Is The Mac Overpriced?

The “Mac versus PC” debate will rage until the end of time, but one constant argument I hear about the Mac is that it is overpriced. In fact, an anonymous employee of Psystar (the makers of the so-called Mac clone) was quoted as saying that Apple marks up their hardware as much as 80%.

Whether that is true or not, the notion that Apple overprices it’s machines is everywhere. Now, I do not have inside knowledge of Apple at all, but I am going to try to analyze this and give my impression on whether Apple is too expensive for what you get.

Mac Mini

The retail price for the Mac Mini is $599. For this, you get a tiny computer with a 1.83 GHz Core 2 Duo, 1 GB of RAM, Intel GMA 950 graphics processor, yada yada. If you want 2 GB of RAM, the price goes up to $799 (which also comes with a larger hard drive). Now, that is certainly pricey and you can get yourself a better equipped PC tower for about the same amount of money.

Obviously, you’re paying for the design of the Mini. The Mini is a niche computer that only certain people are going to want. A similar form factor PC might be the Aopen Mini PC. The MP965 series has very similar specs to the Mac Mini and retails at $455. Other options include the XPC X100 which is significantly more expensive. A look at Newegg’s barebone list for mini PCs also provides much higher prices than the Mac Mini. Asus is coming out with the Nova P20 which is set to retail at $888.

The Mini is an appliance computer which is designed for a specific purpose. When you consider the Mini form factor and the fact that it comes with OS X Leopard, it seems to me the Mini is pretty competitively priced. Most mini PCs seem to have higher prices. But, yes, pitting the Mini up against the typical PC, the Mini (as a computer and not an entertainment appliance) looks pricey.

IMAC

The all-in-one Imac starts at $1199 and for that price you will get a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo, 1 GB memory, 250 GB hard drive with an ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT w/ 128MB video memory. A direct spec comparison to PC towers would, of course, lead to PC winning in the price war. However, this is an all-in-one so we need to compare it to other PC all-in-ones.

The Dell XPS One is perhaps the best known alternative. It starts at $1,299 and has a 20″ display, 2 GB DDR2 memory, 250 GB hard drive, integrated video. It is also running the Core 2 Duo, but it is running the E4500 which means it is likely 2.2 GHz. The price tag puts it at $100 more than the IMAC. The major difference in specs is that it has one additional GB of memory and has perhaps a slightly faster processor. Aside from that, it has essentially the same specs. Price wise, we have a tie. If you go to the highest priced model of the Dell XPS One, you get Blu-Ray and a large hard drive. But, for a couple hundred more, you get an Imac with a 24″ screen, same size hard drive, same memory.

The Gateway One ZX190 retails at $1,499. It has a 19″ screen and a slower processor, however it does come with a significantly larger hard drive. Style-wise, it is just plain ugly. So, it is more expensive than the Imac and I don’t think you get as much for your money.

So, I would venture to say that Apple’s IMAC is not overpriced. In fact, it is quite competitive.

Mac Pro

The Mac Pro is Apple’s premiere workstation tower and it is likely the pricing of the Mac Pro which adds the most fuel to the debate about Macs being more expensive. The Mac Pro starts at a whopping $2,799. But, let’s look at the specs. It has 2 2.8 GHz quad core processors (for a total of 8 processor cores), 2 GB of fully buffered ECC ram, ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT, 320 GB hard drive, 16X Superdrive.

Now, the processor specs are impressive as hell. 2 GB of memory is pretty weak. It is good memory (ECC and buffered), but 2 GB isn’t much. And the 16X SuperDrive is slower than most optical drives you’d see in a PC.

So, let’s look at a comparable spec PC. I see the Dell Precision Workstation T7400 64-bit. If we configure this beast with 2 quad cores at 2.8 GHz, 2 GB of ECC memory, a 320 GB hard drive, we are now looking at a sticker price of $4,128. This is certainly a LOT more than the Mac Pro for comparable specs.

The Dell Workstations are often considered to be the best equivalents to the Mac Pro, but just for grins, let’s look at one of the HP workstations. Their site is not as friendly, but it seems as if the machines are more expensive and don’t even come with a second processor.

So, yes, the Mac Pro is expensive, but it is priced very competitively. In fact, it seems to almost blow away the competition when it comes to pricing for this level of machine.

MacBook and Macbook Pro

Apple’s notebook lineup is pretty popular. The MacBook starts at $1099 and the Macbook Pro starts at $1,999. Now, let’s look at the Macbook Pro. It comes with a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo, 2 GB memory, 200 GB hard drive and Nvidia graphics.

The comparable notebook to the Macbook Pro is, again, the Dell. The Dell Precision M4300, for instance, starts at $1,429 and comes with a Core 2 Duo processor, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB hard drive. If I configure it to match the specs of the Macbook Pro, the prices comes out at $2,031. It is just a tad more, but also consider that this is running Windows XP 32-bit whereas the Mac is fully 64-bit. To me, that’s more for the money.

If we take the highest priced Macbook Pro, it goes for $2,799 and comes with a 2.5 GHz processor, 2 GB memory, 250 GB drive, 512 MB Nvidia graphics and a 17-inch screen. With Dell, we go to the M6300 in order to get the 17-inch screen. When we customize this system to match the MacBook Pro, it comes out to $2,671. This is cheaper than the Macbook Pro. Again, though, it is running 32-bit Windows XP and not the 64-bit OS X.

An HP equivalent might be the 8510P. This unit starts at $1,533. When configured to match as closely as possible to the intro-level MacBook Pro, the price came out to $1.751. The screen is the same size, but doesn’t offer as large a resolution as the Macbook screen. And it is running Vista, an operating system that runs notably WORSE than OS X.

Regardless, you’ll find that when you pit the Macbooks up against comparable PCs, MacBook pricing is right in the mix where it should be.

Apple Versus Self-Built PCs

In this look at Apple pricing, I am comparing Apple products to equivalent retail systems. Apple is, of course, retail so we are dealing with pre-built systems here. Now, when you compare this to building your own computer, we’re talking apples and oranges.

You can build a nicely equipped PC for less than your typical Mac, but it is hard to compare the two because Apple has no mid-range tower. You could compare the typical PC tower to the Imac (Apple’s mid-range system), but the Imac is all-in-one and that really changes the way it is perceived.

But, let’s make two comparisons here. I’m going to look at the Imac and the Mac Pro and we’re going to spec out a comparable PC build using parts from Newegg. First, the IMAC:

Hardware in IMAC Price for Part from Newegg
2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo $203
Motherboard (unknown) ~$100
250 GB SATA 7200 RPM $65
1 GB 667 MHz DDR2 memory $20
8 X Superdrive $30
Ethernet included on board
Wireless $60
Bluetooth —- (unless you want USB adapter)
20 inch monitor $250
Sound Card $25
Video Card $20
Firewire $7
Operating System $120 (Win XP Media Center)
Mouse & Keyboard $30
Case (included on Imac) ~$70 (depending on your taste)
TOTAL: $1199. TOTAL: $1000

Some of these prices are ballpark. There are obviously a lot of options when you build your own PC, options that you don’t have when you buy the Imac. But, trying to spec it out as close as possible, we see that building an equivalent PC comes in cheaper. However, when you consider the all-in-one package and the fact that it is OS X, AND the fact that you don’t have to take the time to go get all the parts separately and build it, the price difference is small.

Now, if we look at the Mac Pro, let’s do the same thing.

Hardware in Mac Pro Price for Part from Newegg
2 X 2.8 GHz quad core Xeon 5400 series $1,440
Motherboard (unknown) ~$619
320 GB SATA 7200 RPM $100
2 GB 800 MHz DDR2 memory $40 (but not ECC)
16 X Superdrive $30
Ethernet included on board
Wireless $60
Bluetooth —- (unless you want USB adapter)
Sound Card included on board
Video Card $50
Firewire included onboard
Operating System $120 (Win XP Media Center)
Mouse & Keyboard $30
Case $175 (for a good one)
TOTAL: $2,799 TOTAL: $2,664

Again, some of these prices are ballpark, but I tried to make them average prices for a system in line with the Mac Pro. Again, the self-built model comes in a little cheaper, but the difference isn’t that much. You could cut costs by going with a crap case, but the Mac Pro enclosure is top notch and it would not be an even comparison otherwise. Also, the Mac Pro comes with fully buffered, ECC memory which increases stability.

So, when it comes to building a PC with roughly the same specs as a Mac, yes, you will come in a bit cheaper. But, is it enough to make a difference? Especially when you consider, again, that you’ll be running Windows rather than OS X (32-bit versus 64-bit). Also, as a guy who uses computers to work, I place a value on my time. When I consider that I would have to build the machine myself, consolidate all the parts myself, and at the end have no real warranty for the machine, it is a no-brainer: Apple wins.

The Final Verdict


NO

Macs are not overpriced. Pound for pound, if you compare a similarly equipped PC with a Mac, the Mac pricing comes in very competitively.

This debate will, though, rage forever. It is barely even a valid comparison considering the wide range of options available for PCs. Macs come with what they come with – case closed. PCs are very configurable. So, yes, you have a LOT more cheaper options available to you by sticking with PCs. But, this article goes to show that Macs are not overpriced when you look at what you’re actually getting.

One thing I think Apple really needs to do is release a mid-range tower. Something equivalent to the Imac but without the built-in screen. This would make Mac much more accessible to most, and provide a clearer part-by-part comparison with the majority of PCs on the market today.

And I couldn’t end this off without talking about what makes the Mac the Mac. OS X and design. The fact that you can run OS X rather than Windows is enticing to some. Now, I’m not going to get into the OS X versus Windows debate in this article, however simply comparing running Win XP 32-bit to a true blue 64-bit operating system (OS X) would come out with OS X the winner. 64-bit is more stable.

As for design, Apple does put a lot of thought into the design of their machines. You do pay for that design, but as this article shows, not much more (and in some cases less). The Mac Pro case, for instance, is a lesson in elegance.

This article was written by a guy who used to think Macs were overpriced. But, when you really start looking at it, they’re just not.

Comments

  1. Excellent analysis. The default software and hardware bundle always makes Mac a winner.

  2. hitchface says:

    Another idea to consider is that outside of the working world, a Mac does become a little more expensive. They don’t typically include a gaming card in them, and are priced (if you come strictly from the PC viewpoint) as though they do. When you talk gaming, OS aside, dollar for dollar, a PC will end up serving the need better without the price tag.

    It all hinges on application. If a Mac does what you need it to do and more, then the money becomes well spent. Swing the other way, however…

    Good write up. Glad to see some more light shed on this topic.

  3. Here is something that I have run across before Macs are overpriced. Don’t use dell when comparing the prices dell marks their system up like 6 to 1. Anyways what I was trying to say is that if you look at the price of an 8 year old Mac (ibook) in perfect condition it will run you around $400. This is for the reason that people say their overpriced only because they hold their value. That’s a hard price to pay for something that is outdated.

    • David Risley says:

      Then don’t buy it. We’re looking at new machines here. Trying to use what somebody is willing to pay for a used Mac is hardly fuel to the debate about Mac pricing in general.

  4. Do not forget that you are talking about the US. For example in Europe the Dell Precision M4300 is at 1051 €(878 without taxes), but the first Mac Book Pro is priced 1800 € (1500 without taxes) .

    So yes, if you are European, Mac ARE overpriced.

  5. I call shenanigans on this article, for one you compare it to Dell for the most part, which in my opinion are a bit pricey compared to other pre-built systems. Also with the Mac Book Pro, there are plenty of very good and equivalently specced motherboards that are under or around $225 dollars. You picked a Motherboard that’s over $600 dollars, which is more than any sane person would spend on a motherboard. Also considering some people like myself use Linux which is free,
    I would say Yes when it comes to High end Computing the Macs are more expensive..

    • I meant Mac Pro, not Mac Book pro…

    • David Risley says:

      Trashy, you’re going to play hell finding a motherboard for ~$200 which supports TWO quad core Xeons on the same board.

      • 619$ for a motherboard. The only one that matches that price is The skulltrail. The board you picked as the motherboard is a nich, extreme gamer/ overclocker motherboard. It functions as a decent workstation board but it is way too overpriced for that. Reason: It supports both crossfire AND SLI thanks the the added nvidia PCIe controller, which the Macpro board doesn’t have. The Mac pro board only has a single 16x Pcie 2.0 slot where as the skulltrail has plenty for tri and quad SLI. There are plenty of workstation/server boards that uses the 5400 series chipset in the 320-480$ range that supports dual 45nm quadcore Xeons and matches the mac pro charactristics. So I’d say 350$ is much more appropriate for the motherboard price.

  6. I’m curious to how you put value into 64-bit, find two practical uses for consumers, and I’ll by it. I’m also wondering how you quantitized appearance, but that’s your issue.

    • David Risley says:

      Benefits to 64-bit versus 32-bit:
      (1) Supports more memory.
      (2) Much better stability when it comes to working with videos (such as when video editing).
      (3) Better stability with multi-tasking.

  7. Mac are not overpriced vs a similar PC but mac doesn”t offer entry level solution. Pc is more flexible to a budget.

  8. Yee Fung says:

    $203 for a 2 ghz core2 ??? $20 for 1 gb ddr2 667??? Are you joking???

    Newegg quad core 2.4 ghz currently $199;
    2 gb ddr2 800 currently $39

    Is Mac overpriced? Hell Yeah!!

    • David Risley says:

      Yee, you have to follow the analysis. I tried like hell to find equivalent parts to what is in the Mac. Sometimes that is hard to do given the variety of options for PC, but when you actually run the numbers, Mac doesn’t come in too high at all.

      The hardware you list would put make the system not equal to the Imac. Realize that it would be touch to put a quad core into an Imac. Too hot.

      • Then put in a E8400 wolfdale running at 3.0 ghz. It’ll fit in the imac’s thermal envelope TDP:65watts. It’s 200$ and much faster to boot.

        Also where are you getting 203$ for a core 2? The only 2.0ghz core2′s I find are merom chips which are Low volt processors that are much more expensive with a TDP in the 30watt range. I think the Imac uses either conroe or allendale core2′s which are much cheaper ($110) for a core2 2.11ghz. since the Imac also supports core2 extreme running at 2.8ghz I think the Imac can use more higher TDP processors. Why are the merom chips more expensive? that’s because they are for laptop computers. The Imac can easily dissipate 70+ watts of thermal energy, and when idle even quad cores don’t produce that much heat.

  9. David, I’m sorry but i very much disagree with your analysis. You should not be looking at “equivalent parts” but be looking at “equivalent performance”. This is the crux. A PC can be made for a lot cheaper with more performance than a Mac. That is a fact. Don’t use 2 x quad core motherboards, inflated processor prices and Dell (also overpriced) costings to tell us that you love Macs. Why not just write an article about why Macs are good in your opinion? Rather than going on and on about why you think you’re so smart at fudging the numbers?

  10. 250$ for a 20″ monitor?!?! you have got to be kidding me. A decent 8-bit screen costs less than 200$, where as a 6-bit screen is much much cheaper which newegg doesn’t even sell. Yes, 20″ Imac displays are 6-bit TN LCD panels which is why you get horrible viewing angles and you only get 262,144 colors instead of 16.7 million… which is very different from what’s advertised.

    haven’t you been keeping up on the news? There are tons of articles on this, and apple previously settled with other plaintiffs about the same issue on the imac and mac book pro’s.

    here is a link to an article.
    http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/01/1710221

    • The only 250$ 20″ screen is by NEC which is a TOP of the line screen for everyday use. that is no way an equivalent to the crap screen the Imac uses.

  11. eh sorry but that comparison is pure BS.

    the HD costs 70$ not 100$.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136098

    the MB (if you search in the server category, mind you) is less than half the price you quote.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813151163

    wireless card 40$
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833124115

    3 items and I just shave 350+$ of your price.

  12. In term of hardware if you want to buy something do not buy a mac, you’re wasting money.

    But it seems that the autor of this article assume that Mac Os > Windows.

    So, no real objectivity… more like a troll article.

  13. lol @ this ‘analysis.’ Let’s compare mac prices with the most expensive component prices on Newegg. And you end up with a ‘well, yeah, you can spend as much as you would on a mac if you buy nothing but expensive components for your pc [overpriced processors, overpriced memory, overpriced {BY FAR} motherboards, overpriced CPUs, etc]. No duh!

    PCs = more flexibility, and not tied into the ‘buy everything at once’ mode, which means that when 2 months from now the price of a 2.6 ghz is at the same prices as a current 2.4 ghz processor, I can get it instead of being tied down to the packaged mac’s.

    Sigh. Use more legitimate comparisons next time, please.

  14. Baselerd says:

    The prices he listed for the components off of newegg are incorrect… a 2.0Ghz Core 2 Duo is not $200. The e6550 which has a higher clock speed (2.33), and has a faster fsb, costs $155.

    Macs are way overpriced… and comparing them to other companies like DELL isn’t really judging Apple’s pricing. Yes, DELL is overpriced too… The fact of the matter is that Apple rips off people with high hardware prices, regardless of whether or not DELL does it too (although not quite as severe).

    For $1000 I would expect more than a gig of ram, a 2.0 GHz Conroe, and an hd2400xt…

  15. Really think this comparison is ridiculous.

    Firstly its only for the US, Europe is utterly different, Macs are much more overpriced here.

    Secondly a comparison with Dell is silly, only corporations would buy from Dell, surely?
    Home buyers will choose the parts they want from the likes of aria, ccl, dabs, etc and then either build themselves or pay a £40 build fee.

    Thirdly making up an exact comparison system is silly as no-one buying a PC would chose that particular, insanely unbalanced, permutation of components. A big advantage of a PC over a Mac is that you can choose _precisely_ the set of components that is suitable for your needs. Why on earth would you pay $600 for a motherboard and couple it with a feeble $50 graphics card??? And only a 320G drive??? That makes no sense at all.

  16. David Risley says:

    Guys, seriously, this is why this debate will go on forever. I can compare retail to retail all day long, but OF COURSE, when you look at the self-built models, you have TONS of options available to you that the Mac doesn’t have. That is a given.

    I wasn’t trying to pick parts that made sense, I was trying to pick parts that were as close to what I think is in the Mac as possible. We’re talking tower versus an all-in-one, apples and oranges.

    As for European buyers…I’m in the US, so I’m using US pricing. Deal with it.

    • But you aren’t picking components that are “close”. That’s the problem. You are picking a different part that you “think” is the same or similar but aren’t. In fact some of the components aren’t even close to whats on a mac pro or imac.

      If you want to make an unbiased analysis you NEED to find out what the model number of each of the components are on the Mac computers. Fact of the matter is, since they stopped making the IBM based PowerPC processors, macs practically use the same components as the rest of the PC market does. Thus the only differences in hardware would be the case, and the motherboard which is modded to fit in the case. Even the macpro motherboard is just a slightly modded server board not a fancy skulltrail.

      Problem is that you don’t have the required knowledge about apple hardware AND hardware in general to make an unbiased analysis. You don’t know what the exact model number is on each hardware on a mac, or even the details of each hardware. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that you can’t tell apart a 300$ server board from a $600+ gaming board, and you can’t tell a mobile processor from a desktop processor apart.

      So, I’ll say it again… YOU don’t have the required knowledge to write an article like this.

  17. Firstly, the lack of midrange models does, in many cases, make for an “over-priced” machine. After all, if I need a yugo, but have to buy a rolls, then I’ve paid too much.

    I just went to HP’s site. I specced out their high end computers – not the workstations. The total was $2,135, and everything was far higher specced, except for the single processor. So, it’s no so straightforward.

  18. actually, u forgot system 76′s “Koala Mini” it uses 64-bit ubuntu too. It’s processor is only 1.5 Ghz. But everything else beats the Mac Mini. It’s pricing is much more competitive than the examples in the article. Ubuntu is also much more comparable to the OS X IMO.
    http://system76.com/product_info.php?cPath=27&products_id=83

    As for notebooks, the examples provided just don’t cut it for me. Companies like asus, lenovo(which has the x300 which is said to beat the macbook air), and perhaps acer have much more competitive prices.

    When compared to self-made computers, I think the mac loses either way. Just a note: 64-bit Linux is free… Although not everyone wants to use linux.

  19. Agree with the detractors here. Having pricier components doesn’t necessarily mean better performance. Also, you need to look a little bit harder if you plan to do a decent comparison and not one that is so clearly skewed in favor of Apple. Why dont you look at Acer or Asus as an alternative to Dell/HP/Gateway? You do know that this is no longer 1995 right? As for your Core 2 Duo price, its ludicrous. The Core 2 Duo E6420 2.13GHz/1066 is $175 @ MWave right now.
    Apple has made brand name mark-ups the name of the game in recent years. Think about the asinine ‘I’m a PC, I’m a Mac’ commercials. I have a custom built $1900 gaming PC that I can guarantee has higher quality components than any equivalently priced Mac (including 4GB of 1066 Mhz DDR3 RAM to the paltry 2GB you get with a Mac Pro). PCs are about choice. I think its hilarious that Apple who broke into the market with their famous ‘Think Different’ commercial deriding the masses of IBM following clones is now building its own army of unthinking, happily bleating sheep who will follow Jobs anywhere he leads them with his pan pipes (even if its over a precipice). The only difference is that the iSheep all wear black turtle necks and dont mind that they get mid-range components for high-end prices as long as they have a shiny Apple logo on them.

  20. I think David did his homework and did a fair analysis. One could always pick out details that are off a bit. I do see one change in the future though. PCMech becomes…..MACMech!!

  21. The definition of worth is what someone is willing to pay for something. Some are willing to pay for a Mac so for them, it is worth the price. For others, Macs are not worth the price. Worth, really depends on who you are.

    Given Mac has somewhere around four to five percent of the personal computer market, for most people, Macs are not worth it.

  22. MIchael C says:

    Actually, Macs are 6-7% of the market globally, and have been gaining slightly less than a percentage point per year for the last 3 years. These figures are of course against overall increases in the total population of computer users to which end Apple has been out-pacing against an overall positive stream for all computer manufacturers.

    Given the relative mono-culture of business environments due to windows over-saturation, Apple has done and continues to do rather well especially in these shaky economic times.

    Nevertheless, I think it is important to ask ourselves what exactly have we benefitted from window’s dominance? If I were a PC user, I would much prefer more competition in the marketplace – the benefits should be obvious.

  23. David,
    Nice job! I did my own pricing not long ago and came up with the same conclusion although I felt the quality difference made up for the price difference. Personally, I prefer Ubuntu as an OS but I haven’t had a chance to use OS X yet.

    Thanks!

  24. What a deliciously well analyzed piece of flamewar bait. I’m trying to con my way into a Mac for Christmas, now I have some backup.

  25. Apple is all style no substance.

    OS X is an easily hacked operating system (less than 2 min)
    http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/27/pwn-2-own-over-macbook-air-gets-seized-in-2-minutes-flat/

    you can get a far better deal with a PC, in fact a better computer for half the price

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4326995&CatId=3369

    vs

    http://store.apple.com/us_smb_78313/configure/MA970LL/A?mco=NzQ3Njkz

    and the customer service at Apple is the worst, no matter how the isheeple love spending months to address issues. At HP I am connected to a live person in less than 20 sec.

    Why anyone would buy anything from Apple is beyond me, but if you have money to burn so be it.

  26. John Scott says:

    The perception comes from the fact Apple sells no low priced options. Yes, when you compare
    similar equipped hardware you will not see the difference. However, their can be a much bigger difference then what is shown here. That is that most PC manufactures have sales with much bigger discounts then Apple ever has. Bought at the right time you can save hundreds off a PC. But it still comes down to people with beer pocketbooks and fine wine tastes will complain about Apple because they want Apple to offer computers in the lower price bracket.
    In fact Apple’s does offer the Mac Mini but its hardware options are much less impressive then any cheaper PC. I myself agree that the iMac is probably the best value Apple has to offer in terms of all features compared to a PC. I think Apple has missed the boat on their laptops because some very common features are absent on the cheaper MacBook as compared to a PC.
    Even though the argument that Apple maintains the value in performance is true.
    Not everything is about performance and Aesthetics. Its about features and flexibility too.

  27. i would have liked to see him mention that Mac OSX is 99.9% virus free, while windows is plauged by viruses almost everywhere you turn.

    • Sure macs run virtually virus free, however what use is it having a computer that doesn’t work with 90% of the software out there. Also, it is pretty easy to avoid viruses, there are many free anti virus programs. The fact is if everybody had macs then macs would have viruses.

      I still don’t understand the single giant button.

      • Sorry Steve – I’m not sure where you are getting your facts, but the newer macs using Intel chips will run any windows software you can throw at it – in a genuine windows OS. I have used both platforms for years, and now I only boot up one machine and run my legacy PC programs with no problem. It’s a no brainer – Just the time I save NOT downloading anti-virus updates, running the scans, and dealing with problem infected files is worth the few extra dollars I spent to buy my mac.

        • Steven (not steve) says:

          I find it amusing (and frustrating) when people automatically assume that PCs run one OS. Sure, most of the PCs out there are windows based, but lets just use my friend’s as an example. He built his rig from parts himself, and it cost him 1200 dollars, with i7 2.66 ghz (quad core), 8 gb of 1333 RAM, 1gb DDR3 gpu, blah blah (I think the was NVIDIA 260gtx). Including an awesome high gamut screen (only 16:9 full HD though), it cost one thousand freaking two hundred (total). The hard drive was in RAID 0 with a new HD (7200 rpm) and his older one. Except one thing, it’s a tower, not all-in one (but, really, does it matter so much?).
          He’s running ubuntu karmic koala, AND OSX on it (IDK how, but its a hackintosh all right). He said he got info from the hackintosh community about how to do it.
          It pwns the similarly priced macs in every aspect (except for screen size), and the price is very, very good.
          In your face, mac people! You think that your computer’s fast? Look at this! (imaginary conversation) “yeah, but osx is so much more secure, blah blah blah, and is totally unique to macs and stuff, hmmmn-mmnnn.” Great, my computer runs a OS with even less viruses, Ubuntu linux. “Yeah, but OSX is awesome and stuff.” Ok… Well I’m running that too. “No, that’s impossible, OSX is only for macs!” Yeah, thank you for the misinformation, mac nerd.
          If you have computer experience, and buy a mac, then you really confuse me, as the price for performance is really off.

          To other ill-informed people, the mac mouse (mighty and magic) is pretty good, except you can’t use the 2 buttons at once, or press the other when the first is already down. That, to anybody with gaming experience, is perfectly awful. Classic example, try scoping with the rocket launcher in GTA 3, then shooting with a mac mouse. Not fun, is it?

          P.S. Using a mac to run windows is the same as using a PC to run osx. If you think about it hard enough, software wise, there’s no difference.

          Sorry for ranting.

          • Steven (again) says:

            Whoops, when I said 2 buttons on the mac mice, I meant 1, with different effects based on where you click it. Pressure on left part=left click, pressure on right part +right click.

            P.S. that stupid little ball on the mighty mouse is really annoying.

            At least some more people know about the mac mice.

        • Yes, but when you’re on a Windows OS you can get all of Windows viruses.

          • Sure you can says:

            lol if macs are viruses free…..why is there anti-virus for it?…..just to have it?

            there’s viruses out in the wild for mac os x..so you can’t really use the “viruses free” bull anymore.

            mac is the best platform for viruses now..because
            A) by apple’s description all its customers are “retarded” *more or less*

            B) “macs can’t get viruses” need I say more?

            C) job’s needs to make up newer and better Bull to feed to the people in (A)..getting tried of the pre programed mac fan boy rebuttals.

            lol to end this rant…I got a computer better then all ^said macs…for 100% cheaper .plus I have linux…so I can do everything you can..but for free..((dual boot xp..so I got games to))what do you got?…..oh world of warcraft….uhh..that’s cools.

            I got all the good image and video editors you can use on mac *photoshop/after effects*….so what makes mac better again? media you say?

            sure you can say “mac can now play games”..but this web site says different

            http://forums.macrumors.com/archive/index.php/t-118032.html%3Cbr%20/index.php?f-101.html

            all I see is a list of problems I get for free using wine…but you paid for those problems.

            Face it…You been JIPPED..lol

  28. Apple needs a mid range. Bread and butter iPhone contracts, 50+ million, globally about to expire. From 3-9% in two years or so.

    Apple needs a mid range in a big way, problem is, they can offer a machine for $1299 that beats the pro except in rendering time. Worth it? You bet.

  29. A highly unprofessional article that fails to take into consideration that 2.0 ghz Core 2 Duo processors do NOT cost $200. Not even back 1 year ago.

    Look, I built a PC using local solutions that had a Q6600, 22″ LCD, HD4850, good mouse and keyboard – in effect with components far superior to the iMac for $1080 CANADIAN including all taxes (though without OS). This was in December 2008, not so far from when this article was written. Even with the OS, I suppose this would have been around $900 US, considering how low the Canadian dollar was back then.

    The reason SMART people say Macs are overpriced is not because there consistently exist PC solutions with similar specs at better prices, but because PCs have sales that make them much cheaper. Exploiting these sales is not hard at all.

    I will agree, however, that all three systems here have their merits that would make them worth getting. The Mac Mini’s small size factor is extremely hard to replicate. Don’t know much about servers so I won’t go into the Mac Pro – though I might suggest that hardcore server people would probably stay clear of it. However, most Mac owners (of which I know many) have no idea what in the world they are getting, which is a shame to their wallets.

    Antec 900 looks better than the Mac Pro case :p

  30. Frostbite says:

    This is a stupid article, there’s so much crappy info that I won’t bother going into detail about it. Basically with a Mac, you get the teen hipster look AND price, with a PC, you get a fully customizable ramshackle computing element that you are free to do with as you please. This is assuming you’re not some idiot that goes out and buys from big name manufacturers of course.

    On the topic of operating systems, I use both Linux and Windows, and guess what? I don’t ever get viruses on Windows because I’m not a retard like most Mac people that switched because they had viruses in the past. I haven’t used any AV software in 4 years and the only infection I’ve ever had was a Vundo variant from a bogus driver pack I stupidly opened, KNOWING it was possibly a trojan, and it was. I used hijackthis and got rid of it with some small time forum help. Very hard.

    • They are overpriced no question about it. You could find probably 5 examples by online shopping by the time you read this article.

      It’s just a marketing strategy. People who want macs will buy them, so they can charge more and sell fewer machines. Also, by charging more money for the same features, it makes macs seem like they are better quality.

      Seriously, what is with that single button?

  31. This article, while insightful, is full of flaws. One is that this review only compares the iMac to other all-in-one PC’s, which most people wouldn’t need anyway. And you have to remember that Macs have fixed hardware configurations (with only a few variations) while there’re always lower-priced alternatives for PC’s. As for laptop, MacBooks don’t even have dedicated video cards. And all an iMac has is a low-end 256MB card (is it still a geForce 8400GS? Or was it a Raedon 2400?) while you can get a semi-decent card for your PC for under $100.

  32. If you compare hardware builds tit-for-tat, the high-end hardware of the Mac is reasonably priced (aside from RAM). The problem is that Apple forces their buyers to choose between a limited range of models that simply do not meet the needs of many computer buyers. The iMac is the closest thing to a mid-range machine that Apple offers, but sticks you with a monitor whether you want one or not (and not a particularly good one, either). The Mac Pro is the only easily upgradeable tower Apple offers, but its entry level pricing begins where most PC manufacturers leave off.

    Ironically, the absence of an affordable workhorse shafts the one consumer group that helped put Apple where it is today: the graphic arts professionals. It is doubly ironic because the emergence of the computer has meant that the market prices for graphic work have been tumbling in the face of a zillion Adobe-empowered entrepreneurs, leaving artists struggling to pay for both the latest cutting edge processors and the tools of their trade which seem to continuously demand them.

    I don’t think anyone would ever learn to become a race car driver if the only cars you could buy were either VW Beetles or F-1 Formula cars.

    Wake up, Apple.

  33. If you compare Mac and PC with similar hardware spec, Mac may not be that overpriced.

    The problem is, Apple does not offer anything that matches what I need. If I want a Mac, I have to choose a Mac that is way over spec. And that makes choosing a Mac a very expensive option for me.

    For my everyday work, I need a mid range tower (expandable, but I don’t need killer processor or graphics card). If I want a Mac, either I have to settle with an imac (I don’t want an all-in-one PC), or choose a Mac Pro (way overkill for what I need).

    When I travel, I only need a laptop that do the basic mail and web surfing. I do need a relatively large screen as my eye sight is not that great. A low end laptop with 15″ screen is suffice, which Apple does not offer. Again, if I want a Mac, I have to choose one that is way overkill spec wise.

    I would love to use OSX, but until Apple can produce something that better suits my need, Mac is out for me.

  34. those prices at Newegg are wrong I can build you a Core2Quad, based tower mounted on the Nvidia based EVGA 780i, 320GB HD, 4 X 1024 8oo MHz memory, a DVD burner, and a DVD Rom, wireless key/Mouse combo,512 mem PCi-E voideocard, 19in LCD with windows 7 or windows XP OS this rig I sell for $1100 to $1200. and I use exclusively TigerDirect and Newegg

    • Maybe if you realised this article is from 2008 and that computer prices go down as the years go by, you would have thought twice about making this comment.

  35. as far as MAC based PCs versus Windows based PCs if you want to just do pics, graphics, and office work MAC is great EXCEPT the price and ability to find hardware if you want to do it all 90% of the hardware is made for Windows and pretty much what you can do on a MAC you can do on a Windows based PC for allot less $$$ but if you want to match the price you can do it a whole lot faster on Windows as far as DEL,Gateway,HP and the rest of the store bought PCs if you know any thing about the inside of the BOX just pop the side and LOOK theres no match in quality. Most manufacturers use basic boards and memory even video cards they will run just as long as top quality parts but not nearly as fast STOCK and for the same price. this is the specs of my own system I sell them for $2000 and they rate in the top 20%
    ATX Mid-Tower Case
    Core2Quad Q8200 2.66 GHZ processor
    EVGA 780i Motherboard
    8 Gb OCZ Reaper 1066 mhz memory
    2 X EVGA 9500GT 1024 memory Video card SLI
    Segate raptor 320GB Harddrive
    Segate raptor 320 Harddrive
    Ultra X3 ULT40073 750-Watt Power Supply
    DVD Bruner, DVD ROM ,and a BlueRay ROM
    wireless key/Mouse combo
    5.1 surround sound system with a set of 3 way yamaha home speakers as the mains
    and a 26 in sanyo LCD HDTV as the monitor

  36. Now if I market a pencil as A Magic Wand for Writing and sell it for $10,000 and another manufacturer markets his two pencils (of somewhat similar spec) as: A Pencil (priced $100) and A magic wand for writing (priced $10,000) then my pencils are not over priced, or so the writer of this article would think.

  37. I run a PC with Windows on it. I don’t use antivirus softwares for years, because I hate ‘em. And no virus got into my system at all. I’m not that geek in computer, but responsible and knowing what I’m doing with my computer, that’s all. And anyway, why the hell prices for building your own computer, as listed here, so much more expensive than in the real market I know?? As far as know, you can get anything at most 1/2 or 2/3 the price of branded PCs, with exactly the same specs. You should go to the real market yourself to see if my statement is true or not.

  38. “Apples and Apples”. Forget pricing and compare the same hardwares to each other. MACS are overpriced when you do that.

  39. This article is full of shit.

    Just today I was comparing Mac with PC laptops and the price differences are profound. There is absolutely no doubt that you get less computer for more money with a Mac.

    I looked at the Macbook Pro. 14″ screen. Aluminum shell (who gives a damn about an aluminum shell?). Intel Core-2-Duo running at 2.26 gigahertz. 2gigs of DDR2-SDRAM. Two USB ports. Built in blue-tooth. Built in wireless, and a meager 160GB hard-disk. Some useless software that the average laptop user won’t use, and a complete lack of important software that the average user WILL use (e.g. Microsoft Office). The price? $1200.

    There were literally a dozen PC laptops with similar specifications, sporting twice as much DDR2 RAM and twice as much hard-disk space, more USB ports, and even larger screens.

    To say that Macs are similarly-priced to PCs is absurd.

    • Well then Bobby, consider me an absurd person.

      You want to know something? Macs retain their value throughout time. Let’s say you get 2 computers, an iMac, and some PC.

      Now let’s say they both costed exactly $1000, and they had the EXACT same specs.

      In 5 years, when you are ready to get a new computer, you can sell your PC for about $200 while you can sell your iMac for almost $500.

      I think that makes up for the price buddy.

  40. In 5 years, I can just update the processor, motherboard and/or memory without having to buy a completely new PC.

    It’s simple, Steve Jobs has taken the same approach that Monster does in selling it’s gold plated HDMI cables. You get this perception that you’re buying higher quality, but what’s really going on is you’re paying twice as much as what a PC user would buy simply because of the name.

    The fact is, I saw an optical drive at the Apple store for the Power Mac. They wanted $150 for it. I looked up the same drive for the PC at New Egg and found it for $75. That pretty much sums up the entire Mac experience.

  41. PC sucks, everybody knows this even PC users. The only reason they use them is because they are “cheap”, that gives you an idea about the type of people they are “cheap”. Mac’s are better, smarter, faster and just damn more prettier than PC, so what ? You stand a much better chance of getting laid by a girl with a Mac then a fugly PC.

    Ball is in your court doushey

  42. pc users ARE cheap. we don’t have 2500 to shell out for a pc when we could pay 700 and have a computer that suits our needs (and most of our gaming needs as well)

    my cheapo emachine with an upgraded video card served me well.

    PC for the people who don’t spend exorbitant amounts on a computer that is the same thing.

  43. John Randall says:

    I have a PhD in computer science and own both Macs and PC. To make this story short: PCs are much better for anyone who knows anything about computing power and who is serious about computer performance.

    MACs are for people who really don’t have an idea of what a computer is and just want something that looks pretty. In the industry that I work in of scientific computing PCs are only used.

    Perhaps if you are an art student who cares more about aesthetics than performance, go get a MAC.

    • So, as you own both, which kind of person does that make you? ; )
      BTW, Windows sucks for real computing, Mac OS (or any UNIX system) is way better.
      Cheers!

  44. Macs are good computers but are way way way way way way way way way way way way way way way way way way way way way Overpriced. There is no debate unless your to stupid to go look how much your hardware cost without the Mac name on it. You remind me of the people that voted for Barack Obama. Stop being so bullheaded and look at the whole pic already.

    • Dude, you are right about Macs, but Obama? Are you kidding? McCain & Palin’s IQ added together doesn’t even approach Obama’s. Republicans are morons. Look at the last one we had…

  45. Those PC prices were bullshit. So was the custom built pc pricing. The mac is still super overpriced.

  46. I just built a PC bundle from Tigerdirect that I got for $339.00 then added what I wanted and still under 600 bucks with a 159 dollar Phenom II 940 quad core with a printer added free from NewEgg a couple 10 dollar case fans (it came with a side panel fan) bundle came with case, gigibyte 785 motherboard, athlon II 2.8 ghz cpu dual core, 500 gb hard drive, ati 4650 video card and 450 watt power supply and motherboard has ati 4200 video chips oh I added a 24x dvd rw/cdrw drive 24 dollars and people that has trouble with virus’s are lazy it is so simple to scan something downloaded before installing which only takes a few secs to a couple minutes depending on size

  47. This is nonsense. Comparable PCs are often half the price of Macs in the real world. List prices for PCs are meaningless. I went Mac a year and a half ago, with a Mac Pro. Very nice machine, but I have the same number of problems–software & hardware– I had with my PC, contrary to what I expected after listening to my Mac buddies. I am writing this on my 8-year-old Dell because the Mac died (probably the video card, which is apparently a common problem with this model). Mac charges too much for almost everything, including extra RAM and such. BTW, I have never had any malware get far into my PC with Windows XP. Most folks who get infected don’t take even the most basic of precautions (like update the OS now and then).

  48. Okay? You are comparing non custom PCs to Apple computers? That is a bad direction to go in, first off… the best, and cheapest computers are entirely custom. And are NOT Mac, Dell, whatever. Granted you may not have this option with laptops. But you shouldn’t be going so mainstream with pricing, dell/hp/etc suck also.

    Also you must take into account usability versus a big paperweight, when I see a mac, I think paperweight that will not do half the things I do on my PC, which in retrospect is a 50% or more decrease in performance.

    Before I get to deep into this conversation, I’d also like to point out that Apple is a dictator company, they aim for control of everything. Keep in mind, you DONT actually own anything you “buy” from Apple. And if it’s not approved by apple, be sure they will be trying to block it from getting on your Mac.

    ~Celeste~

  49. mitc8547 says:

    This argument is erroneous beyond belief. I don't know where you took your data from, but you can get a factory overclocked extreme edition i7 core straight from Intel for less than $1k, so if you pay $1.4k for a Quad core Xenon you, my friend, are an idiot. I am not going to waste my time describing the other errors, because the first one is big enough to tell the whole story. I just happened to build a custom PC for a friend that completely spanks the pants off of the best Mac can offer, and the total cost was just under $2k. I am quite sorry, but that $1k extra for a pretty white box is just not my thing.

    Intel i7 Core 2.66 GHz
    Corsair Dominator DDR3 6GB 1600MHz
    BFG Tech GTX285 GPU
    WD Caviar Black 1TB HD @ 1700
    Thermaltake Armor Series Full Tower Case
    Kingwin 120cm Extreme CPU Cooler
    Kingwin 1100W PSU
    PLEXTOR 24X DVD/CD Writer
    ASUS VH226 19″ 1080p Widescreen Monitor
    Eclipse Neon Blue Backlit Keyboard
    Wireless Optical Laser Mouse
    Any miscellaneous parts like heatsink paste, zip ties, etc.

    Total Pricetag for High End Rig based off of Newegg for all this stuff: $1964.35

    Game over. Mac is overpriced. You are all brainwashed.

  50. Rashettle says:

    You clearly tried to find the most expensive PC's with matching specs. I help people by notebooks all the time and when I show them the MacBook that will fit their needs and then search for a Windows 7 notebook with equivalent stats it is between 50% to 60% of the MacBook. When it comes to the MacBook Pro, it is laughable to see that $2799 price tag. The MSI GX740-079US NoteBook has a superior processor, and graphics card, same ram, and faster hard drive. Guess how much it is? $1399 on Newegg.

    The i7 720qm is a quad core with a max clock of 2.8GHz and blows away the dual core i5 in the stock MacBook Pro.

    The MSI has an ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5870 and this makes the MacBook Pro with the Geforce 330m look like a crippled computer while gaming.

    The HDD are the same size at 500GB but the MSI runs at 7200 rpm (which is normal) and the MacBook Pro's only runs at 5400 rpm. Where is Apple even finding these 5400 rpm HDD? A scrap yard?

    Oh and when it comes to value lets talk about open vs closed systems. You aren't really buying the hardware when it is attached to a closed system are you?

  51. Murderpirate says:

    That is just fake, a Viao laptop that has the same spec as macbook pro, 15inch one, and it has 7200 rpm hdd instead of 5~~~ and a better graphics for just 700$ and the macbook pro is for 1999$
    again, this is FAKE FAKE FAKE FAKEEEEEEEEEE

  52. Only a Mactard would pay $500 for five year old technology. We’re not talking about cars or homes which do the same thing (provide transit and shelter) through the years, for many years; computer hardware quickly becomes obsolete!

    Anyone who knows anything about computers knows that Macs are overpriced, there is no questioning it. It is common knowledge. All of that extra money for a mac and what do you get? Some apple logos and a mediocre OS.

  53. What the hell? I compared a 2300 euro Imac Pro to a self built system with almost identical specs. I came up with an 1131 euro price difference in favor of the self built system.
    I call shenanigans.

  54. Charles Mecklenburg says:

    What a farce.

    Do you think consumers are retarded? Do you think we can’t do a price comparison?

    Favorite part:

    Motherboard Unknown = Price 619 dollars…

    What gracking planet do you live on? Even in 2008 there are no motherboards out there like that at Newegg, and if they cost you 620 dollars you’re a bigger moron that I thought. The MB might set you back 300.

    Macs are way way overpriced, trust me I’ve priced and speced them. And Vista didn’t run slow, the problem with Vista was backward compatibility. Sure it was slower than XP on the same hardware, but you can say the same about iOS 4 on my 3G, it runs like mud.

    Look just admit you’re a fanboy and change the name of your silly site to MacFanBoyCentral and we’d know you were biased, which proves you are not real journalist, as a journalist is taught to be impartial.

    Today the price of a Mac Book pro compared to an equivalent Dell, HP is about 1000 dollars difference.

    Case in point, last month I got my daughter a HP Core i5 laptop with 8 GB of RAM, a 750 GB HD, and a 15 inch LED back lit WS monitor with bluetooth, and the works. It only set me back $1150. The same laptop from Apple’s website (minus the .75TB HD as 500 GB is as big as it gets and a Mac Book Pro) sets me back $2,349!!!!!!

    http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MC371LL/A?mco=MTc0Njg1OTY

    Look the point is the price doesn’t lie, YOU DO, and all anyone need to do to prove is it bring up the Dell site, The HP site and compare to the Apple Store.

    As for comparing to Newegg, that’s silly. It almost always costs more to build a homegrown PC, but when you do the quality component wise (mainly video card, motherboard, memory, and hard drive) are far better.

  55. Charles Mecklenburg says:

    So spending and extra 1000 dollars today is worth the 300 dollars reward down the road.

    And who in their right mind pays 500 dollars for a Mac that is 5 years old when they can get a brand new PC laptop running Windows, or Linux for 300-700 dollars that is more powerful AND NOT USED!

    You fanboys will never ceases to amaze me.

  56. By the way, if you had a mac and pc that both cost $1000 then they would not have the same specs

  57. Their are motherboards that cost around that price, but they are bloody monsters, they are more used for benchmarking and stress testing etc although some people with more money then brains buy them for gaming.

    The EVGA SR2 classified costs around $400-$600, that monster can take two 6 core processors, but I’d suggest getting an AMD board because Intels latest 6 core range performs around 5-10% better for more then 100% increase in price. It can take 48GB of ram and supports 4way CrossfireX and 4 way SLI.

    The MAIN problems with Vista was it’s compatibility and microsofts horrendous attempt to copy Linux by adding in that shitty ass UAC. Seriously if they wanted to make it as safe and secure as Linux they should have changed the entire operating system. But I’m getting off topic.

    I personally have always been baffled by the fact that people buy macs, I mean seriously, look at those prices.

    I do agree with you the author is biased, by intentionally choosing extremely high priced PC’s.

  58. It all depends on what they are being used for, seriously. If you want high end top notch gaming, on the newest released games, or you need specific products/programs that will only run on windows, choose that.

    MAC OS X is best for editorialising (which encompasses a hell of a lot of things) and stuff like that, plus their are many programs out their that will only run on OS X.

    If you want to run a server, or you want to avoid viruses or just like to customise your operating system to look like you created it, then choose linux. Also linux is the best programming platform hands down.

    Again, the fact of the matter is, not 1 of these operating systems is better then the other, they all have their uses (and issues). It depends on your particular needs, but if anybody tells you that one particular one can never break down, is best at everything, allows you to do anything or says anything overly fanatic like that, just walk away, don’t feed the trolls.

    Let me also point out to everyone, that you don’t need a mac to run OS X.

  59. David Risley is full of shit, not just this article.

  60. You are a fucking nerd. You need a mac to get laid? You must have like 20 macbooks, just so you can lay some fat chicks.

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