I have been building and repairing PCs for a good 10 years now or so, and has built over 4000 systems worldwide from the basic home user to large law firms. Each of these types of people was faced with the same question as stated above.
There are some things that are to be considered before we go on to any fixed conclusion about choosing either branded or assembled clone system. Both of them have some pros & cons. Therefore before we start any discussion about clone computer or branded system, let have a look at some following points:
You should take advice from some technician that will help you after you accidentally deleted that all important windows file and just deep mixed your operating system. Now, if you were chosen clone system with advanced system restore software, you would never like to go for any such technician.
A lot of the name brand systems are proprietary meaning that just about everything that can be integrated to the motherboard, is. This is great until you burn up a video card or lose your audio or whatever. Of course if you purchased a warranty then this will be covered unless it has expired.
If you want to add more things to your system (i.e. Memory, hard drives, faster video card, etc.), you first need to call your support that will try and sell you their name brand product for considerably more (in some cases) that you could find if you look around the internet for a better deal.
You can build a system from scratch or have a PC savvy friend do it and know exactly what is in the box and hand choose each and every component personally. You can actually add things that are replaceable like a video card.
Now, I have used and built clone systems for years and I would never use a name brand desktop PC, because my computer systems usually outperform the name brand systems.
Dell makes great computers. So does HP and the others. It comes down to what do you need it to do? How much are you willing to spend for it? How much knowledge of PCs (repair and maintenance) do you have and are capable of dealing with in times of need?
Finally, in the case of laptops, I would choose HP or Dell Clone system. Reason being, I do not know any place offering parts to build your own and HP, for instance has awesome deals for laptops and at prices that are very reasonable for the mobility factor involving PCs in the wireless age.