Macbook Pro or Dell Inspiron 1520

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by FunkyELF, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. FunkyELF macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2007
    First off, I'm not trying to flame or troll or anything here.
    I'm looking for some feedback. Obviously by posting here I'm looking for some biased feedback. Convince me that the Macbook Pro is worth an extra $845.

    I want a laptop. I want to run Linux on that laptop.
    I was looking at macbooks because Macbook Pros had yucky ATI graphics which don't play well with Linux.
    Then when Apple came out with the newest Macbook Pros with Nvidia graphics I started looking again.
    They were Very nice and Dell did not have anything in comparison.
    I'd be waiting for Leopard before I bought an Apple anyway so I wait....and then Dell comes out with the Inspiron 1520.

    It is upgradeable to pretty much the same specs as the new Macbook Pro. You can't get the 2.4GHz, but I would have wanted the 2.0 or 2.2 anyway.
    So I select the fastest one (2.2GHz) at Dell just to get a good comparison of prices.
    I keep the memory at 2Gb
    I upgrade the HDD to 160Gb / 7200RPM.
    I Upgrade the display to 1680x1050 (better than Apple's 1440x900)
    I upgrade the video card to 256MB GeForce 8600M GT (same as Macbook Pro)
    I select the 2MP web cam even though I probably won't use it.
    I get Bluetooth (not even sure if Macbooks have this)
    I upgrade the wireless from Dell to Intel Wireless N
    I upgrade to a DVD burner
    I upgrade the battery from 56Whr to an 85Whr
    I even upgrade From Vista Home Basic to Vista Home Premium in case I want to try Aero or whatever its called
    I basically max out every option...

    Anyway, with my discounts at both places the Dell came out to be $1,591.42

    So then I go to Apple and select the middle Macbook Pro so I can get 256Mb of graphics.
    I upgrade the hard drive to 7200RPM and it is now $2,437.00 after discounts


    The Dell has a higher resolution screen which is something that I care about and is $845.58 less.
    I love my girlfriend's 12.1" Dell XPS laptop with 1280x800....very crisp.

    What I'd like to know is what the Macbook Pro has besides the $845.58 higher price tag.
    What I already know it has is a 0.2GHz faster processor (2.4 vs 2.2), a backlit keyboard, an LED lit LCD display, and OSX.
    With OSX comes the ability to run iTunes although there are alternatives for that in Linux too.
    Am I missing anything?
    I have never used OSX, I have seen people use it and it looks nice but since I've never used it I wouldn't miss it. (I run Linux w/ XFCE and compiz-fusion on my desktop at home and that is very nice too)
    I have never seen a Macbook Pro at night to see what the keyboard is like but I heard good things about it. Doesn't it have an ambient light sensor or something too?

    Anyway, please tell me if I am overlooking something here with the Macbook Pro.
    It would be nice to triple boot, but not for $845 (plus the price of Vista or XP) more.

    With the Macbooks they seemed to be priced competitively and it would have been very close to something I could get at Dell, maybe only $100 more, but those had intel graphics. I would definitely pay for the Macbook Pro if it was only $100 or $200 more than the equivalent hardware from Dell.

    So, please tell me your thoughts.

  2. StealthRider macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2002
    Yokosuka, Japan
    If you're just buying it to run Linux and Vista, then there's no reason for you to buy a Mac. Use Vista for iTunes, games, etc., run Linux, and you've got everything you want.

    You won't get the illuminated keyboard or anything like that, but chances are it won't work in Linux anyway.
  3. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    The Dell is going to offer you the best features for your money, if you aren't interested in OSX then don't bother with the MBP. You might want to look at what is on offer from other vendors like ASUS and Lenovo though, both (in my opinion) offer a better quality of product than Dell.

    The price issue though is Dell aiming for share in a rapidly growing notebook market and Apple only offering 256MB VRAM on the highest model, where what you are paying gets skewed even more away from price/performance that the market has. Dell ship such volume they can take much less profit on machines, as a consumer of course you aren't going to care about their reasons just which is the best deal, but those things go some way to explaining the pricing difference. While Apple and Dell finally have two notebooks that can be almost identically compared across major features, they aren't competing in the same manner.
  4. Aea macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
    If you can, compare them, try using one, and then the other (I think dell has locations at some walmarts), and I'll agree with you, the MBPs aren't entirely competitive unless you get a lot of discounts (eg College Student).
  5. LaDirection macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2006
    Buy ANY laptop BUT the DEll!!! Dell's are pieces of crap. EVERYONE I know that bought Dell laptops (12) had major hardware issues within a year or two. They have terrible, TERRIBLE Q/A.

    If you just want to run Linux, compare an HP laptop or whatever to a Mac and decide from there, but don't even think for a SECOND of getting a Dell. That's like buying kitchen pots and pans from the dollar store.
  6. neven macrumors 6502a

    Oct 10, 2006
    Portland, OR
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1C25 Safari/419.3)

    i've had nothing but terrible experiences with Dells. HPs are dorky, but fairly reliable. Toshibas aren't bad.

    That said, I don't imagine i'll change your mind, but I'd like to humbly suggest that you consider the design, aesthetic, and usability of Apple's notebooks and of OS X. If those factors don't impress you - and who am I to say that they should - then you should go with a non-Apple computer.
  7. moez macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2007
    even toshiba is better than dell... i have had better luck with toshiba than my friends have had with Dell....
  8. krunk macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2004
    You couldn't pay me 842 dollars to use a Dell. (if you didn't know if I was going to actually use it, I'd take your money and sell it)

    Customer Service: Horrid. I had an Inspiron 8200 or some such that display issues. Took Dell 6mths and 5 "Tech Professional" visits to my house before I could get them to just replace the damn laptop (the only thing they needed to do was replace the LCD). This in the middle of a semester (as a CE major no less). I too ran Linux on my Inspiron and chose the laptop specifically because it was compatible with linux. When they FINALLY sent me a replacement, they refused to guarantee a model.

    The model I got was not fully compatible with Linux and I lost some critical functionality like wireless. GG Dell.
  9. Vegeta-san macrumors 6502

    Aug 4, 2006
    Don't even know why I'm writing this since I usually see threads like this and press "next" (I know I'm being cynical, sorry...), but there are a couple different things to consider here...

    Firstly, are you a student? Because if you are, you could hustle your way to get the "ADC Discount" which is a 1 time 400$ off hardware Apple discount. I used this last Nov. when I got my MBP of Legend successfully.

    Aright, now for differences....Man, you really have to update me with how this goes cause I'm going outta my way researching the Dell Inspiron

    Okay, just researched and built your hypothetical system on

    Physical Differences I can see
    -The MacBook Pro is 1 full pound lighter. Don't know if you're a student like me, but when carrying a computer in my backpack all day long, weight tends to matter.

    -The MacBook Pro is .47 inches less thick than the smallest thickness of the Dell, and .65 inches less thick that the thickest part of the Dell. Again, size of the machine matters as this IS SUPPOSED to be portable. I mean, this is a 1 inch laptop. I've had it since November and I still can't get over how thin it is...

    -The MacBook Pro has an integrated ambient light sensor. The Dell doesn't. In my MBP (MacBook Pro) I have found the ambient light sensor particularly useful as it automatically adjusts the display to a corresponding brightness (which I can still easily change if i don't like). Also, it automaticaly adusts the brightness of the backlit keyboard (in Winblows and in OS X).

    -The MacBook Pro has an integrated accelerometer. The Dell doesn't. Practically, Apple incorporated this to be used to automatically park the hard drive heads if the laptop experiences 9.81 m/s^2 of acceleration (freefall acceleration). BUT, this has been hacked like none other and this sensor is now used for playing motion sensitive games (geeky I know, since you treat the whole laptop like a joystick), and more usefully as a key component in iAlertU (an alarm program of Macbooks/MBP's that screeches an alarm if anyone so much as touches/moves/or looks at my MBP the wrong way)

    -The MBP has a backlit integrated keyboard. The Dell doesn't. What more can I say other than I love this I can dead the lights in my room completely and have the display automatically ratchet down to the lowest brightness and the keyboard ratchet up to a brightness I find extremely useful.

    -The MBP has an IR port. The Dell doesn't. What can you REALLY use an IR port and the MBP's included remote with you ask? Well, for playing movies, or videos, or music thru Front Row (which is a program that, in and of itself, will make your PC mates look upon it with envy) and iTunes. In addition, earlier in the spring semester, I used my MBP and remote to deliver the most stunning presentation (thanks to Apple's Keynote, hahaha, the other noobs were using Powerpoint!) my ME 497 class has ever seen and what likely won my group $500. Also, the remote can activate/deactivate iAlertU when you need it.

    -The MBP has next generation DVI output. The Dell has VGA. And for those times when you're in a setting where all they have is VGA input? The MBP comes included with a DVI-VGA adapter.

    -The MBP has Firewire 400, Firewire 800, and 2 USB ports. What this means is that, as a WHOLE, the MBP can output more data faster than the Dell with 4 USB ports can. Firewire 800 is not to be fuc*ed with...

    -The MBP has an LED display. What does this mean to you? This means that in a year or so, your display won't be duller, because LED displays don't dull out (this has been argued, but even if they do, it takes MUCH longer for them to dull, like 5 years...) as compared to LCD's dulling comparatively quickly.

    -The MBP has a 2.4 Ghz Intel C2D....But you've already noted that...

    -The MBP can dual boot. And I dual boot into Winblows all the time to play HL2:Ep1 and BF2....Without a problem. I'm sure Linux wouldn't be a problem either.

    Differences that you can't see (Intangible)
    -Dude..........Bottom line? This thing runs OS X. As much as I'm sure I'd like Linux too since OS X and Linux are basically brothers, let's be real....This is OS X. Nothing compares to this. The Dell.....sadly.......cannot run OS X. I know....I know.

    Aright that's it. There are probably some other things I didn't think of, but please, since this is the longest post I've ever written on Macrumors, ever, I'd appreciate it if you replied or lemme know how your decision making went (or is going). Hope all this helped.
  10. Vegeta-san macrumors 6502

    Aug 4, 2006
    Forgot to mention this in my post, but yes, all MacBooks comes with Bluetooth 2.0 (+EDR)
  11. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    I have an inspiron 1505 (model before 1520) and its a complete piece of ****.

    If you like **** in a plastic case, buy the dell.

    If you want a decent laptop that will work and wont be being shipped off to memphis (dell repair joint) all the time, get a macbook.
  12. Vegeta-san macrumors 6502

    Aug 4, 2006
    Just thought of two more things to add to my list


    -Have you ever seen the Macbook/MBP Magsafe power connector? It's the most thought out power adaptor I've ever come across. As an engineer, I'm truly shocked by how brillantly simple yet effective it is. It has saved me multiple times when I trip over its power cord and it effortlessly disconnects itself from my MBP without even causing my MBP to move one inch, not to mention falling off a table. Brilliant engineering at work!

    -The MBP and MB both has the best trackpads I've ever used, capable of a two finger scroll (up/down...left/right). My MBP also introduced me to the quickest most conveniant way of right clicking on a laptop ever: leaving two fingers on the trackpad when I click.
  13. classof2011 macrumors regular

    Dec 2, 2006
    Flying with American Airlines
    IMO about the DELL [though this answer may seem biased, it is not], let me explain what's happened in my history:

    Christmas '04, got my first laptop - Inspiron 1000. Had to be replaced.

    Then, my mom got me an Inspiron 5150 - caught fire, DELL replaced it.

    The 5150 replacement I got from DELL did the very same. Sent me [my dad really], surprisingly, a 17" Inspiron 9300.

    My DELL desktop's 3rd replacement is arriving in a week.

    My mom has an Inspiron E1505. It is very odd. The mouse cursor will disappear and Vista has locked on her twice, stating that her "trial period" was up :confused: ... so she had to re-purchase a Vista license twice [$145 each] to get her laptop back to normal. Then she backed up her files to an external drive, just in case it might, and probably will, happen again..

    It hangs up a lot, but the overall speed is pretty fast. It's 1.6GHz with 1GB RAM and a 100GB 7200RPM hard drive. The only thing we now use it for is for her Internet usage and plays iTunes videos on her HDTV [no Apple TV but plays excellently, crystal clear].

    The MBP's are simply amazing. I've owned both a 17" PowerBook and a 17" MBP [Core Duo] . The backlit keybaord is very well lit, and very helpful. They do have the Bluetooth. You will also fall in love with the aluminum casing of the MacBook Pros, not Dell's look-a-like.

    My $.02
  14. MacPossum macrumors 6502


    Jul 15, 2007
    Because in three years, your MBP will run just as fast as it did when you bought it and well your Dell... well it just might still be able to turn on.

    This man said it the best..
  15. rmhop81 macrumors 68020


    Apr 4, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    not worth the money. I sold my MBP as it didn't even feel like a computer. It was just too fragile and i had to clean the damn thing all the time. If you have to have MacHeads convince you the MBP is worth know the true answer. It's not. The only thing that is driving you to pay it is the look of the casing. That's what did it for me....then I realized i wasted $2,000 and only had a 120gb hard drive. The only thing I will overpay apple prices for in the future will be for an AIO iMac....bc no other company makes anything like it. But for laptops.....every company is the same...just a different casing. Is the aluminum look worth $900? Is the Lexus badge worth it when you can get a toyota with the EXACT specs? It's simply a status thing.
  16. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    More like the difference between a Cadillac product with Onstar, leather seats, and an thin skinned aluminum body, and the exact same Saturn with a plastic body and no Onstar. ;)
  17. MacPossum macrumors 6502


    Jul 15, 2007
    What are you talking about? Just as a point of reference, my aunt just bought a new HP Laptop two months ago. My uncle's three-year-old PowerBook was able to restart, and I was able check my yahoo email before the two-month-old HP Laptop was able to *shutdown*....

    No, every company is not the same.
  18. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    As much as I am sure people hate he car analogies. But cars are a bit more complex than "specs." While the engines may be of similar performance on paper that doesn't mean premium parts weren't used. Or other premium components such as fabrics, plastics, metals, etc etc. Made better overall, etc.

    Someone who is thinking of buying a Lexus is not going to step down to a Toyota because they have similar specs just as someone who is going to buy a MBP isn't going to step down to a Dell regardless the similarities.

    It is far more than status that drives a persons purchase. With cars, MP3 players, computers etc. Some people like premium products. "Premium" of course varies by individual.
  19. ReanimationLP macrumors 68030


    Jan 8, 2005
    On the moon.
    Love all the Dell bashing.

    I own a Dell Latitude C640. Its 3-4 years old, and runs beautifully, and is the most stable laptop I've ever owned. Not to mention it looks damned good too. Also, I love the modular bay features (kinda like the PBG3s) where I can slip in two batteries on the go, and when I'm home or I need to use the floppy disk drive or the DVD drive, just eject and slip em in, as they're hotpluggable. I can use both the floppy and the DVD at the same time, thanks to a cable that came with the floppy that plugs it into the parallel port (still hot-pluggable)

    Then theres my iBook. Ugh. Logic board has failed once (got it replaced) and now the display cable and reed switch need replacement.

    Personally, I'd get a Latitude over the Inspirion. Just better build quality if you ask me, better support too, since its their premium business-class systems.

    Just like getting an Optiplex over the Dimension (well, now its called Inspirion too)

    If you want to see what a backlit keyboard looks like, go to Best Buy, and look at the Velocity Micros they have on display. Those have backlit keyboards.

    Either that, or look at the Logitech G15 keyboard (if its unplugged, ask em to plug it in so you can see the backlight)

    Its not really that useful of a feature if you're a touch-typist, and know your way around a keyboard.
  20. rmhop81 macrumors 68020


    Apr 4, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    haha premium EQUALS status. My uncle for example. ONLY buys GMC trucks. Won't buy a chevy or even drive one.......they are the EXACT same truck just different badges. It's all about status
  21. neven macrumors 6502a

    Oct 10, 2006
    Portland, OR
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1C25 Safari/419.3)

    I wouldn't normally pick on a Dell for its looks (since there's so much else to ridicule first) but by all means, everyone please google the aforementioned Latitude.

    Good luck getting anyone to agree with your assesment of its aesthetics, and good luck finding another Dell apologist.
  22. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    Hmm. GMC, Chevy, and Ford all offer trucks in various ranges with competitive prices. I don't see your point here.

    Premium does not equal status in ALL cases, I will admit that some cases that will be true. If you really find no difference between a product that is considered standard and one that is premium, that is fine. There are plenty of people just like you and they buy the "cheaper, standard" one, everyday.

    However, there are some people who buy the more expensive item because they want to and find a difference between cheaper ones.

    Your Uncle may, wait for it...... like GMCs. Go figure. So what if he doesn't want to drive anything else. To him they are not the "same truck with different badges." But, why don't you go tell him he is wasting his money and he should buy a Chevy or Ford.

    EDIT: I also, I see you have a Sony HDTV, a brand known for quality and expensive high price (questionable as of late, quality at least), why didn't you go with the Olevia brand from Target or the Walmart equivalent. Same panels right? Same TV right? I mean why would anyone buy a PREMIUM Sony HDTV when you can get the same thing with a different label at Target or Walmart for hundreds if not THOUSANDS less. Man, who would have thunk it. I mean, they are made in the same factory in China. Maybe the Sony is actually better as are most premium priced products. Or was it just for the "status" as you say.

    Why do you think graphics professionals have spent WAY more for the "premium" Eizo monitor for their work over the Acer displays? Is it really just the label?
  23. reshtheory macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2007
    well said... im proud to say im a switcher from a dell to a macbook pro, and macbook pro's are so much better imo... if u want the same computer running in a couple years, get the macbook pro and applecare
  24. FunkyELF thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2007
    Everyone's posts were very helpful. Most people were making dumb analogies and bashing dell for "quality" without saying what really went wrong. Others came and talked about their Apple quality issues.
    Your post was informative. Can't believe I didn't even look at the size / weight.

    With two computers being exactly the same component-wise I could see one charging $900 more for it to be 1/2 an inch smaller and lighter. I'm not saying I'd pay that much. I'd probably pay $400 or so for it to be lighter and smaller but not $900. I'm just not sure that the other features like the backlit keyboard, ambient light sensor, acceleromter, DVI connections are worth the other $500.

    I wan't going to make my decision on a notebook until Leopard comes out anyway. Perhaps Apple will come out with new MBPs by then or soon after. If they bump up the res on those things to 1680x1050 I might seriously consider them again.

    Not if you run Windows on it. This is an OS thing, not a hardware there. If I got the Dell I'd be running Linux, not Windows. If I got the MBP, I'd be running either Linux or OSX.
  25. Vegeta-san macrumors 6502

    Aug 4, 2006

    Not a problem man. But if I were you, to really settle this in MY head, I would go first hand check out a Dell inspiron 1520, and then also first hand check out a Macbook Pro so you can see and feel the difference in quality and features for yourself. Hopefully, you make a decision you are proud of a year down the road...Later

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