Macs more expensive? Not if you consider TCO

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacBytes, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. MacBytes macrumors bot

    Jul 5, 2003


    Category: Opinion/Interviews
    Link: Macs more expensive? Not if you consider TCO
    Description:: Recently, two analysts said that the common perception of Macs as pricey items is indeed true. Richard Shim, an analyst at market research firm IDC, and Ian Lao, an analyst at In-Stat, said that, without significant price cuts, Macs continue to cost between 25 and 40 percent more than PC hardware of equivalent specs, say both Shim and Lao.The Sellers Research Firm disagrees.

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  2. alexbates macrumors 65816


    Nov 24, 2008
    Georgia, USA
    Macs are still much more expensive than PC's but I don't think they are even more expensive that before. Look at the new Mac Pro. Apple has tried to lower the price to make more sales. And the new Mac Mini remains at a reasonable price.
  3. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    Define "equivalent". Because it is nigh impossible to find PC hardware that matches exactly. There are just too many variables. Besides, it's a losing battle that ends up with you mired down by the numbers and ignoring a whole factor you can't easily "spec-compare" and that is the qualitative part of the experience.
  4. ewoods macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2008
    Typical Mac fan fluff. It was believable until I read the phrase, "Vista fiasco." The ONLY people I ever hear referring to Vista as a "fiasco" are Mac fans and Windows users who believe the Mac commercials. Don't get me wrong, I own two Macs along with three Windows computers. I love my Mac and both systems have their uses. But I'm also a systems administrator for an all-Windows environment of 250+ Vista machines, and properly configured, I generally prefer Vista to XP for ease of use.

    Oh, and then there's this tidbit:

    Honestly, who ISN'T looking at sub-$600 systems? Do my tellers needs $2000 computers to do their job properly? Or my lending department? Or my contact center? Sure we're buying the expensive systems for our marketing department, but for a basic workstation running the Office suite and a handful of simple, server-based applications, sub-$600 systems do the job just fine.
  5. rjfiske macrumors regular

    Dec 8, 2003
    Washington State
    You see I think that's the point. Is Apple trying to sell computers to your tellers? or your Lending department? Or your contact center? The answer is of course not. This makes comparison of the prices of these systems for these departments extremely difficult.

    By the way, Apple is trying to sell computers to your marketing department... which by your own admission purchases more expensive machines.
  6. khunsanook macrumors 6502


    Jul 2, 2006
    East Asia
    and they're also trying hard to sell to students and home users...who need "a basic workstation running the Office suite" and a web browser, simple photo editing, messenger and other basic apps found on sub-$600 systems.

    My Macs have broken down far more times than my underpowered Compaq PC laptop, so don't get me started on hardware quality. The only reason I pay the Apple tax is because I love OSX.
  7. FX120 macrumors 65816


    May 18, 2007
    I posted this in another one of these threads a few weeks ago.

    Here is a system I reciently bought two of from Dell:

    Core 2 Duo, 2.8Ghz
    3GB of RAM
    500GB hard drive
    ATi 3450, 256MB
    22" 1900x1080 widescreen monitor

    The total price each, landed to my door including the 22" monitors was $560 each.

    Spec wise this beat out the iMac costing over twice as times as much, and while it might not be an all in one deisgn, and for many people it's hard to justify an additional $600 for just a small ammount of saved space, and two extra cables.

    Even the Mac Mini, by the time you add a keyboard, mouse, and monitor for an additional $200 at best, you're up to $800 for just the base model which only comes with 1GB of RAM, a 120GB drive, and a mobile Core 2 Duo clocked at only 2Ghz.

    Ask anyone in retail sales what price point most people spend on their computers, and they'll tell you it's in the sub-$1000 range.
  8. ewoods macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2008
    And that's exactly MY point. The article is implying that IT department's will save money if they stop buying Windows machines and start buying Macs, because the TCO will end up being cheaper. But I've been in the business for a while and there are quite a few businesses that buy sub-$600 machines for their base workstation. Only specialty departments end up with the high-end computers.

    I just wish someone would write an article that isn't clearly biased. Mac's have their uses and so do Windows PC's. Buy the Mac's for your marketing departments because they'll be cheaper in the long-run than a comparable Windows computer. But buy Windows computers for your base workstation because they're cheaper than the Mac's. Don't try to convince us that one system is ALWAYS better than another system because that's simply not true.
  9. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    That may be but that doesn't imply that because you've had these issues, all Mac users will. Personal experience may carry more weight seemingly with you and those you tell your story to but it should not outweigh overall cumulative user experiences.
  10. iOrlando macrumors 68000

    Jul 20, 2008
    For me, a $1100 macbook is about the same "value" as a $700 HP laptop. The problem people have is trying to define 'value". To me, there is value in not dealing with windows products. There is value in not having to worry about getting service or dealing with weird spam/cookies. There is value in not having the feeling of...oh man I wished I had a macbook...but i went with this thing instead. You can't put a price on all of those things because it is of different "value" to each person. For me, its significant enough that I felt a macbook was the best option for me. Obviously, others will feel differently and they can go buy a hp.

    Its the same thing with Ford and Mercedes. If you buy a Ford, but each and every day you say boy I wish I went with the Mercedes (regardless of the reason you want it)...that type of doubt and regret can add up mentally. Instead, some people say you know what...i can get a new mercedes for about $15000 more than a new Ford. Spread that over 5 years...I am paying $250 more a month...and I am willing to spend that on the satisfaction of having my dream car.
  11. djkirsten macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2006

    But once you factor in IT time, anti-virus subscription, time-spent on virus updates, ease of use, it becomes a wash...not to mention that when you buy a $400 dell with whatever mix of hardware it comes with, you get a computer that has little testing in it's configuration, bloatware to boot, and an OS thats supposed to run on a computer twice as beefy.

    I understand that a mac costs more upfront, but even just out of the box it pays off in dividends.

    I've used macs and PC's my whole life, and recently when i installed Vista on my MBP I remembered what it was like to have to set a PC system up. You could spend a few hours (per machine) on installing security updates, installing anti-virus software, removing trial versions of everything, downloading and testing drivers, and optimizing the system. If you paid someone to do all that, you would have paid about as much as a mac...and that's only day one.

    It's similar to wanting a 300 horsepower car. You could buy a 300 hp car for $30,000 and be set... or you could buy a 230 hp car for $23,000 and then spend $7,000 in aftermarket parts to get to 300 end up in the same place, but in the long run spend the same (if not more money) and using up a lot of time.

    For the people with time and patience, a PC pays off, but it seems that people who just want to open the box and start working on a computer without any hassle, you end up paying the Apple tax.

    Also....someone has to pay the way for all those Mac geniuses!!!
  12. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008
    The linked article has almost zero content, and what little content it has says more about the author not knowing business realities than it says about the TCO of Macs and PCs.

    The base assumption of the article is already wrong: Most users simply do not NEED a computer with the specs of an iMac or a Mac Pro. But if they do, and when you are willing to spend that much money on hardware, you will always find more value for your money when you buy PC hardware.

    The only thing a Mac Mini has going for it is its small farm factor and its little power consumption. However, most business users don't care about the form factor but they -might- care about the power consumption. But since we're comparing TCO, I leave it to the the guys with the calculator to determine how much it costs to run a 300 or 400 Euro PC over four years compared to a 600 to 800 Euro Mac Mini.

    Software... Macs only come with software for consumers. In the business market, the software bundled with a Mac is almost completely useless. So, basically, it's like the software isn't even there. It doesn't add value to the TCO calculation.

    The costs of anti-virus software: Usually free for a private user (FreeAV or others) or 20 Euros per year for a private consumer when you choose to purchase a license. And about 3 - in words: three(!) - Euros per year per seat for a corporate customer (for example when you have an Enterprise agreement with ESET, the company behind NOD32). Get over it. It doesn't change the TCO at all.

    Warranty and service. Now that's a big one. All those "analysts" tend to forget that you have to purchase AppleCare separately, and they also forget that Apple does not come to your home of office to fix your computers. Now on the other hand, HP and Dell send service technicians to your office or house, and when you purchase from them as a business/corporate customer, all of their machines come with a three year warranty. And for a one digit handling fee per computer, they even install your own software image on that computer when you prepare it for them. That. Is. Service.

    There is a reason why most United Nations agencies, for example, use Dell desktop computers. And not Apple hardware. They're on a budget and their finance departments took a very close look at the offers of the various hardware vendors. Obviously, Apple didn't pass the test.
  13. ewoods macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2008
    I appreciate your input, but you're talking about home systems. In the corporate world, anyone who's manually configuring each system, one at a time, deserves to lose the money they're wasting. Our computers show up at our front door pre-configured to our exactly specifications. Security updates, anti-virus, and drivers already installed and configured, with no bloat and only the software that we use installed. The cost of this service? About $10 per computer. After that, Windows updates are installed automatically every evening with WSUS and anti-virus updates are installed automatically as they become available from our Symantec server. Even software updates to things like Adobe Reader get installed to all 250+ computers through Group Policy, with about ten minutes of total work on our part. Configuring computers by hand is costly and inefficient.
  14. NiroNavro macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2008
    This sums up everything I'm feeling right now. I got an HP laptop a month ago and I don't like it at all. Unfortunately it is too late to return it so I'm trying to sell it. Once it is sold I'm going to continue to save my pennies until the Snow Leopard release. I wish I would have gone with a Macbook in the first place. I wouldn't have to deal with all of this PC crap. Vista is terrible from my perspective and the design of this laptop is sub-par as well. It's bulky and it feels like cheap plastic to me. I'm done with PC's. I want a Mac!
  15. ewoods macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2008
    Definitely an often-overlooked fact with these comparisons. EVERY HP business machine, including the $500 computers, come with 3-year ON-SITE service. That means that if a hard-drive goes down, an HP service technician comes to your business, usually the very next day, and replaces the hard drive for you. Does Apple do that?
  16. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    There is no superior computer. Mac vs. PC is pointless. The TCO is different as you go from company to company. Some want this over that or don't want a feature, etc. BUT, on average, from a consumer point of view, Macs are better than PCs. Macs have software (not trialware) that PCs don't have such as iLife. Each has it's own strengths and weaknesses. How they overcome those weaknesses is the key point. PCs are cheaper, made from cheaper materials, energy hogs, and have crap designs. Macs are more expensive, built from quality materials, and have Ives's designs. PC market is shrinking, Mac market is growing. Those are the facts.
  17. steve2112 macrumors 68040


    Feb 20, 2009
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    Shhh!! Don't tell all the users that our tough "configuration" of workstations is all automated! Then they will think we just spend our time at work goofing off on message boards or something. :D

    Seriously, though, until Apple comes up with something like Group Policy, WSUS, etc, they will have serious problems making a dent in the enterprise market. Enterprise likes their systems to be centrally managed and controlled.

    As for the warranty: This is so true. For home users, yes, Applecare will usually beat the standard PC home user experience. For enterprise, Apple doesn't come close. On the Dell business warranties, for example, we have 3 year Next Business Day service. On the servers and such, it's usually 4 hour service.
  18. smooth macrumors 6502


    Nov 12, 2007
    This article makes a lot of sense, and I'm not really anti-PC. I prefer Macs, but have used PCs my entire life and have gotten by with them. I came up with my own TCO based on the price of my last Dell system compared to my current MAC system. Based on purchase price alone, once my Mac hits 3 years of age - provided it is functioning at an acceptable level then my Mac's TCO will be cheaper than my Dell's TCO.

    I didn't think to add in the prices of the "extras." With my Dell I had to dish out about $300 for the MS Office suite compared to the $80 for iWork. I also had yearly payments for anti-virus with the Dell.

    I am curious as to the type of discounts employers get from Apple for large orders. Though from my experiences with working for large companies, they would never have the forethought to examine long-term costs of computer usage. They see the initial bill and that's all that matters.
  19. djdjek macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2008
    I think it depends on what you are looking for a mac or pc even thought the value of a mac is more expensive.

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