After seeing how well equipped the updated Macbook Pros are I decided to go and compare them to comparable Dell machines. To my pleasant surprise the Macs are substantially cheaper.
I took a quick look at the Dell store and found the Dell Precision line to be closest to the Macbook Pro line. It is their high-end line of notebooks. I started out with the basic 15.4 inch model and upgraded the Dell to match the standard features of the Macbook Pro has. For the most part they are identical, there are a few differences though. first of all, I didn't upgrade the Dell's screen. I'm guessing an upgraded screen would be closer to Apple's but I wanted to give Dell the best chance possible to beat Apple (so that people won't try to claim I'm just trying to make Apple look good). The next difference confused me. The Macbook Pro had a 128MB video card. The Dell has a 256MB card and can use 256MB of shared system memory for a total of 512MB. I'm not an expert on video cards but we'll call Dell the winner. The final difference is that the Dell does not have a DVD burner. I could have added one but the Macbook Pro is 6x and all I could find for the Dell was 8x so I left it with a Cd burner.
There is an $875 difference in Apple's favor. You could buy the 17 inch Macbook pro with a 2.33GHz processor, 2GB standard memory and a 160GB HD for about the same price. Or you could upgrade the 15 inch model to a 2.33 GHz processor with 2GB of RAM and a 200GB HD and still have over $100 left over.
This brings us to the comparison of the 17 inch models. These models are pretty straight forward. The only difference between the Macbook Pro and the Dell is that one has an ATI graphics card (Apple) and the other has an Nvidia card, both have the same memory. Other than that I didn't upgrade the Dell's screen and I did add a DVD burner since the 17 inch Macbook Pro is 8x.
This time there is a difference of $1,343 in Apple's favor. The myth that Apple computers are more expensive than PCs needs to end. They have proven that they are committed to selling well-equipped computers at reasonable prices. Now people just need to take the time to compare the systems and realize that with a Mac they are getting a better computer at a better price with a better operating system, and if they don't like Mac OS X they are still better off to spend hundreds of dollars less and buy a copy of Windows for their Mac. Is there really a reason to stay on PCs anymore?
Update: One of the comments pointed out that the Dells come with 3 years of support. 3 years of Applecare is $349 so with that factored in the price differences are:
15.4 inch: $526
17 inch: $994