Comparing apples to apples


macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 15, 2017
Remember the days with the super fast science machine Macintosh IIfx? To tell you the truth, I used it mostly to play Spaceward Ho, and boy was it fast.

It sported a 40 MHz Motorola 68030 processor, and had 4 MB of RAM, expandable to a whopping 128 MB. Harddrive space was generous at 80 MB. Cost for this 1990 machine in its basic configuration was $8969. Adjusted for inflation etc, that is $16800 today.

Mac Mini 2018 has 90 times the clock frequency, and we will just forget about cores, efficiency of 14 nm processes, onboard graphics, bus speed and such. It has 2000 times more RAM, and 1600 times more storage. And it is 21 times cheaper.

That is what 28 years in computing amounts to. And it proves with mathematical certainty that price goes down as capabilities go up.

Here are some other models:

1984: Macintosh 128K / 6 Mhz / 128 kB / 400 kB / $5877 2017
1987: Macintosh Plus / 8 Mhz / 1 MB / 800 kB / $5802 2017
1987: Macintosh II / 16 MHz / 1 MB / 40 MB / $11843 2017
1991: Macintosh Quadra 700 / 25 MHz / 4 MB / 80 MB / $10241 2017
1994: Power Macintosh 7100 / 66 Mhz / 8 MB / $4375 2017
2017: iMac Pro / 3.2 GHz / 32 GB / 1 TB / $4999

In adjusted currency, today's top models cost less than the most basic computers cost way back. This also proves with mathematical certainty that Apple prices are coming down, relatively speaking.

Lesson learned: Apple computers have always been expensive, but are not as expensive now as they used to be.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 5, 2017
Glasgow, Scotland
All good points, although people will only tend to go back one or two generations of model when comparing price and value.

Most of the chatter around the MM recently has been about the high starting price compared to the previous version, but if you take away the entry level $499 version in 2014 that does not exist in 2018 then the MM would have started at $699 in 2014 compared to $799 now. It is really not the dramatic change many are suggesting.


macrumors 65816
Sep 5, 2013
Oregon, USA
I had a Mac II in 1987, complete with System 5 and that disk that taught you how to use a mouse. Later upgraded to a IIx *, then a daystar chip.

It was painfully expensive but it was also way ahead of its time. In a real sense, you were paying for the time privilege of capabilities few others on the planet had even heard of. And that scarcity meant charging clients to apply it on their behaves.

Same thing happened in 2013 with the Mac Pro. You bought it for the time privilege of editing video that otherwise required even more specialized hardware. People are now replacing their Mac Pros with new Mini as an improvement, but it’s also 4 years later. Phones can now shoot, edit, and publish 4K.

IT has always need about efficiency, spending money on equipment in order to boost productivity for humans. If the new Mini does that better than other choices at the same price, then its worth it.

*apple employee got a IIfx mobo for their IIx, gave me their old mobo, and I in turn shipped my II mobo to someone they knew
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now i see it

macrumors 601
Jan 2, 2002
The time adjusted prices have come way down and the performance has gone way up, but the wow factor has hit the pits. Today's computers and what we can do with them is boring.

In the past, printing a letter from your desktop printer seemed like magic. Creating a photo collage, amazing.
Not any more.
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