We'd like to reorg our home office. That means I need at least the same computing capability in half the space.
The best way to do that is to ditch my 5 yo big-old XP box and monitor, and replace it with a 24" iMac that will run Fusion/XP and OS X, using the monitor as a 2nd display. (The 20" model has a joke-quality LCD that Apple should be flogged for selling.)
Problem is, that will cost me about $2,400 with appropriate RAM.
Or I could get a Mac Mini and forgo the 2nd display. There the price is quite good, but the memory capacity and processor speed are currently on the low side -- and rumor is that the next generation will sacrifice CPU to make the Mini smaller and cooler. Of course Apple will also drop the firewire connection, so performance will take another big hit.
I'd buy a more powerful Mac Mini that would sell for, say $800 base and $1000 or so with 4GB. I'd attach an external firewire hard drive and/or a NAS.
It's not that the iMac is all that more expensive than a similar Vista box, it's that Apple doesn't offer the package I want. This isn't the time to be buying a $2,400 computer that we don't desperately need ...
Update 1/27/09: I originally titled this "Macs are expensive". On reflection though, it's more true that the iMacs are expensive. The newly renovated plastic "low end" MacBook is suddenly quite a bargain.
True, it's very hard to find on Apple's site, but there is a page. An adequate CPU, firewire, big drive, NVIDIA graphics, external monitor, 4GB RAM capacity, did I mention firewire ... The general MacBook tech spec page claims it outputs up to 2560x1600 external video -- sufficient to drive some 30" monitors ...
Update 3/3/09: Not any more! Evidently Apple agreed with me. A price drop from $2,400 to $1,500 is damned aggressive.