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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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.


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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...

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Reply Score: 1