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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Upgrade Decision
by LobalSurgery on Fri 6th Aug 2010 19:54 UTC
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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:

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 in reply to "Upgrade Decision"
jackeebleu Member since:

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 Parent Score: 1

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

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 Parent Score: 2

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

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 Parent Score: 2