Linked by Universal Mind on Fri 6th Aug 2010 16:16 UTC
Apple The "Macs are too expensive" argument is one of the most tiresome and long-lived flamewars in internet history. Obviously, Apple makes a premium product and charges premium prices, and you can always find a computer from another vendor that seems to match or exceed specs that costs less. But if you look at Apple's Mac Pro line, and compare it not so much to other vendors, but to the past lineup of Mac Pros, you discover some very unpleasant truths that help explain why Apple is enjoying record earnings for their Mac line, but doing so to the detriment of some its most loyal and valuable customers.
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What an excellent article?
by molnarcs on Fri 6th Aug 2010 16:50 UTC
molnarcs
Member since:
2005-09-10

Got to admit, I'm not particularly interested in the topic - but this article is quality stuff. Very well written, easy to follow, excellent use of charts. And it raises a good question: what the hell is Apple thinking? What's in it for them to offer so little for so much money? Is it worth having a larger profit margin (in a tiny segment of the market) at the risk of loosing their most loyal customers?

Who would be stupid enough to pay +$800 extra for an upgrade(provided they sell their old config for a really good price) for the miniscule performance gain (around 10% in OVER TWO YEARS)?

Reply Score: 9

RE: What an excellent article?
by David on Fri 6th Aug 2010 16:56 UTC in reply to "What an excellent article?"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

I'm not a Mac Pro user, but I'm a fan of Apple laptops. I'm afraid of Apple, with its newfound love affair with mobile devices, now seeing its Mac user base as a resource to be exploited rather than as a market to be cultivated. I hope this Mac Pro business is an anomaly and not the new normal.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: What an excellent article?
by werpu on Fri 6th Aug 2010 19:16 UTC in reply to "RE: What an excellent article?"
werpu Member since:
2006-01-18

I'm not a Mac Pro user, but I'm a fan of Apple laptops. I'm afraid of Apple, with its newfound love affair with mobile devices, now seeing its Mac user base as a resource to be exploited rather than as a market to be cultivated. I hope this Mac Pro business is an anomaly and not the new normal.

Same here, I would love to buy a MacPro, I could afford one, but it is not worth it - period, too expensive even if you count in the higher quality, if you can build yourself a pc with almost the same components for under 1000 USD.
As for the notebooks, I am here as well on the "be afraid" loop, if the recent price hikes on the entry level mac the mac mini are an indication we probably are in for a sour surprise there as well.
I am somewhat glad that Windows 7 has caught up and there is still Linux, if Macs become again too expensive to be justified as a buy the unix lovers among us can switch back to the goold old penguin and the rest over to Windows 7 or 8.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: What an excellent article?
by pxa270 on Fri 6th Aug 2010 20:11 UTC in reply to "RE: What an excellent article?"
pxa270 Member since:
2006-01-08

"If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth -- and get busy on the next great thing."

-- Steve Jobs, Fortune, Feb. 19, 1996

Reply Score: 11

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Most consumers won't care or won't look at such details, they'll just get the upgrade and smuggly be glad that it was expensive. Everybody has to have Itunes to use there Ithingy after all and if your getting a new computer.. why wouldn't you buy the Ilappy to run Itunes for your Ithingies?

Reply Score: 6

RE: What an excellent article?
by vivainio on Fri 6th Aug 2010 20:43 UTC in reply to "What an excellent article?"
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

What's in it for them to offer so little for so much money?

Answer is in the question.

Reply Score: 6

Comment by Halo
by Halo on Fri 6th Aug 2010 17:20 UTC
Halo
Member since:
2009-02-10

I think this article can be summed up by a bash.org quote (http://bash.org/?918519):

<Loonacy> Apple dumped the geek/hobbyist market to go after the highly profitable moron/trendy market.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Comment by Halo - trendy?
by jabbotts on Fri 6th Aug 2010 22:25 UTC in reply to "Comment by Halo"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Wait.. Apple wasn't going after the Trendy market before now?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Halo
by kvarbanov on Mon 9th Aug 2010 07:04 UTC in reply to "Comment by Halo"
kvarbanov Member since:
2008-06-16

I think this article can be summed up by a bash.org quote (http://bash.org/?918519):

Apple dumped the geek/hobbyist market to go after the highly profitable moron/trendy market.

Unfortunately I can vote you up only once ;) It turns out that despite of economic crisis, people still have some more cash in their secret stashes to make Jobs even happier ;) Certainly, I don't mind that, but I can't see why would the overpriced Apple world would win over custom-built PC with Linux on it. Anyway, cheers for the article.

Reply Score: 1

Short term memmory.
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 6th Aug 2010 17:30 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

I think if you go back to the 90's you'd see a similar pattern. This is not new behaviour by Apple. This is why I resisted getting an OSX machine for so long, before finally giving in. They had changed for most of this decade, but now it looks like they are going back to the 90's. My last computer was not a Mac, not sure if I will ever go back.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Short term memmory. - multiboot
by jabbotts on Fri 6th Aug 2010 22:29 UTC in reply to "Short term memmory. "
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

My primary motiviation would be the legal access to osX on native hardware resulting in a minimum tripple-boot system (win/lin/osx) or maybe a fourth slice for BSD. Outside of running osX without the hassle of questionably legal hackintosh setups, the hardware remains more limited than what other vendors sell. Still though, the option to boot osX for those things not native on win64 or Lin64... not entirely un-tempting.

Ah.. who am I kidding. It remains a "great hardware, shame about the company it comes from" issue.. I've always had more issue with the corp policy than the resulting products.

Reply Score: 3

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I'm with you on this one. At my budget, I had two choices for an OS X machine: A used Mac mini with limited expansion and non-upgradeable video, or a Leopard license for the infinitely upgradeable Hackintosh-friendly system I already owned. A Mac Pro would solve both my problems, but I'm not going to pay more for a computer than my car is worth.

So, I now use OS X on a system I built, and I'm on the fence about it. I would love to be on a true Mac, but Apple doesn't offer one for someone with my needs (inexpensive, fully expandable, reasonably powerful).

On the flipside, this computer actually performs better in Linux and Windows than OS X, especially video-wise, and I'd keep it with those OSes on it if I did have a "real" Mac.

Apple really is the Mercedes of the computer world: Sleek, powerful, beautiful and trendy, but way too expensive for the average consumer.

Reply Score: 1

aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

I have a real mac, a Macbook Pro C2D 2.2 GHz, 4 GB 667 MHz DDR2, 8600m GT 128 MB.

But I also have this hack, with OS X 10.4.6, Athlon 64 2 GHz, 1.5 GB 333 MHz DDR, 6800 LE 128 MB.


I've came back to and used the hack since may 2009.

Enough said ...

Don't get a real mac, just a huge waste of money. If I had bought a PC back then for around 9000 SEK instead of a 20.000 SEK MBP then eventually I could had upgraded it and played SC II. Or afford a new machine.

Now I will most likely get a new machine for that game alone anyway but it will cost around 9000 SEK now to. And the MBP isn't that old, or well, wasn't in may atleast ...

The quality, system configurations and prices sucks arse though. So does Apple management (too little care of consumers and too much care about making big bucks), software development (as in the OS and their applications), DRM, vendor-lockin and usability of their products.

And if I could I would shoot each and everyone who will reply on this with "DON'T BUY A MAC IF YOU WANT TO PLAY STARCRAFT!", I didn't and I whouldn't. Though I paid extra money for it to get commercial applications and the possibility of games over Linux, BSD and Solaris. It's an issue with the machine, their configurations and prices, not with the fact it's a mac as such.

Reply Score: 2

its a double whammy
by alcibiades on Fri 6th Aug 2010 17:43 UTC
alcibiades
Member since:
2005-10-12

Its a double whammy, is it not? One, you have a product which is, at most stages of the lifecycle, very expensive for what it is. But also, you are mostly obliged to buy a kind of product you do not really need, so you pay even more.

I've always felt that the way that the Mac community keeps denying that going with Macs is way more expensive than other Intels was the most decisive evidence of the cult status of the company. Its so obvious that it is, as soon as you take account of the two factors above, and its very hard to understand why people even try to deny it. It seems to have become one of these talismanic things, like the Old Left for years kept on denying the purges, or the Katyn massacre, regardless of the irrefutable evidence. It seemed to be, concede that, and after it comes the deluge.

The hockey stick in climate science is similar maybe. Funny, how these obviously false propositions become articles of faith.

Edited 2010-08-06 17:46 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE: its a double whammy - "more expensive"
by jabbotts on Fri 6th Aug 2010 22:32 UTC in reply to "its a double whammy"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Generally, the Intel based Apple machines have been on par with other professional grade hardware. Compared to an Acer.. sure, Apple looks expensive but put the hardware beside a business class machine like a Lenovo T or X series and your hitting the same price range.

Granted, this data may show them crossing back over into a state of more profit than substance.. we'll see I guess.

Reply Score: 2

hraq Member since:
2005-07-06

1. Lenovo T series offer 5 years warranty on hardware; Apple offer only 3 years maximum.
2. Most Apple hardware fail within 3 years if used at medium and less than 2 years if pushed harder (Exception is Server).
3. Mac Pro is a bigger jump that alot of mac users doesn't want.
but they want expandability. Anyway if you would improve your GPU later on then you will not find any vender to sell you one without paying 500$ for just a single model due to Apple tagging the hardware.

Yes it is dangerous to compute with Apple due to price problems; but they have the best OS and the best experience buy 1AU (Astronomical Unit)

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

but they have the best OS


They may have had a few years ago. Today? Forget it - Windows 7 is better in almost every aspect. It's faster, more responsive, has far better graphics and audio subsystems, and requires far fewer resources to get there.

Mac OS X has been the neglected child for a while now, and the cracks are starting to show.

Reply Score: 3

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Mac OS X software, first and third party, is still better than anything on Windows. Windows has a _long_ way to get the same instance on quality that the Mac software market has. That said, yes, OS X is on its way out in Apple's mind. Nothing major is happening with it and we can only wait until Apple demos 10.7 to see if they have any interest in competing with Win 7 or not.

Reply Score: 0

ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

What would happen if 10.7 required app approval like the iPhone? :/

Reply Score: 3

jackeebleu Member since:
2006-01-26

What if a Donkey was a Unicorn? This has no bearing on anything. Unless you work for Bertrand Serlet you have no idea whats going into 10.7. Last I checked, my MacPro running 10.6.4 was stable as ever and running like champ. The only crack showing, might be the crack that the previous poster is smoking.

Reply Score: 1

aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

Except the quality of a IBM Thinkpad T60 or something such would had been much better than the Apple Macbook Pro.

Nice looking products thanks to weird circuit boards (insufficient) cooling solutions and well designed (esthethically) cases.

But that's about it.

Shitty components for the price, shitty service outside the US, eventually shitty assemblage of the computers (you get what you pay for.. Not as a consumer but as the company Apple.)

Reply Score: 2

Already wrong at the second sentence.
by tupp on Fri 6th Aug 2010 17:44 UTC
tupp
Member since:
2006-11-12

FTA:

Obviously, Apple makes a premium product and charges premium prices...

The part about high prices is obvious.

The other part about Apple making a "premium" product is not obvious, primarily because it is false.

Are these features of "premium" products?:
- overheating original Mac;
- the round mouse;
- overheating laptops;
- dying batteries (Ipod);
- lack of connectivity;
- non-standard, proprietary connectors;
- glass laptop touchpads cracking;
- Imac 27" yellow screens;
- Imac graphics issues (black screens on boot-up);
- MacBook plastics cracking;
- MacBook fan "mooing" (fixed with firmware);
- Time Capsule PSU death;
- iPhone 3G/3GS case cracking;
- G5 cooling issues;
- Magsafe connector/cable shorting and burning;
- Mighty Mouse ball susceptible to constant malfunction from dirt;
- Machined laptop enclosures that bend (caused Apple to go back to plastic);
- Iphone 4 back glass supceptible to shattering;
- Iphone 4 antenna fiasco;
- etc.

Reply Score: 21

jackeebleu Member since:
2006-01-26

This post is TROLL-Icious!

Reply Score: 0

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

This post is TROLL-Icious!

That post is the TRUTH!

Reply Score: 3

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

No, this is not true. What is true is that Mac users report greater satisfaction. That is not evidence for the quality of Macs, but evidence for the cult nature of the Apple community. Given that the product is no better, often worse, both in value and in quality, what the reported satisfaction shows is intensity of cultism.

In the same way, we could take a poll of religions, and ask which one people were most satisfied with. The one which scored highest would not necessarily be either truer, or lead to better quality of life.

Its just that it would have more fanatical adherents.

Reply Score: 5

aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

Consumer Reports is an american magazine. Apple don't give a shit about their non-american consumers.

HW quality will be the same.

Prices, consumer service, retail stores, support, replacements, keeping-the-consumer-happy, warranty issues, repairs, ... won't.

Reply Score: 5

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Can you name any electronics manufacturer of apple's stature that does not have some issues? Its not like they are selling drinking water or some other commodity with a well established quantitative measure of quality.

Reply Score: 3

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Can you name any electronics manufacturer of apple's stature that does not have some issues?

Apple doesn't have just "some" issues -- Apple has constant, chronic design/engineering mishaps.

The total number of all such serious design/engineering problems for the past decade from all of the other major electronics manufacturers combined is less than the number of Apple blunders on the above list. And that list is not exhaustive nor does it include any of Apples GUI problems.

Reply Score: 4

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I don't know what your intention is with your posts, but you aren't really arguing very well. Its very easy to compare a product vs "competitors" and find it either lacking or superior depending on whcih competitor you are speaking of.

If you want to have a meaningful discussion, name an electronics company to compare Apple to. Simply listing defects from a single company doesn't give a neutral reader a sense of normalcy. To what standard should you apply towards apple's products? Should each and every product they create be perfect? Do other manufacturers not have similar problems?

I would suggest that the automobile industry might be a good comparison. even the luxury, premium cars have issues. Simply having some, is not enough to disqualify them from retaining the "premium" label. I would suggest the electronics industry is similar.

Reply Score: 1

bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

You lose for comparing a high tech industry to a 100+yro industry. I don't drive my computer, I don't type on my car.

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Ok, since the age of the industry is *the* most important piece of information when comparing industries....

Compare the electronics industry ( from the modern pc circa 1978) to the punk rock music industry.

Is the quality of original music directly related to the number of original members still alive? If so then Apple, likewise is obviously not a premium brand!

Reply Score: 1

BigDaddy Member since:
2006-08-10

I think the original post was merely stating that Apple has an image of perfection when in reality they are no better than the competition. In the end, it's just a computer.

I wouldn't know personally, I have only had an iPod and gave it away (to niece) because I disliked it.

Reply Score: 6

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

It should be obvious that no company in any industry produces perfect products. He was arguing that because there were issues, it cannot be considered "premium". You still cannot say apple is better or worse than "the others" with out defining the level of quality that "the others" have.

Reply Score: 2

werpu Member since:
2006-01-18

"Can you name any electronics manufacturer of apple's stature that does not have some issues?

Apple doesn't have just "some" issues -- Apple has constant, chronic design/engineering mishaps.

The total number of all such serious design/engineering problems for the past decade from all of the other major electronics manufacturers combined is less than the number of Apple blunders on the above list. And that list is not exhaustive nor does it include any of Apples GUI problems.
"
I would not call Apple worse than others, but what really annoys me is their we try to weasel out mentality until they get either a class action lawsuit on their neck or bad press coverage.
The classical example of this is the Macbook Air, a bugridden overpriced piece of solid overheating garbage. There never was a recall and to the worse two additional series with the same heating problems as the first one. Why was this never fixed:

a) First because it is broken by design
b) Because the air was a nieche product only used by a subset of people so the shit never hit the fan so seriously that Apple ever would do something to rectify the problem

Too bad if you shelled out 2500 dollars for the initial piece of aluminium then you basically were screwed because the symtoms usually did show up later than the usual 30 days grace period.

Reply Score: 6

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

osX had an issue in the TCP/IP stack and NIC driver that "didn't exist" under threat of litigation until six months or more later when "not a patch for that" was quietly slipped into the updates. They couldn't be bothered to admit too or even rush a patch for something they could cover up.

Fast Forward; the sure found a patch for the Safari vulnerabilities fast when it became a method for enabling device owners rather than Apple share holders (ie. jailbreaking). "This vulnerability is being exploited in the wild" - to allow device owners full access to there legally purchased devices.

Between Iphone and Android fracturing/crippling by hardware vendors.. I can't tell you how glad I am to have an N900 in the mail. That sucker will keep me going until Nokia or it's competition provides a true upgrade device (.. come on Nokia.. daddy needs a new N910..).

Reply Score: 4

Chicken Blood Member since:
2005-12-21

"Can you name any electronics manufacturer of apple's stature that does not have some issues?

Apple doesn't have just "some" issues -- Apple has constant, chronic design/engineering mishaps.

The total number of all such serious design/engineering problems for the past decade from all of the other major electronics manufacturers combined is less than the number of Apple blunders on the above list. And that list is not exhaustive nor does it include any of Apples GUI problems.
"

Do you have any real numbers to support that assertion? You are so full of shit, it's amazing. The anti-Apple vitriol is going to give you a seizure one day.

Reply Score: 2

molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

"
The total number of all such serious design/engineering problems for the past decade from all of the other major electronics manufacturers combined is less than the number of Apple blunders on the above list. And that list is not exhaustive nor does it include any of Apples GUI problems.


Do you have any real numbers to support that assertion? You are so full of shit, it's amazing. The anti-Apple vitriol is going to give you a seizure one day.
"

Yeah it was an exaggeration. No need to get so emotional about it... remember that seizure you mention ed there...

Edited 2010-08-07 19:47 UTC

Reply Score: 4

aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

Most of the problems most likely come from Apples desire to design great looking products.

Such as the fan noise, black screens / crashing applications due to GPU issues, smashed glass surfaces, shorted magsafe connectors, poor battery performance (cramped design = hotter = kill lithium-ion batteries faster = worse battery performance), not working DVD-burners, the issues with the mouse, ...

Reply Score: 2

nicolasgoddone Member since:
2009-04-20

You are right, all manufacturers have hw problems from time to time, but at least they don't market their stuff as the panachea to all their problems or go deleting posts in their support forums when start to pop up now do they?

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I don't know. You haven't specified "who" you are talking about. I'd be surprised if Apple was the only one guilty of it. Of course, apple also gets much more press than dell, Microsoft, Hp, asus, acer, creative labs, logitech, cannonical, or red hat * so there sins are magnified as well.


* See how easy that is? I just thought of competing companies and named them! Is that too much to ask?

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I can't disagree with providing specific examples but offhand, which of those companies that you mention are also marketing there products as perfect and invulnerable to malware or defect the way Apple does? I'd submit that Apple paints a target on it's back and then does all it can to squirm out of responsibility when that advertising image is threatened.

Reply Score: 4

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

You're right about one thing: Apple's current marketing spiel about "magical" devices is quite annoying. There's nothing magical about the iPad; it's a really big iPod touch. It's something that was somewhat revolutionary three years ago, blown up to e-reader size to appear innovative. The one good thing to come out of the iPad release and its apparent success in the market is that tablet PCs are being taken seriously now.

The Magic mouse is interesting, but not as useful as a similarly priced multi-button mouse from Logitech. Sometimes this company makes me laugh in ridicule; sure I'm a tech geek and I love seeing a well-designed and good looking gadget but Steve and company are way too into themselves sometimes.

Reply Score: 4

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

You can build a similar list for any major manufacturer. Dell and Toshiba particularly come to mind. I can't count the Toshiba laptops I've had to fix recurrent issues like the power receptacle breaking and falling into the case (nearly impossible to fix without a new bottom shell), six-month life on the LCD lamp and inverter, rampant keyboard failure, etc.

Then there is Sony's infamous failing RAM slots in early and mid-2000s Vaio laptops. Dell with their faulty capacitor cover-up, HP and Compaq with overheating drives and underpowered power supplies, respectively...I can go on all day, as I've been diagnosing and fixing these issues for friends, family and customers for the past 15 years.

I couldn't help but notice that your list had 18 incidents over a 30-year life span; not bad for one company. You also included fixed issues -- "MacBook fan 'mooing' (fixed with firmware)" -- and issues common to anything made similar -- "Iphone 4 back glass susceptible to shattering" -- seriously? So is my monitor and any freaking thing else on this planet made of glass!

Sorry but just about everything on your list has happened to every tech gadget company and computer manufacturer out there. I mean, come on: "G5 cooling issues" -- have you never owned a Pentium 4? "Mighty Mouse ball susceptible to constant malfunction from dirt" -- as was every ball-based mouse made in the past 30 years or so.

Look, I'm not apologizing for Apple; they are a tech company and they have their good and bad designs. In fact, I'll give you proprietary connectors one hundred percent; that's a beef I've had with Apple since day one (and I'm literally as old as the Apple ][ ). My point is that it's easy to build a list like this for any company, and it doesn't prove anything.

Reply Score: 4

DeadFishMan Member since:
2006-01-09

While I don't have any beef with most of your points, this one really bugs me...

"Iphone 4 back glass susceptible to shattering" -- seriously? So is my monitor and any freaking thing else on this planet made of glass!


Unlike a monitor, a cell phone is intended to be kept mostly on a back pocket or some such and MUST face a drop on the floor every now and then and therefore having any part made of glass that can crack, shatter, scratch or otherwise damage easily is indeed a poor design decision. Apple probably knows it but then again it is not exactly known for putting function over form...

Reply Score: 4

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Not to defend them --because I do agree with you, it's stupid to have the entire back shell made of glass -- but at least they were smart enough to use hardened glass. I would have preferred to see a metal back like the original iPhone and the current iPod touch, or even ceramic, but hardened glass is still a good bit more durable than the cheap plastic my BlackBerry is made of.

I do think they should have included free silicone sleeves in every iPhone 4 box from the beginning, both to improve durability as well as fix the antenna issue before it became an issue.

Also, don't forget that almost all smartphones these days are made with glass screens that cover 90% or more of the phone's surface. Once it's in your back pocket, it doesn't matter if it's the front or the back made of glass, it's only a matter of time until it's sat on and cracked. That is what belt cases are for.

As for those who must pocket their phone since they wouldn't be caught dead wearing a belt, there are front and thigh pockets on pants for a reason.

Reply Score: 2

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

I can't count the Toshiba laptops I've had to fix recurrent issues like the power receptacle breaking and falling into the case (nearly impossible to fix without a new bottom shell), six-month life on the LCD lamp and inverter, rampant keyboard failure, etc.


Sounds like bad luck and not indicative of the company.

http://www.engadget.com/2009/11/17/laptop-reliability-survey-asus-a...

Reply Score: 2

Computing has changed
by athomsonguy on Fri 6th Aug 2010 18:29 UTC
athomsonguy
Member since:
2010-06-08

"Granted, I totally ignored costs for drives, memory and graphics card."

I'm not sure that this article is going to find accurate results. The market for CPUs has really changed in the last few years. We all remember the Ghz race, but today the CPUs are trying to get wide and control heat. Because we are not really looking for perf from the CPU anymore there is increasing emphasis on RAM and graphics cards. I'm willing to bet that the percentage cost of both of these components went up during the sampled period.

I like the analysis, but really wish he had looked at the cost of more components in the system. I really don't think there is enough here to draw any conclusions.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Computing has changed
by TheGZeus on Fri 6th Aug 2010 19:36 UTC in reply to "Computing has changed"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

...nah.
Processors in 'workstations' et al are gaining cores, and are still gaining ghz vs the privious generations.

Graphics cards? Yeah, gpgpu has alot of buzz now, but without open SDKs and cross-graphics-card APIs (OpenCL support from anything is currently vaporware), developers will _not care_, unless they're already using CUDA, and I do mean already. Anyone who needs gpgpu _now-now-now_ already has a 'supercomputer' of some kind, and is tuning their oceanic/space/geologic simulation for better performance as I type.
No one will write anything that matters for one platform any more (anything using OpenCL basically has to use OSX, and anything that's OSX-exclusive is geared for... morons. (I'm not saying all OSX users are morons, but anyone writing code for that platform alone is writing stuff that can be found in cross-platform software, but is shiny) CUDA works on nVidia only). A closed SDK will turn off nearly all Linux devs, and I'm sure a large number of devs have been turned off to such things by being forced into XCode.

RAM? I use 512mb on average. Were I using a full desktop environment I'd use maybe 1.5gb, and that's assuming I was using that desktop's default application set, rather than what I use now.
Do the other big systems use more RAM? Yeah, wastefully. Why do I say wastefully? Because they're not doing anything more! Shiny effects? KDE4 has them. Heck, Compiz does a decent imitation of OSX. _Less_ default functionality? Written for _one architecture?_ The resource usage for Windows and OSX are certifiable insanity.

Sorry, computing will be CPU-bound for the next decade.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Computing has changed
by james_parker on Fri 6th Aug 2010 20:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Computing has changed"
james_parker Member since:
2005-06-29

Sorry, computing will be CPU-bound for the next decade.


I must disagree. Computing is not really CPU-bound; rather it is main-memory (MM) speed bound. Nearly every other technology used in computers has increased in speed over the last 10-20 years by at least an order of magnitude more than MM.

The "hack" that has been used to ameliorate this problem is to increase the amount of cache available, as well as the number of cache levels. Managing this cache efficiently and correctly is one of the biggest problems faced in CPU/system design today, and it still wreaks havoc with the performance of certain types of software (since the cache hit ratio can dramatically affect performance).

If/when there is a commercially available breakthrough in MM speed (MRAM, memristor-based RAM, etc.), low-level computer architecture will change dramatically, as will programming techniques.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Computing has changed
by TheGZeus on Sat 7th Aug 2010 16:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Computing has changed"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

That's true, but only relevant once Windows is no longer the dominant 'operating system'.
OSX isn't gonna be ported that fast, either.

Do you really think these multi-billion-dollar code bases are going to be re-written in 10 years? I know they could be, but these companies will not.

If I thought 10 years was enough for FOSS to overtake the competition, I'd agree with you, but I don't think it will.

Will supercomputer and hobby-kit users be underwhelmed with standard CPU hardware in 10 years? Yeah. I doubt I'll be running any x86 hardware in 10 years. That said, I'm pretty sure most people still will be.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Computing has changed
by james_parker on Mon 9th Aug 2010 20:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Computing has changed"
james_parker Member since:
2005-06-29

That's true, but only relevant once Windows is no longer the dominant 'operating system'.
OSX isn't gonna be ported that fast, either.

Do you really think these multi-billion-dollar code bases are going to be re-written in 10 years? I know they could be, but these companies will not.


I suspect that the question of relevance refers to my statement:

If/when there is a commercially available breakthrough in MM speed ([...]), low-level computer architecture will change dramatically, as will programming techniques.


If so, I don't mean to imply that such upgrades couldn't be largely backward compatible. Most of the architecture changes would be in areas such as the cache management and MMU (i.e., the "northbridge"). Even the OS, other than managing TLBs scarcely touches this; it might even be possible to make these changes wholly invisible; it may be worthwhile to provide some kernel patching, however.

The changes in programming techniques would largely be simplifications; some software needs to be somewhat cache aware to perform adequately; the need for this would largely or entirely go away.

When 64-bit architecture, the "NX" bit, DDR3, multiple CPUs and virtualization technology were each introduced, Windows, OSX and other Operating Systems continued to operate, albeit with patches and upgrades to support new hardware. This could easily be the same type of upgrade -- although I can virtually guarantee that it would require brand new CPU sockets on our motherboards.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Computing has changed
by aaronb on Sun 8th Aug 2010 21:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Computing has changed"
aaronb Member since:
2005-07-06

Sorry, computing will be CPU-bound for the next decade.


A lot of projects are now using GPUs for computing (As well as CPUs). ATI and Nvidia have added OpenCL to their drivers. OpenCL is not limited to MacOS X.

http://boinc.berkeley.edu/projects.php
http://www.nvidia.com/object/cuda_opencl_new.html
http://developer.amd.com/gpu/ATIStreamSDK/pages/TutorialOpenCL.aspx
http://www.khronos.org/opencl/

Reply Score: 2

Upgrade Decision
by LobalSurgery on Fri 6th Aug 2010 19:54 UTC
LobalSurgery
Member since:
2006-09-07

I bought an original Power Mac G5 when it first came out; top-of-the-line dual 2.0 GHz in 2003. I used a 20% educational discount and got it (relatively speaking) cheap. Of course, back then if you wanted to run OS X you had to buy a Mac, there was no Intel DIY option. With numerous RAM & graphics card updates, I've used it as my main computer for the past 7 years and it has worked well.

I do a lot of RAW photo editing so a couple of months ago I was looking to upgrade.

The Mac Pro now STARTS at $2499 (4-core), the 8-core is $3500, and the 12-core is a minimum of $5000. Crazy. Plus there is no USB 3.0, eSATA, faster Firewire / RAM or a new case (it has remained essentially unchanged for 7 years now). It did get standard wireless though. So you get lots of processing power (albeit at a hefty price) but otherwise mostly old technology, and it will probably be 12-18 months before they get updated again. I think they just want desktop users to buy an iMac instead, expandability be damned.

Well, that was enough for me. I assembled myself a Hackintosh for a total cost of $1000. Core i7 overclocked to 3.36 GHz, 6 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM, Nvidia GTX 260, USB 3.0, eSATA. By no means top of the line, but spec-wise and performance-wise, it meets (and usually exceeds) a currently available Mac Pro optioned up to $3300 (this will drop somewhat once the new models hit the market). The case isn't nearly as nice, and there's no support, but to me these aren't worth $2300. I currently have it set up to dual-boot with Windows 7. See here for a similar comparison:

http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/2010/08/building-customac-customac-p...

Building a Hackintosh is not quick and simple, at least not the first time you try it. Some hardware components works better than others and there are often graphics/network/audio/sleep issues to troubleshoot, but the community support is very good. For any tech-savvy user, it's worth a shot if you want or need to run OS X on its own or would like to do so alongside another OS.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Upgrade Decision
by jackeebleu on Fri 6th Aug 2010 20:23 UTC in reply to "Upgrade Decision"
jackeebleu Member since:
2006-01-26

So in other words, you get what you pay for. You can go the hackintosh route and get what you pay (community support, drivers that may work, etc based on the community). In the event that something goes wrong you can always rely on the community to fix it even though the machine is down right?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Upgrade Decision
by LobalSurgery on Fri 6th Aug 2010 21:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Upgrade Decision"
LobalSurgery Member since:
2006-09-07

Yes, you get something when you pay more. Mainly a much nicer case, standard Bluetooth/Wireless and Apple support. But this comes at a $2300 premium. It would be worth perhaps $300 - 500 to me but not $2300 (I'd buy a 4-core Mac Pro for $1500 in a hearbeat - but it doesn't exist). Obviously there are other technically inclined folks that feel the same way. But that was my point, you personally may find the extra cost to be worthwhile. I was not arguing that it is worthless.

You also give up certain items by choosing the Mac Pro: faster, cheaper RAM, available graphics cards, an overclockable CPU, expansion slots. Just buy what works best for you.

By the way, the vast majority of drivers that a Hackintosh uses are Apple's own (in the System/Library/Extensions folder), only a small handful are required in the Extras/Extensions folder. There are utilities that will install the necessary ones for you. It's much easier building a Hackintosh than it was a year or even 6 months ago.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Upgrade Decision
by Morgan on Sat 7th Aug 2010 01:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Upgrade Decision"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Or you can do like I did: Buy the most compatible hardware in the first place and the worst that can go wrong is user error -- easily fixed.

The first time you install OSX86 I can almost guarantee you won't get something right, but if you research and read up on what you did wrong the next time it will either work, or work well. After that it's gravy.

Or in other words, it's like installing Linux was ten years ago. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Upgrade Decision
by kragil on Sat 7th Aug 2010 07:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Upgrade Decision"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

Could you post your exact hardware? I am interested in a really good (trouble free) configuration.

Thanks

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Upgrade Decision
by Morgan on Sat 7th Aug 2010 08:26 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Upgrade Decision"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Well, no Hackintosh is truly trouble-free, but mine was an easy build. The main components for compatibility are the motherboard and video card. This is what I have:

Gigabyte GA-P35-S3G motherboard
Galaxy GeForce 8400GS 256MB

I used iAtkos v7 to make it easy on myself, but make sure you buy a copy of Leopard to stay quasi-legal. I've read reports of this motherboard being able to boot the retail disc with boot132, and supposedly Snow Leopard boots without modification, but I haven't tried either of those options myself.

A note on the 8400GS: You'll have to experiment with all the different methods of getting your video to work properly; each card is slightly different. I went with the 8400GS for budget reasons but you'd be better served with a 7300GT, 8800GT or 9400GT for ease of installation. The 8400GS can be a challenge, but once you get it right you'll have decent 3D performance and flawless TV-out.

Also, the sound hardware on this board can use several different drivers, and each one has its drawbacks. For good sound support you'd be best served finding a good PCI sound card with full native support (check insanelymac.com).

Good luck with your build!

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Upgrade Decision
by LobalSurgery on Sat 7th Aug 2010 18:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Upgrade Decision"
LobalSurgery Member since:
2006-09-07

Here are the main components of my build:

Gigabyte X58A-UD3R motherboard
Core i7 940
6 GB G.Skill 1600 MHz RAM
GeForce GTX 260 896 MB
1 TB HDD
Sony Optiarc CD/DVD burner
Corsair 850 W power supply
Antec 900 case

The Gigabyte MB's seem to offer the best overall compatibility, but others have had good results with Asus as well.

I recommend following the guidelines at http://www.tonymacx86.com/ - there are clear instructions, downloadable utilities and helpful people.

Have fun!

Reply Score: 1

jackeebleu
Member since:
2006-01-26

So I went to Apple's site, clicked all over the place trying to find this new expensive MacPro. Then it was, the great White Whale,

"Quad Core starting at $2499"
"8-core starting at $3499"
"12-core starting at $4999"

The machines are not yet available to be configured or priced. In fact on the macro main page it states, "Coming August".

So being a fan of being fair and balanced. I searched high and lo for machines that used the new Intel Xeon 5620 "Westmere" processor. Not HP, not Dell, but was able to track down a Lenovo ThinkStation. Tried my damnedest to match it specs to those listed on (http://www.apple.com/macpro/specs.html), but I found this:

(Here's pic proof, http://tinyurl.com/3yegnrm)
ThinkStation D20 Windows with SAS Hard Drive
System components
*Genuine Windows 7 Professional 64
*Tower 7x9 Mechanical with Intel 5520 Motherboard
*8GB ECC DDR3 PC3-8500 SDRAM (1GBx8 UDIMMS)
*ATI Fire Pro V7750 (1GB, DP+DP+DVI)
*Integrated Audio
*Internal RAID - Not Enabled
*300GB SAS 3.5" Hard Drive - 15000 rpm
*Lenovo 16x DVD +/- RW Dual Layer (Windows 7)
*Dual Integrated Broadcom Ethernet 10/100/1000
*IEEE 1394 Adapter
*Lenovo Preferred Pro USB Full Size Keyboard - US English
*Lenovo Optical Wheel Mouse - USB Primax 400 DPI
*Line Cord - US - U, F, D, S, T, L, A Models

Cost $5008 - $285= $4723

Per Apple's page:

*Two 2.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5620 “Westmere” processors
*ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory, PCI Express 2.0, two Mini DisplayPort outputs, and one dual-link DVI port
*Four FireWire 800 ports (two on front panel, two on back panel), Five USB 2.0 ports (two on front panel, three on back panel), Two USB 2.0 ports on included keyboard
Front-panel headphone minijack and internal speaker, Optical digital audio input and output TOSLINK ports, Analog stereo line-level input and output minijacks, Multichannel audio through Mini DisplayPort
*1TB or 2TB hard drives, Serial ATA 3Gb/s, 7200 rpm, 32MB cache, 512GB solid-state drive, Serial ATA 3Gb/s
* 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
*Keyboard/Mouse included

And again, looking like it's gonna start around $3500, we don't know because Apple hasn't posted the config for the new machines yet. On that approximation alone, the author is basically FOS.

Reply Score: 1

telns Member since:
2009-06-18

You've got some important differences there. Those video cards are both ATI and both 1GB, but the VPro is fully $500 more expensive. A 300GB 15K SAS runs about $200 more than a 1TB SATA, etc.

Reply Score: 1

redm Member since:
2005-07-06

You've got some important differences there. Those video cards are both ATI and both 1GB, but the VPro is fully $500 more expensive. A 300GB 15K SAS runs about $200 more than a 1TB SATA, etc.


Some prices for the major components.

via Newegg
$390/ea Intel E5620
$160 ATI Radeon HD 5770
$70 1TB HD
$20 DVD burner

Obviously there are more parts to price, but $4-5k? No.

Edited 2010-08-06 22:37 UTC

Reply Score: 1

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

You are making the classic mistake.

The way to do the comparison is NOT to take a Mac configuration and then try to duplicate it. You will generally end up spending more, but this does not prove that the Mac is better value or not more expensive. It only is if that is what you started out needing.

So how should you do it?

Figure out what you need. The Hackintosh poster above did this, and figured he needed a quad core Pro. "I'd buy a 4-core Mac Pro for $1500 in a hearbeat - but it doesn't exist".

Then he looked to see what the nearest thing to this was in the Apple lineup, and he found it was a couple thousand more expensive and more computer than he needed.

The Apple tax comes from two levies. One levy is paying more than you need to for a given configuration. This happens in a grand way with the Mini. It also happens at different points in the cycle with all the models, though at some points more than others. The other levy comes from having to buy a different, often way over specified, and completely unbalanced, configuration from what you need. This happens with the Pro line, where you end up with this bizarre combination of rarified processors, middle to low range commodity graphics, and commodity memory and disks. All in very expensive custom cases for goodness' sake.

This is how Apple maintains margins, and its why for any money conscious buyer, Apple is almost always a bad choice. And that means any institution that has better things to do with the money, and any individual who is making sacrifices to buy their machine.

I always get asked, should we be thinking about a Macintosh. And when I explain the tradeoffs, the conclusion is always, no we should not.

However, despite the spin coming out of Cupertino, the way to do this comparison is, start with what you need, then look for what is available from the usual suppliers, then compare this with what Apple offers. Do not start with some arbitrary Mac configuration which is probably not what you need in the first place, and then prove that it is equally expensive to duplicate it. That proves nothing.

Edited 2010-08-07 10:38 UTC

Reply Score: 3

jackeebleu Member since:
2006-01-26

You are making the classic mistake.

The way to do the comparison is NOT to take a Mac configuration and then try to duplicate it. You will generally end up spending more


Wait a minute. Isn't that how you do comparisons? Wasn't the basis of the article and most peoples complaints that Apple is more expensive that its competitors, is bilking its customers, and delivers less real value?

I've taking the standard machine config, and compared it to another machine config from another manufacturer on EQUAL footing. Since people base the fact that Apple is using industry standard parts across its product lines, they should be just as cheap as equal PC's. This is called an Apples to Apples comparison (no pun intended).

So how should you do it?

Figure out what you need. The Hackintosh poster above did this, and figured he needed a quad core Pro. "I'd buy a 4-core Mac Pro for $1500 in a hearbeat - but it doesn't exist". Then he looked to see what the nearest thing to this was in the Apple lineup, and he found it was a couple thousand more expensive and more computer than he needed."


So the basis of the argument should be changed then. It's not a matter that Apple is more expensive, as I've proven is not the case, it's that the OP had a requirement that no Apple product, let alone, other manufacturers met, hence, so he built his own. Thats not Apple's fault, again, that's on fallacy on the OP's part. If HP or Dell made a compelling product with those specs at the lower price point would the OP have bought it? Or remained content in building his own using discount parts? Thats like me going to Burger King, saying "I want a Western Whopper (flame grilled quarter-pound beef patty, sesame seed bun, mayonnaise, lettuce, mustard, tomato, pickles, ketchup, sliced onion, BBQ sauce, Cheddar cheese, & bacon), but I want it on Ciabatta bread, with no bacon, and I'm lactose intolerant, so make my cheese soy based, and oh yeah, I only have $1.20 to spend on this, now, please hurry, I've got a very important meeting and I cant be late." It's not Burger King was too expensive or doesn't offer options people like me enjoy, its that my expectations aren't inline with Burger Kings offerings. So Burger King should be relieved of any blame.

The Apple tax comes from two levies. One levy is paying more than you need to for a given configuration. This happens in a grand way with the Mini.


Again, this is a case of wanting something, but not really wanting it. Its called a value proposition. Apple wants to give you the whole kit and caboodle, but you want it on your terms. Like having Cindy Crawford as your mate in her prime, but being mad because she has put on makeup and do her hair so that she "looks" like Cindy Crawford.

It also happens at different points in the cycle with all the models, though at some points more than others. The other levy comes from having to buy a different, often way over specified, and completely unbalanced, configuration from what you need. This happens with the Pro line, where you end up with this bizarre combination of rarified processors
You mean processors that perform? Like the ones that Intel recommends for use in servers that aren't normally in desktops or gaming rigs but Apple found a way to put them in a desktop form factor anyway? I wonder if thats why they call it MacPro rather than Mac Hobbyist? Hmmmm.

Do not start with some arbitrary Mac configuration which is probably not what you need in the first place, and then prove that it is equally expensive to duplicate it. That proves nothing.


You should have stopped at the first sentence.

Reply Score: 2

LobalSurgery Member since:
2006-09-07

it's not a matter that Apple is more expensive, as I've proven is not the case, it's that the OP had a requirement that no Apple product, let alone, other manufacturers met, hence, so he built his own. Thats not Apple's fault, again, that's on fallacy on the OP's part.


Well, that's not entirely correct. I could have bought something from Dell, HP, etc. but I wanted complete control over hardware components for the sake of better compatibility. I probably could have made these work with additional effort, but the cost difference was small (see below) so I didn't go that route.

Just now, I priced an HP Elite HPE-380t at $1100 that has a Core i7 processor, 9 GB of RAM (at 1066 MHz however) and an ATI 5450 graphics card. It's a little slower and a little pricier than my build, but it's already put together. If Apple had something like this, I'd have bought it. As I said before, I would have paid a reasonable premium over this amount to get the Mac Pro case, standard wireless, official support etc. Other OEM's make a < $2500 Core i7 tower (and not by an insignificant margin), but Apple does not.

I like Apple hardware (and obviously OS X) but right now the Mac Pro line does not make much sense for me.

Reply Score: 1

jackeebleu Member since:
2006-01-26

You realize that Corei7 doth not a Xeon equal (yes, I used my Yoda voice)

Reply Score: 1

LobalSurgery Member since:
2006-09-07

You are correct, there is currently about a $25 difference between the Xeon W3530 (used in the base model Mac Pro) and the Core i7 930.

In addition to price, these two processors are very similar both in design and overall performance. Take your pick ;)

Reply Score: 1

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

My interest is not that there is a Mac product I want, so I look around and try to get it cheaper, and may or may not.

My interest is, I (or a client) have a need, and this need can be met with a given hardware configuration available from a variety of sources in the market. I look and see, does Apple have anything competitive.

90%+ of the time, the answer is no. You want to match it, you have to buy more than you need, or get less than you need. The result of this is what interests me and my clients: buying Apple results in spending more money and getting nothing for it, or else it results in spending the same amount of money, and geting less than you need. In short, 90%+ of the time, its just stupid.

The classic case this occurs with is the Mini. What you get with the Mini is mediocre performance at an inflated price, but with something quite exceptional in addition: its a machine you can carry around in your coat pocket.

Try and duplicate that functionality at a cheaper price, in general, you cannot. Well, with Intel mini ITX boards for i3 and Core2, maybe you are becoming able to now. Until recently it was impossible.

But do you really, really need to carry it around in your coat pocket? When that feature costs you a few hundred dollars? 90%+ of the time you don't. Or you want more performance. So buying Apple will, as usual, lead you to less performance or more cost. In short, most of the time, its stupid and a waste of money.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by fran
by fran on Fri 6th Aug 2010 20:48 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

I've been working on Windows computers now all my life. Only recently I had my first experience on a Mac OSX computer. I enjoyed the interface if I had the desk space I would love to have one, but then I also enjoy windows and Linux. In my country apple computers is much more expensive and in the end for me it all boils down to getting my computing tasks done in the fastest most cost effective manner. I'm conditioned to the windows interface and I can find my way around it and do task very quickly on it. Have I grown up with Macs it would have been the other way around. With apple mostly using "pc" hardware now like Intel ect. I can’t see why they should continue asking boutique prices. I understand companies act in their shareholders best interest but given Apple’s recent record billion dollar profits this is starting to reek of gross profiteering and many people don’t like that.

Edited 2010-08-06 20:59 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Successful argument
by ezylstra on Fri 6th Aug 2010 20:54 UTC
ezylstra
Member since:
2010-07-16

You've very well stated the case for why you don't want to buy a Mac Pro. Great. So don't. I sure would like Apple to sell systems for a lot less. I'd buy more of them more often.

Your article seems to argue that Apple is doing something immoral, if not boarderline illegal. If you don't like it, don't buy it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Successful argument
by righard on Fri 6th Aug 2010 21:09 UTC in reply to "Successful argument"
righard Member since:
2007-12-26

Where exactly in his article does he seem to argue that Apple is doing something immoral, if not boarderline illegal?

Reply Score: 1

Switching... from a Mac to a PC
by pixelnate on Sat 7th Aug 2010 00:06 UTC
pixelnate
Member since:
2006-03-23

This argument is the exact reason that I am building a dual Opteron 61xx machine right now. You forgot to mention that the options for graphics cards is nearly non-existent. Only one Quadro card and NO FirePro cards are available on the Mac. Pathetic.

If you are in Photoshop or After Effects you don't see the operating system much anyway. And Blender runs better on Linux than any other OS. Goodbye Apple.

Reply Score: 1

Premium Products?
by Lorin on Sat 7th Aug 2010 01:32 UTC
Lorin
Member since:
2010-04-06

Saying that Apple provides premium products at premium prices sounded like a joke at first as Apple in charging you premium prices is far from delivering a product with premium quality and premium features.

Reply Score: 2

I don't understand
by benb320 on Sat 7th Aug 2010 02:59 UTC
benb320
Member since:
2010-02-23

I Don't understand why some people defend these companies, like apple, microsoft, sony, etc.

Some people defend them religiously, like they are paid to, even though in truth the companies don't care that these fanboys exist, after all companies are just designed to make money and nothing else,

So really why do fanboys defend companies?

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Sat 7th Aug 2010 05:36 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm a die hard Mac user and wouldn't trade me iMac or MacBook Pro for anything in the world but the one thing I could never understand about the Mac Pro is the pricing of it. I say this in contrast to back when there was the PowerMac - sure it was never bargain basement but it was possible to pick up a low end PowerMac and a screen for around NZ$3,000 without too many problems. These days NZ$3,000 doesn't even buy you a low end Mac Pro - I'd love someone to explain to me what the hell has happened to their Pro line? their laptops are great, their iMacs are pretty good, I never really caught onto the whole Mac mini but hey what ever floats your boat (the MacBook Air seems to be a rip off designed for people with more dollars than sense) - the Mac Pro always seems to be the odd man out.

Are Apple trying to slowly kill it off? maybe pushing iMac instead of a low end Mac Pro? even if they did have a lower end Mac Pro they do need to provide a VESA driver for Mac OS X so that when one upgrades their video card it is possible to do a re-install without having to install the old card, install the OS, install the driver then install the new piece of hardware again.

Edited 2010-08-07 05:38 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Yep, absolutely.
by cheradenine on Sat 7th Aug 2010 08:20 UTC
cheradenine
Member since:
2010-08-07

I'm a Software Developer.

At my last company, I persuaded them to buy me a Mac Pro 8-core; on the basis that it actually was reasonably priced for its performance, was the only thing that could run *everything* (mac, windows, linux). It was a super machine.

On the back of this, I bought my own 2008 Mac Pro 8-core 2.8Ghz. It was expensive at around £1800, but I really wanted a 30" display, and the only real way to drive that was with a proper graphics card. Save for the Awful Awful Awful FB-DIMM memory, I've loved it and still use it today; I switched to OS X back then, and I've not touched windows since.

I'm a co-owner of a business. We're about to move from distributed development into an office, and that office needs kitting out with computers to do Software Development on.

Software engineers need RAM (often running extra VMs), and they need Disk - specifically SSDs or fast spinning 10K drives. They need *reasonable* CPU, but above quad-core it's basically a waste of money.

My heart I want to kit it out with Macs. Because I don't want to have differing environments at home and at work (muscle memory for keybindings for one). But what would I get?

I'd consider the 27" iMac. Nice screen, adequate CPU, can fit 16Gb of RAM. But Apple seem to have made it willfully hard to add an SSD (and their own offering is both overpriced and underperformant).

So a Mac Pro then. Looking at the preview page for the new range, and I get "Quad-core starting at £1999". So the price has gone *up* from my 8-core to give me... a single 2.8Ghz, with less on-board cache than my existing desktop. AND, if I want >8Gb, I either have to BTO really expensive RAM, or throw away what's already there, because it's only got 4 slots. And, of course, a monitor.

This article is dead on. When I got my previous Mac Pros, if you wanted dual-socket, you'd be paying a premium with Dell as well; you had to be Xeon for DP. Apple *were* competitive, but only competitive at the positions they chose to fill.

But a Xeon is just a Core i7 with ECC support (that I don't need) and Dual-socket support (which if it's uniprocessor, you don't need). So what does a Core i7 from another manufacturer cost?

Well, the Dell XPS 8100 is very close, down to the same Video card. Adding bluetooth and WiFi brings it up to £979. Less than half price. Is the Mac better? Yes. Is it worth *twice* the money? And I suspect that when the XPS 9100 appears (with the hexacore i7s), the gap will be even greater.

I'm sure the strategy looks like it's working, but there's definitely money being left on the table.

--
Edit: Oh yeah. For the CPUs alone, at *today's* prices:

2x E5462 2.8Ghz Xeons (As in 2008 8-core) : £1304 (http://is.gd/e7br2)
1x W3530 2.8Ghz Xeon (As in 2010 4-core): £230 (http://is.gd/e7boC)

Edited 2010-08-07 08:30 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Hey it's a company for god sake
by dvhh on Sat 7th Aug 2010 08:21 UTC
dvhh
Member since:
2006-03-20

What nonsense company doesn't want to make money ? A far as I know Apple is not a charity yet.
So who cares if they want to get a little more money from user who want to pay for it.
People pay premium when they perceive value, and as far as I don't like Apple product, I understand it.
If you want to complain about overpriced products, you can always complain about vuitton products, or overpriced nike sneakers. well of course it is a computer website.

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Yeah. I mean, after all, BP is just a company, so why complain about the fact they didn't give a shit about security and the environment? Just buy your gas somewhere else!

Reply Score: 2

dvhh Member since:
2006-03-20

OK I might be worng on this one, but well Apple did at least pay some money to get the best environment firendly product report ( either they actually invest some money into more environment friendly product, or they bribe very well, the latter would be closer to reality as they got their device produced in the same factory as everyone else ).
But at leat Apple is not that much reponsible for an environment disaster (yet!), and yes I am taking in account all those Apple product dumped as soon as there a new generation coming.

Reply Score: 1

TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

I haven't seen someone miss a point to that degree in a long time.

Reply Score: 1

Mac Pros - way too expensive
by perfopt on Sat 7th Aug 2010 09:40 UTC
perfopt
Member since:
2010-07-31

Yes MacPros are very overpriced. I started using Macs in 2005 too and got hooked to the slick OS, UI etc. But back in 2005 the difference between an iMac/MacBook Pro and a similarly configured Dell/HP as about $200-300. Which was ok for me given the nicer user experience.

I never bothered to compare the MacPro with a similar config earlier. After reading this article I did quick comparison today - it is not pretty (at the end of the post).

Compared to a (assemble yourself) similar tech config (except OS) MacPro is ~59% more expensive!!

Does anyone have similar comparison for an iMac or MacBook Pro equivalent?

Yes Macs are more expensive - but I have enjoyed using them. Prior to Macs I used Debian, Ubuntu, almost exclusively (I was a grad student with lots of time to tinker :-)). And at work Windows XP. By far Mac OS X has been the most trouble free experience.

Yes I have heard the arguments - Win7 is great and that Ubuntu can now configure almost anything painlessly. Once in a while I check those out again and still find them a little short of the OS X experience. But that alone is not enough to justify a 59% markup!! So I will almost never buy a MacPro.

(Win7 - I have to use it at work and it is dog slow on my very decent desktop.)

I do not need a quad/oct core beast for even the development work I do. Infact, I would like to develop on a machine config that is closer to what my users will run the application on so a Mac Pro is certainly out.

As part of my day job I have analyzed/benchmarked several client applications. They are *not* highly threaded (2-3 threads at most, and do not scale). Cinebench and Povray are exceptions that scale with the number of cores. Most other applications are not - this is from practical experience benchmarking and studying applicatons.

Unless you have a special application, that you use, which will scale to 8 threads etc it is not worth buying a 8-threaded beast. Even four threads will be over kill for most people but it is not too expensive.


---------
A config similar to a Mac Pro (with a ATI card) that is priced $2700

Intel Xeon E5640 2.66GHz 12 MB L3 $799.99 [1]
ATI Radeon HD 4870 $144.99 [2]

2GB Kingston SDRAM ECC DDR3 1066 - $69.99 [3]
1GB should roughly be - $35

Hard Disk: $74.99 [4]

DVD writer: $31.99 [5]

Motherboard: $139.99 [6]

Keyboard: $29 [7]
Mouse: $19.95

Case etc (I'll be generous): $150

Win7 (Home Premium) = $199.99

$800+ $145 + 70 + 35 + 75 + + 32 + 140 + + 29 + 20 + 150 + 200 = 1696

Total: 1696
(2700-1700)/1700 = 59%

1. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117232
2. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150436&cm_...
3. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134942&cm_...
4. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136319
5. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106335&cm_...
6. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128412
7. http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-A11-00337-Natural-Keyboard-Elite/dp...

---------

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Sat 7th Aug 2010 12:21 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Armchair economists. It doesn't matter what you say, Apple can't build them quickly enough they're selling so well. Businesses need, and use the power and will pay the price willingly. The Mac Pro is a high grade workstation, like any other. If you can't plonk down the cash for one without batting an eyelid, then they're not for you. The iMac is designed for you, and if you want expandability, buy a PC because Apple is just one consumer vendor out of many.

Why do we even discuss this, honestly?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Kroc
by TheGZeus on Sat 7th Aug 2010 16:32 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
TheGZeus Member since:
2010-05-19

Because the 'free market' only works with an informed consumer.

They're informing the consumer, armchair economist.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Kroc
by alcibiades on Sat 7th Aug 2010 21:23 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

That's what they are saying, Kroc. They are saying, buy a PC from a different supplier. It makes more sense, is what they are saying.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by werpu on Sun 8th Aug 2010 12:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
werpu Member since:
2006-01-18

Actually given the current pricepoint the MacPro does not make any sense anymore at all. It is just absolutely overpriced period.
I wonder who is buying those machines still.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Kroc
by jackeebleu on Mon 9th Aug 2010 19:11 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
jackeebleu Member since:
2006-01-26

Why? Because its easier to complain about a company and its pricing in a cloud of fallacy than in fact.

I just disproved the expense myth and some person had the nerve to tell me that doing an Apple to Apples comparison of Apple vs (other vendor) is not the way to do a comparison. Oh, Im sorry. The way to compare something is not to compare it to a like thing, but rather something that is nothing like it and uses different parts.

Another person decides that Apple's price isn't justifiable when you can build it yourself. And if thats the case, then why bother bringing Apple into the argument in the first place? Cant you build something cheaper than a Dell, HP, Acer in the same way?

The thing thats disappointing is that this vitriol from seemingly intelligent, technically informed people, is at best, misguided, at worst pathetic. Last I checked, no one is forcing anyone to purchase an Apple product. If Apple is selling pixie dust, fine, why begrudge them for it?

Consumers are educated enough that they vote with dollars. And if the keep voting and tell a friend and they in turn vote and carry on, then you understand why Apple is a successful. You can only market for so long until customers realize that they have been duped, ala pet rock, Slap Chop, Enzyte, etc. So its clear that Apple isnt selling false promises, they are selling products that work to people that want them.

Now, please go read a book, recycle something, tell your mother or a stranger you love them, rather than spewing vitriol on things you cant control.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by deathshadow
by deathshadow on Sun 8th Aug 2010 14:23 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

What the heck is in the kool aid? With statements like "Apple makes a premium product and charges premium prices" -- since calling any of their CRAP "premium" in terms of quality is... mind-numbingly whiskey tango foxtrot territory. Though I love the statement immediately following "and you can always find a computer from another vendor that seems to match or exceed specs that costs less"

If it meets or exceeds the specs, it too is quality or higher quality, which means all Apple does is price gouge.

Seriously, WHAT QUALITY?!?...

Oh look at the quality of the case... Looks at rinky aluminum press fit garbage with ZERO airflow due to it's art *** form over function design -- then looks at my Thermaltake Element G... Yeah, right. Apple wouldn't know proper cooling if it stripped naked, painted itself purple and hopped up on a table to sing "look at what a big cooling fan I am". Makes me wonder just how badly the Mac Pro's thermally throttle themselves.

Look at what they give you for CPU! Xeon man! Thousand dollar CPU with a server caching model for poor desktop app performance, poor pci express interface on the major chipsets and that they won't even tell you the real model number you're getting (X5550 assumed). Sad when it's spanked by a $300 i7 870. Of course when for less money right now you could get a hexa-core i7-970 or for the same money the i7-980X EE...

But it comes with high end video! Since when is a GT 120 high end? $2500 and they can't even put a single previous generation middle of the road nVidia in it? Of course you know why they won't sell you more than a single 4870 or four GT 120's? Because you put anything larger in it the damned PSU is gonna pop! Substandard 600 watt supply they 'imply' is 1200, which is it's theoretical peak not what it can supply continuous. Of course, with their "block every possible real avenue for airflow" artsty fartsy form over function design, I wouldn't even want to think about what putting a FERMI SLI setup in one would do... if the PSU could actually handle it (which it can't)

.. and it gets ugly from there since they are cheap assed bastards not only on the amount of storage and RAM (which reads like middle of the road specs from four years ago)... especially since they buy the rejects off Seagate and Hynix's product lines.

Though really it's all about making their investors happy and being wall street media darlings by way of price gouging - they have the record high profits per unit sold for a reason; and that reason is NOT a indicator of a company that is good for the economy as price gouging is in the top ten causes of inflation; People who buy into the reality distortion field end up paying more for less -- and when people pay more for less that's called INFLATION. So not only are they ripping off consumers, they're degrading the economy while at it.

If I'm going to drop two and a half to three grand on just a box, it damned well better have three 180mm fans, a 230-250mm side fan, a thousand watt PSU, a pair of those beautiful MSI Twin Frozr II GTX 465's in SLI, a pair of 2tb drives, and something more than a first generation nehalem.

Well, let's see...

We know the i7 930 is comparable to the X5550, better in many regards for desktop use.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115225 -- $289.99

GigaByte makes a decent mainboard, lets grab one with 4x PCI Express slots

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128422 - $289.99

Let's go with 12 gigs of G.Skill Ripjaw

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231356 - $294.99

Pair of MSI Twin Frozr II GTX 465's

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127514 - $619.98 (309.99 each)

PAir of 7200 RPM Hibachi Deathstars - amazingly hitachi has turned it around the past three years and are now better than even Samsung. (while Western Digital seems determined to flush themselves down the crapper)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822145298 - $219.96 ($109.99 each)

Lets put a blu-ray burner in it just to be absurd.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136181 - $99.99

and for a case, let's put that goofy aluminum trash to shame, and go with a Thermaltake Element G -- which amazingly has a better hard drive mounting system, better airflow, and frankly better style.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133086 - $134.99

and finally we'll need a nice big power supply to go with that. We'll gram a 1200 watt CONTINUOUS Thermaltake TR2.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153119 - $239.99

For a whoppin total of $2,089.91. It cannot be more than $100 labor to put it together, you slap Win7 Ultimate on there for $150 more, and you could still make $150 or more profit per unit on a standard markup applied ON TOP OF RETAIL. OEM wholesale DFM bulk there's no reason for the above to run you more than $1500 a pop, toss on labor and OS and you could still do $500 or more profit per unit while underselling Apple.

On a machine that's got four times the RAM, six times the storage and a faster processor than the Mac Pro's base model -- and unlike that Mac pro these are PREMIUM parts, not the goofy crap apple shoves in under their shiny veneers... Which Mac's much like cheap furniture you strip off the veneer and it's particle board underneath. Shades of Ikea or Volvo.

Not that any of this is shocking when we're talking about the company who sells 256K color displays as 16.7 million, refuses to acknowledge that their use of edge ribbon connecting BOTH ends of the LCD is the cause of the "striping failures", underclocked CPU's in the G3 and G4 era so they could wrap them in insulating foam instead of putting heat sinks and fans on them in laptops (which was great when the cpu burned a hole clear through the dialup adapter), intentionally shorted ground to data select on optical drives in the entire powerPC era so you 'had' to buy optical drives from them (well, that or short those two pins on the cable), modular mounted laptop internal power control boards becuase they KNEW they were going to fail every six months (pretty much every 'hockey puck' laptop), nebfered their PCMCIA slots so they would ONLY work with broadcom chipset wireless adapters, etc, etc, etc...

But then I could be a bit jaded from having worked as a Apple Certified repair tech in the 90's... Qualifications for such a job being the ability to dial the phone, get a RMA number and ship it back to get an entirely different unit in return with the clients hard drive in it since in reality it's impossible to actually REPAIR anything they make.

Kooality with a Captiol K. I really wonder what the **** planet people who think Apple makes ANYTHING worth spending money on come from... I mean they must be rocking some really good gange or something - which would make sense given their target audience by the advertising looks like slacker stoner ****'s.

Using the word 'premium' to describe anything except their pricing is like using the word quality to describe a 1984 Yugo GV.

Edited 2010-08-08 14:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

I don't get it...
by spinnekopje on Sun 8th Aug 2010 19:36 UTC
spinnekopje
Member since:
2008-11-29

I really don't see what goal of the article is. I don't understand why people complain about Apple that much.

If you want one, buy it, if you think it's too expensive, buy something else. Whether you are talking about computers, dish washers, televisions, furniture, cars, ... it doesn't matter. You always have brands that are more expensive than others and that doesn't mean they are better.

The only thing those articles do is give Apple a lot of free publicity... people only remember the name and that the press writes about them a lot.

Reply Score: 1

RE: I don't get it...
by Thinkcat on Tue 10th Aug 2010 13:42 UTC in reply to "I don't get it..."
Thinkcat Member since:
2010-08-10

> I really don't see what goal of the article is.

I think you just do not want to see it.

> I don't understand why people complain about Apple that much.

Then by all means listen to them. Your dislike of their opinion keeps you from understanding. It looks quite weak if the only way to disagree with them is to hate what they are saying.

If there is one thing that shows a cult-like thinking within the ranks of Apple users, it is that the critics of no other HW manufacturer get routinely called scum and full of shit. "You dared to criticize Apple. You disgusting lowlife piece of sticky waste!"

Apple fanboys often say "nobody forces you to buy from Apple". But that is not the point. Nobody really forces anyone to buy anything. We should shut down Consumer Reports, because really, nobody is forcing anyone to buy any of the products they review.

Rule one of computer reviews: Only products that are forced on people should be discussed and written about.

It is these cult-like tactics of derailing and stonewalling discussion that most perfectly reveal a cultish mindset.

"You don't need to discuss this, you don't need to write this article, there is no point in here, don't touch the subject, it's none of your business, like it or leave it" and so on. Well, someone felt the need to discuss this and write an article. And I, for one, see a point there.

Referring to another poster, he said that I can complain about Nike sneakers and Vuitton products and other overpriced things. But somehow I can't complain about Apple.

I'd say "leave my sneakers and my girlfriend's handbags alone. You don't need to buy them. If you need to complain, then please go and complain about an overpriced computer for instance." Sounds silly, I know.

"You hurt your toe, huh? Well, do not complain about that. Complain about your head for a chance. What? Your head is not hurting now. What has that to do with anything? I just said, you should complain about something else and leave your toe out of this."

There is no such reaction to Nike or Vuitton, because even if someone does identify with his sneakers or her handbag, they do not introduce themselves as "Nike users" or "Vuitton handbag users". But some people feel insulted because they do openly identify with their Mac. It is the strongest fashion statement of the three, it seems.

Reply Score: 1

Use your real name...
by mlankton on Mon 9th Aug 2010 13:19 UTC
mlankton
Member since:
2009-06-11

...or stick to the comments section. If you are going to write for a website people actually read, use your name. OSNews publishing this article under this jackass' Xbox Live name is bush league.

Reply Score: 1

memory ouch..
by cheradenine on Mon 9th Aug 2010 13:30 UTC
cheradenine
Member since:
2010-08-07

Wow, now the pricing is out it's really bad.

My 8-core shipped with 2Gb, but *6* empty slots.

3 years later, new machines ship with 3Gb and *1* empty slot (that you can only fill with another 1Gb before having to chuck it all).

Price difference retail (http://is.gd/ea0Md)
3x1Gb = £67.20
3x2Gb = £111.74
= +£44.54

Price difference from Dell (configuring Alienware Aurora)
= +£76.59 (or, >70% above retail margin)

Price difference from Apple for Mac Pro
= +£180 (or, >400% above retail margn)

As rimmer said, "Out to lunch, breakfast, dinner, tea, supper, the lot. He's not in for a single meal, if you ask me."

Reply Score: 1