Apple vs. Dell price war

In the market for a new computer? This is a great time to buy with prices down and power up. How do two similarly equipped high-end Dell and Apple models stack up in terms of price? The answer may surprise you.

Looking for a new computer for multimedia, games, or software development? If you're like me you've probably always heard Apple Macs carried a price premium over machines from companies such as Dell. I decided to put that belief to the test by comparing the prices on two similarly configured notebook computers.

[Update: For a lower-end comparison see this follow-up article.]

In particular I compared the Dell XPS M1710 with the Apple M17-inch MacBook Pro. Both notebooks were configured with the following components:

  • Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T7600 (2.33GHz, 4MB L2 Cache, 667 MHz FSB) processor
  • 17-inch wide screen display
  • 256MB dedicated 3D graphics card
  • 2GB DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHZ (2 DIMM)
  • 100GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • CD/DVD Burner (DVD+/-RW)
  • Integrated Audio
  • Standard battery
  • Internal Bluetooth (2.0 + Enhanced Data Rate)
  • Internal 802.11g wireless
  • DVD and movie editing software
  • 1Yr Ltd Warranty
  • Customer support (at least 30 days)

Total price (before taxes and shipping) as of 03Dec2006 10:30pm EST:

  • Dell: $3,222
  • Apple: $2,699 
  • Difference: $523
Of course, the computers could not be configured *exactly* the same way but I tried to get them as close as possible. Here are some of the differences that favored the Mac:
  • Includes a built-in camera for video conferencing. 
  • Thinner and lighter than the Dell (6.8 lbs., 1.0 in. vs. 8.7 lbs., 1.6").
  • Longer customer support (90 days vs. 30 days)
  • Back-lit keyboard.

And here are some that favored the Dell machine:

  • Higher screen resolution (1920x1200 vs. 1680x1050).
  • It has more USB 2.0 ports (6 vs. 4) but fewer FireWire ports (1 vs. 2).
  • Dell's Wi-fi card also supports 802.11a.
  • Dell's warranty covers in-home service, while Apple's is mail-in only.
Both companies carry many other models, and the customization possibilities are endless. But for these particular configurations, Apple comes out the clear price leader. Surprised?


You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All