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

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

3 thumbs up
Onto the final showdown: workstations. We'll touch more on Apple's lack of a mainstream desktop in our conclusion, but for now, let's remain focused on the task at hand. The Mac Pro is a heralded workstation, particularly by creative professionals. But does it cost a fortune in comparison to a similar workstation from the Windows-based universe? Here's the breakdown between a baseline Mac Pro and a similarly priced Dell Precision T7500.

Apple Mac Pro vs. Dell Precision T7500
Specifications and Features (as tested)
Apple Mac Pro - $2499
  • Intel quad-core Xeon 'Nehalem' CPU (2.8GHz)
  • 3GB of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM 
  • ATI Radeon HD 5770 (1GB)
  • 1TB (7200RPM) HDD
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
  • Tray-loading 18x DVD SuperDrive
  • Three open PCIe slots
  • Four total HDD slots
  • Eight total RAM slots
  • Mini DisplayPort (x2) + dual-link DVI (x1) Video Outputs
  • USB 2.0 x 5 + FireWire 800 x 4
  • Input/Output Toslink Digital Audio Ports
  • RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000) x 2
  • Headphone / Mic Input Jacks
  • Apple Wireless Keyboard & Magic Mouse Included
  • 39.9 Pounds
  • 20.1" (W) x 8.1" (D) x 18.7" (H) (Dimensions)
  • Mac OS X Snow Leopard + iLife '11 (64-bit)
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • Price (MSRP): $2499
Dell Precision T7500 - $2444
  • Intel dual-core Xeon E5503 (2.0GHz)
  • 4GB of 1333MHz ECC DDR3 SDRAM
  • NVIDIA Quadro NVS 420 (512MB)
  • 250GB (7200RPM) HDD
  • Five total HDD slots
  • Tray-loading 16x DVD Burner
  • Seven total PCIe slots
  • DVI / DisplayPort x 4 Video Outputs
  • USB 2.0 x 11 + FireWire x 2 + eSATA x 1
  • RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000)
  • Headphone / Mic Input Jacks 
  • Dell Wired Keyboard & Mouse included
  • Bundled MCE Remote Control
  • 39.0 Pounds
  • 22.6" (W) x 8.5" (D) x 22.3" (H)
  • Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
  • Microsoft Office Starter 2010
  • 3-Year Warranty
  • Price (MSRP): $2444
 HP Z600 Workstation - $2329
  • Intel Xeon E5630 Quad Core (2.53GHz)
  • 3GB DDR3-1333 ECC
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX580 (1GB)
  • 500GB (7200RPM) HDD
  • 16X DVD RW Dual Layer Multi Drive
  • Three PCIe Slots, 2 PCI Slots
  • 2 Internal 3.5" Bays, 2 External 5.25" Bays
  • Rear I/O: 6 USB 2.0, PS/2 keyboard/mouse
    1 RJ-45 to Integrated Gigabit LAN
    1 Audio Line In, 1 Audio Line Out, 1 Microphone In 
  • 3 Internal USB 2.0 Ports
  • Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
  • 37.4 Pounds
  • 17.5 x 6.5 x 17.3 in (Dimensions)
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
  • 3 Years parts, labor and onsite service
  • Price (MSRP): $2329
Judging workstations is pretty difficult. Prices vary wildly depending on manufacturer, chassis design and how you purchase them (via your business agreement or otherwise). This is Apples vs. Oranges at its best. But when comparing a similarly priced Dell workstation to Apple's baseline, low-end Mac Pro, we think Apple has the edge here. Yes, it's $50 more, but even when you add a $90 CPU upgrade to the Dell, you are still looking at a machine with a far slower processor.


Apple Mac Pro

Also, Apple throws in Wi-Fi, a GPU that could actually get a bit of gaming done after-hours, a full 1TB hard drive, and a faster DVD burner. We agree that having only 3GB of RAM in a $2499 machine is just crazy, but that's really the only major knock we could find on this system. At this level, the Apple Tax is far less noticeable. We certainly wish it matched Dell's 3-year warranty, though. We will say that it's probably more important for a true workstation owner to have a GPU that's certified for use in pro-level apps like Maya, but we think that Apple is trying to hit a happy medium with the Mac Pro considering that they do not offer a true gaming tower as well as a workstation; they simply have one true tower that has to cater to both markets somewhat.

As we mentioned earlier, workstation pricing varies wildly, and changes frequently. It's probably the most unstable pricing market of any of the sectors covered here. HP's Z600 workstation is currently being sold for just under what the Dell is ($2329), with a faster CPU and GPU. But of course, even HP lists these as "while supplies last," so we felt it somewhat unfair to compare a machine that was on clearance, limited in supply or otherwise on closeout. Still, deals are out there if you hunt!


Dell Precision T7500

On the next page, we'll condense what we've learned here and try to make some sense of the argument, or the legitimacy of it as a whole.

Article Index:

1 2 3 4 5 Next ... Last
+3
+ -

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. 

0
+ -

Agreed Der. Good observation actually.

+1
+ -

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.

+1
+ -

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 ?

0
+ -

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

0
+ -

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.

-1
+ -

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.

+1
+ -

DKraig:
There is no Apple tax! Period.

  • 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.

     

    -1
    + -

    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.

    +1
    + -

    DKraig:
    You've just bought the MS marketing line and don't understand what a tax is.

    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.

    DKraig:
    Some Macs are slightly more expensive than good quality Windows-based computers.

    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.

    1 2 3 4 5 Next ... Last
    Login or Register to Comment
    Post a Comment
    Username:   Password: