Why are Macs more expensive than PCs? - An Intelligent Discussion

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Oolongmen, Jan 21, 2008.

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  1. Oolongmen macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    Hi Everyone,

    I have a question for you all. Before I get to that though, I want to clarify a few things:

    1. Please read this whole post before replying with a flame post
    2. I am not a Windows fanboy. Neither do I hate OS X
    3. I have used both operating systems before and I know that each has its own advantages and disadvantages
    4. I want to start an intelligent discussion, not a flame war.

    Now, having said that, lets begin.

    I read another post on this forum about the cost of macs vs a pc... but I think that the OP wasn't quite clear enough about his points and people just argued and went off topic... (and it got locked)... so I wanted to post something more logical.

    There's two examples I am looking at right now - The MacBookPro and the iMac.

    First, the MacBookPro vs. Asus G1S-B2.

    MacBookPro (basic configuration, found on Newegg's site)

    Apple MacBook Pro
    Model : MA895LL
    Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger
    Intel Core 2 Duo T7500(2.2GHz)
    2GB DDR2 RAM
    NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT (128MB GDDR3)
    15.4" WXGA+ (1440x900)
    120GB (5400rpm)
    Gigabit LAN and WLAN
    Airport Extreme (wireless N)
    Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
    2x USB @480Mbps
    1x Firewire 400
    1x Firewire 800
    Apple iSight webcam
    1x DVI port
    5.4 lbs.
    Warranty: 1 year parts/90 day labour

    Cost: $1994.00

    Asus G1S-B2 (also found on Newegg's)

    Asus G1S-B2
    OS: Windows Vista Home Premium
    Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 2.4G
    15.4" WSXGA+ (1680x1050)
    3GB DDR2
    200GB (7200rpm)

    DVD Super Multi (Dual Layer with Lightscribe)
    NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT (256MB GDDR3)
    Gigabit LAN (10/100/1000)
    Wireless N
    1.3MP Webcam
    1 x Express Card
    4x USB
    1x IEEE 1394
    1x VGA out
    1x S-Video TV out
    1x HDMI out
    1x External SATA port
    13.9" x 11.2" x 1.5"
    6.8 lbs.
    Warranty: 2 years part+labour / 1 year accidental damage (spills, drop, fire, surge)

    Cost: $1599.99

    edit: oh and btw, this laptop comes with a 8 button logitech gaming mouse, and a pimp computer bag (I have one of these, but bigger, and in red)

    Okay, you can say that the MBP is an old model. FINE. Here's a MBP from the Apple site with similar specs to the Asus laptop:


    2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
    200GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    MacBook Pro 15-inch Glossy Widescreen Display
    Backlit Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    Accessory Kit

    Cost: $2699.99

    I was going to post a Desktop example too, but I figured this is good for now.

    So the question is:
    For the same (or lesser) hardware, why is a MacBookPro costing up to $1100 (68%) more?

    Don't say that MBP has crazy good build, because that's ridiculous -- Asus computers are known to have good build quality too, and they make some chips for Apple!

    If you say that OS X is better than Windows, fine.... but consider this:

    In theory, since the hardware is more or less the same (okay, a fancier casing would cost Apple how much to make? $50? $100?), your OS X software (and iLife, if you want) is costing you upwards of $1100 to buy. If you want to look at it another way, the OEM OS X with iLife is costing a LOT more than OEM Windows. Because every Apple computer sold already has their OS installed, the DVD you buy in the store can only be considered as an "upgrade" to your current OS. I mean, sure, you can do a fresh install with the DVD, but technically you've already paid for a previous license to be buying the DVD.

    You can say that the last paragraph I just wrote is all bull, and that's fine. If you think that way, please tell me, where does the $1100 go? Research for :apple:? :p

    Please, don't flame :eek:
  2. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    There are several critical facts missing from your post that I'll need before we can have an "intelligent" discussion.

    Firstly, what's the weight on your ASUS laptop? What's the thickness?

    Secondly, the warranty on the mbp is 1 year for parts and labor. What ends after 90 days is phone support.
  3. osirisX macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
  4. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    I never buy new Apple hardware at retail prices.
  5. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Mac Pros are cheaper then the PC counterpart. At least the comparisons i have done to dell. $4,458 for a similar dell, VS apples $2799 So its really what product your buying. And you can't compare a home built system to a manufacturers. You have to compare to dell, compaq, HP, any of them.
  6. Mindflux macrumors 68000


    Oct 20, 2007

    What pray tell do you do then? ;)
  7. Oolongmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    From Neweggs:

    Manufacturer Warranty
    Parts 1 year limited
    Labor 90 days limited

    That could be wrong, but that's what I see. Can't blame me :p

    For $1100 I could bare with an extra 1.4lbs and a bit more bulk, or I could buy a cheaper, lighter notebook from Asus with about the same weight as a MBP. Plus, the Asus comes with a backpack, which makes up for the weight by far.

    For the record, I do not own one of these notebooks, I only have the bag :p
    I'm not trying to defend my purchase, but pose a hypothetical question.


    I am aware that Mac Pros don't cost as much as other counterparts, and if I were to spend $2800 on a computer I'd definitely get a Mac Pro too. But really, how many people have $2800 to spend on a computer?
    iMacs cost more than most PCs though, and I was comparing to HP.
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Education discount, ADC, refurbished, or second hand.
  9. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    That is wrong. http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APP...B723664&node=home/shop_mac/family/macbook_pro

    {emphasis mine}
    And BTW, I can point out your error because it's one of the points in your argument. ;)
    I couldn't. 1.4lbs over the course of a day is a lot of extra weight. We're talking about comparing a notebook that weighs less than 5.5 pounds and comparing it to one that almost weighs 7 pounds.

    And I note you fail to mention how thick the ASUS notebook is. Details, details! :p

    Seriously, just because it's not important to you (or so you think) doesn't mean it's not important to others (and hence worth paying for).

    If we want to continue on an objective analysis of whether or not Macs are more expensive, we need models of similar power, weight, thickness, battery life, and reliability.
  10. Oolongmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    Just so you know, the thickness of Asus notebook IS posted up there. It's 1.5" and MBP is 1". In a backpack, that matters little, and you should really try carrying your laptop in a backpack.. it feels like nothing! :p The laptop I carry around every day is 6.5lbs, PLUS another 9 cell battery.

    The question isn't whether you want to pay the extra money or not, but why is the price gap so big?

    btw, what are the chances that my mouse is going to fail? :p
    Much less than the chances of someone spilling coffee all over my keyboard!
    I mean, that's ridiculous. A mouse is $20-30 tops, and a power brick is probably $50-60 at most.
    On that note, I'd much rather my laptop be warranty covered for TWO years than my mouse being covered for ONE. AND Asus has accidental damage warranty too!

    So far, we are paying $1100 for:
    - insurance on my $30 mouse and power supply
    - 0.5" of thickness, 1.4lbs of weight (ammended by a good notebook backpack. does Apple supply a backpack?)
    - :apple: logo
    - oh and we can't forget about OS X. I'll give you that, for sure, and I like OS X too... but that's quite a lot to spend on OS X isn't it? :p
  11. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
  12. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Who said I don't put my mbp in my backpack? ;)
    Whoops, missed that thickness measurement the first time around. :eek:
    Sure thickness matters in a backpack, and when you're using it. ;)
    I certainly don't want a behemoth notebook to lug around, and 1.5 inches is getting into the "too large" category for me.
    And, since you didn't mention this, is it 1.5" all the way around, or does it thicken near the back?
    My point was that you might not consider weight or thickness important, but others certainly do. I might give weight more emphasis in my hunt for a notebook than you would for example.

    And, I think it's quite obvious why the price gap is "so big."
    There are certain aspects of the mbp that are worth paying for (weight, thickness, and the mbp is not as "deep" as the ASUS notebook; a real space saver in a bag. ;)).
    The accidental warranty is the best argument for the ASUS. A lot of people have that one fatal accident that costs them their notebook.

    However, IIRC, if you buy Applecare for your mbp and buy an external display at the same time, both are covered under the plan, which can be quite important for some people.
    and displays.
    Apple doesn't give a free backpack, but that's what, $40? You can add the cost of that onto the mbp if you want.
    I think the OS is a big part of the computing experience. It's what you interact with when you're using your computer. The graphics card, CPU, RAM, etc, are all servants to the OS. If you don't have a good OS, you don't have a good computer, no matter how overpowered the hardware is.
    Indeed. It's hard enough to find exact matches when it comes to this stuff, and even if you do, there are all the subjective factors to take into account.
  13. neilspartacus macrumors member

    Dec 31, 2007
    Here is my argument

    Here are the points I felt you should have thought when you want to compare...
    1. You should not compare products from sites like NewEgg. Rather you should compare stuff from Manufacturers site
    2. Like the other guy says you should not compare Apple and Asus products. Apple is the best in THEIR business, you can compare them with the number1 PC seller of 2007 which is Dell and even HP which is number2
    3. Though this is offbeat and not something very practical, there is another parameter. The resale value, last year i read a blog which compares the resale value of MAC and PC on ebay which clearly concludeds that Mac are better Value for Money. The author proved that you get double the amount from a resale in 1 year for a mac
    4. I some how get the feeling that you tend to be happy not to consider parameters that you arnt botherd about! You may be happy with a heavy bulky laptop! Just on the lighter side you should'nt call an Asus PC a notebook, you should call it a Fatbook :p just kidding not flaming
    5. Adding to my last point, you tend to take it light on parameters you think is fine or you are happy with. For example build quality and not to mention your idea of weight and fat. So when you want to compare you should take all parameters and not be happy with the onces you think are right :rolleyes:

    There are number of other point I have for the comparison, no time for now :)

    Though my signature reads Apply fanboy I admire BillG and MS for their success and infact earn my bread and butter bcz of them! So I may be an apple fanboy but im no anti MS or Windows.
  14. Oolongmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    I'm measuring my own Asus laptop, and it goes from 0.75" in the front to about 1.75" at the very back.

    I see that... but if weight were important to you, there's lots of 14.1" laptops available too! :p If we compared those to MBP, the only difference would be screen size.

    Good point. I still think that despite those things, the price gap is still unreasonable.

    nope, the best argument is $1100 in savings :D

    Applecare is another $350 :eek:

    Apple 20" display = $499, while other manufacturers 20" come under $250. I'm sure extending the warranty doesn't cost me another display :p

    the backpack was actually $60 on sale when I bought it in Taiwan. To get one here would run you $80-100 for a decent laptop bag. It's not a huge thing in the grand picture though.

    I'll have to agree with this... but look at the price tag! :(
  15. Oolongmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    1. Asus doesn't list prices on their site. Also, Neweggs seems to agree with the Apple site pricing (more or less), so I don't see the validity of your argument. Furthermore, you would buy your laptop from somewhere like Neweggs if you bought a PC... but with a Mac, you're pretty much confined to Apple itself (or in this case, Neweggs too)
    2. What's wrong with Asus? It's one of the biggest motherboard manufacturers in the world, its products have been proven reliable time and again, and it makes some of the chips found in Apple products, the Wii, and many others. How is Apple's notebook business different from Asus's?
    3. Your point is somewhat valid. However, you're paying more for your apple laptop to begin with... so of course you'd sell for more!
    4. That is true... but is that your justification for the extra cost? :p I think that not only your backpack will be lighter, your wallet will be too! :D
    5. If you've done some research you would understand that Asus notebooks are known to have good build quality too!

    Don't get me wrong... the weight argument is perfectly valid... and I wouldn't mind shelling out another $200-300 for a much lighter notebook... but $1100 is really pushing it!

    So far, the valid justifications for paying $1100 (minus another year of warranty and 1 year accidental coverage) extra are:
    - :apple: logo
    - weight and size
    - OS X

    Now... what if I throw this in? (I originally decided to leave this out because I figured the MBP vs. Asus was good already) This is from the Canadian BestBuy boxing day flyer...

    (see attached).

    Before you start saying how it's a refurbished PC, I'm looking at the PC on the RIGHT HAND SIDE. It has a Quad Core processor at 2.4Ghz while the iMac has a Core 2 Duo at 2.0Ghz... The mac has a slightly bigger HD, and a better (I think? not going to bother checking, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt) gfx card.... at the cost of $500!

    Clearly, weight isn't an issue here. I know the price difference isn't as big... but it's still 50%.

    Yea yea, it's different specs... blah blah blah. I won't argue that... so.. back to the laptops :)

    Attached Files:

  16. annk Administrator


    Staff Member

    Apr 18, 2004
    Somewhere over the rainbow
    I agree with those who've commented that it depends on how you set up your comparisons. To me, although you claim you are asking for a logical discussion, it seems that you want to convince people that Mac laptops are too expensive for what you get. If that's how you personally feel, that's fine, but it's not the basis for the sort of discussion you ask for. I'm not trying to provoke a flame war here, just giving you an honest reaction.

    I don't remember where now, but I have seen posts that compare Dell computers with their comparable Mac counterparts, and the Macs have come out ahead price-wise. But for me, that doesn't matter. I've used computers on a daily basis - at work and at home - since 1990. I've had MANY problems with Windows-based machines, despite spending time and energy to learn how to keep them ticking well, and not one single problem with any of the Macs that I or my family members have had. For me, the wonderful OS and the incredible stability are worth a lot of money. I'm more than happy to pay more for a product I consider better.

    So in the end, it also depends on how you value your own time, and how important it is to you to avoid computer-related hassles. The individual buying needs to consider that in the list of factors when comparing prices.

    Like much else in life, you get what you pay for. ;)
  17. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    In other words, it's possible that this laptop begins at 1" thin near the front and gets up to 2" thick near the back.

    Not what I call thin. My mbp is 1" thin all the way around. :)

    Suppose I wanted a 15" laptop? If that is the case, then the mbp is the best notebook around for its weight, thin and narrow design, good battery life, good CPU, etc.

    Remember, we're comparing like things. If you want to open up the gamut with more size options, go and find me a 13" notebook that weighs less than 3lbs! ;) :p

    In other words you concede on principle but are now objecting to the degree.

    How much money would you pay for a thinner, narrower, lighter design? I think that everyone will give a different answer, and that is also probably how a lot of people might say that the mbp is "overpriced" while others might say that it's "ok."

    Again, principle has been established but you're objecting to the degree of variation. The question you should ask yourself is if the ASUS is a notebook you would like to use over the mbp. Granted it's a lot of money, but it's also the quality you get out of it.

    Or, as someone much smarter than me put it:
  18. Music_Producer macrumors 68000

    Sep 25, 2004
    Simple. Apple OS integrates perfectly with their hardware. More productivity, more stability, more value for my money. Of course, they look beautiful - that's a big bonus.

    I know I am more than willing to pay the premium to get all of this. Why do some people buy a Lexus instead of a Toyota? It's the same company.. same engine.. so why pay more?

    When it comes to cars I don't care about looks, etc. I could drive in a Corolla . as long as it gets me from point A to point B. When it comes to something that I use for my work.. I want to make sure I own something that gives me more value for my money. For someone using email, browsing, etc.. a windows laptop is just fine.. for me, it's not. I know for a fact that when I use Logic Pro, I can get a song production done with absolute ease. I tried the same on windows and it was just so annoying.

    One example is when people tend to buy Pro tools products. If you check their website.. the requirements for the software to be compatible with a PC is huge! "The motherboard should have this chipset.. the graphics card blah blah blah" And the mac section is plain and simple "Compatible with all intel MacBooks and MacBook Pros"

    Oh, btw.. try reselling that Asus after 2 years, and the MBP after 2 years. See which one has more resale value. And then see if you're still getting that $1100 difference :D
  19. Oolongmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    Of course I can agree with the principle of the MBP being thinner and lighter than Asus G1S... because that wasn't the whole point of the topic!! :p

    So the question has been answered: Macs (in particular MBP's) are more expensive than PCs because they are thinner and lighter, and they have OS X.

    So now the question turns into: Is that price gap of $1100 (and warranty, etc) really worth 1.4lbs off your back and OS X?

    Sure, you get what you paid for... but often, looking at Apple Products... I feel like you seem to pay a bit more than what you get :p

    If I found a 14" notebook with exactly the same (or similar) specs and similar weight/size, we'd be comparing $$$$$$$ for 1 inch in screen size. Then I can ask the question: is 1" of screen space worth $______? Would you have an answer for me then?

    I assume you're referring to the MacBook Air... which I don't really want to go into. Even among mac users there's so much debate... and it's a totally different class of notebooks. The price tag on that thing doesn't look that nice either :p

    Btw, when we're talking about resale value... are we talking about intel macs? Because that may be a whole different story from PPC macs...
  20. djellison macrumors 68020

    Feb 2, 2007
    Pasadena CA
    It's OSX tax.

    Want to use OSX, Apple have you over a barrel. People trying to justify the enormous price difference on pure hardware terms are kidding themselves. What they're refusing to admit is that they're prepared to pay about 40% extra for the privilege of using OSX. I will put my hands up and admit that I am prepared to do so.

    It's not the look, or because it's a tiny bit thinner or a tiny bit lighter. It sure as hell isn't the build quality (which is dreadful across the entire range. I've never had chunks fall off a laptop before, but my MB is shedding weight quite happily).

    It's OSX tax. And they add it because they can. No other reason.

  21. annk Administrator


    Staff Member

    Apr 18, 2004
    Somewhere over the rainbow
    No, breadth and weight weren't the topic, but they were points people brought up as being important in their evaluations.

    I wouldn't say "the question has been answered". You're oversimplifying the responses you've gotten, and - in my opinion - are using them to support what I suspect your intention has been all along. So much for logical discussion.

    I really want to believe that you meant this thread to be a good discussion, but seeing that you've just registered on MR, and given the nature of this thread, I have to admit it appears a bit troll-like to me.

    My 2 cents, I'll withdraw now.
  22. Oolongmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    I'll admit, at first, I did not see weight and size as anything significant to the difference between the two computers, and I've learned that in this thread. I am not disregarding it, but I don't feel that it justifies that much of a price gap.

    Unfortunately, the weight and size issue, plus OS X, are the two reasons people are giving me. (is resale value for all macs or just PPC macs?) I probably worded it in not so good a way (don't blame me, it's almost 4am), but I was not trying to oversimplify to my benefit.

    Thanks for the first personal attack in this thread.
  23. Markleshark macrumors 603


    Aug 15, 2006
    Carlisle, Up Norf!
    Why are Ferraris more expensive than Fords?

    Why is Leather more expensive than Cotton?

    Why are Prawns more expensive than Cod?

    You see my point? You get what you pay for.
  24. Oolongmen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    Thing is, a mac is just like any other PC now, at the hardware level. They're not very different things.
  25. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Carbon and diamonds, made of the same things... this kind of absurd reductionism isn't relevant to the issue of whether Macs are worth it. They obviously are to many millions of people all around the world for reasons do to with just being nice machines to use for various reasons.

    Why should I try and penny-pinch on a machine that is so fundamental to my life and work by getting some crappy Asus PC?
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