Over the past 10 years or so these manufacturers and retailers have stayed the course and produced quality items and service fairly consistently. Although almost all devices are manufactured in Asia (increasingly in Mexico too), I've found the quality and reliability is much higher with these largely US based vendors. If you can find anything manufactured in Japan the quality is exceptional, but almost nothing is made in Japan for export anymore.
For vendor web sites and addresses check out: Guide to Computer Vendors.
It's getting hard to find a quality retailer. The small computer stores with expert owners have been squeezed between the Best Buys and the mail-order vendors, and even at their prime they were of varied quality. Here are the foks I use nowadays. Note that some of the items discussed below must be purchased direct from the manufacturers.
In integrated systems no manufacturer has an unblemished record of quality, though IBM has been perhaps the most consistently average. Dell has done well for the past few years, and is currently at the top of the heap. They've been providing incredible warrantee service, but I wonder how long they can keep that up. I also like Micron especially if you live near one of their factory outlets. Compaq has had several bad years for home systems, I'd avoid them until they have at least one year of good service and happy customers. Business systems are almost always much better made than home systems, but home buyers lack the purchase leverage of large businesses.
Things to look for in judging a desktop system -- visible signs of quality or cheapness
I've yet to see a PC portable I truly like (though IBM and Toshiba aren't bad); I really liked the long past Mac PowerBooks165 and 180 (built-in SCSI, networking, external monitor).
Confidence (1 to 3): 3. Date Created: 10/11/97. Last Revised: 4/22/98. Expires: . Language: english. Domain: .world. ID: 14. Topic: commerce. Subtopic: Windows. Keywords: hardware; equipment; recommendations; vendors; drives; preferences; favorites; retailers; resellers.