The price of Macs

Walt Mossberg posts in his WSJ column:

If you tried to match the specs of the base iMac G5 in a traditional Dell tower, you’d also pay more. A Dell Dimension 4600, with the best processor, Windows XP Pro, the best 17-inch flat-panel monitor, a CD recorder and the same graphics card, costs $7 more than the 17-inch iMac. And it’s much bulkier and uglier.

That’s certainly not true in the UK. I did a similar price comparison and could have saved about £150 by buying a similar product from Dell – and, of course, Dell is not exactly the biggest value PC maker around.

On a similar topic, OSviews posted an analysis of how a build-it-yourself PC cost more than an iMac, with some rather dubious figures in it (why, for example, not use a board which includes Firewire?) that was picked up by Leander Kahney’s Cult of Mac. As a poster in the comments section puts it:

I can put together a PC that has twice the HD space, twice the onboard video RAM, comes with a 19″ flat monitor, and costs over $300 less. The 19″ clone will cost me $1366 Canadian, the 17″ iMac $1749… If I stick closer to the actual iMac specs, I can pick up a clone for $897 ($917 if you add speakers), a savings of $832. At that price I can almost get TWO clones for the price of the iMac.

Not sure where that guy is purchasing his DIY clone, but methinks he’s getting ripped off.

I love Macs, but trying to pretend that an iMac is cheaper than a bog-standard PC (let alone a build-it-yourself model) is just clutching at straws.

  • Dave G.

    Hmmm I found them to be within a few pounds when comparing feature for feature software for software.. with a 17″ digital display and all wireless options.

    So much for saving 150quid… add in the spyware, adware, virii, trojans and insecure OS… the distance grows further..

    Dave

  • Badpop

    [I love Macs, but trying to pretend that an iMac is cheaper than a bog-standard PC (let alone a build-it-yourself model) is just clutching at straws.]

    Prove it.

  • Badpop

    Oooops! (Sorry, sorry. Old email address. Too many Guinness, forgot.)

    [I love Macs, but trying to pretend that an iMac is cheaper than a bog-standard PC (let alone a build-it-yourself model) is just clutching at straws.]

    Prove it.

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    I can understand the posting-with-Guinness issue :)

    I don’t really need to prove it: the guy I quoted in the comments above did it for me…

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Dave says: Hmmm I found them to be within a few pounds when comparing feature for feature software for software.. with a 17″ digital display and all wireless options.

    What wireless options? Don’t forget that none of the off-the-shelf iMacs come with either Bluetooth or Airport.

  • scott

    what i don’t get is the term “i can build one myself for…”. personally, i don’t have the TIME to build a computer from scratch. ultimately, time == money, and taking the time to find the cheapest components, order them all, and pay for individual shipping costs is money/time i just don’t want to spend.

    btw, was there also mention of the cost of licensing all the software (OS, iLife-equivalent, Quicken, etc) that comes with a new computer (be it PC or Mac)? the truth is, that the myth of macs being more expensive is almost completely unfounded for similarly configured systems.

  • Tripod

    First of all, there is no such thing as an equivalent PC. Secondly, it’s really not fair to compare a fully built, turnkey computer system to a mess of hacked together crap from God only knows where.

    Now, if you were to compare built systmes from reliable manufacturers, you would find that the Gateway profile cost MORE than the iMac G5, can’t BEGIN to keep up with it speed wise, and looks like total garbage in comparison. (Also, it’s really stretchin to say that Gateway is a reliable manufacurer…)

    There is no comparison.

    –Tripod

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    First of all, there is no such thing as an equivalent PC. Secondly, it’s really not fair to compare a fully built, turnkey computer system to a mess of hacked together crap from God only knows where.

    I couldn’t agree more, which is why I found the original articles so ridiculous. Macs don’t *have* to compete on price: they offer what Gil Amelio (with his snappy turn of phrase) used to call “distinctly superiod user value” through OS X and industrial design.

    If I wanted the cheapest possible powerful computer, I’d buy a cheapo PC. If I wanted a machine that offered more than that, I’d buy a Mac.

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    “what i don’t get is the term “i can build one myself for…”. personally, i don’t have the TIME to build a computer from scratch. ultimately, time == money, and taking the time to find the cheapest components, order them all, and pay for individual shipping costs is money/time i just don’t want to spend.”

    Indeed. Building a PC from scratch isn’t hard or time consuming – it’s mostly like plugging together Lego – but for the vast majority of people, it’s not worth the hassle.