Is The "Apple Tax" Real? Mac vs. PC Value Analysis

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It's an argument that has been around for almost as long as Macs have been rivaling PCs. And despite the fact that so much has changed over the past few decades, the argument still arises almost every time Apple introduces a new computer. No, it's not the argument of "PC versus Mac" from a software and compatibility standpoint; that's an entirely different animal worthy of its own analysis. This is an argument over dollars and cents. For years, PC loyalists (or just those who are anti-Apple for one reason or another) have argued that Apple computers are more expensive than their similarly equipped, Windows-based counterparts. From notebooks to desktops and pretty much anywhere in-between, many have complained passionately about the so-called "Apple tax."

The argument is, this "Apple tax" is a price premium that's added on for the simple fact that you're buying a Mac. Very little actual analysis goes into these claims; they simply fly from both sides like volleys in war time exchange, with neither side conceding. And neither side typically takes the time to evaluate this situation and back-up their claims. Apple loyalists have long stated that near identical machines (or as close to identical as possible) are actually closely matched in terms of price.


But with all of this hearsay ongoing, who should you believe?  We felt it was high time to put the argument to rest. In the pages to come, we'll look at a baseline 13" MacBook, a 21.5" baseline iMac and a Mac Pro workstation. We'll be comparing these machines to PC counterparts that are as closely configured as we can find, at similar price points. We're obviously making an "apples to oranges" comparison here, so things will never line up 100%, but we'll do our best to point out the gaps as we attempt to put a little reason behind this age-old argument.

The Apple Tax:  Fact or Fiction?

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Der Meister 4 years ago

Good article but my only complaint it that in apples workstation they do not use a work station video card they use a typical video card you would find in any mid range desktop. While the other two desktops you showcase do use workstation cards the Nvidia Quadros. So While apple claims that it is a workstation I  see it as an expensive desktop as the only thing the Mac Pro had that is remotely workstation it its CPU. 

Dave_HH 4 years ago

Agreed Der. Good observation actually.

Der Meister 4 years ago

even if you upgrade to the $4999 pro tower you can only configure it with either two 5770's (+100) or one 5870 (+200). Not very workstation like if you ask me. 5k with a company like Boxx would get you much more than apple has to offer in its "workstation" line up.

LeftBlank15 4 years ago

Y'know, the word that I am getting from both camps is that you can make a Mac last about 5 years, but a PC only lasts 2 or 3 years !

One thing that isn't mentioned in the article is the necessity of buying the Apple Care Protection Plan.

Are there similar extended warranties for PCs ?

Dave_HH 4 years ago

Yes, of course there are similar extended warranties for PCs from a lot of the majors.

jonation 4 years ago

If we are talking pr-emade PC's- like Dell or HP. I would agree on the 2-3 lifespan.

They are mostly passively cooled and the cable management is ghastly.

BUT. With proper cooling my 50% OC'd E6400 system is still purring. My upgrades have only been to cooling and a PSU (My old one shorted- but didn't take anything out.

If you custom make a PC I don't think longevity is an issue.

Macs are somewhat know for they're longevity, but I am greatly concerned about my unibody MB Pro. This thing heats up and slows down on a whim.

DKraig 4 years ago

I think it's important to discuss the nature of a "tax." A tax is not something a manufacturer includes, it is something additional that goes to someone else. The original notion of such a tax was actually a Microsoft tax, not an Apple tax. The Microsoft tax--a tax people must pay when buying a product using a Microsoft OS--included:

  • The price of AV software
  • The price of AV software updates
  • The cost of time spent reinstalling Windows
  • The cost of time spent dealing with malware that gets past the AV software you purchased
  • The cost of having to upgrade hardware more frequently
  • The outrageously high costs of MS OS upgrades
  • The cost of time dealing with Registry issues
  • The cost of time dealing with DLL issues
  • The lost of money due to rapid loss of resale value
  • The much higher help desk costs
  • The much higher in-person technical assistance costs
  • The costs of time waiting for software fixes to be installed by understaffed and overworked IT departments

These are just a few of the Microsoft taxes people had to pay if they purchased a Windows-based computer. When MS realized the enormity of these taxes and the effect that more people describing them would have on their sales to the enterprise, they turned their marketing droids and MS fanboys loose pointing out that Apple computers were more expensive then computers from fast buck box stuffers. Fearing the word "tax," they turned around and inappropriately applied it to Apple computers.

There is no Apple tax! Period. The price of a Macintosh, as your article showed, is currently around the same price as top tier competitors. In some cases it's more expensive. In other cases (such as the new Airs and iPads, and the recently discontinued servers, which you didn't include in your article) it's definitely less expensive.  With Servers, the Apple hardware and software combination was far less expensive than anything else. Apple Macs are definitely more expensive then cut-rate products from no-name or second-tier box stuffers. But calling it an "Apple tax" is as ludicrous as saying that there is a tax when you go to a fine restaurant rather than Taco Bell.

Respectfully, by using the term "Apple tax" you are acting as a representative of Microsoft. You are putting this false concept into people's minds and functioning as an advertiser for Microsoft. If that's what you are, fine. But if you want to be objective, either admit that you are functioning as an agent of Microsoft or don't misrepresent the facts and the truth.

realneil 4 years ago

[quote user="DKraig"]There is no Apple tax! Period.[/quote]

  • The price of AV software      None, I use free AVAST
  • The price of AV software updates   FREE Updates too
  • The cost of time spent reinstalling Windows   Doesn't happen anymore with properly protected Win 7 System
  • The cost of time spent dealing with malware that gets past the AV software you purchased  Wrong again, protected with multiple free programs
  • The cost of having to upgrade hardware more frequently  You mean the ability to upgrade at all for a decent price?
  • The outrageously high costs of MS OS upgrades            I'll give you that one
  • The cost of time dealing with Registry issues  Doesn't happen to me-non issue
  • The cost of time dealing with DLL issues   Way back in the past too, not an issue now
  • The lost of money due to rapid loss of resale value           My $3,700 Mac is now worth $1200.00 and it's two and a half years old
  • The much higher help desk costs  Not for me
  • The much higher in-person technical assistance costs    Nope, not at all since Win-7
  • The costs of time waiting for software fixes to be installed by understaffed and overworked IT departments  Oh hell no, I do my own updating and windows update is free and easy too
  • I believe that most of us addled brain flunkies don't like the high costs of Mac PC's. We call it the Apple Tax,......Get over it.

    I own both and actually like my Mac better for a few things,.........but Win-7 is a smokin' hot OS and worth the money, just like the Mac is.

     

    DKraig 4 years ago

    Unfortunately, you are not most enterprise IT departments.

    Microsoft doesn't care about you. They are entirely focused on the enterprise.

    Further, you're falling into the fallacy of moving from the specific (you) to the general (large enterprises) as a valid option without any thing to back it up.

    There is NO Apple tax. Some Macs are slightly more expensive than good quality Windows-based computers. Some are about the same price. Some are cheaper. 

    But you're not an "addled brain flunky." You've just bought the MS marketing line and don't understand what a tax is.

    realneil 4 years ago

    [quote user="DKraig"]You've just bought the MS marketing line and don't understand what a tax is.[/quote]

    I haven't bought a damn thing and I've been paying taxes since 1971. Don't tell me what I know or not because you don't know me at all.

    [quote user="DKraig"]Some Macs are slightly more expensive than good quality Windows-based computers.[/quote]

    Look who bought into the line of bullcrap,.......Macs cost more. A LOT more than Windows PC's.

    And no, I'm not in enterprise, (where they overwhelmingly always choose against dealing with Macs) Yeah, I pulled the dreaded "Market Share" on ya! The one that tells the real enterprise story.

    Merin 4 years ago

    I went to dell website myself, and the results I get are totally different ( for the same name ... )

    The HDD is at least 500GB, CPU is at least QC, and the GPU is a FirePro V5800 ( 450€ , compared to the 150€ of the 5770HD ) even in changing a few things ( like 6Gb ram, in a workstation that doesn't sound like a waste... or a 1TB HDD ) It's still less expensive :/

    the CPU in the MacPro is a W3530, with maybe a higher frequency but a worse GT/s ( 4.8 vs 5.86 for the Dell Workstation )

    Dell Precision T7500
    One Intel® Xeon® E5620(2.4GHz,5.86GT/s,12 Mo,4C) RAM @ 1066MHz
    HDD SATA 1 Tb (7200 tr/min) 3 Gbit/s16MB cache
    6 GB DDR3 1333MHz ECC-RDIMM (3x2 Go )
    1Go GDDR5 ATI FirePro V5800 - 2DP, 1DVI (1DP-DVI, 1DVI-VGA adapter) GPU
    3 Year Warranty on hardware and software 24/7
    2.422,04 €

    the MacPro has
    One 2.8 GHz Quad-Core "Bloomfield" Intel Xeon (W3530) processor with 8 MB of L3 cache ( 4.8 GT/s )
    1 TB Serial ATA with 32 MB cache
    ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1 GB of GDDR5 memory
    3 GB DDR3 1066Mhz RAM
    1 Year Warranty
    2449€

    if I remove the software support in the warranty and the Helpdesk available all the time ( 200 € ) keep the 500GB HDD and the 3GB of RAM, then the price drop to 2099€ ( still a 3 year warranty on hardware )
    so for a slightly bigger HDD, a far worse GPU, close to the same CPU the same RAM and a 1Year Warranty i have to pay 350€ more for an apple solution...
    Tax or not, it's clear to me that Apple is way too expensive for the hardware they put in their computers.

    But Mac OS is more user friendly, since it's not as widespread as windows there are less viruses and so less problems.
    but for an advanced user, there aren't too many differences, I don't have Viruses ( and I don't "have" an AV ), i don't waste my time since I don't have problems, and when I do I usually don't need to call a Helpdesk.

    So yeah, i guess if you don't know anything in computers, buy a MAC, if you don't care about the cost, buy a mac, for the rest you can buy a normal computer at a normal price.
    BrianM 4 years ago

    One thing I would mention about the iMac in particular, is the exact type of LCD - The IPS LCD panel.  You do mention it is high quality, but not everyone realizes what technology is actually used, and why it is used.

     

    IPS gives a better viewing angle (little to no change in colour no matter what angle it is viewed from, unlike typical TN LCDs), and improved colour (a true "millions of colours" display instead of the dithering TN has to use.

     

    on the 21.5" iMac, the IPS based LCD panel accounts for approx $400 of the cost of the system.  (Trying to find an IPS panel for most PCs, the cheapest one I could find was a SRP of $400 from Viewsonic, some were up to $600, it is more dramatic when you get to the 27" iMacs, where the cost of the screen from any manufacturer varies from $1,000 to $1,400 out of the $1,699 SRP)

     

    The MSI model does have the expense the touch screen aspect, but that only works out to about a $100 option.  The Lenovoa & Dell systems only ship with TN panels (unless that changed recently)

    Dave_HH 4 years ago

    Point taken, Brian. Good observation and agreed.

    thinfins 4 years ago

    On the whole, this was quite a balanced article.  However, repeatedly the author refers to Apple's lack of a consumer level desktop aside from the iMac.  The mac mini is a unique type of CPU, very small in size and different in form factor from most PC towers, but it is a consumer desktop that is cheaper than the iMac which is for some reason ignored by the article.  Including it might not help in reaching an easy conclusion about apple pricing, but it does represent the lowest end of Apples desktop offerings.

    3vi1 4 years ago

    Let me play devil's advocate for a minute (if not eternity) and question this whole concept:

    How exactly is buying a custom product from a specific manufacturer, at that manufacturer's price, a "tax"? If you buy a Yenko Camaro, are you paying a Yenko tax, or are you paying more to get a specific bundle warranted by a specific entity?

    Isn't a tax something you have to pay on everything, but which adds no specific value to the product you're buying? With Apple's prices, you get Apple's unique hardware design (I'm thinking specifically cases), OSX, and Apple support. That hardly seems like a tax.

    If any "tax" exist at all, isn't it the "Microsoft Tax", which (thanks to MS's monopoly position) the entire world pays on 94% of pre-built systems - whether they want Windows or not? This is something you pay when you're buying a system that wasn't even built by Microsoft (or their contractors).  Now *that* is a tax.

    If you specifically want Apple hardware, you can't seriously call Apple's ability to set their own price on their own product a "tax", right? If you compare two similar but different cases that have the same features, you don't say the more expensive one is "taxed" instead of "more expensive" do you?  The whole "Apple Tax" concept smells like a Microsoft PR invention meant to throw people off the real tax.

    Paul_Lilly 4 years ago

    MacBook Pro 17-Inch
    Intel Core i5 540M
    Nvidia GeForce GT 330M GPU
    4GB DDR3-1066
    500GB 5400RPM
    8X DVD Writer
    Total = $2,300

    Asus G73JW-A1 (17-Inch)
    Intel Core i7 740QM
    Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M GPU
    8GB DDR3-1333
    1TB (2x500GB) 7200RPM
    4X Blu-Ray Reader / 8X DVD Burner Combo
    Total = $1,745

    Dell XPS 17 (17-Inch)
    intel Core i7 740QM
    Nvidia GeForce GT 435 GPU
    6GB DDR3-1066
    500GB 7200RPM
    Blu-ray Reader / DVD Writer Combo
    Total = $1,275

    HP G72t Series (17-Inch)
    Intel Core i5 560M
    ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470
    4GB DDR3 1066
    500GB 5400RPM
    8X DVD Burner
    Total = $919

    Just saying...

    3vi1 4 years ago

    I never said it wasn't "more expensive" - I'm arguing the definition of "tax" vs. free-market pricing.  Big Smile

    Paul_Lilly 4 years ago

    3vi1, I was responding to the argument in general, not your post. I could care less about the semantics of an 'Apple Tax,' the bottom line is you get more hardware for your money on the PC (as in Windows or Linux) side than you do with Apple, particularly if you're willing to roll your own rig.

    3vi1 4 years ago

    [quote user="Paul_Lilly"]

    3vi1, I was responding to the argument in general, not your post. I could care less about the semantics of an 'Apple Tax,' the bottom line is you get more hardware for your money on the PC (as in Windows or Linux) side than you do with Apple, particularly if you're willing to roll your own rig.

    [/quote]

    And I don't disagree that, if all you consider is hardware specs, that's true.  Though, you could hack OS X onto the cheap hardware.  :)

    Dave_HH 4 years ago

    I think the "Tax" part of it is just slang folks have thrown around over the years.  It's absolutely free market pricing and Apple has a certain market share percentage that they probably enjoy better margin in as a result.  Can't fault them for that really.

    jokerswild 4 years ago

    Yea the pc is the only way to roll if your a gamer. Apple prices for graphics cards are stupid. Now Garage Band is a different story.

    blog101 4 years ago

    It's an interesting but false comparison...

    1) The native resolution of the 17" MacBook Pro is 1920x1200 vs. the Dell XPS with 1600 x 900. If you do the math the Mac has almost double the number of pixels, which is like having a 34" screen vs. a 17" screen. Here there is no comparison. How would you feel about a 17" PC with half the pixels of the XPS 800 x 450? See what I mean. The Mac screen is simply better. Also, from the reviews the viewing angles on the Dell are horrible and simply don't compare to the Mac. Of course the Asus has the same screen resolution as the Mac but the price is much-much closer.

    2) The Core i7 quad-cores in these PCs run at 1.7 MHz and turbo up to 2.8 GHz if you only use two cores. So in the end they don't end up being much faster than the dual-core models used in the MacBook Pro. Truth be told, with the exception of professional software 95% of the programs you use can't use more than two cores. By professional software I mean professional 64 bit software like LightRoom or Apple's Aperture.

    3) Once you go beyond 4GB of memory it really doesn't matter all that much. What programs can use that much memory? If your single tasking something like a game it simply goes unused. There is a reason Apple doesn't have more than 4GB in any of there base models.

    4) The MacBook Pro boots in half the time of the XPS and the battery last twice as long. Not much point in having a laptop if it always has to be plugged into the wall, right?

    The bottom-line is that their is a point of diminishing returns as you add processors, ram and hard drives due to operating system limitations. Weight and size of the laptop also increases, the battery life takes a serious hit, the amount of heat generated increases and it becomes more a hot brick than a moblie device.

    Instead Apple adds things like a multi-touch trackpad, which the XPS doesn't have, Mag-Safe power connector so your laptop can't be yanked onto the floor, an Aircraft Aluminum case to keep the keyboard from bending like it does on the XPS while typing. Not to mention a better screen.

    Also, OSX has only one version, the Ultimate version, so add another $150 to the cost of those (half-ass) Home Basic Windows 7 installs to move up to the Ultimate version. OSX is a fully integrated 32/64 bit operating system, which runs both in one OS not two like Windows. A 64 bit OS  is required to utilize more than 4GB of memory. Did you know that?

    You guys buying 8GB of ram using a 32 bit Windows 7 system do understand that you can't use more than 4GB of memory, right? What's the other 4GB for? Penis enhancement?

    I could spend all day destroying these specs. They just don't translate directly into better performance and a better user experience, especially when you battery runs dead.

    Der Meister 4 years ago

    Bolg101:

    I have yet to see a 32bit version of windows 7. I know they make them but I have yet to see it so. The 32bit part is mute.

    As for what program use more than 4gb or ram? Just those programs that Macs are supposedly better at running. Video editing, Photoshop, and 3d design. 

     

    jokerswild 4 years ago

    I have a 32 bit version of Home Premium that came with an inexpensive ( $329.00 ) Dell laptop so their out there. Still anyone that builds a computer already knows all the facts about the ram usage. As far as the different flavors of Windows, most of the extras are things you can live without anyway. Now how much market share does Apple have with PC's? Oh yea I guess you can fool some of the people some of the time.

    blog101 4 years ago

    In the US Apple's market-share now stands at 10%. If you count the iPad as a computer, which it is, Apple's US market-share stands at 25% making them the number one vendor in the US and they command a 35% share of worldwide computer profit. Rather impressive, right?

    They also surpassed Microsoft in revenue this quarter.

    realneil 4 years ago

    I think that it's all a great big MOOT point.

    Macs do some things better than PC's do. My iMac is a bitchin' PC and I really like it too. But,.....I've decided to give it up to one of the kids that needs one for school. I'll get over not having it around, but couldn't do without my gaming PC's at all. It's a matter of priorities and now that I'm retired, I use them for fun more than anything else. My PC's do gaming like the Mac never could. They absolutely blow the Mac out of the water when I play games. They encode Movies faster too. Now that we have a good OS to deal with, they are stable and secure if you know how to make then so. (hint: it ain't so hard to do these days) I like messing with OS-X, but then again I like Linux too.

    I guess it's just a personal choice that each one of us has to make, with some of us being able to own both kinds.

    As long as you're happy with what you have, then more power to you.

    (As an aside, I have some of the parts that I need to build a Wilted FlowerHackintoshWilted Flower already sitting on the shelf) Huh?

    blog101 4 years ago

    PCs rule the gaming world. I won't argue that. But the mobile gaming world is shifting to Apple. The iPhone, Touch and iPad are destroying the other mobile gaming platforms. They may not be the kind of games you play on a PC but the market is huge and Apple has already put a serious dent in Sony and Nintendo. id's "Rage" is a good example.

    Apple is looking at sales of 100 million iPhones and 40 iPads next year, on top of the 100 million iDevices they've sold this year.

    The reality is that 90% of the population are casual computer users, this is who Apple caters to on the consumer side.

    On the professional side they dominate all of the creative fields in film, music, graphic design, industrial design, photography, animation, etc,.

    Apple is clearly focused on those who make and consume content. That market alone is easily the size of the the corporate enterprise business and PC gaming market that Microsoft caters too.

    It's not hard to see where Apple plans to spend that $50 billion cash-on-hand they have.

    Dave_HH 4 years ago

    Nothing like a lively debate, Gents.  But please, keep it anything but personal, k?

    realneil 4 years ago

    [quote user="blog101"]What's the other 4GB for? Penis enhancement?[/quote]

    We don't have to even think about that Skippy. But you sure are,...................just saying.

    Dave_HH 4 years ago

    [quote user="Berseth"]

    http://media.laptoplogic.com/upload-images/9349/9349_mac_vs_pc.jpg my opinion

    [/quote]

    Nice!  That's pretty funny and there is some truth here. Would you mind if we decided to publish this, if we gave you credit/linked etc?

     

     

    3vi1 4 years ago

    FTFY:

     

    (I believe my example is more realistic, because the tricycle in yours cost 15x less than the Ninja to which you compared it)

    gijoeski 4 years ago

    Hi All.

    I actually joined this site specifically to comment on this topic. 

    Really enjoyed the article, thought it was fairly unbiased, offered a fair view and some of the replies have been entertaining. 
    They all serve to really show how much rivalry there is between Mac and PC users.

    Personally I've used both, I enjoy using both, but I would never own a Mac. There's a few reasons; one is the so called 'apple tax' that may or may not exist.

    The main reason however is customisation, and I feel it's a point that severely lacked in the article.
    Mac's are crap, and amazingly so when it comes to customisation.... I would love to be able to build a mac from the ground up, but it's impossible. If i want to do any upgrades to a mac, I have to buy apples upgrades.... That restriction is proof of a tax, albeit not a monetary one.

    So when you consider that a workstation mac, according to the article above costs over $2k, and when I built my current workstation PC for less than $1500, operating system aside, the Mac would be the most expensive ornament I own.

    Just my 2 cents.

    I welcome comments, criticisms or just discussion :)   

    realneil 4 years ago

    [quote user="gijoeski"]I welcome comments, criticisms or just discussion :)  [/quote]

    Welcome to the site.

    Some people are building Hackintoshes for much less than a Mac costs, and they seem to be happy with them too. Do a Google search to see what I mean. I've read four accounts of their experiences.

    I own a iMac 24" and like it just fine, but one of the Kids needs it for school, so it's going to him soon. I'll get by just fine without it too. (maybe miss it just a little) Smile

    BrianM 4 years ago

    just a comment/discussion.  Generally I do agree with your points. except the "I have to buy apples upgrades"

    it is true that upgrades are limited for most Mac models, and this does mean that it isn't the best tool for some users.  For most computer users out there, there tend to only be 2 things that get upgraded inside the computer during its lifespan.  Ram and Hard drive.  (gamers tend to also upgrade video)  These do not have to be purchased from Apple.  (As a service tech myself, that does almost exclusively Mac support, I am upgrading people's MacBooks and iMacs ram & hard drives for a fraction of what they have been quoted by Apple)

     

    Personally I have a Mac Pro (workstation class from 2007) for a variety of reasons, When it was purchased,  an identically configured workstation from Dell, HP or others was $500-600 more (if you got some luck with sales, it might have been possible to build it for around the same or cheaper than Apple's price)  At the time, quad-core processors were not yet shipping in the regular line (non-Xeon).  A more standard dual-core system could of course have been built for about half the price, with slightly better basic specs.  I do some video editing, some graphics work, occasional gaming, and tend to upgrade at least one component every 6 months or so. I fully expect to get at least 5 years of usage out of this computer as my primary system.

    So far I've upgraded ram 3 times (up to 6 GB currently, hope to jump up to about 10 within the next year), with 4 drive bays, I've filled all of them, and replaced 3 of the 4 a second time.  I'm on my 3rd video card upgrade (actually running 2 video cards right now, with 3 monitors at my computer desk, plus HDTV across the room DVI to HDMI plus optical audio)  It runs my 4 camera video security system, various USB & Firewire devices.   About the only things I haven't changed/upgraded are the optical drive, and the processors.  I plan on adding a blu-ray burner to the system eventually, and I'm shopping for a cheap upgrade to the Xeon processors to go from 2x dual-core Xeons, to 50% faster 2x quad-core Xeons.  The only upgrades purchased through Apple were the video cards (Nvidia GeForce 8800, and more recently the ATI Radeon HD 5770) because of the EFI requirement in the video card firmware for Mac OS X compatibility.  Ram, hard drives, etc... are all standard retail channel.

    realneil 4 years ago

    OK, so do half of that upgrading with an iMac.

    BrianM 4 years ago

    I agreed that most of the models (MacBooks, iMacs, Mac mini) are upgradable except ram & hard drive.  And it is only with the newest iMacs that they can handle more than 4 or 8 GB of ram.

    This is why I own a MacPro and not an iMac.  (I would need 2-3 iMacs to equal what I do with my Mac Pro, and it wouldn't be as efficient at many of the tasks)

     

    You would have similar restrictions from most "PC" notebooks, small form factor systems, and all-in-one designs.  Some of these small form factor systems and All-in-one designs do have at least one or two half-height PCIe ports which does allow more future-proofing of new technologies (Adding USB 3, or potentially light-peak for example) which could be significant to at least some users.  Based on what we see at work, even with standard windows systems, most users only upgrade ram and boot drive, they do not add additional drives or add-on cards.  By the time they might think about it, other technologies have changed enough that it is better to just replace the entire system with something newer and more up to date.

    realneil 4 years ago

    [quote user="BrianM"]even with standard windows systems, most users only upgrade ram and boot drive[/quote]

    Not so sure of this statement, but I've been tweaking windows systems in every way for many years. The one component that I change the least, is the case that it's all enclosed in. Everything else is fair game, often.

    [quote user="BrianM"]I would need 2-3 iMacs to equal what I do with my Mac Pro[/quote]

    My 24" iMac has the Intel 2,800MHz. 'Extreme' dual core CPU in it with 4GB of RAM, and it's very fast for what I do with it. You must be curing Cancer or something with yours,......Wink

    Actually, my two Quad Core Windows boxes encode video lots faster than the iMac does.

    I bought my iMac in frustration with Windows Vista Ultimate. I had bought three copies (pre-ordered) based on all of the hype that Microsoft was regurgitating back then, and as many of you know, it turned out to be a major bust. Vista Sucked. I had it installed onto some very high-end computers too. Well then I got mad and sold two of my PC's and bought the iMac shortly afterward. I was happy as can be with the Mac's form and function, and what a difference OS-X was compared to (steaming turd) Vista. At that point in time, I had no plans of returning to a windows solution ever again.

    Wilted Flower Then, Microsoft GAVE AWAY Windows 7 BETA for a whole yearWilted Flower  (smartest move they ever made)

    When I tried it, I was hooked. It was stable and it played my games without any problems. (even the old ones) So, now I have five PC's with Win-7 on them and they work just as good as my iMac does. I can play ANY games on two of them but not on the iMac so much. Now that I'm retired, Games are important to me. One PC is for my Photo collection and never even goes online. One is a Laptop for when I travel. And my wife has a totally upgraded Dell that she loves.

    I've migrated all of my data and photos off of the iMac in the last few weeks and my son will be here to get it before long. With my Windows boxes working so well, I'll never miss the Mac at all.

    [quote user="BrianM"]You would have similar restrictions from most "PC" notebooks, small form factor systems, and all-in-one designs.[/quote]

    I agree, most notebooks are an all inclusive, total design, and I usually only upgrade the RAM and HDD's in them. I just did a HDD, RAM, and added a Super Drive to an Intel MacBook-Pro for one of my kids. It was easier than what I thought it would be.

    BrianM 4 years ago

    You are not most users =)    Most users are lucky if they know the name of the program they are using to do things, like "surf the web" or "email".  They have no interest in opening things up to replace ram, or have no idea where to even start to upgrade their hard drive.  (Much like I have little desire to learn how the engine in my car actually gets repaired, not to mention lacking proper tools)  My mother at least knows what program she is using, but has never had anything other than ram upgraded in a computer she has owned (PC or Mac, she has been working with computers since punch cards in the 60's)

    I do many things, jack of all trades, master of none, many things always running, video editing of various projects it the biggest demands on storage space though.  1 TB is dedicated to my security system (gives me about a week of history)  While I'm not an expert in any one field, I have a large general base of knowledge which comes in handy doing Sales, Training and Service.

    Actually, a 27" iMac Core i7 with 8 to 16 GB of ram might meet my needs for processing & ram requirements, plus a decent video card (although not quite as good). but I would need either several external hard drives, or a multi-drive box, both of which would add to the cost.  And the video card isn't upgradable then. And I'd be restricted to the one built-in display (it is very nice, but I've long since gotten very used to having at least one monitor for status information, email, and my main one for working, plus the connection to the HDTV at full 1080p, which would require another iMac, or at least a Mac mini in addition)  Cost of outfitted iMac 27" like this would be about the same as a Mac Pro I would buy now (without monitor).

    Windows 7 is the least annoying version of Windows I've ever used, if Mac OS X did not exist, I would likely be happy using it.  And the Beta program that public users could try out was genius, mostly techie types tried it, and it did swing opinion from what had happend with Vista.  There are still things that annoy me about it, especially at the technical support level.  (for Mac work, I frequently use an external hard drive with the latest OS version installed to verify that a problem exists, completely isolating the internal drive, it can boot any Mac released up until that OS version was released)

    blog101 4 years ago

    Actually, only Mac user can play any game legally, because the Mac will run OS X,  Windows, Linux and Unix native without any kind of hack. Cool

    DMcKenzie 4 years ago

    I've been using both systems for awhile now.  Another poster mentioned that technical support on a PC can be expensive. I just had to point out that for the most part, any support/service work on a Mac ends up costing more - at least if there is no apple store nearby.  For most people without an apple store nearby, your stuck looking for an 'apple authorized' service/support centre.  That 'Apple authorized' tag adds at LEAST a $50 premium.

    BrianM 4 years ago

    That may be true for some areas, but not all.

     

    I frequently do repairs for a fraction of what people are quoted by The Apple Store (or find out after the repair is done)  our standard service rate is less than your "$50 premium"

    SammyHayabuza 4 years ago

    Well the article , in my opinion, is fare and clear on what is based on from what I understood, which is comparing base models (Price/Components) from major PC vendors and not a comparison of a Build it Yourself  Pc vs an Apple Machine. Plus the pros and cons relevant to each side, such as battery life, the OS , Build quality and more, were clearly described. Good research and very unbiased.

    But , I felt that it wasn't  complete and the title "Apple Tax" was not fully represented.

    To me , the heart of the "Apple Tax" comes from the Upgrade path. Base configurations of these machine (and upgrades) "'TODAY" are better priced than what they used to be, and I do Agree Apple makes Beautiful and excellent crafted builds with high standards that are well worth the premium.

    But the complaint has always been the abusive prices on "Upgrading" components straight  from Apple, such as video cards , Ram , Hard Drives, heck, everything, especially on the Pro models.

    I'm sure every body here in the last couple of years has hit the "Configure" button on the Mac Pro and Macbook Pro, plenty of times. And also, go to another site ,like Dell or HP, and fully maxed the limits of each computer to compare.

    Sure ,I wont get into arguing that building a PC yourself, a lot of times,is cheaper than buying from a PC Vendor, but what you pay is for quality, guarantees, warranty, customer service, and reliability, not to mention that factory workers salary that does an exceptional build at assembly.

    But Jesus, I Remember just adding 2 GB's of ram to A Mac Pro cost an additional 300 or 400 bucks, and don't even get started with the minuscule Video cards, also $300-$400 upgrade cost for a card that's worth  $100 to $150. Hard Drives, don't even talk about it, even today , adding a 2TB 7200 rpm drive cost $300.

    Yes, Apple's Computers are a work of art, the finest of craftsmanship, Fashion Leading and graceful. Every body falls in love with their Mac , that I respect , but the to join the club , the title shouldn't be "Apple Tax" , it should be "Royalty'...

    "Apple Loyalty Royalty" ....fits Better

    blog101 4 years ago

    That's just silly. Macs use the same hard drives and upgrade components as PCs. Most Apple users usually buy the base model and purchase upgrades on the open market at the same price as Windows PC users. So there is no reason to purchase these upgrades from Apple unless you don't want to do it yourself.

     

    The most important thing to remember is that upgrading and building a Mac or Windows PC is easy. Building one the other hand is something else, something that 95% of people will never do. In fact, beyond hard drives and RAM most users never upgrade their computers. By the time the average user decides it's time to upgrade the video card, they are usually ready to purchase a new computer.

     

    Most of the people on this forum are in the minority when it comes to computer usage, since so few people build PCs these days or even bother to upgrade them beyond hard drives and RAM. Most people also don't need a high-end video card, even if they are doing serious work. The only real exceptions are 3D (games and professional 3D apps).

     

    As a professional filmmaker a stock MacBook Pro, iMac or MacPro would do just fine. High-end video cards just don't make that much difference outside of 3D apps like After Effects, Motion or Auto-CAD. Going beyond 2 processors or 4GB of RAM has diminishing returns, since most apps can't utilize more than 2 cores or 4GB of RAM in any meaningful way.

     

    If the average users really wanted to see a difference in performance, they'd be wise to replace their hard drive with an SSD. Hard drives are the most significant bottleneck these days. This is why the addition of an SSD as a standard component in the MacBook Air has made this new model so popular.

     

    The bottom-line is that upgrading beyond 2 cores, 4GB of RAM and a mid-level graphics card has very little impact on 90% of users, thus making upgrades somewhat irrelevant. Again, by the time its become long in the tooth, they are ready to purchase a new computer. This is not the 1990's when computers were always underpowered, now a days stock computers are more than powerful enough to do 90% of what most people want them to do right out of the box.

     

    The fact that 34% of people purchasing a laptop in the next 6 months are buying a Mac laptop or 24% of people purchasing a desktop in the next 6 months are buying a desktop is very telling. IT means more an more people see a value in the easy of use and level of integration that Apple is providing.

    countcristo 4 years ago

    What baffles me about this entire article is that it's done for a hardware site. People who visit hardware sites are usually tech savvy enough that they know how to build their own computers. Coupled with the fact that because they know how to build their own computers, they also know how to shop for them, thus know the prices of hardware. With this in mind, most techies have already come to the said conclusion as Ray stated. As others have posted, from a hardware pov, depending on deals and discounts, you can definitely further the price gap (and even further by building your own).

    However, we do get new people to this site and people that are just starting to dabble in building, repairing, or adding stuff to their PC. This article is perfect for those people who actually compares the hardware pov and then tries to price the software/design pov. I have to disagree with one thing as I work as an IT consultant with heavy traffic. From what was monthly, I feel like we get bi-weekly customers now where people say they think they got a virus on their macbook. It should also be noted macbooks do crash and they also do need a reformat sometimes, which definitely also seems to be occurring more frequently.

    Just my 2 cents.

    blog101 4 years ago

    What baffles me are your comments...

     

    "From what was monthly, I feel like we get bi-weekly customers now where people say they think they got a virus on their macbook."

    The Mac has no virus in the wild. Socially engineered malware, yes, virus no. So did you actually find a Mac virus on any of these computers? Sure I find plenty of PC virus but they don't run on a Mac nor can they infect a Mac. They get on Macs via file copies from PCs.

     

    "It should also be noted macbooks do crash and they also do need a reformat sometimes, which definitely also seems to be occurring more frequently."

    Might have something to do with Mac market-share going from 3% to 10% in the US. Amazing how that works. Include the iPad and Apple hold 25% of the US PC market. Of course, the iPad is a PC so 25% it is.

    Might want to take note of this...

     

    Winners and Losers

    Apple once again smoked the competition

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/211074/the_tech_brands_you_can_trust.html

    "Apple once again smoked the competition in the desktop, notebook, and smartphone categories, winning high praise from customers in all reliability and service categories."

    Der Meister 4 years ago

    ^an Ipad is not a PC... Its more a Smart phone than a computer. My droidx can do more than the Ipad can... 

    blog101 4 years ago

    By your logic an iPad is a computer because can do more than a VIC-20 or Commodore 64. Those are computers the last time I checked.

    Plus the iPad large screen enables it to be used for far more tasks than a DroidX. Last time I check no one has been able to beat Apple on price either, a 7" Android tablet for the price of a 10" iPad... please... that's 55% less screen space. Where is the Apple Tax?

    • Apple: Repeating his Buy rating, Reid raised his December quarter EPS estimate to $5.21 from $4.93, “following recent store checks and industry data that suggest Mac, iPad and iPhones are tracking above our previous estimates.” He inches up his iPad unit forecast to 6.6 million units from 6.5 million, boosting his FY 2011 forecast to 22.5 million units from 22.1 million. For iPhones, he now expects the company to sell 9 million units in the quarter, up from 8.4 million. His Mac forecast goes to 4.27 million units from 4.13 million.

    Stifel Ups Apple Ests; Downgrades RIMM

    http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2010/11/17/stifel-ups-apple-ests-downgrades-rimm-starts-garmin-at-sell/

    Der Meister 4 years ago

    Um by my logic an Ipad is not a computer I was mearly making a comparison to something that is smiler and  is also not a PC. Also in case your fan-boy-ish is blinding you, there have been tablet PC's out for years (about 6) that even the first one could run circles around an Ipad. The current generation has 10-13" scenes, CD2 processors, 4gb ram, 500gb HD, and also have a keyboard, they cost about $799. An Ipad and all current "tablets" such as the Samsung galaxy S are not PC's they are net tables. 

     

    blog101 4 years ago

    How is an iPad or Galaxy Tab not a computer? What, because it doesn't run Windows? It sill does 90% of what people need a computer to do. Yeah, those Windows tablets have been around for a long while but they have dismal sales, I believe 1 million a year. The iPad will end the year with 22 million sold and up to 70 million next year, compared to the PC market with 354 million projected for this year. Sure sounds like the iPad is replacing something.

    Of course, the iPhone is also projected to sell 100 million next year. The Mac is growing 25% over-over-year and currently stands at 10% US market-share.

    I think your confusing raw power with usefulness. Clearly the vast majority of consumers are more interested in a easy to use iPad than an overpowered, battery draining, brick-like, non-finger friendly Windows tablet. Windows tablets are a complete failure.

    Steve Jobs is right, “PC Folks Feel Like Their World Is Slipping Away. It Is.”

    Building your own PC is a hobby and price/performance is no longer king, it's usability and usefulness for the average consumer, which means portability. Desktops are not portable and soon will be a niche market, as is building your own computer. The world no longer revolves around geeks, surprise, surprise.

    Dave_HH 4 years ago

    [quote user="blog101"]

     The world no longer revolves around geeks, surprise, surprise.

    [/quote]

     

    Heya blog101, can't say I agree with that statement at all.  With all the growth the tech industry has experienced the past couple of years, with things like smartphones, tablets Digital camers and SSDs exploding, I think the world has gone geek and geeks are in fashion more than ever before.  Cool

    blog101 4 years ago

    Yes, but then that means the definition of Geek has changed to be consumer electronics focused, with such products such as the iPod, iPhone, Touch, iPad and AppleTV or other devices like them. These are not build your own devices and they are not geared towards tinkering. By this definition owning a home theater system would make you a geek.

    The point is that consumers and business want easy to use devices that do not require technical expertise. This was always true, unfortunately until now no one really provided that experience. The market is speaking for itself now that it's no longer trapped in technical specs.

    realneil 4 years ago

    [quote user="blog101"]Blah, Blah, Blah,......[/quote]

    I think that no matter what we say on this thread, you're going to 'correct' our thinking. You are the 'Apple political correctness patrol' and we will BE assimilated!!

    You're just sitting there with the refresh button at hand, waiting to rapid-fire respond to whatever anyone has to say, aren't you?

    Ha-Ha!

     

     


    blog101 4 years ago

    I'm simply stating the obvious. There is a seismic shift occurring as we speak - The consumerization of computing technology. Apple is leading the way and the industry is following. It's not about Apple, it's about where they are taking us and where we'll be in the future. Computers were created to perform a task and those tasks have been masked by the complexity of technology, when ideally technology should be transparent to the task.

    Wether anyone likes it or not that's where the industry is going for consumers and business users. So it doesn't matter what I think... the writing is on the wall with another blowout quarter for all of Apple's products with the explosive growth of copycat products that model themselves after Apple products everywhere.

    This isn't a a fad, it's the future.

    Dave_HH 4 years ago

    [quote user="countcristo"]

    What baffles me about this entire article is that it's done for a hardware site. People who visit hardware sites are usually tech savvy enough that they know how to build their own computers. Coupled with the fact that because they know how to build their own computers, they also know how to shop for them, thus know the prices of hardware. With this in mind, most techies have already come to the said conclusion as Ray stated. As others have posted, from a hardware pov, depending on deals and discounts, you can definitely further the price gap (and even further by building your own).

    However, we do get new people to this site and people that are just starting to dabble in building, repairing, or adding stuff to their PC. This article is perfect for those people who actually compares the hardware pov and then tries to price the software/design pov. I have to disagree with one thing as I work as an IT consultant with heavy traffic. From what was monthly, I feel like we get bi-weekly customers now where people say they think they got a virus on their macbook. It should also be noted macbooks do crash and they also do need a reformat sometimes, which definitely also seems to be occurring more frequently.

    Just my 2 cents.

    [/quote]

    Great observations and insight there, countcristo.  Good to have you with us!

    countcristo 4 years ago

    @blog101: There is at least one virus "in the wild" for macs, but also for linux and windows. This virus was just engineered several weeks ago and actually runs on Java, thus targeting all platforms capable of Java. I agree with you that consumers who buy these Macs don't know what they're talking about and that's why they mistake viruses for malware/spyware/trojans/keyloggers/etc. When I do look at their infested Mac, the problem usually is annoying enough to warrant a reformat.

    I am quite aware of the fact that Apple is doing extremely well in the market. I understand they're gaining greater market share and have become the #1 tech company in stocks, which they overtook Microsoft a few weeks ago. So yes, it is obvious as to why more people are coming in with their busted macs solely because more people have them. However, that wasn't my point. My point was to show that Macs can break and they do, but before you retort this, I'll agree that Macs don't break as often. Then again, Macs are Unix-based and Windows is Windows NT. I'm just going out on a limb here and assume that most people will agree that Unix is more stable.

    @Dave_HH Thanks for the welcome! =)

    Der Meister 4 years ago

    conutsristo:

    I would much agree with the overall stability of the unix platform vs the NT platform. And I can also attest to seeing more macs in need of repair. Mostly imacs with screen issues or HD problems. But like with all computers they all the the same ability to break as the next. 

    As far as malware/spyware/trojans/viruses I think if people in general took a few computer classes the majority of infections would go do. I can truthfully say I have never had a Virus at all. I have had some malware,and some trojans, but nothing a free AV cant take care of.... 

    Paul_Lilly 4 years ago

    Shakespeare said it best, gender notwithstanding:

    "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

    3vi1 4 years ago

    [quote user="countcristo"]There is at least one virus "in the wild" for macs, but also for linux and windows.[/quote]

    No, there's not.  It's a trojan called Boonana.  A trojan which you have to click through multiple warnings and accept shady certs to run (though I've never seen it actually run on non-Windows platforms.  I would bet money that no one on Linux fell for it even as a trojan:  Java's not installed by default so noobs were safe, and anyone that's used Linux for any amount of time knows it's completely atypical to be prompted to install anything from a web browser on that OS.

    Back to my point:  If Boonana autoran with no prompts, that would be different. but as an example of OS insecurity it is irrelevant.  Convincing someone to run a random program is not an OS shortcoming, it's social engineering that attacks via the user... not the machine.  I't not anything that can be fixed in the OS short of only allowing users to run software signed by the company making the machine like a game console or jailed phone.

    realneil 4 years ago

    [quote user="3vi1"]not anything that can be fixed in the OS short of only allowing users to run software signed by the company making the machine like a game console or jailed phone.[/quote]

    Maybe require a license to drive computers? Wink

    3vi1 4 years ago

    [quote user="realneil"]Maybe require a license to drive computers? [/quote]

    Not a bad idea.  As I've said before, 15 minutes of instruction in "Safe Computing" would help people who fell for Boonana immensely more than any anti-virus/malware product.

    Der Meister 4 years ago

    Like they need a sing in front of the computer section....

    You must be this smart to buy one....

    countcristo 4 years ago

    @Der Meister Nice, I've gotten a virus before, but that was mainly due to me being young and stupid. I get people coming with Kernel crashes, which is really funny for me.

    @Paul I wasn't trying to protest or cause any wars, sorry I guess I'm done replying on this topic.

    Paul_Lilly 4 years ago

    @countcristo: That wasn't directed towards you (and it was meant in jest, anyway). It's all good, debate away fellas.

    BTW, anyone catch the new Vostro V130 ultraportable? Slim, sexy, and no fruity taxes. Wink

    Dave_HH 4 years ago

    [quote user="Paul_Lilly"]

    @countcristo: That wasn't directed towards you (and it was meant in jest, anyway). It's all good, debate away fellas.

    [/quote]

    Paul is just a big meany.  He picks on me all the time too.  The Red Sox jokes he makes are especially painful and I may need therapy.

    Paul_Lilly 4 years ago

    [quote user="realneil"]I think that no matter what we say on this thread, you're going to 'correct' our thinking. You are the 'Apple political correctness patrol' and we will BE assimilated!![/quote]

    I was reiterating Realneil's observation.

    My serious opinion on the matter? That was posted way back on page 1.

    Go Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, Bruins, et al.

    Dave_HH 4 years ago

    [quote user="Paul_Lilly"]

    [quote user="realneil"]I think that no matter what we say on this thread, you're going to 'correct' our thinking. You are the 'Apple political correctness patrol' and we will BE assimilated!![/quote]

    I was reiterating Realneil's observation.

    My serious opinion on the matter? That was posted way back on page 1.

    Go Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, Bruins, et al.

    [/quote]

    I know.  I was just messing with you.  Since when did you get so sensitive? Hmm  I just still ache from that time you photoshopped that Yankees hat on my head.

     

    Dave_HH 4 years ago

    [quote user="countcristo"]

    @Der Meister Nice, I've gotten a virus before, but that was mainly due to me being young and stupid. I get people coming with Kernel crashes, which is really funny for me.

    @Paul I wasn't trying to protest or cause any wars, sorry I guess I'm done replying on this topic.

    [/quote]

    Count, you're certainly welcome to reply all you like!  Not sure what bug crawled up Paul's a$$.  LOL

    PMartin 3 years ago

    You talk about the power and the ability to play games freely on here, when, lets face it, there are not nearly a fraction of the games available on PCs that are available on Macs.

    When it comes to gaming on consoles, Windows can sometimes seem a little lack lustre, but when it comes to PC gaming it is the undisputed champion.

    realneil 3 years ago

    [quote user="PMartin"]lets face it, there are not nearly a fraction of the games available on PCs that are available on Macs[/quote]

    Huh? You think that?

    [quote user="PMartin"]When it comes to gaming on consoles, Windows can sometimes seem a little lack lustre, but when it comes to PC gaming it is the undisputed champion.[/quote]

    My experience with gaming on Windows-7 is hardly lackluster, unless the game is a POS. A PC game, when it's coded correctly, and if there is good quality hardware in the mix is well worth it to me.

    omegadraco 3 years ago

    The other interesting thing about PC games vs Console games is they are usually cheaper by 10-20 dollars since they don't have to pay licensing fees to the console makers. I love PC gaming and believe it is far superior to my PS3 or Wii.

    DHampton 3 years ago

    OK great article except two facts now I know not everyone does this but we are talking price to performance for min maxers. Most min maxers dont mind clipping a couple pieces plastic together and you look at that for 2500 dollars I can makes the most awesome computer using newegg and amazon. LIterally twice the performance of a mac.

    Then on top of that prices dont drop as fast cause pcs are just the value of the hardware. Rather than macs trend value.

    As for the single biggest value. PCs can be upgraded rather than buying new. Cause things like ram harddrive case psu cd player can be used for very long time. which can save you tons especially if you need tops of the line hardware all the time instead of buying new mac 3 times a year.

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