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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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