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Do you prefer brand-name or generic computers?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / April 20, 2005 4:37 AM PDT

Do you prefer brand-name or generic computers?

Brand name (tell us why)
Generic (tell us why)
Either one, makes no difference
None, I prefer the ones I build myself (tell us why)

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None, I prefer the ones I build myself
by jcrobso / April 21, 2005 12:28 AM PDT

I build them myself, this way I can choose the components
and get what I want, not what the PC company chooses. John

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Best computer is home baked!
by fnelson / April 22, 2005 7:03 AM PDT

Freedom to Choose the ingredients. Freedom to know what you have under the hood. Freedom from those programs all on one cd you get with the Branded ones.
If you can't cook it up yourself go to someone who can and sit down with them and tell them your needs. It is worth it... You are now free to change it every week if you want. I do. Frieda

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Home built=better!
by nosajman / April 28, 2005 9:59 PM PDT

First off oem parts are cheap! So you pay for what you get! It's like choosing between kraft macaroni, generic macaroni, or buying the cheese and macaroni and milk then combining. If you bought the cheese then you know the cheese is good! maybe it's not even chedder cheese. Maybe not even macaroni noodles. So the point is you know each part is good. plus each part has it's own warranty and is made by a different manufacturer that specializes in the component. So yes building one with brand new parts is expensive. However using a used components from e-bay you could easily blow away any overated dell. Then buy a 18 inch flat screen with low response time. You'll still come in about the same. But how many computers come with dual dvd burning capability?

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The Woes of Branded PCs
by sean.graham / April 21, 2005 4:59 AM PDT

Branded PCs made by the likes of eMachines, PackardBell etc come bundled with an assortment of software which you don't usually want. The software installed as standard on each branded machine is generally difficult to uninstall and would in some cases require re-installation of the operating system which itself comes bundled on a recovery CD. PCs sold in high street shops and large chain stores such as PC world will sell branded PCs with all this bundled software but do we actually need it? When is anyone going to need AOL and Compuserve both installed and how does anyone tolerate these 30 day trial versions of Microsoft Money? To make things worse still these computers have the added luxury of the over-zealous Norton Internet Security which stops any internet activity alltogether. And what if you decide to install more memory or replace the hard drive? those warranty stickers strategically placed so that the warranty is void when the PC case is opened are a general nuisance and they'll make sure the hard drive is not only screwed into the chassis, but is welded to the case so that an upgrade can only be performed by the selling company who will charge an arm and a leg to perform an otherwise basic upgrade. The wonderful flashed BIOS obscures the useful information displayed in POST. The bonus of a 5400rpm 40GIG hard disk partitioned into 4 segments of 10GIG rather limits your flexibility to store data and, with the OS installed on the feeble FAT32 file system, it results in a rather poorly performing computer. That wonderful 64MB shared Intel82815 graphics card which requires 3 reboots before installing a "really handy" shell integration into the right-click menu delay the desktop right-click action by about 3 seconds and provide increasing frustration when you want to do something simple like change the desktop wallpaper. These shared graphics cards will also take up a large proportion of the memory leaving your system resources limited to 192MB RAM. These computers in some cases also have those Celeron D 330 processors which, coupled with the 256 memory, are less able to perform than a standard 100FSB AthlonXP processor.

Do we need these overpriced branded PCs in our household? Do we need to keep taking our PC to PCWORLD because the thing keeps crashing? I guess not!

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what planet are you from?
by ParnaoidGuy / April 21, 2005 10:51 PM PDT

Most of the items you just posted are just false.

You referanced the bottom of the barrel pc companies, one of which has been out of business since 1999.

I have worked on hundreds of branded Pcs and I have never seen a HD "welded" to a frame. That is just ridiculous. Some cases do not give you many upgrade oportunities, but if that is a requirement, don't buy a small case PC.I have a medium size family, so I didn't buy a two seat car.COMMON SENSE. 80 percent of all home PC users aren't going to upgrade thier systems anyways.

Bundled software got you down? UNINSTALL it. Honestly, you have to be kidding me. Are you going to tell me it is quicker to build a PC than to unistall all the software you don't want?

You also have a strong opinion about pricing. It is never cheaper to build your own. NEVER.

The best way I found to get a decent system nowadays is to buy a closeout or remanufactured PC from a company like compgeeks and then upgrade it if needed. As long as you stay away from the crap vendors and go with an HP or a Dell, you will usually be in a great position. If you have the really have the skills to build a pc then this is a no brainer.

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by chuckulz / April 22, 2005 2:58 AM PDT

You are right about the 80% - prebuilt are fine for them. Go with the name brands. Normal PC's are a different breed, pre-built IS cheaper.

BUT, You can build an extreme gaming rig MUCH cheaper than any website I've seen to mod one of theirs to A++ specs.

If you priced say a top-notch Falcon Northwest machine ( for example) and then researched, pieced together and build an EXTREME gaming machine of your own, it would cost half as much.

I did it, that is my experience.

My first build was not SOLO, I had a buddy with much more experience help me.

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Well put
by FrenchyHey / April 22, 2005 8:45 AM PDT

I agree with you altough with branded name like hp I think it is another story but for the e machine yep they are in general very bad. Poorly built and upgrade is very dubious at best. It is like buying a Mac Cube but without the performance and without the upgrade that go with a "normal" PC contrary to e machine and Mac in general except for the G5 "PC" like built.

If you want only email and basic and no expectation for game go for it if you want performance stay away from propretary system even if microsoft itself recomend you to buy it preloaded.

In the long run you will learn to hate your cheap computer if you wanted games and performance and DVD playback.

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e-machine not all that bad!
by Bro.Bob / April 22, 2005 3:14 PM PDT
In reply to: Well put

Have lot PCs some are name brands like HP and yes
an e-machine; don't laugh it has to be one my best
I do music,graphics and video I upgraded its
soundcard and ram with no problem, then put DVD
burner, that has done so well I just could not
belive it.
The best part of this is, I got the e-machine for under five hundred bucks!
a few years before I built one from the motherboard
up and it cost over seven hundred bucks.
it can not perform as well as the e-machine even
without the upgrades!
as was said before it would have cost me double
that or more to bring it up to A-plus standerd
for gaming!
I do not do video games on any of my PC machines!
if I wanted to get something for games I'd get a
play station like my kids have.

So I guess I got real lucky to get good machine or
there not as bad some would say and I know one thing
that was said before; you could not upgrade them and
that is simply not true! so maybe some of the other
things that are being said are not true as well.

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by Donald Curry / June 24, 2005 1:18 PM PDT

I have a couple of computers,laying around the house,and i got to say 2 of them are (Emachines)one i just got the T-6212,i have had it benchtested,and it out performed,a $1,400. name brand one that i was useing? And i have never had not the first problum with any emachine,that i have owned!And they got one of the best keyboards,i have EVER,EVER,used.My mother always told me dont knock-it before ya try it!!!!!!!!!!


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Mother Board
by PokerChris26 / October 12, 2005 3:55 AM PDT
In reply to: Emachines!!!!!

Have you heard anything about emachines mother boards?

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I'm basically saying the same thing
by JBengeII / April 21, 2005 2:25 PM PDT

Building a PC may not be very cost effective for some
but having what you want in a PC is why people build them,IMHO.Also the Operating System of a purchased PC
is so full of software you don't needand even Trailware Yuck,it takes up a lot of space.Also it's just a Drive image so there is no way to make a custom install on a lot of these machines.My machine still has the case from my old Intel PIII machine,kinda reminds me of the the Movie Robots I just want parts and never go with a full upgrade all shiny,hope the industry stays this way.

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self built is best for my needs
by ellis feigenbaum / April 21, 2005 7:39 PM PDT

Although I am not what might call an early adopter of technologies, usually preferring to wait for the second or third genration of to really get the benefits- I have always needed good video editing , the ability to watch tv on my pc, teletext and as the pc gets used for watching movies- i have always had a large monitor( any make dvi will do) a large ammount of memory ,a near top of the range ati all in wonder card and a decent sound card - these are configurations thats are hard to find in your local gateway store.
I gave my mother one of my old computers- it is a pentium 166 but has an ati all in wonder card with a creative soundblaster card 256 meg of ram-I built this machine in 1996- thats basically how long long ive been using my own version of media center, and although i have upgraded it to have a cd burner and windows 98se since then , it is basically a good machine that still works.
if you purchase good components they will last and work well for many years.

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by risto / April 21, 2005 7:46 PM PDT

Actually, any computer w/ a standard form factor motherboard. With the case as base, I can update the peripherals one at a time.

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Prefer Homebrew
by FLATFOOT / April 21, 2005 8:00 PM PDT

It permits me to hand pick the complete list of components, educates me, and provides a feeling of accomplishment. I have been doing it ever since I replaced my Commodore 128, and have really never regretted it.

Saving money obviously is not a factor. I have had to return 4-5 components over the years, and only once did I get shafted by the vendor. Most vendors not only replace faulty items, but are very apologetic, which I keep in mind when I next embark on an upgrade or repair.


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generic name brand or diy
by dillon45 / April 21, 2005 8:08 PM PDT

build your own is definitely my choice, name brands are just that, you pay considerably more for the name, generic are cheaper ,but they tend to cut corners to cut costs. Building your own does not require great technical knowledge, and when you need help it is easily found on the web, and you can have the computer set up you really want at reasonable cost. I"ve built three now with no problems, and I am 70 years old, and no great tech!!

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Brand name or generic computers?
by Batchain / April 21, 2005 8:12 PM PDT

Obviously Apple as a Mac user but in the area of Windows machines I've come to regard Hewlett Packard as the most reliable brand to date. I hope that doesn't change and that HP maintains its integrity, especially having seen them endure for surprisingly long stretches of time with very heavy use long beyond other brands and generic.

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brand- names or generic
by crazyharold / April 21, 2005 8:33 PM PDT

I have had both, IT dosen't matter,you will have same problems .

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Preferisco brand
by giuscami / April 21, 2005 8:34 PM PDT

mi sento maggiormente garantito

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I Prefer DIY for myself .. I recommend COTS to my customers
by steph1701 / April 21, 2005 8:36 PM PDT

I prefer to build a system to it's task. My desktop at home is optimized for gaming. I spent more on the graphics card then the MoBO and proc combined. I wouldn't have that option with a generic. I do some SOHO consulting and customers always ask this same question. I usually recommend that they go with a COTS system for the warranty.

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Brand name or generic computers
by wcrutcher / April 21, 2005 8:56 PM PDT

Owning and operating a computer is a wonderful hobby. It is man/woman against the machine. To build your own computer, you know what you have and you don't have to deal with special recovery schemes and other things a manufacturer may build into their system. If you have a component failure, you can replace it and not affect the whole machine.

For example, the last hardware failure I experienced was a loss of part of the power supply. It would have been easy to order a new PC, but buying a new power supply and installing it is an easy task, and I get personal satisfaction after the job is done. I also saved $$$.

Bill C

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custom built
by heathheimer / April 21, 2005 9:05 PM PDT

custom built is the only way to go! you dont have all that extra **** on there that other hame brand vender add to it. Another reason is that i am VERY VERY anti Dell. they outsourse there tech support to over seas and you cant understand the person. I have ordered parts for a laptop and gotten the wrong part 3X b/c the people dont understand english. come on now, and ****** can read from a screen to tell you things to do to fix a computer, that knowledge should come from the techs head not the computer screen!!!

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Do you prefer brand-name or generic computers?
by AlbertL / April 21, 2005 9:19 PM PDT
In reply to: custom built

For several years now I have built computers for my family and my own use and purchase components that have had a decent review. I do not go for the latest or fastest and in this way I end up with drivers and components that suit our needs. So far I have had little or no problems with this approach.
Do I save money doing this perhaps no, but I have all the warranties, drivers and operating systems the build needs.

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I would like to buy from Dell but they don't sell AMD
by FrenchyHey / April 22, 2005 8:53 AM PDT
In reply to: custom built

I don't like a one way branded.

I love AMD and the competition and inovation that they did brought to an otherwise stagnant market.

People should understand that because of the home builder we have inovation and competion if you only have Dell (read intel) and microsoft life would be very sad don't you think ;).

Don't get me wrong Intel is very good when they have a small push on their shoulder and the AMD competiton and inovation is doing just that.


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I build my own
by Steven Haninger / April 21, 2005 9:14 PM PDT

but I don't always recommend this to folks who ask my advice. I realize that self built computers are not always a money saving proposition and I respect some of the PC builders in my area. In building my own, I get to research component parts and select everything individually. I take great care in the assembly process and get to custom load the OS and software. If I mess up, I provide my own support. I've made many mistakes and learned from them. I do not assemble any PC from cheap generic parts but go for the well reputed and have been fortunate. I have very few of the problems mentioned in the help forums. I also appreciate there are some folks who need more support than others. In this case, a PC built by a reliable local vendor or brand name may be preferred.

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Brand Name
by fondy / April 21, 2005 9:17 PM PDT

I know who to contact when something's wrong.
It's easier (at least in my experience) to find parts.

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DIY for me just for the heck of it, generic for friends
by googey10 / April 21, 2005 9:45 PM PDT

DIY these days makes little sense, but I just love it and have slightly higher requirements. I just posted following in the main q&a thread:
Sad but true

It used to be so much cheaper to build a PC, and I built several dozens in the past, for me, friends and as a part - time job.
Just a couple of years ago it was still the only way of getting a decent PC. All off the shelf stuff was in bad need of changing a few components, adding memory or HDD's etc. which made it a more expensive solution than DIY.
Yesterday I received an ad from a local electronic superstore:
They sell their good-looking midi tower
3.4 HT P4,
1 GB dual DDRAM (no clue whether that can be upgraded w/o wasting the bricks, or what is the latency - it's Kingston, guess ValueRAM),
1000/100/10 Ethernet, 6 channel sound (ok, on mobo, same as the lead out pins for included 4 front, 2 rear USB, 1 front Firewire, .g WiFi with antenna)
good and quiet 200 GB SATA drive,
quiet CPU and tower fans / 450 W silent PSU,
two very decent DVD drives, one of them a 16/4/48 DL burner,
NVidia PCI-x mid class card - VGA/DVI/TV out,
PCI TV tuner (PVR w. remote),
all the little extras like card readers, good looking wireless KB / Mouse,
Windows XP SP2 (ok, home edition), Nero, Ulead, some other multimedia sw + an office suite (can't remember which one)

a 17" (BenQ, w speakers - ok I would prefer a 21" Eizo) TFT display,
a solid Epson photo printer.

All that is now bundled for just EURO 899 including 20% TAX (shouldn't be more that $1100). And it is not a promo / special offer.

Just about all an even a bit over average user, even a gamer (I'm not a gamer, so that's a guess) needs.

OK, a scanner and surround boxes should be added, but nothing really exchanged or upgraded.

I didn't even try to add up the cost of the parts - it just makes me somehow sad. No effing way to do it myself.

I'm not going to buy it, I'll wait for the dual-core Opterons and build my new system myself just because I love doing it, but with such stuff on the shelves - what sense could DIY have for the regular let's say medium - power user?!

Just a bit frustrated,
An ex-guru

that was my post.

OK - that's a generic fantasy - brand thingy, you should not open it for warranty reasons, but you get the standard two - year shop warranty + longer mfg. warranty on some parts.

Couldn't find a "real" brand name system w. same specs.
Considering my office experience with Compaq desktops and servers, abysmal performance of similarly priced HPs, friend's etc. experience with some Dell notebooks,
I have yet to see a "real" brand system not imposing worse upgrading options than generic stuff.
Years ago, Gateway(2000) was a decent, actually the only decent brand PC maker I had experience with.

So for my friends - generic desktops, generic or possibly an Acer, Asus or other Taiwanese notebook, and a major US brand PDA (based on theory that the smaller the device is, the better quality control and warranty conditions should be).

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Brand name that I can modify
by Tracy Pratt / April 21, 2005 9:49 PM PDT

I prefer prebuilt systems that are expandable. You don't save much money "if" you know where to buy from, and you can add the bells and whistles at a much reduced cost. With Prebuilt you know everything works together. And mostly since I have a life beyond my monitor I don't have time to build systems anymore.

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DIY is my preference
by Happy Bill / April 21, 2005 9:52 PM PDT

Over the years I have built 5 computers for myself and family members. With a DIY I can get a computer that is tailored to individual needs. For example, my son is a gamer and together we built a state-of-the-art gamers computer. (It was also a real neat father/son project).

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Brand Name Computers
by riteon / April 21, 2005 10:00 PM PDT

Although I've considered buying a generic computer or even building my own, I lean towards brand names for reliability & service. When I bought my first Dell I had a problem with a defective hard Drive, I called Dell & they sent out a service tech who replaced th edrive within 24 hours from my call.
During my career I had many computers, HP, Gateway & Dell.All offered excellent service. At one point I had a Quantex & it was an excellent machine, but the company went out of business, another reason why I prefer name brand computers.

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SONY VAIO is my choice
by desko / April 21, 2005 10:02 PM PDT

I prefer SONY VAIO computers for the following reasons:
- Excellent choice of models
- Excellent combinations of features
- Use of reliable components
- Well-integrated hardware and software
- Software/driver upgrades very accessible
- Good choice of supplied software applications
- Very competitive price

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