I have an HP touchsmart tx2 from 4 years ago or so
I use it mostly for programming the digitizer has been broken for the last three years or so... although it's recently started magically working again so we'll see on that
It's a laptop. It's not really comparable to a desktop.
I can program on it while in class, meaning that when there are bugs in my programs I can iron them out at the last minute while not listening to my professor talk about about page files.
I would have bought a mac book pro. Although, I've been pretty happy with the thing it hasn't lit on fire and for an HP, that's an accomplishment. I've run it through Windows Vista, 7, every version of Ubuntu 10.04-11.10, a brief time with openBSD and Windows 8 for the last 12 months
I know what you mean about HP, I don't trust their products. I bought a laptop of theirs in 05/06 (one of the DV6xxx models) to help with school work while I was away from home. In the span of a year the following happened (and as far as I can tell it was in this order):
1. The power button became very hard to push. 2. The left speaker died. 3. The built in WiFi died. 4. The power button stopped working. 5. The right speaker died, completing the pair. 6. The casing of the cable as it joins the power pack MELTED and exposed the wiring. 7. The power cable died. 8. At some point throughout this the battery started to hold absolutely no charge and had to be plugged in at all times.
You might be wondering how I could turn the laptop on without a power button. Well, the laptop had a dedicated QuickLaunch button which booted the system into a media player without starting Windows and you could choose to exit out and boot into the OS, so I tried that but it kept on returning to the media player. After a couple of days I realised if you spammed ctrl+alt+del as the media player was loading it would force the laptop into a reset and would manually resort to booting Windows. After that I select "boot Windows normally" (as it saw it as a crash) and it would work. To this day this is the only way to get into Windows.
As for the power cable, I rang HP up to explain this (what a joke) and got nowhere so I opted for an e-mail. A week later I got a reply stating they would not send me a new power cable out or be held responsible for any mistreatment (!) on my part but were more than happy to send me a link so I could buy a new one for the £30 they wanted. In reply I told them (politely) where to stick that idea and instead borrowed a multi-function power kit from a friend.
This laptop runs too hot and they recalled the power brick...I just strapped a huge heat-sink to the power brick and the laptop just gets hot because the fan is too small for the processor. Given that it's 4 years old and still running I can't complain too much.
I also have an 06 DV6xxx the wifi has burned out twice. Good thing I bought replacements in a 5-pack on ebay. The power button is fucked and it's on its third power brick I just use it as a tv because we get tv over our the ethernet where I work. So it's like my secondary, old, I-don't-give-a-fuck laptop. Also the HDD is grinding like a New Jersey night club... I can't be bothered to care
My HP laptop's monitor just died... I had to hook up an external monitor to it. The laptop is like almost 10 years old and that's the only thing wrong with it so I guess that's not so bad, I don't use it for much anyway.