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Dell support and customer service used to be great - it's not anymore.

The question is ... is there an alternative worth considering?

I am talking work stations more than servers.

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I have had great support from both Lenovo/IBM and HP but I also have to say our Dell support has been very good. I would certainly rate it very highly. I assume it may depend on the country you are in and the level of support on the device. We have a large number of Dell servers and laptops and I can't point to any case where the support has been poor. In fact, in many cases they have gone above and beyond what I would have expected. Laptops have all perils support and servers have 7x24 4 Hour business critical.

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For servers, HP. They're less like workstations. Nevertheless, I wouldn't discount Dell for commodity hardware.

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tnx - I am mostly looking for workstations –  JohnIdol Mar 24 '10 at 19:08
    
you should be asking on superuser.com then –  Chopper3 Mar 24 '10 at 19:10
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@Chopper3: Not necessarily: serverfault.com/faq "many desktop PCs (other than your own)" –  Dennis Williamson Mar 24 '10 at 19:43
    
I'll second HP on workstations as well. Definitely worth considering. Lenova for laptops. –  Warner Mar 24 '10 at 19:45
    
Fair enough Dennis :) –  Chopper3 Mar 24 '10 at 20:11
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If I were setting up for a small business....I'd recommend Macintosh/OS X for the workstations... Spend more up front for hardware, but your support costs will be lower in the long run.

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If you don't have a requirement calling specifically for Windows, OS X is fantastic for users to help insulate them from malware. It is a bit more of a PITA for admins trying to keep SAMBA/Win file sharing servers clean though...it leaves virtual footprints all over as OS X browses the network @#$ –  Bart Silverstrim Mar 24 '10 at 19:36
    
If you're considering OS X in a business, there's argument for a cost analysis for Linux on the workstation. Costs would be substantially less and by arguing for OS X you're eliminating from scope any potential compatibility issues. –  Warner Mar 24 '10 at 19:42
    
This would be a big change from what they currently have, which means lots of additional man hours and pain and planning for migration. Wouldn't recommend it unless there's specific, compelling reasons. –  Chris Thorpe Mar 24 '10 at 21:14
    
Apple hardware runs Windows really nicely. –  Zoredache Mar 24 '10 at 22:44
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I think it depends on a number of factors, first of which what do you mean by workstation?

Where I work, we use the term workstation to refer to a scientific / CAD / engineering caliber platform, that runs GNU/Linux, or could run Solaris / *BSD.

For those sort of systems I'd personally prefer HP, who still shows a bit of their HP roots (as well as Tandem, Compaq, & DEC). I haven't used or evaluated IBM's systems in a few years now, but I'd likely consider them. I've found the Dell Precision series disappointing in my own experience, with BIOS quirks, poor RAID controllers.

For more "Office Technology" (i.e. running MS Office) computer systems, we tend to consider typical PC suppliers, Dell, HP, and just about anyone else with a can do on-site support and replacement nationally.

For office support issues, I have found Dell "quicker" and generally seem keen to respond , but HP has been better at resolving problems the first time. My mental comparison would be of a young, eager, well dressed Nerd-Herd technician, but not necessarily as experienced from Dell versus a cranky, gruff older tech who may be also slightly socially awkward or aloof, but solid skills from HP in terms of technical support. Sure, Dell delivered a replacement Hard drives in mere hours from placing a service call in a small Canadian city, but they also had 3 or 4 trips to replace a motherboard in a single server due to a safety recall (fire hazard). Yes, motherboard, not power supply.

As far as price, I haven't looked at quotes in a while, but Dell tends to be hard to beat on price alone.

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Stay away from Dell because they are nearly completely non-upgradeable unless you are very very careful. HP is probably the same. If I were you I would come up with a standard machine build of your own and build multiple copies of the same machine by hiring a kid to come in a put them together.

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It is almost never cost effective or supportable to be building your own equipment for a small business. –  Zoredache Mar 24 '10 at 22:43
    
There is a question about 'buy vs build' here with lots of the main points. serverfault.com/questions/8212/… –  Zoredache Mar 24 '10 at 22:50
    
When your talking about 1 machine I agree, but if you are going to build a batch of them identically it is FAR more economical. I suggested it because the questioner implied that is what he wanted to do. –  djangofan Mar 24 '10 at 23:10
    
Warrranty will be achallenge as the vendor for each part points the finger at the other. Not a great idea. –  Dave M Mar 27 '10 at 14:58
    
Who cares about warranty when you buy quality parts? Only a few things can go wrong with a computer once it is put together. Its a lot easier to ship a video card for replacement than it is to ship a whole computer. –  djangofan Mar 29 '10 at 16:40
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