Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Minimizing the Risks of PC Buying

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Minimizing the Risks of PC Buying

Article excerpt

PERSONAL

COMPUTING

Any time you buy a personal computer, whether it's your first or your fifth, whether for yourself, your children, or your company, you face uncertainty. Will the computer work, or will it be dead on arrival? Will it work initially but fail after a few weeks? Will it work for the most part but give you headaches along the way? Will you be able to get help quickly if you can't fix the inevitable glitches yourself?

You can't eliminate the uncertainties of buying, but you can minimize them by being an informed consumer. Three magazines recently have published the findings of their latest surveys.

According to the subscribers of PC World, the company that makes the most reliable personal computer today and backs them the best doesn't even make PCs - it makes Macs. Apple received the highest overall marks in the desktop computer category for reliability and service.

Other desktop machines receiving "Good" marks for overall reliability and service are those of IBM, ABS and Dell, as well as the generic "white boxes" of local retailers.

Despite its good overall score, Dell received lower marks than it did last year, as did a number of other companies, including Gateway, Micron and the newly merged Hewlett Packard/Compaq. In a tough economy, PC reliability and service have slipped overall.

The only company to receive a "Poor" overall mark from PC World subscribers was Systemax, which supplies PCs to mail-order vendor Tiger Direct.

Companies making the most reliable notebook computers and supporting them the best are IBM and Toshiba. No notebook manufacturer received an overall "Poor" mark.

Dell received the best overall score for reliability and service in the desktop category in another recent survey, in PC Magazine. It received an A grade from PC Magazine readers, the only company so honored. Computers receiving a B+ were those from Gateway and generic white boxes of local retailers. The two companies that failed, getting an E, were Compaq and eMachines.

Apple wasn't included in the PC Magazine survey results for desktop computers because not enough respondents rated it. But IBM, which received a "Good" score in the PC World magazine survey, received a dismal D in the PC Magazine survey, which probably indicates more than anything that despite their usefulness, surveys aren't infallible.

The picture with notebook PCs is different. Companies earning an A grade from PC Magazine readers were Apple, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Toshiba. …

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