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MacBytes
Aug 9, 2006, 05:24 PM
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Category: Apple Hardware
Link: Bear Stearns: Apple's New PCs and Servers Should Pressure Dell (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20060809182419)
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Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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Sun Baked
Aug 9, 2006, 05:30 PM
I think we can all expect Dell to quickly counter the retail price of the Mac and drop the price on the Dell Precision Workstation 690 and the PowerEdge 1950.

But as some have pointed out, Apple's service leaves a lot to be desired for these business class customers.

inkswamp
Aug 9, 2006, 05:38 PM
But as some have pointed out, Apple's service leaves a lot to be desired for these business class customers.

Why do you think that? Do you have a specific example to share?

I work in an environment with IS people responsible for maintaining hundreds of production machines and who routinely have to deal with Dell and IBM. They have nothing but headaches with the "support" these companies offer (and yes, we're part of a very large company that definitely qualifies as a "business class customer.") I watch our IS staff get an insane amount of runaround from PC makers who supposedly have all this great service to offer.

That's why I laugh when people point out that the Dell comes with 3 years of support vs. the 1 year from Apple. Quantity does not matter if the quality falls short and from what I've seen, it does.

Soylentknight
Aug 9, 2006, 07:59 PM
after seeing the price comparisons in Stevo's keynote, I just had to go to the Dell site to see for my self. Not that I don't trust marketing hype... well... okay.. I don't trust marketing hype.

First thing I notice... Dell doesn't offer a sub-3GHZ Precision 690 workstation (obviously they did during the Mac Pro development cycle)

So: I proceed to spec out similarly equipped 690's and Mac Pro's to get an idea of config-config prices.

So... this is what i did.... since Dell doesn't offer any of the 7000 series cards, I opted for a system with the only graphics card in common between the Apple and Dell option lists... expensive, the Quadro FX 4500 w/ 512Mb. Also, since the Dell config includes a monitor, I had to add one to the Mac... and went 20" (since Apple doesn't offer a 19)
Expensive I know, but this will still allow for a even price comparison.. so....


Apple Mac Pro - dual 3GHZ core duo, 1 GB RAM, 250GB SATA drive, 20" cinema display monitor, superdrive, 512MB PCIe x16 nVidia Quadro FX 4500, Apple keyboard and might mouse

5648.00 USD

Dell Precision Workstation 690 - dual 3GHZ core duo, 1GB RAM, 250GB SATA drive, Dell 20 inch UltraSharp™ 2007FP 20" Widescreen monitor, 16XDVD AND 16XDVD+/-RW, 512MB PCIe x16 nVidia Quadro FX 4500, Dual DVI or Dual VGA or DVI + VGA, USB Entry Quietkey Keyboard, Dell USB 2-Button Optical Mouse with Scroll

4035.00 USD


so... where did the 1600.00 bucks go to???

kiwi-in-uk
Aug 9, 2006, 09:30 PM
... First thing I notice... Dell doesn't offer a sub-3GHZ Precision 690 workstation (obviously they did during the Mac Pro development cycle) ...

So... this is what i did.... since Dell doesn't offer any of the 7000 series cards, I opted for a system with the only graphics card in common between the Apple and Dell option lists... expensive, the Quadro FX 4500 w/ 512Mb. Also, since the Dell config includes a monitor, I had to add one to the Mac... and went 20" (since Apple doesn't offer a 19)
Expensive I know, but this will still allow for a even price comparison.. so....

...

so... where did the 1600.00 bucks go to???

Try again - the Precision 690 is available with the 51xx processors (as used in the Mac Pro).

It is also available without a monitor.

I don't know enough about graphics cards to comment ... anyone else?

solvs
Aug 9, 2006, 11:32 PM
I don't know enough about graphics cards to comment ... anyone else?
Apple wins on price if you use the same high end Quadro video cards (even though they actually charge about $200 more for it). Even if you use Dells lowest, cheapest card, Apple is still less expensive. The key I think is that you pretty much need to buy 2 procs from Apple, whereas you can get 1 from Dell. Comparably, for the same thing from either, if you use the same high end stuff Apple uses like dual Woodcrest 5100 series Xeons and 667MHz FB-DIMMs, Apple is actually cheaper.

Is it me, or is Dell's site a pain in the butt to navigate?

kiwi-in-uk
Aug 10, 2006, 08:57 AM
Is it me, or is Dell's site a pain in the butt to navigate?

Both the US and the Australian Dell sites are terrible.

Soylentknight
Aug 10, 2006, 10:18 AM
Yes, in Face the Dell site is a pain to navigate around. I wasn't aware there was more than one instance of the Precision 690 on the site.
I'd found first the one in the Home/Home business department and naively assumed that was the only one offered. I poked around some more and sure enough, there's one under the small business that can be configured more comparibly, and sure enough, yes, the dollars make sense now:

SO - again (for my edification)

Dell Precision 690 - 2x Dual Core Intel® Xeon® Processor 5150 2.66GHz, 512MB PCIe x16 nVidia Quadro FX 4500 video, 1 GB, DDR2 SDRAM FBD Memory-667MHz, 250GB SATA 3.0Gb/s,7200 RPM Hard Drive, 16XDVD AND 16XDVD+/-RW, keyboard, mouse, and no monitor:

$4,792.00 USD

Apple Mac Pro - 2x 2.66GHZ Dual Core Xeon, 512Mb Quadro FX 4500 512Mb RAM, 1GB DDR2 SDRAM Memory@667MHZ, 250GB SATA Drive, 16X Superdrive, keyboard, mouse, no monitor

$4149.00 USD

Now things make sense -
In Dell's defense, they DO offer a FREE 19" Flat panel with their system... so let's add $699.00 to the Mac just for giggles: $4848.00 USD
Oh... but then we have to upgrad the Dell to a 20" as well ... Dell system now $5251.00 USD

So... as things stand now, that free 19" LCD that Dell's giving you costs about $650 bucks

IJ Reilly
Aug 10, 2006, 10:38 AM
So... as things stand now, that free 19" LCD that Dell's giving you costs about $650 bucks

Which only goes to show that nothing is free. Included in the price maybe, but not "free."

Ironically Dell is doing precisely what some insist only Apple does: restricting choice. Want it or not, you must take their monitor, because either way, you've already paid for it.

Double irony: even if a person didn't want to run OSX, they'd still be better off buying a MacPro and a retail copy of Windows.

solvs
Aug 12, 2006, 02:43 AM
Want it or not, you must take their monitor, because either way, you've already paid for it.
Actually after a lot of searching, I was able to find one without a monitor on the large business site. It was more expensive. :confused: Yeah, I don't get it either.

IJ Reilly
Aug 12, 2006, 11:56 AM
Actually after a lot of searching, I was able to find one without a monitor on the large business site. It was more expensive. :confused: Yeah, I don't get it either.

I think I do: It's a desperate effort to keep margins up. They're doing it by bundling products, forcing you to buy something you don't want along with the thing you do.

I've noticed on some Dell PCs the "free" monitor can be deleted, but the credit for doing so is nearly inconsequential, like $50. About a year ago I went though this exercise trying to buy my Dad a new PC (never have been able to talk him into a Mac). We looked in the usual retail stores selling entry-level PCs. They all come with a "free" monitor and printer and about four (!) rebates -- two on the PC and one each on the monitor and printer. So not only is the "out the door" price of your $400 PC about $700, buying one without the "free" add-ons will actually result in a higher ticket price. It's pretty disgusting.

Sesshi
Aug 12, 2006, 12:15 PM
Why do you think that? Do you have a specific example to share?

I work in an environment with IS people responsible for maintaining hundreds of production machines and who routinely have to deal with Dell and IBM. They have nothing but headaches with the "support" these companies offer (and yes, we're part of a very large company that definitely qualifies as a "business class customer.") I watch our IS staff get an insane amount of runaround from PC makers who supposedly have all this great service to offer.

That's why I laugh when people point out that the Dell comes with 3 years of support vs. the 1 year from Apple. Quantity does not matter if the quality falls short and from what I've seen, it does.


Dells comes with 3 years of next day support. Servers can be configured with 4 hours onsite / 4 hour fix service. If your IS staff know what they're doing and don't try and offload / blame issues on Dell, then their support is one of the best that I've come across. They do provide engineers next day, and where they can't they call and give reasons. And if you don't treat the engineers like crap, they are helpful. I've experienced a pretty crappy level of support from Applecare so far - and not only that, I've had to use them far more often than I think is reasonable.

That is why I'm putting up with the partial inconvenience of going with a half-Windows / half-Mac situation and opted for Precision 690's instead of the Mac Pro. I want reliable machines, but if they do break I do not want to wait for one or two weeks to get it turned around. What I do with these machines is pretty platform-generic and I figured the 690 was a better long-term bet.

I do eventually intend to replace the remaining iMac with a Mac Pro, but probably early next year. Similarly, I'm replacing one of the Macbooks with a Sony SZ2VP which I'll use as the actual laptop - and the remaining Macbook can be the bedroom machine. After my Switching Experience, I'll reserve Macs to where they're more effective and where their unreliability isn't such a burning issue - home / lifestyle use. As personally productive the OS is, I don't at this stage believe that in terms of hardware they are really professionally usable machines in a regular business sense. My MBP has some issues right now, but I think I can live with it until it dies and I have to send it back . I do love it despite it's failures thus far (not to mention the warping now becoming prominent) and I might buy a spare. But this is probably going to end up being the one 'pro use' Mac machine in my setup.

But all that aside, Apple's pricing is genuinely extremely aggressive. Whether this points to a further lowering of quality or further corner-cutting on the part of Apple resulting in worse reliability (e.g. the Dell 690 actually has more 'stuff' in it in terms of cooling hardware than the Mac Pro - is the Mac better designed, or is the Dell more conservative resulting in better potential reliability?) time will tell.