Service & Reliability Survey 2010: Desktop PCs

Summary:We asked our readers whose desktop PCs they buy, what goes wrong with them, how good is the technical support the receive, and more.

DESKTOP PCs

Which vendors do you use for desktop PCs?
We received information on desktop PCs from 77 respondents. On average, respondents' organisations used just over two PC vendors each, giving a total of 155 responses. Dell and HP dominate the scene:

Other vendors cited: Viglen, Mesh, Stone, Asus, Shuttle, custom

Which operating systems are installed on your PCs?
Windows XP is the most widely used desktop operating system in our survey, with 22 respondents (32 percent) having it installed on 'all' their PCs and 32 (46 percent) running it on 'many'.

The Windows Vista chart is notable for its bias towards 'none' and 'few' installations, while Windows 7 — just a few months after its launch — is clearly beginning to make inroads into the desktop population.

Only five respondents reported Mac OS X on 'many' systems and two on 'all'. Linux was in even more of a minority on the desktop, with one 'many' and one 'all':

Other OSs cited: Windows 2000, Solaris

Which desktop PC form factors are deployed?
Traditional desktop form factors — tower, mini-tower and workstation — predominate in our survey sample. Smaller, lower-power, systems like all-in-ones, small-form-factor PCs and thin clients are not widely represented. It'll be interesting to see if this picture changes in future surveys as businesses look to save space and reduce power consumption:

What are the points of failure on your desktop PCs?
Plenty of things could go wrong with a desktop PC. We asked about 10 potential points of failure: power supply; cooling system; CPU, RAM and chipset; hard disk; graphics adapter (GPU); network adapter (NIC); case; ports; expansion slots; and software/drivers.

As you might expect, software and drivers are a major cause of problems on desktop PCs: 18 respondents (24 percent) reported this as a 'common' point of failure, while 4 rated it as 'very common'. Another component that keeps the helpdesk busy — again, not unexpectedly — is the hard disk (8 'common', 5 'very common' responses). The power supply is the only other subsystem to register at all in the 'very common' point-of-failure bracket:

Of the remaining seven subsystems, the cooling system, GPU, NIC, motherboard (CPU, RAM, chipset) and expansion slots all at least register in the 'common' point-of-failure bracket, while ports and system cases rarely cause problems:

Topics: Hardware, Reviews

About

Hello, I'm the Reviews Editor at ZDNet UK. My experience with computers started at London's Imperial College, where I studied Zoology and then Environmental Technology. This was sufficiently long ago (mid-1970s) that Fortran, IBM punched-card machines and mainframes were involved, followed by green-screen terminals and eventually the pers... Full Bio

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