I have a happier time with linux and home builds
Personally, I have an easier time with home builds and linux than I have buying boxes that run Windows.
With the company I use for parts, delivery is sweet, organised and tight. Returns handling is equally smooth. (scan.co.uk - I've used them for over twelve years now.) It doesn't take more than an hour to build it after the components have come to temperature.
Also, this way, I am avoiding any tinkering that the box shifters do with the hardware to either save money, or dissable features on lower cost systems (remember Sony and the Win7 XP compatability BIOS affair?) The components I buy are unhindered and generally worth the money I'm paying for them.
Heck, if I'm really hard up, I can pay Scan some extra dosh to build and test it for me. They've even got engineers who can come out to you if you've got grief if you do it this way.
With some PC delivery companies, the delivery is a mess. You've only got to remember the haphazard, chaotic Dell deliveries. Warantee repair is usually back to base.
With Linux and my pre-prepared installs scripts http://linuxcrusade.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-installation-code-part-1.html - I have have Ubuntu installed, updated and 95% of my favourite applications running in less than two hours. Becuase I've got my home directories stored, all the faffing around with preferences and options is automatically carried over.
With Windows, it would take a whole day to wipe the machine, install the OS, enter a cycle of update, reboot, apply more updates, reboot, apply more updates, reboot, and then have to do battle with serial numbers and registration codes until they are driving me mad.
Then over the course of the next day or two, I'm fiddling with settings and options.
Over the life time of a machine, I save myself days of faffing around with pre-built Windows loaded junk.
The only exception are laptops ... I really would LOVE to get my money back from Microsoft for these licences ... the problem is that after an experience with an NB200 in 2009, it was made clear to me by a Tosh engineer that if I wanted the machine without windows, I'd have to pay more becuase MS had subsisided the range in order to bolster Windows in the Linux battlefield.
What I'd really like to see is the following...
*) When a manufacturer does the operating system for a machine, instead of pre-loading it on every hard drive, they burn it on a DVD. This transfers the cost of blowing an image on to hard drives, on to duplicating DVDs.(which they do anyway for the restore DVD's so they'd actually be saving themselves a small fortune)
*) All hardware sold comes without an operating system and if the customer wants an operating system at time of buying, or they can buy them later at their own choice. They can either buy the DVDs at the time of purchasing the system (a discount could be applied if it was at time of hardware purchase) or they buy the hardware without the DVDs and avoid paying teh Microsoft tax in the first place.
This would be a fair playing field for no extra grief; actually saving the manufacturers grief in hard drive pre-loads.
But no one will do it because it prevents Microsoft subsidising the hardware. Everybody loses except the people that don't want to buy Windows.
So ... what do we do ... if we force MS to pay us back the MS tax, then as they've subsidised some computers, we might end up owing MS money. Personally, I'm happy to take Microsoft's money and run.