I should probably keep my mouth shut, but there are too many things that need a reply here:
ShepFan wrote:* I'm not familiar with the specs of, for example, the mobo & RAM, so I'll assume they're the same as the Mac Pro (1.33GHz dual indendendent FSBs, fully-buffered ECC DIMMs, & so on).
I highly doubt that the Mac Pro uses a SMC mobo. It's actually going to be more expensive than the one in the Mac Pro (although if anyone can tell me exact part numbers, we can go looking!). The RAM the Mac Pro uses is strange. 667MHz FB-DDR2. Why not DDR2-800? Strikes me as the oddest thing
667 is 50% of the 1.33GHz FSB. The highest-techest meaning of SMC I know or could find is Surface Mount Components. You can see them on a Mac Pro mobo in this 3rd party takeapart.
ShepFan wrote:* Joe Average has to buy all the pieces when he builds his first machine. Comparing apples to Apples, you should include the cost of the OS.
Generally we were talking about updating, but do not forget that Apple can charge the user an OEM price, of which the OEM price for XP is something around £80. Granted, not cheap, but at least we do not have to pay for service packs
I thought we were talking about comparing the price of a new Mac and a homebuilt Windows PC. If one leaves out pieces of the PC, the comparison is unfairly skewed. If you have to pay retail for XP, that's one of the costs of "rolling your own." Also, most recent versions of OS X have been feature- or bug-updated 7 to 9 times, all for free. That doesn't include security updates, also free. Mac users don't pay for that.
ShepFan wrote:* Linux, XP, or OS X, you still have to include the cost of the applications, or the hardware is merely a nice doorstop. It is a big reason to buy a name-brand box, especially a Mac-- you get an integrated system, software and hardware, that does more than most buyers realize, right out of the box. For instance, ou mentioned you do video editing and game programming. All Macs come with that software, plus DVD authoring, and really a pile of integrated software (you can easily incorportate your music or photo library right into your movies & DVD menus without fuss) that do make the machine very useful and add a lot of value, but that home-builders seem to discount. But it does cost money--Visual Studio is $299 or £158, and XCode is included on every Mac. Honestly, it is quite a nice product.
Here-in lies one of the oddest double-standards in the world. MS is not allowed to bundle a media player, web browser, etc else we slap it with a monopoly. Yet Apple can bundle in all the iNamedApps they can think of without incurring any legal problems. I'm very sure that if MS didn't get a lawsuit about its bundled apps, then you would get a lot more in a default install.
It's two different scenarios. Microsoft prevented other PC manufacturers from bundling any competing 3rd party apps like Netscape, AOL, open-source or commercial Office alternatives, etc., under threat of higher licensing fees or cancelling their license. They lied to the court that IE couldn't be removed from the OS install, to try and monopolize the browser market. They were caught showing a doctored video to the court. What were they thinking? Courts found ample evidence MS was using their single-source status to unfairly compete with other software companies. If Apple were similarly licensing their OS to OEMs, and threatened to put them out of business if they wanted to bundle competing software, they would be using unfair business practices as well.
If I understand the current settlement, Dell, Gateway et al. can now bundle anything they want. Nothing's stopping them. Legally, anyway.
ShepFan wrote:* I think "being at int" means you're a student. This saves you some money on Visual Studio for your PC, but it also saves you £127 (VAT included) on your Mac Pro, due to the student discount.
It saved me somewhere in the reigon of £1,300 because I got this machine, and all software, free
Um, what's with all the tongue sticking-out?
ShepFan wrote:* A tangential benefit: When I'm done with my Mac and I upgrade, I have an older, fully functional computer with all-legal software I can recoup some costs on. Home-builders (correct me if I'm wrong) have old chips, maybe mobos, optical drives, etc--my sense is there's less value to recover there.
They can still use the machines or give them to other famaly. My current machine will probibally end up being a render workhorse if I get a new computer soon.
But, you wrote:
NeoThermic wrote:XP Home - I'm not going to include the price of this for two reasons. One, when windows users update their machines, they reuse their copy of windows (after all, it is still only being used on one machine), and two, I can just grab a linux distro and run that, which is free.
NeoThermic wrote:I mentioned those lacking items in my post; I've already got them and there's no point buying new ones... Do not forget that ATX means that you'll be able to keep your case between each build, unlike a Mac. I've got a case that cost me £110, there's no way in hell would I get a new case with a new build.
So, I'm getting some mixed messages here.
ShepFan wrote:Finally, I think you must admit that the Mac is pretty darn competitive on price, even ignoring the value in the packaged software.
The can be because they buy in bulk. Lets not forget that they won't be paying some £500 for each CPU. God no, I would say that they could pick them up for abotu £300 each. Looking at the spec, Apple can make quite a profit due to the gap of production cost to selling cost.
I agree about buying in bulk, of course, though I don't understand why Dell is priced ~$900 higher. What's news to me is that home-built machines don't have a clear price advantage any more.
ShepFan wrote:And even more finally than that, thanks for your civility. The Windows/Mac debate has gotten turned on its head with the conversion of Macs to Intel chips, so here we all are again stirring up old passions and well-entrenched opinions, with all the selective perception that goes with it. I own and work with both, so I'm not as partisan as I sound. But I really feel the need to get the story straight when the public is told something like (not quoting anyone in particular), "Get/Build a XXX, you'll save £500/$940!" I figure if Dell, with their volume buying is ~ $900 more expensive than an equivalent Mac Pro, it's got to be tough for a home builder to do it without skimping somewhere. Anyway, I apologize if I came across as personally critical to you. That was never my intent, only to keep the debate balanced and fair. I know I owe trickfred an apology too--that one comes next.
Don't worry. I'm always civil. If I say something, then I try back it up with hard fact. In this case I do give credit to Apple for making something well-priced, but I still managed to save £32 on the base specification
Not once you include the price of XP.
NeoThermic wrote:However, here's my main kicker. While the Mac Pro is nice, it has a silly spec that means it's unbalanced. Bascially, the RAM and GPU let down some god-like CPU's. As I noted, one could just drop back to a dual-core duo, up the RAM and graphics card, add more HD's and walk away laughing. While it might not have as much CPU grunt than dual-woodcrest's, it would make up for it with a more-rounded system, so it wouldn't stutter and die in something like Oblivion, and could fly through more RAM intensive operations, like level loading, etc. If I had two suggestions to Apple, they would be to aim for a better GPU, and get better RAM. DDR2-800 should be used with woodcrest, not silly 667's. One should also get something more than a 7300 GT in a system that is a pound short of £1,700.
I think the default config is fine for most folks, but not hardcore gamers or folks doing 3D-intensive stuff. The Mac Pro introduces multi-threaded OpenGL, which should help some. Still, gamers push hardware to the max. In a break from the past, Apple has only one stock pro-level Mac instead of 3. They seem to be switching to a web-based, build-to-order approach, and there are over 4 million possible configurations for the Mac Pro. A serious gamer would obviously want to upgrade to the ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB. A rich gamer could go for the NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 512MB, Stereo 3D!
I have the Mac Pro's daddy, the PowerMac 2.5GHz Quad, which also has a middle-of-the-road graphics card. Even so, people have been surprised how good the FPS rate is. (However, the normally-silent Mac gets all nine speed-controlled fans pretty much maxed out and noisy when playing Darwinia!)
Still, I can understand why folks who build their own wouldn't like being able to, as you say, switch to a single Core 2 Duo, put the money they saved into a better graphics card, and in general have more control over the tradeoffs.