I am a game tech writer by trade and I have been seriously thinking of making some kind of Apple side project. So I am writing down and researching hard before I buy my new iMac. Besides the fact that now, I might end up waiting out until end of October to see if the iMac update rumors are true, here is what I have done so far: 24' monitor $2200 # 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo # 2 GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1 GB # 500GB Serial ATA Drive # NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS w/512MB GDDR3 # Apple Mighty Mouse HP All in one 22': $1500 ($700 less than the iMac) -Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit -touch screen -tv tuner -2.16 Ghz Core 2 Duo -4GB memory -all in one card reader -256MB NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS HD In many ways is better, especially with the touch, all in one, tv tuner, and 4GB memory standard. CPU wise, it falls flat, and clearly shows that is where much of the price of these machines comes from. Advantage: Something "different" has touch, tv tuner Disadvantage: Weak processor, HP has bad customer satisfaction, even worse support than Apple newegg.com prices: 3.06Ghz CPU: $190 24' monitor: $360 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM $36 DVD-R- $25 mouse- $30 keyboard- $30 500GB HD- $70 motherboard- $130 case: $100 Windows Vista: $200 graphics card: $140 webcam/mic: $60 $1371 to build yourself in a bigger form factor (roughly $800 cheaper) Advantage: Price, complete control of parts Disadvantage: If something screws up no warranty other than manufacture warranty, need to have the know how in the first place HP Pavilion Elite d5000t ATX series: 1900 (300 less than mac) windows vista ultimate intel core 2 quad processor 3gb ram 512MB GeFOrce 9500GS with HDMI 24 in monitor headset webcam much better specs Advantage: Price, much better specs disadvantage: More stuff to connect, HP is unreliable Dell offered little that compared exactly to this, their all in one's price was compared closely to Apple's midrange iMac, with neither really having the upper hand in any case. Their normal desktops only won out marginally, thanks to better video cards other wise was priced exactly the same when selecting a 24' monitor Dell advantage: Somewhat better with quality than HP, obviously are using decent parts if they cant afford to price much cheaper than Apple Disadvantage: Dude you're getting a Dell? In conclusion, while I can't for see the future I have had experience with all kind of machines; Dell, HP, and Apple. Apple builds the software and the hardware to compliment each other. While HP seems to be going in the right direction, they according to MarketWatch, PC Magazine, and CNET reports they are famously unreliable in all areas. Dell is a little better, and their reputation has been building back up in the high end market especially with Alienware now helping them out but what it all comes down to is what is on the machine. If you want Mac OS X you are obviously going to pay for a Mac, and while they say Mac is $120 per version, there is a steep entry cost, and if it is one you are willing to pay you will have to spend about $2200 now, instead of $1500 now, and then another $1500 to buy a brand new computer 3-4 years from now because your Dell or HP cant handle the load of Windows, and the load of being made out of one to many cheap parts. On the other hand, if you are technically inclined, and know how to keep the bad stuff on the internet out of your computer by all means build your own computer. As a side note, similiar products by the high-end PC makers such as Alienware were comparable to Apple in terms of price for the iMac, almost matching every spec at the exact same price. When you go any further than the "low end" Intel computers offered by the high-end PC makers goes into Mac Pro territory, and that is something different entirely. It's interesting, because depending on where you go and what you are looking for Apple doesn't charge that much of a premium. Unless of course you look at how much it cost to make the computer, they make about 50% profit. It is also obvious that a 24' monitor adds a lot to the cost, and is probably why Apple is the only (to my knowledge) company that offers an all-in-one with a 24'