New Apples Versus Comparable Dell

Apple's announcement this morning, of new dual-processor, DDR memory (double data rate -- super efficient memory), gigabit-Ethernet PowerMacs made me ask: what does it really cost now to buy a fully equipped Mac server with this new architecture versus Dell, one of the cheapest and best Wintel providers. The answer honestly surprised me.

I choose comparable equipment, with the primary exception being processor: I chose the slowest Intel available in this workstation configuration versus the slowest Mac processors because Apple's Photoshop and rendering benchmarks show a pretty high advantage (better than 2:1) for PowerPC chips by megahertz over Windows. Removing an Intel processor cuts the price by $400. Add to that the faster DDR RAM, and it's works out to a wash or better.

Feedback is welcome on whether this is a fair comparison.

Dell Precision™Workstation 530

Apple PowerMac dual 867 MHz

Price with these options

$2900 (includes $100 mail-in rebate, but excludes $250 small business purchase discount which you must qualify for)



2 Intel® Xeon™ Processors, 1.80GHz, 512K Cache per processor

Power Mac G4 Dual 867 MHz w/133 MHz system bus: 256K Level 2 Cache, 1MB DDR SRAM Level cache per processor



256 Mb PC2100 DDR SDRAM


Entry Level Quietkey Keyboard, PS/2, (No Hot Keys)

Apple Pro Keyboard

Graphics Card

nVIDIA,Quadro2 EX,32MB,VGA

NVIDIA GeForce4 MX dual-display w/32MB DDR (ADC and DVI connectors; DVI to VGA adapter included; dual display support for mirror, extended desktop)

1st Hard Drive

80GB ATA-100 IDE (7200 rpm)

80GB Ultra ATA drive

Floppy Drive

3.5" 1.44MB Floppy Drive


Operating System

Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional

Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar), OS 9.2


Dell, PS/2 (2-button, no scroll)

Standard optical mouse

Additional Network Card

Intel PRO/1000 XT, Gigabit PCI NIC

Built-in gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000)


V.90 PCI Data/Fax Controllerless Modem

56K internal modem (V.92)

CD ROM, DVD, and Read-Write Drives

16X, DVD-ROM and 24X CDRW with Decode Solution

8x DVD-ROM/16x CD-R/10x CD-RW/32x CD-ROM (Combo Drive)

Sound card

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! Value

Front headphone minijack and speaker, rear Apple speaker minijack, audio line in, audio line out

Hardware Support Services

Promo! 3Yr Same Day 4Hr Response Parts + Onsite Labor (M-F 8am-6pm) and Gold Technical Support by phone (no details as to limits)

3-year AppleCare warranty (carry-in, onsite w/in 50 of service center, prepaid express mail in) which includes both hardware and unlimited phone support for software and hardware


Two FireWire ports