Friday, August 17, 2007

Bought a Mac

My wife and I have been considering buying a new computer for a couple of months now; yesterday we bought a new 24" iMac. The odd thing is, even though my wife was comfortable on a Mac and I was drawn to the BSD underpinnings, we had decided against getting a Mac largely on the grounds of the expense (and the inability to easily uninstall software). Instead, we had settled on a small form-factor Dell. That is, until we visited the Apple Store on University Ave. Sunday afternoon.

We were in the neighborhood to pick up some prints at Wolf Camera and I wanted to stick my head in the Apple Store to check out the new Aluminum iMacs. They are gorgeous. I've never seen a screen quite like it. But the kicker was when my wife asked whether the $1799 price on the card next to the computer was for the computer we were looking at.

It wasn't. We were gawking at the 20" iMac; the placard was for the 24" iMac next to us. Now that was an impressive machine. And what was more amazing was that the $1799 price tag was on-par, if not cheaper, than the equivalent Dell desktop we had been considering! That's right, we could get the gorgeous iMac for the same price as the bland Dell we were planning to buy.

I have read claims in the past the recent-model Macs were cheaper than equivalent PCs, but there it was staring me in the face. Just to prove I'm not making this up, I just re-spec'ed the Dell machine we were going to buy to compare it to the Apple machine we did buy. As of 2007/08/17:

ComponentDell Optiplex 745 Small Form FactorApple iMac 24"
CPUIntel Core 2 Duo Processor E6600 (2.40GHz, 4M, 1066MHz FSB)Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7700 (2.40GHz, 4M, 800MHz FSB)
OSWindows Vista Ultimate, with media, 32 Edition, EnglishMac OS X v10.4.10 Tiger
Memory1.0GB DDR2 Non-ECC SDRAM, 667MHz, (1DIMM)1.0GB DDR2 Non-ECC PC2-5300 SDRAM, 667MHz, (1SO-DIMM)
Hard Disk250GB SATA 3.0Gb/s320GB SATA 7200-rpm
Removable Disc8X Slimline DVD+/-RWSlot-loading 8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Video Card256MB ATI Radeon X1300PRO256MB (GDDR3) ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO
SpeakersDell™ A225 SpeakersBuilt-in stereo speakers
WiFiLinksys WUSB54GC Wireless-G USB AdapterAirPort Extreme wireless networking (802.11n)
Price w/o Monitor$1,198N/A
DisplayUltraSharp 2407WFP-HC 24-inch Widescreen Flat Panel LCD
24-inch widescreen TFT active-matrix LCD

Anyway, we left the Apple Store to head over to Fry's to do some shopping. But while we were at Fry's, my wife looked over at me and "we should get the Mac". She didn't have to say that twice. In my 15 years or so in the computer industry, I have never before seen a machine that I really wanted to buy. So we bought of copy of Parallels Desktop at Fry's and headed back over to the Apple Store.

Unfortunately, we were too late. They close at 6:00pm on Sundays. We tried again Monday night but both the University Ave. and Stanford Shopping Center stores were sold out of the 24" iMacs. We went ahead and ordered on on-line, but we were going to have to wait two weeks for it to even be shipped. So yesterday morning we made it up to the University Ave. store at 10:15am (they open at 10:00am) and bought the last 24" model in that day's shipment. That's right: sold out in 15 minutes. Needless to say, we cancelled our on-line order.

I was up to 4:00am last night setting up Parallels to run Win2k for some of our old software (namely, Microsoft Money and our favorite game: Settlers 3), installing Firefox and Thunderbird, importing our photos into iPhoto, etc. That screen is simply awesome. I don't think I've had this much fun since I was a kid. Certainly not with a computer.


Jeff said...

Welcome to the "Cult of Mac" ;)

I just bought the same machine and couldn't be happier. It even syncs with my wife's Dell PDA (and more reliably than with Windows!!).

Anonymous said...

once you go mac, you never go back. ;).

i've got the first intel iMac 20" at home with parallels + boot camp and the 10.5 developer beta...
loving it.


jjinux said...

I'm sure you've read my post Computer Science: Smart People Have Weird Hangups. Am I just being stubborn, or should I finally break down and buy a Mac? My boss and now 3 of my 4 "heros" are using one.