Apple iMac Less Expensive than DIY PC


edesignuk

Moderator emeritus
Mar 25, 2002
19,077
1
London, England
er...yeah, trouble is the 3.2GHz P4 on an 800MHz BUS will **** all over the 1.6GHz G5 w/ 533MHz BUS.

Yes, the imac is now great value, I'd never have bought one in the past. But I would now, and in fact have done! But let's not get too OTT. A 3.2GHz P4 is faster than a 1.6Ghz G5.
 

zelmo

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2004
5,490
1
Mac since 7.5
edesignuk said:
er...yeah, trouble is the 3.2GHz P4 on an 800MHz BUS will **** all over the 1.6GHz G5 w/ 533MHz BUS.

Yes, the imac is now great value, I'd never have bought one in the past. But I would now, and in fact have done! But let's not get too OTT. A 3.2GHz P4 is faster than a 1.6Ghz G5.
Yup, this PC should whomp on the 1.6 iMac. But substitute a lesser PC processor (for something less than the listed $305) to level the playing field, and the price difference is not much one way or the other. I think that is the point of the article - that Mac's aren't always priced at a premium over PC's.
 

edesignuk

Moderator emeritus
Mar 25, 2002
19,077
1
London, England
powermac666 said:
Yup, this PC should whomp on the 1.6 iMac. But substitute a lesser PC processor (for something less than the listed $305) to level the playing field, and the price difference is not much one way or the other. I think that is the point of the article - that Mac's aren't always priced at a premium over PC's.
I agree, and the article would have full credibility in my eyes if they hadn't tried to make out that the 1.6 G5 was equal to a 3.2 P4. If they had just used a 2.6-2.8, I maybe would have accepted it a little better, and the cost would probably have evened up a lot more too.
 

grapes911

Moderator emeritus
Jul 28, 2003
6,943
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Citizens Bank Park
millhouse_man said:
Good read, good points.
I mean seriosly, who actually does own a $500 PC? No one I've ever heard of has bought a computer for that cheap.
You could build an ok one for that price. If you looked at non-big name brands you'll find one that price.
 

settledown

macrumors regular
Feb 28, 2003
246
0
pittsburgh
I'll take a built and tested and warranted iMac, with the support it brings me, over ANY home built PC at ANY price...

People tend to forget that the core idea of all computers is that they help you do more things faster.

I can be back from CompUSA/AppleStore tonight and have a weeks worth of work done before the peecee parts even gets shipped.

Then I will also have the virus free and "stays out of the way" crash free OS that Apple provides to continue to gain productivity over my DIY peecee brethren.

These comparisons are like Bush trying to convert Kerry to be a Republican and vice-versa. They are fun to listen to, but in reality are a waste of productive man hours.

My name is settledown and I approved this message, written on a Mac.
 

settledown

macrumors regular
Feb 28, 2003
246
0
pittsburgh
And I'm sure she is able to run apps similar to GarageBand, and iDVD on it too...NOT!

Please, there IS a market for the sub$800 pc and apple has an answer for it, it is called the eMac.

This was meant to compare apples and apples (no pun intended) not apples and rotten bananas.
 

stoid

macrumors 601
grapes911 said:
My aunt owns a salon and needed a computer for invoices and stuff. I got here a $300 pc two years ago. Still running. No problems yet.
But that's not a computer that any sane human would actually use for anything in their home. $300, but what tech? I'll bet $300 will get you a used Mac at least twice as good as that POS.
 

Timelessblur

macrumors 65816
Jun 26, 2004
1,086
0
that 305 price tag has to include the motherboard. and good mobo has a ditigtal out that comes with it. But sadly they are also using a chip that is far more powerful than the imac chip.
 

grapes911

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Jul 28, 2003
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stoid said:
But that's not a computer that any sane human would actually use for anything in their home. $300, but what tech? I'll bet $300 will get you a used Mac at least twice as good as that POS.
Actually it really isn't that bad. It is a 1GHz, 256MB ram, 30GB harddrive. I wouldn't mine using it at home, if I had to. I'd perfer a mac, of course. But that wasn't the original comment I replied too. Someone asked if anyone acutally got a pc for less than $500.
 

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
3,386
130
Purcellville, VA
What I managed to put together

Interesting article, but not completely accurate. For instance, it left out the motherboard. It also listed separately things that are typically built-in to motherboards (Ethernet and audio). I think he should have selected an AMD Athlon-64 processor and not an Intel Pentium-4, since the iMac is 64-bit. Finally, I think he should have used preload/OEM software pricing, since that's closer to what Apple's paying for what they preload.

Here's what I come up with when trying to assemble a comparable system for as low a price as possible. (boldface are my changes. Normal type is from his article. My prices are from PriceWatch. I picked the lowest prices listed, which may not be from the most reputable dealers. When I couldn't find a better price, I left the article's price alone.)
  • OS: Windows XP Pro - $85
  • Motherboard: Asus K8V SE Deluxe bundled with Athlon-64 3200+ - $335
  • Memory: 256MB PC3200 (400MHz) DDR SDRAM - $24
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra with 64MB DDR SDRAM - $57
  • Storage: 80GB: Serial ATA; 7200 rpm - $62
  • Optical drive: (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) - $33
  • Flat Screen: 17-inch (viewable) widescreen TFT active-matrix LCD, 1280 x 1024 pixels- $257
  • Networking: Built-in 10/100BASE-T Ethernet - free - built-in to motherboard
  • Modem: 56K V.92 - $4
  • Audio: digital audio output, line in etc - free - built-in to motherboard
  • FireWire - free - built-in to motherboard (note: most PC motherboards do not include FW)
  • Software:
    • Adobe Photoshop album (Compares with iPhoto) - $44
    • Windows Movie Maker (Compares to iMovie) - $0
    • Ulead DVD MovieFactory (Compares with iDVD) - $40
    • Fruity Loops (Compares with Garage Band) - $80
    • Microsoft Works (Compares with Apple Works - $50
    • Quicken 2004 Basic edition OEM - $8
    • World Book 2004 Edition - $15
    • Nanosaur 2 - $15
    • Marble Blast Gold - $15
  • Speakers: 2 speakers - free - built-in to monitor
  • Keyboard: keyboard - $3
  • Mouse: mouse - $2
  • Case: case with 400W power supply - $27
TOTAL: $1156
This package is more comparable to the iMac in features (64-bit processor, FireWire, etc.) and does end up costing less.

But keep in mind that this system is using bargain-basement parts. Some of these parts (like the keyboard and mouse, monitor and maybe optical drive) will probably not have what I consider acceptable quality (but are probably just as good as what you get with a system from Gateway or HP/Compaq :) )

I could've gone even cheaper if I selected a cheaper motherboard, but I didn't want to specify complete trash. This Asus motherboard is one I could see myself using in a real system (although I'd probably get the one based on the NForce-3 chipset, not the Via chipset.) I also could've selected a slower processor to bring the price down slightly. (The A-64 3200+ runs at 2GHz, whereas the iMac in the article runs at 1.6)

Reagardless, after buying all these parts, you're on your own to assemble it, test it, and support/repair it. All to save about $150.

Still not a bargain, IMO.
 

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
3,386
130
Purcellville, VA
ocellnuri said:
I still say he forgot to add the motherboard and power supply to the PC... which would add another $150 or so.
His $40 case probably included a power supply. My searches found several cases in the $30 range that included 400W power supplies.

WRT the motherboard, that's a critical oversight. I found a P4/3.4 motherboard on PriceWatch for $45. But it includes Ethernet and digital surround sound, so you can subtract the $115 he budgets for those two parts.

You're right that he left off two key parts. But when you include them, the total price goes down :)
 

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
3,386
130
Purcellville, VA
Timelessblur said:
I might like to add firewire is extremly common on MOBO now. Any desent mobo has them.
But not universal. There are many (especially inexpensive ones - like you might select when trying to create the cheapest PC possible) that do not.

FWIW, the motherboard I chose for my price comparison has FW.
 

hcuar

macrumors 65816
Jul 23, 2004
1,065
0
Dallas
millhouse_man said:
Good read, good points.
I mean seriosly, who actually does own a $500 PC? No one I've ever heard of has bought a computer for that cheap.
My parents... It's a Dell. :(
 

eric_n_dfw

macrumors 68000
Jan 2, 2002
1,507
55
DFW, TX, USA
Beating a dead horse

PC's can be cheaper if you want a cheaper machine - if you want the capabilities of an Apple machine, they become similarly priced. I don't know why this debate must keep going on.

FWIW - I bought both a refurb iBook and put together a bare-bones PC basicaly just for Quickbooks - I'm not a zealot for either side.

For the curious - the DYI pc was put together in May '04 as follows (prices are as best I can remember, from Fry's):
  • $70 -- ABIT VA-10 Motherboard (Socket A, PC333 DDR, On-Board 10/100 Ethernet, Video and sound)
  • $30 -- AMD Athlon 2200 (I think that runs at 1.7Ghz)
  • $15 -- Fan for CPU
  • $50 -- 75GB, 7200RPM ATA100 Hard Drive (Had it laying around so it actually was $0, it also is much bigger than needed, would have bought whatever was cheap and at least 20GB otherwise, but for sake of comparison, saying $50 as that seems to be the cheapest lately)
  • $25 -- Mid-Tower Case (replaced power supply with better one, see below)
  • $30 -- 350W Power Supply with 2nd FAN right over where the CPU sits $30
  • $30 -- 256MB PC333 DDR RAM (Patriot brand)
  • $40 -- USB KVM Switch (use PowerMac G4 and this PC on same desk)
  • $99 -- Windows XP Home (actually, I put Win2K on it as I already owned it - but for the sake of pricing...)

Total: about $385 (no monitor)

But before you start going off about how the Mac's come with the iApps and everything, remember - it's not meant to compete with anything Apple sells. It's a bare-bones work PC. Give it a bit more RAM and a video card and it would be quite a competitor.

PS: One major problem with that PC is that the cheap CPU fan is way too loud - if it it was used for any amount of time I'd have spent more on the case and CPU fan - Fry's has the Sonta case (supposed to be pretty quiet) for $99 right now. Sutracting $25 for the cheap case and $30 for the PS, that raisies my total by only $44 - add another $15 for a better CPU fan I guess too.)
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
110
Location Location Location
settledown said:
And I'm sure she is able to run apps similar to GarageBand, and iDVD on it too...NOT!
stoid said:
But that's not a computer that any sane human would actually use for anything in their home. $300, but what tech? I'll bet $300 will get you a used Mac at least twice as good as that POS.
I think you're missing the point. She's needed a basic PC to use in a salon. Its fine. If she needs to run programs where she's making her own music or producing DVDs, then she's not using the right tool. A $300 isn't a bad tool for the job. It doesn't even need to be on the internet when you think about it, so it wouldn't even contract viruses.

</voice of reason>