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Summary:

A diehard Apple fan, that I am, it pains me to write what I am going to write. The new Apple IBook with its brilliant $999 price, and all the cool features pales in comparison with Averatec 3250for the same price point. For a Windows XP […]

A diehard Apple fan, that I am, it pains me to write what I am going to write. The new Apple IBook with its brilliant $999 price, and all the cool features pales in comparison with Averatec 3250for the same price point. For a Windows XP PC, it is pretty radical and cool looking, has more hard drive capacity (60GB), more in-built RAM (512 Megabytes) and has all a DVD+ CD-Burner. IBook has 30 gigabyte hard drive, and 256 MB built-in memory. Two points for Averatec. Averatec has 3 USB 2.0 ports, while Apple has two. Another point for 3250. The IBook scores a bonus point because it has a Firewire port.

Both computers evenly matched up on Airport and other networking stuff. Averatec is 0.4 pounds lighter, and its sleek silver casing does stand-up to IBook’s cool lush white looks, though given my bias, Apple has a certain “Euro” feel to it. In other words Averatec is not as hideous as a Gateway, Dell or a HP computer. Given that, I think the two computers are tied in the looks, and weight department. Extra Half-point to Apple for a smarter charger unit.

Mobile AMD Athlon™ XP-M 2200 processor is the crucial difference, and is more brisk in comparison to Apple’s 1.2 GHz Power PC . Averatec is simply more brisk. The screen quality is far superior on 3250 than IBook. The screen resolution is pretty much the same, at 1024 X 768, though I think Averatec has better graphics chip or at least that’s what it looks to me. I think these add up to about two points in favor of 3250. So far, Averatec has 5 points, to IBook’s 1.5 points. Apple’s OS-X gets 1.5 points, while its virus free and ease of use features merit another point. (Chris Holland explains the rationale behind this!) All told, Apple IBook walks away with 4 points. I am going to deduct half a point for Windows XP, and that would give Averatec 3250 4.5 points. Yup, that’s correct folks, Averatec wins this one, and if I had to buy someone a computer, 3250 would be my bet.
(PS: At higher price points, IMAC and Powerbook 15 inch win hands down against any Windows XP computer when it comes to value for money, and lifelong happiness.)

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By Om Malik

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  1. Christian Gloddy Tuesday, October 19, 2004

    How about factoring in some points for the percentage of machines that have to be returned or repaired over the first year of ownership? Apple comes out on top consistently in Consumer Reports data on this very issue. Where would Averatec end up?

  2. and apple doesn’t have its litany of problems. come on! are you an averatec user?

  3. Keeping in mind i’m a total Apple wh0re, i’d still like to point out:

    – for an extra $50, you can have your $999 iBook shipped with an internal bluetooth module. Add many many points for iSync, which comes with OS X, and is invaluable to anybody who wants to be organized. You have to purchase that separately on Windows.

    – i’d remove many more points for WinXP. But that’s just me, as I have quite a few technical and philosophical gripes about WinXP. Service Pack 2 is trying to go back and plug some security holes, but many users have had issues with it.

    I’ve used windows quite extensively up to Win2K. My experience with XP is largely sporadic. I’ve also helped my GF install and configure a wireless card on her work XP laptop. Networking and device configuration in XP is messy.

    I could go on forever.

    On the other hand, I’ve heard PC users mention that the overall UI feels snappier on a PC, until non-trivial multi tasking gets in the picture. Is that your experience, Om? I’ve always pushed my machines really hard so i’ve learned to be generally numb about these things.

  4. Heh, Christian’s post is reminding me i gotta drop by an Apple Store to have my white dots fixed. d’OH!

  5. Om, I can’t post links in comments! arrrgh! I wanted to plug this puppy:

    http://chrisholland.blogspot.com/2004/06/geek-rant-operating-system-security.html

    regarding “technical and philosphical gripes with XP”.

  6. Om, I bought an Averatec 6100 last week, from Amazon, and returned it the next day…the litany of problems is long..nothing very najor, but small things adeed up to a lot. i’m used to Thinkpad environs, so maybe i’m spoilt in terms of reliability…
    Problems: too much noise, flimsy case, they forgot to pack a manual (!), the touchpad is very sensitive..too much; etc..
    They still have a long way to go…

  7. Christian Gloddy Wednesday, October 20, 2004

    Every manufacturer certainly has it’s share of problems (chris, I’m about to get my dots fixed too), but some have a good deal more than others in the percentage of machines needing repair. I wasn’t really stating an opinion so much as citing the positive numbers Apple generally gets in these data roundups when compared to Dell, HP and others. That said, I have yet to see Averatec included in one of these roundups.

  8. Hey chris added yourlink. Sorry to hear that you had those problems with Averatec. I guess I did not have problems. Having said that, seems like you all missed my point on this one. I am trying to say here is that if you are going to play the budget game, then play the game well, which apple is not doing with this low end PC. I think they should try and pack in more memory and hard drive, if they want to one-up the compeittion and win totally on price, which unfortunately is a big factor when people buy these devices

  9. Anonymous Coward Wednesday, October 20, 2004

    Om, I can’t believe you stooped to this.

    Quick, someone mention iLife before the Torvalds wannabes flood in.

  10. Stooped! Ouch that hurt. I am sorry if that’s the way you see it. Anyway I like the price comp. I am sure we all will agree to disagree on this one.

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