I originally posted the following as a comment on this post --> http://lseeley.blogspot.com/2006/06/macs-are-expensive.html
I thought it relevant enough to make a blog post out of, so I hope you enjoy:
Here in the US, Dell offers insane deals on their Inspiron line, practically on daily basis through coupon codes that you can apply when the configured laptop is in your cart. Sites such as www.techbargains.com and www.bensbargains.net post these coupons all the time. The typical coupons are the $300 off a $999 purchase, $450 off a $1499 purchase and $750 off a $1999 purchase.
I have a 1.83 Ghz MacBook Pro that I paid $1900 for, but I recently ordered a Dell Inspiron E1505 for someone else, using the $750 off coupon. That system was configed as follows:
2 GHz Core Duo
1 GB RAM
1680x1050 15.4" TrueLife display
120 GB 5400 rpm SATA HDD
8x Dual Layer DVD Burner (Wish my MBP had this)
Radeon Mobility X1400 256 MB
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 EDR
Windows MCE 2005 (this OS is actually based on Pro and not the Home Edition)
Audigy HD Audio
TV Tuner and MCE Remote
Guess how much it cost? $1286.
Do I feel bad that this laptop blows away my $1900 MBP in most features? No. I'm a shallow, consumerist, trendy gadget whore and I was willing to pay the extra dough for the Apple design, 1 less pound of weight and the little extras such as the MagSafe connector and backlit keyboard. OS-X is one awesome, good-looking, easy-to-use Linux distro and I love playing with it but I didn't really _need_ it. You see, I'm what you'd call a PC power user. With a few tweaks and free pieces of software, XP Pro (or MCE2005) turns into a very secure, fast and stable OS. Norton and McAfee? No thanks. No one should pay for that buggy bloatware when something like AVG Free works so well while using so little system resources. The thing is that I'm a very heavy XP user and I haven't even come close to getting infected with a virus or a trojan in many, many years and only have downloaded stuff infected with that stuff (Adware trojans) once or twice. All it really takes is not using IE, keeping up with Windows Updates, virus definition updates and using your brain when it comes to choosing the web content you access. Something like Windows Defender or SpyBot provide a nice safety net.
Ok, I'll be realistic and admit that the vast majority of PC users wouldn't know a thing about XP security tweaks or that they don't have to pay for bloated software suits to get virus protection. Yes, OS-X is much safer "out-of-the-box", but you do have to pay a hefty premium for the previledge of using it. Bah, who am I kidding? Most people don't know about those Dell coupons either. :)