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Apples and Oranges

So, the question was posed, “what would it cost to get a PC workstation equivalent to the Quad-Core PowerMac G5?”. The null hypothesis was “The PC is going to be significantly cheaper.” It was assumed that Dell is the de-facto standard for low-cost workstations. So, off to the store.* sites. The specs are:

<p>* 2GB ECC RAM<br />
  • Pair of SATA Disks
  • 256MB Graphics Card
  • Firewire & USB
  • DVD Burner
  • 3-year warranty
  • Necessary supported software

    First, Apple:

  • 2.5GHz Quad-core PowerPC G5
  • 2GB 533 DDR2 ECC SDRAM- 4×512
  • 2x500GB Serial ATA – 7200rpm
  • NVIDIA GeForce 6600 256MB SDRAM
  • 16x SuperDrive DL (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
  • Apple Keyboard & Mighty Mouse – U.S English
  • Mac OS X – U.S. English
  • Accessory kit
  • AppleCare Protection Plan for Power Mac (w/or w/o Display) – Auto-enroll

    Price: $4,923.00

    Now let’s look at a Dell:

    Dell Precision Workstation 670:
    Dual-Core Intel® Xeon™ Processor 2.80GHz, 2x2MB L2 cache
    2nd Processor Dual-Core Intel® Xeon™ Processor 2.80GHz, 2x2MB L2 cache
    Genuine Windows® XP Professional, x64 Edition with Media
    2GB, DDR2 SDRAM Memory, 400MHz, ECC (4 DIMMS)
    500GB SATA, 7200RPM Hard Drive with 16MB DataBurst Cache™ for RAID
    2nd Hard Drive: 500GB SATA, 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 16MB DataBurst Cache™
    256MB PCIe x16 nVidia Quadro FX 3450, Dual DVI or Dual VGA or DVI + VGA
    16XDVD and 16XDVD+/-RW w/ Sonic DM, Cyberlink PowerDVD
    Sound Blaster* Audigy™ 2 (D), w/Dolby Digital 5.1 & IEEE1394
    Keyboard: Entry Level, USB, No Hot Keys
    Mouse: Dell USB 2-Button Optical Mouse with Scroll
    Speakers: Dell™ two piece stereo spkrs
    No Floppy Drive
    Symantic™ AntiVirus Corporate Edition
    Webroot Spy Sweeper
    3 Year Business Standard Plan
    No Onsite System Setup

    Price: $6,767.00

    Each system has a few spots where it shines over the other. The Mac has a better memory architecture, the PC has a faster clock and a bit better graphics card. All in all they’re pretty close.

    If you left off Windows and its anti-malware suite you could save a bit of money but it still wouldn’t come close in price, even if Dell has a great coupon this week.

    Just for grins, HP comes in at $7,427.00 for a similar rig.

    I’d like to hear if there’s a different vendor with better pricing on a big workstation, but for now the null hypothesis appears to be proven false.