Why does Apple use non-standard parts?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by pjkelnhofer, Feb 15, 2004.

  1. pjkelnhofer macrumors 6502a

    pjkelnhofer

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    #1
    I am wondering people opinions on why Apple uses so many custom parts in its computers. For example, they use a 24-pin power connecter instead of the standard 20-pin (and differently arranged than the ATX 24-pin power connector).
    I am just looking for people's opinions on why the do this? It certainly must add to the cost of design, construction (and as a result the final retail price).
    Is it just to make it difficult to assemble your own "Mac"?
     
  2. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #2
    Re: Why does Apple use no standard parts?

    I dunno probably because apple has always been in the field of designing their own equipment...if they think some many pins is optimal, then ill take their word for it
     
  3. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #3
    The Apple Power Supply has to supply power for the ADC video cards -- which supplies power to the monitor.

    Because of this the Power Supply and the video card aren't standard.

    Most of the rest of the computer is built around PC standards, and if you look at a lot of the components on the motherboard -- they're using standard PC components around their custom chipset.
     
  4. pjkelnhofer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pjkelnhofer

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    #4
    I never thought of that part of it. I have been using my iMac for so long I forgot that Apple monitors, I didn't realize that Apple monitors are powered via the video card. Is true of the all Apple PowerMacs? A G5 with the Radeon 9800 card?
     
  5. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #5
    my ibook uses universal motherboard architecture (UMA), which used to only be a pc thing

    also the hard drive and cd-rom drive are also the same ones found on many pc laptops

    the usb port is an intel standard
     
  6. pjkelnhofer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pjkelnhofer

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    #6
    Maybe I should re-phrase my question. I realize that many parts are stand parts (after all why design a DVD-ROM drive from the ground up), I am looking for other people's opinions on why the like to use non-standard parts for a lot of things.
     
  7. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #7
    i hear you

    i think using anything non standard really sucks and when i try and find things that need to fit with my macs/mac os.., it can be very hard at times

    i wish there was this magical "translater" in my mac os which would allow my machines to work with any peripherals or third party software that was written for windows/windows drivers...and in the old days, i wish my macs worked with standard parallel port printers and scanners ;)
     
  8. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #8
    It's a little hard to fit this PowerPC G3 ATX Motherboard into an iMac.

    If you want a standard PC motherboard, you're limited to PC cases.

    So bye, bye iMac...

    Hello ugly beige box.

    Apple has a bad habit of making the motherboards, power supplies, and connectors (miniVGA/DVI) fit the case -- but it makes iMacs possible.

    And it's really hard to tell that the iMacs, PowerBooks, and iBooks are basically the same motherboard architecture.
     
  9. mklos macrumors 68000

    mklos

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    #9
    Thats the beauty of the Macintosh! This is why macs don't have conflicts with other parts. Apple closely ties everything together. Its easier to do just that if they design most things. This is also why Macs are a little more expensive than your average $499 Dell. Apple spends millions of dollars doing research & development on getting things to work and work together. This is why Macs last so long, which in the long run will pay for the extra price of the computer.
     
  10. cubist macrumors 68020

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    #10
    Why criticize just Apple for this? All the name-brand computer makers use nonstandard parts. Compaq was the most famous for this, using nonstandard power supplies, Torx bolts and strange drive mounting brackets for years. Dells and Gateways are a little more standard, but they grew out of clone-building operations.

    What, in fact, is a "standard"? Is the ATX power connector a standard because Intel specified it and third parties build it? There's nothing stopping people from building Apple-compatible power supplies, AFAIK.

    Certain Dells use expensive RDRAM. Does it make the people with the bad luck to own such machines happy to know that they can pay more for "standard" RAM?

    And we won't even need to mention Sun...

    I bought a Pioneer DVR-106 from NewEgg last week and put it in my PowerMac. It works just like an Apple SuperDrive, because it is, in fact, the same drive.
     
  11. pjkelnhofer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pjkelnhofer

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    #11
    I am not trying to criticize.
    I was just wondering why it does?
    There is really no "standard" for most of these things, but many of the Apple parts are exclusive to Macs. Something that means to get a Mac fixed you have to go an authorized Mac Repair Specialist. Just frustating when it is something I could fix myself if I could just get my hands on the part (like a bad power cable).
     
  12. pjkelnhofer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pjkelnhofer

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    #12
    Actually the board you referenced is 236mm x 172mm and would fit quite easily in my iMac DV.
     
  13. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

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    #13
    Time for the Apple Mantra, repeat after me: Apple is a hardware manufacturer...Apple is a hardware manufacturer...Apple is a hardware manufacturer...

    Everything on a Mac is a standard part. It's just a standard Apple part. If they used the same boards, power supplies, processors, etc as everybody else they couldn't exist. They are a hardware manufacturer, not a hardware assembler.
     
  14. Opteron macrumors 6502

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    #14
    The USB2 Adapter for the 3rd Gen iPod costs nearly $60AUD, because of that stupid DOCK. The 1'st Gen ones you could pic up a Firewire to USB cable for next to nothing and be done with it.


    The ADC, 24 pin power input, The LHS mounting of the mothr board in the G5 (I know the new BTX format is LHS mounted,) iMac... the list goes on.

    It's all to create a monoploy in the market, unfortunatly such a closed system raises costs, and keeps potential customers away.
     
  15. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #15
    1st and 2nd gen iPods cannot be run on USB so what are you talking about?
     
  16. benixau macrumors 65816

    benixau

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    #16
    yeah the ipod monopoly and slightly higher cost has sure kept away all those customers ……………

    OMG - a custom mobo for a system+architecture that is in one mainstream system only - APPLE'S - why not use standard parts? THERE ARE NONE

    Make a product, force it on people, tell them its a standard? sounds like MS to me …………
     
  17. billyboy macrumors 65816

    billyboy

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    #17
    I would imagine that Apple´s R&D dept - along with all the other big boy manufacturers - can design and get manufactured just about anything they want for THEIR computers. Apple's advantage is that they have a customer base that will pay more for the end product, so Apple have more freedom to use more custom parts ie make less compromises, than companies restricted by lower end prices.

    I expect there are still lots of prototype components lying around Apple's labs that work well but just cost too much even to install in a dear Mac right now. But one day the price will be right and they will become the standard in a Mac - then later in a PC.
     
  18. iJon macrumors 604

    iJon

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    Feb 7, 2002
    #18
    apple isnt the only one to not use the standard atx power supplies. i work with many dells, compaqs, hp, gateways, and emachines that require a specific power supply from the manufacture, but some of their computers use a standard power supply.

    iJon
     
  19. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

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    #19
    The word "monopoly" gets thrown around a little too liberally sometimes. It has an evil tone to it, and a monopoly is a bad thing. Apple has no monopoly, except on Apple hardware--and that's not the same thing as having a monopoly on a market. If you make a product you can make it however you want--and people will either buy it or they won't.

    Did you know that Ford and Chevrolet use a different bolt pattern on their wheels? That means you can't use Ford wheels on a Chevrolet or vice versa. Is that a big deal? Of course not. How often do you hear Ford owners complaining about the "stupid proprietary" bolt holes? Probably never. It's the same thing with Apple. Different does not mean bad.

    Does it turn away potential customers? Apple makes a profit every quarter. They may turn away the cheap and the poor, but they get enough customers to do quite well.

    If you don't like the products that Apple makes then just don't buy them.
     
  20. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #20
    For the most part, I really don't think it goes past what carbonmotion said. They use what they think is best.

    I look at it like this: Dell makes the most generic PCs it can. That's they selling point, why they're cheap, and why they're so popular for faceless corporate purchases.

    The more stuff on their computers that is the same as everybody else, the better, regardless of whether it's the most elegant solution or not, because they're selling volume, not elegance, and since they move the most volume they'll always win on price. Using anything custom raises their price (they're mostly a hardware assembler and brander, not a designing company), which is bad, too.

    Apple, on the other hand, asks "What's the best way to do this?" The answer frequenly involves standard parts--5.25" optical drives, SATA HDs, or FW 800, for example--but sometimes it does not. When there is no "industry standard" (not really a standard, more just what everybody else is doing), they don't take no for an answer and do something custom.

    Hence the funky power supplies that feed the ADC connector (which, yes, all G4s since way back had), the ADC connector itself, the strage shape of some components (such as the G5 power supply along the bottom of the case), and their variety of motherboards. The disadvantage is, sometimes it's hard to find cheap replacement parts for Apple computers, and when they change something to make it more elegant it can leave users of older technology out in the cold (part of the reason companies like Dell can't afford to EVER do anything revolutionary, but Apple can). The advantage is it's the coolest solution for the given time--you've gotta admit ADC is amazingly cleaner than your average DVI connection--no screws, no seperate cords, no seperate power bricks for the monitor, etc.

    It's a tradeoff, but one Apple is willing to make. Heck, if they weren't, the whole PC industry might never have made some of these advances, because nobody the size of Apple would've been willing to go out on a limb with them.

    (By the way, it's worth nothing that Apple motherboards actually are roughly a "standard" architecture among Apple computers; they standardized most of the design back in the early iMac era, making it a lot easier to keep the software in tune with new computers.)
     
  21. krimson macrumors 65816

    krimson

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    #21
    Re: Why does Apple use no standard parts?

    The power supply on my friend's Dell Dimension died a few years back, and we found out that Dell has their own power connector (26-pin iirc) and we couldn't use the ATX PS from Fry's we just gotten. I think dell wanted $200 for a new one.

    long long story short, Apple isn't the only one.
     
  22. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

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    #22
    Everyone (company) loves a standard.

    Everyone has (at least) one :)

    P.S. even standards aren't standards. Like the original PC ISA bus 8/16 bit. It wasn't really a standard. Everyone had compatibility problems with it, me included.
     
  23. Opteron macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Didn't microsoft get stung a while back for trying to make Internet Explorer, only compatable with other microsoft products?
     
  24. Opteron macrumors 6502

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    South Australia
    #24
    Here's to that, I still can't get this blastard SCSI card to work.
     

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