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To be honest, working for a Dell certified gold partner, we noticed very few failures, across a full range of enterprise products (desktops, laptops, servers, SAN gear)

Any time we DID have failures, it was all covered by ANZ Gold Tech Support, 3 year, 24x7x4. Sure, it costs the customer a little more, but it’s piece of mind that they could ring me and say my server is busted, I could look in my database, get the service tag, ring Dell gold support (24×7) and speak to someone knowledgeable, in Sydney, and get parts and a tech dispatched normally for the same day.

With regards laptops, this mainly refers to the Latitude models, rather than the cheaper consumer grade inspiron or vostro.

THe other difference between Latitudes and Inspirons (for instance) is that Latitudes are built from the same parts – they secure a supply line for a certain part (say, a set of memory chips) and then every Latitude (E4300 in my case) comes out with that particular memory chip.