Buying a laptop: questions about hardware performance

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by MUCKYFINGERS, Jun 23, 2005.

  1. MUCKYFINGERS macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    I did a search for this kind of thread and didn't find any results, so I was wondering if anyone could help me answer this question. I've been set on getting an iBook or Powerbook G4 for awhile, and my sister recently purchased a Dell Inspiron. She told me that for the same money you pay, the hardware you can get on a Dell laptop is far better than on a Mac laptop. Also, I noticed that whereas Dell has frequent specials where you can get a laptop with far better hardware than the iBook G4 for significantly less...

    Anyway, is there any solid reasons why I should get a current Apple laptop over a Dell laptop (with better hardware), besides the fact that I like OSX a lot? And I love the looks of the iBooks too...
  2. _pb_boi macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2004
    Those two reasons are enough. You pay for the inherent quality of OS X - and you can only get that on a mac.

    P.S. Dells are freakin' ugly. I mean, they're UGLY! Like, those mofo's are UGLY! Have you taken a good look at one? If you shield your eyes, maybe squint through your fingers, you can look at them for a few seconds without thinking 'This is burning holes in my retinas'. Mmkay, screwed my arguement there, but you get my point. Ugly.

  3. Josh macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2004
    State College, PA
    Although the iBook looks really nice, and OS X is fantastic, I would suggest getting what would be more productive and beneficial to you.

    I have an iBook, and I really like it. But you can indeed get a more powerfull Dell for less money.

    What it comes down to I guess is what you need and what you already have.

    Already have a bunch of Mac software you bought? Get an iBook.

    Buy a bunch of Windows software? Get the Dell.

    Need to use an application that is only available on OS X? Get the iBook.

    Although I love my iBook and Apple, there are situations when a better deal that will be better for your situation can be achieved elsewhere. Don't pay more for a slower machine just because it looks nice!

    If you don't have a real reason to get one of the other software or need wise, I'd suggest the Dell simply because it will out perform the iBook at a lower price, and Dell's support is excellent.

    This is a Mac site, so most people will probably recommended an iBook. But if you rule out all bias, the Dell comes out on top. Apple's aren't for everyone. Some people love them, and they suit some people great. Other times, a better solution exists elsewhere.

    (I imagine an inferno of flames will ensue, and mentions of spyware, virii, and the OS X 'experience' will be weighed against the hardware and price. But I've ran XP since the day it came out and never received a virus, and never ran anti-virus software. If you don't download shady stuff, you don't need to worry.)
  4. strider42 macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2002
    Dell sometimes runs some deals occasionally to clear out inventory where a laptop is basically half off. Those ARE really good deals, and if you want a PC laptop, they are well worth it (they also sell out in about an hour, and finding out when they are happening is difficult)

    The iBook is a good notebook, with a good screen, great software and OS, all in a stylish case with decent battery life. If its what you want, you should get it. if you want a PC, you should get that. The aren't directly comparable, and one will have strengths where the other doesn't. I think the iBook is very competative.

    I'd also want someone to define more what they mean if they say "you can get better ahrdware on the dell for the same price" unless they have specifics, it doesn't really mean much. It has to be better in the ways that are important to you.
  5. MUCKYFINGERS thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    To be honest, I started using Macs at work (Powermac G5) and I really liked how it felt and looked. Then I thought, since I'm moving out anyway in September, I may as well get a laptop and get a mac while I'm at it. Next month I'll be purchasing the laptop, but I want to make sure I get the best bang for my buck.

    I really like OS X and the look of the iBooks, (I planned on upgrading the RAM to 512 MB and probably the hard drive as well), but I noticed if I payed less for a Dell I could get 80 MB Ram with a 1.6 Ghz processor right off the bat, vs. the iBook's 1.25 ghz and 256 MB Ram before upgrading...
  6. nightdweller25 macrumors 6502

    Mar 2, 2005
    And remember that you can't really compare the G4 to the P4 since they are so different and megahertz means nothing when comparing those two. Th iBook is more than enough for common task and the average consumer, it is very snappy.
  7. ITASOR macrumors 601


    Mar 20, 2005
    If you had to drop one from 4 feet and bet your life on which one would still work, which one would you bet on?

    Get the iBook.
  8. sw1tcher macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Well, I use both PCs and Macs. The reason I prefer a Mac is because...

    1. I really like OS X (Dashboard, Expose, etc.) and the bundled software they give you (iLife '05)
    2. I don't have to worry about viruses and spyware
    3. Less security issues (holes, bugs, etc.) with OS X
    4. OS X is a much more stable OS than Windows (though my PC is doing pretty good right now -- current uptime is 35 days, 5 hours, 26 minutes, and 40 seconds. Would have been longer, but had to download several Windows updates and reboot).
    5. Things just work right out of the box.
    6. No registry to deal with.
    7. Apple has one of the best reliability and tech support ratings out there (next to IBM).
    8. Compared to a similarly specs PB, a Dell Inspiron isn't really that much faster or cheaper (unless you wait for one of them $750 off $1499 sales. If that's the case, I'd probably be tempted by the Dell.).

    Basically, the less time I have to spend fiddling with (and worrying about) my system, the more time I have to enjoy using it. OS X has Windows beat in that area.

    If you game, then get the Dell (XPS). If you just want to be productive, get the PB.
  9. Eevee macrumors 6502a


    Aug 10, 2004
    New Haven, CT
    You mention about Powerbooks. These are great laptops, but are costly. If you have the money and want something that will last a long time, I suggest the powerbook.
  10. MUCKYFINGERS thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    Speaking of the Powerbooks, I was thinking about that too, but I figured all I'd be doing with my laptop would be chatting, e-mailing, typing papers, listening to mp3/watching video, and maybe playing with emulators.

    But I also want to think somewhat longterm for my purchase, and therefore, a powerbook may be a better purchase in that sense.

    Is 12" really too small?
  11. thehuncamunca macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2003
    apple's laptops (especially the ibooks) are very competitively priced
    for one, they all have REAL graphics cards-many low end dells and such don't have a graphics card and hence suffer
    battery life is excellent on the ibooks-i got 4-6 hrs on my ibook
    wireless reception and setup is a breeze
    the ibooks are very durable and have no cd trays or pieces of plastic to break off
    plus you get OS X which is SO much nicer than windows
    you can get a PC laptop that's cheaper than an ibook by a lot but if you want one with some battery life and dedicated graphics the price quickly approaches that of the ibook
  12. risc macrumors 68030


    Jul 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
    When you consider the cost of the Dell versus the Apple notebooks don't forget to factor in the cost of the software, the iBooks in particular come with a shed-load of software.

    Anyway get what ever you want it all comes down to this really are you prepared to pay for the privillage of using OS X? If you don't care one way or the other about the quality of the OS on the machine and are more interested in hardware specs over usability get the Dell.
  13. homerjward macrumors 68030


    May 11, 2004
    fig tree
    i got a dell, specs in sig, instead of a powerbook because of not only price, but windows-only programs ill need for some classes next year (premiere, rhinoceros, some c++ and other shtuff) and it was a lot cheaper. i got everything in my sig for under $2k with a 2-year warranty with complete care (i can literally throw it down the stairs and get a replacement)
    also i was influenced by the intel decision. do i really want to be using macs when apple keeps jerking us around like this (680x0>>ppc, os9>>osx, ppc>>intel, blah blah blah)
  14. Deepdale macrumors 68000


    May 4, 2005
    New York
    Go with your inner voice, which already seems to be giving you enough rationale for saving money and selecting Dell. An adequate, if not exactly compelling, case can always be made for either platform ... if you purchase Dell, please get back to us with some feedback. Inquiring minds want to know if you rate it as one of your wisest buys. Good luck!
  15. sw1tcher macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    For me, the 12" seems kinda small. I'm looking to pick up a new PB soon (during the next update?) and have gone back and forth between the 12" and 15" PB. I had a 15" PB before (sold it last year) and I loved the wide screen. That's what I'll probably end up getting again. The 12" just feels cramped for me.

    As for what strider42 said about hardware specifics, Dell doesn't really have much better hardware than current PB's, with the exception of a 7200rpm HDD, a double-layer DVD burner, and a PCI Express video card. I've been tempted many times by the $750 off $1499 and up Dell deals. Mainly looking at the Inspiron 6000.

    Right now Dell's having a 34% off sale. An Inspiron 6000 with:

    Intel® Pentium® M Processor 730 (1.60 GHz/2MB Cache/533MHz FSB)
    Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    1Yr Ltd Warranty, 1Yr Mail-In Service, and 1Yr Technical Support
    15.4 inch UltraSharp WSXGA+ LCD Panel
    512MB DDR2 SDRAM 1 Dimm
    80GB Hard Drive
    8x CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) with double-layer write capability
    64MB DDR ATI's MOBILITY™ RADEON X300 PCI Express x16 Graphics
    9-cell Lithium Ion Battery
    Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200 Internal Wireless (802.11 b/g, 54Mbps)

    .... is $1272

    A 15" PB with similar specs is $2299 or ($2099 - $100 rebate = $1999 for students).

    So yeah, the Inspiron is tempting.
  16. Nuc macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2003
    Dell Sucks!

    My father just bought $5500 worth of computers (laptop & desktop). The order for the desktop was so screwed up that dell said to send it back instead of sending him the stuff he had requested. He spent countless hours on the phone mostly waiting... He's so pissed he's going to send back the whole order. I told him to buy sony.

    I tried convincing him to get himself an apple however he runs some stock software (priemere trade). It runs ok on my 17" laptop, but of course not as snappy as on windows.

    Anyways after my fathers ordeal I would buy sony before dell...if I had to go with windows based...blah!

    P.S. looking at all of dells deal crap, the invoice is so long I got tired of trying to see what my father had ordered and what he didn't. All that and they overcharged him $500. Screw hell (I mean Dell) :D

  17. Lord ZipLoc macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2005
    Show me a dell thats $1000 and has a 4-6 hour battery life. My co workers have dells and they have all the power saving crap on and still get only 2-3 hours and thats just crap for a laptop.
  18. RJP31484 macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA

    oh.. you mean PROGRESS?!?!?!?!
  19. Tamer Brad macrumors regular

    May 13, 2005
    It really all boils down to the fact that you get what you pay for. You can either pay extra and be happier, or get something lesser (IMO) for a deal.
  20. nightdweller25 macrumors 6502

    Mar 2, 2005
    Nicely said
  21. Vanilla macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    The only thing I would add to the above is don't get hung up by "performance envy".

    Pick the machine that does what you want efficiently, anonymously and consistently, that enables you to concentrate on the job in hand rather than endure constant low level stress of wondering whether the machine is going to bomb out on you.

    Whether one open an app a couple of seconds faster than another is frankly neither here nor there.

  22. homerjward macrumors 68030


    May 11, 2004
    fig tree
    just imagine if microsoft said "well, i think next year we'll be using SPARC processors, oh but don't worry, we've got universal binaries. and then in a few years, let's write a new operating system that's incompatible with our old one, but we can emulate the old one if needed. but the emulation will be slow and a memory hog." would they get away with it? no. i understand its progress but i would like to be able to know that 3 or 5 years down the road they'll still be using the same kind of processors as opposed to changing architectures twice! i love os x, just meh...
  23. weg macrumors 6502a


    Mar 29, 2004
    You mean like, going from x86 Real Mode to x86 Protected Mode, from 16 to 32 bits, Win95 to WinXP? The difference is that Microsoft always managed to combine the shift with a huge advantage for users, while the switch from PPC to Intel doesn't have any obvious advantages for the user.
  24. cooknwitha macrumors 6502a


    May 5, 2005
    I know it's an old reasoning but OSX for me is the clincher.

    Yes, it's only an operating system but that for me is the computer. And a few $100s pales in comparison to the ease of having a computer with OSX compared to worrying about drivers, viruses and everything else that comes with Windows.

    A computer isn't an impluse buy. Remember you've got to live with it for a few years. With that in mind, I'd go Mac every time.
  25. Deepdale macrumors 68000


    May 4, 2005
    New York

    Good point. Some people are speed junkies and every microsecond worth of difference in accomplishing something seems to be a cataclysmic event in their lives.

    I want something with decent responsiveness, but I will not get caught up in the craziness of things that do not make one machine a clear winner and others that took somewhat longer inadequate.

    Case in point: I remember reading prior MacWorld benchmark results that would state that a particular computer they tested took 52 seconds to find and replace a certain word used 44,000 times in an MS Word document, versus 38 seconds for another system.

    Fourteen seconds does not rock my world, nor do I expect to ever find myself doing such a search and replace in Word or anything else. Best advice: Measure your typical everyday usage against the combination of speed, cost, operating system and included software and then decide accordingly.

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