My wife and I have been considering buying a new computer for a couple of months now; yesterday we bought a new 24" iMac. The odd thing is, even though my wife was comfortable on a Mac and I was drawn to the BSD underpinnings, we had decided against getting a Mac largely on the grounds of the expense (and the inability to easily uninstall software). Instead, we had settled on a small form-factor Dell. That is, until we visited the Apple Store on University Ave. Sunday afternoon.
We were in the neighborhood to pick up some prints at Wolf Camera and I wanted to stick my head in the Apple Store to check out the new Aluminum iMacs. They are gorgeous. I've never seen a screen quite like it. But the kicker was when my wife asked whether the $1799 price on the card next to the computer was for the computer we were looking at.
It wasn't. We were gawking at the 20" iMac; the placard was for the 24" iMac next to us. Now that was an impressive machine. And what was more amazing was that the $1799 price tag was on-par, if not cheaper, than the equivalent Dell desktop we had been considering! That's right, we could get the gorgeous iMac for the same price as the bland Dell we were planning to buy.
I have read claims in the past the recent-model Macs were cheaper than equivalent PCs, but there it was staring me in the face. Just to prove I'm not making this up, I just re-spec'ed the Dell machine we were going to buy to compare it to the Apple machine we did buy. As of 2007/08/17:
|Component||Dell Optiplex 745 Small Form Factor||Apple iMac 24"|
|CPU||Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6600 (2.40GHz, 4M, 1066MHz FSB)||Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7700 (2.40GHz, 4M, 800MHz FSB)|
|OS||Windows Vista Ultimate, with media, 32 Edition, English||Mac OS X v10.4.10 Tiger|
|Memory||1.0GB DDR2 Non-ECC SDRAM, 667MHz, (1DIMM)||1.0GB DDR2 Non-ECC PC2-5300 SDRAM, 667MHz, (1SO-DIMM)|
|Hard Disk||250GB SATA 3.0Gb/s||320GB SATA 7200-rpm|
|Removable Disc||8X Slimline DVD+/-RW||Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)|
|Video Card||256MB ATI Radeon X1300PRO||256MB (GDDR3) ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO|
|Speakers||Dell™ A225 Speakers||Built-in stereo speakers|
|WiFi||Linksys WUSB54GC Wireless-G USB Adapter||AirPort Extreme wireless networking (802.11n)|
|Price w/o Monitor||$1,198||N/A|
|Display||UltraSharp 2407WFP-HC 24-inch Widescreen Flat Panel LCD|
|24-inch widescreen TFT active-matrix LCD|
Anyway, we left the Apple Store to head over to Fry's to do some shopping. But while we were at Fry's, my wife looked over at me and "we should get the Mac". She didn't have to say that twice. In my 15 years or so in the computer industry, I have never before seen a machine that I really wanted to buy. So we bought of copy of Parallels Desktop at Fry's and headed back over to the Apple Store.
Unfortunately, we were too late. They close at 6:00pm on Sundays. We tried again Monday night but both the University Ave. and Stanford Shopping Center stores were sold out of the 24" iMacs. We went ahead and ordered on on-line, but we were going to have to wait two weeks for it to even be shipped. So yesterday morning we made it up to the University Ave. store at 10:15am (they open at 10:00am) and bought the last 24" model in that day's shipment. That's right: sold out in 15 minutes. Needless to say, we cancelled our on-line order.
I was up to 4:00am last night setting up Parallels to run Win2k for some of our old software (namely, Microsoft Money and our favorite game: Settlers 3), installing Firefox and Thunderbird, importing our photos into iPhoto, etc. That screen is simply awesome. I don't think I've had this much fun since I was a kid. Certainly not with a computer.