People have said that Macs are more expensive than PCs. Until Apple made the switch to Intel chips, we had to basically eat that, because there was always the Apples-to-oranges comparison. Now that all new Macs are running the same chips that Dell etc. use, it's fair to make direct comparisons. And the result blows me away. Not only are Macs NOT more expensive, they can be cheaper. Much cheaper. Like, half the price cheaper.
Bill Bumgarner (bbum, to the WO folks out there) posted a rant about how badly the Dell online store sucks. I took it with a grain of salt, since Bill works for the Fruit Company. Then I clicked through. He was talking about Dell's new Intel Core 2 Duo "Media Guru" - obviously poised to take down the iMac. The user experience of the Dell online store is absolutely dreadful. I mean, wow does that suck. For a company with all of its business coming through their online store, you'd think they'd spend some effort to make the experience easy, efficient and maybe even not-painful. Maybe they should switch back to WebObjects...
I finally found the system Bill was referring to, and eventually managed to configure a system on par with a comparable iMac. Here's what I set up:
Now, for comparison, here's the iMac:
Both are from the "consumer" stores, in US dollars, without any edu discounts. I had to tweak both slightly, selecting a faster processor in the Dell, and upgrading the video card, RAM, and adding AppleCare in the iMac.
The iMac is roughly half the price of the comparable Dell.
Yes. I know you can get cheaper Dells. You can get a free one just for signing up for DSL now. That's not the point. Those are el-cheapo POS PCs. For a decent system, you're looking at paying up to twice what you'd pay for a comparable Mac.
Update: Just for kicks, I tried configuring a Mac Pro with display to see what it would take for a Mac to be as expensive as this Dell. I wound up with a quad Xeon, 2GB of RAM and a 23" Cinema Display, still costing less than the Dell...