Technology

All-in-One Comparisons

Yesterday’s post about the iMac got me playing around, and I thought I would post a quick comparison of the iMac with other all-in-one desktop computers (and one “deskbook” computer) just to see how things shake out. This is not a comprehensive comparison, but it is kind of fun.

Apple iMac

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iMac comes in stock variations from $999 to $1999. Processors are Core 2 Duo across the board, 1.83 GHz up to 2.16 GHz. The base model has 512 MB DDR2 memory, and the others have 1 GB. Hard drive capacities run from 160 GB to 250 GB. The base model has an Intel GMA 950 video processor with 64 MB of shared memory; the middle models feature ATI Radeon X1600 cards with 128 MB, and the top model has an NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT with 128 MB. Except for the base model, all come with 8X CD/DVD burners. (Please note I am excluding BTO options.)

Every iMac comes with Mac OS X + Front Row, an Apple Remote (except the base model), an optical mouse, and a keyboard. Each is packaged with iLife and a variety of other software titles, and they all feature built-in Bluetooth (except the base model) and Airport (WiFi). Screen sizes come in 17, 20, and 24-inches.

Gateway Profile 6

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The Gateway Profile comes in one stock configuration with several upgrade options. The stock Profile has a 3 GHz Pentium D processor and 512 MB DDR2 memory. It has a 160 GB hard drive. Graphics acceleration comes from an Intel GMA 950 with up to 224 MB shared memory, and it has a 16X CD/DVD burner.

The Profile ships with Windows XP Home, Office Basic 2003, Acrobat Reader, and six free months of AOL. It comes with an optical mouse and a keyboard. No wireless connectivity is built in, and it has a 17″ screen. The Profile sells for $1,199. (Oh, and the Profile is really ugly.)

Sony Vaio LS1

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Other than the iMac, the Vaio is probably the nicest looking machine in this post. The Vaio sports a 1.83 GHz Core Duo processor and 2 GB of DDR2 memory. It’s hard drive is 250 GB, and its graphic acceleration is provided by an Intel GMA with 128 MB of shared memory. It also has an 8X CD/DVD burner.

The Vaio includes Widnows XP Media Center 2005 and a TV tuner. It comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse (RF), and it has 802.11g wireless networking. Software-wise, the Vaio comes with a lot of Sony’s own digital creation software as well as Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements. It also comes loaded with trial-period software including MS Office and MS Works demos. The Vaio has a 19″ screen and costs $2,099. There seem to be no BTO options.

Dell XPS M2010

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I will be first to admit that this is not entirely fair, but it’s the closest thing Dell has to an all-in-one, so I’m going with it. While technically a laptop (at 18 pounds!), it is considered a desktop replacement. The M2010, comes in three stock configurations with several BTO options. Those models all have 2 GHz Core 2 Duo processors with 1 GB – 2 GB of DDR2 memory. Each has an ATI Mobility X1800 with 256 MB and an 8X CD/DVD Burner.

The Dell comes with Windows XP Media Center 2005, some anti-virus software, and MS Works. It has an integrated keyboard, trackpad, and camera. It offers wireless networking, and each model has a 20″ display. Prices range from $3,499 to $4,050.

Conclusion

When it comes to the all-in-one design, Apple seems to have set a bar that is difficult to match. The Sony here is the most compelling Windows alternative, but I can’t help but be surprised how difficult it was to find other all-in-one computers. Really, the Dell doesn’t count because it is a “laptop,” so I could only track down two other currently available alternatives easily. When it comes down to it, Apple has defined all-in-one design with the iMac, and it’s easy to see why that computer has become the machine most people define Apple by.

The new iMac is a competitive machine, and I hope people can get around their Mac-predjudices and give it a whirl. Even if you end up hating Mac OS X after a few months of ownership, remember Macs can now run Windows, and it’s not like the iMac commands a premium over similar computers. I love all-in-one designs myself, and I was sad that I had to pass up the G4 iMac as my current desktop. (I ended up with a Rev A PowerMac G5 instead.) Fortunately, with the direction Apple is taking their consumer flagship, I have no doubts that I’ll be able to return to my favorite Mac in the future.

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