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Puncturing the "PCs Are Cheaper Than Macs" Myth

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the used-to-be-true dept.

Portables (Apple) 823

jcatcw writes "The recently converted Scot Finnie went notebook shopping. At the high end of the notebook spectrum, in order to get comparable power and features, a Dell machine comes in $650 over the Apple, and it was clunkier and weighed more. Sony couldn't beat the Apple either. Midrange and low-end machines, though, turn out to be pretty comparable, with more choices in the PC arena but some good values if you happen to want what Apple has decided you need. So, if you're talking name-brand hardware, it's just no longer the case that PCs are cheaper than Macs."

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Dell != PC (1, Offtopic)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440579)

I can get beige custom boxes for cheaper than both Dell and Mac, especially when not shopping for CeleronD based boxes [which are probably sold at a loss to get the foot in the door].

Maybe not laptops, but who cares. Been my experience though that Dell laptops of decent spec [but not high end] are cheaper than Macs.

Tom

Re:Dell != PC (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440707)

You can find a biege box?! OMG! Why isn't this on the front page of Slashdot? These days I have to settle for black cases and get rid of all the neon LED enhancement crap so it doesn't glow in the dark.

Re:Dell != PC (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440753)

Step 1. Choose the case. "beige" is a figure of speech. i mostly use Antec cases because they come with a PSU and are very sturdy [not to mention not too costly].

Re:Dell != PC (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440823)

Antec offers nice simple cases and gaudy ones. My current case is rolled steel and aluminum. Simple and clean. Not a beige box, but it doesn't have landing lights either.

Re:Dell != PC (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440979)

I know it's a generic term. But I missed the days when you could get an inexpensive biege box without the extras. My last case was a Cooler Master Centurion (black with metallic blue trim) without a PSU. Nice case. Not sure if I would use it for a bunch of "biege" boxes going into a closet.

Re:Dell != PC (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441047)

Before Antec made cases I would buy whatever random case they had [e.g. for $30] and throw an antec PSU in it. I tried a variety of other PSUs back in the day and most of them sucked. Out of spec, didn't last long, etc. Antec PSUs are very good. When they started making case+PSU bundles for $130 [or so] I got them instead. A standalone PSU costs about $100 anyways, might as well get both.

Only thing I hate about them is the stupid blue light under the power button. I usually put tape over it.

Tom

Re:Dell != PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19440961)

I just passed over a Mac mini for a self build - 1/2 the price, twice the RAM, faster memory, CPU and HDD.

That said, my next notebook will definitely be an Apple, tho I'll mostly be running linux on it. Never again will I struggle finding a notebook with the features that I want and then kicking myself for paying the Microsoft tax.

 

Right (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440585)

Because no one and I mean "not one single solitary person in existance" wants to use a desktop...

bleh (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19440589)

This really only held true when Macs were primarily desktop machines. The good laptop market has always been expensive.

Re:bleh (1)

Rog7 (182880) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440927)

Seriously, yeah. This is not revealing news for laptops.

No competition on the low end (4, Insightful)

traindirector (1001483) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440591)

Scot makes some great points about the high end and even the mid-range, but suggesting that Apple is competitive on the low end is just ludicrous. I'd call the low end $500-$1000. Apple's not even in that market.

Re:No competition on the low end (1, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440635)

When I say "Macs cost more than PCs" what I actually mean to say is that "Apple isn't in the low end market". Of course, everyone I say the former to understands that I mean the later, except the Apple advocates.

Re:No competition on the low end (5, Insightful)

sacrilicious (316896) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441185)

When I say "Macs cost more than PCs" what I actually mean to say is that "Apple isn't in the low end market". Of course, everyone I say the former to understands that I mean the later, except the Apple advocates.

I think they (or anyone) could be forgiven for not understanding what you mean. If I can buy 1 pound of sugar for $1 at Safeway, or 100 pounds of sugar for $2 at Costco, and a friend asked me whether Safeway or Costco had cheaper sugar, it'd be negligent+misleading of me to simply answer "Safeway".

Re:No competition on the low end (0)

CelticWhisper (601755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440691)

Yes they are. It's called the Mac Mini. You can argue whether or not it's actually competitive, and it would be a legitimate debate, but they do have a presence in the low-end market.

Re:No competition on the low end (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440819)

Hello? We're talking about laptops...

Re:No competition on the low end (4, Funny)

rvw (755107) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440941)

Hello?

Hello, is it me you're looking for?
I can see it in your eyes
I can see it in your smile
You're all I've ever wanted
My arms are open wide
Cos you know just what to say
And you know just what to do
And I want to tell you so much, I love you

Re:No competition on the low end (-1, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440975)

Awww, that's beautiful man.

See? Told ya Mac users were gay.

[rimshot]

Re:No competition on the low end (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440999)

Hello? The title is Puncturing the "PCs are Cheaper Than Macs" Myth, not Puncturing the "PC laptops are Cheaper Than Mac laptops" Myth. I realize the latter won't fit into slashdot's anemic subject field, but seriously.

Re:No competition on the low end (0, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441125)

Yeah, god forbid you read the article, or even the god damn summary.

Can't say I'm surprised, a Mac user is exactly the kind of person who would bring a sword to a gun fight.

Perhaps you should read... (1)

dharbee (1076687) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441153)

"The recently converted Scot Finnie went notebook shopping."

The first line of the summary.

Re:No competition on the low end (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440697)

Actually, Apple competes with their Mac Mini [apple.com] . ($599 and up) The problem was that the reviewer doesn't consider such low-end offerings to be a good value. The reason for this is detailed in his previous articles where he shows himself to be more of a "Power User" who needs a capable system. Personally, I think the Mac Mini fills the low-end niche quite well, but the reviewer simply doesn't want to touch upon it.

Speaking of the review, I enjoyed it but I wish he would have used tables for his data. It's quite difficult (not to mention frustrating) trying to extract the key specifications from the regular flow of text.

Tabular data: Learn it, love it, live it. ;-)

Re:No competition on the low end (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440789)

"Actually, Apple competes with their Mac Mini. ($599 and up) The problem was that the reviewer doesn't consider such low-end offerings to be a good value."

Which is too bad considering the Mini is quite a capable machine. If you make sure to get the maxumum 2 GB ram it works very well. I use mine for DVD ripping/converting (Handbrake rules!) and WoW when my wife kicks me off our main system.

Re:No competition on the low end (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440807)

Actually, Apple competes with their Mac Mini. ($599 and up) The problem was that the reviewer doesn't consider such low-end offerings to be a good value. The reason for this is detailed in his previous articles where he shows himself to be more of a "Power User" who needs a capable system. Personally, I think the Mac Mini fills the low-end niche quite well, but the reviewer simply doesn't want to touch upon it.

There are numerous problems with the Mini. It has no internal expandability, but it has only Fw400 which limits your external expansion options (or at least their utility). And I won't purchase a PC if I have to risk voiding my warranty just to make a simple upgrade of the few things that CAN be upgraded (disk, memory.) If you read the document, breaking any of the little plastic clips in the mini case is sufficient to void the warranty entirely - and apple has been known to often be very rude about service.

The fact remains that for $500 I can get a quite fast PC that DOES have expandability and an upgrade path. If what I need is a cute little lozenge of a computer that I will never open, the mini may be practical, but it has little place in business.

In terms of the home market, the mini is probably adequate for the majority of people.

Re:No competition on the low end (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19441027)

you haven't got the foggiest idea about self expression.

i genuinely feel sorry for you. i really do.

Re:No competition on the low end (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441225)

it has only Fw400 which limits your external expansion options
Really? What are you looking for that it hasn't got? eSATA? SCSI? FC? From what I've heard (anecdotal evidence FTW!), FW *is* faster than USB2.0 for large (>500MB) file transfers, but for most applications an external USB HD would be fine (better, probably, since it'd be 7200RPM vs. the 5400RPM internal drive). I know I can get to my files faster from my external (USB) HD than I can from the internal HD in my Thinkpad, anyway.

Re:No competition on the low end (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441093)

Actually, Apple competes with their Mac Mini [apple.com] . ($599 and up)
OK, but I thought the article was about laptops? The Mac Mini isn't a laptop.

Re:No competition on the low end (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440749)

I'd call the low end $500-$1000. Apple's not even in that market.


Lets see... the Mac Mini is $599 or $799 (without custom-build upgrades).

Compare what you get in that to the $599 or $799 Dell, HP, etc. I think you'll be very surprised with what Apple is able to provide at that price point, especially when you factor in the tiny form factor the machine has.

Re:No competition on the low end (1, Informative)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440757)

Yeah, I agree that there's just no contest on the low end.

I just bought a Dell Inspiron 1501 with the highest-end AMD Turion 64 X2 processor, 1gb RAM, 80gb SATA HD, 9-cell battery (not the usual 4-6 cell), etc., for $595 via an online deal. If I had wanted to go Core 2 Duo, I could've got something similar to the $1099 MacBook for around $800-900 from Dell or HP.

And frankly, I don't see my new computer as low end. I'm trying to figure out how a more expensive computer would differ... more RAM and HD, somewhat lighter weight, and maybe a built-in webcam or something.

Re:No competition on the low end (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440811)

suggesting that Apple is competitive on the low end is just ludicrous. I'd call the low end $500-$1000. Apple's not even in that market.

Especially if the rumors are true that the Mini [macrumors.com] and the 17" iMac [thinksecret.com] are going away. I'd love to buy a Mac, but those are the only models that I'd really consider right now. I don't really see any likelihood that they would introduce a new type of consumer desktop, like a tower. If the MacBook becomes the lowest-end Mac (starting at $1099), I think a lot of people will really be put off of Macs.

Re:No competition on the low end (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440923)

Exactly.

You can get a good Dell notebook for $700, or a decent Dell box for about ~$350 - and you can run both Windows *and* Linux on it, and you are set.

On the other hand, I cannot get a good Apple notebook for anywhere near that price, and the Mac Minis themselves start at ~$600.

Secondly, upgrading any of the off-the-shelf Dells (or $PCs) is a breeze. I'm not quite sure if the same applies to Apple notebooks or boxes.

art is str8 trollin' :p (Sccre +19: Right on ) (-1, Troll)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440993)

This article seems like a straight up troll if you ask me...

This has been true since before the switch to INTC (3, Insightful)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440601)

This has been the case for some time, but is masked by Apple's lack of a low end model (so they don't offer things at the sub $500 price point).

Re:This has been true since before the switch to I (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440937)

I think not just their lack of a low end, but a general lack of options. Don't get me wrong, I'm a mac user and I like them, but Dell (for example) has something like 10 very different laptop models, while Apple basically has three models with limited configuration options. Try to go in the Apple store and buy a laptop without a built-in camera. With Dell, you can choose to have XP installed, one of the 20 different versions of Vista, or even (recently added) Ubuntu. With Apple, you get OSX.

Many of their choices are very good, but if you have specific needs, then your needs might not be met by Apple's lineup.

Why Apple doesn't have a $500 notebook... (5, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441235)

I'm sure that Apple could go after the low end market but It's my belief that Apple intentionally avoids doing that for a number of reasons.

1. Margins at the lowest end of the market are thin if not razor thin. Certainly profit per unit isn't great, so each of these sold would mean a minimal profit, perhaps not even enough over the long term to justify any R&D, marketing and support.

2. Such a model would surely detract from sales of Apple's mid-range notebooks, as there would be a significant proportion of buyers who opted for the cheapest possible portable MacOS solution that they could lay there hands on. So, a low end model would, to some extent, cost Apple revenue, as it cannibalised sales from other, more profitable Apple notebooks.

3. Cheaper products sometimes (but not always) require corners to be cut. Apple's image (to the public) is one of quality as well as simplicity, and a low end model would perhaps change that image in a way that wouldn't suit it. Certainly Apple would not want people's first experience of the brand to be a negative one, and a low end notebook computer (from any manufacturer) is certainly the sort of product that is likely to disappoint rather than meet or exceed the average user's expectations.

The bottom line is that Apple just doesn't need to go chasing that segment of the market when doing so has so many cons and so few pros.

What about on the desktop? (-1, Offtopic)

Danga (307709) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440615)

Okay, so Apple's might not be so overpriced on the laptop side but the last time I checked they still were costlier on the desktop side of things. No thanks.

The Kilff Note's version... (2, Insightful)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440621)

Figure out what you need and shop around. Don't pass by Apple because you think it's too expensive. You may be surprised that Apple, for the machine you're looking for, is actually more cost effective.

Re:The Kilff Note's version... (0, Troll)

SuperDre (982372) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440685)

No, just pass it by because you want more apps to work straight away, without the need for emulating something... and ofcourse you shouldn't be a sheep and follow what some people think is cool...

Re:The Kilff Note's version... (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440827)

There is more than just price to consider. Desired Function should be the primary shopping goal, then you find a product with a reasonable price. If a desired application does not run on MacOS, then that option is pretty much buggered, now isn't it?

Ugh, I am always annoyed when I see comparisons by price alone, as if that tells the whole story.

Re:What is a Kilff Note? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19440849)

Apple is excellent hardware, no drivers needed. Try updating Sony drivers sometime. Ridiculous.

You GET what you PAY for. Count your hours wasted tweaking drivers and multiply by your hourly rate.

Apple spends the time making ALL the backend stuff work, so the (noob?) user doesn't have to.
Obviously it costs more to reinvent the wheel, and do a better job than the squares out there.

I'll spend an extra $350 to avoid buying a ticking VAIO time bomb,
(and I don't need DELL to hold my hand on the (frequent) reinstalls.)

Please. Anybody who buys Sony or Dell is paying for crap product + overhead.

Re:The Kilff Note's version... (2, Interesting)

hoopdogz (928333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440945)

I can run FireFox just as fast and secure on my $650 low-end laptop as I can on a $3,000 PowerBook. I have just as much storage on gmail with my low-end laptop as I do when I log in on my PowerBook. Believe it or not, Open Office actually runs more reliably on my cheap laptop than it does on my expensive PowerBook.

Why do I need to spend an extra $2,350 for a PowerBook again?

Re:The Kilff Note's version... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19441043)

Who wants to have to deal with unprofessional scum like Apple dealers?

Blah (5, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440629)

All this shows is that Vaios and Inspirons are way, way overpriced.

Why don't you compare the Mac to something from AOpen, Acer, or even eMachines?

Hell, even Gateway or HP.

They're all just as "similary equipped".

You cant specifically compare overpriced shiny crap to overpriced shiny crap and say you "punctured the myth".

And you can't compare Best Buy's jacked up retail prices to the Apple store. Hop online and see what it would truly cost you, the geek. I don't know where I can get discount Macs online.

Yep I discovered this some time ago (1)

thedigitalbean (268010) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440631)

I priced out an 4 core x 2 Mac vs. a comparable Dell system and the Dell came out about $1000 more. Conversely in the really low-end bargain basement segment, there are lots of new great PCs you can get with a monitor for $600, which you would be hard pressed to find from Apple.

customizability, customizability, customizability (1)

doyoulikeworms (1094003) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440637)

That's the name of the game when I'm shopping for a laptop. I want to be able to do work, and play some WoW (sometimes I feel that it overlaps...) on a machine, and that doesn't require a 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo, nor does it even require a 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duo. Unfortunately, when building an Apple machine, one cannot (yet?) go for a slower processor, less storage space, in favor of a better GPU, battery, etc. I was in this exact situation, drooling over a Macbook for a few weeks before I customized an HP laptop to perfectly fit my needs.

Imagine... (1)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440647)

I still have friends to this day, my age - low 30s, who STILL believe and say

- Apple computers costs so much more
- There are no applications for Apple computers
- They are harder to use
- I can't get used to them
- They use a 1 button mouse, what's up with that!?
- I don't believe Apple computers aren't more secure!

Ignorance is truly bliss.

Today, when someone asks me what computer to buy, I tell them straight out, buy an Apple computer.
When they spew that PC speech, I simple tell them: "In 6 months, when you're computer is infested with spyware, popups, and other garbage, do NOT call me to come and fix it".

Re:Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19440769)

It's funny how you talk about incorrect stereotypes people have against Apple computers and just there you've gone and spouted tired old stereotypes about PCs. There is no reason a PC is more likely to be infected with "spyware, popups, and other garbage" than an Apple. What does bliss feel like?

Re:Imagine... (1)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441017)

> There is no reason a PC is more likely to be infected with "spyware, popups, and other garbage" than an Apple.

You're overstating the case a little, perhaps, but the point is valid.

It's quite possible to harden a Windows box so as to need very little maintenence. The truth is, these days all it takes to set up a reasonably reliable system is a $400 Dell PC with XP and a $50 router with NAT. Install some free AV software like AVG or Avast!, set it to update automatically and use on-access protection, set Windows update to automatically download and install updates, and, critically, give the user(s) of the PC a fifteen minute demonstration of the types of software not to install from untrusted parties, and they shouldn't run into too many problems.

If they do get infected with something after the above scenario, it will typically be because of software they installed despite your warnings on not installing random gratis software from websites hosted in eastern europe - and while there's an endless debate on /. on whether or not OS X and *nix suffer from fewer viruses, exploits and malware because they're inherently more secure or because they have a relatively low market share, it's definitely true that given users that will click through $x warnings from their OS to install the latest coloured cursors or free screensavers from notspyware.biz, it's practically impossible to keep a box running any OS uncompromised without removing the power of the user to administrate their own system entirely.

Re:Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19441023)

Are you out of your mind? There IS a reason a PC is more likely to be infected....Because there are no Mac spywares and other garbage! If you can name me one such I will be very impressed. I'm not saying its not possible for there to be Mac spyware, but I am saying there isn't any right now.

Re:Imagine... (1)

ronadams (987516) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441049)

Except that Windows XP's default install leaves the whole system completely open to attack, because there is no withholding of Administrator privileges.

Re:Imagine... (1)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440837)

The "PCs become infested with spyware by blinking" is, likewise, a myth.

Re:Imagine... (1)

MonorailCat (1104823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440897)

In six months when you're looking to upgrade your low end mac's hardware, do not call me... Realisticly, I think Macs are a much better mainstream prospect than they used to be, but the overall cost of ownership is not one of their big selling points, especially towards the low end.

Re:Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19440931)

We refer to you type of people as 'pricks', because you think you are almightier than anyone else.
Although I doubt /. users have much social influence on the majority.

Go to Slickdeals.net or fatwallet.com and tell me the last time you saw a deal for a Mac and now look at the weekly deals on great Dell laptops.

Re:Imagine... (0, Troll)

Mprx (82435) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441073)

Apple still doesn't officially support more than 1 mouse button. The Mighty Mouse is not a true 2 button mouse, it's a 1 button mouse that can be clicked in 2 different ways. Humans have 5 fingers, so a mouse should have 5 buttons, and that is how many my mouse has (plus a scroll wheel).

Re:Imagine... (4, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441221)

That'd be a great argument, if Macs came with the same hardware choice as you get with non-Apple PCs. As it is, Apple hardware is limited, they have greater lead-times in rolling out new devices (WUXGA screens and 7200rpm 160GB disks on notebooks are a GREAT example, not to mention the choice of graphics cards, the new Turbo Memory thing from Intel, etc. etc.). They're not even comparable. And as for your trolling about spyware and popups, those are not even a problem for most people. And if they want to play games, then there is really no choice, no matter how great Parallels is, it's still not the same as running the OS on the machine itself. "Boot camp!" I hear you cry, well, then you've got to shell out for Windows on top of the price of the Mac, and hope it delivers drivers suitable to use your hardware.

- If you're not wanting to spend top-dollar, non-Apple PCs are far cheaper.
- There *are* fewer applications for Apple computers, which is to be expected as they don't command the market-share of, say, Windows
- They are *different* to use, and if you're used to Windows, that means you have a learning curve to climb, which implies work just to use the computer
- See above
- They do use one-button mice, on the notebooks at least, and the "mighty mouse" is not exactly a two-buttoned mouse if you keep a finger on the right mouse button. Again, something you have to get used to. Or you can buy another mouse, again, more money.
- Apple computers are just as secure as everything else on the market if used properly. Apple doesn't have a magic bullet against trojan horses, it just isn't that big of a target for hackers. As the market share grows, that will become a problem.

Ignorance IS bliss, my friend. You've just demonstrated the other side of the coin ;)

Notebooks, eh? (1)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440651)

I find it interesting they compared the much smaller notebook market and ignored desktops. Desktops are far and away the more common form of personal computing, and in that arena the PC blows away the Mac in terms of performance per dollar.

Re:Notebooks, eh? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440873)

Desktops are far and away the more common form of personal computing, and in that arena the PC blows away the Mac in terms of performance per dollar.

This too is only true in the low-end, where Apple doesn't even HAVE most types of offering. All they have is the mini, which has many annoyances.

A little while back I priced both dell and HP desktops with the specs of a dual-core Mac Pro, and they weren't significantly cheaper (prices were all within $100) if you got the same functionality.

Re:Notebooks, eh? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440875)

Yeah, no. Laptop sales outstripped desktops about 3 years ago.

Sorry.

Re:Notebooks, eh? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441231)

In dollar volume, not units shipped. Since an average desktop is probably 1.5-3x more expensive than the typical desktop it's pretty easy for the laptop number to get to parity/a slight lead.

Re:Notebooks, eh? (1)

pete.com (741064) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440951)

Notebook sales are increasing faster than desktop sales. http://www.infoworld.com/article/03/10/21/HNlaptop sales_1.html [infoworld.com]

If you compare same spec machines to what Apple offers, the other machines are similar in price or more expensive than Apple.

Apple doesn't really compete for the low end market. So if you want a 500.00 desktop, the specs on it will not match to anything Apple sell except maybe the Mac Mini.

If you want a real workhorse you will pay way more than 500.00.

Re:Notebooks, eh? (1)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440971)

I find it interesting they compared the much smaller notebook market and ignored desktops. Desktops are far and away the more common form of personal computing, and in that arena the PC blows away the Mac in terms of performance per dollar.
How about the incremental-increase-in-performance : incremental-increase-in-cost ratio for most PC desktops? Upgrading your graphics card or adding additional ram is easy and cheap--about $100-200 for something reasonable--and results in extending the life of your machine for months, if not a year in some cases.


Is this option for incremental advancement available to MACs? I've always been under the impression that they're sold as machines only, and that the "build your Mac with pieces" crowd does not exist by design.

Re:Notebooks, eh? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441061)

He briefly touched on iMacs versus other desktop systems and as with the notebooks the iMacs compared favorably to the other systems if you want the extras you get with the Apple hardware. He doesn't consider the mac mini or the 15" macbook pro to be good values, but I think that if you prefer battery life to screen real estate then you might want to consider the 15" Macbook Pro over the 17". My old 12" PPC powerbook got 3-4 hours with ease, my 17" Macbook Pro is lucky to get 2.

The side effect (1)

tmk (712144) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440663)

Apple computers may be as cheap as comparable PCs, but at which cost? I know many Macbook owners who have severe problems with the quality of the hardware. And the variety is very limited.

Re:The side effect (0, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440983)

Don't forget that the high end Sony and Dell machines in the article ACTUALLY DISPLAY THE MILLIONS OF COLORS that Apple lies about, and then tapdances around.

All Mac fanboys do is sit around dithering all day, it gets old.

I wish people would stop trying to sell me Apple stuff all day long.

Re:The side effect (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441213)

Yeah, Apple really needs to work on the quality control. Their desktop systems (Particularly the Mac Pro) are very prone to overheating. The video card seems to be the biggest problem there -- push any 3d graphics with them and that nice stable system will start crashing so often you'd think you were running Windows! The forums are full of people having problems with this but thus far no concrete solutions are offered (I'll probably end up putting a 3rd party cooling system on mine.)

I also had problems with sleeping on my 17" Mac Pro -- it didn't like to wake up from sleep. A quick search of the forums suggested that disabling safe sleep would solve this and it appears to have done so. It's kind of a bummer to have dropped several grand on a system and then have problems with it right out of the box, though (I STILL wouldn't go back to Windows and they'd have to piss me off a lot more to make me go back to Linux.)

Oh, and I'm pretty sure the writer is on crack as it would appear that he uses Lotus Notes by his own choice.

System76 (0, Offtopic)

lib3rtarian (1050840) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440667)

www.system76.com sells laptops that are cheap and powerful and come preloaded with ubuntu. No wasting money on a mac/windows license. Of course, this article neglected that.

Re:System76 (2, Informative)

wtd (791730) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440843)

The entry level MacBook is $1,099. To get a 13.3" laptop with 2.0GHZ C2D, 1GB RAM and 80GB HDD from System 76, I have to shell out $1,414, and that can't run Mac OS X (choice is a good thing, right?).

Headline should read (2, Interesting)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440673)

PC laptops are horrendously overpriced, which now matches Mac lineups.

Honestly, if you are looking at value, build a desktop. Unfortunately, with a laptop, you are stuck with whatever options you might be able to select, which on a Mac is even less than through sellers like Dell. Why can't I select my own components to go in a laptop?

fr1st ps0t!!!1! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19440679)

GNAA pwnz j00!!

Do more with less (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19440715)

But the difference is that a PC user doesn't have to be forced into buying more power than they need.

Now while the higher end Mac Laptop will make you the most popular piece in the bathhouse, a majority of users don't need the power of the latest and greatest to browse teh intarweb or watch DVDs.

So yes... PCs are cheaper than Macs, they offer more choice, your upgrade options aren't limitted to buying a new computer, and your problems don't always have to be solved by spending a few more hundy.

Huh? (1)

Wicko (977078) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440719)

The horse is dead. You can stop beating it now. Title should be "Puncturing the 'PC Laptops Are Cheaper Than Mac Laptops' Myth", at any rate.

Due to Intel switch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19440731)

Perhaps the switch to a Intel based processor made that happen. Hardware aside is there much difference between what goes into a comparable dell and an equivalent Mac. But as I understand it, if you want to replace parts or do any upgrade are you're still at the mercy of Apples famous marked up prices. Perhaps the new Apple strategy akin to gaming console & printers lose or break even on the original purchase but make the money on parts and Applecare warranties?

MacBook is a good value (2, Insightful)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440733)

Although the new Santa Rosa chipsets make the MacBook less competitive than it was before, overall it is still a good value. For a while there was almost no competition if you wanted a 5 lb. Core 2 Duo laptop w/ 4MB of L2.

Economies of scale (3, Insightful)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440755)

Apple focuses on making only a few models, so they actually get better pricing than their overall sales volume would normally yield. The problem is, large enterprise customers can get quality workstations with 17" LCDs for like $600, smaller ones cost a little more.

When you compare apples to apples (to use a bad pun), their pricing is excellent. The problem is that Apple is very selective about what market segments that they appeal to.

Wow. (3, Insightful)

yourOneManArmy (986080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440777)

They compared to Dell and Sony -- both notoriously overpriced. Everyone knows Dell jacks up their prices and releases thousands of coupons to grab a larger range of profits. It's another piece of "news" designed to give /unbiased/ proof of the author's opinion by skewing statistics and using generally unqualified comparisons.

Re:Wow. (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440955)

They compared to Dell and Sony -- both notoriously overpriced.

Well, who do you suggest they compare to? HP/Compaq's pricing is about the same. I think you're full of shit. Sony is notoriously overpriced, but Dell is typically around the average.

I wouldn't even involve Sony, because everything they make is a pile of crap, at least in the land of computers. I've owned a couple Sonys and worked on more, and I know what I'm talking about. Sony is about the worst manufacturer about providing drivers for newer versions of Windows than what came with the system, too.

And once you get out of the top tier (I hesitate to put Sony there at all, but anyway) the build quality tends to be complete shit. At least Apple is pretty good about this.

Sure thats true if you pick bloatware boxes (1)

ShrapnelFace (1001368) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440791)

Your two examples are the most expensive brands available. Don't give me the apples to apples horsecrap either. Go hug a tree.

What about building your own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19440795)

While Dell or Sony may or may not be cheaper than a Mac, building your own computer is cheaper... and its at least an option with PCs.

Bah. (1, Informative)

CronicBurn (316845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440833)

I managed to get a new Gateway laptop a couple months ago for $1200. Intel Core2 Duo 2.0Ghz, 2GB RAM, 80GB HDD, and MILLIONS of colors.

The Macbook pro which seemed comparable was $2500 if I remember correctly. So I beg to differ!

Not to mention I actually get millions of colors...

Did I mention that already?

And 90% of the users don't need all that power... (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440853)

a PC is still cheaper than a Mac if 'good enough' is good enough.

Horrible Comparisons! (0, Flamebait)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440907)

Well thanks for busting the 'myth?', I guess, but it actually fact in case you were wondering.

This comparison is bogus, using "name brand" hardware and using Dell as a comparison. This may work for the plebs that buy Dells or whatever, but here on slashdot... sorry no dice. Laptops are one thing since you cannot build them yourself, but even so, they do not come in cheaper. Anyone who has priced comparable laptops knows this to be true... the writing is on the wall, or at least on the bottom line.

The difference becomes glaring in the desktop sector though. Especially to us here, where we build our own machines. Everyone knows that you can get the specs for a G5, go to Tigerdirect, Newegg, wherever and price things out piece by piece and come in well under what that Mac would cost.

These are not guesses either, I am sure many here have done the same already as I have. I have bought a laptop and built a PC this year and managed to get great machines for at least a savings of $500. On my desktop, I managed to come in around $750 less than the G5. That was for the whole shebang too, box, power supply, OS, everything.

I for one, am fed up with this huge wave of Mac fanboyism based on false beliefs. They make great machines, but they are over priced, to most people, for what they offer. The problem only compounds in the tech community because actually have insight in what things should and actually do cost.

Goodbye karma :)

Re:Horrible Comparisons! (4, Insightful)

Logger (9214) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441113)

The comparison is not bogus, the author explicitly stated he was comparing Macs to brand name PCs. Home built PCs being cheaper doesn't disprove his assertion. Your same home built PC is cheaper than brand name PCs too.

He also states that if your needed specs fall outside of what Apple offers, you will get a better deal on a PC. Needing to build it yourself definitely falls outside of Apple's offerings. However, if you need to buy a mid-high end brand name box, then his point is valid. And he clearly states this criteria in the article.

He does not have to be wrong about Apple vs. Dell, for you to be right about DIY vs. Dell.

Re:Horrible Comparisons! (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441191)

Laptops are one thing since you cannot build them yourself, but even so, they do not come in cheaper.

What about whitebox laptops [notebook-blog.net] ? I've seen a number of mags, MaximumPC among them, suggest this alternative to get the EXACT laptop you'd like....

Re:Horrible Comparisons! (1)

sys_mast (452486) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441201)

Parent must be a troll, since the last Mac g5 was the tower mac last produced mid 2006, per wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Apple_Mac intosh_models [wikipedia.org] .

So if they didn't produce a G5 this year, he could not have built and compared a PC desktop this year.

Second, comparing the price of a home built PC to a purchased PC(or Mac) means nothing.

Carefully constructed effort to miss the point (2, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440939)

Midrange and low-end machines, though, turn out to be pretty comparable, with more choices in the PC arena but some good values if you happen to want what Apple has decided you need. So, if you're talking name-brand hardware, it's just no longer the case that PCs are cheaper than Macs.


Okay, so if you are looking for something that happens to be exactly what Apple thinks you want, and if you restrict the universe to major name brands, Apple isn't more expensive. True, but this isn't a "no longer", and doesn't point to any real "myth". The whole "Apple is more expensive" thing has always been based on the fact that people don't always want exactly the combination of features Apple has decided they need, and, even more importantly, because in the PC world, the universe of options is not restricted to the biggest names.

And, also, has always been more about desktops, rather than notebooks: in notebooks, the options even in the PC world have always been narrower than for desktops, and so the difference has never been as pronounced there.

accessories...duh!!! (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 7 years ago | (#19440943)

People forget about the accessories. If I have scanners/printers/software that only works with a PC and not on OS X then I will need to buy the replacements. This adds to the cost. I have a scanner and laser printer that do not work under OS X (yes I have done my research) so that alone would make switching a lot more (and no they aren't cheap scanners or printers).

But yet in any PC vs Mac price wars no one mentions this.

Re:accessories...duh!!! (1)

otomo_1001 (22925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441173)

But yet in any PC vs Mac price wars no one mentions this.


This is known as entrenchment. You have bought into an existing model. Switching to a new model will cost more because of incompatibilities.


This is no different than if I buy a WRX STI to replace my WRX. Guess what? Most all of my tires and rims, eg winter and summer will be worthless. The tires are all 15" on the WRX and 17" on the STI. Is this a cost? Yes, but it is nonsensical to factor in the cost of accessories. They are after all optional. The cost being compared here is the cost of the base components.


The better choice is to look for replacements now with the eye for interoperability in the future. Find replacements that will work with both and then consider the cost to move to a mac. Or replace outright, it is an option. Keep in mind this is what I did for my equipment before I bought my mac. I will probably do the same when I get the STI. Although that will be a complete replacement. :)

Re:accessories...duh!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19441179)

That's because you are a troll.

Dell Discount (2, Insightful)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441025)

If you compare Dell's standard prices, then you may well find Apple hardware at a similar price.

However, you're ignoring the fact the Dell regularly have fantastic offers. When I bought my current laptop, the Dell standard price was £500. However, I paid £350 thanks to their special offers.

I'd like a Macbook (assuming I can install XP on one) as they're pretty machines which appear to have a better resale value than Dells..

PC? (0, Troll)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441029)

I find this vain attempt to distinguish the modern "Macs" from the loathed "Peecees" as amusing.

Macs are PC's, in every sense of the word. Get over it. The difference is EFI, a logo and price markup. How very distinctive.

Re:PC? (1)

Wicko (977078) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441111)

But it comes with a build in webcam!!! :(

buy what you like (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441039)

If you're going to be using the thing for 3 or 4 years, get the machine that you enjoy using and which meets your computing needs the best.

Don't fret about an extra $500 either way. If money is that tight maybe look at a used laptop with Ubuntu, then you'll save money not just on the initial purchase but on the cost of software too.

coupons (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441107)

I have no idea if this was taken into account, and I don't have time to check. But Dell (almost?) always has something like 25-40% off coupons for machines over X dollars. Anyone buying a computer can find these with a simple google search.

Don' (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441115)

I was a little surprised to find that Dell's Inspiron line doesn't currently offer processing power equaling that of the MacBook Pro. To get a 2.33-GHz Core 2 Duo processor (a 2.4-GHz version isn't available yet), you have to move up to Dell's more expensive XPS M1710 with Vista Home Premium

Once I did that, though, and tricked out the M1710 with only those extras it had to have to compete with the MacBook Pro, I was surprised to see the Dell come in at a whopping $3,459, some $650 more than the Apple product..


If I simply remove that requirement and get an Inspiron E1705 with an "Intel® Core(TM) 2 Duo T7400 (2.16GHz, 4MB L2 Cache, 667 MHz FSB)", Dell provides a system with comparable features for about $1800. Anyone else get the different results?

Personally, I would opt for an even cheaper system. I can save even more by going with the cheaper components (The ATI chipset is $140 cheaper then the Nvidia chipset). 17" is almost too big for a portable computer, so I opted for a 15" screen instead.

If I had $2,799.00 to blow on a notebook then maybe the MacBook Pro 17" would provide a good value. However I need to spend my money on other things, and my cheaper $1000 Dell E1505 works good enough for me.

I made this comment just a few days ago here (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441131)

This whole thing is ridiculous and has been for a long time. Yes there is a slight premium for a Mac, but it's almost insignificant when comparing overall price of nearly any Mac system to a PC these days. Here's what I wrote the other day in the thread about OS X.

"I priced a Dell XPS M1210 with identical components of your MacBook (2.16 core duo, 1GB RAM, 8x DVD burner, 160 SATA) except for video and Windows Vista Basic Edition, at $1889. The video on the Dell was a 256MB NVIDIA® GeForce(TM) Go 7400 TurboCache which shares system memory, I believe, vice the 64MB video listed for the Macbook. At $1889, the Dell is significantly more expensive than the $1499 quoted for the macbook. To be fair, I also priced a Dell Inspiron E1405 with a 2.0 GHz core duo (not available with the 2.16) with the same graphics as the MacBook for $1164. If you say the price jump to the 2.16 is equal to the price difference between the 2.0 and the 1.66 (same bus speed), the price becomes $1289. So the "Apple premium" is $210. I'd be willing to bet I can find several other PC manufacturers (not even counting Sony) that come close to the same price range. Granted Dell may or may not be the most affordable system out there, but being one of the bigger names in the consumer market right now, I think it's a fair comparison of systems. I think the argument that Apple hardware is extremely expensive is outdated at best. Comparing apples to oranges, perhaps, but when comparing systems with comparable hardware, Apple doesn't look particularly expensive."

What about Rebates and Coupon Codes? (1)

neildiamond (610251) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441171)

I just put together a new PC with Case with an AMDX2 for well under $350. Case and 500 Watt PS were free (rebate came back a while ago). Mobo and Chip ~100 (integrated 6100 NVidia). 2GB (2x1GB) 800 mhz RAM for 45 (after rebate). AMDX2 3600s aren't top of the line, but you don't have to pay much more for a C2duo these days. $125 for a 500GB 7200 Perpendicular Recording Drive from Seagate (not the cheapest around, especially if you don't mind IDE instead. (Granted no new monitor.) Did splurge on an overkill heatsink ($35 after rebate) as I'm tired of the old PC heating the upstairs office in summer. Hell, if you are patient enough it is probably possible to build a completely free after rebate PC. It probably won't break any speed records or run Vista, but that's a good thing. As far as laptops and full systems go, if anyone shops at Dell.com without coupon codes they deserve the crap they're getting. Oh and people buying 17"+ laptops/DESK replacements for $2,799 or $3,459 I mean are well... hmmm... the best customers! I have land in Florida! (Why the hell are 17in laptops so friggin popular? Do you any of you who have one actually take a train to work and use them regularly during the commute? I thought so. Buy a desktop instead.)

I beat that Mac Pro with a Dell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19441177)

Dell Precision M90

My System Details
Intel® Core(TM) 2 Duo Processor T7600 (2.33GHz/667MHz/4MB)
Genuine Windows® XP Professional, SP2 with Media
NVIDIA® Quadro FX 1500M, 256MB (dedicated), OpenGL
17 inch Wide Screen WUXGA LCD Panel
2 GB, DDR2-667 SDRAM, 2 DIMM
160GB Hard Drive (5400RPM)
8XDVD+/-RW w/Sonic Digital Media(TM)/CyberLink PowerDVD(TM)
Intel® 3945 802.11a/g Dual-band Mini-Card
Dell Wireless® 350 Bluetooth Module

All for $2793
That includes the 1920x1200 screen and a 3 year warranty as compared to a 1 year warranty.

Macs last longer (1)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441187)

I bought my first Mac laptop four years ago (1st gen iBook G4) having had a long line of Intel and AMD based laptops from the likes of Toshiba, Samsung, Compaq and so on. I bought the iBook out of frustration. Partly the problem was that I wanted to run Linux on the machines and this meant that the cheapest laptops simply couldn't run Linux reliably because of lack of graphics, sound and network drivers for them. To achieve a decent level of Linux compatibility I had to go with mid range or higher machines. The problem was that even when spending £1500 or more, the machines would never last more than a year of use because I was using them as my primary computer. I bought the iBook for £999 figuring that it was cheaper and if it only lasted a year like the previous machines then I was still ahead of the game plus I would have supported hardware under a full UNIX platform. That machine is now four years old and still going strong after the same treatment that all my previous machines received and as a result I have bought two more Macs (a mini with ACD and a 15" MBP).

If you simply don't care about the quality of your machine then by all means go with the lowest priced available, but if you want a machine that will last and be reliable then buy a Mac.

Here's why Mac's cost now compare to that of PCs: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19441189)

It's because Macs now have Intel chipsets. Duh!

PCs are cheaper than Macs, most of the time (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#19441193)

Apple's model appears to be pitch new models slightly cheaper than their rivals and then to coast until they're significantly more expensive and then repeat. Therefore if you're in the market for a laptop when a new Mac appears you might get a good value laptop otherwise no way. Within months of the first Intel Macbooks appearing you could already get comparable PC laptops for several hundred dollars less.
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