I think Microsoft's usage of the HP notebook was a bad example; but we can all agree that macs are still significantly more expensive, when talking hardware only, than a comparable "pc" (though a Macbook Pro is a pretty pc built by Quanta Computer, the same company that builds Dells, hp's etc).
A better comparison would be an ASUS G71 17" series. This system kills the Macbook pro on specs, except on battery life. I agree that the HP wasn't a fair comparison because it has a slower cpu and a far worse GPU.http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834220511
Let's see for $500 less I get....
TWO 320GB 7,200 RPM hard drives. I can always take one out if I want to and it doesn't require removing 25 screws, only two screws. ASUS has an onboard RAID controller as well in this machine.
Easy to replace components
NON SOLDERED processor
USER REPLACEABLE BATTERY
GeForce 9800M, which is significantly faster than the 9600M found in the Macbook Pro. Check GPU review or Toms Hardware for comparisons.
BD-ROM/DVD+/- drive. Apple has yet to officially support BD playback (even though their GPU's and hardware are HDCP compliant), though with Toast you can burn BD-R's.
1920 x 1200 resolution, LED Backlit screen (glossy)
Expresscard/54 slot, not a /34 like the Macbook Pro (54 slots are a little nicer, they accommodate more card types due to the bigger width)
Two year warranty, including one year of accidental damage, including spills and water damage. Their LCD warranty is for ONE dead pixel. ONE bad pixel, and then you get a NEW LCD.
eSATA interface. Come on Apple! eSATA is FAR better than firewire 800 in many ways and is CHEAP to add to the machine.
You can find other ASUS laptops on newegg.com with lower specs that about match the Macbook Pro's 17" version. Some other machines with similar specs:
ASUS M70 (two 320GB 7,200 drives, GeForce 9650, eSata, BD $1899)
ASUS M70 (same machine, only 1 320GB drive, no BD, $1499)
Both the M70's come with the same screen as the G71. The low end M70 is very similar in spec to the Macbook Pro and is $1200 cheaper. I don't think Apple can really say that ASUS makes piece of crap laptops because ASUS IS THE OEM FOR APPLE'S MACBOOKS and many of their other hardware components.
I hope EFI-X can get a dongle to work on laptops soon. When that happens then I will get the same benefits as I have on my home brew Mac with a giga-byte board and a Intel Core2Quad. Apple's hardware is way too expensive.