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View Full Version : How Apple plays us tech-whores


yadmonkey
Aug 20, 2002, 10:45 AM
(and why I have little right to complain)

Here's a little rant about what I believe to be Apple's marketing psychology to get people to pay the big bucks for the new dual-1.25ghz machines:

Last Tuesday, as you no doubt know already, Apple released their new line of Powermacs, replacing the Quicksilvers. It was a long wait for people like me, who were finding their old machines unreliable and have been holding out as long as possible for improvements like DDR RAM and a faster system bus.

At last, here were the new Macs, complete with DDR RAM, faster bus, and improved architecture. But then two potential bubble-bursters emerged: 1) Some questionable specs from barefeats.com, which showed the benchmarks to be about equal b/t the old and new dual-1ghz models. 2) A half-sized L3 cache, compared to the previous line of Powermacs.

Now, the first point (barefacts.com) has been debated ad nausea, so let's go right to the L3 cache thing...

Have you noticed on Apple's write-up about the new line of Powermacs just how much emphasis they put on the L3 cache, the "Cache advance". They tout it as the all-important performance-booster, calling our attention to it repeatedly. But why, if it is half the size, do they want us to notice?

Before I get to the juicy part, let us please try to put aside our differences in our opinions about the credibility of the barefeats.com benchmarks and the actual importance of the L3 cache. This rant is meant as a comment on marketing strategy and psychology - how Apple presents things, not how they actually work. That said...

My theory is that Apple dangled a big juicy carrot in front of us (DDR RAM, new architecture, faster bus, etc), but then pulled it back, showing us that it is all sort of undermined by the smaller cache speed. Undermined, unless you get the dual-1.25ghz "fastest" model, with a full 2MB L3 cache, for a premium price. Then they raised the price by $300 on the "fastest" model, for a total of $800 above the "fast" model, which makes it that much more desirable (human nature: we tend to want what we can't have and thus might just buy what we can barely afford).

Now, whether you agree or disagree about the performance logic, it doesn't matter, because that is how Apple presented it. You can argue about the importance of the L3 cache, but you can't argue that Apple presents it as ultra-important and simultaneously cut it in half in all but the most expensive model.

That said, I am still having a great deal of difficulty deciding which machine to get. Should I get the Quicksilver 1ghz-dual, which is quite a bargain at $800 less than its price just over a week ago and has proven to be a reliable model? Or should I pay a few hundred more for the new dual-1ghz, which has some of the sexy new features like DDR RAM, faster bus, new architecture, yet might not be better in terms of actual performance and has yet to establish itself as a reliable machine? Do I go for the dual-867mhz, which is probably fine for what I'd like to do and certainly a great value, but will be obsolete sooner and is the least sexy of the bunch? Finally, do I shell out for the dual-1.25ghz, which is lots of money to have my cake and eat it too?

In the end, I shouldn't complain too much, because the values are all better than they were last monday. I'm just sore about the big juicy carrot.

mnkeybsness
Aug 20, 2002, 10:56 AM
there are other things to look at that are good about the machines...even though i think they are ugly...

...dual optical drives...audio in...able to have 2gb of ram...and so on and so on

so quit yer complainin you monkey wanna be

edesignuk
Aug 20, 2002, 11:10 AM
Originally posted by mnkeybsness

so quit yer complainin you monkey wanna be
Actually I think that what has been said by yadmonkey was put very well, and has reasonable doubts and comments about the new line-up, PLUS they were CONSTRUCTIVE comments, which is alot more than can be said for alot of people around here when they were released last week.

yadmonkey
Aug 20, 2002, 11:21 AM
Originally posted by mnkeybsness
so quit yer complainin you monkey wanna be

Actually, I thought I did a pretty good job of covering my arse, as far as complaining goes. Maybe you missed the beginning and end of my post, so here they are again for your viewing pleasure:

(and why I have little right to complain)

In the end, I shouldn't complain too much, because the values are all better than they were last monday. I'm just sore about the big juicy carrot.

nuckinfutz
Aug 20, 2002, 11:23 AM
I like the Additional Drive Bay
I like the Audio/ I/O no more #$%% USB Audio
I like the DDR RAM(benefits devices that utilize DMA ie PCI)
I like the additonal ATA controller.

So I probably wouldn't purchase the old units but YMMV. At the top end Apple knows that those looking for the fastest Mac avail will purchase it so they are "marketing"

jefhatfield
Aug 20, 2002, 12:27 PM
apple had to make it look good, but truly the only visible improvement worth mentioning is the dual 1.25 ghz with the ddr and full level 3 cache

the other stuff is perhaps a good deal, but if you want the benchmarks, go with the fastest machine...you will be happiest in the long run

but you are right, apple did the carrot thing...as all tech companies do in this field

lookie here: pc laptop for $999, but pay more for 3 yrs. warranty, and dvd, and cd-rw, even more for combo drive, office suite, and acceptable ram for windows xp

and then we are talking about $1300+

oh, that's right...pc laptops are super delicate so you better toss in that leather case...1400+

oh, the battery only gives 2 hours...upgrade that...1450+...you mean three hours is all i can get...well, i will have to live with that

and my laptop weighs seven pounds...i better start working with weights, too

i will take the $1200 dollar ibook, thank you, with applecare, without all the bells and whistles, and most likely end up way ahead

yadmonkey
Aug 20, 2002, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by jefhatfield
apple had to make it look good, but truly the only visible improvement worth mentioning is the dual 1.25 ghz with the ddr and full level 3 cache

the other stuff is perhaps a good deal, but if you want the benchmarks, go with the fastest machine...you will be happiest in the long run

but you are right, apple did the carrot thing...as all tech companies do in this field

lookie here: pc laptop for $999, but pay more for 3 yrs. warranty, and dvd, and cd-rw, even more for combo drive, office suite, and acceptable ram for windows xp

and then we are talking about $1300+

oh, that's right...pc laptops are super delicate so you better toss in that leather case...1400+

oh, the battery only gives 2 hours...upgrade that...1450+...you mean three hours is all i can get...well, i will have to live with that

and my laptop weighs seven pounds...i better start working with weights, too

i will take the $1200 dollar ibook, thank you, with applecare, without all the bells and whistles, and most likely end up way ahead

Good point. Its pretty clever how they get you up that cost/features scale and before you know it, your total is $1000 higher than the original. I'd never imply that this was specific to Apple. I'd just be happier with them if the new 1ghz-dual had the full L3 cache and the faster model was $2999. I am leaning towards the quicksilver now.

barkmonster
Aug 21, 2002, 02:22 AM
The only bad point I see about the expansion improvements is the cost of the second optical drive. 200 for a DVD/CDRW and no choice for something cheaper like a DVD drive for 50 - 80 instead.

2 optical drives is a good idea but you've already got a DVD/CDRW or a Superdrive in the top bay, why charge so much for another writer in the lower bay ?

I'm not aware of any software that lets you burn CDs on 2 drives at once and the most logicial use for a second CD/DVD drive is to either watch DVDs or listen to music while burning on the other drive.

The entry level is very good value for what you get, infact concidering the 1Ghz model is only 16% faster, adding a superdrive and Radeon 9000 to the entry level then buying a few extra sticks of RAM from a 3rd party would still save a significant amount over the 1Ghz model even if you did it in reverse and got the mid range with a GeForce4 MX and downgraded to a DVD/CDRW.

Sun Baked
Aug 21, 2002, 03:43 AM
Anybody notice that they neglected to mention anything about the speed of the 2 optical drive's bus in the literature?

Probably still the old dismal speed it's been for a long time now, they just dumped a new ATA-100 controller on the UniNorth and left Key Largo intact, ie same as QS's.

Why hobble the superdrive when there is a perfectly good ATA-66 bus sitting around unused, when you may just be thinking of adding a CD-RW or DVD-ROM drive - which would be perfectly happy with the slow bus speeds, and give you boot from CD capability if it doesn't extend to the other buses.

cb911
Aug 21, 2002, 04:11 AM
Originally posted by yadmonkey
(human nature: we tend to want what we can't have and thus might just buy what we can barely afford).

good point, i never thought of that before...

SilvorX
Aug 21, 2002, 05:15 AM
Originally posted by nuckinfutz
I like the Additional Drive Bay
I like the Audio/ I/O no more #$%% USB Audio
I like the DDR RAM(benefits devices that utilize DMA ie PCI)
I like the additonal ATA controller.

So I probably wouldn't purchase the old units but YMMV. At the top end Apple knows that those looking for the fastest Mac avail will purchase it so they are "marketing"
i agree lol
i was like "OMG" when i found out that the pmac came out last week even tho i wasnt too fond of the prices/some specs, but aditional drive bay/ddr ram/expandable up to 2 gigs of ram caught my eye..

jefhatfield
Aug 21, 2002, 05:23 AM
Originally posted by SilvorX

i agree lol
i was like "OMG" when i found out that the pmac came out last week even tho i wasnt too fond of the prices/some specs, but aditional drive bay/ddr ram/expandable up to 2 gigs of ram caught my eye..

2 gigs of ram is nice, but will i see myself needing 2 gigs of ram...no...a gig pf ram will be enough for photoshop and osx when i get my new machine...that is all i will tax the machine at the very most

i will no more likely need 2 gigs of ram over the next 18 months than i will need a 140 gb hard drive...my 4.3 gig hard drive is half empty as is my 3 gb hard drive on other machine

i put big files onto zips, small onto floppy, and i don't do music with computer...i buy...yes buy, cds/tapes from the record store...something some have not done in ages:p

and for video...i really don't do video...shame on me for being in the 20th century:p