back to article Dell tells customer 'Mac is good option'

Computer giant Dell stunned a Reg reader seeking a processor upgrade when it told him he might want to consider a "Mac". The El Reg reader had emailed the firm's hardware technical support team asking whether it was possible to upgrade his one year old Dimension 9150's processor to a Core2 CPU without having to also replace …


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  1. Alan Lukaszewicz

    True, true, ...

    You mean a Mac is not a good option? :)

    Hi-spec computers are neat and I'd love to see one of the new Mac Pro units for sure.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Stewart Knight

    NO NO NO

    Mac is NOT a good option, unless you're a chav fanboy, in which case, it still isn't!

  4. Alastair Dodd
    Thumb Down

    whoever sent that email

    should be sacked.

    Only one thing worse than rubbish dell non standard systems (one of the most likely reasons he can't upgrade is because it's a dell who make it as hard as possible with non standard mobos, PSU's and cases) is buying an even more proprietary system like a Mac. Even worse.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Stewart Knight

    "Mac is NOT a good option, unless you're a chav fanboy, in which case, it still isn't!"

    You're thinking of a burberry mac, right?


  6. Sampler
    Thumb Down

    Not C2D compatible and only a year old

    Must be a dell - cheapest bottom line components.

  7. Bo Pedersen

    upgrade too costly?

    if his system is only 1-2 years old, a mobo/proc/ram upgrade is most likely the BEST option!

    in the UK that would set him back around £130 if he DIY'ed it

    just needs to check what type of hard disk / cd/dvd drives he has (i.e. IDE or SATA)

    and buy a suitably motherboard

    Many online stores sell upgrade kits that have all three components.

    as for upgrading his PSU does this mean they have supplied a sub standard unit already?

    although £15 later he would have a nice psu too :)

    so the advice was wrong

  8. Nic Brough

    Good for Dell

    >Mac is NOT a good option, unless you're a chav fanboy, in which case, it still isn't!

    It might not be a good option, but it's still a better option than a PC running windows.

    The only reason I have a windows PC is for playing games, and if Wii or Xbox came with a mouse/keyboard combo for playing FPS games (they just doesn't work properly with a game controller), I'd happily format the windows partition tomorrow to get more space for my penguin.

    As the tech support geek in my family, I've now recommended Macs to six relatives, and they've all gone for it, after seeing Vista. None of us are chavs.

    Good for Dell, telling the truth!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Mac a good option

    The fastest Windows Vista notebook (through 25/10/2007) is the Macbook Pro.,136649-page,3-c,notebooks/article.html

    Would be interesting to see some benchmarks for one of the Mac Pros running windows.

  10. simon

    Title should read

    ...hardware tech support. says "Mac is a good option".

    I honestly doubt anyone except saint Jobs himself belives that

  11. Ming the Merciless

    And, by the way,

    If you want a really reliable system on standard hardware, go with Linux.

  12. Ming the Merciless

    Oh please

    At least Dell's support is getting better, or at least giving better advice. Apple may have proprietary hardware but at least IT WORKS and the software kicks the ass of anything you could get to run on Windows.

  13. Jaster

    Dell does not sell Macs

    The only problem with this is a Dell employee is recommending a product they do not sell ... other than that so what ...?

  14. Webcrawler2050

    What a bunch of ***

    Well as use usual the stupidity of The Register comments, is un real. Mac is far superior to Windows, always has and always will. There is currently no Malware, no spyware, no viruses for the MAC - where as Windows is loaded.

    MAC is only a good option for the media industry, i.e graphic designers, movie editors etc etc.

    Id say, the tech support man, gave possibly good advice but jumped the gun. He should of found out what the user does with his PC - if just email and word, then PC = Good, if hes making fanatastic graphical images, then MAC is good.

    Id say, the bloke shouldn't be sacked, just trained a little more to see what the user needs/want.

    So to round off for the stupid ones:

    MAC = Good for media

    PC = Good for other stuff, email, browsing, games etc

    Aka - shut the chuff up and do some work.

  15. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up

    Customer support representative has own opinion shock

    Personally I think it's quite nice that the support guy expressed his own opinion, and didn't push Dell as the only option. I'd trust his opinion more than a Dell sales guy who tries to convince me that Dell is better than anyone else.

    Maybe I'm not capitalist enough?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    to Bo

    Upgrading's all well and nice except that most Dell cases don't allow you to fit a standard motherboard so you probably need to add a case to that list.

    Plus you're not going to be getting top grade / high performance components (mobo, CPU, RAM, PSU & Case) for £130.... !

  17. Joey

    Re: NO NO NO

    "Mac is NOT a good option, unless you're a chav fanboy, in which case, it still isn't!"

    These sort of comments are boring. How do you know what the 'right' computer for any particular person or purpose is without knowing all the facts?

    Is a Ford Transit Bus better than a Ferrari Dino? Depends on how many passenger you want to carry from A to B in any given time frame.

    Is a Gibson better than a Fender? No, it's depends on the sound you want and how well you play it that counts!

    Is a Canon better than a Nikon? No, cameras don't make photographs, they are tools and only as good as the person using them.

    Same with computers. If you are only making snide remarks, any one will do!

  18. paddy carroll

    Dell is not a good option

    Having tasted their alleged 3 year on site support I will never buy a dell again, now that they have recommended apples gear I am going to put them in the "idiot" category, dont believe a thing these people say to you, dont even trouble yourself to try to understand it.

  19. Svein Skogen

    There is another possibility

    The possibility that the user asking the original question has been such a Pain-in-the-.... that the Dell guy simply wanted him to "go away.", and thus recommended a Mac. (His attitude would be more at home there with the rest of the religious Church-of-Jobs nutcases)


  20. Anonymous Coward

    'mac is a good option'

    Given the ever increasing amount of problems being reported with Vista (and its crap performance on good spec PCs), it's not surprising that Dell are recommending a viable alternative!

    Would be interesting to compare and contrast the number of people still actively (and productively) using 5 or 6 year old Macs to those using 5 or 6 year old PCs...

    At least if you go down the Mac route there's always the option of putting Windows back into a virtualised box, and only firing it up when necessary..

  21. Allan Rutland

    Seems a bit iffy!

    A rather suspect email really. Only mentioning the XPS's and saying he should go search Google. Maybe it's just me but no one in a company would ever direct a customer to just go away and look on Google. I would of normally expected a couple of options for there machines, and links to there own site.

    If a member of staff did something like what was in this email, every company I know would have him given at best a very big warning, or shown the door. No company directs customers elsewhere.

  22. Law
    Paris Hilton

    @ Webcrawler2050

    "So to round off for the stupid ones:

    MAC = Good for media

    PC = Good for other stuff, email, browsing, games etc"


    MAC = Good for media (well, used to be anyway)


    Your whole gubbins about virus' is getting old too... PC to me means Linux and Windows.... head to head they would double team OS X between them and still have time to smash that new tiny notebook upside Job's smug face before Billy Gates and Linus make a "lets hug and make up/out" video in the style of Gate's retirement video.

    Get over it...

    PS - I actually don't like Windows... but Im not that fond of apple either! :)

    Paris because she could do better tech support than the dell winged monkey in this story! :)

  23. Tim

    You techies, you do make me laugh

    None of you work in sales, clearly. That tech support guy should be promoted. By suggesting to the customer that he should look at Macs, he's got him to check out some very, very expensive, powerful machines that, however attractive, won't run his software. Next, he offers a top of the line Dell box which *will* run his games or whatever.

    He's flattered the customer by suggesting that his needs are so great he requires the best of the best, got his budget expectations sky high with a competitor's product that he'd never buy, then offered his own version which will seem like a good deal. Guess what Mr. Upgrader will go for, eh?

    (If he was up for the DIY option he'd never have emailed support, would he? He'd have used his Google skills and found a forum and got the answer from some American teenager instead.)

    Coat please.The one with the Ferrari keys in the pocket and the pretty girls hanging off the arm.

  24. Adam
    Gates Halo

    If only they sold proper Vista at Dell

    Before Christmas, my girlfriend was in the market for a new computer. I offered to build one, but she decided on the low-hassle route and Dell were offering the best bang for the buck.

    So, we specced up a decent Core2Duo system and it arrived a few days later... with 32-bit OS. I rung up to query their logic in selling a 64-bit computer with a 32-bit OS, but it turns out it was no mistake. They offered a full refund including the shipping, to be fair.

    Turns out the reason is to reduce support costs... honest. Think about it: your average Jo tries to load some flaky old 32-bit sw onto their 64-bit Vista and encounters an issue. They don't understand the dialogue box telling them "Hey, this old POS doesn't work, Vista will now try a compatibility mode. You cool with that?" so click "NO!" and find it doesn't work, then ring up. Or they'll just ring up anyway.

  25. Webcrawler2050

    What a bunch of *** again

    Well.. id hardly say £130 on components is fantastic, infact it's probably just as bad as the crap thats inside any of these prebuilt machines, dell, packard bell, HP, etc etc the list could go on and on.

    You cannot in no way shap or form, upgrade a dell machine with standard ATX components. The bloke is right, to say it wont be cheap, because it wont.

    But you can build a decent machine on a good price, but dont skimp of CPU, RAM, Mobo, PSU & HDD - its basically most of it. Stick to good brands, mobo Gigabyte - Ram Cosair etc etc the list could go on and on. If you build just on price, then don't bother. Waste of your time & your money.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    .. see the smoke?

    Thats my PC leaving the Mac' in dust - I'll stick with my pc workstation thanks, 2x Quad Core Xeon's, Dual SLi gfx and 4Gb of RAM... Even vista works at "acceptable" speeds.

  27. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Re: What a bunch of *** by Webcrawler2050

    "There is currently no Malware, no spyware, no viruses for the MAC - where as Windows is loaded."

    Oh dear, now *you're* being blinkered and stupid! I think you'll find that there are quite a few examples of these kinds of malware for Macs. Admittedly, there are nowhere near as many as for Windows where it's so easy to write such applications. However there are a LOT of critical security holes and vulnerabilities in the Mac OS and associated hardware/software items - most of the OS related ones were introduced by Apple when they thoroughly botched the base OS but also some from the base OS itself.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re: What a bunch of ***

    Id say this, Id say that. Sigmund Freud would be proud.

    Paris, 'cos she reminds me of me mam.

  29. Owen

    Music Tech

    I thought I would chime to back up comments about the Mac platform being good for media - I'm at uni studying Music Tech (BA), and ALL our music software is run on Mac Machines.

    I defiantly think the support guy should have asked what the consumer actually wanted to do, but from using mac's I can see his point. And to be called a fanboy is plain rude - I think its probably appropriate to ask people why they use mac before accusing them of being fashion idiots.

  30. Guy Randall

    Re: See the smoke?

    At the end of the day, if you buy any of the apple machines you have a machine that will run just about any OS you choose.. Have you ever run xp 64bit on a fully beefed Mac Pro.. I have and I can tell you it smokes like a ferrari at the hands of Michael Schumacher..

    Good day all - Remember horses for courses, everyone is different e.t.c.

    Peace out! Taxi!

  31. xjy
    Paris Hilton

    Chavs rule, so do Macs, so does Essex Woman

    I'd like to be a Chav Fan Boy (sounds like a Soho restaurant - yum!) - you not only get to be a filmstar like Ali G Innit, but you're allowed to use a Mac and get to be with Essex Woman - not much into perfume mind, cos the only the things she'll put behind her ears are her heels...

  32. Anonymous Coward

    and FYI

    To anyone with a business account Dell DO sell Macs (seriously)

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Sounds about right.

    Was looking into a Dell laptop a couple of years ago, and wondered if it supported SPDIF digital audio out.

    Extremely sarky woman who seemed annoyed at having to actually work then procalimed that SPDIF is now a defunct standard, and Dell wouldn't be supporting it anymore. When asked what standard they would be supporting in the future, she hung up!

    Needless to say, I bought a laptop elsewhere.

  34. Dru Richman

    Love the Reg!

    I just gotta love the Reg and the vast majority of their Mac-hating readers. So many readers, so much misinformation.

    Where to start - Macs are the only PCs available that run both Windows and Mac OS X natively. So that means that all of your Mac programs, all of your Windows programs, oh, and all of your Linux programs will ALL run on your Mac.

    Macs use many of the same components as PCs. Like Intel CPUs and FSB (front side buses), ATI video cards, nVidia video cards, same RAM, same hard drives, same monitors, same peripherals. Doesn't seem all that closed to me.

    Similarly configured Macs and PCs from major manufacturers usually cost within £10 of each other. Go here for more info -

  35. Steve

    Re: Re; NO NO NO

    "Is a Gibson better than a Fender? No, it's depends on the sound you want and how well you play it that counts!"

    If you want to sound like a guitar player, get a Gibson.

    If you want to sound like a big girl, get a Strat.

    If you're gay or a cowboy (or a gay cowboy), get a Tele.

  36. Chris iverson

    I work with Heathens

    Ok so I being the thy techie surrounded by artist, Graphics designers even, They are all heathens. It was a mixed environment with both Mac and PC's running 2K and OSX. When upgrade time comes around, being the open minded techie that I try to be, I offered a few suggestions.

    Considering all the designers have Mac experience using Adobe products, I came up with these 2 options for them

    Option #1) We upgrade to Mac pro's with various configuration options mainly focused at memory, etc

    Option #2) We replace them with PC's with various configuration options mainly focused at memory, etc

    The decision was nearly unanimous of going to PC W/ XP with all the pretty crap turned off. Their reasons were citing that the Mac's crashed "all the time" and that they always lost files that they had spend the better part of a day working on.

    I was kinda speechless for a few minutes

  37. Anonymous Coward

    @Nick Ryan

    "I think you'll find that there are quite a few examples of these kinds of malware for Macs."

    Name some. Please.

  38. Jose Hales-Garcia
    Gates Horns

    Why make such a fuss?

    The poor guy is going to be fired for making the remark. Leave him alone.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like a stitch-up to me!

    Anyone trained in corporate communications (which I am sure the Dell rep' is) knows that one never disses a competitor's product in official communications.

    I would like to see what the original mail to support contained. If it said "Can I upgrade my CPU or do I have to go buy a Mac", then the Dell rep responded correctly, albeit naively.

  40. Ivan Headache


    To Me - Mac means Mac, Linux (oh and windows) - all at the same time.

  41. Celtic Ferret

    @Rich: Scroogle for "malware for Macs"

    First rogue application for Macintosh system

    Opener Malware, October 2004 (aka SH.Renepo.A / SH.Renepo.B)

    Hackers debut Mac OS X adware

    Mac OS X malware latches onto Bluetooth vulnerability

    Good read: "Detecting and avoiding malware and spyware"

    They provide links to learn more about:

    The OSX.Macarena virus

    The kernel extensions of the Sony rootkit

    OSX.Exploit.Launched (Trojan horse)

    OSX.Inqtana.A, which propagates via Bluetooth®

    OSX.Leap.A deletes, infects, or corrupts files and attempts to spread through iChat.


    Spector commercial spyware

  42. Red Bren

    There is another way

    Why doesn't he buy a PS3,bluetooth keyboard & mouse and install linux? Top class hardware, OS & it plays games!

    Or am I confusing my fanboy flamewars?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    An open & honest Techie

    Well done him!

    He's explained the options; recognised that there are alternatives; and made a positive suggestion about his company's products.

    He's not some company propagandist/politician who's blinkered into there only being one 'solution' [i.e. you MUST buy our latest/greatest product - Ballmer & Jobs please note]

    I for one would be pleased to take his advice. He's actually a very shrewd salesman.

  44. Morely Dotes

    @ Steve: Re: Re; NO NO NO

    If you want to sound good and you know how to play, get a National.

    If you don't know how to play, get a Wii.

  45. Mark Manderson

    when are they gonna release the i-Rucksack?


    Of course there are no viruses, malware or spyware for a MAC as you put it.....why the flip would a Migratory Account Code be liable for viruses.........

    An Apple Mac on the other hand DO have worms and malware, they just arnt anywhere near prevelant due to Apples small worlwide market share buddy, mark my words if Mac ever get as big as Windoze, it would have just as many nasties. Think like a Vxz writer or malware muppet....hmm code an exploit for 3% of worldwide share of 97% hmm maximum damage minimum effort.....To think otherwise is a narrow minded and ignorant assumption sir.

    The Dell guy should be commended for giving open and unbiased advice to begin with............


    take your pick matey

  46. DV Henkel-Wallace

    Maybe he was an infuriating customer

    You know the type who calls support every day looking for the cup holder etc. Perhaps they want him to start calling Apple?

  47. Tony Martin

    Proprietary nonsense

    "Only one thing worse than rubbish dell non standard systems... is buying an even more proprietary system like a Mac. Even worse."

    Makes me wonder what kind of car this guy drives? Maybe a Ford, the replacement parts are still the easiest to get, right?

    Does he only use Linux and free stuff on his pc? The Mac OS is far more open and friendlier to open standards than is Windows.

  48. storng.bare.durid

    mac is a good option...

    ... probably because vista is shite..

    BUT you can always take a vanilla x86 box and put something else on it. If you must, you can even make it a hackintosh.

  49. soaklord

    @ Nic Brough

    The only reason I have a windows PC is for playing games, and if Wii or Xbox came with a mouse/keyboard combo for playing FPS games (they just doesn't work properly with a game controller), I'd happily format the windows partition tomorrow to get more space for my penguin."

    Let the Penguin habitat grow. google it and you will find an adapter for the xbox that lets you do exactly that. I have adopted the controller after years of wasd, but my buddy insists on wasd and does quite well on xbox

  50. MnM

    i still don't get it

    so which one is best?

  51. Aubry Thonon

    Re: Dell does not sell Macs @Jaster

    "The only problem with this is a Dell employee is recommending a product they do not sell ... other than that so what ...?"

    I'm beginning to think that Australia (or at least Brissie) is the last refuge of the helpful sales-staffer. Many a times I have asked for a specific product to be told store X doesn't have it, but "you might have some luck at store Y, I believe they stock it". Which also includes the odd (not as frequent), "well, X Y and Z will almost do all of your requirements. But if you want option B you'll have to get a (whatever) as these don't do B".

    I am more likely to return to one of these stores than one which constantly tries to sell me something that won't suit my needs because "that's what they've got". JB's in the City (for a recent exmaple) is generally good at directions to other stores/products, which is why I keep on going back - if they don't have what I want, there's a good chance they can tell me where I can get it.

  52. dlibine

    I'm a mac and I'm a PC

    This sounds like a religion fight... my god is the only and good one so I'm going to kill you because you think differently and you're wrong!... or ... I'm better 'cose I have a MAC... no I'm better 'cose I have a PC... not really making any progress here :-(

    Both are computers.... hence.. both have their problems and their advantages. I personnally prefer my Mac to my previous Dell... eventhough it does have some problems and is a little touchier since Leopard... but does that give me the right to insult and reduce anyone who runs and prefers a PC. I think not!

    The subject here is about someone offering another product than the one his company sells. Generally not done, but amusing... end of story... no need to get into a "holy war"!

  53. Spearbox

    Miracle on 34th Street anyone?

    This whole debacle reminds me of that movie... where Kris Kringle tells people to go elsewhere to find better/cheaper products that provide more value for money to accomodate their purse strings.

    In the film, the store "Santa" worked at used it as a marketing ploy and used it to their advantage. Realistically it wouldn't happen... but hey, this guy was the Digital Santa.

    So, to conclude, Santa does exist and he works at Dell!!!


  54. Anonymous Coward


    why do people even send this stuff in?

    once it does come in does anyone vet for accuracy truth or can I send one in tomorrow from Dell\HP\the Pope?

  55. Anonymous Coward

    To Steve

    Real guitarists play Carvin.

  56. Anonymous Coward

    Real Musicians

    Real Musicians Play Modulus Guitars.

  57. Bernadette Newburg

    RE: I Still Don't Get It

    Whichever one does what you need it to. There is no "best" here. Windows excel at playing games (I'll throw in a caveat - XP excels; Vista's a piece of ----); Linux can save your butt and your data if your Windows hard drive crashes and you've been stupid and haven't backed it up lately; and Macs will run all three OSs, some better than others, if you are looking for an all-arounder and your games don't require the blazing speed of an XP based gaming PC and you don't feel like going the boot camp route.

    It all comes down to the right tool for the right job. That's all the computer and its OS is - a tool. This isn't Sunday school and we aren't learning the Ten Commandments here (but all the fanbois would have you think otherwise): "Thou shalt have no other OS but Me!" sort of thing. In short, the best OS, and the best computer, is the one that works best for YOU, whether it is Mac Tiger/Leopard, Windows XP/Vista, or any of the many flavors of Linux/Unix.

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