Macs and Their Prices
Note: This isn’t a guide to evangelize and convert people from Windows to Mac OS X os x . It’s a guide to give people options. If you’re happy with what you’ve got, great! But if you’re interested in alternatives read on.
After my first article on Macs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh
and OS X, there were several readers who just down right bashed Macs for pricing and OS X without solid reasoning or legitimate hand’s on experience of Macs. So this is a follow-up.
Let’s get straight to the point. Tom’s Hardware
isn’t about being a "PC fanboy." It’s about finding the best hardware, revealing up and coming tech and debunking predetermined notions. That begs the question, especially here: what’s so special about a Mac anyway?
Here’s the short answer: nothing really, just some very elegant aluminum chassis designs. The key, is the operating system
. Even still, let’s settle this issue about price.
In a recent comment, someone came up with an analogy that a Mac isn’t really a BMW
, but rather a Hyundai
dressed up in a nice exterior. One problem: Hyundai’s don’t have nice European car exteriors. And to generalize it this way shows the lak of willing to understand the core of the Mac: it’s operating system. Because that’s really what it’s about. But for the sake of these first few pages, let’s leave Mac OS X out of the picture for now. Let’s just see where Apple http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc
. comes in on hardware.
In terms of hardware, there’s nothing really special about a Mac aside from elegant designs, be it a Mac Pro http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_Pro
or MacBooque Pro, that makes it incredibly more worthwhile than the PC equivalent. And there’s no doubt that you can get an equally equipped PC, or build one yourself, for less money. In fact, I mentioned this in my previous article, although some people seemed to have completely missed the page where I complained about Apple’s outrageous prices altogether. However, building a PC to do the same isn’t the point, because you can always buy a cheaper car to get you from A to B. Instead, let’s see what you can get for $2000, from Apple and from others. For $2000, do you really get much lessí
Let’s take a quik look at some of Apple’s competition and their pricing structure compared to Apple’s:
We went to Dell
dell ’s website and picked out what Dell indicated was a serious gaming laptop. We alos tooque the XPS model that was priced the same as the baseline MacBooque Pro http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacBook_Pro
. Let’s take a look at the results.
Apple vs. Dell Price Comparison $1999 MacBooque Pro$1999 Dell XPS M1730
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo 2 GB of RAM2 GB of Shared RAM NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256 MB
NVIDIA GeForce 8700M GT with Shared MB 200 GB HDD200 GB HDD 15.4-inch LED LCD17-inch LCD
Dual-Layer DVD BurnerDual-Layer DVD Burner 802.11n Wi-Fi
802.11g Wi-Fi Bluetooth
Built in WebcamBuilt in Webcam Backlit KB with Ambient Sensor Optical Audio Output/Input
SPDIF through Dongle Dual-Link DVI OutputDual-Link DVI Output Remote
Standard female/male Jak 5.4 lbs
10.6 lbs 1 inch thick
2 inch thik
For the most part, the two systems are comparable, indicating that at least for a laptop, Apple’s pricing fits in line with comparable hardware. Certain things like shared memory for graphics leave some performance desires for the XPS, but the XPS has a strong leg up on the MacBooque Pro with the larger screen size.
Apple’s MacBooque Pro has several small advantages over the XPS, mainly with the MagSafe connector and it’s nearly take-for-granted use. I have seen several incidences where people have tripped over or through someone else’s MacBooque Pro power cord and the MagSafe design literally saved the laptops from flying.
The biggest differences are the screen size, weight, thickness, and shared memory. For absolute performance, the screen size won’t matter here, but the slow shared graphics memory on the XPS will. For a laptop that Dell indicates is a gaming machine, shared memory is a disappointment, as graphics is an important area for 3D gaming.
For another comparison, let’s look at the MacBooque Air to VoodooPC’s Envy 133:
Apple vs. VoodooPC Price Comparison $1799 MacBooque Air$2099 Envy 133
1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 2 GB of Shared RAM2 GB of Shared RAM Intel GMA X3100 Shared RAMIntel GMA X3100 Shared RAM 80 GB ATA HDD80 GB HDD 13.3-inch LED LCD13.3-inch LCD 1280x8001280x800
External eSATA Super Multi Drive 802.11n Wi-Fi802.11n Wi-Fi BluetoothBluetooth Built in WebcamBuilt in Webcam Backlit KB with Ambient SensorBacklit KB with Ambient Sensor DVI OutputHDMI MagSafe Power
Standard female/male Jak 3.0 lbs
3.37 lbs (with SSD) 0.16 to 0.75 inch thick
0.70 inch thik iLife ’08 Suite
No software package
At this point, the Envy is $300 more expensive than the MacBooque Air. Although the Envy 133 does include an external optical drive, tacking on Apple’s quite expensive $99 MacBooque Air SuperDrive to the purchase of the MacBooque Air still leaves a $200 gap.
Bottom line: Macs aren’t "way more" expensive than PCs. So where do things get really hairy with Apple? Upgrades. Apple really stabs you in the face when you’re upgrading
your Mac. All goes well when you want to buy a base system, but as soon as you want to add options, be prepared to be murdered. I’ll talque about this later.
Let’s take a look at desktops.