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Buyer Advice on HP vs. Dell Desktops

written by: Nicholas•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 3/28/2010

Trying to decide whether to get a Dell or HP desktop for your next PC purchase? Both manufacturers differ significantly in the way that they market their desktops, which can make it a confusing process trying to decide which one is a better deal. Here, we will review Dell and HP's lineups, and more.

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    HP vs. Dell Desktops - Product Lineup

    hp elite 

    Rather than give their desktop PC lineups names such as "Dimension," HP uses numbers for each model, which can make it difficult to differentiate between specific PCs. They do use the name Pavilion for their desktops. However, all of their desktops are branded as "HP Pavilion - and then a number." On their website, HP uses four major categories to add some separation between all of their desktop PCs: Everyday Computing, Slim and Sleek, High Performance, and All-in-One. One easy way to tell which category a specific HP PC falls under is to look at the first letter in the model number. For example, an Everyday Computing PC may be called HP Pavilion P6380z. Alternatively, a Slim and Sleek PC may be called HP Pavilion s5370t. High performance HP desktops start with an "e" or "HPE." For example, HP Pavilion HPE-110t.

    Dell brands their desktops by using product lines. Currently, Dell offers four major divisions, representing their desktop computers: Inspiron, Studio, Studio XPS, and Alienware. Inspiron is Dell's current budget desktop line, which in HP vs. Dell desktops, would be similar to HP's Everyday Computing "P" lineup. Studio is a step up from Inspiron. As Dell puts it, Studio Desktops are Design and Performance based. The third highest Dell Desktops are the Studio XPS line, which are designed for performance and premium entertainment. Last but not least, there is Alienware. Alienware is a division of Dell that builds ultra high spec gaming PCs.

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    HP vs. Dell - Pricing

    studio xps 

    According to HP's website, the lowest priced desktop computer is the HP Pavilion p6300z, which has a base price of $299.99. From there, HP desktops have several different price levels, eventually reaching the $1,079.99 mark for a HP Pavilion Elite HPE-18t series.

    According to Dell's website, the lowest priced desktop computer is the Dell Inspiron Zino HD, which is a mini computer, similar in look to Apple's Mac Mini. The base price for the Inspiron Zino HD is $249.00, before customizations. From there, Dell desktops have several different price levels, eventually reaching the $3,999.99 mark for a top of the line Alienware Area 51 ALX gaming computer.

    Because HP and Dell desktops come in several different models, and can be custom configured, we will be comparing two similar desktops from each manufacturer. Rather than trying to match product lines (Inspiron vs. HP Everyday Computing PCs), we will simply choose two PCs with very close specs.

    HP Pavilion Elite HPE-150t series (slightly configured to acquire matching specs)

    • Intel Core i5-750 Processor (2.66GHz)
    • 6GB DDR3 RAM Memory
    • 750GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
    • 512MB ATI Radeon HD5450 Graphics
    • Priced at $799.99

    Dell Studio XPS 8100 (slightly configured to match HP)

    • Intel Core i5-750 Processor (2.66GHz)
    • 6GB DDR3 RAM Memory
    • 750GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
    • 512MB ATI Radeon HD5450 Graphics
    • Priced at $948.00

    As you can see, there is a significant price difference between the Dell Studio and the HP Elite. Is the Dell worth the extra $150? Most likely, no. However, there are certain other specs that may set the two apart from each other. For example, the Dell may have an additional USB port. Is that worth the extra $150? No way.

    Also, you may want to consider the reviews for each individual PC. The Dell Studio has a 4.4/5 star rating at, with 60/62 buyers that would recommend the PC. The HP Elite has only 6 reviews, but it has a perfect 5/5 star rating, with every buyer recommending the PC.

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    From here, it's all your preference. The above example only compares one model desktop from each manufacturer. Dell could be cheaper than HP when comparing two completely different PCs with similar specs. However, this is not likely, as Dell tends to be a bit more expensive. It's quite clear that Dell and HP offer similar PCs. You should choose whichever desktop that you feel comfortable with buying. For example, you may like the looks of the Dell XPS more than the HP, which may lead you to decide on the Dell.

    My opinion:

    In this particular case, I would probably save the extra $150 and go with the HP. From there, I would use that money to buy a decent flat screen. Every PC manufacturer makes some good computers and some lemons. Both computers seem to be good computers. I'd go with the HP, which is not necessarily a better computer. But it's more bang for the buck.

    Now that you know more about HP vs. Dell, you may want to consider checking out Dell vs. Gateway.

    In this article, the HP won. However, there are several other manufacturers. Want to find out who makes the best desktop PC out of all of the manufacturers, based on customer review? Check out this article.

    Considering getting a laptop? Check out this review.