PC giant Gateway has launched a direct attack on Apple with its new Profile 4 computer range.

The grey Profile 4 all-in-one PC looks similar to the iMac, reports claim, with a 15-inch flat panel monitor connected to its keyboard. Like the new iMac, the 1.7GHz Intel processor is housed in the unit's base. It costs from $999 and also offers 128MB DDR SDRAM, a 20GB drive, and CD-ROM drive.

Other models sport 2.4GHz processors, up to 1GB DDR SDRAM, a 120GB drive, a CD-RW unit and a 17-inch model for up to $1,999. Each unit offers six USB ports.

Computer comparison Gateway has launched an extensive advertising campaign that compares the two computers. This claims a $200 price advantage and better performance. The company cites tests it ran showing its PC loading 3D graphics and JavaScript Web pages faster than the iMac.

The TV, Web and print advertising puts the two computers up against each other. Readers report that Gateway's ad ends with the Profile 4 mockingly spitting out its drive drawer at the iMac – a pastiche of the culmination of Apple's ad for its product. The company has also published a set of comparative performance tests in which it ran its machine directly against an iMac.

Some analysts say that Apple's 3 per cent market share may be a small one, but, given the decline in the PC market, it's a viable target group. “In a flat market you grow business by taking away people's customers,” Forrester Research analyst Carl Howe told NewsFactor.

Apple meanwhile is running its Switch campaign, encouraging PC users to move to the Mac.