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Expanding Price Gap

March 8, 2010 - Dave Hecei

I will be the first to admit it – Mac’s are more expensive than PCs.  Even with that statement, I still prefer to use a Mac for most all of my computing tasks. I just like the way Macs operate. I love OS X, and the quality of Apple’s hardware.

(Most of the time these comparisons are not fair to either party and in the end Apple is usually only marginally more expensive.)

I also own PCs. I do audio/video tasks on my Dell Precision tower and most of my gaming is done on it or a Sony Playstation. My Macs are used for photos, video, E-mail, web surfing, web creating, writing, shopping, banking, casual gaming, etc. I don’t have to worry about viruses or spyware when I’m online with my Mac, I can just use it.

Let’s get back to the price gap. I was looking over some deals online and found a new Dell Studio XPS 16 laptop for what seemed like a very low price. I thought, ‘This must be pretty stripped-down to come in that low.’ So I carefully looked at what it actually came with.

It has a new 1.6GHz Intel Core i7 quad-core processor (it can turbo to 2.8GHz – it’s a power saving feature), 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, 15.6-inch LED backlit full HD screen, 500GB hard drive, slot-load DVD burner, n-based WiFi and Bluetooth, and a discrete ATI Radeon HD 4670 video card with 1GB of video RAM. Basically, it was very well equipped. What surprised me was that it was under $1200, or basically it was the same priced as Apple’s lowest priced MacBook Pro, which only has a 13-inch screen.

To match the XPS 16 I looked at the MacBook Pro 15-inch model for $2299. The biggest difference between the two is the processor; the Dell beats out the Mac, which only has the Intel Core 2 Duo running at 2.8GHz. The Dell ends up with a faster processor, how much faster is hard to say, and is still $1100 cheaper.

Yes the Dell does not have OS X. Yes the Dell does not have the wonderful iLife software. Yes, the MacBook Pro design is solid and beautiful. Windows 7 is not OS X, but it is the best that Windows has ever been. I have to admit after using the Dell, for the short time I had it, I was impressed with the new design and it had a nice solid feel.

I’m not saying that I would abandon my Macs and buy all new Dells, but I am worried about Dell making a laptop that seems to be on par with Apple and is almost half the price.


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