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February 16, 2011



David, I strongly concur. I was issued a Dell D620 Core 2 Duo 60GB HD running XP for grad school in Jun of 2007.

Several months ago, I upgraded the RAM from 2GB to 4GB for maybe 60 bucks. Another 54 bucks bought me a 360 GB, 7200rpm HD. Two screws and the new HD fit in the sled.

Installed Windows 7 Professional, recognized ALL hardware and downloaded ALL necessary drivers and patches.

Admittedly subjective, but I'd say my 4 year old Win7 machine is just as reliable and a bit faster than a 2 year old 13" Macbook Pro, both with 4GB of RAM. I suspect the 7200rpm HD in the D620 laptop has quite a bit to do with it, however.

But the bottom line is Win7 is boringly reliable and fast, and I will say Office on Windows is MUCH better than the Mac.

I use Postbox for email on Windows, I like the social media integration and Thunderbird extensions to sync with Google's address book.


I use Windows 7 at the office when I need to use the network machines. Otherwise, I use my white MacBook with XP running when I need it.

I do not notice a performance difference between 7 and XP.

I am probably a year away from getting a new laptop and am not completely sold on Windows (too many bad OS products). I am waiting to see what Android can do on a laptop.

I doubt Apple listens or cares about its laptop users. As hardware goes, they are simply terrible.


I would expect someone with your history to know better then to call a processor outdated. A processor is not outdated until it doesn't do what you need it to do. A core 2 duo from two years ago will function as fast as the i series stuff on 80% of work. Customers kill me with the "Why should I buy that its just going to be outdated in six months". I don't know when that started but we need to do a lot better in educating people on this matter.


I will eventually be buying my last laptop ever and it will be the MacBook Air. I will wait for the next incarnation and go for the top dog. I write a lot so the iPad 2 won't do; but eventually it (or iPad3) will join the family.

I have every Mac I ever bought except my Pismo which went to a third world country. It worked fine, the last time I used it.

I have recently transferred all my Excel files to Numbers and have been using Pages for over a year. No M$ applications will taint my Air.

Being M$ free makes me feel like a freedom fighter. I feel clean and at peace with the world and full accolades go to the two great Steves, Jobs and Ballmer. I suspect Ballmer has been undermining M$ for some time and that he has been selling and replacing his M$ shares for Apple stock.

I am thoroughly been joying the decay and slow death of M$ and have been plotting its stock decline against the meteoric rise of Apple for two years. I hope it is a long slow, slow, slow squeaky death. A gasp here. A sputter there. And then, like the odour of a terrible fart, dissipates into the ethers and quickly forgotten. The epitaph will be a moment to relish.

Then I can concentrate my mean side to Google and its Android foray. It's the little things in life that bring the most delight and that warm feeling to heart.

Bill should sell his dilapidated interests in M$ and buy Apple stock if he wishes to continue paying his way into history books.



Shawn, I guess we will just have to disagree on this one. We pay premium through the nose prices for Apple laptops. Essentially the same design as my 2006 MacBook is still on the market for $999. Mine has a 2 Ghz Core Duo. The current model has a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo.

You don't buy a processor or a laptop for what it is today but for what it will be tomorrow. I can guarantee you that the Core 2 Duo will be outdated in four years. However, an I3 or I5 processor has far better odds of still being useful.

I am still using a dual G5 processor tower that I bought over six years ago. I can tell you G4s are not nearly as useful.

My opinion (and it is my personal opinion only) is that if Apple is going to demand premium prices, they should sell the latest and greatest.

My 15" I7 HP laptop with a 500 gig drive and 4 gigs or ram cost less last year than the current MacBook with a 250 Gig drive.

Surely Apple with all their technical resources could figure out in well over a year how to get a MacBook out with an I3 processor for $999.

Well at least they could if they cared about giving customers the best value for their money.

If you feel comfortable recommending people buy Core 2 Duo system for a product that should last at least five years, go ahead and do it.

I am steering people to products that I think are good values and will still be able to meet their needs a few years from now when even I can't predict what they might be doing with their computers.


I don't disagree with your over all statement. Just that the average person does not do anything on their computer that needs current lvl stuff. The majority of people check email and Facebook now a days. Customers come in all the time and one of the first things out of their mouth is "I'm not a gamer" meaning they don't want current lvl tech or what they perceive as to much computer. I work for apple now in their little known ASC sales division and almost all of your post are spot on about the company.


Shawn, I might have agreed with you a couple of years ago.

My wife was happily puttering along with her G4 laptop. Then I noticed that she often had trouble playing video that people sent to her and that her Washington Post homepage took a long time to load.

It turned out that the world was passing by the G4. She doesn't demand a lot of her computer but some of the stuff that she receives does require more computer resources than one would imagine. She really liked Macs, and I was hoping that I could spend $1200 or so on a nice I3 MacBook for her.

The truth is that Apple did not deliver as fast as others, and I got tired of waiting. The fact that I could get two computers for the price of one MacBook Pro still amazes me..

Even today one 13-inch: 2.66GHz Core Two Duo MacBook Pro costs more than both her 14" I5 and my 15" I7 HP laptops once all the rebates were in and done. The two HPs have been very reliable.

I think it is more about doing what is right for the customers, and the right thing for the pricing that Apple charges is that at least an I3 should ship in their systems if technically possible.

While the customer might not need it today, why should they pay a premium price and get less than a premium product?

Thomas Elam

I just bought the wife a $375 (on-sale) ASUS that she will use primarly for email, web browsing and light duty document creation. It came with 64 bit Windows 7, 15" display, 250 GB drive, and 4 GB of RAM. It is a full featured machine with HDMI-out, SD card reader, DVD, etc. It is far from a stripped down machine, and the price was remarkable. The processor is an Intel dual core P6100, a 2 ghz entry level chip. Nonetheless, it is a very quick machine for the tasks at hand.

For the most part it will be used on a desktop. Battery life is not a huge concern.

Unfortunately, I must report that the ASUS was purchased to replace a 3 year old HP that refused to boot. The motherboard had failed, well out of warranty. The repair estimate was more than the price of the new ASUS. However, the hard drive was still good, so we lost no data or documents.

From what I hear, Windows 8 will run just fine on it too.

My point is simply this: Buy a machine that fits the intended use. The wife was no desire to run apps that will ever stress this hardware. I could have easily spent twice or three times as much money, and it would have made no difference to her level of satisfaction.

Why Apple can get the prices it does for a 13" machine that are basically at the ASUS entry level of performance and features must be due to fanatics that refuse to look at alternatives. The Apple may look nicer, and run longer on a charge, but is that really worth 2x-3x more money?

Longtime Reader

Not to jump on the Microsoft bandwagon too much, but after you mentioned the browsers you use, David, I really think that you should give the Internet Explorer 9 RC a try. I had been using mostly Chrome and Safari for the last several years, but now that I've given IE9 a chance it has really impressed me. It's just as fast as Chrome and the hardware acceleration comes in handy as well. Just my two cents, since you're becoming more open to alternatives to the Apple world. Don't get caught up in the brand fanboyism, just use the best technology that works for you no matter who makes it.


Wow, a year ago. So hard to believe. And Apple have only just put the i7 and i5 in a laptop.
Let me know if you need a proof reader.

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