Apple was the only one of the top-tier PC manufacturers whose customer satisfaction went down in the second quarter of 2009, yet still managed to secure the highest overall satisfaction among customers.

A survey on American consumer satisfaction for the second quarter by the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, in partnership with the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and CFI Group ranked Apple and several other personal computer manufacturers including Dell, Compaq, Gateway/Acer, and HP.

Apple ranked number one, with a rating of 84 (based on a scale of 0 to 100).

Dell is unchanged at 75, while Gateway (Acer) rises 3 percent to 74.

The two brands of Palo Alto-based Hewlett-Packard Co. also move up 1 percent to 74, while Compaq jumps 6 percent to create a three-way tie with HP and Gateway.

“The recession has shifted demand towards lower-priced PCs and Hewlett-Packard is taking advantage by rolling out more of its less expensive Compaq models,” said the survey. “Recent sales are up and HP’s share value has more than doubled relative to market since the beginning of the year.”

ACSI scores are based on a complex set of equations that relate customer expectations, perceived quality, and perceived value.