Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top


  • The specs and hardware are the exact same between two machines, but one brand is, Dell for example, and the other is, Sony.
  • The Sony is X dollars more expensive

They should both run Windows the same..., the only differences being body design, right? Brand loyalty when running identical builds of Linux/Windows on identical machines should mean nothing?

share|improve this question
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I think you'll find that getting two systems which have the exact same specs is pretty difficult.

But if the hardware is identical the systems should run the same.

Brand loyalty is rarely about the hardware specs and more about support, return policies, what was installed when you received the system, community around the product and the other user-experience things.

share|improve this answer
Super, that's pretty much all I needed to hear. – voidptr10 Oct 21 '09 at 20:49
Different vendors cut corners in different spots. Dell, for example, typically uses 3rd tier RAM (Hynix?) whereas IBM typically uses 1st tier. The specs are the same, the performance is anything but. In reality, the only way to truly compare servers from different manufacturers is to buy a couple, configure them "identically" then test them under real word usages. – NotMe Oct 21 '09 at 21:16
@Chris Lively, I agree. When I say exact same specs I mean same everything same motherboard, same ram, etc. Of course you pretty much impossible to find two systems which are identical from different Manufactures which are identical. – Zoredache Oct 21 '09 at 21:48

There are a couple of major factors here. One is build quality, the other is support.

As far as build quality goes, just because two machines use the "same hardware" doesn't mean they're using ALL the same hardware. Things like fans, specific models, etc can vary widely. I know that Sony in particular has had a lot of fan layout design problems over the last few years.

In an enterprise environment, support can be a major player. I don't have direct experience with Sony support, but myself and pretty much everyone I know hold Dell support in high regards. Having a poorly designed/built machine is one thing, but having poor support on top of it can really be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

share|improve this answer

Single support channel.

Single management tools

Do not underestimate this.

share|improve this answer

If you're choosing a consumer vendor like Sony for a corporate laptop deployment, you're most likely being loyal to the brand for the wrong reasons.

share|improve this answer

There may still be other differences on the hardware level, but in general you should see much the same behaviour, if that's what you're asking. Then there are other matters such as looks and warranty support and service.

share|improve this answer


I prefer all my machines to come from the same manufacturer so that I at least get a reasonable chance of being able to build a sane hardware independent image.

It also means only one person to get on the phone to and yell at when required.

For support of PCs (servers would be different) as long as I have a reasonable warranty and can get replacement parts, I don't really mind otherwise.

share|improve this answer

I know this is a late addition, but on the topic of imaging corporate desktops (especially large numbers), Dell offers the ability to get your machines with your own image pre-installed. Other vendors may also offer this; I've not been involved in that side of our operation, but it's worth considering.

share|improve this answer

Typically single vendor. Where we have a special application, or can get a higher quality vendor in for the same price, we'll go dual vendor -- but ONLY dual. Desktops we keep all the same vendor, because they're more loyal to us and provide better support when we ring them up and say that we have several hundred of their systems and they need to fix this now.

We also tend to buy the same model for as long as we can -- parts are more interoperable and it's easy to extend the life of some systems past the warranty if we have 100 to pull parts from.

Server-wise, we tend to stick with Dell and Sun. Dell is the best per-core price usually, and they have a good rap for getting parts here within 4 hours, plus tech if necessary. However, their build quality and reliability sometimes leaves much to be desired. Frankly, we prefer Sun hardware if we can afford it at any one point because the build quality is higher and their storage products have amazing density for the price as well as features that competitors charge several times as much for. We've resisted adding IBM, HP, and individual storage-only vendors to our picture even when they've had compelling products because we'd rather stick with products from the two vendors we already have. Dell and Sun both provide great tools to manage your inventory and support contracts. HP does not as far as I know, at least through the reseller that we buy through. (HP themselves is not an approved vendor for my workplace. We have to buy products through a reseller.)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.