Cost of macs/persuade a PC user to "take the plunge"

Discussion in 'Mac Help/Tips' started by macwannabe, May 12, 2002.


Is the cost of Macs too high and is it preventing people from switching from PCs?

  1. No the price is right for what you get

    3 vote(s)
  2. The price is right for what you get but puts off PC users

    10 vote(s)
  3. The price is right for what you get but PC users are mainly put off by other factors

    5 vote(s)
  4. The price is too high

    10 vote(s)
  1. macwannabe macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2002
    I've been reading Macrumours for a while now and I have some things which are bugging/concerning me if I am going to buy a Mac which I need to get off my chest. I would be interested to hear your thoughts and I hope you can bear with me!!

    Firstly, don't get me wrong, I love Macs, they look great and I'd love to get away from Microsoft, but how can Apple expect to get PC users to come over to them when a top of the range PC costs about as much as a TV and a top of the range Mac costs as much as a small car?!! eg top of the range P4 £800 inc 17" monitor, top of the range Mac with similar specs £3000 with NO MONITOR!!!

    The only thing I can find to justify the price is gigabit ethernet (but who uses that anyway) - around £300 and the DVD-R - another £300. So where does the other £1500 go? It seems they come to a reasonable price and then double it!

    I agree with the whole megehertz myth phenomenon. I have an AMD 800 and have no plans to rush out and buy a pentium 2.5GHz. Instead I have fast hard disks and plenty of RAM. I have no problem with Macs stopping at 1GHz but one thing that concerns me are the subsystems, eg:

    Mac: PC100, UDMA 66(why?!!!!), 66 or 100MHz bus.
    PC: DDR266/DDR333/RAMBUS400, UDMA 100 standard, UDMA 133 now becoming common, 266MHZ bus at least.

    Now we all know that the processor speed is irrelevant if the system is waiting for the hard disk but it seems to me that having two processors that can process photoshop images really fast is pointless if you cant get them out of memory and onto the disk.

    Mac subsystems are basically 3 years out of date and half the speed of common PC subsystems. Disk speed is my main concern. Not so long ago I accidentally changed a setting in software that took my disks to UDMA66 instead of 100 - it made a HUGE very noticable difference in opening big apps/transferring files etc. I couldn't change it back fast enough. How does this work out for most of you? Do you find it a problem? Why havent apple updated them and are they likely to in the near future? Should I wait then?

    Thanks for your advice and I hope you realise Im not trying to put Macs down for the sake of it but trying to convince myself that it can't be as bad as it seems and they must have some tricks up their sleeves to make up for it all. Im sure you can understand that £3000 is a lot to spend on a "slower" computer! Or should I just forget it and buy 3 fully loaded P4 2GHz machines for the same money?
  2. macwannabe thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2002
    hehe sorry didnt realise it had posted part of it before!
  3. arn macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Re: Cost of macs/persuade a PC user to "take the plunge"

    Welcome... it's always interesting to see PC users who follow Apple along... I guess there are likely a fair number of them... especially here, keeping up with the latest developments...

    valid concerns...

    Overall, Apple's always had a price premium compared to PC's... it has to do with a variety of factors... and I think that difference is exaggerated outside the United States... probably since Apple is a US company.

    In general, yes... the subsystems aren't as up to date as the PC's... the overall packadge, however, is very well done... especially now with OS X... along with all the new iApps. In many ways, things can be done faster/easier from a practical standpoint - but a lot of that depends on what you use your computer for.

    If you are looking to switch... and I'd recommend this to everyone who is looking to jump ship...

    Apple tends to have larger generation jumps with motherboards with incremental improvements in between...

    I think we're on the cusp of a generation jump... either MWNY or MWSF 2003 will likely be the time. No one knows for sure, but we have been living with the current motherboards for a while...

    One question is whether Apple will bump the motherboards before the G5... or wait and bump them all together? I think Tues, May 14 with hold some answers... as they will release rackmount servers.

  4. macwannabe thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2002
  5. Grokgod macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2002
    Deep within the heart of madness!
    all valid concerns!

    I feel your pain and sought out answers to these question also.
    Here is what I came up with~ Hope its helpful.

    Yes, Macs cost a lot more.
    The reason is the OS, this Os on a Mac is truly worth the price increase.
    The increase in the amount of work that can be accomplished on a mac without the usual Pcheese crashes and hardware configuration problems coupled with the almost constant strange quirks, stutters and non working scenarios is huge and this adds up to money. If you equate time to money.
    WHich I now do.

    It took me a while to understand this, at the beginning I thought that I could deal with the Pcheese problems, and save a lot of money. But the problems were overwhelming and over anextended period of time it really added up to a grimace and a much needed change.

    So though the cost of a mac is far more, there are intangibles that make a mac more cost effective. Which may not be apparent at the immediate moment.

    MOVING ON~ Windows is an extremely invasive OS, that attempts to take away privacy and control from the user in a deliberate and irritating manner!
    After XP I will never buy another Pcheese. I use one for work and had to buy a 2.2, but i swore after all the nonsense that I went through, that I would never again buy another and that this thing would have to last a lifetime.
    That is my moral perception of the OS battle, which is a major component of this decision.

    OSX is a new and very important OS considering the open source code and its Unix base among other things, it is the direct opposite of M$.

    YEs, you are correct in your evaluation of the hardware and the fact that it is far behind Pcheese. Many people are forced tobuy Pcheese because of this fact. But all that is about to change very soon and Apple is about to close the hardware gap that has been hurting them for so long!
    There is be, Nay , must be motherboard changes very soon.
    DDRam is coming and when the G4 is fed properly with data, it will be like having a whole new chip. Or should I say two of them.

    Finally style and design. Ever read anythign on the Bauhaus of the 1940's.
    Function and design follwoing hand in hand leads to a better life in mind and body. Apple is the leader on the this front, I love the style.

    So to oull it all together.
    Hardware upgrades to the motherboard is coming!
    Soon Mac's will have it all, style and grace!

    Dont buy until then, this will send Apple the message that the current hardware is not acceptable. When sales falter they will bring out the big guns that they have sitting in the closet. And we will all be smiling!
  6. macwannabe thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2002
    It's nice to hear that I'm not the only one!

    XP and the increasing loss of privacy is a major concern to me. I am sitting here with a firewall and a popup stopper and I dont see why I should give Microsoft detailed information about me and my computer! Microsoft already want you to give them all your passwords and your credit card numbers and store them in a "passport". For me that's just not on. I'm using NT 4 (which is rock solid but complicated), and I will never ever use XP. If I want to upgrade I will have to go away from PCs and hopefully get back some control over my computer.
  7. AlphaTech macrumors 601


    Oct 4, 2001
    Natick, MA
    I just had to jump in on this. Which Mac's are you looking at?? Have you gone throught the entire line from iMac to PowerBook G4?? The towers use PC133 memory, top end is a dual 1GHz system. OS X has support for making a RAID built in (not spanning as in windblows, but a real RAID 0 or 1). Whenever you purchase a Mac system, you get two OS's, OS 9 and OS X (since not all applications are OS X native, yet).

    The towers top out (without going BTO) at about $3000-$3850 (if you go 'Ultimate'). Consider this... a top end G4 Dual 1GHz system includes (amoung other things)... Dual 1-GHz PowerPC G4,256K L2 cache & 2MB L3 cache/processor, 512MB SDRAM memory, 80GB Ultra ATA drive, SuperDrive, NVIDIA GeForce4 MX, 56K internal modem.

    Personally, I fully intend to strip the modem out of the next tower that I order from Apple, since I have a good DSL connection here, and will not be going back to dial-up hell. The 'Ultimate' version of that system adds another GB of RAM, and a second 80GB hard drive. That makes 1.5GB of RAM, and 160GB of storage space. With the Mac (OS 9) you don't need any passwords to access the system, and with OS X, you set it when you first power it up (it walks you though it so that my 7 year old niece could do it the first time).

    I own both a PowerBook G4 (brand new), and use the pc that I built (just did some modifications to it... new CoolerMaster case and slipped a AMD XP2100+ chip into it, also running win2k since it has a better gui then nt4, and is stable, for windblows at least). I used all high quality hardware in the pc, with a pair of 40GB drives striped (RAID 0), and have probably spent as much as the mid-range G4 tower, if not closer to the dual 1GHz system would cost. I use it 100% for games. All real work gets done on my Mac (including email and web browsing). Mac's are far less vulnerablet to virus attacks then peecee's are (just a fact man).

    Upgrading parts on the towers is many times easier then on pre-built peecee's (such as those offered by IBM, HP, etc.). You want to add memory, open the case (with the latch), easily locate the memory slots and slip one in. Want to add a hard drive, remove the mounting plate, attach the drive of your choice, put it back in, attach the ribbon and power and you are done. It is so damned easy to set the drive up as well (don't need any bios mods to get it addressed either). Changing, or adding PCI slots don't get any easier... Remove the slot cover (just like on the peecee), insert the card, fire up the computer and at least 90% of the time the card is fully functional right then. The other 10% of the time, you just install the extension or control panel, reboot the computer and everything is sweet. How often is it that easy on the pc?? You can also easily change video cards... the list goes on and on. You can also get ATA133 RAID cards for the Mac, as well as a slew of other upgrades if you want.

    Personally, I would also suggest waiting until MWNY to see what gets announce/released then. I will be holding off until at least next year before I purchase another Mac tower (sold my old one to help get the Harley). Finances might force me to wait until MWNY 2003 before getting a new one, but eventually, I will. Right now, I am looking forward to bringing my TiBook over to my aunt's place and having a UT bloodfest with my cousins. This time, I should be able to keep up (with the improved video).
  8. Grokgod macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2002
    Deep within the heart of madness!
    WEll Alpha~! That was certianly a spec fest, but i lost whatever meaning you were alluding to, in that hardware twisting Pcheese scenario.

    I think we were talking about Mac hardware related to cost and Pcheese, etc.
    I see the great spec list buy what are you getting at.?
  9. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Like others have said, wait and see what happends at MWNY. IMO, if you can I'd wait until MWSF '03 if no big hardware bumps are made at MWNY. And unlike Alpha, I won't be long winded. ;)

    A Mac is greater than the sum of it's parts. Yes, individually you can buy PC parts and build yer own PC (which is the only PC way to go IMO), for much less, but you'll never have the same overall system stability and functionality that you will w/a Mac. All the Mac hardware and software is designed to run together. Companies can spend more time "tweaking" their product to work on a Mac instead of "generalizing" their product to work on wide variety of PC hardware and software out there. Does that mean Macs never have problems, of course not. But the odds are a Mac will have fewer compatibility issues than a PC.

    In my world (video editing/post production) the whole system gets stressed and has to work together very well. That's why you rarely, if ever, will see a PC in a post production house. I've cut on PCs and Macs and the PCs (even when it's certified by AVID for example) always have odd problems, and less up time than the Macs. PCs just dont' have the same seamless hardware and software intergration that Macs do. But that integration comes at a price (a few hundrad to a few grand usually ;)).


    P.S. I guess I was more like Alpha than I thought... oh well... :)
  10. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus


    Oct 5, 2001
    San Diego, CA
    One thing to keep in mind with the current PC systems, they are still effectively using a 133 MHz bus, just with varying multipliers.

    DDR 266 is 133 doubled, although we will be seeing 333, or 166 soon.

    Intel has been using a quad pumped 100 MHz bus to get 400, and now have moved to a 4x133 to get to 533.

    If Apple simply moves to DDR they will be right back up with the PC boxes.
  11. grengito macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2002
    Alaska represent yo
    i grew up on the mac my family got a mac classic when they first came out and from then on i was hooked. when i hit middle school we got a performa 6320 (not the best mac but then again we didnt have the highest budget to work with) and thats when i got hardcore. but come highschool i still had the then very dated 6320. and there was no sign of upgrade on my parents part. a family friend introduced me to his long hobby of computer building. and i was hooked. it took a full day to get that computer up and running with all the old parts from around his house. and then i was introduced to a new fact.

    PCs always, i mean ALWAYS, have somthing that needs to be fixed.

    thats one thing that i actualy enjoy about the pc. i always am trying to fix one problem or another. nothing ever quite works together right. first one part goes and i have to fix it then another. then i want to upgrade somthing else and i have to upgrade this too so it will work together. starting with a system that was compleatly free of charge to me i have now spent nearly1200 on it. i now have a system very well tailored to my needs but it crashes routienly and i have had to work around that by changing how i use it.

    however for that same 1200 i would have a tough time buying a mac system that i could actualy be proud of. i will not settle for a imac. not a chance. not even the new ones. sure they look cool and have good specs. but that half sphere would be a bitch to open up. and thats one thing about the pc that i can never give up. i love to mess with the hardware.
    and keep in mind that that 1200 was not spent all at once. the most accessable money taht i had at one time to spend was 800. so that would put me at low end old imac. somthing i wouldnt touch with a ten foot pole.
    so now i have to settle for a pc that i try and try to make operate like a mac. (those dam emulators work worse then the quadra 840av i picked up at state surplus last year)
    i would love to go back to the mac. for a few months i even used only the quadra 840av. however for web aspects that wasnt too great. couldnt even realy check my email. so now im stuck with a pc that doesnt do what i want it to.

    i know that there is no chance that macs will drop in cost enough for me to buy one. especily one that i want. and used macs are still much to expensive for me to buy. so i have to say that the only thing that is stoping me from jumping all over that warm mac love is the price tag. specs mean nothing to me. i cant compare the pcs specs to the macs cuz they run entirely different software written to opomize thier unique specs. it just so happens that the mac os accomplishes this so much better than any os on my computer.

    so in conclusion i guess im trying to say im jealous of those of you with the disposable income to buy a mac. i envy you. i wish i was crazy enough to spend all my money on a g4 tower. or even a high end ibook. i would be happy with just that. but i will have to make amends with my frustrating pc and little souped up quadra 840av

    -The Great Grengito
  12. Grokgod macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2002
    Deep within the heart of madness!
    Great post Grengito~

    I really enjoyed that story and found that it put a clear point of view onto the subject! thanks.
    sorry to ear that the Mac's cost is out of your range , hopefully in the near future that will change. And all the cash you need will be in your pockets.
    Sending you good vibes, bro!

    LethalWolfe~ What is the video editing card that you use in the mac?
    I am going to get a new g4 this new york event and have been trying to figure out wat card for editing to use, when i call the internet sales companys they tell me that everything is mostly for the Pcheese.
    I dont really believe that, but there arent any cards fo the mac that I can find.
    There is the Matrox, but there has got to be more than that!

    I am amazed that you got a pcheese to work with a video editing card. you must be one hell of a tech>
  13. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Re: Great post Grengito~

    I too enjoyed yer post. Tinkering w/my PC is one of the reasons I love it. :)

    I capture via Firewire. And I use the Dazzle Hollywood DV Bridge to get handle analog media i/o on my G4. The DV Bridge is an ADC (analog-to-digital converter) that plugs into yer Firewire card. Sony, and Canopus also make similair products. They all cost about the same (I think the Dazzle one is $50 cheaper), and IMO the Canopus box is the best (I bought the Dazzle 'cause it was a bit cheaper, and it doesn't read macrovision).

    The Matrox RTMac is the only prosumer capture card for the Mac. But it isn't OS X ready, and I think that Matrox is gonna drop it soon (It just had a huge price drop not too long ago). The only other cards are pro cards that capture uncompressed video, but they'll cost as much (or more) than a top of the line G4.

    Buying one of the ADCs is yer best way to go, IMO. Much of the selling points w/capture cards is real-time effects, and hardware acceleration. And if yer using FCP then the RT effects is moot since you can FCP can do RT (w/in the limitations of the speed of yer proc).

    I used the Matrox RT2500 as the capture card for my PC and I never had any show stopping problems. I used hardware that was certified by Matrox, and common sense (staying away from the VIA chipset ;)). I hated selling that card... but I had to start paying off my Mac some how. ;)

  14. Catfish_Man macrumors 68030


    Sep 13, 2001
    Portland, OR
    The current G4s...

    ...are unfortunately not worth their price. Normally when my parents start making "maybe time to upgrade soon" noises, I say "sure". However, this time I said "wait a bit". Given that I'm 16, me not jumping at a chance to upgrade my 5 year old G3 shows something is wrong. The G4 is not what's wrong, here's what is:

    PC133 ram w/ 133MHz bus: The biggest problem. Absolutely cripples Altivec.

    ATA66: it sucks, it's out of date, and it needs replacing

    USB1: not a problem, but as USB 2 goes more mainstream, 1 devices are going to be harder to get (like EDO ram now, and PC133 soon [see #1]), and I usually keep a computer for about 5 years. My beige G3 now has a FW card and a USB card, I'd rather not have to get FW2 and USB2 cards for a new computer.

    when they fix these (MWNY if they're at all sane), then I'll agree to a new machine (FireWire2, higher clockspeeds, and HyperTransport would be nice, but not necessary).
  15. mymemory macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2001
    Mac price is not the problem, it is part of it...

    I have the same problem but backwards.

    I have a sampler (a digital audio stuff for electronic musicians). I want to sell it for a fair price but no one wants to but it even it is the top of the line and superior to any other in features, Yes! it is a Kurzweil K2500RS.

    So, people are getting cheaper samplers, they are not half as good as this one but... THEY CAN'T NOT AFFORD MINE! they just do not have enough money.

    Almost the same thing happend with Macs, the difference is that you are not getting just a machinne, you are willing to get involve in a different way to work with your computer, a more easy one in manny aspect.

    If that is worth the money? I would say yes!

    If you can not afford a Mac is not a sin, I have a G4 400, I think it doesn't cost even $600, but is a great machine and runs fine even there are others 3 time faster right now. I can wait 6 more months with mine and that is the difference between having a PC or a Mac. There are not 400Mhz PC's out there capturing video and audio and duing all what I am doing with mine.

    There is where you see the value.

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