Macs cost less than PCs - if you erase the disks

Macs cost less than PCs - if you erase the disks

Summary: From the why-didn't-I-think-of-that? departmentOver on Salon, Farhad Manjoo connected the dots between purchase price and resale value of Macs and PCs.

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TOPICS: Apple, Hardware
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From the why-didn't-I-think-of-that? department Over on Salon, Farhad Manjoo connected the dots between purchase price and resale value of Macs and PCs. He compared a bunch of systems and here's what he found:

If you used your HP for a year and then sold it, you would have spent $449 to own it -- that is, your purchase price of $699 minus your sale price of $250. The Mac Mini, for the same year, would have set you back far less: $799 minus $500, or just $299.

And that is not including the cost, in money and time, of anti-virus software.

Elegance is free! Over on the Wall Street Journal tech blog the worthy Ben Worthen notes the Salon article, but excuses business for not buying Macs:

Few companies resell computers that employees have used. And if they did, they probably shouldn’t: This study shows that it’s possible to recover the data that used to be on a computer, even if the hard disk has been erased.

Repeating a canard doesn't make it true.

Yes, hard drives can be erased . . . As loyal Storage Bits readers know, from How to really erase a hard drive, it is indeed possible to erase a hard drive using the ANSI standard Secure Erase commands built into every ATA drive in the last 6 years.

Secure Erase is certified by the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) to meet the requirements of HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, FACTA and Gramm-Leach-Bliley. Once performed, you can resell that Mac, take your money and pick up one of those sharp 24" iMacs.

"But Robin, we're business weenies. We need protection!" In fact, a company up on the New Hampshire coast - you figure it out, there's only 17 miles of it - named Ensconce, sells a machine that will ANSI standard erase 3 drives at once using Secure Erase technology.

From Intelligent Computer Solutions there is the much cheaper - for a reason -

. . . Wipe MASSter unit erases data from and sanitizes hard drives at speeds exceeding 3GB/Min for 9 drives simultaneously. Wipe out your drives in a fast mode or per DOD specs.

The difference: the MASSter uses the older 7x DOD standard, while Ensconce goes with the Secure Erase system. On the other hand, you can get 4 MASSters handling 36 drives for the same price as a 3 drive Ensconce. Secure Erase is much faster and more secure, but it could be overkill for some folks.

The Storage Bits take Apple doesn't make low-end systems, so you'll always be able to buy a cheaper PC. But what the Salon article points out is that you may not be buying as valuable a PC.

For the business market Secure Erase means that you *can* resell systems safely. So those savings are available to business - despite what the Wall Street Journal says.

Comments welcome, of course.

Topics: Apple, Hardware

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36 comments
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  • OK, a couple of points

    First, how many of us trade in our computers every year? Maybe you guys in the press can afford to do that, but the rest of us try to get several years out of our machines. I usually get about 3 years at home, more at work (we still have quite a few Win2K machines in active duty at work, and a few running Win98). If I did turn around and sell a 1 year old machine, either Mac or PC, I would expect to get more out of it than you list.

    Second, yes, it is possible to erase a hard drive, but then you would have to reinstall the OS and software to make the machine sellable (maybe that's why you are selling them so cheap). Consider the time involved, and the payrate for the IT staff to do this, and you will see that it is not a bargain. We usually destroy the hard drives and strip the machines of any useable parts, which takes only a few minutes. What is left we give to a local business for recycling, or it goes in the dumpster. My old home computers get passed on, or reused. My old XP system was reformatted and is now running Ubuntu. I am also thinking about making a WHS server out of spare parts.
    itpro_z
    • What the heck do you need so many computers for?

      Hey I like fiddling with computer systems but to tell the truth I get enough of that
      from work. If I had kept all my ole computer and I could have what with them for the
      most part being Apples and those suckers last FOREVER..:P I would be up to my
      eyebrows in computers systems and I can't imagine what they would be needed for
      or doing?

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Just fiddling

        I built a new system for Vista, as my XP machine was getting a little long in the tooth. I considered cleaning up and selling the XP machine, but decided to reformat it and install Ubuntu, mostly to play with. I might convert it into a server, either running Ubuntu or WHS, I haven't decided. Why a server? My Vista machine is doing that now, and getting cluttered up with 300 GB (and growing) or so of media content (movies, TV shows, videos, music, etc), which is shared for my wife to access from her notebook. I also share 2 printers. If I built a server, I could offload much of that from my machine. Ubuntu could handle all of that, but at some point I would like to give WHS a try, also. There are worse ways to spend my time than messing with computers.
        itpro_z
    • My HP resold for 53% less than what I bought it for.

      I recently sold my HP a1730n which I bought brand new for $750 the day Vista was released. Nine months later I was able to resell it for $375. That's 53% depreciation in nine months time. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised given that a new PC with comparable specifications (except the RAM is 1GB instead of 2GB, otherwise identicle) can be purchased new for $450.
      ye
      • New Math?

        Last I checked, $375 was 50% of $750, or is this some kind of accounting trick?
        justanitguy
        • Whoops! I used $350 instead of $375

          The selling price was $375.
          ye
      • I sold my G4 PowerBook for $1400...

        I sold my G4 PowerBook for $1400 after over 2 years of use. It cost me $2100 new. That's only a 33% decrease in value over 2 years. Pretty remarkable for a computer.

        I sold it after the MacBook Pro came out.
        olePigeon
        • Amazing how many gullible people are in the world.

          Or how fanatical Mac buyers can be. For $1,400 one can buy a new MacBook which would likely outperform the PowerBook (though is slightly smaller)
          ye
      • My Porsche resold for 99% less than what I bought it for.

        I bought my porsche for 100k, and sold it 9 months later for 1k.

        Boy, those porches just don't hold their value.

        /sarcasm
        rtk
  • RE: Macs cost less than PCs - if you erase the disks

    Yes, but Windows PCs become more valuable when you erase Windows.
    07dcolem
    • Worth even more.

      "Yes, but Windows PCs become more valuable when you erase Windows."

      And then you install Linux and it becomes even more Valuable :)
      mrOSX
      • Funny....but technically I don't think so.

        Windows does have a market value regardless of what you and I may thing of it. But
        Linux is free one of it's strengths but in a re-sale war perhaps a weekness.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
        • hence the :) funny face...

          It was meant only has a humorous statement.
          mrOSX
        • In my experience..

          this may not be true. I have sold boxes striped of windows, that I got from C&W, with
          Linux installed for about 300 a piece.
          cashaww
  • RE: Not to restate the obvious but. ...

    ... the hardware in a Mac Mini is no comparison to the hardware in a $699 HP. Try comparing the Mac Mini with an HP costing $399 if you want an Apples to Apples comparison.
    ShadeTree
    • Then compare the software

      The iLife suite of programs is of value to any consumer, and Windows comes with nothing close to it. Maybe the original Mac buyer added iWork suite as well...then there is no comparison.
      lesls
      • The only people who value iLife are Mac zealots

        Everyone else can either take them or leave them.
        ye
    • Hmmm...

      Are you paid to post, or is it an uncontrollable urge?
      ego.sum.stig
    • No, the hardware isn't even close...

      No, the hardware isn't even close. First of all, HP doesn't even make micro-ATX sized computers. Secondly, at the price point Apple has the mini, it is [i]very[/i] price competitive for a micro-ATX computer (and even more compact than 95% of the micro-ATX PCs out on the market.)

      Apple Macintosh computers also have a [i]much[/i] lower initial fault rate than most other brands (as well as the highest customer satisfaction), according to Consumer Digest. That would indicate a better build quality than even HP.
      olePigeon
      • You're overlooking that often the Mini is purchased...

        ...on price and not for size. Being the only sub $1,200 Macintosh many Mini buyers opt for it because of price and not size. For these buyers the Mini is a poor value compared to a PC.
        ye