iMac vs XPS

I’m the first to admit that Apple’s upgrade pricing is completely insane (though it has been toned down some since the iMac refresh). But I am so tired of hearing that Apple hardware is way overpriced for what you get. Quite to the contrary, Apple’s systems are right in line with similar systems from other manufacturers. Let’s compare the 20″ iMac with a Dell XPS all-in-one system and see what we get:

iMac – $1349

  • Intel Core 2 Duo (2.4GHZ) Processor
  • 250GB SATA HDD (7200RPM)
  • Wireless Mouse and Keyboard
  • SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
  • ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT with 128MB memory
  • Integrated 802.11 b/g/n
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR

XPS – $1299

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 (2.2GHZ) Processor
  • 250GB SATA HDD (7200RPM)
  • Wireless Mouse and Keyboard
  • DVD±RW Slot Load Drive
  • Integrated Intel Video
  • Integrated 802.11 b/g/n
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • Bluetooth 2.0

Now since the iMac has FireWire built in, a faster processor, better graphics, a dual layer DVD burner, and better bluetooth…I can understand a $50 price difference. I also consider Vista Home Premium to be a close equivalent to OSX Leopard with iLife in terms of tools and functionality. Vista has Media Center and OSX has FrontRow. Both offer similar (and for the record…similar does not mean identical) features and interfaces and both work with remotes (which you get with the iMac).

So tell me, how is Apple overpriced? Wait, let me guess…you think my comparison is bogus because the XPS isn’t exactly the same specs, right? Let’s see what happens when I choose a higher level for some improved hardware…

iMac – $1478

  • Intel Core 2 Duo (2.4GHZ) Processor
  • 320GB SATA HDD (7200RPM)
  • Wireless Mouse and Keyboard
  • SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
  • ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT with 128MB memory
  • Integrated 802.11 b/g/n
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR
  • iWork ’08

XPS – $1799

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 (2.33GHZ) Processor
  • 320GB SATA HDD (7200RPM)
  • Wireless Mouse and Keyboard
  • DVD±RW Slot Load Drive
  • ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2400 Video Card (memory not listed)
  • Integrated 802.11 b/g/n
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition
  • Hybrid Analog/Digital TV Tuner with Remote Control

Oh, wait, there’s not option for a TV Tuner on an iMac. That must be the reason for the $321 price difference. And if you want to complain that iWork and Office aren’t reasonable counterparts, Office ’08 for Mac is only $149. So if you substitute that in place of the $79 iWork you would still only get a total of $1548 for the iMac leaving a difference of $251 between the systems. Surely that is explained by the TV Tuner which I can pick up at best buy for less than $100…right?

So get off the old and now invalid arguement people. That was years ago. Apple is not this super expensive elitist computer manufacturer the hype makes it out to be. They make good systems that perform well running either OSX or Vista and in many cases run Vista better than machines from the other guys. For the price of the bulky and ugly XPS, I can get myself a sleek iMac and still have enough left over to buy a copy of Vista to run in BootCamp or Parallels. Think about that the next time you get ready to buy a machine.