Apple computer costs through time (for those inclined to ride the time machine)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MCHR, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. MCHR macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009

    Named for one of its designer's daughters, the Lisa (pictured below left) was supposed to be the Next Big Thing. It was the first personal computer to use a Graphical User Interface. Aimed mainly at large businesses, Apple said the Lisa would increase productivity by making computers easier to work with. The Lisa had a Motorola 68000 Processor running at 5 MHz, 1 MB of RAM two 5.25" 871 kB floppy drives, an external 5 MB hard drive, and a built in 12" 720 x 360 monochrome monitor. At $9,995 it was a plunge few businesses were willing to take.


    Introduced in September of 1984, The Mac 512K was a Mac 128K with 384 kB more RAM. It sold for $3,195, and was replaced in April 1986 by the 512Ke. Thanks to Eric Rasmussen For OS info.


    Announced in January 1986, the Mac Plus was the answer to complaints that the original Mac was not expandable. It doubled the ROM of the 512k from 64 kB to 128 kB, and increased the RAM to 1 MB (expandable to 4 MB). It was the first Mac to include a SCSI port, allowing for a variety of external peripherals, and was the first mac to use the now familiar platinum case color (although it initially shipped in beige). The Mac Plus originally sold for $2600, and was sold to educational markets as the Mac Plus ED.


    Introduced in March 1987, The Mac II was the ultimate expandable Mac. Based on the new 68020 processor, the Mac II was the first 32-bit Mac (although it was not "32-bit clean). The Mac II included 6 Nubus slots, which allowed for a number of different Apple and Third Part expansion cards. The Mac II was the first Mac with color capabilities--a graphics card could be installed capable of handling up to 16.7 million colors! It originally sold for $3,898 for the basic system, and at $5,498 for 1 MB of RAM, one 800K floppy disk drive and one 40 MB internal SCSI hard disk drive. Thanks to Eric Rasmussen For OS info.


    Introduced in September 1988, the Mac IIx was essentially the same as a Mac II, but had a 68030 processor with a 68882 FPU (it was the first Mac with either). The IIx sold for $7,769.

    Released in January of 1989, The SE/30 was essentially a IIx inside an SE case. The second floppy feature of the SE was no longer offered in the SE/30, in favor of a built-in hard drive. The machine sold for $4,369.


    Released in March 1990, The Mac IIfx was the fastest Mac ever built at the time. The IIfx shipped in a Mac II-style case, and could accommodate up to two Super Drives and and internal SCSI hard disk. Dubbed "Wicked Fast" by the press, the IIfx also contained a number of proprietary ASICs designed to speed up the machine further. These required software written specifically for the IIfx to run at top speed, but either way it was an extremely powerful machine. It sold for $10,000 - $12,000, depending on configuration.


    Released in October 1991, The Quadra 900 was a more expandable version of the Quadra 700. It had 5 Nubus slots and had room for 3 half-height internal bays instead of the 700's one. The Quadra 900 sold for $7,200.


    Announced in May 1992, the Quadra 950 was a "speed bump" of the Quadra 900. The processor was upgraded from a 25 MHz 68040 to a 33 MHz. The Quadra 950 sold for $7,200.


    The Quadra 800 was as fast as the Quadra 950, for nearly half of its original price. It shipped in a newly designed mini-tower case, and was powered by a 33 MHz 68040 processor. It sold for $4,700.


    Introduced in March of 1994, the PowerMac 8100 was the fastest, most expandable first-generation PowerMac. It shipped in a Quadra 800-style case, and was speed bumped to 100 MHz in November, and to 110 MHz in January 1995. It was originally priced at $4,250.


    The 9500 cost $5,300, and was "speed bumped" to 150 MHz in April 1996. In August 1996, The 9500 was speed bumped again to a 200 MHz 604e processor and a multiprocessing twin 180 MHz 604e-based 9500 was released. The 9500 was replaced in early 1997 by the 9600.


    The 9600 was originally priced at $4,700 for the dual 200 MHz configuration, $4,200 for the single 233 MHz, and $3,700 for the single 200 MHz. In August, the 9600 was "speed bumped" with either a 300 or 350 MHz "Mach 5" chip, a new high speed variant on the 604e.


    The G4 AGP started at $2499 for the 450 MHz configuration with a 20 GB hard drive and 128 MB of RAM, and $3499 for the 500 MHz configuration with a 27 GB hard drive and 256 MB or RAM


    The G4 (DA) shipped with two new flavors of G4: The low-end models shipped with the PPC 7410 processor, a lower-power variant of the 7400. The higher-end machines shipped with a PPC 7450 processor, which in addition to an on-chip 256 kB L2 Cache, and had four Altivec ("Velocity Engine") units. The PowerMac G4 (DA) shipped in four configurations: The 466 MHz configuration included 128 MB of RAM and 30 GB hard drive, for $1699. The 533 MHz configuration included 128 MB of RAM and a 40 GB hard drive for $2199 ($2499 for the dual-533 model). The 667 MHz configuration included 256 MB of RAM and a 60 GB hard drive for $2799. Finally, the 733 MHz configuration included 256 MB of RAM, a 60 GB hard drive for $3499.


    The PowerMac G4 (FW800) represented the fastest and least expensive line of PowerMacs Apple had ever introduced. The 1.0 GHz model, with 256 MB of RAM, a CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive, a 60 GB hard drive and a 64 MB NVIDIA GeForce4 MX graphics card, sold for $1499. The dual 1.25 GHz model, with 256 MB of RAM, a CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive, an 80 GB hard drive, and a 64 MB ATI Radeon 9000 Pro graphics card, sold for $1999. The high-end dual 1.42 GHz model, with 512 MB of RAM, a CD-RW/DVD-R drive, a 120 GB hard disk and a 64 MB ATI Radeon 9000 Pro graphics card, was a modest $2699, making it the cheapest high-end Power Mac ever.


    The PowerMac G5 (Early 2005) represented a speed-bump of the existing PowerMac G5 (June 2004) line. It was sold in four configurations: 1.8 GHz/256 MB/80 GB/$1,499; Dual 2.0 GHz/512 MB/160 GB/$1,999; Dual 2.3 GHz/512 MB/250 GB/$2,499; Dual 2.7 GHz/512 MB/250 GB/$2,999.


    With the Mac Pro, Apple decided to do something different in terms of configuration. Since the majority of Apple's professional customers tended to heavily-customize their Macs at purchase time, Apple offered a single, heavily customizable Mac Pro model. In effect, this shifted the decision-making for what configurations to sell to the resellers, leaving Apple with a streamlined manufacturing process. The single model sold for $2,499, and included two 2.66 GHz, dual-core Intel Xeon 5100 processors, 1 GB of RAM, a 250 GB hard disk, a SuperDrive, and an Nvidia GeForce 7300GT graphics card with 256MB of VRAM.


    Announced in January 2008, the Mac Pro (Early 2008) was a speed (and core) bump of the Mac Pro. As with the Mac Pro, Apple chose to ship a single configuration, with many BTO options. The single model sold for $2,799, and included two 2.8 GHz, quad-core Intel Xeon 5400 processors (for a total of 8 cores), 2 GB of RAM, a 320 GB hard disk, a SuperDrive, and an ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT with 256MB of VRAM.

    check out those earlier prices, if you think the Nehalems are off the meter. . . Yow.

    All text and information compiled by
  2. zorahk macrumors 6502

    Jul 18, 2008
    North Korea
  3. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Overpriced is a term that means the target audience is not purchasing the product.

    And... the target audience is purchasing the product. They are expensive, but as people still buy them, they are not overpriced.

    They are, however, priced over the price of their components plus a predefined amount known as "reasonable profit", so I agree with you there.
  4. grue macrumors 65816

    Nov 14, 2003
    My Power Mac 6500 was the world's first 300Mhz personal computer.

    Ten years later, I bought an 8 core 3,000Mhz machine (theoretically 80 times faster, based on clock rate and number of cores… of course actual benchmarks would be different) with 256x as much memory and 666x as much drive space.

    There's food for thought.
  5. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    While its fun to turn on the wayback time machine, computer prices in 1989 are not relevant to 2008. For one, computers, especially Macs, were "luxury" items back then. There was no economy of scale and competition was minimal.

    When you compare a Mac Pro with a similarly equipped PC, the PC is 50% less expensive. That is why people are complaining about the current Mac prices. We expect at 20-30% markup over PCs, but 50% is a bit nuts. Then you have the huge price gaps between the various models. There is no rational reason for it other than Apple getting a little to grabby.
  6. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    Wait till you see prices from equivalent PC makers in regard to the newest Mac Pro.
  7. TrapOx macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    We also expect accurate information. That isn't.
  8. wfj5444 macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2008
    I tried to build my own PC using the same components as my Mac Pro. It was either the same price or more. That's with me building it and having to deal with 5 different manufacturers for the parts.

    I think the only thing I would end up with as a 'bonus' was more USB ports :rolleyes:

    At the Mac Pro level, you can't even build it for what Apple charges. And please no one post in lame 'look at what I can build an Core i7 for..' crap.

    That's not a Xeon.
  9. Luis Ortega macrumors 6502a

    May 10, 2007
    Fetcham Surrey UK
    Unfortunately, this comparison is completely useless.
    Computer prices have plummeted over the years in every single case, from drives to ram to processors.
    An entry level spec Dell that would have cost over $2000 in 1995 today sells for $400. The same goes for ram, hard drives, monitors, scanners, printers, etc., etc., etc.
    Only software continues to be evenly priced.
    To justify the 2009 mac pro pricing by looking back to the times when all computers and components cost an arm and a leg is pointless and only highlights the highway robbery pricing of the 2009 mac pros.
    I am so glad that I got the 2008 mac pro. That one was a really sweet deal.
    Maybe in 4 years when I am looking for a new computer apple will have regained its senses and offer competitive prices or I there may be hackintoshes or Windows systems that are better.
  10. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Xerox beat that by 10 years with the Xerox Alto in 1973. It was never produced commercially but 2000 units were produced for research purposes. Arguably it is also the first personal computer as it was designed for one user at a time. Beating the Altair 8800 in 1975 and the Apple I in 1976.

    If the qualifications are the first commercial product then Xerox still beat Apple to the punch with the Xerox Star in 1981, which was a commercial flop.
  11. wedgehammer macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2007
    reality is, the individual price of components (as part of manufacturing cost) is just a tiny fraction of the retail price of a product... many factors (r&d, distribution cost, the cost of operating retail channels, markup, etc) are used to arrive at the final retail price... "reasonable profit" sounds like an alien term to one who has worked in manuf/retail/etc industries hehe
  12. maccompaq macrumors 65816


    Mar 6, 2007
    There is a lot missing from the price sheet by the OP. I bought a Mac LC in 1990 for $1500 and the Apple 13" monitor for $1000.

    A Packard Bell with monitor was around $3000.
  13. sigmadog macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
    near Spokane, WA
    My baby. I loved that computer.

    I took a $10000 loan from my dad to buy it, and paid him back in less than a year from the profits I made doing freelance design. That computer allowed me to form my own graphic design business from my home and was my main computer for over four years. I made thousands of dollars with that machine.

    "Luxury item" my hairy buttocks.

Share This Page