iMac or Dell - I can't decide...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by st9046, May 8, 2008.

  1. st9046 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    #1
    Hi all,
    After a couple of years of dithering I'm finally ready to splash out on a new computer. An iMac really appeals to me, even though I've never owned a Mac. They look great and as a musician Garageband really appeals to me. I'm THIS close !
    However...I can get a Dell desktop for £100.00 (about $200.00) less, and it has quad core processor, larger L2 cache, double the graphics memory and much bigger hard drive. (I'd buy an iMac with 2GB memory.) Even though Windows stresses me out no end at least I am familiar with it, although I've not touched Vista. I've never had any problems with viruses or anything although security might be an issue with my two kids.
    Can anyone push me over the edge and tell me why I should buy an iMac over a Dell to help me settle the argument in my head ?
    PS. I don't own an iPod or any other Apple products.
    Thanks all for your time,
    Steve
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #2
    Get XP (or Vista...) and the quad core. Give your kids separate limited user accounts and never worry about them installing everything the internet has to offer.
     
  3. BornAgainMac macrumors 603

    BornAgainMac

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    Florida Resident
    #3
    Get the Dell. Then get the iMac next year. Then you will know why you should have gotten the iMac this year.
     
  4. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #4
    If you have no need for the aesthetics that the iMac brings to you and you are not sure about OSX than you will be more comfortable with the Dell. If you want to try OSX, I would suggest looking for a second hand mini to try it out on (around £250-300). If you don't like it, you could then resell the mini.
     
  5. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #5
    Dell would be noisy
    iMac is quiet

    Learning curve for Vista is higher than OS X.

    Graphics memory won't make a difference for what you are doing.

    If you want "features", guess what? Your dell does NOT come with Vista Ultimate and that would cost extra. You should compare price of Dell with Vista Ultimate with iMac with OS X (Mac OS X only comes in the Ultimate version).

    Windows does not see memory >2gb. To see memory >2gb you need 64bit windows, which LACK DRIVERS.
     
  6. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #6
    you mean 3gb... and doesn't Vista fix that?
     
  7. st9046 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 8, 2008
    #7
    Wow, some interesting replies so far...

    Has anyone gone through a similar dilemma to myself, taken the plunge for a Mac and regretted it ?
     
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
    #8
    The only regret is the hardware selection and specifications. The operating system is wonderful. Your concern appears to be getting the best hardware for the price and it's hard to pass up a cheap quad core.
     
  9. gazfocus macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #9
    I am in a very similar dilema.

    I have been saving up for a new system for a while (and have been buying the odd peripherals along the way lol). And now I'm almost ready to make the nail-biting purchase, but can't decide between a Mac Pro or a Dell Precision.

    Why the Mac Pro??? The iMac is very limited in that it's extremely difficult (and risky) to upgrade the hard drive). Plus, the Quad 2.8 is only £1400(ish) and as I'm a uni student, I can get the 8 core for the same price as the quad would normally cost.

    I just really can't make the final decision... Any help guys?

    (p.s. I already have my 23" ACD waiting)
     
  10. nick9191 macrumors 68040

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    Feb 17, 2008
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    Britain
    #10
    Resale Value.

    IE. buy an £800 dell and sell it for <£400 next year.
    Whereas a powerbook from 2005 still sells for £600.

    Vista and XP both recognise 4gb RAM however it uses portions of it to address other peripherals with memory in your system. If you have a 512mb graphics card you will only get 3.5gb ish.

    OS X is secure, your kids can't install a bunch of BS onto it, OS X is nicer to use.
     
  11. nick9191 macrumors 68040

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    #11
    Definitely mac pro, its dirt cheap even without the discount IMO. Can't be built cheaper.
     
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #12
    I asked this guy who had a habit of flialling his head against a wall why he did it. He said "because he always did it" and "after a while you get used to the pain" Windows users are kind of like that aren't they? They have simply gotten used to the pain and learned to live with it.

    Ok, more seriously don't worry about having to re-learn everything. I think this fear of needing to re-learn how to use a computer keeps many people using Windows. Yes Windows did take some time to learn how to use because it is so poorly designed you had to learn about registry repair, ani-virus and a million other tricks. Macs aren't like that. With Mac OS X I just don't need to mess with it. My 9 year old daughter just uses it from the monent I turned it on without needing to be told what to do.
     
  13. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

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    #13
    "We think most people will buy the Ultimate version…"

    true that.

    get an iMac. i guarantee youll be happy with it unless you need multiple hard drives, PCI-e slots, 2 x desktop cpus -> then get a Mac Pro.

    "Once you go Mac you never go back."
     
  14. gazfocus macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

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    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #14
    Yeah, I did notice that the Mac Pro worked out cheaper than the Dell. My only concern is, I know alot about PC's (I'm an IT Support Techie) but some of the issues with RAM and Mac Pro's confuse me, such as why you can only use very specific RAM, etc.....normally VERY expensive RAM too.

    That's actually incorrect. 32bit Windows sees 4GB but this 4GB includes the RAM on your Graphics Card, so you only actually get to use 3.2GB
     
  15. Moof1904 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    #15
    The RAM is only outrageous if you buy it from Apple. Buying RAM from any one of the third-party resellers will save you considerably over Apple's inflated ram prices.

    And with a Mac you don't have to buy a specific brand of RAM, only ram with certain specifications, which is no different than any PC.
     
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #16
    The total cost of ownership is the purchace price minus what you sell the machine for after three of four years of use. The imac will sell for a good fraction of it's purchase price while the Dell will have to go to a landfill or be given away. So in the long run the imac is much cheaper

    About upgrades. Because the imac will still have resale value what you do is sell it and buy another iMac. It works kind of like this... Buy a mac for $1200, sell it for $800 (this means it costs you $400 to use it for two years. Then you buy another Mac for $1200. So in effect you spent $400 to "upgrade" to current technology.

    It is very easy to add RAM to an iMac and if you need more disk space use a Firewire cable. You don't even need a screwdriver to instal the drive
     
  17. ZiggyPastorius macrumors 68040

    ZiggyPastorius

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    #17
    I don't quite think this is true...I could be wrong, but it just needs a type of RAM which is compatible, which is plentiful in the RAM world (as in, there's not just one or two very expensive RAMs you can buy). For my Macbook, I got 4GB of RAM for $60 (2x2GB sticks, $30 each) and it works perfectly. If I'm not mistaken, the Mac Pro is not RAM-crippled.
     
  18. gazfocus macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

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    Liverpool, UK
    #18
    I see where you're coming from...I've got a MBP and just got bog standard crucial RAM in that. But looking at the specs for the Mac Pro ram, it requires Fully Buffered Ram which seems considerably more than standard PC RAM
     
  19. ZiggyPastorius macrumors 68040

    ZiggyPastorius

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    #19
    If I understand correctly, though, the MP comes with 800MHz DDR2 ECC fully buffered DIMM (FB-DIMM) memory, but it should work with any DDR2, FB-DIMM memory, right? Doesn't have to be "ECC fully buffered" ... not that I know what that means, but, I think don't think it has to be that exact RAM, just compatible.
     
  20. tmelvin macrumors 6502

    tmelvin

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    Mar 17, 2008
    #20
    I was in the same boat a few months back. I went with a iMac 20", 2.0GHz, and 4GB RAM. Best choice I ever made. I use to buy DELL exclusively, but not anymore. The quality is not what it was...

    Also, people buy the fastest systems they can, only to use it for Surfing, email, some photos, and You Tube...Do you really need a Quad w/ 4GB RAM, 1TB Drive, and a 512MB Vid card for that?
     
  21. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
    #21
    You're making that hardware sound more expensive then it actually is. :rolleyes:

    I wonder where Apple's US$550 quad core is.
     
  22. astudentis macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    #22
    If you have never tried OS X, then i recommend going for iMac (you need to have at least one computer in the house thats apple branded!). You will be amazed the the speed of the OS even on a slightly less beefy hardware.

    I have my macbook for almost a year now, and so far i have had NO problems with it so far... no viruses/spy ware/malware/etc... and its running as fast as i got it the first day (and i am not using any internet security application that bog down the cpu)

    Though, I also recently bought a dell (XPS420) for my gaming. Consider what type of things are u planning to run. If all applications you wish to run are compatible with OS X then but it. If u wish to do gaming (...dont have a PS3...) then go for PC.

    But final words, OS X is a delight to work in.
     
  23. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #23
    Yeah resale is higher on Macs so price difference isn't much of an issue.

    Vista needs more power to run as well as OS/X on lesser machine.

    The Mac experience is hard to define. It's more than just specs. I think OS/X is designed more from the perspective of the user experience. MS doesn't get this as well as Apple does and so their "features" are more slapped together. They might be there, but they aren't as easy to reach and use. I think OS/X is much nicer looking too. Windows/Vista seems a bit cartoony/mushy. OS/X has a more elegant and dignified/professional look.

    Macs benefit too from hardware/software integration. Less problems. Easier to shop for. More standardized. Software feels more integrated with other software on the Mac.

    You get some pretty nice software too like iPhoto and IM08. Mail is pretty nice as well. Time Machine is peace of mind. Calendar and Address Book are front and center. And it all works and works together. You don't get much bloatware either.

    Lack of viruses so far is a big too. Lack of spyware as well. That's a money and time savings over the years.

    An iMac too is a space saver. I often have my iMac on my coffee table or kitchen table because I can. It's easy to move and looks great. That's much more a pain with a Dell tower and I've never had my pc towers on the coffee table or kitchen table. The iMac is whisper quiet and you get other niceties like a slot-loading disc drive, built-in camera and mic. And it looks much better than a Dell tower of course. The aluminum look is sweet.

    YOu get a pretty nice keyboard too and mouse. These are $50 each from Apple otherwise. I doubt you're getting more than a cheap keyboard/mouse from a Dell package.

    All this adds up. I used pc since the end of the Apple IIe days until 2 years ago. I was a pcgamer even. I'm glad I switched. I just think Apple is ahead of the curve and MS has become lazy because of their monopoly position. Also I think it helps Apple that most of what people do with computers has plateaued a bit. A machine seems to last longer nowadays than it did 10 years. So lack of upgradeability isn't a problem and neither is the supply of software to do what you want to do. The internet also helps because it's more platform neutral than boxed software in general.

    The only reason I wouldn't switch is if I had some specialized need requires a specific Windows program. Then I'd think twice, but you can run Windows on a Mac natively like a Windows machine or virtually inside a Window in OS/X.
     
  24. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000

    Hawkeye411

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    #24
    If you are asking the question in a Mac forum, I;m guessing you are already leaning towards the Mac purchase ;)
     
  25. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #25
    Just not having to fiddle is worth it. Sometimes I look at Dells and think - for what I've spent on Macs over the last few years I could have got one hell of a PC, specs wise. But it would have been bigger, uglier, wasted more of my time, had virus checkers running, probably noisier, and I wouldn't have got os X (properly). OS X and sundries is so worth it.

    I bought a PC recently to do a few things. It ran Vista (it was a HP). That was ok. A lot of things seemed to have been moved around slightly, just enough to be irritating. Though it was faster than my Macs, had more RAM, a bigger HDD etc. I got rid of it. I just never touched it when I had the mac so close at hand. Windows works and all, but it's a kludge.

    /ramblings
     

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