Why are Mac Pro's so expensive?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sakau2007, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. sakau2007 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I understand the advantages of Macs over PCs... and I can almost accept that when comparing the prices of Macbook Pros over comparable PC laptops... or the Macbook Air over high end highly portable PC laptops.

    However, I don't understand Mac Pros. You have to spend literally 3x as much ($3000 vs $1000) to get comparable systems. The higher end you go, it doesn't really get any better. At the super high end, I built a Mac that was over $6000 and was underpowered compared to a $2500 system.

    What am I missing? For the lower end products I can see paying a few hundred extra dollars to go Mac instead of PC. But for these higher end systems, how can the price differences be justified?

    I'm not trying to troll; I'm just honestly curious from Mac Pro owners who spent the coin they did why they spent more money for less juice (or far more money for equal juice).
     
  2. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030

    wrinkster22

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    #2
    That is what I wondered, I think they charge it because they can. But I bet the actual percentage difference between mac compatible products and the apple one, the pro is probably the same
     
  3. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #3
    Did you price out comparable workstations? I did this recently when buying some new machines at work, and the prices were comparable. We ended up with some MacPros and some Linux workstations....

     
  4. sakau2007 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    No I didn't. Coming from the PC world, I was building what I'd consider near top of the line systems to be able to handle just about anything I could throw at it, gaming included.
     
  5. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #5
    You aren't the first to ask
    There are a couple of threads on this every month

    If you are seriously interested in what others have to say, you can search for them and find a wealth of opinions already given
    It might be worth your time digging around in them get a broad perspective
     
  6. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #6
    MacPros are workstations not consumer desktops. The RAM prices are still bloody ridiculous though.

     
  7. sakau2007 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    What exactly is the difference between a $3000 workstation and a $1000 consumer desktop (okay, let's call it $1500 after you add in some software; I didn't account for the fact that Macs do give you a nice suite of software) if they are virtually identical under the hood in terms of processing power, storage, memory, etc.
     
  8. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #8
    That is kind of my point: they are likely not identical under the hood (i.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xeon).

     
  9. Eager Beaver macrumors 6502a

    Eager Beaver

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    #9

    Please tell what is the difference between what you call a "workstation", and a "consumer desktop" -
    I have always been curious what the difference is, and why the extra money -
     
  10. sakau2007 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Thanks. I figured there had to be something to it. I knew even Apple couldn't get away with that kind of markup.

    Between this and me searching through some old topics, I think I (generally) have my answers.
     
  11. emptyCup macrumors 65816

    emptyCup

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    #11
    Because the software they need for their work only runs on Macs and they need the power of a machine with 12 cores, four drives and 64GBs of RAM. There have been people here who have said they don't mind spending $9000 for a machine because they will more than make that back on one job (lucky them).

    That's not me, and it clearly is not you, but it fits a lot of people who buy Pros because they are pros. There are plenty of cheaper machines for simpler tasks. Apple, and other companies, make many such machines
     
  12. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #12
    In short, workstations tend to be much less tolerant of small computational errors that a consumer desktop could let slide.

     
  13. NOD macrumors member

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    #13
    oh goody, hadn't seen a thread like this one in a while...
     
  14. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #14
    Your price comparison is not really accurate, when you compare similar CPUs and memory specs. However, they are still more expensive - and it's because people like me who depend on our Macs for a living are willing to pay the prices charged.

    Like any other product, the cost of a Mac Pro has little to do with the cost to make, and everything to do with how much perceived value it has in the eyes of a customer. Apple charges this much for a Mac Pro - because they can. It's how everything is priced, so I don't know why Macs and especially Mac Pros are constantly singled out. It is simply the way a free-market works.

    Cheers
     
  15. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #15
    This. Workstations != consumer machines.

    If you compare workstations they are the same price, in fact, when the last Mac Pros came out they were the cheapest out of any system with the closest similar configuration I could get from Dell and HP.

    Not to mention for those that use these machines for a living, they are generally the cheapest part of the workflow. Software generally costs a ton more (take a look at what Houdini, Maya, ZBrush, Adobe CS5 Production, and Real Flow 5 cost, now the Mac Pro doesn't look so expensive ;) )
     
  16. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    #16
    The xeons are expensive. Even though apple gets a discount, don't think much of those savings are past along. I would love to have a new Mac pro but it's out of my price range. Had 2 of them. My latest, 2008 Mac pro, was probably the best bang for the buck. After selling it, I built my own. 3200 bucks for a dual X5670 2.93 hex westmere system with 16gb ram. Win7 64 is good but it's not OS X. If apple would build a i7 SB in the Mac pro, would get one in a heart beat just to use OS X. My mini will have to do for my i devices.
     
  17. scottsjack macrumors 68000

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  18. voyagerd macrumors 65816

    voyagerd

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    #18
    I built myself a Hackintosh and it came out costing over $6000 as well..
     
  19. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #19
    The dual processor models were price competitive at launch with other workstation sellers. Around $1,200 more than parts would cost to get the same hardware specifications and an OEM copy of Windows. I say were because Apple don't change anything during the lifetime, where as Dell, HP etc do.

    These companies also sell single processor workstations, but these tend to be priced similar to their consumer systems that have the same sort of specifications. For example Dell's gaming/enthusiast Dell's XPS line and their Precision 3500s had/have similar specs to the single CPU Mac Pro yet those systems are much cheaper. If Apple were to be price competitive here then the Mac Pro would need to be like $1,500. This puts a huge disparity between that and the high-end systems as well as making it cheaper than the iMac and giving Apple a VERY low margin compared to every other Mac they sell. So they price it high.

    Apple are also the only ones selling their product. Yeah some people choose other things: an iMac, a hackintosh, switch or stick with Linux or Windows, buy a notebook etc. The Mac Pro still has enough uniqueness about it to drive sales. In the end is $1,000-$1,500 spread over the lifetime of the system really that much for what you get? I doubt it for most professional users and they are the intended audience.
     
  20. Tutor, Oct 21, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011

    Tutor macrumors 65816

    Tutor

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    #20
    Cross-pollination is great.

    Was the experience and outcome worth it for you? I've got to sit on the side of the bed and smoke a cigarette because the experience was so pleasurable. I am now an underclocker because of mine - slow strokes win in the long run.

    It was a great learning experience and the outcome proved to be highly satisfying for reasons such as: http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/chart/show/500630. Currently, all of the posted Mac scores, even the ones that do not show an owner, above 31,000 (except for the 33,066 score - it belongs to one of my mentors - the great d00d), are mine [at different underclocking values].

    Another reason why Mac Pro's are so expensive is because we love to break into or otherwise modify them. Here are examples:

    The hacintosh experience was also highly motivational and inspiring. Last December, it inspired me to turn my real 2009 8-core Mac Pro 4,1 (referenced in http://blogs.computerworld.com/geekbench_reveals_next_3_3ghz_mac_pro_update) (modded before Anand was successful in CPU upgrading) into a 8-core Hac Pro to gain access to legacy mode so that I am no longer encumbered by EFI. Others at netkas' forum are now doing the same type of mod for the sole advantages of using PC video cards more easily and booting 64-bit kernel on a Mac with 32-bit efi and a 64-bit cpu (See, http://netkas.org/?p=978).

    This is how the story goes: Someone asks the question (like here it was netkas - http://netkas.org/?p=830). Then, within a short period of time someone answers with a solution (like here it was MacEFIRom - http://forum.netkas.org/index.php/topic,1123.0.html). The 2009 to 2010 EFI upgrade took the same path - Why can't I run a Westmere in a 2009 Mac? Answer: Now you can son, now you can definitely do it.

    The next natural progression is:______. Will it likely lead to Mac Pros becoming even more expensive?
     
  21. lemonade-maker macrumors 6502

    lemonade-maker

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    #21

    Nobody cares
     
  22. Tutor, Oct 21, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011

    Tutor macrumors 65816

    Tutor

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    #22
    By the way how's that 2009 to 2010 firmware upgrade and those E5645 CPUs you installed in your 2009 Mac Pro that you referenced in your May 29, 2011 post # 9 at http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1158034&highlight= where you refer to netkas' posts?

    The fact that Mac Pros are so expensive, but ah so, so good, motivated me in 2009 to break into my refurb 2.26 GHz 2009 Mac Pro 8-core to mod it for a little future-proofing. Because Mac Pros are so expensive, I only buy them as refurbs and I used to hope that someone else would make a breakthrough that would allow me to upgrade them as easily as I had become accustomed to doing with my PC's. Then, out of frustration from relying solely on others I decided that I needed to become accustomed to upgrading them myself. So my question was directed only to those who like to tinker with their Macs, making them even more of an expense, but hopefully not like Anand did on his first try at a CPU swap because part of his expense was a the repair bill.
     
  23. snberk103, Oct 21, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011

    snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #23
    [deleted by author]

    sigh...
     
  24. Kimmo macrumors member

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    #24
    Whenever I compared Mac Pros to PC Xeon workstations I came away concluding that there wasn't a significant price difference.

    My approach was to buy a refurb Mac Pro and add desired upgrades (memory and hard drives) in the aftermarket.

    Beyond hardware, I have found value in the Mac OS and the customer support that Apple provides (US based and available in under five minutes; a different world from what I experienced with HP and Dell).

    My Mac Pro experience has been positive and the overall value proposition has been excellent.
     
  25. Tutor macrumors 65816

    Tutor

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    #25
    Yes. Some of us make our Mac Pros even more expensive than they were originally because of our perceived need to continue to tweak them for speed because of the nature of the work that we do on them and ever increasing client demands for faster turnaround times for projects. I use my modded 2009 Mac Pro to control my (1) Cinema 4d/Maya 3d animation, (2) Final Cut Pro (FCP) Compressor and (3) Logic Audio Node plugin render farms. The other render farm members - modded early 2007 8-core Mac Pros and modded PCs - act as slave machines to help in rendering animations and, with Compressor, to help in finishing the resulting FCP videos. I also use my modded 2009 Mac Pro as the controller for my audio studio, running Logic to create musical backgrounds for the animations. The other systems run Logic Node to help the 2009 Mac Pro to process audio plugins, of which I use many demanding - heavy processing support for real time listening evaluations.
     

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