They highlight all that is wrong with computer shopping on the other side of the aisle. When buying a Mac, it's sufficient to simply decide on your budget, then select the laptop that best fits your needs. You're not getting shafted by some marketing guy who decided to design the computer components to look better next to some other clone.
For example, you can't buy a computer screen larger than 15" from Apple that has a resolution less than 1440x900 pixels. Yet the computer than Giampaolo bought is a 16" (!) laptop with a resolution of 1366x768 pixels! The Mac has 30% more pixels (screen real estate) on a 1" smaller monitor.
Why is that? Because HP markets its laptops on screen size, because consumers like Giampaolo are sheep to whom 16" > 15", even though clearly 1.0M pixels < 1.3M pixels.
Need another example about how you get shafted as a PC buyer in the store? Well, take for example, the fact that Giampaolo bought a computer with 4GB of memory. Now for the trick question: Will Giampaolo be able to use all 4GB? I don't know, but here's Microsoft's website you can check to find out.
Microsoft admits this is the case:
"to avoid potential driver compatibility issues, the 32-bit versions of Windows Vista limit the total available memory to 3.12 GB"So, when you're shopping for a PC with 4GB or more memory, how can you tell if it will actually be able to use all that memory? Microsoft is happy to tell you:
For Windows Vista to use all 4 GB of memory on a computer that has 4 GB of memory installed, the computer must meet the following requirements:Are we clear? So go on out there, and shop with confidence, PC users! Just make sure you ask your salesperson whether or not the BIOS supports memory remapping. After all, as Microsoft itself admits, "Many consumer-oriented computers may not support the memory remapping feature. No standard terminology is used in documentation or in BIOS configuration utilities for this feature. Therefore, you may have to read the descriptions of the various BIOS configuration settings that are available to determine whether any of the settings enable the memory remapping feature."
* The chipset must support at least 8 GB of address space. Chipsets that have this capability include the following:
o Intel 975X
o Intel P965
o Intel 955X on Socket 775
o Chipsets that support AMD processors that use socket F, socket 940, socket 939, or socket AM2. These chipsets include any AMD socket and CPU combination in which the memory controller resides in the CPU.
* The CPU must support the x64 instruction set. The AMD64 CPU and the Intel EM64T CPU support this instruction set.
* The BIOS must support the memory remapping feature. The memory remapping feature allows for the segment of system memory that was previously overwritten by the Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) configuration space to be remapped above the 4 GB address line. This feature must be enabled in the BIOS configuration utility on the computer. View your computer product documentation for instructions that explain how to enable this feature. Many consumer-oriented computers may not support the memory remapping feature. No standard terminology is used in documentation or in BIOS configuration utilities for this feature. Therefore, you may have to read the descriptions of the various BIOS configuration settings that are available to determine whether any of the settings enable the memory remapping feature.
* An x64 (64-bit) version of Windows Vista must be used.
Of course, there is the alternative. The alternative where the hardware was designed for the software it's running. The alternative where the product is designed by people who use the products, instead of trying to fool the consumer into buying an HP instead of an Acer by buying the biggest, cheapest, lowest-possible resolution so that you can appear a little more attractive to the buyer who doesn't know that PC designers are trying to find ways of cutting costs (and thus features) to attract consumers.
True, the alternative might cost a little more, but when you compare apples to Apples, the cost dips significantly.
If you know a Intel 975X chipset from a Intel P965 chipset, if you know to reboot the PC at Fry's or Best Buy into the BIOS to find out if it supports memory remapping, if you know the difference that DDR3 memory makes over DDR2 (a cheaper, slower type of RAM found on many PCs designed to look attractive in the store), then go on out and get a PC.
Otherwise, declare yourself a Mac, and buy with confidence that you're getting what you paid for.