“About a month ago, I compared the cost for Apple’s desktop, server and laptop products to their nearest Dell equivalents and discovered that Macs generally cost less than comparable PC products,” Paul Murphy writes for LinuxInsider. “That was a bit of surprise, but the truly astonishing thing that came out of the comparison was that Dell’s product line extends marginally below Apple’s at the low end, but has nothing to stack up against Apple’s 17-inch Powerbook, XServe G5/XServe RAID combination, or Cinema displays at the high end.”

Murphy writes, “Bottom line: when you upgrade the PCs enough to allow an approximately apples to apples comparison, Apple turns out to offer both lower prices and a broader range than Dell. The PC community response is, first, that the multimedia features distinguishing the Mac aren’t necessary and, secondly, that the PC is so far ahead of the Mac on speed that the comparisons are pointless anyway. Personally I think they’re begging the question on stuff like firewire: that they don’t see the value of Apple’s multimedia capabilities only because they’ve never had them, but that’s an argument for another day. In this column I want to focus on the performance part of their response.”

“So are PCs faster than Macs? The real answer is that relative performance depends entirely on the software and is both hard to define and hard to measure,” Murphy writes. “The short answer, however, can be based entirely on raw hardware capabilities, and that answer is pretty simple: the Mac wins hands down.”

Murphy concludes, “I think the intuitive bottom line on the Macintosh versus PC productivity debate is actually pretty simple: I’ve never met a PC user whose focus on the job he or she was supposed to be doing wasn’t significantly diluted by the need to accommodate the PC and its software, but I’ve never met a business Mac user who considered the machine anything other than a tool, like a telephone or typewriter, for getting the job done.”

Full article here.