I thought that since this is the opinions and experiences part of the forum, and from the looks of it, most people ask a question rather than start a discussion about their setup or what we think about their build, I would start a discussion about Dell, and what people think about them.
Let me let you know my history with Dell. My first computer was a Dell Inspiron 5100 laptop, it weighed 10 lbs and was a monster with computing power back in the day. Once the one year warranty was up, i started having issues with it though, the battery died so i had to get a new one, which to my amazement, is still reading a full charge 10 years later. Later on, the first motherboard blew, then the 2nd, and the 3rd. The reason why i started to not like them was the fact that the parts didn't last in them, but the support was still the best, since all the motherboard replacements, they said, were covered under my warranty.
So from the point on when i started having problems, I started to hate Dells and wouldn't recommend them to anyone. My father still went out and bought a Dell Dimension tower as our home system, and to my guess, we had many problems with that one too.
It wasn't until last summer when i started liking Dells again. I had an internship in the IT department where my father worked, and they gave me a Dell Latitude D630 as thanks for my help. After working with this machine, and using it on a day-to-day basis, i never had one problem with it. It was bought in 2008, and given to me in 2011, and the computer is still running like new. This being a business-class laptop brought me to the conclusion that this class is the way to go when purchasing Dells from now on.
So this past year i wanted to build a media center for myself, and i looked at the Dell Precision T3400 and bought a used one off of Dell Auction, and i have been extremely happy with my decision and purchase. It's a very good computer, and hasn't given me a problem once.
Having these experiences with the business-class set of Dells, this definitely has re-instated my favor in Dells, and now i recommend them to people. I still don't like the Inspiron or Dimension series, especially since i see a lot of problems with them through work, but the Latitudes and Precisions are my favorite.
To the members of the forum, how have your experiences been with Dell?
for a business setting the lease program and warranty options are unparalleled.
with that said, i would never own one. i build my own desktop computers. in this way you know exactly what gets put into your system. in the case of laptops and nettops then they are an option. i ended up going with asus and sacrificed on the support in order to get a better system for a lower price though.
big brands often put inferior equipment into the build while maintaining the top end price. an example would be putting budget ram inside a gaming grade pc instead of the propper high end ram. dell also utilizes their own motherboard standards which can make upgrades a real hassle. it seems that the consumer grade products are noticibly worse than the professional grade products. on that level things do improve but often you can do much better with a homebuilt system.
in the end... everything depends on your skill level and what you are comfortable with. some love them, some hate them, some dont care either way.
Dell does not concentrate hard on their consumer market systems as the consumer market barely scratches the surface of their business segment. The Business segment makes up something like 80 percent of Dell's business and as such the systems are usually more refined and better built. If you get a chance go pick up a consumer inspiron type system some time at a store then go look at a latitude system, the differences just in the materials will be very apparent. With this being said the business systems can be a bit of a headache if you get a problem system but the business support cannot be beat. I would recommend buying anything from the business lines (vostro - entry level, latitude and optiplex - midrange laptop and desktop respectfully, or precision - high end workstations and mobile workstations) I may have really disliked my time supporting the systems and the way the company treats its employees but the systems are built pretty solid. Just be aware that batteries are only covered for a year regardless of warranty and if you want to speak to an american you have to buy ProSupport on the business line (getting replacements is easier and techs are actually allowed to think outside of a script as well).