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Akamatsu

Apple Tax™ on the new 27" iMac

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There was a significant update to the iMac line today, which has got me tempted to purchase another desktop. I bought a late 2010 27" iMac, and it was by far the best PC I've ever owned. I regretfully gave it away after moving overseas, and have been missing it ever since. The new version has me considering buying another, so I thought I'd compare it to an equivalent all-in-one and a custom PC to see how much extra I would be paying for the brand name and intangibles.

 

Posted Image

 

First up, let's look at the features and price of the new imac.

 

Specifications

27" 2560 x 1600 IPS display

3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5

8GB 1600MHz DDR3 memory

1TB 7,200-rpm hard drive

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX with 1GB GDDR5

High quality aluminium enclosure

FaceTime HD camera

SDXC card slot

Wireless Keyboard

Wireless Touch Mouse

Dual Band 802.11n Wifi

Bluetooth 4.0

 

Intangibles

Design - no cords

OSX (personal opinion)

1 year Warranty with support

iPhoto, Garageband, iMovie

 

Price

$2,199

 

Comments

Unfortunately, Apple haven't released the cost of upgrade options. I'd want one with an SSD, and possibly an i7 processor. I'd also likely put some 3rd-party ram in to boost total memory to 16Gb for running multiple virtual machines and to assist with large photoshop/illustrator/CAD files.

 

Next, the closest all-in-one I could find: Dell XPS One 27

Posted Image

 

Specifications

27" 2560x1440 PLS

Core i7-3770S processor 3.1 GHz

8GB DDR3 1600MHZ

1TB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive

NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M 2GB DDR5

Slot Load Blu-ray combo drive

Wireless 1703 802.11b/g/n

Bluetooth v4.0+LE

HD webcam

SDXC card slot

Wireless Keyboard

Wireless Mouse

 

Intangibles

Plays blue-rays

No cords

More games & software available

1 year Warranty with support

 

Price

$2298

 

Comments

Faster CPU, slower GPU, display is likely to be less colour accurate due to PLS tech.

 

I've priced a custom PC from Umart, with specs as close to the Mac as I was able to find. If you have any suggestions on better parts to use, let me know:

 

Posted ImagePosted Image

 

Specifications

Dell 27" U2711 UltraSharp IPS $754.50

Intel Core i5 3470 CPU 3.2Ghz $199

Intel DZ77SL50K MB with USB 3.0 $134.50

Kingston 8G(2x4G) KHX1600C9D3T1K2/8 GDDR3 1600MHz $49

Western Digital 1TB WD1002FAEX $115

Gainward GTX650Ti 1GD5 $149

Lian Li PC-6B Mid tower chassis $135

Antec 450W ATX NEO 450C ECO PSU $58

Logitech HD C270 WebCam $27

Apacer USB2 Internal all in one Card Reader $13

Logitech K270 Wireless Keyboard $24.50

Logitech Touch Mouse M600 $58

TP-LINK TL-WDN4800 - 450Mbps Wireless N Dual Band PCI Express Adapter $49

Logitech Z320 2.0 Stereo Speaker $35

USB Mini Bluetooth Dongle $15

Windows 8 (64-bit) $99

 

Intangibles

More games & software available

Ability to easily upgrade

Geek credit

 

Price

$1914.50

 

Comments

Graphics card was selected based on the performance Nvidia give for the 675MX here. Being able to upgrade could add significantly to the value depending on your opinion. While there is a 1 year warranty for individual parts, this does not cover any software issues that might arrise from this unique combination of parts, and isn't as convenient as Apple's offerings. It's also possible to reduce the price further with a cheaper case and mouse, without affecting the performance.

 

______________________________

 

Compared to the Dell, I think the new iMac is inherently better value for my particular purposes. I do a lot of graphics design and photography, so colour accuracy in the display is a critical factor. Though being able to play blue-rays would be nice, I find most of the content I watch is digital anyway. Compared to the custom PC, I'd be paying $284.50 premium. That's quite a bit extra for the design and warranty. I think it's clear that if you have some tech know-how, and in particular if you want to play games, the iMac is poor value for money. So for me, the question boils down to how much I like to reduce clutter, and how much I like using OSX.

 

I love the spaces feature of OSX. I honestly think it improves my productivity in a similar manner to having multiple monitors (though not by as much), and it's satisfying being able to give a discreet area for different tasks. At any one time, I usually have a space set up for procrastination (iTunes, Chrome), email and communication (skype, IM etc), and productivity (VM, CAD, Illustrator etc) with the occasional reference documents filling up spaces to the right of this. It just seems to work really, really well, and I find it's something I miss with Windows 7.

 

Desk clutter is something that's hard to quantify as well. All I can say that once you go all-in-one, it's difficult to go back. I'm irrationally trying to calculate how much time having more desk space will save in terms of not having to clean my crap up, and seeing how much that might add up over the course of 2-3 years, but I know it's just trying to find a way to justify the extra cost.

 

Warranty and upgradability are also factors I consider, but neither is critical. It's nice to have a good warranty, but I haven't had to use it on any previous Apple products I've owned. Before I jumped ship, being able to upgrade and tweak hardware was important, but it's much less so now. I don't really play games anymore, and I think that's the thing that drives upgrades the most. I would still be happy using my old 27" iMac if I had easily been able to ship it overseas with me.

 

It will be interesting to see what the reviews say when they eventually come out.

Edited by Akamatsu

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It does look sexy as hell, so it gets points for that. Apple screens are always beautiful to look at as well. From your price comparison, you're only really looking at a premium of $200 on paper. I am not sure how you would go about installing upgrades, like an SSD or additional memory, I would probably hold out until some information about this becomes available, as adding RAM would be near essential. You don't want to also pay the apple tax for it either Eg. I recently got 16GB (2x8GB) for my server for about $40/stick, for 2x4GB sticks in a 2011 model iMac, apple want $240, actual cost of this RAM would be about $35. I couldn't see a USB anywhere, but checking the features has 4x usb 3.0 and gigabit ethernet so can't complain there.

 

While you could certainly build a significantly more powerful PC for the price, do you like windows that much? I'm not usually an apple fan but this is one of their better offerings IMO.

 

Would you consider a solution based on AMD FX-8350? It is a true 8 core processor, and a decent improvement over bulldozer. Take a look at this Photoshop CS6 benchmark for example, and maybe the rest of the review if interested. Depending on the kind of workload you're doing, being single or multi threaded, it may be an option, and probably cost effective. I believe it is also a decent performer if you're into virtualization, will see if i can find a review. I can understand the general preference for Intel though :)

Edited by p0is0n

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Thanks for writing up the comparisons. I did wonder how it'd compare, especially to a custom build.

 

The screen quality alone would make me choose the iMac over those other options, but then throw it in a sexy package like that and I'm sold on my next upgrade!

 

It'd be really interesting to see what the first wave of reviews and hardware teardowns reveal.

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I am not sure how you would go about installing upgrades, like an SSD or additional memory, I would probably hold out until some information about this becomes available, as adding RAM would be near essential.

The hard drive is likely going to be a pain in the arse to access, but there's a hatch at the back with 2 spare SO-DIMM slots for upgrading the memory. $88 AUD should boost the standard configuration to 24GB.

 

The 'Fusion Drive' tech looks interesting. Similar to Intel's RST feature, it combines a 128GB SSD with a 1 or 3TB magnetic drive with some sort of optimised RAID 0 configuration. As long as the price is reasonable, it could be a very convenient option.

 

Would you consider a solution based on AMD FX-8350?

The FX-8350 looks awesome, and I've always been a fan of AMD. It's something I would consider if I were to build a small render farm.

 

I've just found out the local pricing in my country + education discount (I'm currently working as a teacher) brings the price of the standard high end 27" configuration down to $1,837 AUD. Outrageous value if you ask me. While still comparable in price to a custom PC, I think I'll be going with the iMac when it comes out in December for the reasons listed in my original post.

Edited by Akamatsu

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I am not sure how you would go about installing upgrades, like an SSD or additional memory, I would probably hold out until some information about this becomes available, as adding RAM would be near essential.

The hard drive is likely going to be a pain in the arse to access, but there's a hatch at the back with 2 spare SO-DIMM slots for upgrading the memory. $88 AUD should boost the standard configuration to 24GB.

 

The 'Fusion Drive' tech looks interesting. Similar to Intel's RST feature, it combines a 128GB SSD with a 1 or 3TB magnetic drive with some sort of optimised RAID 0 configuration. As long as the price is reasonable, it could be a very convenient option.

 

Would you consider a solution based on AMD FX-8350?

The FX-8350 looks awesome, and I've always been a fan of AMD. It's something I would consider if I were to build a small render farm.

 

I've just found out the local pricing in my country + education discount (I'm currently working as a teacher) brings the price of the standard high end 27" configuration down to $1,837 AUD. Outrageous value if you ask me. While still comparable in price to a custom PC, I think I'll be going with the iMac when it comes out in December for the reasons listed in my original post.

 

For that price it is very reasonable, not anywhere near as overpriced as one would expect from Apple. Did I mention sexy as hell? Haha. I love the design, and no cables. I almost want one ;)

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not anywhere near as overpriced as one would expect from Apple

Sigh.

 

There's that word again.

 

This thread was giving me hope, that a new generation of geeks were awakening to a world where "value" is different from person to person, and that this is perfectly OK. They realised that the compactness and attractiveness of an iMac might be of zero value to a gamer/tweaker/overclocker, but another person might strongly prefer those features over fill rate, gigahertz, and terabytes, and they realised that this is OK too. Better than OK, even. If people didn't have differing preferences and values, the world would be an awfully boring place.

 

Then you said "overpriced" and the illusion was shattered. :(

Edited by SquallStrife

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You should understand then that people do value different things.. and I value performance & compatability above most things. I'll be the first to admit I'm not much of an Apple fan, this isn't the place to discuss why, but even I think the new iMacs are pretty nice. I would consider buying one for my mum or my sister for example, but just not for me.

 

See the link above for the price of a 2x4GB RAM upgrade. Something like 1000% markup.. please, explain how that is not overpriced. I'd love to hear the difference in perceived value of this RAM compared to the exact same stuff from MSY. I understand that to some people, OS X, sleek design, apple care etc. can add value, and when you add up the costs of the same level of service from another vendor things usually even out and the price difference is not all that much, comparable to the difference in price between pepsi or coke or 'cola' at the end of the day. You can't deny that when it comes to pure hardware (aka ram, hdd, processor upgrades) which are no different from a dell, or a custom PC, they charge way too much and there is no additional valuue to be found here, it's just a huge markup on the uneducated. It's no longer hardware unique to apple, which they have used in the past, it's just standard pc stuff these day.

Edited by p0is0n

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I understand that to some people, OS X, sleek design, apple care etc. can add value, and when you add up the costs of the same level of service from another vendor things usually even out and the price difference is not all that much, comparable to the difference in price between pepsi or coke or 'cola' at the end of the day. You can't deny that when it comes to pure hardware (aka ram, hdd, processor upgrades) which are no different from a dell, or a custom PC, they charge way too much and there is no additional valuue to be found here, it's just a huge markup on the uneducated. It's no longer hardware unique to apple, which they have used in the past, it's just standard pc stuff these day.

Hang on.

 

I understand that to some people, OS X, sleek design, apple care etc. can add value

 

BUT

 

You can't deny that when it comes to pure hardware (aka ram, hdd, processor upgrades) which are no different from a dell, or a custom PC, they charge way too much and there is no additional valuue to be found here,

 

The post you were replying to wasn't about upgrades, it was about the base system. In which case, you've said with one breath that people can value things other than tech specs, but on the other hand they charge way too much.

 

The ticket price of an iMac is the whole thing, not just the hardware. You can't simultaneously agree with that, but still talk about the price like it's merely the sum of a list of computer parts. Well I guess you can, if you're clinically insane.

 

WRT upgrades, find a mainstream clone builder that doesn't charge savagely for minor spec-ups. Dell, HP, Lenovo, all charge huge markups for extra RAM, extra HDD, etc.

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To clarify a little, I don't see a problem with the base system costing $x, there is a lot of design work gone into completing the package, the mobo in a new iMac would be custom too, and it includes a unique OS which also costs money to develop.

 

My comment on cost of hardware was in relation to upgrades, that's all I mentioned. This stuff is not custom, unique or in any way special, it's just expensive standard components. If they were using unique hardware or something specifically certified to work with OS X, where similar products would not, they could charge whatever they wanted, and people would just have to suck it up, there wouldn't be an alternative. But when it comes down to paying $35 at MSY or $240 on the apple website, for an identical product in every way, I think it is overpriced. Comparatively I had a look at the Dell website too, they charge about $70 to upgrade to 2x4GB and provide 1600MHz instead of 1333MHz as apple do. This is about 1/3 the price for a superior upgrade, and goes to prove my point that everything costs more when you buy it from apple, even things that don't warrant the price tag. This goes for CPUs & HDDs too, these are off the shelf parts at a huge markup.

 

In summary, base system, price can be justified due to complexity of design and other reasons already mentioned, upgrades and accessories however, I personally consider overpriced. At the end of the day it is just a tool and not a fashion accessory, although the line between the two is becoming more blurred recently. Would you may more a little more for a drill that simple looked nicer, felt nicer or maybe was cordless? Sure, but would you then pay 10x more for a replacement battery, even if it was no different to one that cost 1/10 the price, or a pack of drill bits that cost 10x more too? If you can't see where I am coming from we will have to agree to disagree.

 

I don't really want to drag this thread too far off topic.

Edited by p0is0n

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Why do people keep creating threads like this?

All it ever does is turn into a pointless argument, and it's not like anyone is going to change Apple OR PC fan's opinions.

 

Personally I would never buy an all in one PC, I upgrade too often and it's just too hard with this form factor.

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Guest xyzzy frobozz

*Another fierce defence of Apple*

It's funny finding out everyone's little button.

 

:-)

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*Another fierce defence of Apple*

It's funny finding out everyone's little button.

 

:-)

 

It's funny when people act all smug, and mistake defence of (thing) with getting frustrated with someone's poor posting.

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Guest xyzzy frobozz

*Another fierce defence of Apple*

It's funny finding out everyone's little button.

 

:-)

 

It's funny when people act all smug, and mistake defence of (thing) with getting frustrated with someone's poor posting.

 

And thus the button is found.

Edited by xyzzy frobozz

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*Another fierce defence of Apple*

It's funny finding out everyone's little button.

 

:-)

 

10 It's funny when people act all smug, and mistake defence of (thing) with getting frustrated with someone's poor posting.

 

And thus the button is found.

 

20 GOTO 10

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Guest xyzzy frobozz

*Another fierce defence of Apple*

It's funny finding out everyone's little button.

 

:-)

 

10 It's funny when people act all smug, and mistake defence of (thing) with getting frustrated with someone's poor posting.

 

And thus the button is found.

 

20 GOTO 10

 

It wasn't my intention to upset you mate.

 

I was just making what I thought to be a bit of an amusing observation. I'm sorry if it came across as being smug.

Edited by xyzzy frobozz

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Guest xyzzy frobozz

You dont you look stupid.

 

Thanks for your contribution. If you'd like to make a meaningful one, you can do so here.

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Guest xyzzy frobozz

I think you missed this one:

 

It wasn't my intention to upset you mate.

 

I was just making what I thought to be a bit of an amusing observation. I'm sorry if it came across as being smug.

Oh, while we're playing the butthurt/irony/hypersensitive/trite contribution/hypocracy game, thanks for your contribution to my thread.

 

I do accept that the whole Apple/PC debate is a serious matter, and deserved a little more sensitivity than I gave it.

Edited by xyzzy frobozz

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I'm sorry if it came across as being smug.

Well, no, you're obviously not.

 

Because you're still doing it:

 

I do accept that the whole Apple/PC debate is a serious matter, and deserved a little more sensitivity than I gave it.

I think you've left your condescension dial set to 11.

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Guest xyzzy frobozz

I think you've left your condescension dial set to 11.

Well, that particular that particular bar was set very high.

Edited by xyzzy frobozz

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I'm sorry if it came across as being smug.

Well, no, you're obviously not.

 

Because you're still doing it:

 

I do accept that the whole Apple/PC debate is a serious matter, and deserved a little more sensitivity than I gave it.

I think you've left your condescension dial set to 11.

 

I would seem that neither of us are perfect.

 

Dude, I'm a downright asshole. Perfect is galaxies away from where I am in the scheme of things.

 

But I'll admit when I was deliberately trying to get a rise out of someone. Try it! Nobody will think less of you. If they did, I'd have been run out of town long ago.

 

Edit: I'm keeping the quoted text, as evidence of your fleeting humility.

Edited by SquallStrife

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Guest xyzzy frobozz

I'm sorry if it came across as being smug.

Well, no, you're obviously not.

 

Because you're still doing it:

 

I do accept that the whole Apple/PC debate is a serious matter, and deserved a little more sensitivity than I gave it.

I think you've left your condescension dial set to 11.

 

I would seem that neither of us are perfect.

 

Dude, I'm a downright asshole. Perfect is galaxies away from where I am in the scheme of things.

 

But I'll admit when I was deliberately trying to get a rise out of someone. Try it! Nobody will think less of you. If they did, I'd have been run out of town long ago.

 

Edit: I'm keeping the quoted text, as evidence of your fleeting humility.

 

 

Oh come on now, I apologised to you. Was that not humility enough? When you pick youself up from the floor of this particular Cleveland bus, perhaps you should admit your own contribution to the upper-cut you've received.

 

It's all a bit of fun.

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Oh come on now, I apologised to you. Was that not humility enough? When you pick youself up from the floor of this particular Cleveland bus, perhaps you should admit your own contribution to the upper-cut you've received.

lol

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I think Apple value has come A LONG WAY.

 

When you are talking less than $300 between a custom build and an Apple machine I think you are talking a great deal.

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