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So I bought a new computer

I bought a new computer. It's not a Mac.

It's a Dell. It runs Linux. It didn't cost me £1400.

And I love it. I'll write some more about why I decided to switch later, but so far I've had it a week, and the only reason I've picked up the Mac again is to get copies of some files which aren't supported by anything other than Mac apps and save them into something sane.

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  • Neurotic Nomad

    Specifically, which Dell? (And which Linux?)

    I've been using gOS v3 but have been yearning for some Kubuntu sexiness.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk ianbetteridge

    XPS1530 – 2.5GHz, 4Gb RAM, 400GB hard drive, decent Nvidia card… and Ubuntu 8.10.

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  • Stef

    Interesting… how are you finding it so far? What's the hardware like, especially the screen, the general design and feel of it?

    These days I run my MacBook closed 95% of the time, hooked up to a 27″ Dell Ultrasharp, and I'm quite happy with this way of working. However, the only thing keeping me on Apple hardware is OS X, which I do really love, the cost of the hardware is becoming increasing hard to stomach.

    I know there are all sorts of comparisons saying that Macs are comparatively priced, but your purchase would certainly indicate otherwise. For the cost of the mid al MacBook you get an ExpressCard slot (*damn handy*), a better display (is this the same panel as the UltraSharps?), double the memory, double the disk space, a faster processor, faster 3D graphics with dedicated memory, 3 USB ports and optional built-in HSDPA or EVDO.

    Yes, I'm having a hard time justifying why my next machine should be a Mac. Do Dell do refunds if you don't need the bundled Vista? :)

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk ianbetteridge

    The hardware is good. It doesn't have quite as classy a feel as the MacBook/Pro, but it's not the kind of tank-like hardware that you're half-ashamed to be seen with. The screen is excellent – although it's glossy, it's doesn't feel any worse than the screen on my old MacBook Pro (one word of advice – make sure you get something that matches the resolution of the MacBooks. Once you've got used to a 1440×900, going back to 1200×800 is *horrible*).

    I'd say that a MacBook/Pro is almost certainly going to be faster on any benchmark you like. This machine has an 800MHz bus rather than 1GHz, and the graphics card is a generation behind that Apple is currently using – still good, but not as good as two of the latest nVidias. But I'm not a heavyweight designer or video editor, and the performance areas that matter to me are more than good enough. If I were churning out Photoshop work all day, I'd probably think differently – and in that case, a £1500 machine is easier to justify.

    The comparison thing is always problematic. As I've written before, if you want “competitive” from Apple, buy it on the day an upgraded machine is released. At that point, it will be as good as anything else on the market. But the issue is that Apple doesn't upgrade for six months or more, and its prices remain static: three months after the release of a new Mac, it's an expensive option. Dell and other PC hardware vendors change so fast that the machine you buy today will be cheaper or better specced next week – this is already true of the machine I bought, which today comes with more hard drive space than I got!

    But perhaps more importantly, Apple's range is limited, which means you can end up paying for things you don't really need. I really need a 15in screen (I've tried 13in, and it doesn't work for me). But I don't need bleeding-edge graphics performance. Built-in 3G is a big bonus for me: but I can't get that from Apple at any price.

    So if bought Apple, I'd end up paying £1500 for a machine which would be great value, if I needed all the features in it – but I don't, which means that *for me* it's wildly overpriced.

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