I have spent a fortune on computers since the first Apples hit the streets in the early 80's. I have finally learned the solution to these computer quandries, have one built. The only thing you can usually upgrade on these proprietary machines is the memory, sound and video cards. When the time comes to uprgrade the processor or mother board, you can upgrade alright, with their products only, which will cost you a ka-zillion dollars. Built my own and I will never go back.
You say, what about support? If you are new to computers and can only turn it on, buy a factory one cheap, learn it well, and plan for a custom next time. The support from these companies will usually entail, "oh, that's a hardware problem, no that's a software problem". Now that you have spent 30 hours on the phone with no results, have one built...
BTW, that was a lame excuse Dell had to rectify their snaffu, I would call it pathetic.