Gateway One vs. Apple iMac: which is the better buy?

A colleague of mine is buying his wife a new computer. Her primary consideration? Fewer wires. A new computer from Gateway was just announced today, and I wanted to see how it compared to the Apple iMac my friend was planning to buy. As usual, it's practically impossible to get the exact same specs, but I got as close as possible. And the winner is...

A colleague of mine is buying his wife a new computer. Her primary consideration? Fewer wires. She doesn't care what OS runs on it as long as it doesn't get in the way. Until today they were planning to get an Apple iMac, which only has one wire to trip over (assuming you get the wireless keyboard, mouse, and network). Now Gateway has made the decision harder with a new offering called the Gateway One.

Gateway One vs. Apple iMac: which is the better buy?

The new Gateway (which still has spots, thank you very much) is available in three configurations. I wanted to see how it compared to the Apple iMac my friend was planning to buy. As usual, it's practically impossible to get the exact same specs, but I got as close as possible:

  • CPU: Intel Core2 Duo 2.0Ghz
  • Display: 20" 1680x1050 (iMac), 19" 1440x900 (Gateway)
  • Memory: 2GB 667Mhz DDR2 (iMac), 3GB (Gateway)
  • Hard drive: 500GB SATA II 720-rpm
  • Optical drive: 8x DVD +/- R/RW Super Drive
  • Video: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2400XT/128MB (iMac), 2600XT/256MB (Gateway)
  • Web camera: included

I'd expect this Gateway configuration to be somewhat faster than the iMac because of the extra memory, but the iMac has a larger screen. Prices as configured (before tax):

  • Gateway GZ7220: $1799.99
  • Apple iMac: $1548.00

For $1499 you can the Gateway with 2GB of memory, 400GB hard drive, and a 1.5Ghz processor. But Apple has an even cheaper iMac; you can get one for $1249 with 1GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive (processor is still 2.0Ghz). Memory is user-upgradeable on both so you might want to shop around and avoid the high prices that manufacturers charge.

The Gateway One can be pre-ordered now, and is expected to be delivered in October or November. But unless Gateway lowers their price by a few hundred dollars, I think my friend's wife will still be ending up with the iMac. For now, it's just the better buy.

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