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Visit Charle Gaba's new System Shootout site for the latest shootouts!


Desktop Shootouts
New!
(U.S. $):
Apple Desktop Lineup
Laptop Shootouts
(coming soon!)
$800
Laptops
$1,100
Laptops
$1,600
"Mini-Me's"
$2,000
Laptops
$2,600
Laptops
$3,000
"LapZillas"
Apple Laptop Lineup

DATES CONFIGURED: 1/28/03 - 2/8/03
READ THESE IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS & EXPLANATIONS BEFORE PROCEEDING!!!

Must include at least 17" LCD, stereo speakers w/subwoofer, & either DVD-RW or DVD+RW

All images and logos are copyright of the respective companies listed.
Company
Apple
Dell
HP/Compaq
Gateway
Sony
PowerMac G4
Dimension 8250
Presario 8000
700x
RZ16G Digital Studio
Design/ Styling:
Polycarbonate Shell
Built-in handles
Black/Silver Tower
Beige Tower
Platinum Tower
VAIO Styling Tower
Mobility:
(all systems listed range from appx. 40-60 lbs. including tower + flat-panel display + speakers)
Component Access?
Drop-down door for easy expansion & component access.
(all PC systems listed have thumb-screw or other relatively easy access for panel removal & component access)
Deskspace Used:
(all PC systems range from appx. 260 - 300 square inches including tower + flat-panel display + speakers)
Noise Volume:
Loud (full-size cooling fans)
Energy Use:
(all PC systems range from appx. 350 - 400 watts of electricity total
including tower + flat-panel display + speakers; appx. $60-70/year in electric bills)
Processor:
Rating Notes
1.5 GHz P4
1.0 GHz PowerPC G4
2.4 GHz P4
2.4 GHz Pentium 4
2.66 GHz P4
2.66 GHz Pentium 4
2.66 GHz P4
2.66 GHz Pentium 4
2.66 GHz P4
2.66 GHz Pentium 4
L1 Cache:
64k
32k
32k
32k
32k
L2 Cache:
256K on-chip
512K on-chip
512K on-chip
512K on-chip
512K on-chip
L3 Cache:
1 MB DDR
--
--
--
--
Memory Type:
DDR-SDRAM PC2100
RDRAM PC1066
DDR-SDRAM PC2700
RDRAM PC1066
DDR-SDRAM PC2100
Frontside Bus:
133 MHz bus
533 MHz bus
533 MHz bus
533 MHz bus
533 MHz bus
Memory Amount:
256 MB (1 DIMM)
512 MB (2 DIMM)
512 MB (1 DIMM)
512 MB (1 DIMM)
1.0 GB (2 DIMM)
Max RAM:
2.0 GB (2 slots)
1.5 GB (3 slots)
1.0 GB (2 slots)
2.0 GB (4 slots)
1.5 GB (3 slots)
Hard Drive Capacity:
80 GB
120 GB
120 GB
120 GB
120 GB
Hard Drive Type:
Ultra ATA 100
Ultra ATA 100
Ultra ATA 100
Ultra ATA 100
Ultra ATA 100
Hard Drive Speed:
7200 RPM
7200 RPM
7200 RPM
7200 RPM
7200 RPM
CD-ROM:
32x CD
40x CD
32x CD
48x CD
40x CD
CD-RW:
16x8x CD-RW
16x10x CD-RW
12x10x CD-RW
48x24x CD-RW
8x4x CD-RW
DVD-ROM:
8x DVD
12x DVD
16x DVD
8x DVD
16x DVD
DVD-/+RW:
4x2x DVD-RW
4x2.4x DVD+RW
2.4x2.4x DVD+RW
2x1x DVD-RW
2x1x DVD-RW
Floppy Drive:
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Zip/Other Drive:
--
--
--
--
Memory stick
PCI/AGP Slots:
4 available / 5 total
2 / 5
2 / 6
3 / 6
1 / 4
Internal Bays:
3 available / 4 total
1 / 2 (?)
1 / 2 (?)
1 / 2
1 / 2
External Bays:
1 available / 2 total
2 / 4
0 / 3
2 / 4
0 / 3
Mouse Included:
USB Optical
USB Optical
2-button scroll wheel
USB Optical
2-button scroll wheel
USB Optical
2-button scroll wheel
PS/2 2-button
scroll wheel
USB Ports:
available = after keyboard & mouse
2 on CPU back
+ 2 on keyboard
+ 2 on display = 6 total
4 USB 1.1 available
6 on CPU back
+ 2 on front = 8 total
7 USB 2.0 available
4 on CPU back
+ 2 on front = 6 total
5 USB 2.0 available
4 on back (2 are USB2)
+ 2 on front = 6 total
5 available
(1 USB 1.1; 4 USB 2.0)
4 on CPU back
+ 2 on front = 6 total
6 USB 2.0 available
FireWire Ports:
2 @ 400 Mbps
+ 1 @ 800 Mbps
2 @ 400 Mbps
1 @ 400 Mbps
1 @ 400 Mbps
2 @ 400 Mbps
Available Legacy Ports:
Legacy-Free
1 Ser, 1 Par, 1 PS/2
Unknown (?)
1 Ser, 1 Par, 1 PS/2
1 Ser.
Graphics Card:
ATI Radeon 9000
ATI Radeon 9700 TX
nVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
nVIDIA GeForce4 MX 440
Video RAM:
64 MB DDR
128 MB DDR
128 MB DDR
128 MB DDR
64 MB DDR
VGA Out:
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
DVI/ADC Out:
ADC & DVI
DVI
DVI
DVI
DVI
S-Video Out:
--
--
--
--
Yes
TV-in (TV tuner)
TV Out:
--
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
TV-in (TV tuner)
Dual Display Support?
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No (?)
LCD Display:
17" viewable LCD
Digital
17" viewable LCD
digital
17" viewable LCD
17" viewable LCD
digital
17" v. digital LCD
Composite Video IN
Max. Resolution:
1280 x 1024
1280x1024
1280x1024
1280x1024
1280x1024
Audio In/Out:
Microphone jack; Headphone jack; Audio in/out jacks
Mic./Headphone jacks;
Audio in/out jacks
TV-in/out jacks
Speakers:
Logitech Z-340 stereo speakers w/Subwoofer
Harman Kardon HK-395 Speakers
w/ Subwoofer
Logitech Z-340 stereo speakers w/Subwoofer
Boston Acoustics BA7800 5.1 speakers
w/Subwoofer
Stereo Speakers
(no subwoofer option available??)
10/100 Ethernet:
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Gigabit Ethernet:
Yes
--
--
--
--
56k Internal Modem:
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Wi-Fi Card?
optional 802.11g
(54 Mbps)
optional 802.11b
(11 Mbps)
optional 802.11b
(11 Mbps)
optional 802.11b
(11 Mbps)
optional 802.11b
(11 Mbps)
Bluetooth Card?
optional
optional
optional
optional
optional
Hardware Extras Included:
HP DeskJet 3820 printer
w/promotion
--
--
--
Epson Stylus
C40UX Printer
Included OS:
Mac OS X 10.2;
9.2 (via Classic);
BSD Unix;
Apache Web Server
Windows XP
Professional
Windows XP
Home Edition
Windows XP
Home Edition
Windows XP
Home Edition
Windows/DOS Support:
Win. 95/98/ME/2000/XP
(via Virtual PC)
Windows 95/98/ 2000/NT/XP (Native)
Mac OS Support:
Mac OS 8,9,X (Native)
Mac OS 8 only (via emulation)
Linux OS Support:
Various flavors (Native)
Unix OS Support:
Various flavors (Native)
Java 2 Support:
Native (must be downloaded)
Save-as PDF:
Native (any file) (requires 3rd-party app.)
Word Processor Included:
Office X Trial
Word XP
Word XP
Word XP
Corel WordPerfect 10
(Word compatible)
Spreadsheet Software Included:
Excel X Trial
Works 6.0
Excel XP
Works 6.0
Quattro Pro 10
(Excel compatible)
Presentation Software Included:
PowerPoint X Trial
--
--
--
Corel Presentations
(PowerPoint compatible)
Database Software Included:
FileMaker Pro 6 Trial
Works 6.0
--
Works 6.0
--
Drawing/Painting Software Included:
Art Directors Toolkit
Graphic Converter
OmniGraffle
Paint Shop Pro
--
--
--
Calendar/PIM Software Included:
OS X Address Book, iCal, iSync, Entourage X Trial
Works 6.0
Outlook XP
Works 6.0
CorelCentral 10
Planning/Project Software Included:
OmniOutliner
--
Publisher XP
--
--
Web Browser Included:
Internet Explorer 5.2
Internet Explorer 6
Internet Explorer 6
Internet Explorer 6
Internet Explorer 6
E-Mail/Address Book Included:
OS X Mail
OS X Address Book
Entourage X Trial
Outlook Express 6
Outlook XP
Outlook Express 6
CorelCentral 10
Media Player Included:
QuickTime 6
DVD Player
Media Player 7 avail.
RealOne Player avail.
Media Player 8, DVD Player
QuickTime 6 avail.; RealOne Player avail.
QuickTime 6
Media Player 8
DVD Player
RealOne Player
Financial Software Included:
QuickBooks 5
Money 2002
Quicken New Users
Money 2003
TurboTax Deluxe
Quicken 2002
Reference Software Included:
--
Encarta 2002
Streets & Trips
--
Encarta 2003
Streets & Trips
--
Graphics Editing/
Digital Photo Management:
iPhoto 2; GraphicConverter
Image Expert
Picture It!
ArcSoft MyPhotoCenter
Picture It!
Photoshop Elements
Picture Gear
Digital Video Editing:
iMovie3
Roxio Movie Creator
MovieMaker 2
Pinnacle Studio SE
MovieShaker
Premiere LE
DVGate
Music Software/
CD Burning Software:
iTunes 3
Disc Burner
MusicMatch 6.0
EasyCD 5.0
Veritas RecordNow
EasyCD Creator
SonicStage
RecordNow
DVD Burning Software:
iDVD 3
Disc Burner
(Unknown)
Sonic MyDVD
Veritas RecordNow
EasyCD Creator
Pinnacle Studio SE
Click2 DVD
Games Included:
Chess
Mine Sweeper, Asstd. classic games
Mine Sweeper, Asstd. classic games
Mine Sweeper, Asstd. classic games
Additional Software Included
FaxSTF
Asstd. system software
Asstd. system software
Mine Sweeper, Asstd. classic games
The Sims!
Smart Capture
Asstd. system software
Free ISP/Services:
1 month EarthLink
6 months Earthlink
--
1 yr. AOL
--
Virus/Security Issues:
Built-in Firewall?
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Warranty:
1 yr. ltd./mail-in
90 days phone
3 yr. ltd./at-home
3 yr. phone
1 yr. ltd./at-home
lifetime phone
2 yr. ltd./at-home
2 yr. phone
1 yr. ltd./mail-in
90 days phone
Quality of Products & Service:
Consumer Affairs
Navigation?
Easy
Easy
Fair
Easy
Fair
Customization Allowed?
Some
Full
Full
Some
Very Little
Subotal:
(includes rebates, add-ons, etc.)
$2,523
$2,497
$2,437
$2,424
$2,500
+ Ground Shipping:
No Charge
Free (ltd. time)
$70
$64
Free (Ltd. Time)
Total Price
as configured:
(Includes cost of all add-ons, rebates, etc.)
$2,523
tax not included
$2,497
tax not included
$2,507
tax not included
$2,488
tax not included
$2,500
tax not included

The information above is as accurate as I could make it based on a reasonable time studying the respective companies' Web sites. There is no guarantee that these configurations, prices, and features are the best that one could come up with; assorted bundles, free internet access, free extra memory, and so on can most likely be found for any of the above systems. The point of this chart is to demonstrate that Apple's lineup holds its own against any brand-name computer, even in areas in which it has traditionally had resistance. In short, do not base your purchasing decisions solely on this chart or information. Neither I, nor The Mac Observer will be held responsible or liable for any purchase decisions you make based on this presentation.

Charles Gaba started the AAPLTalk System Shootouts at AAPLTalk.com, and has brought them to TMO. Charles is the creative talent behind Brainwrap Web Design.

AAPLTalk System Shootouts Archives

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