The Apple Mac Cost Misconception

Total Misconceptions and Being Severely Misinformed

Just for kicks, let’s look through some of the comments that ended up having the highest amount of votes from the last article:

VTOLfreak - 07/28/2008 3:13 AM Wrote:
"After reading this article I went to the Apple site and configured a Mac Pro with 2 Xeon’s, 8GB memory and 4TB storage. Cost: about €6000 ($8000) Then I went to a local webshop and put together a machine with the same specs as the one on the Apple site except I put in a GTX 280. Total cost: less then €3000.

OS X may be nice, but do you really want to pay a 100% premium on a machine just for the OS? For a €3000 price difference I’ll stick with Vista x64 or Ubuntu 8.04 x64. (Wich is free btw)"

Okay. Firstly, to do a proper comparison, you take the baseline Mac Pro at the price that’s indicated, and then you take all the components to the best of your ability, and go price them out. I specifically mentioned in my previous article that Apple’s options are insanely priced. There’s no basis to see this and then intentionally load up on overpriced upgrades to skew the prices when what a customer should do is get the upgrade parts elsewhere. This is what you would do if you bought a base system from any system builder, not just Apple. For fun, I took the specifications from the last page and loaded it up with 8GB of memory and 4TB of storage.

Added $404.97 for an additional 6 GB of memory
Added $719.96 for four 1 TB drives (Samsung Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/sec.)
Subtracted $79.99 for the single Seagate 320GB drive
Total Additional Cost: $1204.92
Total New Cost: $3978.25 for the Clone

Configuring the real Mac Pro system on Apple’s website following what VTOLfreak’s setup yielded a new price of $5949.00. Even with tax, and expensive shipping ($100), the price came out to be $6554.65 — where did VTOLfreak get $8000 from? I wonder that myself. As an interesting note, this Mac Pro as I configured according to VTOLfreak’s specifications, is $2051.00 less than what he claimed. Does going from a HD 2600XT to a GeForce GTX280 really cost a difference of $2051.00? No.

Also, the simple reason why the above user did what he did was because he configured a hypothetical system. "It’s sure fun to load up on all that overpriced hardware and get a nice big number at the end!" In reality, if real money was involved, an informed customer would not be adding in any of Apple’s ridiculously expensive options, and would instead source upgrades from elsewhere.

Kaldor - 07/28/2008 8:16 AM Wrote:
"Its a Mac. Congrats on paying too much for a computer."

How much is too much? Let’s take a look at a solid apples to apples comparison. We can already see from the previous results that Macs only command a small premium over an exactly equipped PC and in some cases cost even less for the same thing.

Where do these baseless misconceptions come from? At one point in time, Macs were more expensive than PCs, but even back several years ago, the difference is not "double the price" as some have mentioned. Compare hardware to hardware, not one way cheaper PC that "does the same thing" to a better configured Mac.

Mach5Motorsport - 07/28/2008 8:31 AM Wrote:
"You enjoy laptop with a propriatary based OS with an intel CPU? Enjoy those sluggish gamming framerates.

but you are keeping your desktop PC"

Generally speaking, isn’t this what people do when they have multiple computers for different duties? A user may have a home file server, a HTPC, a mobile workhorse, and a gaming desktop. All these machines serve different duties and therefore should come with different hardware, and as a result, different prices. I wouldn’t build a home file server the same way that I would build an HTPC. The same thinking applies to having both a Mac and a PC. If you spend a majority of your time doing creative work, you may end up using a Mac. When I play games for example, I go right back to my Windows box — and I pointed out a clear reason for that, the lack of high-end graphics support by Apple. This very issue is what I pointed a finger at Apple for.

Mac OS is definitely not "proprietary" and is widely used across many professional industries, especially audio, video, image processing, photography, architectural and others. To claim that Mac OS is proprietary indicates a total lack of understanding on the computer landscape. As proof, a survey conducted by Fortune indicated clearly that even Linux on the desktop still has yet to surpass the 1-percent market share milestone. In a recent posting at ArsTechnica, Apple surpassed 8-percent market share. Proprietary? Absolutely wrong.

  • The OS is proprietary since the EULA states you cannot use it on non-Apple hardware. Not because it doesn't have market share. Because it does.

    My gripe with apple's pricing is that there are no real budget oriented options. The cheapest macbook is 1000$+. The cheapest laptop I can find with Vista is 600 or less at Costco/Sams Club.

    Everyone says that OS X is faster and yada yada yada. I know people are going to shoot me for this, but I find all of the fancy desktop effects to be VERY laggy except on laptops with a dedicated video card. The Laptops especially slow to a crawl unless they have >2gb of ram. Like Vista. I work on these every day and if I ever bought one, it'd be for the looks- the OS is nothing special IMO. I'd install Vista on it.
  • rodney_ws
    Cherry picking over-priced PCs does little to prove your point. I realize that when you're going the Apple route you don't have many options, but those of us on the PC side have TONS of options... and even the most basic among us would be able to purchase higher performing, lower cost PCs than the ones you selected to go up against the Apples.

    For $1549 I purchase an HP laptop w/ 4 GB of RAM, 20.1 inch screen, Blu-Ray, 5 speakers, and an Nvidia 8800 GTS. My system absolutely crushes that $2000 MacBook Pro in every category... and still cost $450 less.

    Don't get me wrong... I "get" Apple. They look awesome, are well built, have an awesome retail presence, and they are right for some people... just not for me.
  • compy386
    If you're stupid enough to pay retail for a Dell, then Apple just might be the computer for you.
  • ouch1
    Funny how you are comparing base model MAC's to bleeding edge PC's. That my dear journalist is not comparing apples to apples. It is comparing apples to apple pie. Big difference. That just goes to prove for that same cost as a very high end PC you can get a base model MAC with a very proprietary OS (i.e. can't install it on anything but a mac with invoking the Jobs cops, check the EULA). Please if you make the mistake of buy an Airbook have fun changing the battery (you can't) or watching a DVD while on the road (again you can't no built in DVD drive).
  • hixbot
    Wow, you took a PC desktop with identical hardware and proved that it would cost the same as the baseline Mac Pro.
    What's the point? You can build a PC with hardware that isn't identical but PERFORMS better for CHEAPER. Picking the same overpriced PC components doesnt prove anything.
  • customisbetter
    i read the first page and stopped. Apples are designed to look good and be reliable. I get that and many other people do as well. They really aren't designed to be performers for cheap. The PC will ALWAYS win in the price category (and usually performance as well) because you pay for the reliability and style of Apple. Please stop comparing the two.
    Just to humour you though. The ENVY has a Carbon Fiber Chassis. BAM! There's 300 right there.
    BTW i am both a PC and Mac Owner.
  • angry_ducky
    I don't think that comparing the MacBook Pro and the XPS M1730 is a good comparison; the XPS is a desktop-replacement gaming machine, and is therefore bigger and heavier than the Mac. Also, the 8700M GT will outperform the 8600GT, and I am unable to find where it specifies that the 8700 has shared graphics memory.

    Dell sells the XPS M1530 which is a 15.4 inch laptop designed more for multimedia than for gaming (similar to the Mac). The M1530 starts at $1000, and with identical specs to the MacBook Pro (and Vista Ultimate), the price is $1650.
  • jwl3
    The main point is that with PC's you have hundreds of different vendors I can buy a computer from. Due to competition the price is always lower. The author is being disingenuous by picking for comparison laptops at non-discounted prices. Dell ALWAYS has deals with $400-$500 off. Apple NEVER discounts their products.

    I bought an Acer laptop from 2 weeks ago for $399. It came with a Dual core pentium, 120GB HD, and 1GB ram. What can you get for $399 at the Apple store - a tricked out ipod?

    Oh and another thing - if you play games at all, you can forget the Apple. Games just aren't made for it and the ones that are come out 1 year after the PC release.
  • jwl3
    Additional thought:

    The author's main point is that Macs are similarly priced to PC's. Then halfway through the article, he states that MAC prices are at a premium because it's from a top-shelf manufacturer and it is sold to cater to a "lifestyle. "

    Which one is it you duplicitous fool? Are you actually acknowledging that Macs are severely overpriced vs. PC's?
  • wow they messed up big time with this article. comparing thickness and weight of a 17" laptop vs a 15" macbook pro. sounds fair to me. also lets go ahead and say that the 8600m GT is faster than the 8700m GT. who wrote this, honestly? anyone who knows even a small amount about graphics cards should know that an 8700m GT does not use shared graphics memory. The 200GB drive in the dell is also most likely a 7200rpm vs the 5400rpm in the macbook pro. 802.11n wifi is a $20 upgrade on the dell, had to not include that to make the mac look better. Also that dell is designed for SLI graphics cards upto two 8800m GTX with 1GB of memory, lets see the 6lb macbook pro do that. Different machines designed for different purposes. Pick a better comparison tom, seriously!