I've made the statement that the perception of technology can be manipulated to attract the user and to benefit the company. Marketing and advertising is the game. In America the mystique of big and powerful cars is persistent in the face of scarce energy, tight budgets and carefully adjusted speed limits. From junkers to luxury cars we still embrace the ability to take-off, pass up and command attention. We are determined to have it that way with our computers also. We want it to be able to do all that we ask or think. And with all the multi-media choices these days we want to have at least the possibility of doing it. Desktop gaming machines have become the mark of cutting-edge technology. High power video, audio and system function all tweaked to perfection. Even laptops are now doing the game thing with fast response LCD video displays, graphics chipsets, sound and system memory. We see it, we may not need it, but boy do we want it. We want the room lights to flicker when we boot up. We want power. My first machine had a 250 watt power supply, some top end gaming machines draw 600 watts and up. When you add all the beefed up memory, video and audio cards, the PC takes on the persona of a hotrod, souped up to the edge. Believe me, there are people who actually use all that stoked hardware. I am a bit surprised that laptops have took off like they did, but notice that they have also been absorbed by the power persona. The user's mission in life is to get the most for his money. Bang for the buck is always tempered by the actual quality of the product. There are quality issues in computer products like in anything else. Name brands are no real guarantee of quality. With computers it is best to ask other users what their experience is with products. There are lots of user reviews on the web.
Perception, well if you only get your info from TV, your choice is a Microsoft powered computer or an Apple. It would never dawn on you that Linux is available. People who have only known and used Microsoft products rarely realize that there are other softwares that do the same thing in the same formats. Then, what you see in the stores is what you tend to buy because it is right in front of you.
I don't think any of this is going to change. Marketing and advertisements are targeted to focus your desire and narrow your choice to buy a product. If you had more info, you might choose differently.
Perception also means that the products themselves are designed to match your needs or desires. Gaming machines look different from business machines because they have a different focus. Sometimes machines that are optimized to do certain things don't do other things so well. You could also buy a machine that is way more than what you would use it for. For instance a gaming machine with ultrafast 3d graphics, 4 gig of high speed RAM and a whopping 600 gig hard drive and all you do is send emails and search the web. We just have to weigh all the values to make a good choice.
What are my choices? I think brand named hardware is good if you can get what you want. Some good deals can be had. But I like to be able to pick all the parts I want and piece a PC together. I get satisfaction out of putting it together and seeing it work and I don't get hidden and added extras that vendors tend to include, like demo, trial, and promotional softwares. It's a bang for the buck kind of thing with me. I still have WinXP but mostly use Linux and open source software.