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

Desktop Shootouts
(U.S. $):
Apple Desktop Lineup
Laptop Shootouts
(coming soon!)
Apple Laptop Lineup

As of 1/07/03

Note: Read the AAPLTalk System Shootout FAQ before proceeding!!!
All images and logos are copyright to the respective companies listed.
from Apples
online store
iBook CD-ROM
Combo Drive
14" iBook
12" PowerBook G4
PowerBook G4
PowerBook G4
17" PowerBook G4
132 cubic in. 11.2" x 9.1" x 1.3"
175 cubic in.
12.7" x 10.2" x 1.4"
112 cubic in.
10.9" x 8.6" x 1.2"
127 cubic in. 1.0" x 13.4" x 9.5"
157 cubic in.
15.4" x 10.2" x 1.0"
(all bays filled)
4.9 lbs
5.9 lbs
4.6 lbs
5.4 lbs
6.8 lbs
Battery Life:
5 hrs.
6 hrs.
5 hrs.
4.5 hrs.
Rating Notes
800 MHz P4
700 MHz PPC G3
900 MHz P4
800 MHz PowerPC G3
1.3 GHz P4
867 MHz G4 w/AltiVec
1.5 GHz P4
1.0 GHz G4 w/AltiVec
L1 Cache:
L2 Cache:
512K on-chip
256k on-chip
L3 Cache:
Memory Type:
Frontside Bus:
100 MHz
133 MHz
167 MHz
Memory Amount:
128 MB (1 x 128)
256 MB (2 DIMM)
256 MB (1 DIMM)
512 MB (2 x 256)
512 MB (1 DIMM)
Max RAM:
640 MB / (1 + 1 slot open)
1.0 GB / (2 slots)
Hard Drive
20 GB
30 GB
40 GB
60 GB
Hard Drive Type/Speed:
Ultra ATA 66 / 4200 RPM
Ultra ATA 100/
4200 RPM
Ultra ATA 66 / 4200 RPM
Ultra ATA 100/
4200 RPM
CD Drive:
24x CD-ROM
16x8x24x CD-RW
24x10x24x CD-RW
8x8x24x CD-RW
8x4x24x CD-RW
DVD Drive:
8x DVD
1x1x6x DVD-RW
2x1x6x DVD-RW
PC Card Slots:
internal 802.11b slot
internal 802.11g slot
internal 802.11b slot + 1 PCMCIA slot
internal 802.11g slot
+ 1 PCMCIA slot
USB Ports:
FireWire Ports:
1 400 Mbps port
1 400 Mbps port
1 800 Mbps port
Graphics Card:
Rating Notes
ATI Mobility Radeon 7500
GeForce 420 Go
ATI Mobility Radeon 9000
GeForce 440 Go
Video RAM:
16 MB
dedicated SDRAM
32 MB dedicated SDRAM
32 MB dedicated DDR-SDRAM
64 MB dedicated DDR-SDRAM
VGA Out:
Yes (mirroring only; adapter included)
Yes (spanning or mirroring; adapter included)
S-Video Out:
Yes (optional adapter)
Yes (adapter included)
Composite Out:
Yes (optional adapter)
Yes (adapter included)
DVI Out:
Yes (adapter included)
12.1" TFT XGA
14.1" TFT XGA
12.1" TFT XGA
15.2" TFT XGA (widescreen)
Native display resolution:
1024x768 (0.8 Mpx)
1280x854 (1.1 Mpx)
1440x900 (1.3 Mpx)
Max. External
display resolution:
1024x768 (0.8 Mpx)
1600x1200 (1.9 Mpx)
2048x1536 (3.1 Mpx)
Audio In:
Built-in microphone; also digital audio-ready
Built-in microphone, Line-in port; digital audio-ready
& Speaker Jacks:
Yes; also digital audio-ready
Stereo Speakers:
10/100 Ethernet:
Gigabit Ethernet:
56k Internal
Wi-Fi Network Card?
optional 802.11b (Airport) card
optional 802.11g
(Airport Extreme) card
optional 802.11b
(Airport) card
built-in 802.11b
(Airport) card
built-in 802.11g
(Airport Extreme) card
Wi-Fi Antennae?
Integrated (internal)
Wi-Fi Software Base Station?
built-in 802.11b Software Base Station
built-in 802.11g
Base Station
built-in 802.11b Base Station
built-in 802.11g
Base Station
Bluetooth Wireless?
optional Bluetooth card
Built-in Bluetooth
optional Bluetooth card
Built-in Bluetooth
Included OS:
Mac OS X 10.2; Mac OS 9.2 (dual-boot system); BSD Unix (full Unix core under OS X; full Apache Web Server; OS X fully Java 2 compliant); Rendezvous Zero-Config Networking; system-wide save-as-PDF support (any file); system-wide handwriting recognition
Mac OS X 10.2; Mac OS 9.2 (via Classic Mode); BSD Unix (full Unix core under OS X; full Apache Web Server; OS X fully Java 2 compliant); Rendezvous Zero-Config Networking; system-wide save-as-PDF support (any file); system-wide handwriting recognition
DOS/Windows Support:
DOS/95/98/ME/2000/XP (via Virtual PC)
Linux OS Support:
LinuxPPC, Yellow Dog, Mandrake (Native); Redhat, etc (via Virtual PC)
Word Processor Included:
AppleWorks 6.2 (MSFT Word compatible)
MSFT Word X Test Drive
Spreadsheet Software Included:
AppleWorks 6.2 (MSFT Excel compatible)
MSFT Excel X Test Drive
Presentation Software Included:
AppleWorks 6.2
MSFT PowerPoint X Test Drive
Database Software Included:
AppleWorks 6.2
FileMaker Pro 6 Trial
Drawing/Painting Software Included:
AppleWorks 6.2; PixelNhance
Art Directors Toolkit; Graphic Converter; OmniGraffle
Calendar/PIM Software Included:
OS X Address Book; iCal; iSync; MSFT Entourage X Test Drive
Project/Planning Software Included:
Financial Software Included:
Quicken 2003 Deluxe
QuickBooks Pro New Users Edition
Reference Software Included:
World Book 2003 OS X
Digital Photo Management:
iPhoto 1.1, PixelNhance
iPhoto 2; Graphic Converter
Digital Video Editing:
iMovie 3
Music Software/
CD Burning Software:
iTunes 3; Disk Burner
DVD Burning/
Authoring Software:
Disk Burner
iDVD 3, Disk Burner
Games Included:
Chess; Otto Matic; Deimos Rising
Other Software Included:
Palm Desktop; QuickTime 6, DVD Player; FaxSTF, Mac OS X Mail, Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.2; Netscape 4.8; Outlook Express 5; EarthLink; AOL; Acrobat Reader 5.0; Apple Hardware Test CD; iCal; iSync; other assorted additional software bundled w/OS
QuickTime 6, iChat, DVD Player, Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.2, Acrobat Reader, FAXstf, Developer Tools, Apple Hardware Test
Free ISP/
Other Services
1 month free EarthLink
Virus Susceptibility/
Security Issues
only 45 known viruses (compared with well over 50,000 for Windows); built-in Firewall; not vulnerable to IIS DDoS attacks
1 yr. ltd.; 1 yr. mail-in; 90 days phone
3 year AppleCare Protection Plan available for $249
1 yr. ltd.; 1 yr. mail-in; 90 days phone
3 year AppleCare Protection Plan available for $349
Quality of Products
& Service:
Consumer Affairs
Received an exemplary "Good Guys" rating from
(other 5 major U.S. PC makers all received negative "Rogues Gallery" rating)
Total Price:
tax not included
tax not included
tax not included
tax not included
tax not included
tax not included
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, and has brought them to TMO. Charles is the creative talent behind Brainwrap Web Design.

AAPLTalk System Shootouts Archives

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