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View Full Version : Mac mini Price Significantly Less than DIY PC


MacBytes
Jan 14, 2005, 12:40 PM
Category: Apple Hardware
Link: Mac mini Price Significantly Less than DIY PC (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20050114134029)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

24C
Jan 14, 2005, 01:22 PM
Is this a great piece, dunno really.

The problem with comparing prices with DIY PC components, is that some "fool" can always get them cheaper, so everybody arguing that this guy can't build a PC to save his life...yet if they compare with say Dell, they say that processor is not comparable to that Mac one etc, or you can get 4 times the graphic card etc, etc

So is the Mac mini ever going to be great value against those Windows DIY builders..doesn't look like it ever will be... despite what other folks are saying...and yeah all mac users are arrogant religious zealots :-)

ZildjianKX
Jan 14, 2005, 01:55 PM
Yeah, really ignorant on the parts they chose. One of the people linked to this article, which is probably better: http://techreport.com/onearticle.x/7857

Spec for spec, the mini will always be more expensive, but when you add in it's super small form factor, the mini isn't that bad of a value.

Bendit
Jan 14, 2005, 02:07 PM
The value in Apple computers has never been hardware. It's software.

Yes you can buy a cheaper PC. You will always be able to. Will it come with a modern OS? Maybe. Will it come with iLife? No. Does ANYTHING on the marker in any price range compare to iLife? No. That's why it's worth it.

iLife alone is worth $600.

montex
Jan 14, 2005, 02:08 PM
I just love reading posts by PC nerds who chime in about how they can build a Super-Duper PC for less than the cost of the cheapest Mac. But building a PC from scratch, though great fun, is not a common practice among the PC buying public.

There is no doubt that somebody, somewhere can find bargin priced parts and glom them together into a useable computer. That's not what the Mac is about. Macs are more than the sum of their parts - a point often lost on this group. In the end it doesn't matter because the people who like to build their own computer will never switch over to a Mac. Ever.

I'm happy to see Apple produce the Mac Mini. I can now recommend it to anyone on a limited budget, although I wish it came with 512Mb of RAM.

solvs
Jan 14, 2005, 02:16 PM
I've built my own PCs. They are cheaper, and often faster, but you do get what you pay for. Something breaks, it's up to you to fix it. You're stuck with Windows or Linux. It can be fun, but there can be hassles, even if you know what you are doing. Especially when you make stupid mistakes, they can cost you.

But considering most of the people I know need help installing RAM, the mini is a great deal. Even after you up the specs, and add AppleCare. Especially if you already have a kb, mouse, and monitor.

Bendit
Jan 14, 2005, 02:21 PM
Alot of people also don't seem to be aware of the fact that the mac uses a slow laptop drive. IT's not even one of the faster laptop drive. It will severely hinder the performance of the machine, especially with only 256mb of ram. If you have 1gb of RAM you could mostly overcome the slow hard drive.

This is just a glorified powerbook without a monitor, I hope no one expects it to perform any better.

24C
Jan 14, 2005, 03:13 PM
Alot of people also don't seem to be aware of the fact that the mac uses a slow laptop drive. IT's not even one of the faster laptop drive. It will severely hinder the performance of the machine, especially with only 256mb of ram. If you have 1gb of RAM you could mostly overcome the slow hard drive.

This is just a glorified powerbook without a monitor, I hope no one expects it to perform any better.

AFAIK in most people performance is limited by themselves, although if you're loaded to the hilt with spyware, viruses et al...a 1+Ghz powerBook is better than nothing ;-)

Seriously though, in my time in retail computing and helping folks with computer problems, it matters not what they use, as long as when they are faced with a problem they have a good method for dealing with it. Most of the folks I meet new to computers, in back to backs on the shop floor, find an Apple easier...it's easier to walkthrough the process as well when demoing, as there less obvious steps...the hard part for some folks is parting with the cash. The mac mini really is a HUGE step forward in perceived cost for Apple, even though it has faults to more enlightened folk, and it will do well.

Mav451
Jan 14, 2005, 03:27 PM
The value in Apple computers has never been hardware. It's software.

Yes you can buy a cheaper PC. You will always be able to. Will it come with a modern OS? Maybe. Will it come with iLife? No. Does ANYTHING on the marker in any price range compare to iLife? No. That's why it's worth it.

iLife alone is worth $600.

Heh I dunno about $600, but certainly the possibility of a G4 + iLife + OSX all for $499 is an incredible deal. I, unfortunately, have gotten attached to computing power of the XP-Mobiles, so if I were to get a Mac I would no way settle for a G4 (I'd have to get a 2.0G5 at the very least).

And for those who criticize PC users for saying they can build a strong computer for a cheaper price are showing the same ignorance (as not realizing Apple's strength is in the software).

(ok, after taking a glance)
A pro-Apple site dares to post a 2Ghz P4 in the year 2005?
You wonder why this article is ridiculed by PC users. An Athlon 64 2800+ (1.8Ghz, ultra high IPC) is only $140, and they dare to post a 2Ghz P4. I don't think I'm even going to read into the article, its that much of a joke.

Sun Baked
Jan 14, 2005, 03:34 PM
Yes you can buy a cheaper PC. You will always be able to. Will it come with a modern OS? Maybe. Will it come with iLife? No. Does ANYTHING on the marker in any price range compare to iLife? No. That's why it's worth it.Which is also why some people will say that the $299 Microtel PC with some Linux variant is a better deal than having to pay for Windows on the $499 HP or eMachines box.

When you get down to it, the only company making money off the super cheap PCs right now is MicroSoft.

nagromme
Jan 14, 2005, 04:11 PM
At least that comparison takes into account software.

Apple, aside from the secure and friendly OS, bundles really, REALLY good software. You can't find anything for Windows to match the features/simplicity package that iLife 05 gives you.

Go to Dell and start adding software... and little things like Firewire, DVD drive, CD-RW... real VRAM... you won't end up cheaper than a Mac Mini, even if you remove the display.

A Mac Mini is more expensive than some low-end PCs... and cheaper than others! What it lets you DO blows them all away. And what use are specs like Mhz beyond what they let you DO?

gwangung
Jan 14, 2005, 04:27 PM
At least that comparison takes into account software.

Apple, aside from the secure and friendly OS, bundles really, REALLY good software. You can't find anything for Windows to match the features/simplicity package that iLife 05 gives you.

After all, you don't work with just hardware; you work with a system, which is both hardware AND software.

Think this isn't emphasized enough; hardware comparisons are only half of the situation.

3Memos
Jan 14, 2005, 04:32 PM
After all, you don't work with just hardware; you work with a system, which is both hardware AND software.

Think this isn't emphasized enough; hardware comparisons are only half of the situation.

True, when you add in the innovations of Apple's software, you start to see how much of a better value a mac is, compared to a similarly equipped PC.

Mr.Hey
Jan 14, 2005, 04:51 PM
Yeah, really ignorant on the parts they chose. One of the people linked to this article, which is probably better: http://techreport.com/onearticle.x/7857

Spec for spec,the mini will always be more expensive :rolleyes: , but when you add in it's super small form factor, the mini isn't that bad of a value.

Ummm....no ^^^



Apple Mac mini vs. Shuttle XPC G4300h:
http://www.systemshootouts.org/shootouts/desktop/2005/0111_sff0600.html

Now, before everyone starts ripping me for the components & pricing I chose, let me be clear about what *my* criteria are: the systems configured have to be purchased from a single manufacturer (ie, Apple.com, Dell.com, or in this case, Shuttle.com). Why? Because the target market for the miniMac is NOT the DIY crowd, it's the Mom/Dad/Grandma crowd, who do NOT want to muck around with components.

With that understanding, the above link at least shows how well the mini stacks up against Shuttle; feel free to run your own comparisons for other companies.

mrsebastian
Jan 14, 2005, 05:41 PM
i agree that it may be cheaper for a diy person to build a pc that's maybe a lil cheaper or faster. however, apple is banking on a few principles for selling the mini.

most people, myself included, don't have a clue on how to build a pc from scratch. heck, just matching the hardware pieces so they work together is scary enough, which brings us to... i wanna buy a mac/pc, plug it in and have it work. in case something goes wrong, i'm gonna take it back to the store and have 'em fix it. there's no way in hell the average person like me, is gonna know how to trouble shoot bad ram, logic board, or whatever.

apple knows many pc users are tired of spyware and the like, bringing their computer to a slow crawl. heck a friend of mine just gave up and her pc sits there not being used, because it's so slow and a security nightmare. most importantly, the mini is designed to sell al-a-carte. meaning a pc user can get a mini to replace the box they have sitting at home, but still use everything else like their display, mouse, etc. and essentially not have to buy any additional software. from that stand point, as long as apple does some good marketing, the mini should sell like hot cakes.

Mav451
Jan 14, 2005, 05:59 PM
For those who can't do something as simple as using Firefox, then yeah the tried-and-old spyware/virus/worm argument still applies.

I haven't met a single guy/girl in college that has a spyware problem. You know why? All of them listened to me and switched to Firefox. The people who didn't? They're running around using every anti-spyware/anti-popup software they kind get their hands on when the problem is that they only treat the symptoms, not the source.

That article about a middle-aged woman who has "gave up on using her PC"? Look at her browser. Its IE. No wonder she has spyware.

The argument for the Mini is in the software, iLife. Please don't start the spyware argument, b/c it is a dead one with Firefox. Why get the Mac Mini? Access to an awesome multimedia productivity suite for almost no investment (<500 dollars).

wrldwzrd89
Jan 14, 2005, 06:07 PM
True, when you add in the innovations of Apple's software, you start to see how much of a better value a mac is, compared to a similarly equipped PC.
I agree. The biggest factor in Apple's favor is their excellent software, especially the software bundled with Macs. You won't find any decent match for iLife at the same price point - this in itself is a tremendous advantage.

panphage
Jan 14, 2005, 06:51 PM
I build computers all the time, and I use AMD chips, but I don't see how you could build one for less than $500 and have it not be total crap. Granted the mini isn't exactly cutting-edge, but it has decent ports and at least dedicated VRAM (ignoring how weak the graphics chip is...)

Well, maybe you *could* get a half-ass decent box for $500 as long as you weren't particular about the case. I'm gonna go do some pricing. It's been a while...

EDIT: Sheesh, any dork that pays $90 for a radeon 9200 deserves any scorn we can heap on him. And I bet it's got more than 32MB VRAM. :D

hcuar
Jan 14, 2005, 07:06 PM
I build computers all the time, and I use AMD chips, but I don't see how you could build one for less than $500 and have it not be total crap. Granted the mini isn't exactly cutting-edge, but it has decent ports and at least dedicated VRAM (ignoring how weak the graphics chip is...)

Well, maybe you *could* get a half-ass decent box for $500 as long as you weren't particular about the case. I'm gonna go do some pricing. It's been a while...

EDIT: Sheesh, any dork that pays $90 for a radeon 9200 deserves any scorn we can heap on him. And I bet it's got more than 32MB VRAM. :D

;) Couldn't agree with you more... I've paid $500.00 for a video card several times. Heck, my "value" Radeon 9800 pro 128 was $200.00 after rebate 1 year ago. ;) I couldn't build a PC for $500.00 that I felt was on par with Apple's quality.

Mav451
Jan 14, 2005, 07:11 PM
Dude, if you get your hand on any of the last-gen AthlonXP, Bartons or TBreds, are easily a match for the G4's. It is only till the G5 that you have to even begin to consider to shift to A64's; to get equivalency in computing strength.

Even using a pro-Mac site, http://www.systemshootouts.org/processors.html

the Athlon XP's fare pretty well on their chart. Conservatively, it seems that (2002) Athlon XP 2100+ is just under a dual 1.42 G4 in their computing equivalency chart. Wow.

My Mobile Barton, @ 2.55Ghz would be between the Dual 1.8 and single 2.0G5.

The 2100+ TBred's are only $70, and the decent last-gen nForce2 mobos don't go for much over $50, or $80 if you want a brand name. Considering those 2100+ are binned from higher end processors, those could easily clock higher than their original 1733Mhz clock speed (2200Mhz+ is common). Pair that up with cheapie cas3 3200 sticks, and you got yourself a hefty barebone right there.

panphage
Jan 14, 2005, 07:14 PM
;) Couldn't agree with you more... I've paid $500.00 for a video card several times. Heck, my "value" Radeon 9800 pro 128 was $200.00 after rebate 1 year ago. ;) I couldn't build a PC for $500.00 that I felt was on par with Apple's quality.
Well, as far as the gpu goes, I really meant that $90 seems quite a bit to pay for the 9200. I can get a hercules 3d prophet 9200 w/128MB VRAM for $50. This poor fellow really needed to use pricewatch...and a Barton core Athlon.

Chip NoVaMac
Jan 15, 2005, 01:04 AM
The value in Apple computers has never been hardware. It's software.

Yes you can buy a cheaper PC. You will always be able to. Will it come with a modern OS? Maybe. Will it come with iLife? No. Does ANYTHING on the marker in any price range compare to iLife? No. That's why it's worth it.

iLife alone is worth $600.

Amen to that. I will never buy a MS operating system/computer system unless I really need to. VPC is all I really need for my tasks.

maya
Jan 15, 2005, 01:41 AM
What if one were to remove the internal components of the Mac mini and put it in another case:

replace the notebook Optical drive and HDD and put a desktop Optical and HDD drive.

Sure the Mac mini has a nice small case however I can think or another small case to house the current internals and desktop HDD and Optical drive.

Someone can put multiple Mac mini, internals in one PC case and you have a quad G4 Home Server. :eek:

Just an idea. :)

Chip NoVaMac
Jan 15, 2005, 01:48 AM
In this case Apple's industrial designers came up with what would sell best. We can say all the "what if's" we want. This is something much bigger than the diehard faithful.

solvs
Jan 16, 2005, 04:21 AM
What if one were to remove the internal components of the Mac mini and put it in another case:

replace the notebook Optical drive and HDD and put a desktop Optical and HDD drive.
I thought about it, but are there any notebook to regular sized IDE cables? I couldn't find any, but I didn't really search that hard.

Timelessblur
Jan 16, 2005, 11:13 AM
all I can scream is BS on that. As some one who done Several DIY PC the so call price they came up with is over twice as much as it really would cost.
the hardware they price is worth about 250 at best. As for the software it easy to cut at least 50% of that if not more. Trick is when you build you own you become the OEM so you can get OEM software which is pretty much dirct cheap.

From that writing the person who made it know jack about DIY PC and building them. Any one who build there own never would pay that much for parts because any computer company could massivlely undercut DIY PC people. A worthless artical that shows noughting and really only proving yet again that Zelots know noughting about computers and they act like they know everything.

All in all it really a close when it comes down to it. But in the end there is a reason that when I build computers I dont try go that cheap simple because it hard not to be beaten cost wise. When I build them I like to have a hardware bugget of about 600 then maybe 200-300 bucks for software when it goes that high DIY pc become a lot cheaper.

wrldwzrd89
Jan 16, 2005, 11:18 AM
all I can scream is BS on that. As some one who done Several DIY PC the so call price they came up with is over twice as much as it really would cost.
the hardware they price is worth about 250 at best. As for the software it easy to cut at least 50% of that if not more. Trick is when you build you own you become the OEM so you can get OEM software which is pretty much dirct cheap.

From that writing the person who made it know jack about DIY PC and building them. Any one who build there own never would pay that much for parts because any computer company could massivlely undercut DIY PC people. A worthless artical that shows noughting and really only proving yet again that Zelots know noughting about computers and they act like they know everything.
Just because OEM software is available doesn't mean the programs you want (including some of the programs listed in that article) are available in OEM versions - many of those are never bundled with computers, so there's zero chance of an OEM version being available. Case in point: Fruity Loops. I have no comment on the hardware issue.

Timelessblur
Jan 16, 2005, 11:21 AM
Just because OEM software is available doesn't mean the programs you want (including some of the programs listed in that article) are available in OEM versions - many of those are never bundled with computers, so there's zero chance of an OEM version being available. Case in point: Fruity Loops. I have no comment on the hardware issue.

www.newegg.com you can get most of that stuff OEM. Just because Dell does not sell it does not mean it can not be gotten OEM.

Dont Hurt Me
Jan 16, 2005, 11:22 AM
I agree i was just over at new egg and you can make a machine that smokes the one the author makes for less. Apple has allways been the best Software on last years hardware hasnt it? nothing has changed in 20 years. Apples software blows away the others guys and the otherguys hardware blows away the Macs. Nothing new i guess this will allways be.

wrldwzrd89
Jan 16, 2005, 11:22 AM
www.newegg.com you can get most of that stuff OEM. Just because Dell does not sell it does not mean it can not be gotten OEM.
Interesting, Timelessblur - I never would have guessed that was the case. I'm not a build-your-own PC type, so I guess that explains it...

Timelessblur
Jan 16, 2005, 11:26 AM
as I edit in my first post trying to DIY PC with software for under 500 is next to impossible to do because when compainy like Dell or apple now can build them then sell then for 500 they are getting really cheap prices. You general dont see DIY PC people trying to stay that cheap because it hard to not getten beaten. Up the bugget to 1000 and there is no DIY PC with software that does not blow a 1000 mac, dell out of the water.

nagromme
Jan 16, 2005, 11:53 AM
Does anyone think Apple NEEDS to enter the DIY market?

I just don't see that being a good thing for anyone.

24C
Jan 16, 2005, 03:31 PM
Does anyone think Apple NEEDS to enter the DIY market?

I just don't see that being a good thing for anyone.

IMO, they have with the Mac mini, except it's on their terms. Unfortunately it's not a DIY PC like the mass market. AFAIK they have done this on purpose, keep the item small & compact implies less materials,small shipping costs and differentiates itself from mainstream solutions.

No keyboard and mouse again reduce shipping size, greater margins on $499 entry cost pro rata. BTO options are "just in time devices" that are installed at source, like car factories so reducing stock further up the supply chain, increases margins!

Also, IMO small power supply/brick means less external power for ports, so restricts number of self powered USB devices to two? Maybe even form factor self limits...it has done with the 2.5"HD choice & laptop optical drive.

Anyway does it really matter? the product has been designed for a target audience, either side of this "normality" you are going to ask questions. If it was a total DIY solution from Apple, there would be more Apple branded self build options, low cost keyboards and low cost screens at the Apple retail stores. As there aren't any of the latter, maybe it's not a true DIY system, which incidentally has never really been the Apple ethos, because if it was why develop an iMac in the first place?

Timelessblur
Jan 16, 2005, 04:01 PM
Does anyone think Apple NEEDS to enter the DIY market?

I just don't see that being a good thing for anyone.


I dont think apple should try to complete in that market and try to beat DIY people. It a small market (prouble bigger than apple market share but still small) The DIY pc are general better for there price and more powerful for there price. Plus the people who do it build there computers exactly the way the want them not what the manfactors say. It mix and match with the parts they want and general they dont have the glaring weakness in areas for what htey want. (example is none Powerline macs being crippied by there graphic card) they are stongest where they need them to be. The manfactor try to build there computer to cover the largest base possible.

Once you get to about 700 buck for a full computer DIY PC star really pulling away in value and become better and better. My AMD 64 system is more powerful than anything but an upgrade powermac and it costed about 700 then the base modle(now it can be built for about a grand less). where I cut stuff on it was where I did not need it extra stuff. There is not extra software bloat on my computer that I did not need or want. that just the example.

All and I mean all computer that come from a computer manfactor compinay (apple, dell, gateway ect) come load with a lot of extra bloat that I would never want or need. It just taking up and wasting space on the hard drive.

The mini mac is really good for a computer manfactor compainy but against DIY unless you built you own there no point for this comparist because anybody who has built there own in the past year will see the BS in this artical and see how much of a idoit this guy really is and will be trying to figure out where he got his so call numbers.

solvs
Jan 17, 2005, 05:46 AM
The problem with DIYs is support. How many people would buy a kit, only to screw something up and start costing Apple more than it makes? It would be good for some of us, but more of a headache for others, and a potential nightmare for Apple. Not worth it for them. They're all the about the total experiance, not the lowest cost.

And I say this as someone who is a dedicated Do-It-Yourself'er.