Desktop pricing


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.

One thought on “Desktop pricing”

  1. You may be right about equalization at a particular level; perhaps even more right when it comes to laptops. And the argument that you pay 40% more for a Mac is no longer the case.

    However, the box I am writing this on–not at all cutting edge at 2.4Ghz, 1Gb of memory, ~120Gb HD (2 actually, one SATA), cost me about $450 to build if memory serves. Sure, that’s not including the monitor or the case/PS, but it is still a ways off from two grand. I suspect those components are now, a year later, even a bit cheaper. And XP is free for me (campus license).

    I think it’s fair to compare this against a Mac mini, and despite the latter’s cool points (both literally and figuratively), I have to go for the PC.

    I would willingly pay a reasonable about to switch operating systems, if I could run them on my cheap PC, and when school buys me a new computer, I’m asking for a Mac.


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