Prattle & Jaw

Copy, blogs, and bits and bobs

Mac or Dell; That is the Question

Alright. I really need help, and I'm hoping that people on Twitter, Facebook and the general web will be willing to give me some tips and advice, preferable 'proper' advice, as opposed to just telling me to 'get a Mac' or 'Mac sucks'. I know how loyal both the camps are, but let's try to be detailed about the reasons.

So I need a new computer, or new laptop, I should say. I don't need a notebook or a Mac Air, just a 'normal' laptop.

The reason it's between Dell and Mac is because I have access to discounts at Dell, and (and this is one of the main reasons I've always had Dell) I can get Word, Photoshop, PowerPoint, anti-virus programme and all that jazz installed for free. Needless to say, a pretty sweet deal. I also like Dell's OS, and their computers in general.

I had a Mac once, sorted of forced into getting it, so never got off on the right foot with it. Hated the OS; hated that it was all so 'cute' and 'rounded' and hated the 'dock' concept.  I'm not the biggest fan of Apple full-stop really, especially recently as they try to cling on to their small, innovative company reputation, when they are anything but. Also, I hate Steve Job's dress sense - does the man wear anything other than slacks and tucked in polo necks?! However, I am open to changed, and open to try again. My girlfriend has a Mac, which I haven't thrown out the window yet, and I'm constantly hearing about how good they are etc etc.

Anyway. I know that Macs are good computers. So are Dell. I know it comes down to what you use them for (as well as personal preference),  but before I tell you what I use them for and what I like, I'll go over what I'm using so far....

Dell Inspiron 6400

  • Processor: Core Solo 1.66 GHz
  • Installed Memory: 512 MB (DDR2 SDRAM)
  • Display: 15.4 in. WXGA TFT Active Matrix
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Weight 2.8 kg
  • Processor Manufacturer: Intel
  • Processor Type: Core Solo
  • Processor Speed: 1.66 GHz
  • Bus Speed: 667 MHz
  • Installed RAM: 512 MB
  • RAM Technology: DDR2 SDRAM
  • Max Supported RAM: 2 GB
  • RAM Speed: 533 MHz
  • Installed Cache Memory: 2048 KB
  • Hard Drive Capacity: 60 GB
  • Hard Drive Rotation Speed: 5,400 RPM
  • Storage Controller Type: Serial ATA
  • CD / DVD Type: CD-RW/DVD-ROM
  • Optical Drive Read Speed: 24x (CD) • 8x (DVD)
  • Optical Drive Write Speed: 24x (CD)
  • Optical Drive ReWrite Speed: 10x (CD-RW)
  • Display Tech: WXGA TFT Active Matrix
  • Screen Size: 15.4 in.
  • Display Max. Resolution: 1280 x 800
  • Graphic Processor: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
  • Audio Output Type: Headphones, sound card, speaker(s)
  • Audio Input Type: Microphone

So that's what I'm using.

This is what I want, in much less techy language....

  • I'm happy with the weight of my laptop, I rarely take it anywhere, but obviously lighter would hardly be a problem
  • I love my screen size, only similar or larger
  • More RAM and memory would be nice. Right now, I have everything I can have on external HDs, partly as I'm scared my laptop is about to bite the dust, partly as I don't have enough memory, and partly because it's slow enough as it is (and I do defrag it, Spybot it, clean it etc often)
  • Hate my media centre, but then, never use it, just stick to DivX or similar
  • Happy with my speakers. Didn't write home about them, but they're decent
  • Was very happy with processor speed, but now it's shit. No doubt (and I don't really know my stuff) this is a combination of age of computer and age of processor (in terms of that now there is a much better one out there)
  • I really like the OS - probably as I'm very used to it, but as said, happy to change. Maybe.
  • Programmes I use often are Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Photoshop, ImageReady, InDesign, BitTorrent, er, I think that's it
  • I don't use my computer for any massive design projects, music or movie projects
  • I do use the net. A lot. A LOT.
  • A built in camera is nice, but by no means a prereq
  • Design is important, but I don't need curvy edges and little gentle sounds to make me 'like' my computer. I can appreciate hard lines just as much as soft. I also don't need things to be one block of colour, although white, black, red, purple - they're all pretty
  • I'm not concerned about belonging to a certain 'group' or 'tribe' to use our 21st century lingo. I actually try to get away from the Mac lot, high on their individuality, which is so incredibly ironic I can't begin to discuss it. But then I'm tried of being dismissed as some sad, grey, loser who is too 'something' (although what, I'm not entirely sure) to not have a Mac. Apple and Dell/PC are both gigantic, fat-cat, loaded corporations, so I don't really mind which I get segmented as in the end.

Hmmm.  That's all that comes to mind right now. In a nutshell; I'm not a designer, programmer, musician or movie-maker. I don't need VAST amounts of graphics etc, but do want something powerful that will keep going for a while. I've had this Dell for about 5/6 years now, and it's only really recently that it's definitely - definitely - showing signs of age. I've had a new HD and had it taken in for a good clean up and service. I've taken it apart in to 8 bits and hoovered them all. My keys are shiny, there are dull patches where I rest my hands. I get random warning boxes that pop up for no apparent reason and I'm tired of it all (although it certainly is loved).

I want and need a new computer. Please help.

Copyright © 2014, Lara Mulady. All rights reserved.