It was another warm and fuzzy outing for Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), as the country's leading computer maker wrapped up fiscal 2005 in record fashion. Earnings before a tax charge rose by 28% to hit $1.29 a share for the year, while revenues climbed 19% higher to hit $49.2 billion. Strength overseas and in its growing server business helped lead the way.

Dell's top-line outlook for the current quarter wasn't exactly burning-bush glorious, and that caused some concerns. But the company's proven direct-selling model and envy-of-the-industry cost advantages have allowed it to nail earnings estimates over the years. Barron's probably had the best summary of the company's report; it wrote over the weekend that "Dell sticks its numbers the way Romanian gymnasts stick their landings."

Yes, Dell is trading lower than it did when it peaked five years ago, but it's also in a much better competitive position these days. Since those all-time highs, its rivals have regrouped -- with Compaq turning to Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), IBM (NYSE:IBM) backing out of the box business, and Gateway (NYSE:GTW) scooping up eMachines -- yet Dell remains the dominant player in personal computing.

Sure, Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) is doing quite well, yet a lot of that strength is coming from its iPods and related digital-delivery businesses. If you want the top dog in computing and peripherals, it's hard to argue against Dell.

At one time, owning operating-system titan Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) or chipmaker Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) seemed to be the ideal way to profit from the sector's growth while diversifying the risks that come with buying into any particular player. Those days are gone. Dell is a perfect proxy for the industry, and as a bonus, it's growing even faster than its Windows-washing rivals are.

Along with Apple, Dell has established itself as the highest class of computing. Shareholders probably won't mind the schooling.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no problems with the mixed marriage of his HP desktop projecting on his Dell monitor. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.