Why is the Mac mini so expensive?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Toe, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. Toe macrumors 65816


    Mar 25, 2002
    $600 sounds like a really low price for a computer, but
    1. Mac mini's used to be $500, before they went Intel
    2. It still costs way too much. Check it:

    $599 - Mac mini: 1.83 C2D, 667MHz frontside bus, 1GB RAM (2GB max), 80GB HD, 2MB Cache, Combo Drive, Intel Graphics
    $599 - 20" Apple Cinema Display: 1680x1050
    = $1198

    For one dollar more, Apple sells:
    $1199 - iMac 20" (1680x1050): 2.0 C2D, 800MHz frontside bus, 1GB RAM (4GB max), 250GB HD, 4MB Cache, Super Drive, 128MB ATI Radeon, iSight, keyboard, Mighty Mouse, amplified stereo speakers, microphone, cleaning cloth

    (The differences from the mini are highlighted in bold.)

    Now sure, you can get a cheaper 20" display than the Apple one, but the iMac includes that Apple display, so... what up? Why such a vast difference in the feature set?
  2. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop
    The mini's main purpose is switcher and it states in the advertising it is a bring your own keyboard, display, mouse. If you already have these then it is only $600. The mini is pretty cheap.
  3. Aea macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
    The Mac Mini is their "garbage heap," all the old components end up going in the mini, and people still end up buying them, don't see why for their current cost.

    Also, the 20" cinema display is a lot nicer, a lot nicer then the iMac display :)
  4. feelthefire macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
    Not really a garbage heap, but purposefully on a slower design cycle than the faster selling hardware. Designed to keep the price low by using older hardware.
  5. Toe thread starter macrumors 65816


    Mar 25, 2002
    Is that in comparison to the new Aluminum/Glass iMac?
  6. Toe thread starter macrumors 65816


    Mar 25, 2002
    That's just it: if all the hardware is so inferior, why is it (plus a display) the same price as an iMac?
  7. byakuya macrumors 6502a


    Jul 26, 2007
    I kind of have to agree with the thread starter here.
    I think Apple could lower the margin for themselves on the mini a bit more (like stated above maybe drop the price about 100$).
    This would make the mini more attractive to current Windows station users to maybe try something new like a Mac and with their excellent OS and hardware I am sure that the next purchase will be a more expensive one...maybe a macbook pro or something...this way Apple could compensate the lower margin of the minis pretty well in my opinion...but hell what do I know;)


    ps: I am a switcher also but if the mini were to be a little cheaper I would save up to get me a home desktop Mac in form of a mini.
  8. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    It's mainly because of the form factor. The 20" ACD is not equivelent to the 20" iMac display either. You can get 20" displays for under $200.

    Not that it isn't an expensive computer, but Apple have shown they aren't interested in competing directly in the cheap desktop wars and the mini is a bit of a specialist computer for the most part aimed at, in my opinion, two niche audiences. Those looking to get a mac as cheap as possible who have everything else and those looking for a very small, prebuilt, headless computer.
  9. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Dec 6, 2006
    A World of my Own; UK

    Why the big hate on the Mini here (and elsewhere)?

    Seriously, folks, this is starting to honk me off in a major way. Is anyone forced to buy a Mini? No. Is it true that you can buy a system with all the same key components for less? Yes.

    Can you buy a machine with the Mini's fantastic look and form factor, and that runs OSX for any price other than what's offered? No.

    If the size, style and ability to run OSX aren't factors in your buying decision, buy something else!

    For me, they very specifically were. I wanted a machine that would look great in my living room, that I could add similarly styled HDDs and TV tuners to, that would replace my stereo, DVD player and VCR. And I wanted a stable, silent, good-looking machine.

    Was the Mini worth the asking price? For me, worth every damn penny and then some.

    There are a number of niches that those who run down the Mini seem uninterested in - if that's so, fair enough, but at least consider that there are those who are interested. And consider the Mini's key role as a bridgehead into the living rooms of people who are not necessarily Apple's core market.



  10. Aea macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
    Except for Apple always tried to weaken them here, G standard WiFi for one.

    It's not like anybody is forced to buy something, they're just disappointed when they get extremely cheap components going into a computer that is relatively expensive for what it offers. Yes, the form factor and style is neat, but beyond that it doesn't offer much power, unlike the rest of the lineup.
  11. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    In the UK the MacMini retails from about £400. It has a rival in the PC world from Evesham, which has its own MacMini-u-like selling from £700!

    Still think it's expensive?

    Try building one yourself from commodity parts and see how quickly the costs stack up. This is even before you add the cost of the software. You pay for miniaturisation everywhere. Portability costs. The price difference between the iMac and the MacMini set up you cite would be higher if the iMac came with a decent screen.
    I am not the biggest fan of Apple hardware, but for me the MacMini is one of the best things that Apple has ever produced, and at a very competitive price.
  12. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    The only reason I can think of is because its from Apple.

    There sure as hell isnt 600 bucks worth of stuff in there. They probably get those 1.8 C2D's for less than 100 bucks each since they are incredibly cheap these days, the motherboard is probably around 90 bucks since its a piece of crap but comes with onboard graphics (the sound is very, very, low quality, some of the worst onboard sound Ive ever heard in my life so obviously they arent spending money in that department), the HDD would be the most expensive thing in the whole machine. Then you dont even get a keyboard with it.

    People will say R&D but give me a break, how many years does it take of overcharging to pay for R&D (which was probably mostly done by Intel or ASUS during the switch)? The mini hasnt needed new R&D in years.

    The mini just seems like the Xbox 360 Core package, its their way to make some extra money by nickel and diming people to hell. It works but in the end most people will spend more money buying extra crap than if they would have just gone with a Macbook or imac, people end up with an inferior piece of crap that costed them more money.

    I doubt there are a whole lot of "returning customers" for the mini. I bought a G4 mini back when it was at the $500 mark (the sweet spot for low end crap), but I ended up taking it back because back then it was so poorly made that it didnt work with like 40% of monitors on the market which included mine. I was not going to buy a new monitor just for that. I may have gotten another if the intel ones were $500 but there is no way in hell I will ever pay $600 for a mini, thats far too much for what you get.
  13. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Well for one thing the mini is all laptop components which are very expensive. Though that alone does not explain the disparity between the iMac and Mini, plus you can get really nice 20" widescreens for around $200, thus making their markups comparable. Since that makes the difference about $400 for the extras in the iMac.

    However I do dislike this mini pricing as well. Mainly since consumers are paying a premium for laptop components. When a consumer is buying a desktop are they not looking for a desktop rather than a laptop?

    Just for a look at the premium paid for the small all in one design of the mini, I chose systems with similar specced desktop and laptop components. My purpose is not to show what we could build a desktop for, as that is a moot point, but rather a look at the extra cost consumers are paying for the mini, due to laptop parts. As opposed to apple dropping the mini and making a low end full size desktop instead.

    You should also note that the machine configured with desktop components is configured using higher speed, more advanced and/or more capable parts giving the laptop components a better chance to close the price gap.

    I also omitted Mac OS X, wireless N card and bluetooth in my comparison since these parts cost the same in both scenarios. Remember I am not saying Apples pricing is unfair they are a company and make money, I am just giving a possible alternative for Apple's Mini that they could make the same profit on yet sell at a lower price to the consumer. Also giving the consumer more upgrade options down the road. (So please no flaming)

    Using desktop components through newegg.com
    Core 2 Duo Allendale e4400 2.0GHz 800mhz FSB $126
    160GB SATA II Hard Drive $47
    1GB DDR2 800Mhz $46
    Dual Layer DVD Burner with Lightscribe $28
    Well built case with a power supply more generous than dell in their low end XPS Desktop $99
    Motherboard with new G33 chipset $93
    -Intel X3100 integrated Graphics
    -1 PCI Express x16
    -1 PCI Express x1
    -2 PCI
    -up to 8GB DDR2 800mhz
    -USB 2.0
    -8 Channel Audio
    -Gigabit Ethernet
    -3 internal, 2 external SATA 3.0Gb/s

    All for $439

    Laptop components from Newegg.com
    Core 2 Duo T5600 Merom 1.83GHz $249
    Cheapest Socket M Board $130*
    1 GB 667MHz DDR2 200pin $44
    80GB 2.5" 5400RPM HD $55
    Slim Combo Drive $42
    Well Built Micro ATX Case $70

    All for $590

    Given the price differences I have made two conlusions. First off, for what parts are in the Mini, it has an excellent price. However, since building something like the mini would cost me around $600 and a similar but higher specifications full size desktop would cost me around $450, I would assume the same differences would apply for Apple. Therefore assuming they are could get the same percenage discounts on either type of components Apple could be selling a desktop that is moderately faster and far more expandable than the mini for $450. Heck they could sell it for $500 and make a greater profit margin than they currently do.

    On a final note the current mini is an excellent deal when you consider it would cost us $590 for the base components. That price does not include a wireless -N card, Bluetooth or Mac OS X.

    *The socket M board had Gigabit internet, 2x240pin memory slots, 1 PCI Express x1, 2 PCI, 945GT northbridge, Intel GMA 950, 8 Channel Audio, USB 2.0, Firewire
  14. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    Thats retail price, Apple does not pay retail, they buy in bulk and OEM so they get significant discounts over what you would pay on Newegg and even what Newegg would pay for those parts.
  15. SonicChronicler macrumors member


    Aug 19, 2007
    In the Wilds....Northumberland, UK
    The Mac mini was what finally enabled me to start the switch about 18 months ago.

    I had all the monitor and keyboard etc already, so buying the mini was much, much cheaper than getting an imac.

    I have to say, I love the mini - sure, it's not a Mac Pro, but then it's not supposed to be - it has OSX, it has iLife and it has enabled me to get off my backside and finally make a website, podcasts, movies and all sorts of other things.

    Could I have done that on a PC for the same price? Not as smoothly and it would have looked poorer - I would probably have had to shell out for extra software too.

    I think the actual unit looks great. PC users I know are still astounded that this little box can do what it does - (pretty much) silently. It may even tempt some of them to switch.

    I think it is priced correctly. The initial poster's comparison using a cinema display isn't a fair one, because 'most people' would balk at paying that much for a monitor - they would probably already have one, or go for something a bit more economical.

    The mini's not for everyone, but it was for me - and now I'm saving for a Macbook Pro!
  16. Toe thread starter macrumors 65816


    Mar 25, 2002
    The main factors I am looking at are the ability to run OS X and... the cost. What I didn't mention is that I'm a corporate buyer, and I buy quite a few Mac minis. But I wish I didn't.

    The iMac doesn't make sense in a corporate setting, as the all-in-one doesn't make good I.T. sense and some features are unnecessary. The Mac Pro is a ridiculous computer for the average corporate user. So what does that leave?

    Most corporate buyers have the option of getting stripped-down, cost-effective PCs for their regular office staff. If a company wants to run OS X, they have to over-pay to get Mac minis.

    With such good offerings on the Unix-based client and the powerful OS X Server, Apple's biggest hurdle in the business world is their lack of a well-priced, low-end desktop. I'm hoping that with the release of Leopard Server, they'll start taking the enterprise seriously. It is, after all, a very serious server OS.
  17. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    Buying an Apple screen,keyboard, mouse and Mac Mini makes the iMac a much better deal.

    Put later you can replace the Mac Mini, and keep the screen, or upgrade to a Mac Pro, MacBook or MacBook Pro or a Mac Mini.

    Also you can use the ACD with PCs
  18. coffey7 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2006
    The mini is good if your a grandma who is into emailing the grand kids. A dell dual core desktop with 250gb HD and a free 19" screen is the same price. The mini would be great if it was $450-$499.
  19. coffey7 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2006
    I can buy a cheaper pc and run linux on it for free. Plus, I know a few guys who have OSX running on windows machines.
  20. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    I just picked up a 1.66 combo refurb for my 8 year old daughter for $439. That is pretty good value. Most PCs of the same spec in refurb are maybe $40 less but this is a Mac! And system builders please, would you really spend several hours piecing together and setting up a $500 PC?
  21. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    and I know several people who lie on their tax returns, so what? Stealing software will always be cheaper than paying for it. :rolleyes:
  22. sananda macrumors 68020

    May 24, 2007
    the 20" iMac has a tn panel whereas the 20" cinema display has an s-ips panel.

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