IS mac cheaper than PC?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by frosse, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. frosse macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2007
    I'm having a discussion with one of my friends, a pc friend, who claims that macs are overpriced and that PC's are MUCH cheaper. I've googled it but could only come up with examples from 2006-2007 that macs are cheaper, sometimes.

    Maybe there's a kind soul out there who'd like to put together a comparison between a regular standard avarage pc and a standard mac, like an imac. It would help if the mac actually would be cheaper or in the same price range.

    It's time to put an end to this PC reign and help all those misguided and lost souls around the globe!

  2. Luftwaffles macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    In my experience, PCs have been cheaper in every way...

    Cheaper in construction...
    Cheaper in aesthetics...
    Cheaper in software quality...
    Cheaper in resale value...
    And last but not least...
    Cheaper in the user experience!

    All good things must come at a premium. Someone who wants a cheap PC should buy a netbook. Inexpensive, slow, but operational. Someone who wants a fast PC should buy a quad-core, triple-SLI, dual-channel barn heater. Blazing fast, but obsolete in 6 months and by that time will resell for $200.

    Someone who wants a good PC should buy a Mac. Clean aesthetics, guaranteed Software/Hardware support, and the latest technologies and standards to boot.

    But seriously (as if I wasn't just being serious), Macs are much less expensive in the long run. Two to three years ago, you could buy comparable Dell and Apple notebooks, perhaps 2.33Ghz Core2Duos, for around $2000. By today, they'd begin to show their age a little bit and you'l probably want to upgrade. So, sell them and try to upgrade to the newest versions. Here's what'll happen...

    The Dell which was probably purchased for $2000 will sell for $500. If you're lucky. Why? Because Dell/HP/IBM laptops degrade in value obscenely fast. Apple laptops on the other hand tend to keep their value for a very long time due to Apple's excellent OS support for the hardware. Sell that $2000-MSRP MacBook Pro and you'll probably get about $1000 to put towards your upgrade.

    Cheap now = Expensive later
  3. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    In terms of initial outlay you will normally find Apple to be more expensive, they do just charge more for their hardware. That being said it depends on who you compare costs with. If you compare on a spec basis only against a Dell there will be a huge difference, compare an Apple against and IBM/Lenvo/Sony laptop, or HP Professional Workstations, and the prices differences won't be so clear.
  4. nplima macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2006
    The fact that you need someone to cook the numbers for you suggests that maybe it's not the rest of the world that is misguided, no?

    That said, if you look around and try different things you'll find that Macs are good value for money.
    If you prefer all-in-one design, the iMac is usually cheaper than Sony, HP, Toshiba and other similar offerings. If you want a standard looking tower, then all bets are off. The Apple offering is limited and the many OEMs out there will be able to pick the best value components on a monthly basis, while the Mac product is reviewed a few times a year.

    If you ignore the value for money calculations and go find the cheapest possible computer, then it won't be a Mac. That does not necessarily mean it will be a bad product from a brand without reputation, just look at these examples: - better than any netbook for a small price - ordinary everyday PC for £300 - workstation PC supporting up to 128GB RAM (could it be wrong?) - AIO arguably better than an iMac, but more expensive.
  5. Beric macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2008
    Bay Area
    Macs are about twice the price of PC's, spec for spec. Macs have great resale value, for sure. For PC's, it's pretty bad, but you don't really care when you can get them so much cheaper in the first place. Macs aren't the only quality computer makers out there. They have a good warranty, if you pay, but no accidental damage warranty available.

    The specs versus price really ticks me off though. The fact that I can spec up identical-quality PC hardware with a great-quality warranty for half the price of a Mac means that Apple charges like crazy for its OS. The severely-limiting lineup also helps Apple crank out every inch of profit. Notice there are tons of holes in their lineup for such a big company.

    No low-end laptops ($500 range), no netbooks, no cheaper Macbooks that aren't so thin, no true workstation-class notebooks, and no true desktop that is both upgradeable, cheap, and yet with good specs and no built-in monitor that can't be upgraded. The BTO options on each model are also very limited. No addition graphics card options (how about dedicated on a Macbook?), only a small assortment of HDD's, crazy-priced RAM, you name it.

    All and all, while currently a Mac user, my next purchase will be a PC. Apple has just blown it with its hardware options as of late, such that even the uninformed consumer can see right through its pricing scheme. They've got a great OS that keeps me coming back for more. But both their pricing schemes and available hardware options are just too problematic.
  6. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    Depends what Mac we are talking about.

    The Mac Pro for example is extremely cheap, it can't be bought anywhere else or built cheaper. Just to go back to the quad hp workstation posted by nplima, for that I can get a Mac Pro with a faster processor for £1399.

    Of course when doing price comparisons people tend to cherry pick what parts they want. If we take the 24" iMac, it includes Firewire 400, Firewire 800, optical audio, iSight, remote, keyboard, mouse, wireless N, bluetooth. But people wont factor in all this, then complain the iMac is expensive. The screen as well, when making a price comparison people would spec in the cheapest 24" screen they could find, whereas the cheapest screen that matches the iMac screen (IPS, 178 degree viewing angle) is the Dell Ultrasharp costing double of what a cheap 24" display costs.

    If you were to compare software, each Mac out of the box comes with iLife, to find Windows equivalents in the same class would cost several hundreds of dollars.

    So no, I don't think most Macs are more expensive, they provide a full featured system out of the box. Windows gives you absolutely nothing out of the box, end of. In fact contrary to popular belief, its the notebooks that are the worst value for money, not the iMac or Mac Pro.
  7. garybUK Guest


    Jun 3, 2002
    That's because if they did bundle they would be done for monopolistic tendencies..... isn't this what Apple are doing? :rolleyes:
  8. surferfromuk macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2007
    #8 really depends on how much you value your Sunday's not spent fighting Vista gremlins and PC spyware issues...
  9. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    Not at all. Microsoft are considered a monopoly because they made their applications part of Windows, and made them uninstallable.
  10. nplima macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2006
    How did you do that?

    from Apple website in the UK all I can get is either a configuration of:

    £1428 for the 2.8Ghz quadcore CPU, 2GB RAM and 500GB HDD
    £1741 for the same but with the extra 2GB RAM that would match the HP workstation.

    Just curious... I'm not buying any of these...:rolleyes:
  11. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    The HP doesn't come with a graphics card, Firewire 400, 800, optical audio, or bluetooth. Add all that and it might be slightly cheaper, but it still has a slower processor (2.66 vs. 2.8). It also uses slower RAM.
  12. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    No they aren't. Everything else in your post is dead on accurate, and the truth. But Macs aren't twice the price of a comparable PC unless you build it yourself.

    If you are talking about building your own system then yes.

    Otherwise, a third more expensive at most has been the norm for about three years or more.

    This is of course spec to spec, where the real difference comes when you look at the overwhelming amount of customization you can get with a PC laptop or desktop.

    To answer the OP's original question, NO macs are going to cost more in most regards.
  13. ProwlingTiger macrumors 65816


    Jan 15, 2008
    Sure Macs may be more expensive up front. Supposedly they have a lower cost of ownership, which I don't doubt. To quote one journalist:

    -Winn Schwartau Link

    I personally could care less about paying a bit more for a better product. I've owned several PC's and in my opinion Macs are built with superior quality and overall outperform a general brand PC.
  14. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
  15. jbernie macrumors 6502a


    Nov 25, 2005
    Denver, CO
    All depends on what you know, what you want to do with the machine etc.

    Given I have almost exclusively used Windows with only a few hours here and there on a Mac I would be losing money in support costs as I would either be needing assistance or just spending more time finding the answer, spend a few hours here or there trying to support a system you dont know very well and those costs add up, regardless of which system you are working with.

    Likewise you could ask if a 1985 Toyota Corolla is cheaper than a 2009 Jeep with a lift kit for off roading? sure but one is great for off roading and the other is better for commuting.

    Mac vs PC is too simplified, if you want a cheap computer with no bells & whistles then more than likely PC will win, want something at a reasonable price that has a small footprint and all in one then Mac will more likely be better for you.
  16. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU

    I've said this many times but about 4 years back I bought a PC laptop (3ghz P4, 512mb ram, Geforce something), 4 months later I bought a PowerBook (1.5ghz G4, 512mb ram, Geforce graphics card a model below the PC) for £100 less and with free 3 years warranty. Thanks Student Apple stuff.
    The Powerbook outperformed the PC in every category. In games Doom 3 would run faster on the Powerbook, Photoshop was better even boot times were faster.
    2 years later the laptops HDD was starting to fail and the battery no longer held a charge. 4 years on and the Powerbook has no such problems, the battery still holds an hours charge too.

    So that was directly cheaper and technically slower than a PC, though was better.

    But even now where Macs do cost a bit more than a generic line PC, you pay less for a full featured OS (The cut down Vista Home would cost me 2x new versions of OSX), no need to pay for virus scanners or junk like that. And then there's the cost of lost time by maintaining a PC, the cost in power of leaving it on overnight to defrag or virus scan the HDD. Just little bits like that which add up over time.

    After all is said and done I still use XP as much as OSX though. They're both great operating systems that have their own cons and benefits.

    But IMO; for home desktop - XP. For work - OSX. For portability (home or work) - OSX.
  17. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Which car is cheaper Saturn or Lexus? Which would you rather own? So what if that there are $300 PCs available. Which would you rather own?

    So I bet you friend brags that his car only cost $600 and he gets cloths are the thrift shop for $4 and the single wide trailer he lives in sold for $15K.

    Given a choice I can't understand why anyone would want "cheap"
  18. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    I think it's more about what you are getting for what you actually pay.

    Using cars and homes aren't the perfect analogy, since more money is invested and certain features will dictate whether you live or die in the worst case scenario. Plus, people can stretch their imaginations and blow thing out of proportion.

    When it comes to computers, and what some users are doing, the better analogy would be more like comparing a rudimentary tool that performs a simple task. One costs a little more, and offers a more comfortable or smooth users experience while the other does not.

    Then you'll have to justify if that extra expense is worth it based on your needs and use.

    I am sold on the Mac simply because multimedia tasks are done far better on it due to the software than on the PC. Yes, I can get by on the PC just fine, but using the Mac makes it easier, more streamlined, and much more interchangeable.

    Others that don't do my job will have their reasons for going with the Windows or Linux PC.
  19. doubleohseven macrumors 6502a


    Jan 13, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5G77a Safari/525.20)

    Macs generally cost more than PCs but, as mentioned above, you're paying for what you get.
  20. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Macs are cheaper if you do a side-by-side comparison of the individual components and functionalities.

    HP/Dell/Sony all have copied the iMac's AIO concept. They have failed miserably with POS mice/keyboards that look like a rock and performs similarly (pretty suck). They all use the Intel GMA 4500HD graphics card which is a little bit better than my Intel X3100. I think HP's AIO has an entry-level nVidia card if you purchase the $1,700 model.

    The iMac? ATI or nVidia. Beats the living crap outta those puny little Intels. It also sports a simpler design, and is aluminum vs. plastic of the HP/Dell/Sonys.

    The laptop's also fare similarly. Intels of the PCs vs. nVidias of the Macs.

    Oh, and let's not get started on the software... PCs = trialware, crapware, etc. Macs = iLife which has video editing, photo management, etc. And Vista's insecurities vs Leopard's rock solid UNIX underpinnings.
  21. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    Ah. Well, if you would explain that to the lowballers I seem to come up against who I end up parting with a Mac for about the same amount as a similar-spec machine from Sony, etc, some of whom hang out in this forum and say exactly the same thing as you, I would be appreciative.

    To answer the question. No they are not cheaper than PC's. You pay the style premium, you pay the OS X premium, and you take the hit for everything else being inferior - even if you, like most students and layabouts, don't actually place a value on your time... which is something I do. Yesterday was my nth visit to an Apple Store this year, and last month was my first Sony fault of the year (and this year I bought almost twice as many Sony notebooks than Apples).
  22. maccam macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2007
    Like someone said, PC's are cheap now but will be expensive later.
  23. macmike22 macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2008
    Physically yes after a while pcs become more expensive.. but in the short term i suppose what makes up the extra money you would pay for a mac is the operating system. After buying my first mac this october, Im pretty sure Ill be willing to pay the extra money for the same hardware but Mac OS, that is what fills the margin for me.
  24. VoR macrumors 6502a

    Sep 8, 2008
    I can shop around and buy a budget dell pc for cheaper than I can build one.
    I can build a pc with far better/newer/quality/whatever parts than is possible with a mac for quite literally a fraction of the price.
    I can get more quality oss software on other os' compared to osx. Commercial apps are basically the same price on any os, but I have a far greater choice on a windows machine.
    I can see high temperatures and proportional failure rates on macs compared to pcs.
    I can see better warranties as standard on what I think are generally better products (and a no brainer when it comes to initial cost/spec/features).
    I can see through the ridiculous marketing, fierce product lock in and niche appeal.
    Ignoring this, I like osx as a consumer desktop os and would recommend apple to many people...if I thought their (hardware) prices were even close to sensible.
  25. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    :rolleyes: Who cares? Building your own PC has always been cheaper than buying one from a store. Of course it's going to be cheaper to build a system than to buy a Mac.

    I think those who think Macs are more expensive need to read this article. I saw someone say above that Macs are "twice as expensive". What a load of BS.

    Spec for spec, Apple's hardware is not stupidly unreasonable. They carry a bit of a premium in some cases, but they're not "twice as expensive" as other offerings.

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