In PC Magazine’s 20th annual “Reader Satisfaction Survey,” over 16,000 readers told them who’s tops in tech support: Apple. Again.

“For almost 20 years PC Magazine has asked our readers to rank the vendors they use, and this year is no exception,” Eric Griffith reports for PC Magazine.

“We received detailed information from users of 20,690 PCs, both desktop and notebook,” Griffith reports.

“The average overall score for Windows-based desktop PC makers is 7.8 out of 10, the same as last year’s. That’s down from 7.9 in 2005,” Griffith reports. “Of course, no Windows machine comes close to Apple’s 9.1 overall score. But even Apple was down from last year in just about every category except technical support, which went up to 8.4 points. Apple’s high marks extend even into areas we don’t have room to print charts for, such as the 85 percent rating for the reliability of software included on the computer (aah, iLife), the 93 percent score for new desktops working right out of the box, and the 9 out of 10 score for the attitude of the tech-support provider. Even the Apple.com Web site gets kudos for how much information it makes available.”

“Even Windows users sometimes recommend Apple’s Macintosh computers. And the numbers show that people already using Macs almost always recommend Macs. The score of 9.4 out of 10 for Apple is the highest ever seen in any of our surveys. And this significantly better-than-average score goes for Macs under four years old (our cutoff date for computers in the survey),” Griffith reports.

“For 6 of the 12 companies listed, more than 20 percent of the desktops reported on needed repair!” Griffith reports. ” Apple’s repairs also were up, from 8 to 10 percent year-to-year, but that’s still the lowest on the list.”

“Apple once again has top honors in both the business and home PC categories, making especially nice gains in the overall score for business and likelihood of being recommended for an office. The work numbers are just two-tenths of a point shy of equaling the home scores, putting to bed forever the ridiculous, ancient argument that Macs aren’t suitable for getting real work done,” Griffith reports.

Full article, with complete survey results, here.