TMGS Computer Diagnostics is a collection of the best FREE computer diagnostics packaged in a bootable USB flash drive format for use on any PC. Download today!
What Brand of PC to Buy
Last Updated on Monday, 06 September 2010 21:45 Sunday, 18 July 2010 21:15
|What Brand of PC to Buy|
One question I frequently get asked is "What brand of PC should I buy?" My typical response is that it really doesn't matter; they are all designed and manufactured by the same companies. This can lead into a lengthy conversation about the Original Design Manufacturer model, which seems to be a fairly well-kept secret of the PC industry, so I decided to write an article about it.
The Original Design Manufacturer
All the major computer Original Equipment Manufacturer's (OEM's) today (HP, Dell, Gateway, Acer, Toshiba, Sony, etc) operate off of a model called the Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) model. The ODM model is one where an OEM will outsource the design and manufacturing of their product to a third party (in this case the ODM), and sell it under the OEM brand name (HP, Dell, etc). When this model was first introduced, it was limited to certain pieces of a computer system (power supply for example). Today, every piece of your computer is designed by an ODM. On the consumer level products, it's mostly a turn-key system from the ODM. Here's how it works.
The Different Classes of Product
There are basically three different classes of computers in most computer OEM organizations: consumer, business, and enterprise. Consumer class would be everything you can buy at Best Buy: laptops, desktops, tablets, etc. Business class is typically the business laptops and desktops available directly through the OEM, targeted for business customers. Enterprise consists of mainly workstations and servers. The level of OEM involvement in an ODM based design is driven by the class of computer.
On a consumer level system, you will typically have one OEM engineer assigned to your system. He also has responsibility for several other systems. Very little if any testing is done by the OEM’s on this class of system, they rely totally on the ODM’s for this. This class of product is all about the price, so expect corners to be cut.
On a business class system, typically an OEM engineer is assigned to your system. This engineer is typically part of a motherboard team, which may be responsible for three or four board designs collectively among the team. This class of product is expected to be more robust than the consumer class, so a portion of the validation and system integration is handled by the OEM. This is starting to change however, and is becoming more like the consumer model. I heard recently through the grape vine that Hewlett Packard shut down their business PC laptop group in Houston. Very unfortunate, there were some sharp engineers that worked there.
On an enterprise class system, there will also be an OEM engineer assigned to your system. This engineer will be part of a motherboard team responsible for several different motherboards collectively. As these systems are expected to be the most robust, the validation and integration are performed by the OEM team on the products delivered by the ODM(s). However, this work is continuing to be pushed back onto the ODM in the name of lower costs.
Most of the OEM resources mentioned above were in the United States a couple of years ago, but some of this is now moving overseas to Taiwan and China. In a couple more years I would not expect any sort of United States presence for these designs.