The traditional major brands like IBM, HP etc, redesign standard components (eg. motherboards) to make a proprietary product. They do this so that you will be locked into their parts monopoly, because the industry standard part is incompatible with their redesigned product. This considerably adds to the cost of maintenance for the "big name" proprietary format PC. The traditional major brand PC generally has very limited upgrade potential and at a large cost.
Newer players in the market, like Dell and Gateway do not do this redesign work, and can therefore deliver new technology to the market faster, and at a lower cost. Warranty requirements may encourage you to stick with standard manufacturer support arrangements, but it is good to know that industry standard parts can be used in your PC. The newer player PC generally has reasonable upgrade potential at a reasonable price.
Smaller OEM system builders such as us, use industry standard products by preference. It is cheaper and easier to both build and support PCs using industry standard components. It also makes it easy for us to find a good price-performance trade-off, and provide a realistic update path for our customers. We owe no allegiance to any big name brand, and can do anything practical to meet our customer's needs and budget limitations. The OEM system builder can also supply most software requirements at a much cheaper price than the retail-packaged versions (eg. retail-packaged Windows XP Home is $A600, whereas we can supply and install for less than $A200).
Give us a try....