Jotting #11: Apple Macbook Pro – Still Cheap?

The perennial question: Should I buy an Apple or a Windows-based laptop? The question came up recently for me since my old systems were getting a tad too old, and I also happened to come across this blog (a bit outdated of course by now, see below).

Some basic facts as they are available today (March 2008) in the table below. I chose a Dell since it is widely available and a very common and representative competitor.

Category Macbook Pro Dell XPS M1530
Processor 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (?, 3MB L2-cache) 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo T7700 (800 MHz FSB, 4 MB L2-cache)
Memory 2 GB memory@667MHz DDR2 SDRAM 3 GB memory@667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Display Size 15.4 in ditto
Graphics Card GeForce 8600M GT, 256MB SDRAM ditto
Resolution 1440 x 900 1280 x 800
Hard Drive 200 GB@5400rpm 320 GB@5400 rpm
OS Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard MS Windows Vista Home Premium
Price (£) 1299 926

The Dell version has been customised slightly by choosing a faster matching processor.

This is the best match in terms of hardware components I could find. They are quite close: the Dell scores better in the memory and hard-drive specs, the Apple in the resolution.

Hence, we are down to Max OS vs Windows Vista, the various bits of pre-installed software, the quality of the components (hard to judge from the outside) and the very personal matter of taste.

Currently, I personally just can’t get myself to pay a 40% premium for the Apple. One problem for me is that Apple seems to update its hardware specs only infrequently while others constantly upgrade or adjust prices (downwards). And so the Apple laptop starts to look more and more expensive over time. I will keep looking and comparing …


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