I’m getting ready to order a new desktop computer, so I was pleased to hear that Apple yesterday bumped up the G5 iMac processor speeds a notch, included gigabit Ethernet, 802.11g, Bluetooth and bigger hard drives. No FireWire 800 yet, though.
Still, I thought I’d do a bit of comparison shopping, and here’s what I found out.
The 20 inch G5 iMac, with a 2GHz G5 processor (fastest available), 2 gigabytes of memory, 250 GB disk, and a wireless keyboard and mouse, prices out at $2,180 (that’s without AppleCare).
A Dell OptiPlex 170L (which I figured is conceptually similar to the iMac, not being the top high-tech performer of their line), with a 3.2 GHz P4 processor (fastest available), Windows XP Pro, 2 GB of memory, a 16X DVD+/-RW, a 160 GB disk (largest available on this model), and a 19 inch digital flat panel comes out to be $2,017.
That’s pretty close. But the Dell doesn’t come with a wide format screen, has slower networking, no wireless keyboard, less disk, no wireless networking or Bluetooth or a firewire interface.
I don’t think I buy the argument that Apple is more expensive these days. While it’s true that you can’t get Macs for the complete bargain basement rates that you can buy Intel boxes for (except the Mac Mini), by the time you get all the add-ons you need to be really functional the iMac looks like the clear value winner here.