One question I'm asked frequently is "Who do you recommend I buy my next PC from?". While PC Medic does not formerly endorse any particular brand of machine we can say that Dell represents particularly good value for money when it comes to desktop PCs and you normally get up to date technology at a pretty good price. We would also say that we see very few Dell PCs in the workshop with hardware problems, so reliability seems reasonably good. Also in their favour is good on-line support via their web-site. What we don't particularly like is the fact that a lot of their post-sales support is off-shore, India I believe, and this can lead to some communication problems at times. And, as mentioned in an earlier post (Slipped Disks) they no longer include the OS and driver disks as standard with their Dimension PCs.
For laptops, Toshiba is a brand that impresses. Good features at a reasonable price, good build quality and OK system recovery features (they don't supply the OS disk either :-( but supply a Norton Ghost image on disk to get you up and running in the event of a major problem). If money isn't a problem, and you want a laptop to last, I'd recommend Lenovo, which now manufacture the IBM range of laptops (check out the gorgeous X41). My understanding is that Lenovo are making the same laptops with the same personnel in the same plants, so quality should be identical to when IBM owned the business. Time will tell.