is where users differ; some HP users say their computers last forever, the same is true for Dell users. I've personally seen HP's just fall apart, but I've also seen that with Dells too. However, going with the above, if warranty is what you're after, Dell at least includes a year warranty which is standard on all its systems, with options to go up to 3 years. HP starts their warranty at 2 years at $59.99.

    Winner: Undecided/Dell if warranty price

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    Dell vs HP 

    Latest tech - By this I mean, which company is up to date on the newest stuff that just came out? The answer appears to be both, but again on a per dollar basis, Dell wins. As I mentioned in the price section, very rarely does Dell skimp on the processor or the memory. Even base priced PCs can get 4GB of memory and are usually running a dual core processor; with HP you'll generally have to pay extra for that.

    Winner: Dell

    Customer Service/Tech Support - This is another one of those user decisions; I've heard both are pretty horrid. I've dealt with Dell customer service and tech support; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But on the flip side, I've had others get the same deal with HP. It's one of those things where, unless you have a personal tech guy or you are one, needing to go this route is a last resort. A very last resort. Arguably this makes the warranties discussed above less valuable, as you have to deal with Service and Support to process this.

    Winner: Undecided

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    Conclusion

    While this list clearly marks Dell as the overall winner, this is by no means a directive that you should go and buy a Dell. The decision is purely up to you and your computing needs. The comparisons were based on prices and user opinion from the web along with personal experience. Sometimes a retailer may have something on sale and the better bang for the buck turns out to be the HP.

    Certainly, if you find the computer with the specs you need on sale, and are on the fence about HP vs. Dell, follow your wallet.



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