Just my 2 cents...I'm by no means a guru but I know more about computers than most people. I built my own PC from the ground up and would never buy a prepackaged desktop unit (Dell, Gateway, Compaq...whatever), I just feel that you pay too much of a premium on convenience and limit your options that way. That being said though, if I were to buy a laptop, I'd most likely go with one of the big names like the ones I just mentioned. With my desktop, if something goes wrong, I feel competent enough to reach in, dig around and replace anything that's broken, with a laptop though...I'd be worried about messing things up too much. Though being neighbors with a computer tech guy, and him being the one that built it, changes things quite a bit. Also, even though I'm pretty anti-Apple through and through, I will say that they do put a good laptop together.