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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: 3/20/04 - 3/24/04

Must include: 17"+ digital LCD, DVD-/+RW/CD-RW, & Stereo Speakers

Note: Read the AAPLTalk System Shootout FAQ before Proceeding!!!
All images and logos are copyright to the respective companies listed.

IMPORTANT UPATE 3/29/04: Due to time constraints, space constraints, as well as the fact that several of the PC brands' systems have become either indistinguishable from each other or nearly irrelevant to the market as a whole (i.e., Gateway), I have decided after much thought to limit the general shootouts to Apple and Dell. Yes, I'm aware that Toshiba, Sony, HP etc. make some fine systems, and obviously there are a dozen or more additional large-volume desktop & laptop makers, but Dell is fairly well established as "the brand to beat," in the mind of Joe Consumer, at least in terms of raw price/performance ratios.
Best of Field
Apple 17" iMac
Dell Dimension 8300
Design/ Styling:
"Lamp"-style / White
Black Tower
Mobility:
All-in-one design; 23 lbs. total
appx. 43 lbs. w/ tower, flat-panel LCD, & speakers
Component Access?
Quick access to memory & wireless cards
thumb-screws; relatively easy component access
Cords/Cables:
5 cables/cords
appx. 10 cables/cords (Tower, Display, Web, Speakers, Keyboard, Mouse, Microphone)
Desk Space Used:
88 sq. inches
appx. 250 sq. inches including tower, LCD & speakers
Noise Volume:
Ultraquiet Fan
Loud (full-size cooling fans)
Energy Use:
130 Watts total; appx. $24 / year
appx. 300 watts total; ; appx. $50/year
Processor:
Rating Notes
1.25 GHz G4
1.8 GHz Pentium 4
3.0 GHz Pentium 4
L1 Cache:
64k
8k
L2 Cache:
256K
512K
RAM Type:
DDR PC2700
DDR PC3200
Front Side Bus:
167 MHz bus
800 MHz bus
RAM Amount:
256 MB (1 DIMM)
1.0 GB (2 DIMM)
Max. RAM:
1.0 GB (2 slots)
2.0 GB (4 slots)
Hard Drive Capacity:
80 GB
80 GB
Hard Drive Type:
Ultra ATA 100
Ultra ATA 100
Hard Drive Speed:
7200 RPM
7200 RPM
CD-ROM:
32x CD
40x CD
CD-RW:
16x8x CD-RW
32x16x CD-RW
DVD-ROM:
8x DVD-ROM
16x DVD-ROM
DVD-/+RW:
4x2x DVD-RW
8x4x DVD+RW
Floppy/Other Drive:
--
--
PCI/AGP Slots:
0 available / 1 total
1 / 5
Internal Bays:
0 available / 1 total
1 / 2
External Bays:
0 available / 1 total
2 / 4
Mouse:
USB Optical
USB Optical 2-button scroll
USB Ports:
3 on CPU back + 2 on keyboard = 5 total
3 USB 2.0 available
6 on CPU back + 2 on front = 8 total
7 USB 2.0 available
FireWire Ports:
2 @ 400 Mbps
3 @ 400 Mbps via PCI
Legacy Ports:
Legacy-free
1 Ser, 1 Par, 1 PS/2
Video Card:
NVIDIA GeForce FX5200
NVIDIA GeForce FX5200
Video RAM:
64 MB DDR
128 MB DDR
VGA Out:
Yes
Yes
DVI/ADC Out:
--
DVI
RCA-Out:
yes, via optional adapter
Yes
S-Video Out:
yes, via optional adapter
--
Dual Display Support?
Yes, mirroring
Yes
Display:
17" view. digital widescreen LCD
180° swing arm
17" viewable LCD
Native Resolution:
1440x900
1280x1024
Audio In:
Built-in microphone; Line-in jack
Line in jack / Microphone jack
Audio Out:
Headphone jack/line-out; Digital-audio ready
SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 audio card
Speakers:
Harman Kardon Pro Speakers
Dell A425 speakers w/Subwoofer
Ethernet:
10/100
10/100
56k Modem?
Yes
Yes
Wi-Fi Card?
optional 802.11g (54 Mbps)
optional 802.11b (11 Mbps)
Bluetooth Card?
optional
optional
Hardware Extras:
Epson Stylus C84 Printer (free after rebate)
--
Included OS:
Mac OS X 10.3 Panther; Mac OS 9.2;
BSD Unix; Apache Web Server
Windows XP Home Edition
Windows Support:
DOS/95/98/ME/2000/XP (via Virtual PC)
DOS/95/98/ME/2000/NT/XP (Native)
Mac Support:
Mac OS 9 (Classic Environment),
Mac OS X (Native)
Mac OS 8 only (via emulation)
Linux Support:
Various flavors (Native)
Unix Support:
Various flavors (Native)
Java 2 Support:
Native
(must be downloaded)
Save-as PDF:
Native (any file)
(requires 3rd-party app.)
Handwriting Recognition:
system-wide (Inkwell)
--
Word Processor:
AppleWorks 6.2 (Word compatible)
WordPerfect 11 (Word compatible)
Spreadsheet:
AppleWorks 6.2 (Excel compatible)
Quattro Pro 11 (Excel compatible)
Presentation:
AppleWorks 6.2
Presentations 11 (PowerPoint compatible)
Database:
AppleWorks 6.2
--
Drawing/Painting:
AppleWorks 6.2
--
Projects/Planning:
--
--
Web Browser
Safari 1.2; IE 5.2; Sherlock 3.0
IE 6
E-Mail/PIM/ Address Book:
OS X Mail/Address Book; iCal, iSync, iChat AV
Outlook Express; Corel Address Book
Media Players:
*free download
QuickTime 6; Media Player 9.0*
RealOne Player 9.0 *;
DVD Player
QuickTime 6*; Media Player 8
RealOne; DVD Player
Financial:
Quicken 2004 Deluxe
Money 2003; TurboTax Basic
Reference:
World Book OS X
--
Digital Photography:
iPhoto 4.0
Paint Shop Pro, Photo Album Premium
Digital Video Editing:
iMovie 4.0
MyDVD Deluxe
CD Burning/ Music:
iTunes 3, Disc Burner, Sound Studio
MusicMatch 6.0; RecordNow! Deluxe
Audio Engineering:
GarageBand 1.0; Sound Studio
--
DVD Burning/ Authoring:
iDVD 4.0; Disc Burner
MyDVD Deluxe
Games Included:
Chess; Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4; Deimos Rising
Mine Sweeper, Asstd. classic games
Additional Software:
Asstd. system software
Free Services:
1 month Earthlink; 2 month free .Mac trial
6 months Earthlink
Virus/Security Issues:
No known viruses effect Mac OS X.
Firewall:
Built-in
Warranty:
1 yr. ltd./mail-in; 90 days phone
1 yr. ltd./at-home; 1 yr. phone
Customer Service:
Subotal:
(includes rebates)
$1,898
$1,865
- Rebates:
- $99 printer rebate
- $150 system rebate
+ Ground Shipping:
No Charge
+ $100
Total Price
as configured:
(tax not included)
$1,799
$1,815

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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