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Used Laptop "Dirty Little Secrets"

Did you know....?

The overwhelmingly vast majority of laptop computers are NOT MADE by the company you buy them from... As a matter of fact, the brands you have come to "know and love" really don't even want you to know this, and go to great lengths to keep this info from you.

Virtually none of the "Name" brands manufacture their own laptops, with the only exceptions being
Twinhead, Acer and IBM. That is why those three brands are so darn expensive !!!

All of the rest buy their laptops from what is called an Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) and then install the Hard Drive (usually an IBM, Hitachi, Fujitsu, or Toshiba), Processor (PIII, PIV, Celeron, VIA or AMD) and System Memory(RAM).

They then put their label on it and market it.


These ODMs sell their computers to several different OEMs. OEM's are Dell, HP, Toshiba, Compaq, Flexnote, Micron, Sager, Gateway, Chembook, etc.

For example an ODM named Compal makes many, if not most, of the Dell laptops. But they also make the FlexNote, the ChemBOOK 3015, the PowerPro III6, & some models of Sceptre Sound...and they are all the same laptop, just with different names on them! Compal also makes some of the Hewlett Packard line of laptops.

Compal also made the Toshiba 3000 and 3005, and the ChemBOOK 3020E and yup!...you guessed it - they were the same computer!!

We consider a machine that is made by Compal to be among the best. They almost never RMA. Besides Compal, some of the other ODM's (actual manufacturers with links to their site) and some of the models they make:

Quanta - Makes the "Latitude" series for Dell, and the "Viao" series for Sony. In 2005 became the largest ODM with contracts from Dell Computer, Compaq, Gateway Computers, Apple Computer, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Sony, Sharp Corporation, Toshiba, Fujitsu and Siemens AG.
Inventec - Made the Armada & Prosignia series for Compaq
Arima - Makes the Presario line for Compaq.
GVC - Contracts with Micron and others. Also owns the brand of optical drives known as LiteOn.
Clevo - Former ODM for Sager, amongst others.

These are not exactly what you would call "Name Brand" manufacturers , and yet it is their laptops that end up with the most famous "Names" on them. And to further complicate issues, when CES comes around, the famous name manufacturers such as Dell, Compaq, HP, and others, will bid out their new lines of laptops to these ODM's, and all of the contracts could switch like changing partners at the dance. All of these ODM companies feature their product at CES (Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January), and entertain the Dell, Compaq, HP and other buyers. These Buyers weigh profitability and eye catching features as the ultimate decision in choosing the ODM, with quality and reliability way down the list of criteria.

Now you know why when you call Dell, Compaq or HP Tech Support, they "distribute" the calls based on models. As you can see from above, the Compaq Presario is not even made by the same company as the Compaq Armada or Prosignia.

This also means if you paid $500 more for the Dell than the FlexNote, you just gave Dell $500 to pay for their "Dude" commercials, because they are absolutely identical products. Even tho Dell, Gateway, HP and Compaq would have you believe they are technology driven companies, they are basically marketing companies. You are selecting them for their "Name Brand" even tho it is not really their "Name" on the laptop.

By and large, only us insiders are aware of this "Dirty little secret of the Laptop Industry". So whatever you do, DON'T pass it on...........:)