Why so damn expensive?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by stimpycat, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. stimpycat macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2007
    Hi, I haven't come to start a huge war on what is best a PC or Mac - infact I am desperate to make the leap but I can't seem to justify the £1700 price tag of the MacPro which is the only single thing stopping me from making the leap.

    Apart from the base price, the cost of upgrading seems ridiculously overinflated - to go from a 1GB to 2GB set-up it's an extra £190! The same upgrade for a DELL would be under £50.

    Likewise to jump up to a 500GB hard drive your talking an extra £210 to Apple, but the same for a DELL is under £150.

    Is there a reason for this?

    PS: I am a graphic designer who runs CS3 all day every day pretty intensively and often working with large print files - could I get away with an iMac? Is it only video people who need this expensive computer?
  2. pknz macrumors 68020


    Mar 22, 2005
    You don't have to buy upgrades through Apple, hard drives and RAM can be bought from 3rd parties.
  3. bartelby macrumors Core


    Jun 16, 2004
    Get the RAM and bigger drive from a 3rd party.

    Similarly specc'd machiines from Dell and Apple are not enormously different in price.
  4. stimpycat thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2007
  5. Igantius macrumors 65816

    Apr 29, 2007
    Yes, you could get away with an iMac and I know more than a few who do - but I would check out a few reviews and benchmarks.

    Quite a few publications aimed at creative pros have said that the iMacs offer an awful bang for your buck; e.g. Computers Arts in its review of the 24" iMac said it was pretty d. nifty.

    As bartelby, similar specced machines are in the same ballpark in terms of price - some articles have suggested that Dell can be more expensive.
  6. anti-microsoft macrumors 68000

    Dec 15, 2006
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    If you purchase the 20 or 24" model of the iMac you'll be running CS3 with pleasure (the iMac is very neat and practical too :D) But if you want extreme power go for the Mac Pro.
  7. steve_hill4 macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2005
    NG9, England
    Well, I just tried to spec out a Dell workstation and Mac Pro as close as possible and, surprise, surprise, the Dell came out £300 more. I added the 2Gb of RAM and 500GB hard drive you mentioned, but in order to get the graphics cards close enough, had to go for the nVidia Quadro in each case. Apple only offered the 4500 with 512MB, Dell the 3500 with 256MB. So in like for like, the Mac Pro will perform better.

    If you ever look at off the shelf prices for Dell workstations, they're about half the price of the Mac Pro, but only ever contain a single Xeon processor. When you add the second for comparison, you instantly go about £300-500 over Apple's pricing. Everything else then works out fairly similar between the two. Of course, that's also with either Vista or XP and we all know apps like CS3 are a lot more stable on a Mac and your less likely to need layers of protection/antivirus which will further slow down your system.

    As for Mac Pro vs. iMac, an iMac is fine for casual users of CS3 and those that aren't bothered by speed, but if you're working all day, every day with it, I'd go for the Mac Pro. If it's for your company, perhaps the price doesn't matter as some/all of it could be tax deductible. If you're going for a high spec Mac Pro too, I'd perhaps stick out for 4GB RAM. With my custom specs a moment ago, the money saved by going Apple rather than Dell would pay for either another 500GB drive or 2GB of RAM extra.

    Trying configuring both yourself on Apple's UK store and Dell's UK site. Start with the base Dell closest to the base Mac Pro and work from there. There will be little to any difference in price and as you add more processing, the Mac Pro instantly wins.
  8. Igantius macrumors 65816

    Apr 29, 2007
    If I had my choice, it would the Mac Pro all the time, but I know plenty of designers working freelance or within agencies who manage fine working on iMacs. As I say, personally I would go with the Mac Pro if the budget allows but if money is tight, an iMac is a realistic alternative - in this case though, I suspect the OP will be able to stretch to the Mac Pro.

    The UK government has changed the rules on how much you could claimed back due to capital allowance three or four years ago – used to be 100%, but is now 50% for small businesses and sole traders, 40% for larger businesses.
  9. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    You're dead on.. The upgrades on the Apple Store are waaaay overpriced. That's the price you pay for "convenience" apparently. I suggest you buy the minimum and upgrade it yourself. You will save money and the RAM is not hard to install.

    Also consider the MacBook (not pro). It's very capable, smaller, and lighter -- not to mention less expensive.
  10. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    I'm a professional (print) designer... When hardware is depreciable over 3 years, and equipment replaced at that cycle, perhaps top-range iMacs are better value.

    Where I work, the Macs have to last 4 years in frontline duties, then after replacing drives, another 4 as misc. servers which is an 8 year life-span. Not bad, eh? So our buying cycle is 4 years... Which is why we always buy the best pro Macs we can afford... 3 years ago, it was the dual 2.5s that were the top of the range and now they're probably outshone by even MacBooks these days.

    At home, I used to only buy towers, but since the switch to Intel, I've moved to a 2.33 MBP for the work I end up taking home and some freelance projects. I would never buy an iMac, I like to choose my display.
  11. djbahdow01 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2004
    Northeast, CT
    An iMac would be fine, there are only a few things that could potentially be a problem. One thing would be storage/expandability. There is only one place for a HD and limited in Ram as well, as opposed to the Mac Pro, where you can have 4 HD's and 32 GB's of RAM. Granted you can have external hard drives, but that takes up a lot of space.

    Also the screen, color calibrating could be tough. Unsure how well they do, for the price you are not getting the best lcd's. Figure my LaCie 321's cost just as much as a low end iMac, and I know my screens are color correct.
  12. SirCrumpet macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2007
    Brisbane, Australia
    For running CS3 all day, everyday, you would DEFINITELY want to avoid the MacBook. The MacBook Pro running with an external monitor however can provide better specs than the iMac (albeit at a fair price premium) - though it definitely sounds like the Mac Pro is the way to go for you.
  13. Igantius macrumors 65816

    Apr 29, 2007
    Leasing is sometimes a good option too; one agency I worked at went down that route, it’s all tax deductible and they were getting new top of the range machines every 2-3 years (prob. more like 3) – plus any serious technical problems, hey presto! new machine. The major disadvantage is that it's rather expensive to do.

    As you very rightly say, when used for secondary duties you can get plenty of life out of a wise purchase.
  14. wyatt23 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2006
    Forest Hills, NY
    hah. every monday i feel like there is the exact thread :)
  15. stimpycat thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2007
    Cheers for the helps guys much appreciated - Mac guys seem to be more helpful than their PC counterparts - another reason to switch..:)

    Mac Pro it is!
  16. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Oh, I totally agree on the upgrade price. Buy your hard drives off NewEgg.com and your RAM using Dealram.com. Everything is like 1/3rd the price. Apple uses the same hard drives as everyone else. Same for RAM. And it's REALLY easy to upgrade the Mac Pro.

    The Mac Pro is actually way cheaper than the equivilant Dell; about $1000 cheaper. The upgrade costs are higher but you can buy the upgrades elsewhere for less!
  17. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004


    A MacBook with 2 GB of RAM and an upgraded hard drive is just as good as a MacBook Pro (maybe 10% slower clock speed). Yes, the MacBook Pro's graphics card is easily 5x more powerful, but Photoshop CS3 doesn't use the graphics card, does it?
  18. steve_hill4 macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2005
    NG9, England
    From Adobe's very own site:
    Meaning you'll probably get away with the Intel chip in the MacBooks, but for some tasks they would be so much faster on the new nVidia 8600 present in the Pros.

    Also, check out MacWorld's latest benchmarks for the new MacBook Pros and BlackBook. Not much in it for most things, but the Pro is faster.
  19. Hmac macrumors 68020

    May 30, 2007
    Midwest USA
    Apple stuff has always been more expensive than the usual run of unimaginative PC stuff, and likely always will be. The pricing now is generally a lot more competitive than it used to be.

    Apple charges higher prices because their stuff is better designed and better engineered, but mostly because they can charge those prices and still sell 'em by the carload. The iPhone is a perfect example.....300,000 - 500,000 sold in the first 48 hours at $500-$600 each. For a cell-phone, fer cryin' out loud.
  20. WannaGoMac macrumors 68020

    Feb 11, 2007
    If you're in Britain buy in the USA! The exchange rate is SOOO in your favor I bet you save money even after airfare :)
    Hmm, though Mac Pro might be a pain to get onto the plane...but the laptops would not be...
  21. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    Get the MacPro. It'll be a better long term investment than a comparable PC for the same price. Great internal storage options (you can always go external SATA as well). MBP if you need portability.
  22. fourthtunz macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2002
    I just bought the macbook so I am curious, which types of things and how much faster for the macbook pros?
    I don't have photoshop anyway but am curious, I know I can't run my finalcut on my macbook but I have my g5 for that.
    I would think extra ram and an external drive would solve some of the speed differences?
    I would think an imac with the better video and the extras would solve most peoples work problems?Thanks
  23. tibbon macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2006
    Photoshop will be fine on ANY modern mac

    I don't think what you "do" in photoshop has changed that much over the years. Working on 300dpi 20x24" images? Yea, we were doing that years ago in photoshop on G3 computers.

    Maybe we expected that it would take 10 minutes to apply a heavy plugin or such, or 3 minutes or more to open a file... but it worked.

    The Mac Pro is overkill for 90% of the people on here that are considering it. Really. That's a LOT of processing power. Just because a new computer came out, doesn't mean that you need it, or can use it fully. I'd say the 4K video guys are about the only people that can really fully justify a loaded Mac Pro 8 core.

    However, if you're really a professional (and not a weekend-warrior) then either way, you can depreciate it over 3 years, and apparently you can even depreciate a computer in 1 year somehow (have to check my tax books on this). That helps a lot.

    Moreso, if you're worried that it's too much money upfront. Take it as a Capital Lease and you can deduct the lease interest/fees and depreciate it too!
  24. darkcurse macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2005
    Plus remember that Mac Pro's use FB DIMM RAM sticks which are much much more expensive than your typical desktop RAM sticks. That said however, its probably always better to get third party Apple Compatible RAM because its cheaper and will perform about the same. Just make sure you get RAM from some reputable companies that are known to make Apple Certified RAM.

    Since most of the photoshop effects are multi-threaded, having the workload split up into 4/8 cores is definitely going to finish faster than having the dual core of the macbooks.
  25. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    If you search the forums you will find lots of people running FCE or FCP or their MacBooks. Not very much in PS that makes use of the graphics card, it should run about the same on a MB vs a MBP.

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