Just as a warning: what I am about to say is probably totally biased, even though I did not intend it to be so. That said, comment on it as you will.
I recently went to the websites of System76, Dell, and Apple to see how their computer prices compared (the laptops that a normal user would buy, but on the higher end so that making the computers comparable would be easier). My expectations going into it would be that System76's laptops would be cheapest, followed by Dell (running Windows Vista Basic with Office Student Edition), and that the most expensive by far would be the Apple.
Not really being biased by advertising at all (I don't look at computer ads), I sort of just chose laptops haphazardly, only changing the choice if it was impossible to make the specs coincide sufficiently.
In general, the specs revolved around the following:
- Display Resolution 15.4" WSXGA+ Super Glossy LCD (1680 x 1050)
- Processor Core 2 Duo P8600 2.40 GHz 1066 MHz FSB 3 MB L2 (25 Watt)
- Memory 4 GB - DDR2 800 MHz - 2 DIMMs
- Hard Drive 200 GB 7200 RPM SATA II
- Optical Drive CD-RW / DVD-RW
- Graphics: nVidia GeForce 9300M GS 256MB DDR2
- Audio Output: Intel High Definition Audio
- Networking: Gigabit LAN (10/100/1000), WiFi
- Wireless 802.11 agn
- Camera: Built-In Webcam
- Security: Fingerprint Reader
- Battery: includes one 6 Cell Lithium Ion
- Hardware Warranty 1 Yr. Ltd. Warranty and Technical Support
Where those specs were not possible, the closest choice was used, which was usually a trade-off between two features to try to make them more comparable.
System76 - $1,254.00
Dell - $1,698.00
Apple - $2,299.00
Wow...over $440 of Microsoft tax and over $1,000 for the privilege of using the Apple brand name -- without even buying their own office suit!
Some more senseless ramblings on convenience:
It took me no more than 5 minutes to select the specs on the System76 site.
It took me no more than 7 minutes at the Apple site, though cut them some slack, as I've never been there before.
It took me about 20-30 minutes to select all the options on the Dell site and wade through all the garbage they where trying to sell me. Cut them no slack: I've been to their website many a time. Alright, well, two or three times. But, still, it shouldn't take that long...