Both of these companies are well known for making excellent computer components. Which is best is more than likely a matter of opinion.
Compaq has been known for using proprietary hardware and drivers – at least they used to. However, they have also given customers a choice between Intel or AMD processors. Dell uses Intel exclusively. If you are an Intel fan, this is not a problem. However not everyone is.
Let’s take a look at two comparable laptops from each manufacturer.
Dell Inspiron 17 Laptop
Dell’s website allows you to custom design your system from the ground up. When you go to the Dell website looking for this particular laptop, you can click on a link that will take you to build your laptop. You can select from seven bold colors, and for a starting price of $449.00, you can go with the standard features. The processor at that level is an Intel Pentium Dual Core T4300 (2.1GHz/800MHz FSB/1MB). For another $200.00 you can upgrade to an Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 (2.53GHz/1066MHz FSB/ 3MB) It comes with Windows 7 Home basic. For $30.00, you can upgrade to Home Premium. You get a 17.3” HD display with an aspect ratio of 16 X 9. For full HD with 1080P you need to drop another $65.00. Standard memory is 2GB, and for another $70.00 you can upgrade to 4GB. The Inspiron comes with a 160GB hard drive, but for another $100.00, you can upgrade to 500GB. The optical drive that comes standard is an 8X CD/DVD burner. For another $96.00, you can upgrade to a Blu-Ray.
If you continue to upgrade as you build you end up with a price well over $2000.00.
Compaq Presario CQ61
The Compaq laptop in the same price range (starting price) comes with the following standard features:
The processor is the AMD Sempron M100- Made for notebooks by AMD. Memory is 2GB of DDR2 RAM, upgradeable to 4GB. Also it has a Light-Scribe DVD/RW optical drive, a 160GB hard drive, and ATI Radeon 4200 Graphics Display. It also has Windows 7 Home Premium standard.
If you do not purchase any upgrades to the Compaq you pay just $449.00, which is the same starting price as the Dell Inspiron.
Maybe you can’t design your Compaq the same way you can the Dell, but if you are looking for a low priced laptop, then the Compaq may be your better choice.
If you enjoy customizing your laptop, and don’t mind paying for the privilege, go with the Dell. In addition, the screen on the Dell is larger, so if that is a consideration; again your choice is Dell.
Both laptops are well made, and opinions of the Dell vs. Compaq purists aside, Compaq doesn’t give you the customization options the you get with Dell. On the flip side of that is the fact that if you are watching your pennies, and go crazy adding components, upgrading here and there, you could find yourself spending much more on the Dell that you intended to.
If you go with the standard Dell Inspiron, without adding all of the expensive upgrades you have roughly the same system as the Compaq. Both are well powered, and either would be a good choice. It all comes down to preferences