Dell XPS

Dell XPS  AIO

 

Two Main Choices

  1. PC Windows
  2. Mac OS/x

 

PC

There is no doubt that the overwhelming number of computers out there are Windows based PC's.  PC hardware is made by hundreds if not thousands of vendors and you can either buy from a dizzying array of ready built machines, or you can build your own.  You can build a super small machine, or a large multi-processor machine that holds over 20 hard drives.  With PC's you can have it your way.  You have choice.

Choice means competition and competition drives the price down.  PC's come in different qualities, from high end server grade components to low end consumer grade, and everything in between.  You can pick and choose that which best fits your needs and budget.  Complete computer systems are available from approximately $300 for both a laptop or desktop, to well over $10,000.

PC's use the Windows Operating system.  In most recent past use is the XP and Vista versions, and most recently (this week) an all new Windows 7 which promises real improvements over the previous two versions.  All three versions are available in x32 and x64 versions. (32 and 64 bit processing)

Do you want a laptop, a desktop, or perhaps a new AIO? (all in one)

Laptops are replacing desktop computers at a ever increasing rate.  People love the small footprint, low noise, more portability, less power consumption, and perceived simplicity of having an entire system in  one enclosure.  Laptops now have more than enough processing and storage capability for your average user.  Laptops also usually cost more than desktops for a given level of capability.

 

Dell XPS Studio

Dell XPS Studio 16

 

Desktops take up more room, are less portable, use more power, make more noise, and appear more complicated.. but they are without a doubt much more powerful and configurable in every way.  Desktops get the job done.

 

Dell Precision Workstation

Dell Precision Workstation

 

Dell Precision Workstation

Dell Precision Workstation

 

AIO's are a cross between a laptop and a desktop.  There is a monitor component which houses the hard drive, optical drive, and CPU, and then there's the wireless keyboard and mouse.  It makes for a very neat and compact footprint that looks stylish in the process.  There is no big CPU box, nothing that makes a lot of noise, and they tend to use less power than most desktops.  Their computing power comes from laptop CPU's and components which limits their processing ability, but they should be fine for the vast majority of users.

 

Dell XPS Studio AIO

Dell XPS Studio AIO

 

Dell XPS Studio AIO

Dell XPS Studio AIO

 

 

Mac's

Mac's use the OS/x operating system with Snow Leopard being the newest.  Snow Leopard is finally a x64 (64 bit) OS.  Snow Leopard will not work with the older Power PC processors, only the newest Intel based processors.

Mac's look great!  There's no denying they're one of the best looking personal computers out there in all three formats.  Apple takes a lot of pride in maintaining cutting edge style and performance.

Mac computers are only available from Apple.  You can have whatever you want, any configuration you want, as long as its one of the few models Apple sells.  This means you are severely limited in your choices.  Apple sells Mac's, no one else does.

The good news it that most Mac's are quality built machines.  Perhaps not on the highest end of quality, but certainly up there.  Apple makes enough configurations so that most needs of most people can be satisfied.  No, you can't custom build anything you can dream up, you can only buy a configuration someone else (Apple marketing) thinks you'll need.  Fortunately they're right most of the time.

Mac also upgrades it's line regularly.  New and improved models are released often.

Mac laptops come in three versions, a "Macbook Air" lightweight model, a "Mac Book" general model, and "Macbook Pro's" for those who want the most performance and features.

 

Mac Book Pro

Mac Book Pro

 

There is only one desktop and it's the Mac Pro.  Really, it's a work of art.  It comes with up to two physical CPU's and is quite powerful.  Unfortunately the case size limits how many internal hard drives it can hold.

 

Mac Pro Workstatoin

Mac Pro

 

Extremely popular are the Imac's.  These AIO's have a great design and Apple in fact invented the AIO genre.  Laptop power, hard drive, and optical drive, all housed in the monitor housing with a wireless keyboard and mouse.  Wonderful machines. 

 

Imac

Imac

 

And then there's the unique "Mini Mac" which is about as big as a cookie box and houses a hard drive, lower powered CPU, and drives a regular monitor, keyboard and mouse.

 

Mac Mini

Mac Mini

 

Because only one company (Apple) makes Mac's there is no competition other than from Windows based PC's.  The price points of Mac's reflect this.

 

Operating System

OS/x or Windows?  We've all seen the commercials.  So which one?  OS/x is slick, but the new Win 7 appears just as slick.. really I think Snow Leopard OS/x and Windows 7 are both very good operating systems, easy to use, reliable, and either one will serve you equally.  I couldn't say this a week ago.  A week ago Windows 7 hadn't yet been launched and PC users were limited to XP or Vista.  XP is long refined, but dated.  Vista had a lot of teething problems when it was introduced but is now a mature reliable product.  OS/x Snow Leopard and Windows 7 are the two newest versions and I think either one would serve you fine.

It comes down to applications.  OS/x comes with some very cool software, they seem tuned in to users better than windows and offer unique capabilities in their included applications which are more "cool" than those in Win 7.

Win 7 however has hundreds if not thousands of times more software written for it.  If you need a unique application chances are you'll find it for Windows before OS/x.  If it's a popular application however, there is probably a well refined OS/x version with cool features.

 

Which One is For You?

The debate of the century.  I don't think you will go wrong with either.  I would say sit down and carefully write down your hardware requirements.  Ask yourself if there is a Mac that meets these requirements.  If there is, note the price.  Certainly there will be a PC configurable for whatever your requirements are, probably for significantly less money.

Now, make a list of the software applications you require.  Use your search window and read reviews on both OS/x and Windows applications which fit your needs.

It's that simple.  It depends on your needs.  If there isn't a Mac which meets your hardware requirements, or it does but is priced much more than a PC, then go with a PC.  If the choice still isn't clear, look at the software requirements.  Go sit down in some computer stores and ask to test drive both the hardware and software.  Apple stores are great, PC stores vary depending on manufacturer.  Perhaps in your local area one will be better than the other.  Customer service and support counts, and should factor significantly into your decision.

I'm not going to say one is better than the other.  Because it's impossible to say this.  Chances are one will fit your needs better than the other, but you personally will have to figure this out.  If you let a cool design or fast talking salesman decide for you, you'll probably be disappointed.

What do I use?  I have Windows based machines.  My requirements can't be met by a Mac.  However, my requirements are far from average.  We'll be bringing you some laptop and desktop reviews soon.

 

I hope this helps..