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Apple Power Revisited

Two mobile entries in a row and both on the same day. That’s not too bad, I think. Unfortunately, the entries are limited to about 850 characters each because Nokia decided that 850 characters was a sensible limit to set for the size of their text area tag. Morons.

No work today, thank god. If everything goes according to plan, there will be no work tomorrow either. The plan is that I have no plan at all, so it shouldn’t be that hard.

The entry Apple Power spawned some reactions from a few Apple users. Let me guide everyone through the trail of logic that led me to the conclusion that if I were to buy a new computer today, it would be a Dell, not an Apple.

But first things first: As Ian pointed out, this is not a professional computer review site. This is not CNET.com, Tom’s Hardware, nor PC Magazine. This is a personal website/log/ramblings-thingy. Don’t come here for professional advice. I’m not a Dell evangelist nor an Apple hater. I like fruit.

I’m basing my comparison on specifications and price. I don’t have much experience with Apple computers, I know how to set up an Xserve and I’ve done my fair share of work on Apples, but I’ve never owned one. Here’s a table with my comparisons (sorry about the bad layout, I might get around to fix it later):

Dell Inspiron 8600C Apple PowerBook G4
CPU 1,6 GHz Intel Pentium M processor 725 1,33 GHz PowerPC G4
RAM 512Mb 333MHz DDR (1 chip) 512Mb 333MHz DDR (1 chip)
Graphics card 64MB DDR nVidia GeForce 5200 ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 64MB
Screen 15.4 inch UltraSharp WUXGA widescreen (1920×1200) 15.2 inch TFT widescreen (1280×854)
Harddrive 60GB IDE (7.200 RPM) 60GB IDE (4.200 RPM)
Optical unit DVD +/- RW/CD-RW DVD-R/CD-RW
Service One year One year
Getting around Backpack Backpack
Total cost NOK 17.963,00 ($2,922) NOK 23.580,00 ($3,836)

Both computers have all the other stuff you’d expect to find, 10/100BASE LAN (actually the PowerBook comes with 10/100/1000BASE LAN, which is nice), WLAN, two USB ports, one PCMCIA slot and FireWire ports (one IEEE 1394a in the Dell, one IEEE 1394a and one IEEE 1394b in the PowerBook). In addition, the Dell has S-Video out, while the PowerBook comes with integrated Bluetooth.

As you can see, the PowerBook weighs in at over $900 more than the Dell, with more or less the same specifications. It could be that the Apple will perform somewhat better than the Dell with the same specs, what do I know, but if it’s cost me $900 more to get there, I’m not sure if it’s really worth it.

Other good arguments why I should by an Apple instead of a Dell:
* The OS never crashes (or so I’ve heard) – Well, neither does my copy of Windows XP Professional. Actually, it’s been ages since I had to reboot because of an error caused by the operating system, and the blue screen of death is just a remote memory from the Windows 98 days.
* There are very few viruses, worms and other security hazards threatening the Apple computers – True, but viruses, worms and whatnot is not an issue for me now, either. I know how to take care of myself, and I get all the protection I need from free software.

This looks good for Dell on paper, but the only real way I can compare these two babies, is to test drive them myself. Dell and Apple, are you listening?

For me, it’s simply a question about money. I want to buy an Apple PowerBook, but my wallet says no. If I had the money, I would’ve bought an Apple a long time ago. But for now, it’s Dell.

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