Apple is also lacking in support, especially given recent developments from the major vendors. As is common, you get a year of parts-and-labor warranty coverage, but Apple offers only 90 days of phone tech support out of the box. Extending the plan for $149 adds three years to both the warranty and phone help, which, as far as extensions go, is fairly priced, but the default phone support should clearly be longer. Where Apple is lagging is its Web help. Dell, HP, and Gateway all offer remote access functionality, which lets a tech drive your computer to fix problems. Apple has nothing of the sort. At least its Web site offers some help in the form of various FAQs and troubleshooting documents, including help with the operating system. You can always visit the lively Apple forums for help as well.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Apple iMac Core 2 Duo 17-inch
OS X 10.4.7; 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5600; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; integrated 64MB Intel GMA 950 graphics chip; 160GB Western Digital 7,200rpm serial ATA hard drive
Apple Mac Mini Core Duo (1.66GHz)
OS X 10.4.7; 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo T2300; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; integrated 64MB Intel GMA 950 graphics chip; 60GB Fujitsu 5,400rpm serial ATA hard drive
Apple Mac Mini Core Duo (1.83GHz)
OS X 10.4.7; 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo T2400; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; integrated 64MB Intel GMA 950 graphics chip; 80GB Fujitsu 5,400rpm serial ATA hard drive
Cyberpower Back to School 2006
Windows XP Home SP2; 2.0GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 512MB Nvidia 7300GS graphics card; 250GB Western Digital 7,200rpm serial ATA hard drive
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 2.66GHz Intel Pentium D 805; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 533MHz; integrated 128MB (shared) ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics chip; 200GB Seagate 7,200rpm EIDE