Hey, Lauren! Is Apple's 17-Inch MacBook Pro Expensive?

In which we discover that there is indeed a Mac Tax. And a Dell Tax. And an HP Tax...

By  |  Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 12:36 am

Is the 17-inch MacBook Pro Expensive?There’s something about comparing the prices of Windows PCs and Macs that makes otherwise cool and collected people–Windows and Mac users alike–become profoundly emotional and partisan, until steam shoots out of thefir ears and their eyeballs turn bright red. You can see this passion crop up in some of the comments on Ed Oswald’s two recent posts (here and here) on Microsoft’s new “Lauren” ad comparing 17-inch Windows laptops to the MacBook Pro. I’ve also encountered it every time I’ve tried to do the math on the Windows vs. Mac question–which I started doing within a few weeks of Technologizer’s launch last summer.

I haven’t returned to this issue since last October, but the moment Microsoft put it at the heart of a major national TV commercial last week, the blogosphere started debating it all over again. I continue to think it’s worth trying to answer the question in a very specific and unemotional way. The specific part is important because asking whether Macs are more expensive than Windows PCs is like asking whether Audis are more expensive than General Motors cars: It’s a meaningless question without context, since the answer is entirely contingent on the models you choose. And the unemotional aspect of my research tries to strip out any bias based on anything but the computers at hand. (Note that in the commercial, Lauren sets off a powder keg of controversy the moment she says she’s not “cool enough” to own a Mac–me, I want to judge computers, not people.)

In the end, those comparisons are all about collecting fresh data on the “Mac Tax”–the notion that you pay a premium for Apple computers compared to similar Windows PCs. Or, as Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer recently put it, “Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment—same piece of hardware—paying $500 more to get a logo on it?” And since the 17-inch MacBook Pro is the Mac that Lauren nixes in favor of a far cheaper HP Pavilion, it’s the one I’ll look at in this story.

First, as is my wont, a mini-FAQ on this project:

Q. How did you choose the Windows laptops?

A. In a perfect world, I’d select at least one computer from every major manufacturer. But these comparisons get unwieldy when they involve too many systems. So I picked notebooks from Lenovo and Sony, since those companies’ machines tend to be most similar to Apple’s in terms of features and industrial design, and added models from Dell and HP, the two largest PC companies in the U.S. Working at the configure-to-order sites of the PC companies in question, I chose machines that were similar to the base MacBook Pro, then tweaked the configurations until they were as close as I could get them.

Let’s meet our laptops. Starting with Dell’s Precision M6400 Mobile Workstation

Dell Workstation

This is HP’s EliteBook 8730W

HP EliteBook 8730W

Here we have Lenovo’s ThinkPad W700

Lenovo ThinkPad W700

And Sony’s VAIO FW (Daniel Craig not included, as far as I know)…

Sony Vaio FW

I also selected a 17-inch Apple laptop–which turned out to be pretty easy, since there’s only one. That would be the 17-inch MacBook Pro.

For the record, I didn’t check the prices of the system until after I’d compared their specs–I didn’t want anyone to be able to accuse me of rigging my research, consciously or unconsciously, to make Apple look good.

Q. The Dell, HP, and Lenovo you picked look like mobile workstations, aimed at businesspeople who need a lot of power. The MacBook Pro is a consumer machine, so it’s not a logical comparison.

A. They are mobile workstations, but they also come closer to matching the MacBook Pro in terms of CPU and graphics than most consumer laptops. And the MacBook Pro is an unusual notebook with a split personality that’s a little bit business and a little bit consumer. (If you can call any notebook that costs nearly $3000 a consumer product, that is.)

Q. Best Buy has some machines that aren’t quite as well-equipped as the ones here, but they come close–and they’re much, much cheaper. This Dell, for instance. How come you didn’t include them?

A. Because I’m trying to configure Windows laptops to be as close to the MacBook Pro’s specs as possible, since that’s the best way to determine if there’s a Mac Tax hiding in Apple’s prices. But I may come back to look at some of those Best Buy systems in a future story.

Q. You’re going to try and convince us that Lauren should have bought the MacBook Pro, aren’t you?

A. No, no, no! She said she wanted a fast notebook with a 17-inch screen for under a grand. There are plenty of Windows machines that fit the bill, and no Mac that comes close. You can quibble with whether the HP Pavilion she bought was her best option, but unless you want to tell Lauren that she should settle for a 13-inch display instead of a 17-inch one, she unquestionably made the right decision in buying a Windows computer. There are tons of reasonable Windows laptops for under $1000, but only one Apple notebook in that range at all–the most basic MacBook.

Q. Are you saying that comparing one Mac to four Windows PCs can tell us whether Macs in general are more expensive than PCs in general? For instance, the Mac Mini looks underpowered and overpriced to me.

A. Nope–like I say, I’m trying to be as specific as possible. Draw no conclusions from this article about any other Mac models. Or, for that matter, any Windows laptops which I don’t mention here.

Q. Aren’t you aware that Windows laptops have Blu-Ray and eSATA and DVR capabilities and HDMI and embedded mobile broadband and a whole lot of other nifty features that you can’t get from Apple at any price?

A. Of course, and it’s good fodder for a more general conversation on the relative virtues of PCs and Macs. Did I mention I’m about to start work on some articles on that topic for PC World? For this story, however, I’m simply trying to figure out whether Apple is charging a lot more than its Windows-using rivals for the features it does offer on the 17-inch MacBook Pro.

Q. Isn’t it obvious that OS X makes Macs inherently superior to Windows computers? (Or, if you prefer, that Windows makes PCs inherently superior to Macs?)

A. I feel strongly that the biggest difference between a Windows PC and a Mac is the operating system, but I’m willfully ignoring that question in this comparison and focusing on the hardware question. You can’t compare OSes without immediately delving into opinions and subjectivity and personal preference. And hey, neither Steve Ballmer nor Lauren seem to factor operating systems into their take on all this, either–so at least I have company.

Q. Could you do me a favor and tell me your conclusions now, so I don’t have to click through the whole darn story and read thousands of words?

A. Sure, but only because it’s you. I found that the MacBook Pro had some features the other machines didn’t, and lacked others they did have, and was competitive overall, even when you ignore its operating system and treat it as a hunk of hardware. It cost less than the Dell, about the same as the HP, and $350 more than the Lenovo. And it was $1200 more than the Sony–although that machine was the skimpiest of the four. All in all, the MacBook Pro is priced nearer the high end of what you might pay for a similar Windows laptop than the low end, but if there’s a Mac tax it seems no worse than the Dell Tax or HP Tax–in this case, at least.

Anyhow, enough preface–let’s start comparing computers.

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205 Comments For This Post

  1. ediedi Says:

    What about 'lauren'-like people who need a 17 inch notebook and don't need the other value-adding characteristics of a high-end model? – that's the point of the ad.

  2. matt Says:

    right. – Good point and completely valid, too. What the ad neglects, logically, as it is an ad for MS, is TCO, total cost of ownership, a point that is in huge favor of Mac OS X (that´s me, a Mac-user saying ;).

    The whole article (for whatever product out of Apple´s portfolio) can be boiled down to this:
    – There´s more choice in the windows universe.
    – If you bring windows system specs up to parity w/ Apple, they tend to have a quite similar price.
    – Most people don´t need those features, so they can save on sticker price.
    – TCO is difficult to determine, but many people who have in depth Windows and Mac experience, tend to prefer the Mac.

    So, YMMV, no need to argue, live and let live, and choose what suits you best


  3. David Hamilton Says:

    Surely the point of the ad was to find a pricing angle that ruled Apple out of the game? To require a 17″ screen and < $1000 dollars was always going to be the best way for the advertisers to do that.

    Personally I don’t see the point of a 17″ laptop – I’ve made the mistake in the past of buying an overly large laptop, forgetting that the key element of a laptop is portability! So to compromise all the other features to gain the large screen indicates either misguided buying priorities or specialised requirements (i.e. not travelling frequently with the ‘portable’!).

    Bear in mind that Lauren is a creation of the advertising copywriter – and that she’s an actress: http://i.gizmodo.com/5190861/someone-found-microsofts-lauren-and-shes-an-actress.

    Are there a lot of Laurens in reality? Certainly there are a lot of computer purchasers with a misguided view of their priorities, and there is certainly an increasing demographic who buy laptops purely to use at home while slouching on the sofa (look out for an epidemic of back pain in a few years time!).

  4. zirrah Says:

    In response to David… don’t get hung up on the 17″ aspect of the ad. They could have used 15″ as the barometer instead, and still used the $1000 price point. 15″ Macbook Pro’s are $1999. From a component standpoint, they leave alot out on the table for that much coin. The 17″ models are more reasonable considering some of the power they offer for the price.

  5. dragunkat Says:

    there are a few things about this article that don’t make much sense to me. First off, you chose the business class. Those do come with a premium attached. Why not use a similarly equipped gaming laptop? They’re just as good, if not better, than the business class, at a lower price.

    Secondly, the Mac’s unibody case tends to cause them to heat up very hot. I don’t agree with giving them the advantage on that, especially with it causing the problems with the faulty Nvidia chips.

    Thirdly, the battery. Hp is gearing up to launch their new Green battery, which is supposed to hold it’s charge for 3 years. And the fact that it’s sealed in on the macs is a major turn off for many people, myself included.


    Optical sound out is great…if you are using the mac as a dvd player. I wouldn’t necessarily give it to mac, but that’s just a matter of opinion.

    Fingerprint scanners, while neat, aren’t much of an issue for most people.

    Every non-business HP laptop has Works on it in some form, unless they changed that recently.

    And now, disclaimer: I prefer PCs myself (both windows and Linux) and I realize some of my arguements are biased. But the article seems slanted towards the mac, because of the business class laptops from the windows camp.

    Here’s a treat for the Apple people out there: Macs are more stable (though Vista is pretty much rock solid on good hardware). this is because of the limited amount of hardware they’re built for.

  6. bunch Says:

    The main point of the ad is the price. For a lot of buyers it just comes down to that. Saying that you get more for your money with a Mac does not mean a thing if you just do not have that much in your budget to spend.

    Plus it is just an ad people. Ads are meant to sway consumers into buying their product over a competitors.

  7. matt Says:

    “Here’s a treat for the Apple people out there: Macs are more stable (though Vista is pretty much rock solid on good hardware). this is because of the limited amount of hardware they’re built for.”

    no doubt. – that´s why I don´t want apple to sell Mac OS X for generic hardware. – Cause then it´d probably behave (almost) as instable as windows on cheapo-crap and its reputation would suffer.


  8. Chip Says:

    I own an 8-year-old eMac (40Gb hard drive) that I successfully run my web business on. I really need a new computer, but I don’t have the money for a new iMac (~$1,400). So I’ll just keep saving and wait.

    While I could get a much more efficient piece of hardware for around $500, I just can’t bring myself to buy a PC with Windows (or mess around with Linux). Every time I use a PC I find it inelegant and clunky.

    While Ballmer may think people are paying $500 more for merely a logo, he’s only half-right. He should be more concerned that people like me are more than willing to pay hundreds in order to avoid Windows.

  9. Dennis Says:

    I agree with bunch, it’s just an ad. When I buy groceries, sometimes I buy based on price, sometimes I pay more for a better tasting brand. When I (personally – me, not the whole world) buy a computer, I buy based on my needs and desires. Yes, I am a Mac user, but haven’t always been. I used to buy a new PC every 2 years or so, now I buy a new Mac every 4 or 5 years.

    The one uncommon thing I factor into my purchasing decision is resale value (always a factor for new cars, not for new computers). I purchased a Power Mac brand new for almost $3,000 in 2004, and more than 4 years later sold it for $1,300. A TCO of $34 a month! Try selling a 4 year old PC for almost half of it’s initial cost.

  10. AAPLWatch Says:

    “In response to David… don’t get hung up on the 17″ aspect of the ad.”

    Uh, the point is that MS set up the ad with specific requirements that set up the meaningless comparison, as Harry noted in the beginning. (and spare me the “oh, but Lauren wanted it” argument, do you guys really buy that?) So this person demands a 17″ display, but doesn’t care that the resolution is inferior to a 15″ one? And she wants a notebook, but hey, 2 hours battery life is PLENTY, who needs 8 hours? And its cool that the wi-fi is last generation, because wireless speed just isn’t important either?

    It is a great ad I think. Just don’t try to justify it as anything else but a completely biased, Microsoft-centric, and meaningless comparison. (Unlike Technologizer’s great series of comparisons)

  11. greg Says:

    Admission – I am an Apple fanboy. Actually worked for Apple for almost 10 years.

    That being said…

    As much as you can play the specs game, sometimes it just doesn’t work. Spec-wise, a Mercedes C-class may be more car than a Nissan Versa. However, if my budget is $12,000, it’s irrelevant! That Versa is going to be just great!

    Same with the whole TCO discussion. That’s all interesting, too, but if I do not actually have the ability to buy the machine with the lower TCO, so what? I could buy a diesel BMW 3-series and get 35 mpg. Sell the car in a few years with very little depreciation, and have a very low TCO. But if I cannot initially pay for that car, it’s a meaningless discussion.

    And to be clear – I have a 17 inch MBPro, 2.4 ghz, 6 gigs of ram (yes 6, thanks to Other World Computing), etc. So I do love Macs. It would be very painful for me to use a Windows box on a daily basis. But sometimes you can’t argue with the cold, hard facts! There are less expensive alternatives out there! Is the Apple price difference/premium worth it? I’ve thought so! But I’m a single guy with no family. So my priorities may not be the same as yours.

  12. John Says:

    A good comparison – I think the point of the Ads is that there's more options to non Apple laptops.

    FIREWIRE IS NOT DEAD!!! I use it constantly in my work with DV and cannot do my job without it!

    Funny how I see many more HP and Apple machines than Sony or Dell on my campus.

  13. ChrisK Says:

    Just like Apple’s PC/Mac ads drive a few people to PCs (due to Apple’s smug, elitist slant), Microsoft’s ads will drive a few people to Macs (they ARE cooler – and Windows can be CHEAP).

    My issue with some of Microsoft’s ads are that they seem to ignore so much… This one ignores that Lauren ended up with a POS 17″ laptop and the fact that it runs Windows (and a lesser Home version) is incidental… The “Mohave” ads ignored that it was usuability – i.e., lack of drivers and the annoying security center – that kept people away from Vista… The Rookies ads (little girls doing photos) ignore that someone had to download and install Windows Live Photo Gallery to the computers since they probably shipped with crapware photo aps.

  14. Chris Says:

    I’m a long time programmer, who got a MacBook Pro out of curiosity (company bought it). I hate it. The keyboard sucks. It is not _for_ me, and there isn’t anything folks like me can do to make an Apple laptop programmer friendly…

    So, here is my comparison:

    Let us start with the most important human-to-device interface on the devices in question:

    Lenovo (at least) makes barely passable keyboards. Most laptop manufacturers do a lesser but comparable job at this.

    Apple’s keyboards are piss-poor.

    I can’t imagine anything more important than the keyboard quality, so I’ll stop there 🙂

  15. Olin Says:

    you just made my day. couldnt agree more. own an alienware m15x. keyboard has light features that can be changed according to if/then parameters in the built in software. keys have a smooth feeling and lie perfectly under my hands. no stretching or crunching. and if the lights begin to annoy, a simple touch to two of the keys will turn them off.

    macs are horrible, especially their laptops. programming is much easier and enjoyable on a windows machine.

    nuff said.

  16. Cameron Says:

    The ad is misleading because it implies that the $700 laptop she bought is equivalent to a $2800 MacBook Pro.

    The ad is misleading because it suggests that Lauren had no incentive for promoting Microsoft on camera when in fact, she’s a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild.

    The ad is misleading because it suggests that bigger screens are better for all consumers, with no mention of weight.

    But mostly, the ad is misleading because it’s an ad promoting a product and that’s how ads are.

  17. Olin Says:

    the ad is misleading because it implies a cheap windows machine is equivalent to an expensive mac. *** it indeed does. but that isn't misleading. that's persuasion.
    the ad is misleading because the actress in the advertisement is an actress.
    the ad is misleading because it does not mention an important factor of comparison in order to persuade an audience.
    the ad is misleading because it's promomting a product. *** how is that misleading…?

  18. John Smith Says:

    You forgot to take into account the $3000 of software I have that won’t run on Apple machines, and doesn’t exist for Apple machines.

  19. Dan Says:

    I think all this misses the real point, and that is Apple doesn’t really have any computers that are good for consumers and students who need a laptop for portability to do basic computer tasks. If I didn’t have to pay for it I would buy a Mac, but I don’t own a single one, why?…because Apple doesn’t make a single computer that is a GOOD deal in terms of Cost.

    If you have enough money in this economy to buy whatever you want them go ahead, but the point that the article misses, is that is you want to get a cheap computer to get the job done, apple leaves you out.

    I bought recently a nice Dell Vostro Notebook, $525.00 in the door, shipping, tax, etc…..The cheapest macbook is $999.00 no tax or shipping and closely matches my specs.

    Same thing on the Mac Desktop Side, for $599.99 you get 1 GB Ram, ant 120 GB HD in an enclosure that prevents adding any more cards, drives, etc. Internally…for $300.00 you can get a PC with 2 GB Ram, 320 GB Harddrive and a MiniTower Case, PCI, and PCI-X slots, etc.

    That’s apple’s real problem, most of us have realized that unless you need all the fancy upgrades and extra’s…your just wasting money as you can buy a $300.00 computer now, and when it is too slow in a couple years, buy another $300.00 computer, which will be better than the 900.00 computer you buy today, that’s the cost of Moore’s Law.

  20. Endo Says:

    dragunkat is absolutely correct. Comparing the Macbook with business laptops is the only thing (and I do mean only) that put the price anywhere close to the same ballpark. Gaming laptops with comparable specs literally sell for about 1/2 to 2/3 the price, especially when you can get the options you want without hand-picking upgrades. Like this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834220412 for example that was just recently marked down from $1,600 to $1450. Even a Dell with their upgrade tax (yes, buying upgrades from dell costs 2x-4x as much as buying it from virtually any pc parts retailer) still only comes to less than $2,200 when configured the same way as the computers in this comparison. Of course, again that’s starting with an XPS gaming system, not a business system. I’m sure you’d find the same thing from every computer manufacturer out there. They charge more for the “business” machines because they know businesses will be more willing to pay more.

    That said, the TCO for the Mac might still be less – if you’re a non-tech-savvy computer user and you always need to get someone else to fix computer problems. You’re virtually guaranteed to run into a problem with a Windows PC. The only questions are, what kind of problem and how soon. With a Mac, it’s not unreasonable to expect to use the computer every day for 5-10 years and never have a problem besides the battery finally giving up, or some other hardware problem that’s trivial to repair. You’re definitely not going to run into the software problems you will on a Windows system. But the reason for all that is both the Mac’s greatest strength – and its biggest weakness. Anyone who is savvy enough to troubleshoot and fix 90% of the Windows problems they might encounter is probably going to find the Windows PC a better choice. Sure, they’ll have problems, but if you can fix it yourself in 10 minutes to an hour (as most Windows problems can be) then you’re not racking up repair costs paying someone else to fix it, you’re not without your system for days at a time, and it’s not nearly as frustrating. The upside to all of that is the *reason* Windows has those extra problems is primarily because it has a lot more options – by several orders of magnitude. Macs are perfect for users who want it to just work – users who don’t have the time or desire to learn how to fix their computer themselves and need to have a system that they can depend on, but aren’t too concerned about being able to run every PC game out there or how many upgrade options are available.

  21. Rob Says:

    Have you ever used spell check? The typos in your article hurt your credibility.

  22. Egdiroh Says:

    Um, macs have a dock too.

    If you look at the recent monitor offering from mac, you know the one with the power cord, the USB hub port expander and the video connection, you get all the features of most standard docks.

    Sure, it’s really expensive, but you weren’t factoring doc prices in when you gave that advantage anyway.

  23. Jorge Says:

    Just want to point out that you made a mistake in awarding RAM: you gave the point mistakenly to Lenovo instead of Sony.

  24. Glenn Jones Says:

    Something everyone seems to have missed.

    You can run Vista, XP and/or Linux under OS X using a VM product like Parallels Desktop or VMWare’s Fusion.

    Or simply use Apple’s “Bootcamp” to directly boot into Windows for full performance on a Mac.

    So what price can one put on the ability to run nearly all the software currently out there? To switch, copy and paste between operating systems at a whim?

    With OS X’s “Spaces” a simple ‘mouse in corner’ action allows one to see them all and switch to any OS in a flash.

    I’ve got a 2.5GHZ 4GB RAM 7200 RPM MacBook Pro from 2004 (yea over 5 years ago) and it runs three OS’s at once with ease, depending on the programs running. Three iTunes visuals in each OS at once, no problem, no stuttering or skips in the animation.

    Still no viruses or malware, because I don’t allow Windows on the net except for updates.

    What price can one put on the shear innovation, productivity and power of OS X? The lack of a need for rebuilding Windows after a virus attack?

    I wouldn’t have been exposed to Linux if it wasn’t for VMWare Fusion allowing me to try without wasting a piece of hardware.

  25. Joe Says:

    I have agreed with your conclusions across the board on Macs for some time, if you want exactly the hardware they’re selling, it’s a fair value – maybe a little on the high side, but the OS certainly includes enough value-add software to justify that – IF (big, HUGE, IF) you want exactly what Apple is selling.

    I was pricing out power efficient dual core desktops yesterday, and the Mac Mini came out as a real bang for the buck winner (think: DVD burner for free), but only if you are specifically looking for a desktop that is based on a laptop chipset with the attendant low power implications. If all you want is a small, cheap desktop, the Mac Mini is not that at all – the Atom based systems dominate in that arena – but an Atom (even a dual core Atom) just doesn’t have the processing power of a Mac Mini, and most anything you can build on the market for under $600 that does have the processing power of a Mac Mini will draw considerably more power.

    And it’s in a cool package with a “different” operating system.

    To me, the real Mac tax comes around if you go to put a licensed copy of Windows on a Mac, then you end up paying retail for Windows, which is a major markup from what you pay for it in an off-the-shelf system. Adding parallels or VMWare to the mix only makes the pain wor$e.

  26. Jeff Says:


    Greg touched on it, but compare it to car buying:

    Is it intelligent to buy a Mercedes, BMW, or Cadillac SUV (i.e. a high-end 17″ notebook), when all I really need is a vehicle with cargo and passenger capacity? If a Kia will fit the bill, and I’m mostly concerned about price, then I’d be an IDIOT to buy a Mercedes. Know what I’m saying?

    If all I want is a 17″ screen to surf the web and watch movies on (btw, DVD’s, still the dominant video format by far, only require 720p resolution, nowhere near blueray requirements), I’d have to have a mental condition to buy a Mac.

    Now if Apple made a Macbook who’s only difference from the 13″ were a 17″ screen, they could easily compete in the low-end large-screen market.

    And you know what? a LOT of people have just such requirements. My requirements were similar (15.4 inch, not 17, Mac was still 4x more expensive though), as I was not planning on doing any heavy lifting of any kind. But you know what? My laptop can still do 90% of what a Macbook Pro can do, so why would I buy it? The slick but only slightly more useable UI? I don’t use Vista, I’ll admit I tossed it early on when it was having hardware issues, but it really isn’t all that bad for what 99% of people do.

    So, rather than marginalizing important reasons to buy a computer, why not take an honest look and see if they have a point?

  27. R Cowling Says:

    Amazing (yet common) attitude of Apple fans – anyone who doesn’t drink the Kool Aid is “misguided.” How much power does a user need to browse the web, write e-mail, and edit their Facebook profile? And since when do you have to leave your house to use a laptop? Is that in the Apple EULA?

    David Hamilton Says:
    Are there a lot of Laurens in reality? Certainly there are a lot of computer purchasers with a misguided view of their priorities, and there is certainly an increasing demographic who buy laptops purely to use at home while slouching on the sofa (look out for an epidemic of back pain in a few years time!).

  28. Rob Says:

    Why would a college student need/want a 17″ underpowered laptop? Oh yeah, Lauren has 4 eyes. But this stupid article misses the point entirely. If Lauren can’t figure out why she needs/wants a Mac laptop (like 40% of all college students, up from 20% 4 years ago), then why would MS brag about her? I mean she is obviously retarded for not knowing that a 17″ windows laptop is good for a year…. maybe 2 ias long as you are willing to suffer through 3, maybe 4 reinstalls of the OS and use inferior photo, music and Office software (yes MS office for the Mac is superior). And this dumb author thinks people still use MS Works. As a long time user of Office (over 15 years on the Mac), I can see that iWork is almost there for $79. But I digress. You cannot make this comparison without the operating system. Commercial is dumb and the artilce is dumb. It’s like saying I want a V8 engine (17″ screen) in a car, so I’m buying the cheapest V8 car made. No one would do that. This commercial might have had teeth 5 years ago, but too many people now use Macs and KNOW why they do so.
    Dumb dumb dumb article. And for you commenters above that think this was a good commercial/article shopping for the cheapest laptop that comes with a 17″ screen, all I can say is it’s a free country and you have a choice to give your money to MS and continue to reinstall the OS on a regular basis.

  29. Chris Says:

    @Glenn Jones:
    “I’ve got a 2.5GHZ 4GB RAM 7200 RPM MacBook Pro from 2004 (yea over 5 years ago)”

    you might want to check you facts, because Apple only made the transition to Intel in January 2006. A 2.5 GHz MacBook Pro was only released beginning 2008. So, wow, your laptop is 1 year old!

  30. DB Says:

    The point of the story is that Apple makes laptops for the high end users and don’t really cater to the lower end market as the company has said. This shows that if you spec out the laptops with very similar features as possible the Mac is close to the PC price. Now if you take a junk laptop for under $1000 its going to run like a laptop in that price range and loaded with a bunch of junk software. The MacBooks are the best they have ever been, as with everyone else I wish they would bring the prices down a little, but to bring them down to under a $1000 they will be selling junk as well and I don’t think they will do that. Any good laptop whether its a Mac or PC is going to cost a $1000 or more. People are going crazy over the netbooks because of the price and they are just junk period and they can have them. Might be good for a school student to surf the web and do basic word processing, but thats about it.

  31. DB Says:

    How about an article showing the Mac Pro against a Dell Precision or the samed speced machine……from what I found the Dell was $3500 and the Mac Pro was $2500. I build the Mac Pro to my specs and then matched the the Dell to be the same.

  32. Chris Peterson Says:

    The ad is biased because if it wasn’t then what is the point.

    That being said I think MS makes a mistake on touting price, price, price because if thats the case then Linux would be the winner. It can run on the same hardware and is free.
    The reason people stick with Windows is change, people are afraid of it in any form, plain and simple. Not that I would market that, but it is reality. People are obviously making a value-based decision on choosing a windows machine over Linux, even though it costs more. To then swipe at Apple for being more expensive is silly.

    MS doesn’t need to market itself as cheaper than Apple or anything else. The funny thing is that MS needs to market against itself. If they want to sell more Vista and more Win7, then they have to show people the value of moving from XP. Apple is not the problem here, the entrenchment of XP is.

  33. R Cowling Says:

    Apple doesn’t have 40% of college students. They’re currently at 16%.
    In 1999, it had 30%.


    The “40%” number comes from a survey about what kids want to buy.


    I’m sure a survey about what kinds of cars college students want to buy would have many more Lexus’ than Fords, but the reality is the opposite.

  34. Z Says:

    When I was buying a new laptop almost 2 years ago. I matched specs up between a PC and a Mac.

    2.2 GHz Core 2 Duo
    17″ 1680 x 1050 Screen
    160GB HD
    2GB RAM
    DVD Burner, etc.

    The PC was $1600 and the Mac was about $2400. I obviously went for the PC being a price conscious consumer. I installed OSX for a while on a second HD but ended up not having much use for it, so now it’s an OpenSUSE install. 🙂

  35. Pete Says:

    This whole argument is somewhat stupid. The truth is that most people have no idea what they need in a laptop. Lauren is a great example of a typical customer. She knows she wants a ‘17” screen that’s fast and under $1,000.’ If Lauren came to me, I would ask her why she wants a 17” screen and what she means by “fast?” This is because screen size is all about DPI (not actual size), and “speed” is entirely dependant on what she’s doing with the computer.

    If she is getting a 17” screen because she doesn’t see too well (as evidenced by those big nerd glasses), then she might be just as happy with a 15” screen set to a lower resolution. If she wants the big screen because she can see super well (with her big nerd glasses) and wants to be able to be able to read 4 different websites at one time, she might be just as happy with a high resolution (say, SXGA+ or UXGA) 15” screen. Plus, if she goes with the smaller screen, the laptop will probably be much lighter, which may be important for an on-the-go girl like Lauren.

    The same sort of questions should be applied to her second need (the need for speed). Interestingly, her reason for wanting a “fast” computer might be that her previous computer is 5 years old and plagued with every piece of adware and malware known to man. In this case, she doesn’t really need a “fast” computer as much as she needs to take some lessons on basic computer security and maintenance. Another option would be to get a Mac, as they are much less prone to that sort of stuff. Most complaints I hear about the “speed” of a computer are from people who have perfectly good machines that just need to be cleaned up and better maintained.

    Alternatively, if she is looking for a “fast” computer because she’s likes to play the latest and greatest video games with ub3rl337 FPS, or she has a hobby of creating special effects for full-length movies at 4K resolutions (thus the big nerd glasses). Well, then, she isn’t going to be able to get that in laptop form for under 1,000 bucks. She’d probably be better off with a home brew desktop that she could upgrade on a regular basis with new hardware.

    The bottom line is that Lauren just doesn’t give us enough information to trust her decision on the laptop. My suggestion to Lauren is that she should take 50 of those 1,000 bucks she was going to spend on the laptop and give them to her local geek in exchange for some personalized advice on what she should look for. Heck, I’d do it for free (I’m a sucker for girls in big nerd glasses).

  36. R Cowling Says:

    I just configured an Dell XPS M1730 to match specs to the MacBook Pro and got a Dell price of $2,124.

    And this idea that there aren’t any viruses on Apples leaves out the fact that Macs on college campuses used to be so infected that you’d be required to reboot each time you used one (per the lab’s policy). Yes, more viruses are on Windows now because there are more Windows users (and one could argue that a large part of those users are unsophisticated people who paid less $699 for a 17″ laptop and have less invested than someone who plunked down $2799).

  37. Cosgrach Says:

    @ John Smith

    You can run your $3000 of software on the MBPro – use a VM and install Windows – it works a treat for me (providing the MBPro has 4GB Ram).

  38. Anony Moose Says:

    HDMI was designed with DVI-compatibility in mind, so in fact you can use a DVI-to-HDMI cable to connect a Macbook Pro to a HDMI device such as an HDTV. I do this with both my Macbook Pro and a windows-based media PC.

  39. Brian Says:

    Most of these are near 3 grand, joe/jane home user isn’t going to normally pay that, unless they have a lot of money lying around.

  40. shawn Says:

    I find it funny that people mentioned bundled software. Of course MAC’s come with better bundled software, they can add whatever they want. If Microsoft adds anything to their OS everybody complains about the monopoly. how easily we forget this when we are doing comparisons…

  41. greg Says:

    I’m a little doubtful about R Cowling’s comment about macs having so many viruses they had to be rebooted each time you used one. I’ve had a lot of macs, some personally bought, some by the companies who employed me, including the very first 128k Mac. And while there are many thing you can criticize about Macs, price points, and Apple EULAs and the like, I don’t know that there’s ever been that level of virus infestation. I have NEVER been infected, and have only in the last few months ever run any antivirus software on my machines.

    But all the comments about Lauren being not knowing what she wanted or needed, or the computers not being appropriately compared – remember, this isn’t a documentary! It’s a commercial. Producers have been known to take liberties when making them !

    Let the sparks continue to fly!

  42. David Hamilton Says:

    @R Cowling:
    “Amazing (yet common) attitude of Apple fans – anyone who doesn’t drink the Kool Aid is ‘misguided’. How much power does a user need to browse the web, write e-mail, and edit their Facebook profile? And since when do you have to leave your house to use a laptop?”

    For starters, I was a Windows programmer for 8 years – and no, I didn’t use a Mac to do it. But hey, moving right along to your points:

    Do you need a 17″ screen to use facebook? Think we agree that the use case in the ad sucks…

    No, you don’t have to leave the house with your laptop, but if you don’t then you’re (a) paying more for less compared with a desktop (good 17″ desktop screens are really cheap) and (b) giving yourself possible posture and vision problems, as you cannot get far enough away from the screen. And no, I’ve not seen that in an Apple or MS EULA.

    OK, maybe they just want to watch DVD’s on it… but then why not buy a DVD player + decent screen + spare cash? They don’t get viruses or need the OS re-installing on a regular basis. Just because a computer can do everything doesn’t make it the best at each individual thing…

    @John Smith:
    “You forgot to take into account the $3000 of software I have that won’t run on Apple machines, and doesn’t exist for Apple machines.”

    Ignoring for a second BootCamp, Parallels and VMWare that completely obviate that argument, I have been consistently impressed by the quality of Mac software. Why it is that way, I don’t know, but the bottom line is that 98% of the time you don’t need 5 Windows programs that don’t quite do what you want, if you have a Mac program that does it way better.

    Disclosure: I don’t run BootCamp, Parallels or VMWare on my Mac. I have a very cheap (way cheaper than Lauren’s!) PC in the corner of my office for Windows compatibility testing and running those odd pieces of homebrew Windows software that clients/suppliers sometimes expect me to use.

  43. Chris Says:

    @Greg: man you’re solid on your facts. I also admire the diesel comment 🙂

    I face a similar situation, but with cars:

    I have a coworker who has only had a license for about a year (she’s over the age of 24, too), she is inexperienced and she needs her own car.

    Naturally we’re looking at a $2000 budget. My suggestion was to get a 5-speed diesel VW, because they get unmatched fuel economy and they hardly ever break (after 21 years and 3 owners our 500k miles 86 is needing a clutch and headgasket replaced) if not that, a Toyota or Honda would do but it should be a stick. She should find a longer, secluded way to work until she gets used to the stick shift.

    She’s rejected this as she feels that learning to drive a manual is going to cause her to be a worse driver initially, regardless of the savings the manual transmission provides her given that the average mileage of any car we’ve look at is 120,000. Have you replaced an automatic transmission before? It’s expensive, and I don’t trust them — as my best friend put it “I don’t need training wheels.”

    In the end we found a sort of compromise; a 1990 VW jetta 1.8L 16v with an automatic, maintained at a local reputable shop, with only 120,000 on the clock for $1000. We lucked out, really.

    Now, why the bias towards a manual diesel? The 44MPG CITY economy to start, the fact that a professional clutch job won’t run $900 tops, compared to $1200 for a salvaged auto trans installation. However she’s not willing to compromise her comfort and safety, so she’s going to risk nine by avoiding the stitch this time.

    In the end the same dilemma faces most $1000 computer shoppers. If I were to guide someone who wanted a Mac, I’d say get an Asus and load Mac OS X onto it using any of the free tutorials. This is far cheaper than buying a real Mac and it keeps you in your comfort zone.

    On the flip side I want Apple to start licensing the OS because, frankly, the only thing that keeps me tethered to it is that I know ALL the special key keyboard commands and I can’t figure them out in Linux or Windows (alt+3 letters my butt, it never works). However for the other 99.98% of what I do Linux is more than sufficient, and if style is your priority over function, we have a fundamental disagreement but that is your prerogative.

    I’d be happy to drive the ugliest vehicle any day if it got the 50MPG my Jetta did. I am lucky that the Jetta happens to be a prettier car than the supposed competition, ie the prius.

  44. Anon Says:

    Sorry for posting anonymous. I’m not trying to be a troll (although I may end up sounding like one anyway).

    I just went to the Apple and Dell online stores. I took the default MacBook Pro 17″ and tried to match it with the Dell Inspiron 17″. Minus the difference in graphics cards (we’ll call that parity, since arguably Dell has the better video card and Apple has the power saving features), and the port layout, I was able to match everything except for the RAM (the Dell didn’t have 1066 DDR3, so I used the 6GB, instead of 4GB, option to “compensate”).

    My grand total came out to $1,809…and this doesn’t include any $300 off coupons that one could easily get from Fatwallet or whatnot (and I understand there’s a 5% discount for students with Apple).

    Personally, I don’t get the point with using a workstation. None of the components are any better (and most of the time, they just plainly look shittier), and one just ends up paying more for the same. To me, “Workstation” products are a sham, and most of the time they’re just the EXACT same thing with a different software driver (aka “Workstation” graphics cards) and $1000 more. If this is the image that Apple is portraying by their lack of selection between workstation and consumer, then yes, I would say that the Apple tax is a huge one for the consumer (but not for the “workstation-elite”…since then they’re all the same).

  45. Dan Says:

    Apple computers, for the hardware used, are more expensive than their PC equivalents. Even if the Macbook Pro seems comparable, something like a Mac Pro is not.

    Earlier this year, I built a OSX86 machine to run OSX on non-apple hardware. I had a 512 MB nVidia video card, 4 gigs of ram, quad core cpus, terabyte hard drive all for $1300. As a Mac Pro that costs you $3000.

    There’s no equating a Mac Pro to similar PC. You’re paying for the ability to run the awesome OS and the cache of using a Mac.

  46. Buzzkill Says:

    Why not just spec out a very nice, less expensive PC laptop and install OS-X on it? You can, via the Hackintosh specs. Just slap an Apple logo on the laptop and you’re not breaking the Apple EULA. Take a look on youtube or do a Google search.

    You can have the best of both worlds.

  47. R Cowling Says:

    @greg –
    I’ve never had a virus on any computer either, and most of the time I don’t use virus protection (though I do use a firewall).

    Apples used to be pretty non-discerning as far as reading the resource fork of a file – plus executing startup files when a floppy disk was inserted. Many “practical jokes” were done by putting code in the resource fork or the startup file that would usually format all floppies inserted into an Apple. After lots of chaos, the computer lab I used at school instituted the “make sure it’s off before, and turn it off after” – especially if you checked out any of the school’s software to use.

    In fact, the first computer virus (according to Wikipedia) dates back to Apple ][ –

  48. anon Says:

    Don’t spread articles over many pages just to ram ads in visitors faces.

  49. Trevor Says:

    Although you configured each laptop from their respective manufacturer’s website, because the Macbook Pro is unconfigured, it would be reasonable to shop around. You can get the same computer for $2593.99 from MacMall, which puts it closer to the Lenovo in terms of price.

  50. Mitch Golden Says:

    I don’t understand why, if you’re comparing hardware, you keep mentioning software issues. You talk about bundled apps, and then you discuss OS security. By your own rules, these should not be included. (For one thing, if I were buying one of these machines, I’d likely be running Kubuntu on it – I wish I could get a meaningful refund of the Windows cost in the price.)

  51. Manolis Says:

    To start with, people who buy middle-range/low-end laptops with 17″ do exist. Those people (mostly students) want to work comfortably with their laptop, play games on it, perhaps use it to watch dvd and move it around only occasionaly.

    The whole point of the ad is that Apple is not an option for these people. Instead of just admitting this fact, the post tries to forcefully make Apple an option for them. This is outright wrong. Apple is not an option for these people, period.

    Instead of the period, what we get is the usual “fairness” argument that comes up each time someone says that Apple computers are expensive. So, suddenly we focus on business laptops. So let’s talk about business laptops.

    A very important aspect if you shell out almost $3k for a laptop is the warranty. What warranty does each brand offer? The basic Dell hardware support (included in price) offers 3 years of next day on-site service in most countries.
    (http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/services/prosupport/basic_warranty) How much does each other brand charge for such a service? At least Apple charges $349 for offering much less than that.

    The fancy hardware is good, but if each piece of hardware gives one point to a laptop this kind of support should give 5 or more points. That is for people who use their laptop to work and not to show-off.

    Also, currently Dell offers a *free* 19″ monitor with this model.

    Just my 2€-cent.

  52. PB Says:

    This article brings out out the insecurity of the Mac fanboys. The point of the commercial is that you can get a 17″ notebook that is plenty for most users for $700. End of story. And it’s just a commercial – don’t get your panties wet folks.

  53. Rob Says:

    You’re missing the point of Apple as a brand. It’s a premium brand, one that people are happy to pay extra for. It’s like buying a BMW as opposed to a Corolla. They do the same job, just one does it with more panache!

    I love my Macbook Pro 15″. It feels solid (unibody) and the keyboard is lovely to type on as it gives excellent feedback (don’t know what Chris is on about – and I program on my Macbook too).

    I also don’t want to be giving money to a company hell-bent on creating a monopoly and so will support other OSes to keep the computer world from becoming a mono-culture.

    If Microsoft has no competition, then we’re doomed to view the world through a Microsoft prism and for me, that would suck!

  54. Chris Dew Says:

    Maybe have a look at the Dell Vostro 1710?


  55. Paul Says:

    The “HP tax” and “Dell tax” are not in fact brand specific but are actually “Custom build tax”. If you start at the price point you’ll get more hardware for the money as opposed to starting cheap and building up to the price point. You can play on HP & Dells website with this, start with the cheap chassis and build it to the next model up and you’ll spend more. This is simple economics, 5000 identical machines are cheaper to build than 1000 each of 5 models or in this case 5000 customized versions. If we ever see a big-box store comparison the results will be show windows machines cheaper because they are competing directly against each other.

  56. Dan Says:

    We just custom built a laptop for a customer for $1400 using a OCZ kit with a 17″ screen. He played Left for Dead on it for 4 hours via the HDMI connection on a 52″ LCD TV last night and it was fast, smooth, and absolutely beautiful.I know this because he’s a friend and roommate of one of my techs.

    What more can you ask for in terms of performance? This thing has a webcam, fingerprint reader, esata port , HDMI, Mediacard Reader, 4 USB ports, and we went with an 8000 series graphics card from Nvidia, Intel P8600 CPU,and 4GB of DDR2 RAM (1066), (Yes, I know, not DDR3 which frankley isn’t delivering that big of a performance difference right now anyway.)It supports wireless “N”, and has a DL Lightscribe capable DVD Multi-Drive. OS? Vista Home 64bit w/SP1.


    The MAC notebook that offers the performance/price premium that this thing does just doesn’t exist.

    MAC’S are overpriced. Good machines mind you, but they cost too much.

  57. MLH Says:

    I disagree with those who say that setting a 17in screen as a prerequisite is unrealistic. When I was looking for a laptop I had a 17in hi-res (full HD-capable in native resolution) widescreen display as one of my must-haves.

    Too, I think the decision to go with a business-class PC was arbitrary and unnecessary. Gaming laptops are spec’d just as well for a much lower cost.

    Bottom line is this: a 17in MBP might not be a bad deal, spec-wise, compared to a high-end Wintel PC. But for many people those specs are overkill, and for someone who just wants a nice laptop capable of doing simple stuff, watching DVDs/BRDs on a big screen, casual gaming, etc., Apple’s spare range of products price them completely out of the game. It isn’t really that there’s an Apple tax so much as that Apple’s sparse offerings in terms of overall product range cause many people to pay for a lot of capability they don’t want or need to get some capability they require.

  58. Svenbot Says:

    This article is highly flawed the Lenovo and HP units are mobile workstations with high end workstation components. Since when did the Macbook Pro ever have an NVidia Quadro. I suggest you redo this article with propper units.

  59. Annoyed at this article Says:

    I was so looking foward to this article. I’ve been waiting for someone to publish price comparison like this. But I was extremely dissapointed. Cop outs and excuses started early by not picking equivalent hardware systems, then not knowing enough about the hardware to give scores, errors all over the place in who had “advantage” (too many for me to bother typing about).
    Basically I’m disappointed I was sent to this article expecting what the author suggested it be. Atleast it wasn’t biased, lol, it was just a horrible comparison. (ex: you’re a writer on technologizer and not able to compare common graphics cards)

  60. Chris Says:

    I own an iBook G4 (that I paid $1300 for my sophie year of college), an HP dv6000 which I paid $300 for and with $200 in upgrades is faster than the previous gen of MacBooks though my primary machine currently is a dual booting Vista 64bit and Arch Linux workstation I built myself.

    Having said that…what the hell are you comparing? In what way is a Macbook Pro equivalent to workstation models like you spec’d out? The Dells, HPs and Lenovos are ment to be used for portable rendering and CAD design…hence the quadro card. It might be the same physical hardware as the 9600GT in the Mac but has completely different drivers that add…you guessed it; a tax. The bodies are as durable as the macs alu shell (there’s a reason most business spec out Lenovos and HP Elitebooks or Dell Latitudes for their people…they can take years of massive abusive. They’re not pretty but boy do they last) but cheaper to build and easier generally to work on. Its a different class of machine but they still come in generally for the same price range.

    Now, take a consumer level laptop with the same specs and you’ll spend alot less. An HP 17in laptop with a similar 2.66Ghz processor, 6Gb DDR2 (there’s no performance difference really between DDR2 and 3), 500Gb HD, Radeon 4650 w/ 1Gb memory (faster than the macs), 802.11N w/ bluetooth, HDMI output, 8Cell battery, Office H&S 2007, Photoshop Element 7, webcam AND a tv tuner comes to $1,918.99. thats without any special deals or coupons. The only area the mac does better is the screen resolution (the HP tops out at 1600×900 but…oh yea you can buy a 24in high end monitor to go dual displays and STILL be cheaper). Is there an apple tax? Hell yes

    Having said that…would I buy a 17in Macbook pro? For what I do now? Yes. As a student. Hell no. thats just silly. its a status symbol for that student then, nothing else. They wont use the performance, they dont need to deal with the headaches that new-gen apple hardware ALWAYS has

  61. mpr Says:

    Why does Apple use 17″ real estate for speakers and the PC manufacturers use it for a number pad? Perhaps it’s because I’m not a big typist/coder/accountant but I have never used the number pad on any computer since my first PC around 20 years ago. I am a sound recordist and closet audiophile and I love the fact Apple give a shiit about their MacBook audio. I switched to a Mac in 2003 and never looked back.

  62. Steve Says:

    Now what we need is “Lauren deals with a virus” or “Lauren’s 17 inch laptop runs real slow now. What could it be?”, etc. Its not all about dollars when the day is done.

  63. CanneryCasinoLasVegas Says:

    its expensive if you want only chat or send emails.

  64. yulman Says:


    “First off, you chose the business class. Those do come with a premium attached. Why not use a similarly equipped gaming laptop?”

    Because MacBook PRO ARE business class laptops. The MacBook are the “cheeper” class

    “Secondly, the Mac’s unibody case tends to cause them to heat up very hot.”

    In Physics, you learn that if heat is moving to the case of the laptop…then it’s not staling inside the laptop. Therefore, your CPU, RAM and HD are “cooler”.

  65. kh Says:

    Actually windows tax is that you have to pay for windows even if you are going to run linux on the machine.

    What was the cost of each machine without windows and also with vista premium and xp downgrade?

  66. Svenbot Says:

    The true tax about apple is that they control both the software and the hardware and can decide at any moment to drop support for your unit.

    The windows Tax is $150 for an OEM of Vista Business but Apple Tax is having to replace the unit more to stay cuttinng edge and be able to purchase new software etc. On top of paying a premium for the hardware.

  67. The Tim Channel Says:

    If you’re the guy that can afford to fix the ongoing Windows problems yourself, and your time isn’t important to you nor do you mind paying yearly fees to Norton et.al in a still possibly vain attempt to keep the cornwigglies out of your crap on April 1’st…..,

    then a Windows product is probably right up your alley.


  68. anon Says:

    My girlfriend just brought home a brand spankin’ new Lenovo laptop from her office, handed to her by her corporate IT department. She was told it cost about $1800 (don’t loose it!). It’s a snazzy tablet, granted Apple doesn’t make them.

    Let’s pretend for a moment that I know nothing about computers.

    I happen to have a PowerBook G4 that cost me $1999 in 2004. Can’t believe it’s almost 5!

    Anyway, based solely on casual observation and no technical analysis, here is my conclusion: My PB G4 runs circles around her brand new Lenovo. Literally. I can’t even tell you.

    Having just read this article, I tried simple boot-up time trials:
    I turned on both computers – In the time it takes for her Vista to boot to the desktop (and it’s custom installed by IT, not a bunch of consumer pre-load crap), I was able to reboot my Mac – from “off” to desktop/application launch ability, 6 times. And I probably could have done it several more, but got bored.

    Let the flames burn. You all can moan about about how taxing Apple is on the price sticker, but I value my time such that pissing away 10 minutes every time I want to turn my computer on is not worth it.

  69. tim Says:

    This article is pretty silly. If you have $3k to spend, what does the supposed mac tax matter? How about a comparison of the lowest-priced Mac against competitors? The lower the cost of the machine, the greater the importance of a logo that purportedly costs $500.

  70. Dan Says:

    If you are “wasting 10 minutes to turn on yor computer”, then you are a distinct minority.The laptop we custom built for a customer that I mentioned earlier takes 38 seconds to reach the login screen from the time you hit the power button, not “10 minutes”.If you are going to offer an opinion, put some meat into it. Then, maybe people won’t “let the flames burn”.

  71. Timothy Says:

    Or maybe it’s based on preference! :O

    I’m a gamer, so of course I use a PC.

  72. James Davis Says:

    I made a “Dell Studio 17” with the same screen, chip, RAM, webcam, DVD, and the like for $1400. Only video card differs slightly, but only slightly. This is before the inevitable Dell clearance discounts. I was impressed with the build quality of the Studio systems I’ve played with.

    Is an aluminum chassis worth an additional $1400? Because that’s the only practical difference between the two.

    Note also that the 90th percentile system, the one with a slightly slower Core 2 chip that Apple doesn’t even offer, dips below $1200.

  73. Corona Says:

    A guy told me about his plan to seriously consider a MBP as his next purchase.
    I was supportive to that and all.
    The other day he came up to me and said, he accepted an offer he could not refuse: A shiny Sony Laptop for some dollars off.

    I did some digging into the specs and guess what? That shitty PC had a BD-drive built in, but only VGA-out! ROTFL!

  74. Innocent Bystander Says:

    Apple’s excellent customer service has to be worth something. I have had the misfortune of having a few problems with my Apple machines and have been extremely pleased with the response from Apple. Conversely, I have had some pretty bad experiences with other brands. I’ll take the hassle free route for a few extra dollars, thank you.

  75. Bill K Says:

    Just a comment on the TCO. As more technical users have become Mac users, I have noticed something very telling, many have the same experience about supporting their families.

    The family member comes up and says “My computer has gone fubar again”. The new mac fan says “I just can’t deal with PCs any more. Get a Mac and I’ll help you all You want”.

    After a few months of this, the family member gets a new mac, but suddenly the tech support is no longer needed.

    So maybe the TCO isn’t in measurable units because end users rarely pay for support, but as more technical users shift away from windows, I see this migration ballooning to their “Supported friends and family network”.

  76. R Cowling Says:

    …BD-drive built in, but only VGA-out!…
    Well let’s see – all my displays take a VGA signal, and that includes my projector and my new LCD TV.
    If you really need DVI or other, Sony sells a docking station. My non-Sony had a connector that simply plugged into a VGA port and had an HDMI (and VGA) on the other end.
    What connector is on the MacBook Pro? Oh, that’s right, the industry standard “mini display port” which you need to get an adaptor to go _anywhere_ – VGA, DVI, (and two to go to HDMI)

  77. Andrew Says:

    I was a PC user for a long time, but bought a Macbook in 2006. I just sold it, nearly 3 years old, for almost $550! Tell me if a 3-year old PC will hold its value that well. Resale value is a consideration too. I probably got back almost 1/3 of what I paid for the machine, certainly 1/4.

    Plus, I don’t miss the spyware and antivirus problems.

  78. demopublican Says:

    Actually, there is a Apple tax:

    In 4-6 months, all of those non-Apple laptops will be around 10-20% less at least. I bet you’ll find that Lenovo (the best all around IMO) under 2K by the end of summer.

    The Apple on the other hand will still be $2799 firm.

  79. Jim Frost Says:

    This has been kind of fun to read. I fall in an interesting camp in that I buy machines across the spectrum and I’ll tell you what: Those cheap Dell and HP laptops are cheap because they are poorly built. They do not last!

    That is independent of Windows versus MacOS, although I think the prime value of Macs lies in MacOS — and it is a huge differentiator, especially over time.

    I’ve typically compared Apple laptops with Lenovo offerings because the build quality is so similar, and the prices are very similar too. Apples to apples (ha-ha) I have always found Apple hardware to be competitively priced.

    Now, one of the comments above said:

    “That said, the TCO for the Mac might still be less – if you’re a non-tech-savvy computer user and you always need to get someone else to fix computer problems. You’re virtually guaranteed to run into a problem with a Windows PC.”

    and this seems to me to persist a myth — that it’s unsophisticated users who buy Macs. There certainly are such users and maybe they’re a majority but A Whole Lot of very technical people buy them too. I’m a pretty darn sophisticated user, of Windows, of Linux, of MacOS, and of pretty near any UNIX you care to name, and let tell you something about TCO … MacOS wrecks Windows in terms of TCO. It isn’t even within an order of magnitude.

    Malware alone pushes Windows over the edge. Most users suffer significantly from it. It is all but nonexistent on Macs (and Linux, and UNIX). I know the arguments as to why this is the case, but consider this: Until OSX malware was just as prevalent on Macs as Windows. Today it is essentially nonexistent, despite the fact that OSX has more market share today than Macs have ever had before in their history. There are technical reasons why this is the case, it isn’t mere market share.

    Even beyond malware there is the effort just to keep Windows systems patched. And defragmented. (Windows disk fragmentation problems are sickening given that the technology to keep such issues under control has been available since 1985 and widespread since 1992.) And even if you do those things the registry gets slower and slower over time.

    The combination of all of these software issues pushed Windows’ TCO so low that an entire industry developed around the ability to snapshot a known-good configuration and quickly restore it, and to do all kinds of performance repairs. This is not, however, the kind of thing that unsophisticated users can manage at all — and it certainly costs a lot in terms of large-scale deployments even though economies of scale work heavily in their favor.

    In the end I’ll use whatever gets the job done best, and there are a lot of cases where that is Windows. For my own desktop at home, though, I’ve found that Macs provide the stability and robustness of UNIX (or Linux, which I have run on my desktops and certain laptops since 1999) with a lot of polished commercial software. It’s a huge win, even in the cases where it might look like there are big cost advantages for Windows. And I just can’t get over the fact that I pull 5 years out of my Macs and the old ones run better and better with each new MacOS. You can run Leopard, well, on 2002-era Mac laptops. You want to try that with Vista SP1? I think not!

    jim frost

  80. Paul Says:

    Interesting that you chose not to use a Dell XPS laptop, instead opting for a business-priced model.

    I suggest you go and spec out an XPS against the MBP and do the same comparison to find your “Mac tax”.

    In addition, XPS machines have HDMI by default and can easily add blu ray.

  81. jgstachecki Says:

    In the RAM section you mention that Apple, Dell, and Sony have DDR3 mem, but you give the advantage to Apple, Dell, and Lenovo, so the final scores should be Lenovo:14, Sony:12

  82. Ed Says:

    Disclaimer. I’m a member of the Apple Consultant Network and have a few old PC systems in inventory but would never consider buying a PC now except for a NetBook running SUSE.

    When you look at Anti-Virus software it really puts MORE of a tax on MS since Apple does not require anti-virus software. It should be noted that NO SOFTWARE will protect you from the stupidity of violent or trojan software being let in the camp but OS X and all Unix variants are very save and secure. Any MS flavor OS will require an annual subscription if you ever intend to use it for e-mail and web browsing.

    You can now for around $50 get a finger print scanner for any Mac using OS X.
    http://www.upek.com/solutions/mac/ While not as great as one embedded into a laptop it can easily be added on.

    OS X also will allow encryption of the hard drive as well as what is currently in memory if you wish to turn on that feature.

    Nice article. I would have added one huge advantage of owning a Mac.
    You get free support just by walking into an Apple Store. For a small charge for Apple Care you can get a 4 year warranty with FREE replacement of any faulty component. I’ve even seen Apple REPLACE FREE OF CHARGE a unit that could not be fixed by a full logic board replacement. It was a white iMac 20” Intel and they replaced it with a BRAND NEW current model 20” with a new one year warranty to boot.

    Apple has the best customer service and support staff of any computer company. At one point that was Gateway PC and they forgot about taking care of quality and the customer. Next was DELL getting greedy and replacing talented staff with the world’s cheapest labor.

    The fact that I can talk to someone who speaks English and I get to walk into a store with my computer and get face to face help is NOT what I would call an Apple tax. Who else offers me this type of return on my investment? 😉

    Kind regards,

  83. kh Says:

    “The true tax about apple is that they control both the software and hardware.”

    You don’t have to buy an apple. How is that a tax? You have to pay for windows for most laptops and many desktops, want it or not – tax.

    “and can decide at any moment to drop support for your unit.”

    so can Microsoft and whoever you bought your machine from, so?

    “having to replace the unit more to stay cuttinng edge”

    Relates more to windows. Macs can get faster with software upgrades. You must upgrade to run new versions of windows.

    “paying a premium for the hardware”

    Well that’s what this is about isn’t it.

  84. Dan Says:

    You MAC guys keep bringing up Malware issues. Well explain this then-http://www.techworld.com/security/news/index.cfm?newsid=1798

  85. d_jedi Says:

    Pretty even-handed comparison.. given that you note many of the areas where people may object to your methodology. I’m not going to say too much on that, since you’ve already brought up most of the ones I thought of while reading this. I would have thrown in a consumer HP and Dell model in there as well (and I think you’d get very different results).

    One thing I do want to point out, though, is that *no one* pays the full list price for a Dell computer – *every* machine is always discounted to some extent (it varies week to week.. and by purchase method.. and by configuration chosen.. etc.). Apple? Not so much.

  86. Terry Says:

    Even though it should have been obvious from the start everyone knows that “rescuecom” is a pack of frauds who aren’t even an Apple repair shop. How you missed that I will never know.

  87. Meh Says:

    People seem to forget… Macs run Windows too

  88. Microsoft TAX Says:

    Who is imposing tax?

    Consider these:

    All new Macbook (aluminium) comes with DDR3, and not DDDR2. For the same buck, you get the gadget that has a lot more memory throughput. It like driving on a 5-lane freeway and a 3lane highway.

    On OS X, printing to PDF is in-built. For Windows, you need to pay Adobe tax, and that is close to a 100 buck.

    OS X Leopard comes with iLife – include:

    iPhoto – On Windows, pay Adobe/Ulead Taxes
    iDVD – On Windows, pay Nero Tax
    iMovie – On Windows, pay Adobe Tax (Premiere), or Pinnacles Tax (Studioworks)
    GarageBand – On windows, $$$

    So, Microsoft is right that you pay them less tax, but they failed to tell you that for Mac, you pay only Apple, for Windows, you pay them and many others taxes.

    After paying all that taxes, you need to figure out how to get those software play together nicely. That’s the fun Microsoft promise. Less tax to them, more fun from everyone to you, and they get their happy customers (not you).

    After you get them playing nicely, they may not even stack up to perform what you want. By the time you figure this out, they have their next release, and tell you that it will be better.

    So, the big picture is: do you want to pay Apple tax once and get your working machine, OR, you pay Microsoft and their allies taxes individually, and you get the machine working.

    Now, someone may argue that many of the software are bundled, .. wait a minute, what term did they invent for those ??? Adware = Advertisement-software, which means, they are stripped down versions, drugs to get you on to pay them taxes!

  89. Notebook Neutral Says:

    The W700 comes with DDR3 memory not DDR2. It also offers a built in colorimeter and Compact Flash reader for about $70. Built in Wacom tablet add another $60.

    One of the key features and differences of these systems listed W700, Dell Precision 6400, MBP 17 are their screens and GPUs. Both the Dell and Lenovo W700 in this price range offer a Quadro FX 2700 at least a $300 upgrade over the MBP’s 9600M GT. That gets you 48 cores instead of 32 and 256 bit vs. 128 bit, a much faster more capable GPU.
    The Dell offers an RGB LED screen that sets it appart from the rest with approx 100% aRGB in both the edge to edge glossy or non-glare options. I’d rate the MBP screen second, with the W700 screen initially a brighter and possibly even better (than MBP), but its dual CCFL lamps will fall off much faster than the LEDs.

    The Dell 6400 is the most future proof and offers more expandability than the MBP. Up to 16GB RAM, 2 HD bays and full RAID configuration options. Read about warranties below in the W500 MBP comparison.

    The Macbook Pro 17’s strength is its portability, both in size/weight and battery capacity.

    I am trying to decide between the Dell and MBP and it is a hard decision. Where the Dell smokes the Mac in performance, features and upgrades, it is an otherwise over sized battery hog.

    Jim Frost: “I’ve typically compared Apple laptops with Lenovo offerings because the build quality is so similar, and the prices are very similar too.”

    I posted this on Cult of Mac in response to “Expensive Macs – the Myth…” a week ago:

    Lenovo W500 priced on 3/20/09

    Processor1 Intel Core 2 Duo processor T9600 (2.8GHz 1066MHz 6MBL2)
    Operating system Genuine Windows Vista Business 64
    Recovery DVD Microsoft Windows XP Professional US English RDVD
    Display type 15.4″ WSXGA+ TFT, w/ CCFL Backlight
    System graphics ATI Mobility FireGL V5700 with 512MB VRAM
    Total memory 4 GB PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM 1067MHz SODIMM Memory (2 DIMM)
    Keyboard Keyboard US English
    Pointing device UltraNav (TrackPoint and TouchPad) with Fingerprint Reader
    Camera 1.3 Megapixel Integrated Camera
    Hard drive 200 GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm with Disk Encryption
    Optical device5 DVD Recordable 8x Max Dual Layer, Ultrabay Slim (Serial ATA)
    Card Reader 7 in 1 Media Card Reader
    System expansion slots Express Card Slot & PC Card Slot
    Bluetooth Integrated Bluetooth PAN
    Integrated WiFi wireless LAN adapters10 Intel WiFi Link 5300 (AGN) with My WiFi Technology
    Mobile Broadband Integrated AT&T Mobile Broadband Card (3G)
    Battery 9 cell Li-Ion Battery (84wh)
    Power cord Country Pack North America with Line cord & 90W AC adapter
    Language pack Language Pack US English

    41C9338 3 Year On Site Upgrade with 3 Year ThinkPad Protection

    Total 2,462 – after discount $2039.40. PC laptops are routinely if not always available with discounted pricing as is the case today and most other days.

    The Thinkpad W500 comes with:
    a faster CPU 2.8 vs 2.66 ($150) – Macbook Pro 15.4 N/A
    a fingerprint reader ($30) – Macbook Pro N/A
    a higher resolution WSXGA screen that costs approx $50 more than the 1440 x 900 LED screen option, there is also the option for WUXGA. Both options not even available on a 15.4 Macbook Pro.
    ATI Mobility FireGL V5700 with 512MB VRAM vs NVIDIA 9600M
    200 GB 7200 RPM drive with Disk Encryption – Macbook Pro as priced in this comparison has a 250GB 7200 RPM drive without Disk Encryption – lets be generous and say the Macbook’s drive is worth $75 more, which it isn’t. Larger capacity drives can be added to either system.
    W500 and Macbook Pro as configured come with 4GB DDR3 RAM, the W500 can be ordered with up to 8GB.
    There are options like Blue Ray, RAID configuration, Display Port with audio support that works with standard cables etc. – Macbook Pro N/A
    The Macbook Pro has a backlit keyboard, the W500 is lit from an LED above the keyboard, and is a spill resistant design with drains. The Macbook Pro comes with moisture sensors to insure you will pay if there is any damage due to moisture.
    Which brings us to warranties:
    The W500 as configured includes a 3 year, On Site, Accidental Coverage – You are covered no matter what except for theft.
    Apple requires you to pay an additional $350 for Apple Care which is nothing but an extended warranty for defects for three years. So the Macbook Pro really costs at least $700 more and is a less powerful system as configured. So I can get a more powerful system, with more features and options for over $500 dollars less and if anything happens to it or breaks for the next three years a technician will be sent to my location and all repairs will be covered vs a Macbook Pro where you could easily be out of pocket several hundred dollars not to mention the cost of replacing the system.

    Macbook Pro:

    2.66 GHz CPU
    4GB RAM
    1440 x 900 LED screen
    250 GB 7200 HD
    3 Year Apple Care

    $2,823.00 vs. $2,039

  90. windows on mac guy Says:

    I have a first generation MacbookPro with 2GB DDR2 RAM. Today, this 3 year old is still working great. I develop software, test them on virtual machines. I have VMware Fusion (host some Linux for testing), Parallel for Mac (host my Windows XP from old Fujitsu), Sun VirtualBox (obviously OpenSolaris), and codeweaver CrossOver Mac (wine) for running Spice. On most occasions, I have two VMs running, everything works swiftly, all within 2GB.

    I also have a Lenovo X61 with 2GB of DDR2 RAM, booting Vista itself is a painfully slow process. It is less than 1 year-old, it is now only used by my kids for surfing Web, even that, they have realized how much faster Safari on Windows is than IE (nobody told them so, all I did was to install Safari on that machine).

    Now, I am not getting into this debate on ‘taxes’, it is childish and stupid. All I want is a stable machine that work out-of-the-box. If I have to pay a little taxes to get that, I am more than happy to do so.

    Mac is great for software development. Period.

  91. Svenbot Says:

    I say Mac OS is far superior to windows and Linux, but Apple is just as evil company as MS. But far more competent with Quality Assurance. They charge a premium for their hardware because they market it very well and can. It’s cool to own a Mac (though I never would). No other company knows how to keep opening your wallet like apple. Except for maybe the oil companies.

  92. Notebook Neutral Says:

    “The fact that I can talk to someone who speaks English and I get to walk into a store with my computer and get face to face help is NOT what I would call an Apple tax. Who else offers me this type of return on my investment? ;-)”

    Apple’s Warranty is the clearest disadvantage in my view. As I stated above Apple Care is nothing but an extended warranty against defects. You are actually paying Apple $350 for any defects (that are Apple’s fault) in the system up front. We are not talking accidents or wear and tear, we are talking about if your Mac does not last three years or anything fails prematurely you better pay $350 in addition to your purchase if you want to be covered, and forget about accidental or on site coverage. “I get to walk into an Apple Store” – you sure do because Apple does not offer On Site Support. Regarding the quality of Service, remember the author has correctly made this comparison with Business class systems. That is what you should get when you are paying this kind of money $2K + , a premium business class mobile workstation with premium business class warranties. For $100 Dell offers “Pro Support” for three years, which is North American level 2 support, in addition to other services. I have tested Apple Care and I would agree they are above average relative to standard tech support, but they are not level 2, at least not with any consistency.

  93. I hate my PC Says:

    Does Lauren really go into the Apple store ?
    … look at the bald guy behind her, then in front of her 2 seconds later … hmmm

    when I wake up April 1st … will my work PC …. work …. ???
    when I wake up April 1st … will my home Mac … work …. yes !!

  94. PC Hardware Guy Says:

    I work in the IT industry managing engineering department, but off office hours, I have been fiddling with hardware, fixing computer problems for extended family members and friends. I use and tweak Linux, OS X and Windows (3.1/95/98/Me/NT4/2000/XP/Vista).

    I have my two cents worth : It is all about what you want to do with the machine.

    For Gamers, go for the PC hardware, simply because these folks always are the one first out the blocks, both Intel and Microsoft have great vested interests in them to get there gears out to the market for real-world tests. Most game writers also cater to exploit the latest power in new hardware. So, the new frontiers are the right battleground.

    For non-tech savvy: My advice is not to go for the latest-and-greatest configurations. The salesman will always use those to entice, exploiting human weakness in always wanting the best, even though the best is not needed. The thing is this: Latest and greatest stuffs always come with greater risks of having bugs or performance problems.

    For tech-savvy: Need I say more, fear no problems.

    For stability of overall system, it must be Apple. For Apple, though their specs are not always the best (longer product renewal cycle), but they build their product reputation on user-experience which get them the cult-like followings; people love it because they are really great machines with great experiences. Think about this: many have build MP3 player before Apple, why is it that iPod made it and not others? User experience is the answer.

    For multilingual usage, it must be Apple too. Multilingual input is in-built, and is so easy. On Windows, though it does come with multilingual support, but often, it behave so intermittently strange.

  95. GRPeng Says:

    The first category I decided to look at in your review was graphics systems. You really minimized the importance of this section. The Quadro FX2700M (and option for the even faster FX3700M) would crush the 9600M in the MacBook Pro in any 3D or engineering programs. That almost renders the article as a farce in my opinion. I know a half dozen engineers/high end designers that would love to have gotten a MBP but just hung their heads and ordered Dells or HPs for the huge jump in graphics performance. It can make a big difference in some filters in the CS4 version of Photoshop too. The MBP is not a machine for high end graphics users though it is priced that way. Even the Gateway FX P-7805u ($1150 at BestBuy) would put the MBP to shame in any application that stresses the GPU.

    There are NO consumer devices that take advantage of the faster speed of FW800 other than hard drives, and eSATA blows it away on speed (five external drives on one eSATA port with a multiplexer). Are there any native FW800 SSD drives? No, and even if there were they would be crippled by the slow speed of the interface. USB 3 was demonstrated at CES, so right now it is at least 3 months ahead of whatever the next version of FireWire will be. FireWire is going the way of SCSI, it will only be a memory in 2 years.

    I used to be a huge Mac advocate from 1988 until the G5 tower came out, but Apple has kicked low to mid range tower users in the teeth every year since then.

  96. Wyatt Says:

    The irony of the Microsoft ad: Lauren drives a Volkswagen from the Apple store to Best Buy. Yes, I’m sure Lauren is concerned about paying a higher price when there are cheaper models available… 🙂

  97. lt Says:

    I read a lot from notebook screen. The biggest advantage of working on a Mac compared to Windows is : The font technologies in Mac OS is light years ahead of Windows.

    Previously, I cannot read for more than 30 minutes on a Windows rendered screen. Now, on Mac OS, I can read for hours in a row.

    I did some experiments recently:

    I have my Internet Explorer executing in Windows XP (SP3) in Parallel for Mac in coherent mode. Safari 3 in Mac OS. I made both show the same web page, and it is so obvious the font rendering is so much better on Mac OS.

    Then, I had Safari 3.0 running in Windows XP and Mac OS. Again, showing the same web page, though the page looks better in Safari for Windows than IE, but, still no comparisons to Safari on Mac OS.

    So, what does it takes to get Windows to render the same high quality display? Probably Vista is capable of better, but probably, only Microsoft can tell us how much taxes we need to pay them to get the same quality.

  98. jasmincormier Says:

    I don’t get why people get so emotional about an ad that said PC’s were somehow better than Macs. Hasn’t apple done this for years in its ads (saying Macs were better than PC’s)?

  99. caryb Says:

    This article although looks at hardware it fails to look at a 2nd tax, the micro$oft tax if you took off the price of vista (as I would be installing Kubuntu) that would throw the pricing disparity back a bit.


  100. Glen Turner Says:

    Nice article. For the record, Apple can supply an external modem for the Mac, the “Apple USB modem” for US$49 (a Motorola/Freescale SM56 UbiSurf soft modem in an Apple gloss white chassis).

  101. Mike Says:

    Okay, here’s what you missed. Go to Newegg.com. Search for ASUS notebooks. Pick a comparably spec’d one. Now you have a contest. This is appropriate since I’m pretty sure ASUS has built most MacBooks that have been released to date. Let me know how that goes. I think you’ll be surprised.

  102. Mike Says:

    For example, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834220492. Game, set, match.

  103. Midnightbrewer Says:

    FYI: every Apple laptop I’ve had, since the original PowerBook G4, supports docking mode if an external monitor, keyboard and mouse are attached. All you have to do is connect them and then start the computer with the lid closed (and that’s a dubious necessity, too, since you can connect all of these peripherals with the lid open and simply use the external monitor as a second screen. Apple definitely deserves a dock rating in this category.

    In addition, to refute in no particular order:

    Firewire is not dead, at least for professional audio/video producers, even if it’s not necessary for Lauren.

    As far as the new unibody Macbook Pros are concerned (like the one I’m typing this on), there are no serious heat issues, and definitely far better than in the past.

    You can’t home-brew a laptop, so comparing a self-built desktop system isn’t helpful.

    Don’t bring up Hackintoshes, either, as that’s not a realistic option for 99% of consumers out there.

    Don’t blame OSX stability on limited hardware. Realistically, there aren’t that many PC peripheral manufacturers anymore, either, and the main hardware issues with Vista stemmed from lack of support from the most mainstream of those, namely Nvidia, ATI and Creative.

    “Mac” is never in all caps. It is not an acronym, it is an abbreviation. “MAC” stands for “Media Access Control”. “Mac” is the shortened form of “Macintosh”.

  104. ian mcgrady Says:

    does anyone care about this point:

    when she walks in she says “I want a laptop for under $1000…” etc. In the spot she says Apple’s “computers” are north of $1,000

    but that’s b.s.

    Apple has a mini, and heck, even the iTouch and the iPhone are computers under that price

    so it may seem like a moot point

    but the commercial equivocates computers with laptops which is not the case with Apple

    I’m thinking it’s a truth in advertising issue more than anything

  105. stinky Says:

    Piss on MAC, settle for Windows until you and the rest learn to use Linux. No need to trade one evil for a greater one. Live outside of the cloud of Smug. I-diots love to show how special they are because they have a cute logo on their hardware. That logo really does show a lot. Yeah, that is cute.

  106. Rafael Says:

    Me parece un analisis bastante subjetivo y algo parcializado para las mac, creo que el editor es un apple fanboy, sobre todo porque existen pcs mucho más baratas que las macs.
    El hecho de que las macs cuesten más caro es un factor emocional, de preferencias, más que un factor que pueda definirse como tecnico.
    Si alguien quiere pagar 1000 dólares más por una computadora bueno esta en su derecho.

  107. Michichael Says:

    I know, let’s count the freebies that nobody cares about he gave Mac to boost it’s score:

    Battery – So a supposed long life battery that can only be replaced by sending the entire system in gets a free point? WRONG! -1.

    Firewire – Do I even need to touch this one? I know of *nothing* that actually uses this dead standard, and regardless, all of the laptops are firewire compatible. -2.

    Bundled Media Software – AKA BLoatware. I’m sorry, did you seriously just give MacBook a point for bundling bloatware? -3.

    Dimensions – So… because it’s dimensions are reduced at the added cost of having to replace your battery by mailing your computer in… it gets a point? No. Computer users don’t compare PC sizes like they do their e-peens. Two inches does not matter. -4.

    Construction – Yeah don’t even get me started here. You note the aesthetics and forget the practicality… what happens when you drop/scratch/scuff your pretty aluminum and have to send the entire case in if you don’t want an ugly scar on it. Or you could buy any other modularized system, with it’s “ugly” factor. -5.

    Environmental Impact – Yeah, like this isn’t the most obvious freebie. -6.

    So if you take away the freebies that the author gave Mac and do a *real* spec by spec comparison, you’ll see it falls to almost last place.

    Move on to your TCO, and have fun paying your Mac Tax when you scratch it, the battery goes bad, or you want to play a video game. 😉

  108. truth Says:

    Hey folks,

    I cannot help but be amused by all these talk about taxes; man, didn;t we fall into Microsoft’s trap of confusing the world !

    You see, we got side-tracked – why Mac is selling better is not just because of the looks of the hardware, it is REALLY the OS is more stable and much better built. That keep loyal Mac folks hooked, and attract more and more new Windows converts.

    The HARDWARE folks the likes of HP, Dell, Sony and etc., are really the victims, they are trying all their best to slash their margins. Though they are building fast, better, cheaper hardware spec than Apple each time a new model, it is just different – the root cause of their problem is not their design, it is the operating system just do not stack up!

    You see, a F1 class car with a lousy brain driving, may not out run a mini.

    So, the hardware folks should really fix the software that runs in their brain. Either they get the brain maker to do that, or, it is good time to spin their own, take control of their own destiny, just like Apple, adopt BSD, take it to new heights.

    To me, that is taking firm actions to deliver their promises to their shareholders. That is creating real competitions to give Apple a run for their money.

    The day Apple switched to Intel hardware, the world should have got the clear message: It will not be the hardware that make the differences anymore, it will be the SOFTWARE, stupid.

    Apple, in the mean time, just stay at the side line, keep making their Leopard better each day, with Snow Leopard coming on real soon to raise the bar.

    I love my Mac, I love competitions, that will only make Apple stronger.

  109. Cubbs Says:

    “…as long as you are willing to suffer through 3, maybe 4 reinstalls of the OS and use inferior photo, music and Office software (yes MS office for the Mac is superior)….”

    Office 2008 for Mac is seriously crippled compared to the Windows edition, dont ever pretend otherwise. And yes, I use a MBP daily, and often have to resort to Office2007 in a VM to get certain Excel tasks done properly.

  110. Happy Mac User Says:

    Let me relate my experiences with Applecare:

    When I bought my MacbookPro 2 years ago, frankly, I reluctantly paid for the applecare. Now, I am more than glad to had done that. The power adapter’s MacSafe plug was recently giving me problem, not that it did not work, but sometimes, the power light does not turn up and the battery do not charge. I brought it to Applecare center, after 5 minutes of waiting, I get a confirmation that it will be exchanged. No hassle.

    This contrasted with an experiences that I had with my previous S-series notebook from a vendor F. It was a business notebook and I paid a premium, more than what I paid for the MacbookPro (including the Applecare). I had a docking bar too. After the second year, the power adapter will not connect properly to the notebook, due mostly to wear-and-tear (I travel a lot). The service center cannot fix the problem, the only option to me was to change the mainboard!

    That forced me to lug my docking bar around the world for a few months, before I bought my Macbook Pro.

    So, the price I paid for “windows-care” = The price of my new Macbook Pro, which is definitely > Applecare price.

    The crux of this story is: The Applecare does work, and worth every single cents (I got mine back), especially if you are a heavy user.

  111. Reply to Cubbs Says:

    > # Cubbs Says:
    > April 1st, 2009 at 12:34 am
    > “…as long as you are willing to suffer through 3, maybe 4 reinstalls of the OS and use inferior photo, music and Office software (yes MS office for the Mac is superior)….”

    > Office 2008 for Mac is seriously crippled compared to the Windows edition, dont ever pretend otherwise. And yes, I use a MBP daily, and often have to resort to Office2007 in a VM to get certain Excel tasks done properly.

    Well, I have recently (2 months back) help 4 friends who are windows user convert to new 15-inch Macbook Pro Aluminium, with Microsoft Office for Mac 2008, so, far, they are a really happy lot!

    Now, I do agree with Cubbs that “Microsoft Office for Mac 2008” is one of the worst badly written Mac software as far as installations steps are concerned. However, it is MICROSOFT right, what else should one expect ? Anyway, my Windows trained friends did not even blink an eye when Office 2008 for Mac asked to restart the Mac many times. To them, is that normal, what the big fuss that was?

    Like many Windows installations, after a lot of sweating, the installation was happy, and when Office for Mac open up my friends documents, all I heard were WOW! The same document look so different – they were as good as printed paper!

  112. Sam Stewart Says:

    Why not include Apple’s optional extended warranty to give it the same warranty as the Dell and HP? That, I think, would make it the most expensive.

    An extended warranty – the guarantee of having a working laptop for 3 years as opposed to 1 year – is a whole lot much more important than, say, an extra USB port or two. I understand that different people will weight different things differently, but if you’d quibble about $150 (the difference between the Dell and the Apple), then I think you’d definitely quibble about having a hefty repair bill after 1 year rather than after 3! Especially with all the dodgy nVidia cards around;)

  113. Soeren Says:

    I agree with the above posters that the warranty needs to be taken into account. It´s one thing every single comparison neglects, but which is really key to all users and especially so if youre using this as your primary working machine. Apple support is ridiculous compared to Dells 24h on site support and I think its absurd to not offer a good warranty on a premium product like the 17-inch MacBook Pro. No valid comparison of prices can be made without taking this important difference into account.. and yes, taking this into account the MacBook Pro is the most expensive model out of all those listed. Also, since the extended warranty always costs the same, the price difference is even more noticeable if you look at the cheaper models. You can get a well equipped Lenovo T400 with a 4 year on site warranty for less than the base model MacBook Pro.

  114. Catelu Says:

    Apple fans are now claiming Mac is superior because the PC buyer wears big, nerd glasses. Seems like Mac Tax is turning into a stupidity tax.

  115. boo macs Says:

    If you build a $3000 windows based notebook, I guarantee it will blow the macbook out of the water.

  116. Allen Says:

    I will never own an Apple because of the attitude. Not to mention calling their in-store support people “Geniuses”.

  117. Shane Says:

    Never mind the fact that those laptops you show are just plain ugly to look at and use. I have used Windows PC’s my whole life and when I finally switched over to Mac I enjoy lower TCO by magnitudes and the design is perfect!!!! I actually WANT to use my computer again. Let’s not add in the fact that “lauren” hasn’t spent the money yet on the headaches of constant virus infections, bloated software, and adding all the additional benefits a mac gives you out of the box…..this ad is crap IMHO because all it does is prove the case that you get what you pay for! Good job MS.

  118. Greg Says:

    WAY Oversimplified comparison. The macbook doesn’t have a memory card reader and the others all do. Just because one is 8 in 1 vs 6 in 1, or whatever, doesn’t mean that the macbook (given 0 points) should be given the same score as one with 6 in 1. Also, a point for firewire? It’s a dying port, I appreciate the other brands saving space by omitting it.

    The bottom line is that there is essentially ONE Macbook you can buy and a multitude of other brands’ models to choose from. If you pick the features that are important to *you*, you can DEFINITELY find a high quality laptop with all the features you need (and more) for less money. There’s no Apple Tax, it’s called profit margin. Apple marks up their laptops insanely (as do HP, Sony, etc on these high end units).

    The point is that you can get a great business line laptop for less than the price of a Mac, and you get to pick your features. Shopping for a Mac is like walking into a car dealership and saying “I just need your standard model, with upgrade X, and Y” and the sleezy salesman saying “I’m sorry, we *only* sell fully loaded models with leather seats, seat warmers, 3 sunroofs, and alloy rims. If you want our car, you’ll have to get it all” and then charge you a boatload for it.

    Mac is a status symbol, and it’s trendy, and that’s all fine, but don’t paint it otherwise. If you buy a Mac, you’re getting a good computer, and you’re getting a shiny status symbol, and you pay a premium for it. Just don’t pretend like you made a financially prudent decision (which is what these comparison reviews are all supposed to set straight for us).

    Based on basic consumerism, I’d rather have more choice, less lock in (Macs are VERY vertically integrated), and smaller margins (thus lower price). Mac is marketing to a niche market that is more concerned with what it means to be a mac owner than their overall productivity and bang for their buck. This is how Apple markets all their products, and it works, so I don’t fault them. I just fault people who don’t realize that’s what they’re buying into.

  119. Carl Wheeler Says:

    I gotta say, this is all pretty freakin’ ridiculous.

  120. Myles Says:

    This was a somewhat decent comparison. Lots of detail left out, but understandable. I know it was mostly a hardware comparison but if software was included, there is lots of good free software out there for PC that you simply cannot get on mac. Such as Open Office. Which is compatible with all of microsoft office’s file formats. Microsoft works however is crap. If i got that free with a laptop I’d chuck it and use Open Office, hands down. Also I think the functionality of windows sidebar in Vista is more practical then Mac’s Dashboard. I hate wasting my whole screen just to view my gadgets, even for only a few seconds. And the dashboard takes forever to load the first time you view it. The sidebar loads when windows loads, and thats it. No long wait to view your gadgets. This long wait to view my dashboard may however be because I have an older PowerPC mac. Lets aslo not forget that windows isn’t only business. There’s Movie Maker which I think is just as easy, if not easier then macs iMovie. Media Center is decent for movie watching, especially if you get the remote for it which is only $40. I don’t even know if macs have a remote for their iDVD player. Just because its a laptop doesn’t mean you cant hook it up to a nice TV and watch movies with it. Lets get our heads out of the sand about windows being for business machines. They’re also better for gaming then macs. Mostly because of the sheer availability of games for PC. Macs get a port of the more popular games and thats it. Thats my 2 or 3 cents.

  121. Rob Says:

    I am sorry Mr. Cowling but yes there is 40% penetration of the Mac in colleges.
    LOL – but now that I see you responded to my post with a url from Paul’s windows supersite, I can only conclude that you are truly an idiot ( or just a biased writer). Afterall, only an idiot would believe anything paul thourot said about window/macs.

  122. Jim Says:

    In other news, Obama’s budget ushers in a new era of fiscal responsibility.

  123. David Says:

    This is an excellent basis for an argument that I have been making, that no one condemns other computer makers as being unfair because they have premium hardware. I also wouldn’t pay 3 grand for a notebook, although you do get a lot of machine these days. The W700 can be configured with all sorts of additional features including a second monitor. These are serious machines. Some articles point to the fact that Lauren chose a laptop that has some pretty poor technical specs (no one really likes the AMD processor they have been putting in them and the screen itself is substandard).

    I personally think that Apple’s mistakes (which have nothing to do with me since I don’t own their computer or their stock) is in the quality of screen of their 13 and 15 inch. Glossy and not really top notch color. But the 17 inch is very nice.

    Oh and typing on the 13 inch is better than any laptop I have typed on. Don’t try and type on a netbook if you value your sanity.

  124. David Hamilton Says:

    “there is lots of good free software out there for PC that you simply cannot get on mac. Such as Open Office.”

    Myles, I’m afraid you are completely wrong on that. You can get Open Office in not one but two forms on the Mac, both of which support version 3.0 of OO, and at least one of which will support your PowerPC:

    NeoOffice – http://www.neooffice.org/neojava/en/index.php

    OpenOffice – http://download.openoffice.org/other.html

  125. Luke Says:

    I fail to see the point for comparing business class laptops to a mac unless the service/warranty is included in the comparison.

    I also fail to see the point of those saying to run bootcamp on the mac if you want to run Windows programs as you would have to install a retail (not oem) version to legally run windows based applications. Aside from the cost, one also has to assume that the user has the technical ability to do this as well.

    Lastly, I cannot abide security-through-obsurcity that some mac users consider a virtue. As soon as someone decides that there are enough macs out there to make it worth their while to write something that takes advantages to the holes (for example, the security hole that let Charlie Miller, the winner of this year’s CanSecWest PWN2OWN contest, hack a fully patched Macbook in 10 seconds) then the house of cards comes crashing down. When it happens, try taking your mac to your computer-knowledgable buddy and watch them scratch their head. Mac users should want as little people as possible using Apple products.

  126. imapc Says:

    It’s all about choice (4 windows laptops, all customizable!) vs not….what apple feeds you.

  127. carmen hughes Says:

    Well done!! Of course MFST would never want consumers to look under the hood—it wouldn’t be a pretty vista. 😉

  128. Crunchy Steve Says:

    As one of the first comments said, a 17″ laptop is a desktop that’s luggable. Lauren’s grand would have got her a very nice 09 white MacBook (the machine I use for everything, including Windows compatibility, video, music, coding and all the basic stuff)

    The 17″ Lauren bought is an overweight netbook with no more pixels than my MacBook (the MacBook Pro 17 goes way above Lauren’s for res) It’s a specious comparison. There are loads of people who buy a computer not even knowing what they want it for, let alone knowing why Lauren’s computer is potentially a whole bag of hurt.

    Microsoft are simply trying to con these people buying their product (and their partners’) their way, while Apple market another.

  129. Henry Says:

    Why was Macbook Pro compared to high end workstation laptops not designed for the same market as the Macbook Pro? The Quadro FX video card is NOT a gaming card. The 9600M is and it even states as much on the Apple website.

    Quadro FX video cards are high end workstation cards designed for heavy rendering programs like AutoCad and are not designed for normal consumers. Quadro FX cards have always been considerably more expensive then the consumer counterpart found in the Macbook Pro. This one fact destroys the entire comparison because of the cost savings that would be found by using a video card that would be of use to the consumer.

    In fact you can’t even buy a laptop with a Quadro FX video card in it from a place like Best Buy or CompUSA.

    Audio quality on any laptop is mediocre at best. To say the Macbook Pro is better simply because of optical out is wrong. The audio card internal to the Macbook Pro still sucks like the rest of them. You listen to that 128kbps song bought from iTunes on that Macbook Pro then any of the other laptops and you won’t hear a single difference in quality.

    The average consumer could care less about things like the dying Firewire standard or a fingerprint reader.

    Productivity software? OpenOffice is FREE!. Dell systems all come with Microsoft Works as well.

    Things like battery life (blindly accepting Apple’s 8 hour claim is absurd), support and looks are totally subjective and differ from person to person so there is no “advantage.”

    However, I will ask one more question:

    Why was the Macbook Pro not compared against something like the Dell Studio 17? The answer is because it can’t. The whole article is destroyed when the Macbook Pro is compared to another laptop that is far more in line with what the Macbook Pro has hardware wise.

    Dell Studio 17:
    Intel C2D 2.66Ghz
    4GB RAM
    RGB LED widescreen display with 1920×1200 resolution
    500GB 5400RPM HDD
    Radeon HD3650
    ExpressCard Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Sound Card (this will solve your audio problem although in the long run that 128kbps ACC file will still sound the same)
    Intel wireless-n wifi NIC
    2.0MP webcam
    8x DVD-R
    Finger print reader is available on the Stuido 17 if somebody really cares but I didn’t put it on this Studio 17.

    Total cost is $1,664 compared to your Macbook Pro cost of $2,799. In this case the only TRUE advantage the Macbook Pro has is that the 9600M is a faster video card and that video card certainly isn’t worth the $1135 price difference.

  130. Harry McCracken Says:

    Thanks to everyone for the profusion of feedback–there’s a lot of great stuff here, even when it seems to convey diametrically-opposing opinions. I’m going to try and do at least one more story based on some of the stuff here, but one quick thing before I forget: I found the Windows machines I wrote about by going to the homepages of the companies in question, and drilling down in the sections until I came to machines that were roughly comparable with the MacBook Pro. (No conspiracies; no attempts to skew the prices high, etc.) That’s one reason why I didn’t write about gaming systems, for instance: The MacBook Pro is far more likely to be used by businesspeople than it is by gamers. That said, I may compare it to a gaming machine or two to see how it stacks up.


  131. Gatzby Says:

    What is the use of optical out if you have HDMI ? It also outputs digital sound, so hook it up to your home theater, and even for digital audio you’ve got full surround… If you don’t have HDMI in on your amp, but say like a high quality ARCAM or LINN amp, get a splitter to go to two channel stereo… but then you have no use for digital out either 🙂

  132. Henry Says:

    Dell Studio 17 is NOT a gaming machine. Macs are worthless for gaming on unless you play something like WoW. Macs should not be priced against a gaming laptop. Especially if you argue that you can use Bootcamp. If you plan on using Windows for you’re better off just buying a PC.

    How did you decide that a Mac would be used as a business purpose and put it against something running a Quadro FX? A business would never run something intensive like AutoCad on a mediocre video card like the 9600M or HD3650 in the Studio 17. Plus a business would not pay the money for the Quadro FX if it wasn’t going to be using it for heavy rendering.

    How did you decide that business people are more likely to use the Mac over a low cost Windows XP based laptop?

    When was the last time you saw an business use a Macbook Pro if they were doing heavy rendering? At the very least they would go Mac Pro for the total horsepower.

    A true comparison would be normal consumer based laptops like the Studio 17 compared to the Macbook Pro. The Macbook Pro will lose every time.

    You can’t buy a laptop with the Quadro FX video card in a place like Best Buy for a reason. It’s totally business oriented. Macbook Pros are not. No matter how you try to argue it they are not targeted towards businesses which is why you can walk into the Apple Store or Best Buy and pick one up. Yes, a business could use a Macbook Pro as it’s primary laptop but it could also use an Asus Eee PC if it so desired.

    Business purchases are all about cost. Why would they spend $2,799 per laptop when you can get a Windows XP based laptop for a third of the price? Even if you were in business for yourself and looking at laptops unless you were blinded by FUD you can’t justify the Apple Tax.

  133. timnuccio Says:

    Environmental impact? You cannot be serious.

  134. CJ Says:

    Why is Apple’s top of the line laptop not “business class”?

    What exactly is “business class”?

  135. Crystal Says:

    This debate is bring out alot in people, wow. I was hoping this article would help finally decide what laptop. Now just more confess then ever before what worth buying, I though after today finally made decide what buy after my poor bother has be fight two year old dell get working almost every single day. Now after reading this article I just don’t know even more, all know is that Mac more expensive and PCs depending on brand you get what you paid for.

  136. Rob Says:

    In terms of what most ordinary users need, you can get into a PC laptop for at least $400 less.

  137. Darth_Sylon Says:

    Heh. As I was reading the comments to this article by PC users saying how PC’s are so much better than Mac, wouldn’t you know it the blue screen of death popped up. Yep my POS Vista PC crashed. I don’t have the money for a Mac. But I wouldn’t have the money to get a new PC either. I’m flat broke at the moment. I started using Mac over the last four or so years and sorry to say guys they’re just better computers. OSX is God.

  138. matt Says:

    @Glenn Jones

    Hey dude, we should at least stay with the facts:

    The first macbook pro is a good three years old, i.e. it is fromm january 2006. – laptops from apple before that didn´t have intel chips and therfore didn´t support virtualisation (well, only through Virtual PC which sucked).

  139. Stephen Says:

    I understand that you made it clear you were only comparing hardware specs, because that’s the only way to directly compare price points in this article. I also agree that there’s an element of subjectivity in OS preference (partly due to design but also due to specific user requirements). Having said all that, I think it’s important to understand that the reason many people prefer to use a Mac is entirely 100% due to the software, and that’s really what they’re paying the premium price for. It’s meaningless to tell the average Mac user that they can save $500 by purchasing a Windows PC which has the same hardware specs. I’ll never go back to Windows, not because I’m an idiot who likes to pay extra for a logo in order to ‘look cool’, but because my computer is the most important tool and how it works is pretty important to me every day.

  140. datsunzcr Says:

    As a computer hardware engineer, I know hardware. As a MCSE for 15 years, I know Windows. I switched to Mac 15 months ago and have never looked back. This article hits the hardware nail right on the head. I have to give kudos to the author – Great Job! I know how to get OS X to run on a standard “PC” computer – lots of people out there do as the core of the OS is Darwin which is a Unix based OS. Unix has been around for years and it open source. It is very mature. Apple created a very elegant GUI to run on Darwin. They have very strict design guidelines so that everything works properly. They partnered with Intel to create the best (in my opinion) motherboard so that the hardware runs flawlessly. If you want a cheap computer, you get cheap generic hardware. Apple’s hardware is premium. I have built systems for years. I would not build computers for people with AMD processors because they fail. I would not put cheap RAM in computers to save a penny because the system would not run its best – wether it be Windows or something else. A few extra dollars now gets the consumer a computer that will last for 4 to 5 years. The typical Windows user goes and purchases a new computer every 2 years because the system becomes unusable due to the OS and not the hardware. There is no return on investment when you buy a PC, but it seems to me that there is when you by a Mac. Personally, I think that it is due to the fact that the hardware lasts. For those of you who have had hardware problems with Macs, I feel sorry for you, but there are just as many PC users who have had the same problem. The typical failure rate for hardware is 10% of what is built. This is a standard engineering practice. Apple tests their hardware to minimize this failure rate, but it still exists.

    The MacBook Pro is a very high end system in my opinion. It is geared for people that require that sort of system. They are used for video and audio production where people need a real computer on site to get their job done. Time is still money. I have a white MacBook and the new 15″ aluminum MacBook – they run basically the same. They do everything that I need to do. I have a toshiba laptop that runs Windows and OS X. I have a 20″ iMac that is 15 months old that has never had a problem that I do everything on. My husband has a 20″ iMac that I have never had a problem with. One of my sons has a Mac Mini that I bought a Viewsonic 20″ display for $150 to run with it – you do not have to buy Apple’s extra hardware. Case in point: I upgraded the memory in both iMacs from CompUSA for $50 to 2 gigs each.

    A Mac is a PC from a hardware perspective. Even the old G3’s use standard PC RAM. I just found one in the garbage that was missing RAM and a video card. It is 10 years old and runs great with OS X 10.2. I found a video card for $20 and had RAM from a dead PC for it. I’ll be giving it to a child that needs it for school. The performance on it is decent and it will edit photos and video for him if he wants too. You cannot do that with a 10 year old PC without specialized hardware – I know I had too. That was a challenge! I like knowing that a child that has a need will be taken care of and that a piece of computer hardware is not in the dump.

    As a Windows user for 20 years (yes, I know DOS and CP/M too and I ain’t 40 yet), it seems that PC have become disposable. In this age of recycling and green everything, buying a new PC every year or two is a great waste. That 2 year old computer is not to blame, but Microsoft. The Windows OS requires to much work for the average joe to continue fixing until they get fed up and get a new computer to fix it. Friends of mine ask what to buy – I tell them to go get a mac. If they have the monitor, keyboard and mouse… I tell them to get a Mac Mini. None of them need the high end stuff (they want…) and end up with the low end MacBook or Mini or 20″ iMac and are so completely happy that once I spend an hour getting them used to the Mac and get the old files off their old computer, their old computer stays here to either become part of the graveyard or rebuilt for a child that needs a computer (XP only please).

    The only thing that I wish was that AutoCAD came back out on the Mac. I have to run it off of my Toshiba as it doesn’t like Vista and I didn’t want to buy a retail version of XP Pro (getting harder to find) for my Mac. I just plug in a monitor (it plugs into the secondary port on my second display for my mac which is a Viewsonic), a keyboard and mouse. I get my drawings done and shut it down. Eventually, Autodesk will do something. This is my only complaint with my Mac.

    While I have gotten off-base here – the fact still remains. Buy the hardware that you require to get done what you want to get done. If you don’t know what you can do with a computer, get some help – not the kind that runs around a computer store. If you have never had a computer, go to the Apple Store and learn for FREE. That is something that is overlooked – when was the last time that Microsoft showed anyone how to do anything for FREE!!

    Peace! – I don’t care what you drive just as long as you enjoy the journey and get there safely and healthy.

  141. Sam Says:

    Well, one thing we know for sure is that the Microsoft ad worked, everyone is talking good or bad, publicity is publicity

  142. Billy K Says:

    “…Lauren is a creation of the advertising copywriter – and that she’s an actress…”

    Well… if you can believe wikip’a:
    “The original American ads star actor Justin Long as the Mac and author and humorist John Hodgman as the non-Mac PC…”

    So I guess technically Hodgman is not an “actor” by profession. But I still think someone else wrote (most of) their lines for them.

    “Certainly there are a lot of computer purchasers with a misguided view of their priorities, and there is certainly an increasing demographic who buy laptops purely to use at home…”

    Oh gee, could you please re-guide my priorities so I get the “right” laptop? And what I do with my laptop in the privacy of my own home ain’t nobody’s business but my own.

    Just IMO – putting the MAC vs PC issue to some kind of “unbiased” test is pointless. Car and truck magazines compare Chevy, Ford and Dodge pickups all year. And whatever the results, the Chevy guys send emails that are going to buy a Chevy anyway and the Ford guys write they are going to buy a Ford anyway (I guess none of the Dodge guys can send internets yet).

  143. dave Says:

    I got one of these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834220492 – it’s half the price of the 17″ Apple.

    It’s got a faster hard drive and graphics. I put a second hard drive in it, and got an eSATA external drive that runs as fast as if it was built in. Can’t do that with the Apple – no eSATA port. This makes it a better machine for storage-intensive tasks like video editing. I run some rather esoteric, but critical programs which are only available for the Windows OS.

    Did I mention that it’s half the price of the Apple? I can buy a new computer twice as often as an Apple buyer on the same budget.

  144. James Gowan Says:

    For most Mac people, they would never consider Windows — EVER. So their choices are limited however, all very elegant (not including white Mac Book) — the new Mac Book, the Air and the Pro are all beautiful computers that do the job for the Mac user. And as was mentioned by at least one here, Macs do Windows (as well as MANY other OSs due to Fusion and Parallels) — so you’re essentially getting a WHOLE LOT BANG for your buck in that sense.

    I believe if you want a $3000 laptop and your bank account isn’t big enough, then keep saving until you can afford what you really want. Considering that you might be using the computer for 4-6 years, you might as well be as happy as possible with your purchase.

  145. Steven Says:

    A couple of the early comments talk about why you chose business class laptops when gaming laptops would have been more competitive in terms of price. I think you went into a lot of detail about why you chose the laptops you chose. You went out of your way to find machines with similar specs. Gaming laptops feature over-clocked CPU’s and souped-up graphics cards (along with the requisite cooling) needed to achieve the speed you need for games. Other than that they don’t feature much else. Frankly, it doesn’t get much more “apples-vs.-apples” than your comparison. Of course, there have been numerous similar comparisons since Apple went with Intel, and most of them have come to comparable conclusions.

    Bottom line: you went with the business class machines because they were the ones most like the Mac – I don’t know how you could have been much clearer. It just goes to show that when PC supporters perceive that their platform of choice is not being portrayed as the clear favorite, their eyes begin to glass over, and they begin not to hear you.

  146. Steven Says:

    Other than the fact that it’s an ugly, sticker-festooned, discontinued piece of crap from that paragon of quality Asus that weighs almost 9 pounds (probably more after you stuck that extra hard drive in it) and has a fluorescent display, I’d say you got yourself quite a deal.

    It’s good that you don’t mind having to buy a PC twice as often as a Mac, because, with a choice like this, there’s a good likelihood you will have to.

  147. Bob Forsberg Says:

    The real discussion should be, how much cheaper that $699 PC would be without a Windows license not requiring a downgrade to their last operating system that actually worked.

  148. nfoo Says:

    The MacBook Pro has a S-IPS PANEL!

    Why doesn’t ANYONE get this right in their articels.
    A frigging SIPS panel in a Notebook.

    Just saying.

  149. Chris L Says:

    I am an educator who does programming on the side. My agency bought me an iBook as a condition for developing a piece a software for them. While most of the schools use PCs, some still use Macs. Three years ago, my iBook died from a power surge (stupid me). As a replacement, my agency bought me a business class Dell (Pentium 4) that I could cook eggs on while typing reports. Because of the limitations of that machine’s hardware and software, and my experience with the iBook, In early 2006 I bought myself a 1.8 Ghz macbook pro (which was $200 more than the Dell). My boss bought a ThinkPad at the same time for the same price as my MBP. Since then, my agency has gone through two replacement cycles of laptops (mostly $900 Dells). My boss’s laptop died after a year from a fried mother board. The Dell that I originally had died a year ago from a virus that wrote to the boot sector of the hard drive and then to the bios(?). Half of the laptops in my agency are only marginally usable because of viruses or integrate graphics chips are not enough to handle our online software. Because my laptops (the iBook and MacBook Pro) have been so trouble free compared to the other laptops, they offered to buy me a high end macbook (my MBP is still alive and will go to my daughter). I have been told by our techie that my machine will be cheaper than the laptops our administrators will be getting.

    Because of my experience with Apple machines, I now look at it this way. To use the car analogy that was mentioned above, macs remind me of a TDI diesel Volkswagon compared to gasoline powered cars. Diesel VWs are more expensive, have less features and sometimes have less power compared to their gasoline analogs. In contrast, VW TDIs run forever (I am shooting for 500K miles on mine), have great resale value and get gas mileage that exceeds the most efficient hybrids. If you compare feature to feature with a gasoline engine car, it is apparent that there is a TDI tax. Does it make one stupid to buy a diesel VW because one will pay more? Is there something wrong with folks who don’t? The bottom line is that Micro$oft is not interested in reviving the Mac vs PC hardware debate, they just want to make money. And since PCs do not run MacOS X, they will tear down the machines that run their competitor’s OS, regardless of how good or bad their competitor’s machine is.

    As an aside, all the folks who work in my office want a mac for their next replacement. I think these folks want macs because of the software aspect, not the hardware.

  150. Stephen Says:

    Almost three years ago I began using Mac’s for the first time, and at this point you couldn’t pay me to go back. But with that said, like a high end car manufacturer (as several commenters have posted) the products aren’t necessarily for everyone. If you don’t need the higher horsepower of the Macbook Pro’s or Mac Pro, but want a 15″/17″ screen on a notebook, or the expandability of desktop tower, then these products aren’t for you. However you cannot ignore the fact that the products are neither marketed for basic consumer needs nor are they comparable in what tasks they can perform when compared to bargain PC’s (or even custom built PC’s on a budget). You are sorely mistaken if you believe that a $600 17″ PC notebook off the shelf can compete with a 17″ macbook pro for functionality (I saw one poster who said his 15″ pc notebook could do 90% of what the macbook pro could do, but if you are a video editor or photo professional looking for a mobile solution, that 10% could be and likely is the difference maker).

    The fact is the Apple product line is VERY specifically marketed, and does not include certain segments of the market. This is not an oversight, nor is it a mistake. It is a conscious decision made by a company that has publicly stated (thank you Steve Jobs) that it is content to be a premium manufacturer catering to specific needs in the market. And to drift into the OS debate momentarily this “simplification” of the product assortment allows Apple to ensure the higher level of performance for the OS on the computers. Again, this is not a mistake, or an accident, or an oversight, but rather an intentional decision on Apple’s part. When Steve Jobs came back to Apple he saw a company with far too diverse a set of products to be able to do a REALLY good job on any one of them. This doesn’t mean that Sony, Dell, Lenovo, HP don’t have good products, but it is definitely harder when resources are spread out across multiple products in multiple markets.

    I know that some people will read this as an apple “Fanboy” comment, but as an apple user and advocate for life, I have counseled family at different times to buy different PC notebooks depending on available funds balanced against urgency of the need. If you can afford to buy an Apple portable or desktop then you will likely have fewer issues, be less likely to replace it as quickly, and definitely have a more powerful computer than most off the shelf “Best Buy” options. However as several other commenters pointed out, if you can’t afford the initial price, then you need to buy what you can afford.

    The problem with the Microsoft ad is it exposes a market that Apple doesn’t provide a product for, and that’s OK, however it implies that the comparison extends to the entire computer industry, which is just not true.

    Also, I saw an article elsewhere that pointed out an interesting fact, Vista was not mentioned in the commercial AT ALL! Pretty sad that the flagship current OS is not a central part of their current ad campaign (also pretty sad that the only way to get people excited about it is to lie to them and trick them into thinking its cool by giving a different – and in my opinion better – name, “Mojave” anyone???).

  151. Gui Says:

    Whenever someone from the PC camp throws in the “Macs are expensive” mantra, Mac people quickly come to defend and claim that “it’s competitive when compared to a similarly specced PC”. I am a Mac guy myself, and I completely agree with it, a 17-incher MBP is pretty competitive in its market range.

    The main problem seems to be that most people who make those comparisons forget that not everybody has/wants/needs to spend $3K on a 17″ laptop. So, if you want a “fast” 17″ laptop under a grand, Apple doesn’t make one for you. If you want a desktop tower you can mess around with its internals, your only choice coming from Apple is a behemoth Mac Pro.

    The bottom line is that Apple actually makes competitively priced computers, but not just for everyone.

  152. Matt Says:

    you have all been trolled by the microsoft commercial.

  153. OnLive Forum Says:

    It’s all about design, baby, and Macs are sexy.

  154. RoyB Says:

    The most glaring thing about the Microsoft ads is that they seem to be promoting cheap hardware over expensive hardware. Can anybody tell me what hardware, cheap or otherwise, Microsoft is selling? What they sell is an operating system. Seems to me their best interest would be to sell that operating system to as many people as possible on whatever machine is capable of running it. That includes Macs. But Microsoft insists on minimizing their marketshare instead of expanding it. Their current OS has problems that enterprise industry recognizes and as a result, those businesses refuse to use Vista. Microsoft’s response should be to spend money fixing the problems in the OS. Instead, MS hires Seinfeld to talk about nothing with Bill Gates. They get folks to look at features of “Mojave” without letting them actually use it. They record “real” people who don’t seem to understand the difference between an actor personifying a computer/OS and they calling themselves a PC. MS seems far more interested in perception than selling a good OS. Word of mouth of bad experiences trumps advertising. The persistent stupidity of MS advertising in the face of OS shortcomings is amazing.

  155. Just Check for yourself Says:

    Instead of reading crap like this, just head over to the hp website, and customize the HDX18t series to match the macbook pro 17. It’ll end up more than $1K cheaper. I dare you to do it.

  156. Harry McCracken Says:

    Update: I’m working on a “Round 2” story on this whole topic. It’ll compare the MacBook Pro against more consumery Windows laptops…


  157. Raymond Cranfill Says:

    I haven’t read through all the comments, so my point may have been made already. In my experience, over the last twenty years that I’ve built, operated, programmed for and maintained computers (PCs, Macs, Suns), I have found that another major factor in favor of Macs is depreciation. Windows PCs depreciate almost immediately by 30-50% as soon as you take them home. In other words, Lauren’s brand new HP woulf likely fetch her no more than $300 if she turned around and sold it right away. Further in two to three years when she might consider buying a new machine, her 17 inch bundle of joy will be practically worthless. Apple machines maintain great value. I just sold a 1.25 GHZ Powerbook (purchase price $2200 in 2001) for $1000 on Craig’s List, which means my new 15 inch Macbook Pro cost me $1495. I’ve done the same with my iMac and Mac Mini. My one and a half iMac 24 inch fetched $1200, which means my new iMac 24 inch (top of the line) cost me only $800 more. The slower amortization of macs is another factor that should be considered in the cost of a new machine, since the old machine can be recycled and thus considerably lowers the entry cost to new machines in the future. This is something most PC laptops simply don’t provide, particularly those on the drop dead cheap end, like Lauren got.

  158. Raymond Cranfill Says:

    @John Smith

    Actually, Mr. Smith, YOU FORGOT that every single machine produced bt Apple can run Windows, either natively or in emulation using Hypervisor technology. Your $3000 worth of software that is “Windows only” will run just fine on a Mac. Case closed.

  159. Aaron Benson Says:

    Apple, Dell, and Lenovo offer very competitive deals all year round for students. They do get really competitive for back to school season with “sweeteners” like $100 towards a printer (upgrade to one of the nicer ones… so worth it), cameras, iPod(last summer’s free touch or Nano with purchase of a computer was great for students). Some non-students get great deals too. That said, for the sake of the plant, I really wish that people would view their computer especially when talking about something to send your child back to school with, think of it as an investment. Why am I a Mac person today, because I went through 5 computer in my first 3 years away at college until Apple started using Intel chips to power their systems. It was also cool that I could dual boot if I couldn’t live with OSX. PC World for a time has a Mac as the best system to run Vista on for a time. That is not a burn on Microsoft as it was for the box makers. This is the weirdness that happens when you can’t control the end-to-end user experience. I started out as an engineer and move to art and technology (3D animation, video, DVD production, and web design). Being an artist and using a Mac was a no brainer and a worthwhile investment. I have been using the same MBP from 2006 with no problem, I added my own RAM and changed out my hard drive for something larger (something about working with videos and animation while still wanting to have all my music and podcast local). If you are reading this article and trying to decide what your student needs, please do not make the same mistake my parents made with me by buying based on price. They thought they were doing the right thing. Buying a computer is not like buying a car for a teen where you get them something for the right price to get by. It will have problems, be sluggish, and while it may be good enough today, in their junior year will you find that you are at Best Buy or online again helping them choose another computer. It is best if you do it right the first time, and while some could replace a power supply or three, or fan, I don’t think that would be advisable for most of the population. If you are trying to save money by getting them more than what they need so it takes them from the beginning to the end of college.

    Those extra features like webcams, larger hard drives, iLife(for Macs/don’t know the PC alternative… maybe Adobe Elements?), iPods, digital cameras, scanners, and printers though not clearly not essential to college or k-12, they are great tools to have on hand. Even as an engineer I needed a camera, scanners, and printers late at night, and using an unfamiliar scanner on an unfamiliar computer sucks.

    I advocate for Macs obviously, but more so I want people to think of their computer like an investment. Good investments last a long time. I think that people have been a little off the mark in my mind in comparing computers in the way they have been comparing them to car. They compare a Chevy Cobalt to an Audi or a BMW. They are trying to play up on the premium idea. As this article shows, there is really no solid comparison on the premium price argument. That would also suggest that there is something different about the components. The pieces are similar from the same manufactures. I tend to think of the comparison in terms of the Honda Civic and the Honda Civic Hybrid. It is essentially the same in many respects. One cost more. Now over the long run, one maintains its value longer, the total operating costs are lower, and while that upfront fee seems high, it has a lot of value by using the best tech out there of today instead of hoping that tech based on a decades old gain can hope to save money for the consumer with 4-5 bucks for gasoline. It seems expensive up front, but is worth it. You will never have the perfect card unless you build it yourself.

    If you think that this is the computer that will not just get me through this year, but over 4, 5, or 6 years of schooling then a Mac is worth it. Apple has done a good job at keeping the OS light enough to be able to use older hardware. Snow Leopard makes the break with the Power PC chips in an effort to move the platform forward. If Macs are not for you, then I still push great hardware cost money. You don’t have to kill yourself to save enough to buy a great computer, but if you want it to last I would advise spending the money now or you will be spending more money down the road.

    Finally let me close with this. If you are buying for a student, get the computer insured for theft or common damage like dropping, or spills(the stuff not covered in the warranty). You will find that the coverage pays for itself. Desktops are not for college students in the most general sense. They can offer more computer cheaper with expandability. Would a higher end workstation have rendered my animations faster. YES, but when I needed help, it was nice to be able to bring my work with me. If homework was due and I forgot it on my computer, it didn’t suck, because I always had my MBP on me. Taking notes on my computer was easier to read and index for searching and studying, and my hand hurt less, plus typing skills are top notch now. Maybe a $700 PC will get a student through, but setting a price ahead of usability is just not the way to buy a computer for something beyond ungrowing use.

  160. SMNotebook Says:

    CPU, Graphics, Display, Battery, and Hard Drive should each be given 5 points or certainly an amount greater than the other things listed. Still I understand and appreciate the authors effort to make a quick balanced and relatively complete comparison.

    The comparison makes a couple of significant missteps that would and should change the final results in favor of HP and Dell.

    Both Dell and HP’s price includes “3 year standard parts and labor warranty, onsite service (3/3/3)” in other words Apple Care which of course is not even On Site and costs $350.

    Graphics is not even close. The Dell, W700, and HP systems at this price include a Quadro FX 2700 a $300 upgrade in PC pricing. If it were available from Apple it would probably add more than that to the price difference, but we will call it $300. Not only should this be reflected in the price, the MBP does not deserve and needs to lose that point the author incorrectly gave it for graphics. GPU switching between two sub par GPU’s may be relevant and an advantage as far as battery performance is concerned, which the MBP wins hands down, but it does not compare to the graphics performance that is available in the Dell, W700, and HP systems as configured.

    The screens. The MBP17 and W700 have very good screens. Although where the Mac has a white LED screen, and the W700 has a dual lamp CCFL screen, both the Dell and HP offer true color RGB LED screens (%100 aRGB). The RGB LED screen is made by Sony by the way, and Sony offers it on their giant Sony AW and their super compact Sony Z. I suspect a properly profiled Dell or HP will win over a properly profiled MBP.

    Environmental Impact? OK for one point include it, but only if you count the others mentioned above with values that more accurately reflect their more significant contribution to the true value of each system.

    So the way I see it, you should subtract 2 points, one for screen and the other for graphics from the MBP. Then there is the matter of $650 worth of components and warranty coverage that the HP and Dell inlcude that MBP does not. If you price the MBP with Apple Care you can configure both Dell and HP with additional upgrades, ie. more powerful CPUs, that further swing the advantage to the more powerful Dell and HP mobile workstations.

    Finally Accidental Damage coverage. Apple does not offer it. This is a night and day advantage of systems that do offer it over those that do not.

    The MBP is superbly crafted and offers greater portability due to its size and battery capacity. The Dell, W700, and HP offer much greater performance and offer additional upgrades that take them to a whole other level, including being able to use spare batteries.

  161. Aaron Benson Says:

    Sorry, it wasn’t until I got to the bottom of what you wrote that I noticed you were directly talking to me. I can respond to some of it since you spent time to write and so I can clear somethings up. When I am talking about insurance, I am not talking about a care plan like AppleCare or some extended warranty plan. Most of us recognize that these plans are for the most part worthless. Just like cell phone insurance, it rarely covers things that happen to your device. When I say insurance, I am talking about a real insurance plan that cover real world problems. This is in reference to the idea that this computer is an investment. Extended warranties don’t generally cover theft, drops, water damage, heat damage, and other issues. With my renters insurance I have my hardware covered for $20,000 at new pricing on a comparable unit. This includes software, hardware, upgrades, and peripherals. It was an upsell on my renters insurance that cost me about 10 bucks a month. It is a far better plan and cover everything that is in my warranty.

    Extended warranties are nice things for peace of mind, but too often the paper work is lost, the onsite tech is not really anymore convenient than just dropping it off somewhere and picking it up later. Unless you are a business or if you have a huge tower, onsite service is again nice to have, but not a make or break deal. That onsite service is probably a last resort, after other options, but I don’t know so I won’t comment on that. As far as Apple goes, Apple’s Genius bar is convenient if you live near one, but again, I trust them over Geek Squad any day.

    What I am saying about service is there are many options to help you out, and the reason Apple has done so well is because of the UI is more intuitive. If you can get most of the “dumb” questions solved by making the UI easier to navigate without training, then it cuts down on the questions. Most of the time it is not Apple or MS at fault, though what developers gain in options for doing things, Apple’s consistent system wide UI and commands makes get acquainted with a program faster. Apple programs are not better because they are Apple, but because the developers targeting the Mac are trying to please a small subset of users. MS is trying to please a broad range of users, and they end up with a lot of design by committee UIs that try to offer features and versatility, but this often result in user confusion, and more for the sake of more. I just think that MS developers need to spend sometime on the UI instead of trying to beat someone out of the door for the same idea. The more users that come onto the Mac because they think it is easy, the more problems the Mac install base will face. Having service there to support customers in the process is the key in maintain the “glow.” Because Macs are small section of the computing community, Apple looks at them like an investment. Get them while they are young and the next time the buy a computer it won’t be a consideration between Mac or PC, they will go for the familiar.

    This is why the “Switch to Mac ads” were so much more important to Apple than they were to MS. They have to convince users to abandon something that feels more complicated but is familiar, with something that looks simple, but unfamiliar. I would say it is the same for MS Office users and Office alternatives or better yet Photoshop. There is this base of users that turn to it because it is familiar. Vista and Office 2008 (whatever came after 2004) broke the familiarity with perivous versions of the software if there was a time to switch it would be now. The ribbon in Office made me have to relearn where common tasks I would do in Office were. I found myself right clicking for every task because that was the fastest way to get to my options. But i really want to keep this as civil discussion which was the heart of the article. It was an attempt to mitigate the yelling into the void that people do with Mac verses PC. They yell, state their opinion without listening to the otherside of the argument. Mac people are not snobs though some of them are, and PC users aren’t behind the times because they are being cheap though some of them are. I just want to have an honest discussion. The only place I get into a similar situation is Democrats Verse Republicans. No one is listening, they are just waiting for their turn to talk.

    In the end I think that author is trying to make a sound statement. The point of the article was to take the commercial and see if the Lauren ad’s premise that Macs have the “Apple Tax” is true with only consideration on hardware since it is the most straightforward comparison. In this comparison that is not really the case. Apple prices their items close to what other manufactures price their computers at in this classification. The conclusion of the ads is that MS PC are cheaper and that is not true. They just don’t remove old unsold hardware from the ranks, they just steadily drop the price on older hardware. They say 4GB of RAM is 4GB of RAM, but don’t question is it DDR2 or DDR3, for the graphics card they do the same thing, is the graphics card GDDR2, GDDR3, or GDDR5? Which is better, Nvidia or ATI? All depends on what you are doing with it. ATI over the years has been better at rendering my animations faster. That is why I choose an ATI card. ATI has been sucking it for a while there though.

    Like I said, maybe if you were looking at hardware only, there are advantages one system could or would have over another. For the sake of talking about current models, not things that were promised, just talking about things that are on the shelves today, each system has an advantage save that Sony. For me environmental concerns are high along with computing power, but maybe you are more worried card readers or price. How you weight you needs is different than I how I rate my needs because of what I do with my computer. A new 17in MBP for grandma is not a worthwhile investment. I would probably buy an older MacBook or more likely an iMac, clean it, and give it to her. It has enough computing power, nice enough screen, and if I buy it used she will still be able to get a lot of usage out of it before she grows beyond it. I won’t be over there foe repairs as often or worrying about virus protection definition updates.

    One more thing, anytime there is a major structural overhaul on a Mac, am wary until a second generation comes out. It is like 4-6 months wait, but by that time you get a better computer, with faster hardware and they are worked out the any build issues. Trackpad work right and the fans come on when the are supposed to. They fix these issues, but for that amount of money I am not interest in being part of the test batch. I want to see posted on boards like this how good real world tests are for internal battery setups like the 17in MBP. I would gladly give up the user swap-ability for that significant of a gain in battery life without adding buik in size or weight.

    good point for the most part.

  162. John Smith Says:

    Total BS comparison. You can’t choose a workstation laptop pitted against a Mac. That is just to equalize the price. Not everybody knows that WS are more expensive because they usually have optimized drivers for WS apps that consumers would NEVER use. I am not talking about Photoshop. More like mechanical engineering 3D drawing packages, simulations, etc. That is what you are paying for. Comparing a consumer PC laptop with a Macbook Pro — you’ll find a huge price difference. And I can get a Blu-ray drive on it too. For Mac being so media-friendly — where is that component? Finally — in terms of being better built — hah! They’re all built in the same old Taiwan or Chinese factories. Macs fall apart just as easily as PCs. And get hotter too because the industrial design boys win out over the thermal engineers.

  163. Sam Says:

    when a Windows version of iLife appears then let’s talk. Otherwise, there’s almost no comparison. Lastly, PC users spend an inordinate amount of time making sure pop up ads and untold viruses are squashed.. what’s that in terms of money spent on down time plus anti virus software??

  164. Aaron Benson Says:

    iLife is a great suite… but competition is necessary to advance the platform. iLife at this point is stepping on Apples other consumer set like Soundtrack Express and Final Cut Express. Adobe elements will try to compete in this space with Elements. I say they need another iteration or 2 before they catch up. If anyone can come up with an alternatives to iLife that is doing interesting things now or could be competitive in the Apple or Windows space. It should be a consumer media suite at consumer prices. I don’t know what Windows user use. They talk a lot about having choices, but I just want to know about the good choices that they have. What do the edit with for sound and video and pictures? Legal legit software, not cracks bit torrent. Like Audacity I could see for sound, while it is a stand alone app, it could be useful. Since we are all massive consumers and producers of media what do people see as alternatives, why is it better or how could it be better than iLife as a true consumer app?

  165. DDD+ Says:

    I find unfair not to give another point to the MacBook Pro because of the OS. Seriously, OS X is much better than Windows and everyone should be able to realize that.

  166. cathy Says:

    Q. The Dell, HP, and Lenovo you picked look like mobile workstations, aimed at businesspeople who need a lot of power. The MacBook Pro is a consumer machine, so it’s not a logical comparison.

    A. They are mobile workstations, but they also come closer to matching the MacBook Pro in terms of CPU and graphics than most consumer laptops. And the MacBook Pro is an unusual notebook with a split personality that’s a little bit business and a little bit consumer. (If you can call any notebook that costs nearly $3000 a consumer product, that is.)

    I disagree with this. The Quadro FX 2700M is far superior to the Macbook Pro’s 9600M GT as it has 50% more stream processors and is more optimised for OpenGL. Quadros also cost more than GeForce products due to their drivers.

    Not a fair comparison.

  167. TransientAlias Says:

    Why not take a look at the low end laptops equivalent to the least expensive macbook, in this arena the manufacturers are trying to shave every cent to be competitive. The high end buyers are going to spend anywhere between 2000-5000 on the computer that they need, and most of these computers are bought by professionals for a specific use that needs the more expensive options. Price isn’t as big a driver as performance and features in this arena. The low end comparison would likely be a better indicator of whether there is is a “tax” on a specific manufacturer.

    As for security. Macs are the least secure because everyone thinks they are safe 🙂 There are several viruses in the wild for mac, Multiple security vulnerabilities in the OS and Safari, and hardware based exploits for intel based computers overall, and, because people think they need not worry cause its a mac, they don’t run a firewall or a virus scanner, and so are immediately susceptible to any new virus or exploit.

  168. Aaron Benson Says:

    RE: to TransientAlias Says:

    “As for security. Macs are the least secure because everyone thinks they are safe 🙂 There are several viruses in the wild for mac, Multiple security vulnerabilities in the OS and Safari, and hardware based exploits for intel based computers overall, and, because people think they need not worry cause its a mac, they don’t run a firewall or a virus scanner, and so are immediately susceptible to any new virus or exploit.”

    The first part I agree with. There are several viruses in the wild for the Mac compared to the tens of thousand worms, viruses, and malware for the PC in the wild. PC users are no more safe from initial infections from stupid actions than Mac are. I say this because there needs to be an initial infection for there to be a preventative measure to protect a user. All users need to practice safe internet practices. I would say that Mac users are safer only because the OS requires passwords to open programs, users need to by pass warnings, have no firewall on their OS, ISP Router, and Wireless routers. It would be unfair to assume that Mac users have deliberately dropped all sensible protections that do not interfere with normal computing unless you have proof that Mac users are practicing less safe behaviors. Anyone who drops all protections are asking for attacks. There are stupid Mac users as there are stupid Windows users.

    As far as virus protection software, on the PC it is essential to going online. On the Mac side, it is a racket meant to con users out of money. You can only write solutions to known threats. On the Mac side, people who do waste their money on this and continue to do so have never detected a threat. The reasoning behind that is that most users are running full patched systems of still supported versions of OSX. Tiger and Leopard users are still getting updates to make sure that their software is up to date. The Windows side has a large population base that is not using a supported version of Windows, a pirated version without service pack updates, or a current version, but for some reason have chosen to ignore updates. You can’t sell a product that doesn’t have a market.

  169. multi_io Says:

    The point of the ad isn’t that a PC laptop that’s comparable to Apple’s 17″ laptop would be cheaper. The point of the ad is that Apple does not offer any product that directly competes with the laptop that “Lauren” wants to buy here.

  170. Micheal Says:

    I would never pay $699 for a Windows computer because it would be completely useless to me.

    And about the warranty issue: Between myself, my parents and my siblings we have owned over 20 Apple computers since 1989. None of them have ever had to be serviced. And of course they all still run. The IIGS Color still boots and runs all its floppy drive apps.

  171. Mike Says:

    These ads are little more than Microsoft FUD trying to simultaneously scare and cater to the lowest-common-denominator mentality in society. Given that “Lauren” is an actress (if that’s even her real name) then I treat this whole thing as little more than a work of fiction.

    The fact that Microsoft is basically saying to people “You’re not good enough to use Macs” should be taken for the insult that it is, regardless of price points or anything else. Microsoft is also inherently saying “Our products aren’t as good as Apple’s products”. What kind of a moron advertises their business or product(s) with that kind of message? This is a stupid ad series being paid for by a big, fat, lazy and rich software company who might just as well change their company motto to “We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the phone company.” (That’s a 1970s SNL/Lily Tomlin reference, btw…)

    Frankly, with someone like Steve Ballmer (or, as I fondly like to think of him, “Used Care Salesman Steve”) at the helm of Microsoft, surely it’s only a matter of time before they stop shooting themselves in the foot and aim a little higher.

  172. Jeevan Says:

    A very interesting review.

    For the most part I didn’t see, or look for technical sense in the advert.

    The Mac Vs PC adverts try to put PCs into a box: slow, difficult to use, better at ‘boring office stuff’, not so good for ‘creative’ and ‘artistic’ things.

    The ‘PC’ advert very effectively breaks the stereotype.

  173. UGN Safenet Says:

    “Not cool enough for a Mac” … Perhaps not quite bright enough either.

    Notice how nobody factored in the $9-billion in hard-money losses last year due to Windows vulnerability to hackers, virus, zombies and break-ins. Nobody mentioned the loss of productivity, nor the cost of firewalls, security software and hardware, as well as consultant mechanic fees to fix them when they’re hijacked.

    It’s amazing that to the majority of computer buyers “cheap” is more important than their identities and security. They don’t seem to remember that Windows is the reason worms, virus and zombies continue to thrive. Organized cyber crime is counting on people buying Windows computers. They’ve built an empire on it.

    Any Windows users here willing to turn off your firewall and anti-virus software for a day?

    Didn’t think so.

    You don’t have to be “cool” to recognize whether or not you can afford safety. Just a little smarter.


  174. w500 Says:

    ” I’m going to give the advantage to the MACBOOK PRO (for its dual-graphics feature)”

    That’s a battery feature, not really a graphics feature. And the dumb thing makes you restart when you switch GPUs. Besides it’s consumer grade and now where near the power capable of the Quadro or FireGL cards. Those features alone end the comparison, because there is no comparison.

    I just purchased a laptop (w500) (after using the new macpro for a few weeks) and funny thing is all those laptops you have listed were on my short list. What effects the price more than anything else are the GPU and L2 cache on the processor and the screen.

    To give you some perspective the W500’s GPU is so powerful it is faster than the MacPro (8core intel 8GB ram) it sits next to when doing after effects work.

    I wanted to buy a macbook but I’d be paying about $500 just for the privilege of running final cut pro since it’s the only app I use that can’t run on windows. I’m comparing refurb prices. Retail the gap is even higher, about $1,200, which is what my colleague paid. He’s been having some remorse even though he’s a mac faithful.

  175. Maurice Coombs Says:

    Who cares? I buy what I want because I want it and like it. In my case that means Apple. The rest of you should just go an buy what you want and like. It doesn’t make either of us better or worse than the other. Frankly, it doesn’t even make anyone’s judgement better or worse than that of anyone else.

    What on earth is the point of all this preaching and proselityzing and name-calling, and just plain anger? It’s all just so tiresome!

    For heaven’s sake people … get a life!

  176. al Says:

    There’s a basic problem with the ad: It gives out information that people will discover anyway as soon as they start shopping for a laptop. It informs people who can’t afford a Mac that . . . they can’t afford a Mac. Trust me, they’ll find that out right away. So the ad is basically preaching to the choir, it’s going to change very few laptop shoppers’ minds. People who end up choosing a PC over a Mac would have done so even without seeing the ad.

    A good ad gives the consumer information (hopefully accurate) that they won’t easily discover themselves during the shopping process. Such information then tilts the product-comparison balance. Mac ads tell you things (greenness, ease of use, low malware, etc.) that you won’t find out by merely checking out the store displays.

  177. w500 Says:

    I just finished reading the whole article. Wow, it’s as if Lauren herself scored the chart.

    you call thinkpads “plastic” are you kidding or just stupid? There is no laptop tougher other than the toughbooks of course.

    again the graphics argument is laughable and completely uniformed.

    Environmental impact? yea right

    FW800 earns it extra points? most people I work with (all professionals) are being forced to use adapters for all of their FW400 equipment.

    the MBP does not have a mini displayport since there is no such thing. it has mini DVI which unique mainly to MBPs at the moment making them more expensive.

    CPU? lenovo gets no points. are have the option of the highest end mobile quad core intel makes

    Apple gets point for dvd? have you heard of this thing called Blu-ray?

    Oh and the display comparison shows how little you know. Apple’s screen is bright and high res but that’s about it. The color is not accurate and will cause problems if trusted. Color accuracy is far more important than a few extra pixels.

    Maybe you should compare laptops you’ve actually at least seen in person and I don’t know, used for a few minutes!!!

    I like and use apple products for 9 hours a day every day in a professional setting. But their laptops simply don’t compete with mobile workstations with newer generation ram, vastly superior graphics, raid HDD options, Blu-ray authoring, Adobe RGB screens and in lenovos case, better construction.

    The MBP is thinner if that’s important to you.

  178. jonk.. Says:

    My Mercedes just turned 10 years old last month, the best car i’ve ever owned… when you tell me that I spent double what i could have on a yugo, i’d say you are wrong, in the end i saved half what i would have spent OVER THE LIFE OF THE CAR, not just from parts or labor or fuel or oil, but from the savings of the wear and tear on my SPIRIT….

    how is MSFT going to convince me to spend half as much and get 1/4 of the value from the wear and tear on my spirit from the constant looking over my shoulder for bugs, crashes and viruses? the unbelievable toll it takes on one’s spirit when windows presents you with one hassle after another…. and for that person who thinks vista is “rock solid” OSX presented you with that feeling 5 years before Vista even existed…… 5 years of wasted spirit. how does one replace 5 years of wasted spirit? and you come to me with “vista is rock solid” 5 years after OSX presented me with the “rock solid” tag line? HELLO!!!!!


  179. jonk.. Says:

    “FW800 earns it extra points? most people I work with (all professionals) are being forced to use adapters for all of their FW400 equipment.”

    and you need to tell your “professionals” that they are morons if they think they should be using FW400 HDs when they could be using FW800 HD’s as a “professional” at double the speed… and eSata for Desktop machines for even better speeds.. …. advantage FW800 is worth more than a “point”….. along with eSata… also being worth more than a “point”…

    “Environmental impact? yea right”

    that’s like a smoker saying that his cigarette is killing everyone else that he doesn’t care about, not him… great, thanks for your naiveté comment… saying “HP is coming out with… a green product” or something similar is like saying, ya well the cubs will come back next year…. thanks …. for nothing… hey, Windows7 will solve this problem and that problem… problems that OSX solved 5 years ago… thanks…. for nothing again…..

  180. SMNotebook Says:

    First off I want to say that Apple notebooks are a premium product that I have always appreciated and consider when making a purchase, but…..

    The Windows platform offers a far greater range of choice from the least expensive to the most expensive in addition to the most powerful notebooks made. The thing that strikes me is how difficult it is for many Apple enthusiasts to accept where their notebooks fit in this range, and the level of denial that exists when failing to recognize the tradeoffs in comparable systems.

    The old Mercedes to VW analogy is missing the point when comparing the best systems for a given price. The same components used in Macbook Pros are available in Windows notebooks for the most part. As far as the Macbook Pro 17 is concerned its unique components are its case, screen, and battery. Regarding the case it is the nicest looking and portable to date. That certainly counts for something and that may be what meets your priorities. In terms of durability these systems are very similar, although spill resistant designs, and comprehensive warranties offer additional advantages. The Windows workstations in this comparison offer more ports, inlcuding eSATA and Display Port that are built in offering full time expansion and connectivity without having to buy and manage additional add ons. Regarding the screens all these systems offer very good screens (in terms of notebook quality), although properly profiled the RGB LED screens should come out on top. In terms of convenience and portability if four hours plus can satisfy your requirements then the Macbook Pro 17 has an edge with its battery. Still the Apple battery is a 95 Watt hour battery, the 9 cell batteries in the Dell and W700 are 85 Watt Hours. The PC’s go through their batteries quicker because they have a much more powerful GPU, to say nothing of running two 7200RPM drives in a RAID configuration, and I imagine the RGB LED screens use more power than Apple’s white LED screen although I honestly don’t know if that is the case or not. In summary on the outside a Macbook Pro may be a Porsche, but on the inside for the same price these premium mobile workstations will offer an edge in performance over the Macbook Pro. An Apple notebook should offer superior fit and finish (not necessarily performance) to Windows notebooks under $1,000 , if you want to get something considerably more powerful than anything Apple has to offer you can easily get it in the Dell Precision m6400, HP EliteBook 8730w, and the W700. OS X is not going to change that very simple fact.

    W500 – “the MBP does not have a mini displayport since there is no such thing”

    The unibody Apple notebooks are the only notebooks that use Mini Display Port. It definitely exists, and in my personal opinion in terms of compatibility this is a typical and unfortunate Apple design decision. Everyone else who is implementing Display Port is using the standard Display Port connection.

    “Extended warranties don’t generally cover theft, drops, water damage, heat damage, and other issues. ”

    Apple does not cover any of these things. As stated above Accidental Coverage offered by Dell, HP, and Lenovo covers everything except theft and deliberate abuse. 3 year Accidental coverage in addition to your standard warranty and on site support ends up costing about the same as Apple Care which once again only covers defects. I have a problem with paying someone $350 for defects that should not occur. At least with the leading Windows systems you get complete coverage against accidents and defects for your $350. Having your renters, homeowners, or business insurance cover you is an option, and well worth considering. I personally do not want to have those insurance policies affected by claims that may arise from damage to my notebook. There is also the issue of your insurance company trying to wiggle out of responsibility if they can claim you use your notebook for work, and claim it is not covered under your personal property policies. If I were to end up purchasing a Macbook Pro this would be something I would want a clear understanding from my Insurance broker on.

    datsunzcr – “As a Windows user for 20 years (yes, I know DOS and CP/M too and I ain’t 40 yet), it seems that PC have become disposable.”

    All computers are disposable I am afraid. In terms of future proof, all of the Windows notebooks in this comparison offer better value and options in terms of expandability, connectivity, and most powerful configurations. That Dell Precision 6400 will allow you to expand to 16 GB of RAM, add two SSD drives in a year or two when the prices come down, internal RAID, Blue Ray, and comes with a choice of GPU’s and CPUs that will allow it to perform far beyond the capabilities of the Macbook Pro 17 now and going forward.

  181. Mike Says:

    So, what happened here?: http://tiny12.tv/0SK8M Did she even enter the Apple store?

  182. Tom Says:

    I was trying to take this seriously till I came across the section named ” enviromental impact” and I suppose it does apply to me in some way as i try to buy only products that increase my “carbon” footprint, so may be you could tell us which one is the worst for the enviroment so I can buy 2 of them

  183. David Hamilton Says:

    @Tom Nice Troll. But I’ll bite…

    In case you were serious, the CIA rate climatic change as a #1 political destabiliser. If you think that there is any part of the globe (even the US of A) that is going to remain unaffected by the wave of unrest that will sweep the globe over the next 50 years, you are astonishingly naive.

    All civilisations are reckoned to be just 3 meals from anarchy. Unfortunately, I think we’re going to find out if that is true or not…

  184. SMNotebook Says:

    “So, what happened here?: http://tiny12.tv/0SK8M Did she even enter the Apple store?”

    Just a little heads up for those of you caught up on the staging in this advertisement, ie. this is not a National Geographic documentary. There is something called a “Property Release” that is absolutely necessary, if you film on private property for commercial advertising purposes. If this were a story on the evening news that would be o.k., but otherwise you need a signed legal document authorizing the use of private property in an advertisement. Lauren is not filmed inside the Apple store, because that would require Apple’s permission.

    The point being if Apple had been willing to sign a Property Release and allow the ad to be filmed inside the store, it most certainly would have been done. That would definitely have been entertaining.

  185. Joe Says:

    This comparison is horrible as mentioned. Those computers are not comparable. The PC’s are mobile work stations with Quadro GPU’s. Does the author understand the difference between a Quadro GPU and a normal gaming GPU for NVidia? The Quadros are way more expensive, and can do workstation tasks that the regular GPU cannot do (in other words, what the Apple cannot do). The Apple is not a workstation laptop. Not even close. There is a reason those workstation computers cost so much, and it’s not the business markup. They can do things the Apple and normal PC’s cannot.

  186. Peach Says:

    McCracken’s tabulation was fundamentally incorrect in that he had awarded a point to the best laptop(s) and no point at all to the runner-ups in each category.

    For example, the second item to be compared was the RAM. While the Mac, Dell and Sony all used 4GB DDR3 RAMS and the HP and Lenovo used 4 GB DDR2 RAMs, McCracken awarded a full point to the first three and none to the remaining two. One point is infinity-times greater than zero point, in terms of percentages, but a DDR3 RAM is only slightly better than a DDR2 RAM and is not infinity-times better.

    McCracken then goes on to repeat this for a the majority of the other specifications. He had produced a qualitative comparison rather than a quantitative one and he said this himself. He had even mentioned of the lack of a weightage system. If so, why did he go on to add up the points to produce a summary?

    I had revised his evaluation, based on his comments on page 2 and with some views of my own, to try and make it a more quantitative evaluation. There’s unfortunately still no weightage system. As an example, for the RAM issue above, I have retained his original single point for Mac, Dell & Sony and then given a reduced 0.75 point to HP and Lenovo.

    My final result is that Lenovo is 1st with 22.5 pts, Apple is 4th with 21 pts and Sony last with 18.75 pts. While the first four laptops may have similar total points, my result, for the first four laptops, is very opposite to McCracken’s! (Sony’s had rather different specs to the other four and should have been brought into this comparison).

    So is there a Mac-tax? Well, Lenovo’s was the cheapest and it had the best specs. Apple’s was of middling price and had the poorest specs. The result is inconclusive, except to say that Apple laptops are expensive for the specs provided.

    McCracken’s follow-up comparison of the same 17-in Mac vs consumer PC laptops does show that Macs are much, much more expensive, but then he shied away from admitting to a Mac-tax by saying that the Mac specs are better and he would consider the Mac over the PCs… Is he pro-Mac?

  187. all network Says:

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  188. Dan Says:

    I have been using windows based PC’s since the 80’s and never had a virus, or had to reinstall the operating systems due to slowdowns. My wife works in a computer retail store and guess what, 90% of sales are PC based, and for the other 10%, half of them are returned due to the limited software available that their kids and grandkids want to use (gaming, plug-and-play MP3/ cameras, etc). When it was time to choose my new system (upgrades every 3 years) I chose, and will always choose PC’s due to the large scale choices available in stock builds and rebates available. No Mac has ever had the availability to go buy what you want, only what they want you to have.

    And with Apple’s warranty. I have dealt with that one once. Never again as all they did for the first 20 minutes on the phone was to find ways to try to quote user problems.

    In the end most users worldwide will never use a Mac. There is no good guy in the equation as both only want your money. The only difference is there is quite a bit of PC competition, but for Mac it is a monopoly.

  189. David Hamilton Says:

    You are an exclusive species – someone who understands ‘safe computing’ and how to use your computer in a sensible manner. I too have not had a virus or needed a re-install in 20 years of Windows usage (however, I do run SysInternal Autoruns on a regular basis – the major reasons for slowdowns is crap installing itself into Windows Explorer). 99% of ordinary users do not have a clue and just click yes to all the offers to install toolbars and other rubbish.

    However I chose to use Macs because I could not longer stand the shortcomings of the Windows OS – silly usability things like the inability to resize the environment settings dialog even if you have a 200 character entry in it (IIS admin still had that issue relatively recently). But the thing that swung me was the Windows Registry – a file system without all the useful parts like last change dates – which introduced a single point of failure into Windows which they’ve spent 15 years to damage control. Interesting that nobody has chosen to copy Microsoft’s ‘innovative’ feature.

    But you’ve clearly never used Mac software to any degree. Both the Apple and 3rd party software offer levels of clarity and usability that are only rarely glimpsed in Windows programs, perhaps because Windows developers were misled by MS’s MDI UI atrocity – multiple documents is something that that MS still struggles with today with inconsistent swapping between applications and documents with MS Office.

    And MS applications actually seem to be getting less usable, rather than more so, with each application sporting its own unique interface – I reference Windows Media Player and Expression Web SuperPreview as ‘lucky dip, click the button and find out what it does’ interfaces.

    Finally that half that brought back non-Windows PCs, you know the reason for that? Because the users were expecting to get their software for ‘free’ from friends and neighbours. When they find out that the software they wanted to steal was Windows-only, they bring the PC back. Microsoft may protest piracy, but the ‘my mates have free Windows software’ factor has been hugely helpful to Windows lock-in in the past (although now less of an issue with Virtual Machines).

  190. Theo Morris Says:

    I don’t want it to sound like this, but people buying laptops are generally stupid. They seem to forget about things and look at only the biggest things example screen size but not the resolution. A lot of people i have talked to say that the OSX is weird and then I ask, “well have you tried it?” and they say no most of the time and claim that their decision about OSX was based purely and the was that it look. Also they look at the price of not so similar computers and say “look mac is so much more expensive” when its not. People seem to forget that the iMac is and all in one computer and should be compared to other all in ones. Yes macs seem more expensive but if you look down the road of ownership macs (at least to me seem like the better choice). Also I have noticed that programs on mac seem better working and made then those on windows example windows movie maker vs. iMovie but thats just my opinion. Like I said I didn’t want to say stupid so i’ll say misinformed. And some people are stupid, but not all.

  191. Tux Says:

    Wow… I love it when the fanboys (and girls) come out to play. Aside from the typos and editing issues, this article was very well done, both in its approach and execution. The point was to compare hardware, apples to apples (no pun intended), since now that’s possible with Apple having adopted an Intel platform.

    Somewhere in the fray, somebody mentioned that Apples are great, if you’re looking for what they’re selling. Again, speaking strictly on the subject of hardware, this is true. The PC manufacturers have the build-to-order market cornered. Apple can’t compete there, as their focus seems to fall into the “we innovate like crazy” market.

    You guys are arguing personal preference. That’s what all Mac-vs-PC discussions eventually digress into. The bottom line is this: buy the computer that is best for YOUR needs. Let your follow man be whatever they want to be: Mac or PC.

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  194. Matt Says:

    I’m in the market for a new 17″ notebook for home and was really serious about getting a macbook pro…until I found out it’s about $1000 more than a comparable HP. Now, I’m not sure. IMO, this analysis is completely disingenuous. How do we start with the basic premise of an ad directed at consumers and then start comparing the MacBook Pro to business class Wintel notebooks (let’s through the word “workstation” in there to give the analysis a little more credibility). Anyone who thinks this comparison is reasonable…go to hp.com (or dell.com, etc) and compare for yourself. There are two approaches, use comparable hardware and see the huge price differences. Or (and this one is even more fun), just start beefing up the HP system until the price is the same. To make the argument that the 17″ MacBook Pro is competitive at the hardware component level is just flat out ridiculous IMO. Now, I may still get a MacBook…because I can get a discount and because I want the software. But, I’m not so naive as to think I’m getting a good deal on the hardware;-)

  195. jd Says:

    Just was looking around … found this.

    For most users YES the windows computer is the obvious better choice… but those users could also just cut the cost altogether and do internet surfing and word processing free at their local library or junior college.

    I do development and need to be mobile. I am also on the road about 6 months out of the year and handle software sales and marketing also, thus my laptop gets quite a bit of wear in tear. The previous two laptops I had before I finally made the switch BOTH fell apart on me, a toshiba (trackpad issues, hdd died), and a dell business laptop (hinges came off)

    I’ve never had a virus with any windows build, so that wasn’t an issue.
    Time and things working right and smooth is a big priority.

    I also don’t plan to keep it over 1-2 years as I usually keep up and upgrade about once a year on my laptop soon as the warranty expires.

    Most of the cutting edge web stuff is going on with a mac, and executes beautifully on a mac (java runtimes esp), so I need this…

    web development for me is much better on a mac I have found. i can simply write code faster, see it better, etc. I make the money back for the mac purchase in a week for the extra work I can get done on it. I didn’t know I would save so much time but I do.

    I wish mac had some stuff like the ibm w700d (dual screen) and etc…but it isn’t at that level yet… so I’ll be fine for now I suppose.

    I actually carry a cheap windows netbook as well as a backup and still use it if I want to setup certain configs, use some other power tools, sql server gui run not as a VM, etc. have another box running etc., i paid under 200 for it and it runs win xp sp3

    so yeah, a lot of designers, photographers, media people, developers are going to still want mac.

  196. Jon Peterson Says:

    One thing that I haven't seen mentioned in the comments, but that is a VERY important issue when comparing hardware:

    Mac hardware is underpowered, and listed above its real-world capability.
    I'm not saying that as a fanboy, I'm saying that as a user who purchased a 17" MacBookPro for video work in mid-2007, and was surprised about how sluggish it was when doing my everyday work.
    Eventually, I updated it to Leopard (and later Snow Leopard), and at that point I installed Windows XP to a Boot Camp partition and set out to undertake some tests.

    Unfortunately, I no longer have the data with me, but I'm sure it can be easily replicated…
    First thing I should mention is LISTED system stats: MacBookPro first
    2.4GHz Intel Core2Duo
    4GB RAM
    nVidia 6800GT

    Next up, the comparison machine (homebuilt):
    2.4GHz Intel Core2Duo
    3GB RAM
    ATI Radeon 9600

    For benchmarking, I used CPU Free Benchmark ( http://majorgeeks.com/CPU_Free_BenchMark_d5944.ht… ) and MASMO ( http://majorgeeks.com/MASMO_d3732.html )

    Both tools showed about a 20% decrease in performance from the comparison machine to the Mac. The GPU tests were slightly better, but as I discovered, most of the applications I was using (Adobe CS3, Final Cut Pro2) were not leveraging the GPU for processing.

    I wish I had logs available to upload (my MBP is on loan to a friend), but as I said before, I'm confident that anyone with access to a Mac and a PC with comparable listed hardware stats will be able to generate similar results.

  197. macbook pro used for sale Says:

    I just understand getting an expensive laptop and then removing the main part you’re actually paying for. If I was to get a laptop to put linux on it would not be a mac, and it would also not have an AMD graphics card in.

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    […] keep contending that the more similar a Windows PC is to a Mac, the more likely it is that the price is similar. I’m not sure if the lack of Apple-Tax math in this new comparison means Microsoft is […]

  38. Once Again, “PC or Mac?” Says:

    […] a little bit in the piece about pricing issues, but they deserve a story of their own–the pricing comparisons I’ve done in the past are all woefully out of date.  (I’ve often found that Mac pricing is reasonable compared to […]