Thurrott pits Apple Mac Pro vs. similarly configured Dell, figures out the Mac is less expensive

Yesterday, we covered an article in which Paul Thurrott asserted that he had “little doubt that one could possibly configure a Dell workstation that undercuts a Mac Pro,” to which we responded, “Then do it. We’ll wait.” Well, the wait wasn’t very long. Paul got to work and first erroneously figured out the Dell was $1279 cheaper, then was chided repeatedly by the online community to fix his mistakes (some examples: here and  here), eventually got it right, and in the process proved himself wrong.

“There’s been a lot of baloney published online about the pricing of Apple’s Mac Pro lately. I’ve had numerous emails from readers curious why I won’t ‘admit’ that the Mac Pro is not only competitive with a certain Dell workstation, but it’s actually quite a bit cheaper,” Paul Thurrott writes for Paul Thurrott’s Internet Nexus.

Thurrott reports, “Here’s what I did, and I think this is where most Mac Pro/Dell workstations comparisons go wrong. I tried to configure two nearly identical systems as cheaply as possible. That is, I upgraded the video card in each to be the same exact video card. I got the same hard drive. The same memory. The same processors. And I used the Dell workstation model that most closely matched the Mac Pro.”

Here’s how it came out:
Dell Precision Workstation 490 (32-bit) = $5,530
Apple Mac Pro = $4949
Apple price advantage = $581

“I won’t make any excuses here (though adding a display lowers the price difference), as my point orginally wasn’t to ‘prove’ that Dell was cheaper, only to logically compare the two systems in ways I don’t feel were done accurately online previously,” Thurrott writes. “So sure enough, you can configure an Apple workstation that is cheaper than a Dell. There you go.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Fool.

Related MacDailyNews article:
Thurrott: Apple Mac Pro ‘at least competitive and often cheaper’ than similarly configured Dell – August 17, 2006
Dude, you got a Dell? What are you, stupid? Only Apple Macs run both Mac OS X and Windows! – April 05, 2006


  1. Well, the one mistake he still makes is that the baseline video card that Apple provides can drive a 30-inch monitor well for most applications (see review from Anandtech). The problem with Dell is that if you downgrade the Quadro, you won’t save much. And the difference between Apple and Dell will result in another 300 bucks or so.

  2. “So sure enough, you can configure an Apple workstation that is cheaper than a Dell. There you go.”

    That’s pretty good but I’m waiting to hear him admit that you can’t configure an Apple to be more expensive than the dell. This statement makes it sound like it takes work to get the Apple to be cheaper, when in fact its the other way around. From all the figures I’ve seen as long as the computers are in the same league, the Mac Pro is less expensive.

    At the dell website right now, the 2.0ghz quad Xeon is more expensive than the 2.66ghz Mac Pros. When you can increase your speed by 33% and save $100 why would you go with Dell?

  3. Lay off, (lemme ‘splain,)

    He has made a HUGE first step – admitting that reality is not like he had imagined. It’s not hard to find plenty examples of people who tenaciously cling to their illusions despite all evidence to the contrary (try the AM dial, for example.)

    I expect this truth will re-emerge in his consciousness repeatedly for a while – creeping into his thoughts while he’s driving, brushing his teeth, laying up at night staring at the ceiling.

    I further predict that for Paul, using Windows won’t feel so good anymore. He’ll pick up a Mac Pro or MacBook Pro, but eventually will stop using Boot Camp except for the odd review article. And OS X will remind him of the joy he felt with his first computer, when everything was fresh and new.

    Someday Paul may become a huge force for lighting the way for the millions to leave behind their paths of self-destruction and switch.

  4. What is hilarious is how painful this is for him. He is supposed to be objective, since he’s a reporter, and it’s so terribly OBVIOUS he is emotionally attached to one side. That’s where his credibility goes straight down the toilet.

  5. Of course, Paulie fails to point out that the Dell is a 32-bit workstation, and in the future will be either 32-bit, OR 64-bit.

    The Mac on the other hand, will be both a 32-bit AND A 64-bit workstation.

    What’s the value of being able to run your legacy 32-bit apps alongside your new 64-bit apps, without performance loss?

  6. Thurrott said he could configure a Dell cheaper than a Mac Pro desktop and he did. He only use a single processor configuration instead of two but he did get a cheaper Dell desk top.

    Of course, if he had compared his Dell to a Mac mini it would have been more expensive. Equal configurations mean nothing to him. The mini is cheaper than the Dell he chose and it is a desktop. By Thurrott’s standards of comparison the mini wins.

    He did not use a 64-bit Dell platform in his correction. He did not use an equivalent video card either. Still the Dell was more expensive.

    See what Darling Fireball had to say about Jackass Thurrott

  7. Hey guys, at least he can admit when he is wrong. We owe him a tiny smidge of respect for that. The ability to correct oneself in the media is the cornerstone of credibility. I would like to see MDN at least acknowledge that Paul has done the right thing for once (if only begrudgingly).

    I think calling him a fool, after showing humility, is rather crass. Remember, we’re Mac Users and we take the high road. Save the snide remarks for the PC users who don’t know any better.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.