Dell vs Macbook

I currently have a first gen white Macbook (my personal laptop) and my work laptop is a Dell Inspiron 9400. The Inspiron has a 17″ screen and weighs as much as a small midget. My boss asked me if I wanted a new one but I told him it wasn’t necessary. Aside from the weight and size my Inspiron works great. But I love my Macbook and since it can run Vista I started thinking about dual booting it and using that instead. The battery is better and when no ones looking I can use OSX.

Then I started comparing Dell’s laptops to the new Macbooks that are out. It turns out the Macbook is a much better value for the money, even if you don’t use OSX.

Here is what you get with a base Macbook.

Macbook $1299

  • 2GHz Core2 Duo (faster one with the faster bus speed)
  • 2GB 1066Mhz DDR3
  • 160GB 5400RPM
  • GeForce 9400M
  • SuperDrive 8x (DVD?R DL/DVD?RW/CD-RW)
  • Wifi-N
  • Bluetooth

Compared to the XPS1330 which is pretty similar.

XPS 1330 $1018

  • 2GHz 800MHz bus speed Core2 Duo
  • 2GB 667MHz DDR2
  • 250GB 5400RPM
  • GeForce 8400M
  • CD/DVDRW+-
  • Wifi-N
  • Bluetooth

But lets not forget the 13″ Macbook which is almost identical to the XPS1330 except it has a better video card.

They also have the slightly older 13? Macbook for only $999

  • 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM – 2x1GB
  • 120GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
  • SuperDrive 8x (DVD?R DL/DVD?RW/CD-RW)
  • GeForce 9400M

For those of you who don’t know hardware the Macbook has 3 important features.

1. Faster CPU. It may say 2GHz like the others but this CPU has a faster bus and uses newer technology. The new Core2 Duo they use has a 1066MHz bus speed while the Core2 Duo in the Dell is 800MHz. The system bus is how all the data gets to the CPU, the faster it is the faster the CPU can process requests.

2. DDR3. DDR3 is the newest and fastest memory out. The Dell is still using DDR2 at 667MHz while the Macbook is at 1066MHz, same speed as the bus. This means the CPU works with the RAM at a bus speed ratio of 1:1. No bottleneck.

3. Video card. Macbook has a GeForce 9400M while the Dell sports a generation older 8400M. Both video cards aren’t gaming powerhouses but the 9400 will certainly be able to deliver a better gaming experience, especially at the Macbook’s native LCD resolution. Not mention higher resolutions on external LCDs. The 9400M also uses less power giving you longer battery life. Both the $1299 and $999 Macbook come with the 9400M.

There is no question when comparing apples to apples the Macbook wins hands down on hardware vs price.

But what about software? You’d have to buy Vista to run on your Macbook if you don’t want OSX. One thing to remember is that you would then have two operating systems on the laptop, providing a lot more flexibility and choices when it comes to applications. Vista Home will add on another $100 to the cost of the Macbook and with Apple Boot Camp its simple to run both operating systems.

Dell and Apple both offer warranties. Dell is usally around $300 for a 3 year next day service warranty. Apple Care for the Macbook is $249 and covers the operating system and some software. Apple also lets you bring the laptop to any Apple store for repair along with authorized Apple shops.

One of the most important things to me is have-it-now. I really hate waiting for shipping. This is a completely personal problem but there it is. Apple has stores so I can have it now. Dell has Walmart but I don’t think they sell XPS1330’s there. Even Best Buy sells Macbooks.

I hope reading this article helps you make a decision. I’m obviously biased for Apple but based off of my experience. I use Windows XP, Vista, and OSX. Microsoft still wins in the gaming department. There is no question that you can get a more powerful PC with the ability to play any new game out for less than a high end Mac. Far less. But when it comes to value and productivity I think Apple has cornered the market. I really just want people searching for a new laptop to consider Apple. I think once you try one you won’t go back.

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