This ought to be simple, I thought. The WWDC keynote on August 7, 2006 was witnessed in person by several thousand developers and members of the press. An uncounted number of additional people saw the QuickTime playback, available direct from Apple. The entire story has been covered by tech writers and bloggers around the world.
There was nothing terribly complicated about the information offered. First, the Mac Pro, the successor to the Power Mac, was introduced. In the scheme of things, it was a natural progression of Apple’s desktop workstation technology. A pair of powerful processors, room for lots of drive storage space, memory, and even a slot for a second optical drive.
Typical for a new Mac, there was some sort of comparison, in this case the price of a comparably-equipped Dell. This shouldn’t be a controversial matter. The Dell is either more expensive, or not. But the online chatter almost transported you to another universe when it came to the simple logic of a basic price match between two personal computers with similar options.
Some of the few folks who said it wasn’t true, that the Mac wasn’t cheaper, had to cheat to get their figures to look right. They’d leave out such key features as the second processor, or even the correct version of the Intel Xeon, which is the one from the new “Woodcrest” series. Some would dispense with the second Ethernet port, or the proper graphic card and optical drive.
If you do use the correct Dell configuration, based on the Precision Workstation 690 series, you’ll find that the Mac is indeed hundreds and hundreds of dollars cheaper. But getting an exact and consistent price from Dell can be an exercise in the worst form of futility.
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