Having a hard time justifying imac vs Dell

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mjarema414, Nov 17, 2011.

  1. mjarema414 macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2008
    Lately I've been spending a lot of time researching computers and have a hard time justifying buying an imac over a monster Dell desktop for literally more than half the price. I'm mainly a PC user but I do have an older Mac G5 that I use for music recording with protools and itunes. I enjoy using Mac but there is a Dell is going onsale for 799.00 over Thanksgiving. It has 3.4Ghz with an Intel core i7 2600 12GB of RAM 1.5 TB hard drive and the list goes on. Granted it's just the computer itself but it's still a great deal. The top of the line iMac has the same thing but I'd pay over 2000.00. Probably closer to 3000.00. I'd literally save over 1000.00. That's a lot of loot. How can I justify buying an Imac with a deal like this?
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Basically you can't, assuming the cost of the Dell + the PC version of Protools won't cost more than the iMac. Even if you bought the iMac you might have to get a new version of Protools that runs on Lion.
  3. Spike88, Nov 17, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011

    Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Notes to keep in mind.
    - Comparing something "on sale" against something at full selling price is always an uneven comparison. Apple product are rarely on sale. Suggest looking at refurb iMacs from the Apple store. They are often 15%-20% off. And, one saves tax "differences" on this saved amount as well. Next time around, I'd only look at the Apple Store refurb boxes (instead of buying brand new).
    - Remember that an i7 in Windows class performs the same "end result" speed as an i5 in iMac class. Yes, different CPUs (that have different benchmark test restuls) but after adding virus scan progrms and other stuff on the Windows machine, the i7 is already bogged down (that makes it act as same speed as i5 iMac). Therefore, remember to compare against the specs of an i5 iMac (not i7 to i7 comparison). For stuff that I do with my iMac, the little i3 is same speed as my Windows i5 box. Do you really need an i7 iMac (for the tasks you do)?
    - When comparing selling prices, remember the iMac comes with a screen. When looking at price of Windows machine, remember to add the cost of "same resolution / quality" screen as well. Comparing only Windows CPU "box" against all-in-one iMac design isn't a good 1:1 comparison.
    - Do consider resale value of iMac within resale value of Windows. iMacs hold their values for several years. Windows tend to have 1/3 depreciation every year. If you plan to re-sell your computers, do take resale value "adjustment" into mind as well...
    - What do you plan to use the machine for? If simple file/print and other "average" home user taks, there isn't anyting wrong with a Windows Machine. Especially if you are already comfortable with Windows 7. For home use, nobody is making you use an iMac over a Windows machine.

    Long mumblings short.... The iMacs do cost more. Like anything that sells, "how much is the product worth to you?" Is the iMac worth more money to you? That's the underlying question....
  4. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    I would like to see more than anecdotal evidence to support this. I am not sticking up for Windows, but I don't think this is the case in 7.

    As for the original question... I look at it like this

    Software & Services
    Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English (Although I would add the extra $150 for 7 Ultimate and stay the hell away from a crippled OS version)
    Microsoft® Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word & Excel w/ ads. No PowerPoint or Outlook
    3 Year Basic Support
    DataSafe 2.0 Online Backup 2GB for 1 year
    No Monitor
    8GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMs
    1.5 TB Performance RAID 0 (2 x 750GB SATA 3Gb/s 7200 RPM HDDs)
    AMD Radeon™ HD 6670 1GB DDR5
    Single Drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability
    THX® TruStudio PC™
    McAfee SecurityCenter, 15-Months
    Dell 1501 Wireless-N PCIe Card
    Standard USB 2.0 + 10/100/1000 Ethernet
    No speakers (Speakers are required to hear audio from your system)
    My Accessories
    Dell Consumer Multimedia Keyboard
    Dell Laser Mouse
    Trusted ID,IDSafe, 12 Month Subscription, Digital Delivery
    Also Includes
    XPS 8300
    Intel® Core™ i7-2600 processor(8MB Cache, 3.4GHz)
    Adobe® Acrobat® Reader
    No Dial Up Modem Option

    $969 (+ 150 for not having Home Premium) + Dell UltraSharp U2711 27-inch Widescreen Monitor with PremierColor $1099 - sorry but it's the only 27" monitor from Dell that matches the iMac display

    1198 + 1099 = $2291


    3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    2TB Serial ATA Drive
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB GDDR5
    Magic Trackpad
    Apple Wireless Keyboard (English) & User's Guide
    DVD Drive
    3 antenna Wireless N card
    AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac - Auto-enrol (3 years)

    $2518 + 8 GB RAM from crucial / new egg / whatever ($40-$50) = $2568

    The Dell monitor is not glossy (which is a positive for most)
    The Radeon HD 6670 is a bit faster than the 6970M
    The Dell HDD is smaller and there is no 2 TB option (check the prices of HDDs currently)

    But hey, if it's on special, and it meets your needs, then get it.

    In Summary:

    Dell - $2291
    iMac - $2568
    Not using windows - priceless (nah, seriously - it's not too bad these days)
  5. Flynnstone macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    I just don't understand these cost comparisons.

    1) What do you want/need Windows or OS X?

    2) Once the above is decided, then what features do want/need.

    3) whats your budget. How much are you willing to spend.

    Re-iterate as necessary.
  6. BasilFawlty, Nov 17, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011

    BasilFawlty macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2009
    New Mexico
    As a relatively recent iMac convert who has used Dell's pretty much since Dell was a company, I can understand your dilemma. When My 8-year old Dell's Hard Drive crashed, I decided it was time to upgrade to a better computer. I went back and fourth between the iMac and a newer Dell for weeks before I finally decided on the iMac.

    For me it was ultimately a matter of deciding it would be nice to have a clean, all-in-one computer and not have to deal with a big clunky box with lots of wires coming out of the back end. I ended up with an entry-level 27 inch i5 with 4 GB and a 1TB drive. I already had a 2TB external drive, so I was fine with "only" a 1TB internal. Also, I upgraded the memory to 12GB for less than $60. For the same money I could have bought a much more powerful Dell (like i7 with 2TB drive and 16GB memory). But now that I have this clean, more than adequate for my needs iMac on my desk, I'm very happy. For one thing I love this 27 inch display! For me in came down to aesthetics.

    For me, I made the right decision. True, I could have a more powerful Dell, but there is something to be said for the form-factor of the current generation iMac. Also, I'm starting to enjoy the MAC OS (I also have Win 7 under boot camp).
  7. mjarema414 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2008
    Truth be told, I probably don't need something as powerful as the Dell. I was just doing a bang for buck comparison with regard to the specs. Also, some folks added a monitor to the price. I already have a nice monitor that I use for my G5 that has more 2 inputs. Basically, now that I saw this Dell going on sale, I'm thinking more along the lines of keeping my G5 for music/protools stuff, and the Dell for pictures, video, web and ms office tasks. Side by side desktops.

    Last week I was thinking I should just get a 27in iMac and do an "all in one" combining all of the tasks mentioned into one computer. What has skewed my thoughts is the fact that the super loaded Dell is about 1000.00 less than I'd pay for an imac. Lots more RAM faster cpu bigger hard drive etc.

    Now, with all of that being said, I have little experience on a mac but have navigated and become familiar with Leopard. No experience with iphoto or imovie. I'd be using both and have heard awesome things about them. I'm sick of my windows based camcorder software and all of my digital pics are in folders and not archived very well. I'd have to buy Ms office for Mac (another expense). I have an external hard drive for time machine or similar backup.

    Someone had asked my budget. I really don't want to go over 2000.00. Had I not seen the ad for the Dell mentioned above, I'd probably be typing this on my imac. It's just got me thinking and since I really have not had the full Mac experience, I just don't know which way to go. No rush. Just interested in hearing thoughts.
  8. robo456 macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2008
    New Jersey
    I've never used a dell ultrasharp monitor, but I'd wager to say unless you have a professional or real reason for getting such a big IPS-based screen, I think it's unnecessary.

    I have this monitor (http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-P2770...5QNK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321544191&sr=8-1) I bought on sale at a local BJs for, I think it was $249, and it looks beautiful to my eyes.

  9. elistan macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2007
    Denver/Boulder, CO
    Dell's equivalent to Apple's 27" monitor, as mentioned previously in this thread, costs $1099. That's nearly the entire price difference right there. So the question isn't "How can I justify an iMac?" You should be asking yourself "How can I justify purchasing a $1099 monitor?" If the answer is, "I can't, because I already have a great monitor" then, well, you have your answer. You no more should be purchasing an iMac that you should a $1099 monitor plus $799 Dell.

    If, on the other hand, you were like me when I purchased an iMac - I was replacing an old laptop, had no pre-existing monitor to worry about, and really liked the 27" display - then it would make sense to get the iMac because it was essentially the same price as a Dell plus $1099 monitor, give or take a spec or two. (Also, I got mine on Black Friday from Amazon which saved me a few extra bucks.)
  10. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    As another poster said you will most likely see speed differences between the Mac and the Windows machine. Windows needs more hardware to run programs at the same speed that a lesser specced Mac can.

    When upgrading our art department (which handles everything audio, video, and sound) at work, I, along with a few others had to do extensive testing on this since the artists wanted Macs but purchasing wanted HP's and Dell's because they were cheaper.

    Needless to say after testing the art department got Macs. Not only did they consistently perform better with lower specced hardware, but they also performed much faster. This was comparing Snow Leopard with Windows 7 and the programs tested were the Adobe Creative Suite (especially Illustrator, Photoshop, and After Effects), Maya, ZBrush, Real Flow, and I want to say Modo but I could be wrong on that and I'm not at work so I can't look.

    You can't compare hardware across operating systems, it doesn't work that way. You have to thoroughly test the configurations you are looking at and see which performs better with the software you will be using. For the stuff the art department uses, the Macs outperformed the PC's.

    That being said get whichever OS you like, but I wouldn't suggest a Dell. Dell is pretty much a bargain brand and as any IT guy can tell you, they have a fairly high component fail rate. If you want a Windows desktop look at the Asus desktops. You can usually get a great deal and they are very reliable.
  11. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    You forget the PC tax of Windows annoyances (i.e. forced restart which might make you lose work) and wasted time.
  12. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    My newest laptop is a Dell, and it's quite nice. It's also about $1000 less than a (mostly) comparable Macbook Pro. For me, although having a mac is nice, and they certainly look pretty, if you remove the pretty factor, the OS alone isn't worth anywhere near $1000 to me.

    I got a Dell, and I couldn't be happier with it, and the best part - no buyers remorse for being overcharged by $1000 :p
  13. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England

    It's a 16:9 1080p monitor. I don't understand why anyone would want to use a 27" with only a 1920 x 1080 resolution. Even a 24" screen with that resolution is not great.

    You have to compare apples with apples. The 27" iMac is a 2560x1440 IPS panel. Comparing it to a cheap 1080p Samsung display does not make sense.
  14. iSayuSay macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    It has been well known that if you include a 1440p 27" display to the equation, iMac's value is generally on par with typical PCs with similar hardware.

    But maybe the point is, with Dell or any non Apple PC solution, you're not forced to get the expensive display.

    With iMac, well you're stuck with one, not that it's bad.. it is indeed a very nice hi-end display, but if you go PC way, you may opt out to not using the display, buffing up CPU side, and stick with more common/cheaper/crappier monitor.

    Sure .. once you enjoy the privilege of 1440p display, it's really hard to go back .. just go big or go home :D
  15. mjarema414 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2008
    I agree with you and understand I shouldn't compare hardware across 2 different operating systems. I didn't look at it this way. I can't tell you how many times I had to reload Windows xp on my old PC due to slowing and numerous viruses that my anti-virus failed to pick up. Never lost anything due to back-up but have spent hours reloading drivers and software. It still runs great but lacks the power for viewing/importing HD video. It takes forever.

    I'm not a computer/IT guy but I know a few folks that have had issues with components in Dell computers. Didn't think about that either. Thanks for the simply put thoughts. I appreciate it.
  16. topmounter, Nov 17, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011

    topmounter macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    FEMA Region VIII
    If you're seriously able to consider the Dell and can live (and even be happy) with it, then you should probably buy the Dell.

    Personally, I just buy the exact parts I want (from Newegg) and build or upgrade my Windows box (mainly for gaming)... With none of the crap I don't want in a Windows machine, e.g. crap-ware, proprietary BIOS, cheesy hardware, etc.

    Swivel my chair 180 degrees and there is my home-office setup... 24" iMac w/ 24" CinemaDisplay... reliable, elegant and stable. In 2+ years now, the only hardware upgrades I've done are adding a TrackPad and upgrading the RAM to 8GB from 4GB (necessitated by Aperture+Lion) and I've only done one "clean install" (which I tried prior to upgrading the RAM)... it still runs and looks as good as the day I bought it.

    If you live somewhere with an Apple Store, then I'd take after-sale service into account as well. My significant-other bought a new Dell laptop recently and the fan failed after a few months... the guy they sent to my home to fix it was enough to guarantee that her next laptop will be a Mac (which will be soon since the same fan started failing again right after the 1-year warranty expired).
  17. steve2112 macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2009
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    Yeah, to me, the Dell Ultrasharps are well worth it. As you said, 1920x1080 on a 27" looks terrible. The Dell and iMac 2560x1440 is amazing. Since I'm not a graphics person or photographer, I suppose I don't technically need an IPS panel, but I did noticed a difference when I got my Dell Ultrasharp 2009WA. Also, the Dell Ultrasharp warranty is amazing: 3 years advance shipment if you have even 1 dead/stuck pixel. Finally, they all have every adjustment needed, including height, tilt, and rotate.

    For desktops, I personally went with a Mini and a Dell XPS system. I don't like all in one designs, and I really don't like the glossy display of the iMac. I don't really care about the OS. I use OSX and Windows 7 every day. For notebooks, most vendors have a way to go to catch up to Apple. I have yet to find notebook hardware I like as much as Apple's.
  18. mrsavage1 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2010
    The display they use on the imac panel is miles above anything that apart from the hp dream color monitors in the consumer line. The apple display is crystal clear with vibrant colors. This is the best monitor for the buck. It makes the rest look like utter garbage. My dell monitors look so terrible next to my imac.

    Your choice is this look at grabage for the next 3 or so years till your next computer or get an imac. btw unless your monitor is an 27 apple display monitor or a 30 incher that you bought in the last few years its worth it for something that you will be looking at for nearly every day for the next 3 years.

    personally ask your self this: do u want to waste time dealing with driver issues and viruses. if u do the dell is for you. The time wasted doing these things versus something that just works is well worth the extra cash.
  19. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    The point was for the comparison as they use the exact same panel. You get a 900.00 monitor IN the cost of the iMac. Whether or not you need it is something else.


    It is only this way because of the glass. The Dell uses same LG panel but with atrocious amounts of antiglare coating. I am actually sending or selling a brand new U2311H soon as I can't use it. The AG makes my head hurt after a few hours. Text is all smeared due to the coating as well. Such a shame.
  20. mrsavage1 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2010
    Yeah exactly. The dell panel is also suppose to have higher gamut and stuff. But unfortunately that doens't come out in the final product as the ag is terrible like hell. What's the point of getting a good ips panel if your gonna make it look like crap. All my dells have this horrible ag coat. Furthermore the acd or imac display is using led tech as well. And this years imac has even better color quality as reported by anandtech(but this maybe that they got a good batch).


    bottom line just buy the mac.
  21. inhalexhale1 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2011
    Ridgewood, NJ
    I think for some who are indecisive, hashing it out anywhere and everywhere can help. They are big purchases.

    OP, the above 1-3 points are the best advice. If you need/want OSX, then find a Mac that fits your needs and budget.

    Don’t worry so much about “X’s” costs compared to “Y’s cost” for any other reasons than budget. If you want a Mac, it shouldn’t matter if a PC costs even 50% less because it’s not what you want. If finances are the main concern, then compare a Mac in your budget versus a PC in your budget. Go with the best compromise for your financial situation, needs, and wants.

    If you do go PC, Dell is an excellent company. I don’t use their products anymore since switching to Apple, but when I did, their warranty policy was the best I have ever dealt with. I could call up and report any part I knew was a problem, and with minimal questioning, a tech would be scheduled and at my door within 48hours. That level of support is also included in the PC’s price, and lasts 1-2 years depending on the model you buy.
  22. Lankyman macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2011
    I would disagree totally with those that keep banging on about the virtues of the 27" screen and the great resolution. Not everyone wants or can handle text that is so small you end up squinting or have a banging headache. I returned my 27" iMac, hateful thing, and got the 21.5" instead. I much prefer the 1920 x 1080 resolution.
  23. krimsen macrumors member

    Dec 15, 2005
    Sorry guys, as a user of various Linux distributions, Mac OS X, and Windows 7, I really have to ask in what way Windows 7 is lacking in performance or stability. I am using all 3 OSes on a daily basis, both at work + at home, and have never (since Vista, that is) experienced any differences to speak of. For me at least, the days of blue screens are long gone.

    Objectively, choosing between those three OSes, you can't really go wrong from a technical point of view. It all comes down to what you like/know best, and what software you already own.

    If I was in your shoes, I would be comparing the Dell to a Mac Mini. Since you already have a display, the Mini would probably suffice, and it sounds like a good fit for your needs.
  24. McRCN macrumors regular

    Nov 19, 2010
    I went from a Dell to a 27" iMac 1-year ago. If I regretted anything it is that I did not do it sooner. If you want to save some money, buy a refurb from Apple's outlet store. I did that and I could not tell the difference.
  25. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    In a few years you will understand. You'll start loving big pixels about at the time when you get your reading glasses. :D

Share This Page