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tubuliferous

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
27
31
Out of genuine curiosity I looked at a Dell ultrabook to see how new PC offerings compare to the MacBook Air M2.


The current-generation Dell Latitude 9330 seems like a pretty good comparison; the computer is thin (about 1.4 cm thick closed), it has a 13.3-inch display, and it's lightweight at about 2.8 pounds. The base model internal specs are:

• Intel Core i5-1230U CPU with 10 cores
• Integrated Intel Iris Xe with 8 GB memory
• 8 GB RAM
• 256 GB SSD

This base model Latitude 9330 currently sells for $2,251.08

By comparison, the base model MacBook Air M2 is about 1.13 cm thick closed, has a 13.6-inch display, and is also lightweight at about 2.7 pounds. The base model specs are:

• Apple Silicon M2 CPU with 8 cores
• Integrated Apple M2 GPU with shared memory
• 8 GB RAM
• 256 GB SSD

This base model MacBook Air M2 sells for $1,199.00

The performance of the Apple M2 vs. the Intel Core i5 1230U (including graphics performance) is consistently and substantially better in the following suite of tests:


Perhaps throttling of the M2 on the MacBook Air will bring the Dell closer to Apple in performance, but I couldn’t find information on Intel chip throttling, and I can’t say for sure that the Dell is not substantially throttled during sustained workloads.

It seems to me that the Apple laptop is a better value when compared to the Dell (over $1,000 less and with likely better performance) before considering any software needs from the consumer—the prospective consumer may find the Apple software realm a benefit or a liability depending on needs/familiarity (I would argue that the ability to run Windows software in virtualization, e.g. Parallels, or in a compatibility layer, e.g. Crossover, should take care of most Windows software needs).

The Dell DOES have the advantage of user-upgradeable RAM (I believe up to 64 GB), user-upgradable SSD (I think up to 2 TB through third parties; Dell apparently only sells upgrades up to 1 TB), and a touch-screen display that folds back for tablet-like functionality.

If you upgrade the RAM in the MacBook Air to the maximum 24 GB and upgrade the SSD to 1 TB (thus avoiding the much-decried Apple base model single-module SSD slowdowns), the price is $1,999, STILL well under the base model Dell ($252.08 less expensive).

If you REALLY need a touch screen display or a native Windows laptop, the Dell might make sense, but otherwise it just doesn’t seem to be a great deal.

The Dell Latitude 9330 is the first and only Windows laptop I looked at closely in my cursory search for a comparable computer, and maybe there are other ultrabooks from other companies that compare more favorably to the MacBook Air M2.

What do you folks think?
________

(Edit)

So it's been brought to my attention by a responder that the Dell XPS Plus is a much more apt comparison to the MacBook Air:


I'd simply not been accustomed to the variety of Dell laptop models and selected the wrong comparison.

The XPS 13 Plus base model comes with a 512 GB SSD, so starting with the base MacBook Air and configuring it with a 512 GB SSD makes the Air $100 more expensive than the XPS ($1,399 for the Air, $1,299 for the XPS. The base model XPS has:

• Intel Core i5-1240P CPU with 12 cores
• Integrated Intel Iris Xe with 8 GB memory
• 8 GB RAM
• 512 GB SSD
• 13.4" LCD display at 1920 x 1200 resolution

I still argue that the M2 Air is not insanely overpriced at this near-baseline comparison, especially considering that the Air has a slightly larger, higher-resolution screen, and the base M2 seems to have a generally better CPU and much better GPU performance than the Intel Core i5 1240P in the XPS:


*It should be noted in the GPU comparison that it's unclear whether the GPU listed on NanoReview is the 8-core base M2 or the upgraded 10-core M2. Either way the M2 GPU should pretty handily beat the Intel Iris Xe.

As other responders have pointed out, the picture changes when we start to up-configure the two computers. For example, Dell charges $100 for an upgrade from 8 GB to 16 GB of RAM, and Apple charges $200 for an upgrade from 8 GB to 16 GB. Upgrading the XPS from a 512 GB to a 2 TB SSD costs $300, and the same upgrade costs $600 on the Air. Comparable hardware upgrades in general seem to be about twice as expensive for the Air.

So a fully-upgraded XPS 13 has the following specs:

• Intel Core i7-1280p CPU with 12 cores
• Integrated Intel Iris Xe with 8 GB memory
• 32 GB RAM
• 2 TB SSD
• 13.4" OLED touch screen display at 3456 x 2160 resolution

Cost: $2,399

A fully-upgraded Air M2 has the following specs:

• M2 CPU with 8 cores
• Integrated GPU with 10 cores
• 24 GB RAM
• 2 TB SSD
• 13.6" LCD display at 2560 x 1664 resolution

Cost: $2,499

I was not expecting the price to be so close.

The Air still costs more fully-upgraded, despite having less RAM and an probably much inferior, non-touch display. On the other hand, the Air has a much more powerful GPU, much better battery life, and some quality-of-life advantages like magsafe charging.

The CPU comparison between the Intel Core i7-1280p and the M2 (at least in synthetic benchmarks) doesn't indicate a clear-cut winner, with the M2 seeming to have the edge in power efficiency and single-core performance, and the i7 with an edge in multicore performance (which isn't totally surprising considering it has 14 cores to the M2's 8):


The bottom line for me is that in spite of some VERY expensive RAM and SSD upgrades on the Air (and I'd love to see Apple ease up on those prices), the overall price disparity against the Air's PC rivals isn't totally absurd. One could go on for weeks about the advantages or disadvantages of the respective Windows and MacOS ecosystems, but I intentionally avoided getting into that territory in this post. The Air is in my opinion an expensive (but not absurdly expensive) computer that people should NOT feel ripped off to buy.

Thanks for the feedback, folks!
 
Last edited:

eltoslightfoot

macrumors 65816
Feb 25, 2011
1,466
1,826
Look I am an Apple homer at this point. but that price is ridiculous. You can get a comparable XPS 13 Dell Laptop for around the same money: (8 GB RAM and 512GB SSD with 1200p 13.4" screen for $1299...)

https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-laptops/sr/laptops/xps-laptops/8-gb?appliedRefinements=6092

Shoot, you can get a 13" HP Envy for even less money:

HP ENVY Laptop 13-ba1097nr, 13.3", Windows 10 Home, Intel® Core™ i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, FHD for $899.99​

https://www.hp.com/us-en/shop/pdp/hp-envy-laptop-13-ba1097nr
 

eltoslightfoot

macrumors 65816
Feb 25, 2011
1,466
1,826
I understand that price plays a part in the purchase equation but, the other big part of the equation that so many are leaving out is the OS, integration with other Apple products, and customer support. I would rather pay more with Apple versus moving to Windows. I would be giving up too much if I did that. It isn't worth it to me.
Oh as do I. I just wanted to point out that there are comparable or cheaper priced windows laptops. Given some time, you will always pay more for macs, and I do. :)
 

unrigestered

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2022
582
532
Springfield
PC laptop prices surely went up significantly in recent years that make Apple often actually look like great deals.
Of course the M2 MBA is better than the M1, but not 500 Euros better like it is here in Europe (ok, now that Apple has raised the price for the M1 too it is "only" 300-400 Euros difference)
You can get a 16/512GB M1 MBA for the price of the base M2 with the latter even having a "gimped" SSD, performance wise
 
Last edited:

unrigestered

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2022
582
532
Springfield
yeah, in the laptop market, unless you are a gamer or CGI movie artist and don't care about poor battery, there isn't actually any great incentive to get a non Apple machine at the moment until the other chip manufacturers are catching up in regards of efficience to power ratio.
but of course a hardcore PC workstation or gaming tower PC will kill Apple Silicon, but at like several times more power consumption.
which of course is perfectly fine if you really need ultimate power without compromise.
 

tubuliferous

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
27
31
Look I am an Apple homer at this point. but that price is ridiculous. You can get a comparable XPS 13 Dell Laptop for around the same money: (8 GB RAM and 512GB SSD with 1200p 13.4" screen for $1299...)

https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-laptops/sr/laptops/xps-laptops/8-gb?appliedRefinements=6092

Shoot, you can get a 13" HP Envy for even less money:

HP ENVY Laptop 13-ba1097nr, 13.3", Windows 10 Home, Intel® Core™ i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, FHD for $899.99​

https://www.hp.com/us-en/shop/pdp/hp-envy-laptop-13-ba1097nr
Ah, I didn't know! Thanks for the link. That HP Envy looks like a pretty solid deal at that price, though the processor still seems to lag behind the M2:


To some of the other responders in this thread: I'm also pretty attached to Apple software and hardware; there's a level of convenience along many axes in the Apple software/hardware ecosystem that makes the overall Apple experience much better in my opinion. I can see why one would want or need to go with a less expensive computer or that one may absolutely require access to native Windows software and can't get a Mac...and I would also like to see Apple offer less expensive hardware upgrades. In general, however, the M2 Air looks like a great machine at a pretty reasonable price.
 
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DoghouseMike

macrumors regular
Jan 18, 2011
154
10
UK
Also worth bearing in mind is the screen res/quality. Obvs worth more to some than others, but I’m guessing 1200/1080p ain’t close to “retina”.
Then again, I’m sure there are some 13inch laptops with 120/144hz displays too ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

tubuliferous

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
27
31
I could have gotten an alienware gaming laptop for what I paid for my M2.. I don't care. I wanted a computer I can pull out of an envelope.
Right...the point was to compare the Air to something with a similar profile...a PC ultrabook.

Incidentally, looking through through PC manufacturer stores is pretty maddening with the number of laptops simultaneously available for purchase (many of them only marginally different and each with further customization options). I think think Apple has the better strategy by selling just a few models with a few options each.
 
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turbineseaplane

macrumors G5
Mar 19, 2008
12,257
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Also worth bearing in mind is the screen res/quality. Obvs worth more to some than others, but I’m guessing 1200/1080p ain’t close to “retina”.
Then again, I’m sure there are some 13inch laptops with 120/144hz displays too ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

For $200 you can upgrade those Dell's to hi-rez OLED displays, or even higher resolution LCDs...(both with touch)

The OLED for sure is superior to the Mac Retina screens...
The LCD is higher resolution at least (color quality comparisons are unknown)

Screen Shot 2022-07-16 at 16.25.45.png
 

tubuliferous

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
27
31
M1 was good at $1499AUD $400 bump for Air 2 is a piss take
Yeah, (genuinely no sarcasm) I'm not sure the price hike is justified by the new design, faster processor (including new-to-Air hardware video processing features), better screen, better speakers, better camera, slightly lighter weight, support for high impedance cabled headphones, magsafe charging...and slower SSD (for the base model only).

That said, if I were to buy a new Air today, I'd definitely opt for the M2.
 

turbineseaplane

macrumors G5
Mar 19, 2008
12,257
23,165
Yeah, (genuinely no sarcasm) I'm not sure the price hike is justified by the new design, faster processor (including new-to-Air hardware video processing features), better screen, better speakers, better camera, slightly lighter weight, support for high impedance cabled headphones, magsafe charging...and slower SSD (for the base model only).

That said, if I were to buy a new Air today, I'd definitely opt for the M2.

A new model slightly improving on some things is never justification alone for price hikes.
If that were the case, over time, computers would be outrageously expensive

(every new model with a price hike for years and years)

Justifying price hikes by saying "it's got new stuff" is fully buying into Apple (and other megacorp) narratives.

A "new model" should have "new stuff". That is separate from price increases.

Apple would love to just keep raising prices endlessly and have folks defending their actions with...
"well.. it's newer after all! Price hike makes sense!"
 

JPack

macrumors G4
Mar 27, 2017
10,363
18,466
How can you compare a Dell 2-in-1 to the MacBook Air? It also comes with 3 years of on-site support

These convertible notebooks usually weigh more than conventional clamshell models due to the hinge and touchscreen layer. The fact that Dell made it the same 2.8 lb as MacBook Air is impressive, and you're paying $2,000 for that.

1658011174063.png
 

tubuliferous

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
27
31
How can you compare a Dell 2-in-1 to the MacBook Air? It also comes with 3 years of on-site support

These convertible notebooks usually weigh more than conventional clamshell models due to the hinge and touchscreen layer. The fact that Dell made it the same 2.8 lb as MacBook Air is impressive, and you're paying $2,000 for that.

View attachment 2030729
Well, it IS a CEO-level experience after all. =D

Seriously though, the hinge and touch screen are cool, but I'm not sure they're $1,000 cooler than the Air. I take your point, though, that this particular Dell may not have been the best ultrabook for a comparison given some substantially different hardware features.
 

tubuliferous

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 13, 2011
27
31
A new model slightly improving on some things is never justification alone for price hikes.
If that were the case, over time, computers would be outrageously expensive

(every new model with a price hike for years and years)

Justifying price hikes by saying "it's got new stuff" is fully buying into Apple (and other megacorp) narratives.

A "new model" should have "new stuff". That is separate from price increases.

Apple would love to just keep raising prices endlessly and have folks defending their actions with...
"well.. it's newer after all! Price hike makes sense!"
Good point! Given the pace of technological progress, we should expect newer computer hardware to be better without necessarily being more expensive.
 
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Shirasaki

macrumors G5
May 16, 2015
14,108
8,791
A new model slightly improving on some things is never justification alone for price hikes.
If that were the case, over time, computers would be outrageously expensive

(every new model with a price hike for years and years)

Justifying price hikes by saying "it's got new stuff" is fully buying into Apple (and other megacorp) narratives.

A "new model" should have "new stuff". That is separate from price increases.

Apple would love to just keep raising prices endlessly and have folks defending their actions with...
"well.. it's newer after all! Price hike makes sense!"
And prolly same people wonder why Apple keeps pulling out the same crap over and over. It’s because they are supporting this kind of practice over and over and over without even thinking.

And we have M7 air base model that costs $9000 and upwards of $15000. M7 MBP costs $14000 base and upwards of $20000. All thanks to those folks tirelessly spending and defending Apple.
 

Abazigal

Contributor
Jul 18, 2011
17,376
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Singapore
You are never going to get M1 / M2 level performance in such a thin and light form factor, or MagSafe or the extent of battery life, so any comparison based solely on ram and storage isn’t meaningful, IMO.
 

turbineseaplane

macrumors G5
Mar 19, 2008
12,257
23,165
And prolly same people wonder why Apple keeps pulling out the same crap over and over. It’s because they are supporting this kind of practice over and over and over without even thinking.

And we have M7 air base model that costs $9000 and upwards of $15000. M7 MBP costs $14000 base and upwards of $20000. All thanks to those folks tirelessly spending and defending Apple.

Well, luckily that isn't how it works (endless price hikes with every new version)
 

Abazigal

Contributor
Jul 18, 2011
17,376
17,844
Singapore
And prolly same people wonder why Apple keeps pulling out the same crap over and over. It’s because they are supporting this kind of practice over and over and over without even thinking.

And we have M7 air base model that costs $9000 and upwards of $15000. M7 MBP costs $14000 base and upwards of $20000. All thanks to those folks tirelessly spending and defending Apple.
The question for isn't really so much of how much Apple products cost, but whether they are worth it at that price.

If the M7 air does cost that much, either inflation is out of whack, or technology has improved so much to make the Macbook worth that higher price tag.

Either way, I still believe in letting consumers vote with their wallets.
 
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