Surprisingly Apple comes out as the best value. There are some differences between the systems that may or may not worry you, such as hard drive speed, size, graphics speed (if you are a gamer), screen resolution etc.
|HDD||120G (5400)||100G (7200)||100G (7200)||160G (5400)|
|Display Size||17" wide||17" wide||17" wide||17" wide|
|Grf Model||7900GS||X1600||FX 1500M||X1600|
What does worry me is the lack of Home/End/PgUp/PgDn keys. I do a lot of code editing and frequently use these keys. Before investing in the system I am going to have to be sure that I can comfortably and quickly navigate around a document. I should also mention that the 7200rpm hard drives are very interesting - and I would like to benchmark the difference with some of our statistical analysis software. Dell and Apple mentioned that they could install the 7200rpm drives. Do 7200rpm drives have heat or reliability issues?
Just confirming that all prices are in Australian dollars and have the educational discounts offered by the respective companies (usually available to institutions, staff and students).