Buying a computer system/warranty repair if needed
If I buy a new Dell desktop pc from Dell directly, and it needs repair work during the first year of warranty, would I need to ship it back to Dell, or are there authorized repair places I could take it to, that do warranty work? On the flip side, if I bought it at a retail store, like Office Depot or Best Buy,and it needs repair during the first year, do they do repairs under warranty or would I need to ship it back to Dell? Thanks
Very likely you would need to ship it back to Dell; if there's any doubt you can contact them regarding authorized service centers, but for most things it will be shipped back. Some of their warranties will cover that shipping, or will pay for on-site service. Anything purchased at Office Depot or Best Buy (or etc) will not be serviced there under the Dell warranty, but both retailers will happily try to sell you their own very expensive service plans (which often don't cover very much) to get you to use their extremely expensive in-store service (in many cases a few hours of their in-store labor will exceed the value of the entire system). There's also a good chance that the service being done in-store by such a retailer will void the Dell warranty as well.
If you want combination in-store and remote service, Apple is (as far as I'm aware) the only manufacturer offering that for consumer hardware. That said, barring some catastrophic failure of the system out of the box, I can't imagine a modern brand-new computer needing any "work" done for quite a while. Software maintenance is another topic entirely, but generally that's not covered by any warranties, and is left to the user. Apple again will cover that (it's an up-charge service package), but only within OS X as far as I'm aware.
If you have further questions, feel free to ask.