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Desktop Upgrade Choices

I stayed up way too late last night researching a potential desktop replacement. I’m torn between a DIY AMD64 PC vs an Apple. Up front, the biggest decider will be price, as I want to keep the price at or below $1,000. That rules out iMac’s and MacPros, leaving the Mac Mini as my choice from Apple. That fits nicely with my plans to keep my current LCD displays, and keyboard and mouse. The only other real requirement, is that World of Warcraft has to run nicely on it. I’ve picked out the parts on NewEgg and also looked at the Apple Store, here’s how they stack up. Where possible, I’ve tried to keep the configurations as similar as possible.  On the PC parts, I did steer towards parts that got good reviews for operating quietly and coolly (is that a word), that’s why I chose the lower poer consuming AThlong 64X2 and a passively cooled video card.  I don’t want a computer that sounds like, in Staci’s words, "You’re running a jet engine".

Component
PC
Apple
Processor
2.2 GHz Athlon 64X2 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo
Memory
1GB 800 DDR2 1GB 667 DDR2
Hard Drive
250GB Serial ATA 160GB Serial ATA
Video
nvidia 7600GS Intel GMA 950
Other Components
  • Re-using my current DV Dreader/CD burner
  • Bluetooth & Wifi
  • Superdrive DVD Writer
Software
None, I’ll dual boot ubuntu and windows on it.
  • OS X 10.3
  • iLife Suite
Price (not including shipping) $755 $1,074

Is this a fair comparison? Clearly, if I can’t reuse my existing Windows license, I should factor in the cost of Windows XP ($90 OEM version), that bumps up the price to $840. Still a $200 difference. And that’s not factoring in the time to put it all together and the potential driver hunt, configuration issues, etc. On the Max side of thing, not having iLife means no iMovideHD, which has been real easy to work with. It would be nice to edit my home movies on a desktop with more diskspace and display space instead of on the powerbook. But the hardware available on the PC side, especially more hard disk space and a much, much better video card, is more compelling to me. I’m leaning towards the AMD system, but would appreciate any insight to the contrary.