So you believe Apple is more expensive than Dell…

Apple are often accused of being more expensive and that Dell are much cheaper.

The reality is that Dell offers a wider range that includes real low-end products that are often constrained or using older technology. Apple, quite rightly in my opinion, doesn’t compete there.

Okay Apple have some other gaps in their line-up most notably the typical home power-user who doesn’t want a twin processor Mac Pro, needs more configuration options than the Mac Mini and already owns a display so doesn’t want an iMac. A box half the size of the Pro with a single dual/quad core CPU and no supplied peripherals would be perfect.

That aside I was checking out the prices for their new twin 3GHz quad Xeon boxes after some individuals balked at the price. They obviously haven’t seen similar specifications from Dell…

Apple Mac Pro Dell Precision 690
Processor 2xQuad Core Xeon 3GHz 2xQuad Core Xeon 2.66GHz
Memory 4x1GB DDR 667 4x1GB DDR 667
Storage 500GB 7200RPM SATA 500GB 7200RPM SATA
Optical 16x DVD-RW 16x DVD-RW
Input Wired keyboard/mouse Wired keyboard/mouse
OS Mac OS X 10.4 Vista Ultimate 64-bit
Graphics Nvidia Quadro FX4500 512MB Nvidia Quadro FX4500 512MB
Price ex.VAT £3,605.95 £5,890.00
Price inc.VAT £4,436.99 £6,920.75
Graphics Nvidia GeForce 7300GT 256MB Nvidia Quadro FX550 128MB
Price ex.VAT £2,712.34 £4,595.00
Price inc.VAT £3,187.00 £5,399.13

In this scenario the Dell is over 60% more expensive and comes with slower CPU’s.

So much for the “Apple Premium Tax”.


8 responses

  1. Avatar for steve

    IMO the problem isn’t that their top-end models aren’t competetive. The problem is that they don’t offer choice - your only option is to buy the super-crazy top end (MacBook Pro, MacPro), or the weedy pleb end (MacBook, iMac). For example if I want to buy a laptop, I want to spend about a grand and get a decent graphics card and a decent amount of RAM. I don’t want to pay top dollar for the very top end CPU (always poor value from any manufacturer) but I also don’t want a shitty embedded graphics chipset. Apple has nothing for that bracket - you either get something a bit underpowered for a few hundred less, or you have to pay a few hundred more to get something which is better but that I don’t need. IMO their packages are just too polarised and they’re throwing away the opportunity to capture the huge middle-market PC people.

    steve April 5th, 2007
  2. Avatar for Damien Guard

    If you were buying a laptop which manufacturer/model would you go for?

    Damien Guard April 9th, 2007
  3. Avatar for Damien Guard

    It would seem to me Dell laptops offer either integrated graphics, semi-integrated TurboCache/HyperMemory graphics or Nvidia Quadro workstation graphics. It would seem they don’t even have a serious consumer 3D solution for laptops like the Radeon Mobility X1600…

    Damien Guard April 10th, 2007
  4. Avatar for steve

    Well, I’ve never really found myself drawn to Dell either, they suffer from the same problem - crappy low-end or stupidly overpriced XPS. They just have more selection at the low-end ;) My more recent laptops have been either niche suppliers (Pico, Rock), Acer (a mistake - good spec but crap build quality), and a Sony Vaio (great quality, would definitely buy again). All have been configurable enough that I could stay close to a grand and get what I needed. Current example: just looking for Rock’s best option at the same price as the basic MacBook (1148 ex VAT)
    It’s 1190, the CPU is slightly smaller but the screen is larger (physically and resolution), and the graphics card is considerably better (7950 Go GTX w/ 512 as opposed to X1600 w/ 128). I really need at least 256Mb of graphics ram these days which I’d have to pay Apple 1445 for, and it still wouldn’t be as good as the Rock’s for 1190. The CPU and RAM would be larger, but I don’t need that. Apple just don’t give you enough configuration options, they assume if you want a better gfx card then you must want the most expensive CPU too. Regular PC manufacturers offer far more choice allowing them to cover a much broader base, I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs more than Apple’s simplistic market categories.

    steve April 10th, 2007
  5. Avatar for steve

    Of course that should have read ‘basic MacBook Pro’ not ‘basic MacBook’. Another example: for around the price of the MacBook (637 ex VAT) you can get a Rock Pegasus 665 - it has the exact same CPU, same RAM, same res screen (but larger) - but it comes with an 7600 Go w/ 256Mb instead of a 64Mb integrated chipset. For me of course that’s a clincher although it wouldn’t be for everyone. This is why I always find Apple not being the best option for me, my requirements are always better met elsewhere.

    steve April 10th, 2007
  6. Avatar for Damien Guard

    So the real problem is that their notebook graphics aren’t well suited to gaming. I’d equate that to the lacklustre selection of Mac games and the fact their notebooks tend to be slim, sleek machines aimed at being, well, notebooks. The Rock machine you point to is a 17” - configure up a similar spec Apple 17” and it’s about £250. The difference of course is the build quality, enclosure and the fact the Apple weighs almost 1KG less and is physically smaller. The Rock does have the better graphics though as you point out. I actually purchased the original 2GHz MacBook Pro 15” which curiously came with an X1600 256MB as standard. Apple have been doing some stuff with multithreaded OpenGL lately as evidenced from some patches, leaks etc. If they are intending a push for gaming on the Mac perhaps the next speed bump/revision of the MacBook Pro will include a better graphics chipset.

    Damien Guard April 11th, 2007
  7. Avatar for steve

    I’ve actually never used my laptop for gaming but I suppose I have gaming-style requirements of a graphics card, yes ;) Even if you configure up the 17” MacBook the X1600 isn’t a patch on the 7950 Go GTX. Still half the memory, slower, less floating point texture support, ATI’s not-quite-SM3-but-pretending-to-be trick.

    steve April 11th, 2007
  8. Avatar for steve

    I admit the build quality and weight of the Mac’s is a big draw, but even though you can’t match it in PCs that doesn’t mean there aren’t good options. There are really bad ones - Dell and Acer both feel really cheap and plasticky - but Sony and Rock are very solid. Not quite as nice looking as brushed aluminium (ignoring Sony’s total rip-off of the MacBook Pro look in one of their recent offerings), but that also has the disadvantage of heat transference to the old lap ;) The question is whether you’re willing to pay extra and get a slightly reduced GPU spec for that look - I’m not because the GPU is really the most important part for me.

    steve April 11th, 2007