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Budget Desktop, No Monitor: Dell Dimension 2400 vs. Apple Mac Mini

Features Apple Dell Inequalities (any worth noting)
Processor 1.25 GHz G4 Celeron 2.4 GHz  
Operating System Mac OS X 10.3 Windows XP Home Dell provided no option to upgrade to XP Pro when selecting this model. Nevertheless, they kept "recommending" XP Pro, citing 10 Reasons for Moving to XP Professional at an upgrade cost of $80.
Speakers Built-in mono speaker No speakers  
Printer None Dell 720 color printer Dell was offering a free printer with this sytem the day I was shopping. Purchased separately, the Dell 720 costs $44. Naturally, the offer included attempts to upgrade you to a more expensive Dell printer for more money.
Graphics 32MB ATI Radeon 9200 Intel integrated graphics... no separate graphics card The Dell has no separate graphics card, so video memory requirements come from main RAM. Dell did not offer a graphics card of any kind as an upgrade.
Hard Drive 40GB Ultra ATA 40GB Ultra ATA Apple doesn't list the hard drive speed, but I believe it's a slower drive than the Dell's 7200rpm drive.
Mouse and keyboard Apple Bluetooth wireless optical mouse and keyboard Dell Wireless USB keyboard and mouse Dell does not offer Bluetooth as an optional upgrade for short-distance wireless devices. Though we took Dell's "wireless" option for the mouse and keyboard, USB wireless isn't nearly as "wireless" as Bluetooth, and it isn't expandable to other devices (cellphones, printers, etc.)
Optical Drive 24X CD Burner/DVD Combo 48X CD-RW Drive 16X DVD-ROM Drive Dell doesn't offer an option for a single combo drive. To get both CD burning and DVD playing, you must get two drives. However, Dell's separate drives are faster than Apple's Combo drive. For $100, Apple offers an upgrade to a Superdrive CD-RW/DVD-R drive. Dell does not offer a DVD-R drive as an option for this model.
Wireless Options 802.11 b/g card Internal Bluetooth card USB 802.11 b/g adapter Note: Dell offers neither 802.11 nor Bluetooth as internal options for wireless connectivity. It does offer a USB 802.11 external adapter.
Ports Audio out 1 Firewire 400 port 8 USB 2.0 ports * DVI/VGA video out S-video and composite video  * This system includes a $50 Belkin USB 2.0 hub Integrated 5.1 audio 6 USB 2.0 ports VGA video out The Dell has a few more ports, though in this class of computer it's likely many of them are never used. The Apple lacks an audio-in port, though customers can use a USB port instead.
Expansion options No internal expansion. 1 internal hard drive bay 2 optical drive bays 3 PCI slots Dell customers can add more hardware items to the inside of their computer than Apple customers can. However, with an entry level system like this, this probably just creates more complexity than customers will ever use or need. Apple customers can add whatever they need as external devices.
Support option 1-year limited warranty 1-year limited warranty  
Software options The iMac comes with the following free software that doesn't have equivalents in Windows XP: 
  • iLife ‚Äô05 (includes iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD and GarageBand)
  • AppleWorks,
  • Quicken 2004 for Mac,
  • Nanosaur 2,
  • Marble Blast Gold,
  • Setup Assistant--Transfer data and settings,
  • Sherlock
The following software options Dell provided during checkout were selected to achieve rough parity in software: 
  • McAfee Security Center 15-month subscription
  • WordPerfect Office 12
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements
  • Microsoft Money Deluxe (Note: Quicken was not offered as an option)
  • Microsoft Encarta Deluxe
  • Dell Family Games
  • Detto IntelliMover
Even with these add-ons, the Dell as configured still lacks the following software functionality that comes with the Apple system. The retail cost of this software is not huge, but it's probably $100 or so. Also, note that the software cost of the Dell increases because of the need to purchase antivirus subscription services. 
  • Digital video creation and management (Microsoft's MovieMaker app is not equivalent to iMovie!)
  • DVD creation
  • Music creation and editing
  • Desktop web services (like Sherlock)
Total Cost $822 $912  
Note: All systems were configured with 512 mb of equal-speed RAM.
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