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HELP ME PLEASE, COMPUTER EXPERTS!

01/27/2012

Basically, I’m about to start doing some course in graphics/animation etc and I wanted a really good laptop for it, especially since I don’t have my own and I think it’d be unfair to use someone else’s and take up all their HDD space.

I did some research on the best that isn’t Mac to serve my specific purpose and the result seems to be the Dell XPS 15 (that’s within my £500-£600 budget).

However, I came across a cheap 2008 Mac that has the same amount of HDD space and RAM that I wanted (500GB/4GB) and I know that Macs are supposed to be incredible, having said that, the Dell looks a lot more modern and appealing, despite my love of all things white (the Dell has a white cover though, which is a bonus).

My conundrum is as follows: is a 2008 Mac better than a 2011 Dell?

Dell:

XPS L501X

Processor : Intel i5-460M(2.53GHz)
4096MB (2×2048) 1333MHz DDR3 Dual Channel
Hard Drive : 640GB 2.5inch Serial ATA II (7.200 Rpm) Hard Drive
Display : 15.6 HD WLED True-Life (1366×768) with 2.0 Mega Pixel
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT420M
Integrated Camera
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium (64 BIT)
Optical Drive 8X DVD+/-RW Drive

Brand New Sealed Box
Dell Warranty

£489

Mac:

MacBook White ( 13-inch, Late 2008)
In Very Good Condition
Comes boxed with a charger and the remote control
Apple Care Expiration Date: Jan 20, 2012

Hardware Overview:

Model Name: MacBook
Model Identifier: MacBook4,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.1 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 3 MB
Memory: 4 GB
Bus Speed: 800MHz
Hard Drive: 500GB

£400

HELP ME PLEASE! I want to buy as soon as possible!

EDIT: I went with the Dell, in the end. Thank you to everyone who helped me make this decision!

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From → Personal

16 Comments
  1. riatarded permalink

    Go with the Dell. I have used a Dell XPS series laptop before and they are pretty amazing. Old Mac is bound to get stuck and nobody wants that!

    Even now when I try to run an animation software on my year old Mac it gets stuck and shuts down and yes it is a MacBook White. Plus Dell’s specifications look better:) Good luck with your purchase! I hope this helped!

    • That’s so surprising to me, I was always told that Macs are ‘T3H AWSUMZ’ and nothing can compare to them – ever, no-matter what. Thanks for your advice 😀 I really do appreciate it, especially since I did go with the Dell in the end 😀 I’m waiting for it to arrive and I’m so scared that when it gets here, I won’t like it ;___;!

  2. No (a 2008 Mac is not better than a 2011 Dell).

  3. Wicker permalink

    The Dell would be the way to go in this case. As the others say, new with warranty whips old Mac hands down. The newer Intel chipset is more than capable of running the software you will be using and the Windows operating system is stable. I have used and sold both types of machines and as always there are good reasons to choose each under certain circumstances. In this instance, the newer machine will be the best investment. Good luck and have fun learning what I suppose is Maya or something of the sort. That stuff is really amazing, you will have to keep us posted.

    • Thank you so much 😀 I did go with the Dell and I’m really excited to start my course, I’m supposed to get my information (and the laptop, for that matter) tomorrow. These are exciting times, indeed!

  4. SaptarshiC permalink

    The most important things when looking to buy any computer are:

    1. Motherboard

    2. Processor Power : (a) Number of cores , (b) Processor Speed , (c) Size of Cache (in that order)

    3. Memory : (a) Amount of memory , (b) Type ( i.e.- DDR2, DDR3)

    The motherboard is really where all the magic happens. If you happen to have a good motherboard and decent processor and RAM, you will get good results. A not-so-good motherboard will not do that. Also it is the place to plug in all the other hardware as well (like a graphics card, the HDD and any other card or device that you may need).

    The processor is the next most important thing, in that it will be handling all the calculations and all of that. A processor with a higher number of cores will almost always give you better results (for applications that benefit from them). In your case, Graphics/Animation packages do benefit from more cores. The next most important thing there is the speed. The cache is not as important as the previous two. It does give some some performance boost; however, more cache will cost you more. So it is really a trade-off between what you want and how much you want to pay for it.

    The memory is the next most important thing, in that a system will benefit from faster and greater amount of memory. The relationship between size and speed really depends on what application you intend to use the computer for. For your needs, a larger amount of memory is more useful. Speed does matter, but not as much. Also, for RAM greater than or equal to 4GB, you would need a 64-bit OS to take advantage of that.

    Also, for Graphics/Animation packages, having a 64-bit Operating System is beneficial (provided the said software has a 64-bit version).

    If you are looking to build a workstation, go for a desktop, as that would be a lot cheaper. If you want mobility, the trade-off would be the extra power that you could have gotten for the same amount of money.

    • Thank you 😀 This is really helpful! I thought cache and RAM were the same thing, are they not? I was mostly looking at the cores, the RAM and the amount of space. I also was told to get one with a NVIDIA graphics card. I think I should be good with the Dell :D, though I agree with what you’re saying about desktops. Sadly, portability is necessary so I’d have to go with the laptop in this case. Again, thank you!

      • SaptarshiC permalink

        Cache Memory is the local (on chip) memory available to the CPU. Typically ‘L2 cache’ for the CPU is about a few MBs.

      • I see, OK 😀 Thank you!

  5. Don’t delete this post too soon. I will need to refer back to it, myself.

  6. eldinsmille permalink

    say exactly that to a salesman! he/she will help you more than anyone.

    • I find salespeople very intimidating :<!

      • eldinsmille permalink

        p.s.
        because you gonna delete this post I `ll write you that I wrote 76th post just fro you!

      • Ah, sorry that I hadn’t read it! I have now though and wow, what an impressive piece 😀 I left a huge comment on it for you!

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