One of my first postings on this web blog was titled the “The Great Mac Experiment“, where I describe my investigation into switching to a Apple Mac Mini system. This exploration was brought on by some difficulties my wife was having with her HP Vista System, and her off comment of, “…maybe I should switch to a Mac!”
As I stated in that posting, I concluded that it was much better for me to stay with my current Microsoft Vista PC than switch over to a Mac Mini. When you compare the hardware between a current Mac system and a PC, you can get a much more powerful and faster system with the PC hardware for the same or less price than a Mac system.
For example, compare an Apple iMac system (where the components are integrated into the LCD Monitor display) with these features:
Apple iMac – $1,349 US
- 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
- 4 GB Memory
- 320 GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
- 8x Double-layer SuperDrive
- 20-inch LCD Monitor
- Built-in Speakers
- Mac OS X
- Wireless keyboard and mouse
With this Windows PC system from Dell.com:
Dell Studio Slim Desktop PC – $879 US
- 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Quad
- 6 GB Memory
- 640 GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
- 16x DVD+/-RW Drive
- 22-inch Dell LCD Widescreen Monitor
- External Dell Speakers
- Dell 19-in-1 Media Card Reader
- Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit OS
- Wireless keyboard and mouse
Note, that the Dell price is with a $230 discount (which Dell seems to always have available). So, you can see that there’s a $470 difference in price, and the Dell system also comes with more memory, more disk space, faster DVD burner, and a larger LCD screen. It also uses a Intel Quad Processor versus the Intel Duo Processor in the iMac (so that’s basically 4 CPUs over 2 CPUs). In addition, the Dell system has internal slots allowing the user to add in higher performance graphics card, TV Tuner Card, etc. while with the iMac you would need to add on extra components as external USB devices.
From a hardware price standpoint, it is clear to me that the Dell Windows Vista system is a much better deal than the iMac machine. So far as usability, it is up to the individual user whether Mac OS is worth the increase in price.
Of course, the grass is always greener on the other side adage applies in my wife’s case. She’s so frustrated with Vista on her pre-built HP machine (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86 GHz, 2 GB RAM) that she thinks the Apple iMac is the solution. In comparison, I have a similar Desktop PC system as she does, and I have no slowness issues or any other kind of problems with my daily usage. One thing my wife won’t admit, is that she installs a lot of gadgets and services on her machine that is probably slowing down her system. For example, she’s got the Carbonite online backup service running that is suppose to backup changed files on her hard drive through the Internet to a online storage system. You can’t tell me that Carbonite works so well that it won’t slow down your system (although the makers of Carbonite claim this is the case).
I’m afraid that if she spend the money to get an iMac system she will quickly become frustrated that she can’t run her Windows only applications (e.g., Quickbooks, Zune Software, etc) without installing Vista on her Mac machine (which would defeat the purpose of getting away from Vista). I guess in that case, the worst that could happen is that she wipes out the Mac OS completely and installs Vista on the iMac as the main operating system. That would give her a very expensive Desktop PC and she would be back where she started from! If it was me, I would go with the Dell Studio Slim PC with the Quad processors.