It's true that there's a comfort in knowing you can simply take back your whole machine and say "give me another one!" if your computer gets squirrely. But you need to look carefully at that warranty, how long it lasts, how much it really covers. In my view the worst part of a computer malfunction is data loss, and I don't think anybody warrants against that. It's your responsibility. Then there's the question of getting support to authorize a return or repair, once the 30-day no-questions-asked return period you get from the big box stores, runs out.
I hope I'm not out of line here but I must say from all the stories I've heard and read that none of the major PC makers impresses me with their support, Dell has really gone downhill since they moved their call centers overseas. All of them indulge in penny-scrimping measures such as a recovery partition rather than a Windows CD, which limits your options in case of a crash. Some use non-standard motherboard, case or power supply designs, which force you to deal with the manufacturer even after the machine is out of warranty. Likewise the big box stores offer nice-looking warranties (actually service contracts) that add significantly to the purchase price, tie you to their facility, and rarely pay off for the consumer.
If you want a warranty that actually is worth while, and you want a PC that's really built to suit your purposes, with standard components and CDs of all included software including Windows, then I'd suggest a local "mom and pop" shop. Of course you need to do some research, make sure they'll be there tomorrow. But if you find a good one that's your bet bet. Or else build your own, learn how it works, and acquire the confidence that you can deal with any problems that arise.
Whichever route you go, put a good backup plan in place so you know that even a hard drive failure or a catastrophic malware infestation is something you can recover from. That's the most important warranty.
Edited by DaveM59, 01 July 2006 - 04:23 PM.