Depreciation Math, my findings

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by InlawBiker, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
    There's always argument that Macs retain value better than PC's, and if you scan Craigslist or eBay this seems fairly obvious. I was curious so I did my own math and I thought the result was interesting, so I thought I'd post it here.

    My own conclusions are:

    - The overall depreciation between high-end Mac and a PC is about the same. So long as that's the case you may as well buy the one you enjoy the most.

    - The Apple hardware quality is tremendously better.

    - To save the most money buy the lowest-end Mac and use it for a long time.

    - It is a lot less hassle to sell a Mac. The PC was hard to sell, the Macbook White I had to beat Craigslist people off with a stick.

    - Applecare is probably not worth it. Debatable of course.

    Example 1 - Dell XPS 7100: $900 shipped with tax.
    (6 core AMD processor, 8GB RAM, 2 year warranty)
    - $400 sale price 18 months later
    = $500 loss
    Approx loss is $330/yr

    Example 2 - Macbook White 2007: $850 new with tax
    (2 core Intel, 1GB RAM, 1 year warranty)
    - $275 sale price 60 months later
    = $575 loss
    Approx loss is $115/yr

    Example 3 - Macbook Pro Late 2011: $1870 with mods
    (Base Quad-core i7) + 16GB RAM + 256GB SSD and DVD relocation kit + 3 year Applecare
    - $1000 approx sale price 30 months later
    Approx loss is $348/yr

    I bought the 2011 MBP for a specific software project and also for personal use, photo and video editing. Not sure if I'll get $1000 in 2.5 years. I plan to keep this one until just before Applecare expires and then get whatever new model is hot at that time.

    I bought the Dell for a specific software project that ended. As a cost of doing business it was well worth it for me. The machine just rocked and was screaming fast. I had to throw the keyboard and mouse away, they were insultingly poor.

    The Macbook White was for my wife, it was used and abused a lot and we never had to use Applecare. I upgraded the RAM and HD myself over time with spare parts. If not for the iPad we would probably still have it.
  2. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    This is about as scientific as a child's painting. Take a few hundred examples and you may start to build a credible report.
  3. wiznet macrumors regular

    May 30, 2012
    Interesting. However I think the math could be more accurate, and as said a larger sample could also increase accuracy. I doubt the value of the computer truly decreases by the same amount each year. Would using an exponential function to model the depreciation not prove more accurate?
  4. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Computers aren't as consistent as this. The condition when you go to sell makes a difference. If something stops working or the display looks ugly, this marks down the value. Upgrades depreciate as larger drives and more ram become standard features. Pricing on things like 15" models falls off a clifff when it hits the point where a new 13" pro or air can match or exceed it. Given the choice most people will go for the new one. These things are not very repairable, and they break down like any other computer, so it makes sense. That's one thing that truly annoys me with modern technology. It either needs a complete overhaul in serviceability or it must be pre-engineered to be 100% recycleable. This is something that really needs to be forced on every one of these companies for long term sustainability.
  5. InlawBiker thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
    I agree, and am quick to point out the title says "my findings" and not "scientific study." Just eyeballing eBay sold prices shows this pretty well bears out. But I think the gist is pretty clear and correct, and I don't feel any particular obligation to go do any more homework on it.
  6. Fortimir macrumors 6502a


    Sep 5, 2007
    Indianapolis, IN
    He's not passing it off as science. I appreciate the insight, while I agree it's still a bit circumstantial as it doesn't take into effect regions, technology barriers crossed in that time frame, and sheer numbers to put it up against.
  7. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    Fair point. Can't argue with that.

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