Yet another "Mac vs. PC" article that misses the point

Yet another "Mac vs. PC" article that misses the point

Summary: BusinessWeek has yet another article on the relative costs of Macs vs. PCs, and author Arik Hesseldahl comes down on the Mac side:PC makers in the Windows camp have done everything possible to make their products progressively worse by cutting corners to save pennies per unit and boost sales volume.

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BusinessWeek has yet another article on the relative costs of Macs vs. PCs, and author Arik Hesseldahl comes down on the Mac side:

PC makers in the Windows camp have done everything possible to make their products progressively worse by cutting corners to save pennies per unit and boost sales volume. There's good reason Apple is seeing healthy profits while grabbing market share. It refuses to budge on quality and so charges a higher price.

Actually, Apple is losing market share (slightly). According to Gartner, anyway, Apple had negative growth in the first quarter and dropped very slightly (0.1%) in market share.

Apple edges out a lot of users with their limited, and yes overpriced, selection. When I look at Apple's offerings, I don't see anything that fits my needs. I want a basic machine that I can stuff a lot of memory and disk in. Note that I said "that I can..." -- not an Apple reseller.

The only offering Apple gives users that really fits the bill for my use case is a Xeon-based monster that starts at $2,500. The thing is, I don't want or need a Xeon. Well, OK, I kind of want one, but I don't need one. Apps aren't bottlenecked at the CPU, in most cases. The extra CPU isn't what I want, it's RAM, and gobs of it. And disk space for VMs and such. A Core 2 Duo would do just fine.

Lucky for me, I can get what I want with generic PC hardware and Linux. With Apple, you're constrained to its 16 offerings and some overpriced customizations.

That's just one example, of course, but Apple's offerings are generally high-priced for the hardware offered and make no concessions for users who don't fit their use cases.The point that Hesseldahl and others miss is that the PC market offers way more choice than Apple, even if some of those choices are bargain basement hardware.

Lauren may be a Microsoft shill, but it doesn't mean that Macs are reasonably priced or vastly better than other systems by any stretch of the imagination.

Topics: Processors, Apple, Hardware

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33 comments
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  • Amazing

    Never ceases to amaze me when PC geeks fire the 'Apple is overpriced'
    round. You inherently reveal the truth about it when you say you don't
    wish to have all the features of a Mac. You pay for those features,
    often much more, on a PC as well. Time after time comparisons
    between features of equal nature, the Mac turns into a bargain.
    Sure you can buy a stripped down PC so you can squirrel around in it
    with your dandy soldering iron (by the way, you can 'stuff' any Mac
    with third party discs and RAM and usually a whole lot easier). Apple is
    a single computer company with a limited product line. That's a good
    hit because it is accurate. As you say you want to only buy those
    features you 'need'. More power to you. I need my Mac and all the
    features therein and am quite happy to pay less for the same feature
    set than some Dell or HP that won't last nearly as long.
    dheady@...
    • re: Amazing

      [i]I need my Mac and all the features therein and am quite happy to pay less for the same feature set than some Dell or HP that won't last nearly as long.[/i]

      If you're the round peg that fits into Apple's round hole... absolutely, buy a Mac.

      The problem comes in when you're a square peg.

      Yes, Macs come with all sorts of great features. But if I don't need them, I don't really want to pay more just because Apple decided I should have them anyway.

      You see even if I get things I don't want in another machine, it doesn't cost me [i]as much[/i]. And for the most part, I get to decide.
      Badgered
    • Will not last nearly as long?

      I found that to be an untrue statement.

      I have found that Apple products last no shorter, nor any longer, then a Dell or HP.
      GuidingLight
      • Wish that was my experience


        WOW, do I wish that the Dells I work on would last as long as Apples. HPs
        are generally pretty good if you buy business class machine. Pavilions are
        come and go...
        lundp@...
    • Soldering Iron?

      "Sure you can buy a stripped down PC so you can squirrel around in it
      with your dandy soldering iron (by the way, you can 'stuff' any Mac
      with third party discs and RAM and usually a whole lot easier)."

      Soldering iron? What ere you talking about? Tell me how many different third party video cars does Apple support? What if you want to swap out the CPU? No? The MAC is a fine machine and is a good choice for someone who wants something pretty and has a few extra bucks in their pocket. However I can build a PC with similar specs for any machine that MAC offers for less...much less.
      bmonster
      • You can swap out the CPU. [nt]

        [nt]
        olePigeon
      • About the video cards...

        About the video cards: Apple supports any video card on the planet.
        The problem is that the video card companies don't write drivers for OS
        X.

        Why do you hold Apple responsible for 3rd party hardware support, but
        not Microsoft?
        olePigeon
    • My PC is stripped down?

      [i]Sure you can buy a stripped down PC so you can squirrel around in it with your dandy soldering iron[/i]

      My quad core, 8GB RAM, nearly silent PC is stripped down? And I don't recall using a soldering iron on it. Would it be faster if I had? I won't even tell you how little it cost but I will tell you that the only way a Mac is going to better mine is if you paid more than twice as much for it. :)
      NonZealot
      • So how much did your PC cost? [nt]

        [nt]
        olePigeon
        • My quad core system cost $710.

          Original price was $650 back in October 2007. It is a Gateway GT5636E. I bumped up the RAM last year to 4GB because someone gave me two 1GB modules. And just recently I bumped it up to 8GB because it was so inexpensive: $40. I also added a $20 video card in order to obtain a DVI port for my new flat planel.

          This system is whisper quiet and has been 100% reliable. I've not had a single problem with it.

          http://support.gateway.com/s/PC/R/1014825R/1014825Rsp2.shtml
          ye
        • I'll answer you if he won't

          I've got a Powerspec E371 that I paid $1,300 for. I got the floor demo unit because it was the last one they had, so they threw in 4GB of RAM instead of reducing the price.

          Specs:

          Vista 64-bit Ultimate
          Intel? Core? 2 Quad Processor Q6700
          Intel DP35DP Motherboard
          8GB RAM composed of 4 - 2048MB DDR2/667 DIMMS
          1TB RAID 0 - (2 x 500GB SATA HDDs) 7,200 RPM)
          20x Dual Layer DVD?R/?RW Drive
          Blu-ray ROM / DVD? / ?RW Drive
          GeForce 8800GT PCIe 512MB Video card
          Integrated Sigmatel? 9271D 8 channel audio
          Intel? Integrated Gigabit Ethernet
          Wireless LAN G/B PCI Card
          8 in 1 media card reader
          Microsoft? Wireless Keyboard
          Microsoft? Laser Mouse 6000
          1 Year Limited On Site Warranty

          Ports: 12 USB 2.0
          1 Firewire 400 (1394)
          1 eSATA

          Expansion slots: 1 PCI Express x16
          3 PCI Express x1
          3 PCI

          It's a standard tower and runs fairly quietly.

          Now compare that to the nearest *priced* Apple products from the Apple store. That would be either the:

          MacBook 13" 2.0 Ghz - $1,299
          iMac 24" 2.66Ghz - $1,499

          To be fair, my 22" Viewsonic monitor isn't part of the $1,300 price tag, it cost $189. So that makes the 24" Mac only $10 or so more. Fair enough? Both the 24" and the 22" have 1920x1200 resolution.

          I'm very very happy with my computer. It's *FAST* (oh my God is it fast). It's stable, all the drivers work out of the box, all the software I have that worked on XP works on Vista Ultimate 64--even though it's 32 bit software and comes from *everywhere* :).

          When you look at the iMac or the Macbook *for the same price* I have a far superior computer for the money. Apple hardware is expensive.

          And Powerspecs have proven themselves over the years. I've been buying them exclusively for work over the last 9 years, about 60 or so by now. I've had 3 problems--1 died from a lightning strike, one from old age (6 years in a harsh environment) and 1 had a bad sound card in the first day of ownership.

          Apple can't come close to matching that price/performance ratio.
          wolf_z
    • Please name...

      ...these "features" that you get for "less" than can be found on a PC? I'm truely interested in what I've been missing...

      Seriously, the bottom line here is the difference between wanting to be "different" and wanting a working computer at a reasonable price... I don't care what product we are talking about but any consumer that refuses to even consider another manufactures products has a definate blind spot and sports an opinion that can never be called objective....
      DCMann
    • It's the software

      Agreed, this discussion continues to go round and round in hardware
      centric circles, going nowhere except, 'Duh!' Joe Sixpack hardware land.

      Mac has the alternative, proven, OS and software package that lets it do
      more than a PC straight out of the box. The software is more than
      worth the extra cost.
      jaypeg
    • I'm a huge Apple fan, but even I know PCs are cheaper...

      I'm a huge Apple fan, but even I know PCs are cheaper because you
      have more choice on which components you want to use.

      Apple provides computers that are a great [i]value[/i], but not
      everyone is looking for value; some people want a cheap computer.
      Not everyone wants a 1/4" thick aluminum enclosure, low RPM
      temperature controlled fans, easy-access CPU and memory tray, hot swappable tray-loading HDD bays, and an inside case with no visible
      wires. If these things aren't important to you, you can save a bundle
      on a PC by simply not having them or only picking a few of those
      features (with the exception of the 1/4" thick aluminum case; no
      company outside of Apple has anything like that.)

      With a PC you can basically have a motherboard and processor
      identical to that of a Mac Pro, but then just stick it into a $10 ATX
      case, throw in a cheap power supply, cheap video card, and you're
      now ready to go for a lot less. The computer will look like ass, but it's
      cheaper. You'll also have to go through 20 different companies for
      warranty issues for the various parts in your computer. You also won't
      get free diagnostic and technical support with the computer like you
      do with an Apple.

      So while Apple offers a computer that's good for what you pay for,
      you are paying for a lot of stuff you don't necessarily need. That's
      where PCs can be a lot cheaper.
      olePigeon
  • Wow!

    Your obviously a linux geek. Why the hell do you care about Apple products at all?

    Are you retarded?
    sigma2
    • RE:Wow!

      >>>...Your obviously a linux geek...<<<

      Your post is strange and possibly meant for another forum? I have read the article thoroughly...several times and read all of the current posts carefully. I see no mention of Linux. Who, pray tell, is a Linux geek and how did you reach that conclusion?
      richdave
      • Search for character string suse in Biography

        Google the string suse
        vision@...
  • RE: Yet another

    [i]When I look at Apple?s offerings, I don?t see anything that fits my needs. [/i]

    Exactly! A lot of people feel the same way and that is where the PC has an advantage. It has the replaceable hardware. You don't need to spend an extra $2101 as stated in the article. You could buy 3 PC's for that price. The PC can pretty much do everything the Apple can for a cheaper price. Some people just refuse to believe that.
    Loverock Davidson
  • Is the Concept of TCO Gone Forever?

    Ok, I'm curious, from who do you buy your support and how much do you pay? How would you rate the quality of your support? If you support it yourself or work for the company who makes it, it doesn't count.

    Why I recommended and bought an Apple for my 72 year old mother and 6 year old daughter.

    Mom is frugile. Really frugile! I mean wash and reuse ZipLocs frugile!!! On the other hand, after seeing head-to-head differences in screen resolution, networking technology, disk speed (even SSD), memory expansion, and CPU, no further explanation was necessary. The cost was justifiable in terms of hardware alone, so even if she had not liked MacOS, I could install Windows as either a primary OS or virtual OS under Parallels WorkStation. On the other hand, all she ran is a browser, email, and office applications and Microsoft Office ran on Apple. Linux was not an option.

    My daughter is smart. Really smart. I knew that she would outgrow facets of the OS quickly and would want to get to the guts. At the same time, for the features that where she preferred to be a user and not an administrator, I wanted her to be able to ramp up quickly and be able to get her homework in on time. Plus, all of her favorite games look and run best on Mac.

    But let's take it a step further. I've been a UNIX systems administrator and systems developer for about 25 years and remain bleeding-edge. My mother is a retired nurse and daughter is, well, a first grader. I want my mother and daughter to enjoy the luxury of UNIX stability, security, and scalability with telephone support that tops the JD Power Satisfaction list. Having a knowledgeable helpdesk answer her questions in a friendly and patient way would have been worth the money to me, in and of itself, because I don't want to be their sole source of support on any operating system *LOL*
    vision@...
    • Uh no

      You haven't really made that much of a case for TCO, all you done is talk about how much you like tha Mac and that you're a UNIX admin (as if that gives you some extra credibility) and that your daughter is smart. Maybe a mac makes since for your mom and your daughter, however it probably doesn't make sense (TCO wise) to roll it out the 300 desktops as a corporate IT strategy...so...let's talk TCO...)
      bmonster