Are the new Apple iMacs a better deal than Dell and HP can offer?

Are the new Apple iMacs a better deal than Dell and HP can offer?

Summary: While most analysts yesterday seemed critical of Apple's latest product refresh, Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner did a spec-by-spec comparison of the new Apple iMac with offerings from both Dell and HP and found that found the new iMacs to be "a better value than competing Windows-based products." Well, do they?

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While most analysts yesterday seemed critical of Apple's latest product refresh, Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner did a spec-by-spec comparison of the new Apple iMac with offerings from both Dell and HP and found that found the new iMacs to be "a better value than competing Windows-based products." Well, do they?

Here's what Reiner had to say:

iMacA side-by-side comparison suggests the new iMacs match up favorably against Dell  and HP’s All-in-One’s on a price-to-performance basis. For example, the $1,499 model has a faster CPU and RAM with better or comparable graphics, and is still $100-$250 cheaper (though it lacks a TV Tuner, ~$60-$100 upgrade).

Check out the Feb 09 Apple refresh image gallery

Reiner offers a chart to back up his conclusions:

At first blush is looks like Reiner has a point ... but ...

If Apple had done this a year or so ago, it might have been big newsFirst off, the chart is a little biased (accidentally I assume) in favor of Apple. For example, when comparing the 2.65GHz dual-core CPU in the iMac to the 2.33GHz quad-core CPU in the Dell, Reiner puts this down as a win for Apple. Hmmm ... sure the clock speed of the Apple piece is higher, but there are fewer cores. I could equally debate the 6MB of CPU cache verses 4MB ... if feels a bit like Reiner is clutching at straws a bit to bring validity to his chart.

Other examples of oddities in the chart include the inclusion of iLife to the chart, not giving Dell a win for the 2.0 megapixel webcam, and the odd inclusion of the weight of the base case to the list ... not sure what that means to anyone.

Let's not forget that as things stand right now the tech economy is being driven along by notebooks and netbooks, not +$1,500 desktop all-in-one systems. Apple's own Q1 '09 financial results conference call told us that of the 2,524,000 Macs sold in that period, 728,000 were desktops and 1.796 million were notebooks. Put another way desktop shipments fell 25% compared to Q1 '08 while notebooks surged 34% compared to the same period. A price/value war is going to be fought at this lower end.

If Apple had done this a year or so ago, it might have been big news, but doing it now, in a market where desktops are tanking I really don't think it's that much of a big deal. You've also got to factor into the equation the fact that Apple will be stuck with this lineup at this exact price for a few months, while the big OEMs will be regularly refreshing lines and tweaking prices.

Thoughts?

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Processors

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  • Maybe just maybe you're biased against Macs?

    The difference between the 2.66 GHz dual core and and the 2.33GHz
    quad core in benchmarks is small but the price difference is big, plus
    that Windows uses more cores than one badly compared to UNIX
    systems like OSX. Mac OS X is a LOT faster these days on the same
    hardware.

    You also forgot to mention the better graphicscard in the Mac.
    Intel GMA? It's a piece of crap (well, almost at least).

    You also get faster RAM with the Mac along with more storage
    capacity.

    And finally, what the competition [b]might[/b] do in the future is
    unknown and irrelevant, a red herring if you like.

    Is blogging all about opinions these days?
    Mikael_z
    • Actually you are just patetic, like any apple apologist

      Have you actually ever worked with programs that support more than 2 cores? Like Photoshop CS4 or Maya (that can render up to a lot more than 2 cores). Or have you actually ever done some multitasking ? Nope, i bet you haven`t, like any mac fanboy that never does anything with his computer.
      Mac OSX runs faster on the same hardware? Says who? The Apple worshipers? :)) Windows 7 and Vista handle multicore processors with 0 problems, just yesterday i had about 28 programs running all together and i had all my cores filled up.

      And what about the TOUCHSCREEN? Do you actually know how much does a 25.5 inch touchscreen cost? Just look up the prices for individual touchscreen monitors and then tell me which is a better value.

      Oh well, at least Apple eventually found out about Intels new Nehalem arhitecture, we`ve been playing with that for months, quite a long time for them to actually realize that they have become outdated by a long shot.
      And of course, they just scratched out of their list the professional graphic users, by offering 0 professional graphics cards...no Nvidia Quadro FX/CS and no Ati Fire GL ? Ha, why the hell did they actually do that? Those guys were the main target for the Mac Pro
      Soulstorm
      • No one

        is going to run Maya in a production environment on an all in one Dell
        with an integrated graphics chip, so you just shot what little credibility
        you had out the window.
        frgough
        • Oh snap!!!

          [i]No one is going to run Maya in a production environment on an all in one Dell with an integrated graphics chip[/i]

          Well, there may be a pirate or two that attempts it, but your point is valid nonetheless.

          Hallowed are the Ori
      • Yes...

        [i]"Have you actually ever worked with programs that support more
        than 2 cores? Like Photoshop CS4 or Maya (that can render up to a lot
        more than 2 cores)."[/i]

        Yes. If you have a group of OS X computers you can even turn on X
        Grid in the Sharing Preference Pane and enable cluster rendering in
        Maya and Lightwave.

        [i]"Windows 7 and Vista handle multicore processors with 0 problems,
        just yesterday i had about 28 programs running all together and i had
        all my cores filled up."[/i]

        Yeah, spyware does that.

        [i]"Oh well, at least Apple eventually found out about Intels new
        Nehalem arhitecture, we`ve been playing with that for months, quite a
        long time for them to actually realize that they have become outdated
        by a long shot."[/i]

        Apple is currently the [b]only company[/b] shipping a Nehalem Xeon
        based workstation. I'm going to assume you were talking about the
        iMac and Mac mini.
        olePigeon
        • What a coincidence!

          [i]"I'm going to assume you were talking about the iMac and Mac
          mini."[/i]

          Which incidentally have been updated now, both. :-)
          Mikael_z
      • Does this guy know what he is talking about?

        Programs that support more than two cores are usually design based
        apps. Have you ever seen a graphics design studio? Obviously not.
        The Mac Pro dominates without question.

        Windows does not support more than 2 cores. THE OPERATING
        SYSTEM WILL NOT RUN ON MORE THAN 2 CORES. Other programs
        might, but the operating system is only able to process tasks on two
        cores. I know this from experience of trying to get the most out of a
        Mac Pro being used as a Windows server.

        Mac OS X runs faster on the same hardware. the Benchmarks from my
        Mac show this. I run windows and mac in dual boot. Score of 3900 in
        Mac on a benchmark with all my apps running in the background.
        2900 in Windows when I have severely optimised it.

        Touchscreen: unless it is a Wacom Cintiq with 1024 levels of pressure
        sensitivity, then it is a gimmick. No argument there.

        Nehalems are only available for servers and I doubt you have bought a
        server with one in. They are difficult to get hold of and incredibly
        expensive. Also the supporting hardware to get the most out of them
        would put the cost of building a computer with one in at more than
        the Mac Pro. You might as well get a Mac Pro.

        Finally professional graphics. You can get a Quadro card for the Mac
        Pro, but as they are around $2500 it is not an option when buying the
        computer. Still, I haven't seen a PC that can handle 4 graphics cards
        before. That means 8x 30" full resolution displays. Nor have I seen a
        PC that can handle 32GB of ECC ram.

        Do your research before making stupid comments.
        558742
    • The Shavian Thread

      Hear, hear, man, there used to be standards in blogging. I remember
      reading George Bernard Shaw's blogs from the turn of that century,
      and by Gawd, there was a blogger's blogger.

      Had opinions, though. Didn't like Shakespeare. Can't quite remember
      where he fell on the whole Brahms and Wagner debate of the day. He
      did seem rather fond of the Pygmalion myth and, by Jove, I think the
      blaggard did figure out the monetization contingency. Well, harumph,
      that's my opinion.

      Wait.

      I'll be taking my tea and biscuits in the solarium now.


      DannyO_0x98
    • What many Windows users forget...

      is that to compare the Mac and ANY Windows PC you have to EXPERIENCE the difference. Specs are just Specs ! You're right about the hardware hoggishness of Windows. Goes for CPU speed and RAM too... 2 Gb on a Mac goes a LONG way. For VISTA, it's minimal because MS is notorius for creating Bloatware ! Maybe they'll do better with Win7, but I'm not holding my breath. Snow Leopard (10.6) will be even more lean and mean than any OS X ever, really taking advantage of the multiple cores.
      But to ANY Windows user, please use a Mac for 3-4 weeks before making uninformed statements. I use BOTH at work and my 4 yr old Mac (G4) beats my Windows box (XP) to pieces. Yeah VISTA may be touted to be better, but the Govt has decided NOT to go there - so what does that tell you ?
      To those Windows users who trash Apple, Please EXPERIENCE a Mac (several weeks). Then make comments.
      Respectfully,
      David
      DrDavidC
      • More clueless posting by a Mac apologist.

        [i]2 Gb on a Mac goes a LONG way. For VISTA, it's minimal because MS is notorius for creating Bloatware ![/i]

        2GB is just fine for Vista. 1GB works fine too. This is just more FUD by Apple commerical informed Mac apologists.

        [i]Maybe they'll do better with Win7, but I'm not holding my breath.[/i]

        You mean you don't know? How have you missed the mountains of blogs, news articles, comments, etc that state Windows 7 has lower RAM requirements than Vista?

        [i]I use BOTH at work and my 4 yr old Mac (G4) beats my Windows box (XP) to pieces.[/i]

        I use both too. Tiger and Vista. There is no tangible benefit between the two. Neither is better than the other. Just different. So stop already with this tired old FUD. It makes you look desperate.

        In the end buy what you want/like/need.
        ye
        • uh huh... guess that makes you ..

          a MS apolpogist ? ;-)
          can we skip the juvenille "name calling" ??

          1. Why does MS recommend 2 Gb for VISTA, our CDC IT people tell me they wouldn't adopt it without having 4 Gb ! so what am I to conclude? Our whole IT group doesn't know what they're talking about ?

          2. SO Win 7 reqires less RAM, lets see. MS is notorious for promising things and not delivering what they promised. HOW many features did they promise in VISTA and then dropped them? And even if it does, so what- now they're on par with a Mac. (Reminds me of the Toyota commercial.)

          3. You're supposedly using Tiger and comparing it to VISTA ... geez that'd be like me using Leopard and comparing it to Win98 !! ;-D
          And you accuse me of FUD ! HA, HA !

          4. Your last statement I agree with "In the end buy what you want/like/need." I'm just asking people to TRY one before you make statements... I guess you don't appreciate not having to worry about hackers and viruses on the Mac OS, and enjoy all those programs and upgrading you have to keep up with on the Windows PC. ;-)
          Good - go for it ! You are the exception.

          Respectfully,
          David

          DrDavidC
          • a reply

            "1. Why does MS recommend 2 Gb for VISTA, our CDC IT people tell me they wouldn't adopt it without having 4 Gb ! so what am I to conclude? Our whole IT group doesn't know what they're talking about ?"
            Yep that is exactly what you conclude, I use Vista on 2Gb and it runs like a champ. I Video edit, audio edit, picture edit, capture hi-def videos, runs great.

            "2. SO Win 7 reqires less RAM, lets see. MS is notorious for promising things and not delivering what they promised. HOW many features did they promise in VISTA and then dropped them? And even if it does, so what- now they're on par with a Mac. (Reminds me of the Toyota commercial."
            Actually MS hasnt really promised that yet, bloggers and beta testers have reported that it runs alot better on 512MB. They learned their lesson from Vista and really havent promised anything yet in Win7.

            "3. You're supposedly using Tiger and comparing it to VISTA ... geez that'd be like me using Leopard and comparing it to Win98 !! ;-D
            And you accuse me of FUD ! HA, HA !"
            He looked like to me he was comparing Tiger to XP, not to Vista.

            "4. Your last statement I agree with "In the end buy what you want/like/need." I'm just asking people to TRY one before you make statements... I guess you don't appreciate not having to worry about hackers and viruses on the Mac OS, and enjoy all those programs and upgrading you have to keep up with on the Windows PC.
            Good - go for it ! You are the exception."
            I have used a mac for a couple of years now, I worry about hackers but I have a good firewall so I dont worry that much, viruses well they're viruses for the mac to, some in the wild so i worry for both OS's, funny you should mention updates today, as mac just released 4 software updates today. In the end are they that much different? I use both and I dont think so. You make a point of saying "I'm just asking people to TRY one before you make statements.." let me ask you have your tried Vista on 1-2Gb of Ram and have you tried Win7 yet or are you just making statements without giving it a try? The reason I am asking is your points 1 and 2 make it sound like you have not.

            respectfully,

            Thomas


            NoThomas
          • @NoThomas

            Our Dells with Vista Business and 2GB of RAM hammer the HD, about the same as XP hammers the HD with 512MB.
            Axsimulate
          • Just Vista?

            or the OEM crapware? The reason I am asking is that the business Dells dont come with much crapware but the home or cosumer dells do. I am curious what software are you running? Does it hammer it at just the desktop?
            NoThomas
          • @NoThomas: I suspect he doesn't have a clue what's hammering...

            ...his hard drive. The last person who made this claimed got severely
            embarrassed when he provided "proof" that Vista was a resource hog
            and provided screen shots. What he didn't know those screen shots
            revealed was that there was a complete AVG virus scan running and
            updates were being applied. He thought he could pull a fast one over on
            us but got caught.
            ye
          • @NoThomas

            These have our own Vista build with AV Software, Cisco VPN, FireFox and Office 07 installed. All OEM crapware has been removed, no other software is installed, not even QuickTime, iTunes or Safari except maybe Flash, but I'm not sure without looking.
            Axsimulate
          • @Ye

            Yeah, that's right Ye, if anybody has problems with their Windows computer(s) then they don't know what they are doing. We all know your Windows apologies. Too bad nobody else knows as much about Windows as you, if they did, nobody would ever have any problems with Windows again.
            Axsimulate
          • @ Axsimulate

            Have you ran diagnostics on the harddrives? When I have had this happen before it turned out to be the harddrive, seems the motor that spins the platter was going out. Does it happen all the time? Have you gone into task manager then to performance manager and see what the harddrive is doing?? Let me know I will be happy to help you troubleshoot it.
            NoThomas
          • @NoThomas

            "Have you ran diagnostics on the harddrives? When I have had this happen before it turned out to be the harddrive, seems the motor that spins the platter was going out. Does it happen all the time? Have you gone into task manager then to performance manager and see what the harddrive is doing?? Let me know I will be happy to help you troubleshoot it."

            Drives are fine, smart checks out. The computer is less than 6 months old. Task manager shows high CPU and PF usage, HD thrashing. Not sure of the numbers, I haven't sat in front of it in well over a week.
            Axsimulate
          • @Axsimulate: We already proved another ABMer was clueless.

            He blamed Vista for thrashing the disk when reality showed it was a virus scan running as well as update installations that were the result. Being unfamiliar with Vista this individual didn't know the screen shot he provided exposed his deception. I expect no less from ABMers so I expect no less from you.

            And why can I say this? Because I've done plenty of vanilla installs of Vista Ultimate on low end hardware and have never had a problem with disk thrashing. While you may have a legitimate problem with a particular system I can say with a high degree of certainty it is not Vista hammering the HD because it consumes too much memory.
            ye