The difference in price -- and that it was in Apple's favor -- was so surprising that I contacted Dell to confirm that I had not made a mistake in configuring its workstation.
Dell spokesman Marco Pena suggested that the numbers might be closer after configuring the Mac to include a three-year warranty similar to the Dell offering. "But I think we're still going to end up a little higher than the Mac," he said.
Not so surprising, I guess. I haven't looked lately at high-end Dell desktops, but I know my MacBook was cheaper than the comparable Dell laptops (the hardware is almost identical, actually, now that everyone's using Intel Core Duo chips), and hey, it runs Windows.