Macs Are Less Expensive Than PC’s

By on October 1, 2004

The common perception is that because you can find PC’s for under $500, a PC is a better value than an Apple Macintosh. I’ve always felt that you get what you pay for — a cheap PC is just that — and because of its ease of use, higher quality hardware, better design, slick integration, etc… the Mac is by far the better deal. This guy has gone the extra mile and has proven that I’m right.

He compared a stock iMac G5 with a comparably equipped custom-built PC. The PC was built to match as closely as possible the hardware specs of the iMac, and loaded with comparable software. The end tally? The iMac costs $1,299, and the PC would set you back $1,639. Even given the difference in price, there is no accounting for the time one would have to spend fiddling and tweaking the PC to get it to run properly. Likewise, no consideration for the beautifully slick package that is the iMac G5.

So there. Let the flame wars begin.

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  1. You can get a 17″ LCD for $299 not the $400 indicated in the article. Also IF purchased from Dell or Gateway most of the software costs included will be reduced alltogether or significatly. And I would suspect would lower the cost of the PC by $100-200 vs. the Mac specified.

  2. “You can get a 17″ LCD for $299 not the $400 indicated in the article.”

    Sure, but not all LCD’s are of comparable quality. Remember, this is an apples to Apple’s comparison (pun intended.)

    “Also IF purchased from Dell or Gateway most of the software costs included will be reduced alltogether or significatly.”

    One of the main points of the author is that a stock Dell or Gateway won’t match the hardware of the Mac. This is a custom-built PC, so the software is not bundled.

  3. Gosh, based on this analysis, I’m going to ditch all the PCs in my office and get Macs instead. Oh, wait, NONE of our industry-specific software will run on Macs.

    Switching only works if you can find replacements for everything. In many cases, you can’t.

  4. i can’t leave windows – games games games (and don’t give me that console is better than a pc crap either)

  5. “Personally, I prefer the element of danger involved in owning a PC vs. a Mac: trojans, worms, etc.”

    I love it! Extreme geeking. What would it be without the adrenalin rush when the next virus hits? Livin’ on the edge, dude!

  6. “Gosh, based on this analysis, I’m going to ditch all the PCs in my office and get Macs instead. Oh, wait, NONE of our industry-specific software will run on Macs.”

    I don’t think anybody’s advocating a wholesale switch — use a hammer where a hammer is needed. Heck, even I know that Wintel gunk has its place. This article is aimed squarely at those who insist that Macs are overpriced. Period. If you don’t like the message, sorry.

  7. An owner of both: a custom made p4 3.0 with 1.5gig DDR and a nice Radeon card and a g5 I can tell you that by going to sites that wil allow you to select different companies (mostly online companies) to buy PC componants from, I was able to build my p4 for under 1000, around $875 to be a bit more accurate, while I spent around 1200 for my g5.

    …The sad thing is I am almost always (and currently) on my half priced p4. I haven’t touched to g5 in 2 weeks

  8. I use both. My new Dell PC is riddled with adware that I can’t shift, whilst my 4 year old i-book is as healthy as the day I got it. No competition.. PC’s are a joke.

  9. One, a mac is also a pc seeing as how pc stands for personal computer, two, the reason why non mac pc’s have adware, spyware, trojans, worms, viruses and things like that is because more people have windows than macs, so naturally a nerd with a dell will write a macro common virus to ruin other people’s windows system, if everyone had a mac, than you’d have the same problem, because nerds with a mac will find a weakness in the OS and exploit it, you can’t say pc’s suck because of all that trouble, nooo, the reason there is that trouble is because they’re better, faster, and more popular, people just have to learn how to maintain their comp, which isn’t hard, but as for pentium vs athlon, athlon pc’s are better, pentium sucks, and macs suck, so there you have it

  10. So there we have it. Great. I’d like to congratulate on you on your eloquent presentation of such original information.

    Golly, your comment is virtually bursting with new thoughts. No one has ever discussed — nay, even thought of — the stunning revelations you have just shared with us. I’ll never look at the situation the same way again.

    We are all better people because of your subtle influence on our lives.

  11. Windows PCs and Macs are both good for different things. I personally favor macs. I use my G5 to edit video and make 3D animations. The only reason to use a Windows PC is if you need your games that are not available for Mac or you are a buisness that must use software that is not yet supported by the Mac platform. I have had my laptop (also mac) for 4 years and i have not had to upgrade its hardware. It still runs great with no problems… well i needed to get a new battery but that is not a mac thing… just that rechargeable batteries only get about 600 charges to them. Two of my friends have PC laptops that became useless after a couple of years – they were raving about how much better they were than my G3.

    One new thing i would like to bring up is the OS. OS 9 sucked. Many people used a mac prior to OS X and yes, they were terrible. OS X changed everything and it is 100 times better.

    I like the compatibility that is with macs between the hardware that they design and the software they also design. With a windows computer you have dell or hp or whoever make the computer and then Microsoft on the OS. Macs are much more fluid and they utilize all of the power, nothing is wasted.

  12. i personally favor pc’s for the games, for all those mac lovers it is time to use a computer compatible in the bisness world. (by the way, im useing a mac right now)

  13. to all you pc lovers out there… pc are the best!!! they’re cheap… easy to use… and have lots of cheap software they do the job… to all you mac lovers out there who are trying to convert these pc lovers shhhhhhh!!! let them be… it’s our secret!!!

  14. I know that the above comment is meant as a joke, but it inadvertantly reinforces a very important point —

    Part of the “Apple mystique” is that not many people have them. I’m firmly convinced that the Mac fanatics wouldn’t be nearly as intense if Apple had a 90% market share. Part of the sense of belonging and pride that Mac fanatics feel is because they view themselves as the downtrodden, the underdogs, the misunderstood, the lone voices of reason in the wilderness, the elite, the ones who understand the truth in the face of the lockstepping hordes.

    Not a derogatory comment, just an observation.

  15. I think it’s about brand management more than it’s about market share. Apple has styled Macs as simpler, cleaner computing, and largely delivered. Mac software often has fewer options than its PC counterparts, but the options that are there are the ones that everyone needs. Apple fans have been marketed something different and simpler, Apple delivered, and the users love it.

    37 Signals is another company that’s done very well with this. Check this recent post where they talk about raising the rates for BaseCamp:

    Most of the comments are from people praising the price increase, because they feel like they’re getting such a great value. Excellent management of the brand.

  16. I’ve recently switched to Apple and I must agree with Dave, “Buy a Mac and you’ll understand”

    Infact I went from my year 1 old Toshiba laptop that I had bought new (the best PC i’d ever owned) to a 3 year old ibook that was third hand, on paper it was a downgrade just from the tech specs

    within 24 hours I had switched over completely and the only time I’ve touched a PC since was to do tech support for friends…and which I’ve never needed for the ibook.

    OSX on Macs make PC’s and Windows feel like old out of date technology

    I will never go back

    There’s been no software needs that I haven’t been able to replace with a mac equivalent and MS Office, one thing I will give microsoft credit for doing well, works better and easier on my mac then it ever did on my pc

    in short you have no idea what you’re missing for a few saved bucks

  17. Ok, now make a pc that has a 200gb hard drive. and lets see the comparison. For a 200gb hard drive on a mac, you have to pay ~$1000. Pc, less than 150, there’s your overpriced bs that the mac is selling.

  18. I’m not so sure about the author’s analysis. A modern macintosh is actually more confusing a difficult to run then a PC with windows XP. Mac users are often forced to install 2 versions of Mac OS to run the programs they want to run! Microsofts OS comparatively become quite intuitive (gone are the days of DOS 3.1). Also what good is the best hardware if you don’t have modern software to run on it?

    Apple did build a name for itself as being a technology leader but that is more of a perception created by good marketing and not reality. Apple has been copying companies like Xerox since they “invented the first personal computer” which was just a copy of a PC that IBM had tried but failed to sell in the early 70s. The only true Apple innovation has been the introduction of “planned obsolescence” to the consumer electronics industry.

  19. Yeh, its more expensive to build a PC as close as possible to the same spec as a Mac, or you could a marginally better one for cheaper.

  20. If you make a list of all the “inovations” Microsoft has made, and you e-mail it to me at, I will tell you EXACTLY who they copied it from. Go ahead and try, but the truth is that Apple is the more inovative company.

  21. hiii, ill just tell you guys this, i think its funny that people get macs for gaming and for looks!!. i can make a pc look exactly like a mac! i can get all mac programs to run on my pc too. i love pc’s, and i really dont get why you would waste your money on a g5 for gaming, give me 1500 and a promise you i can make a better computer that a g5.Ill people get macs beacuse there scared of tojans,adware spyware, when these are insanely easy to avoid,people ar just lazy and get macs that cost 200-500$$$. Use pc’s get mozilla screw macs

  22. Let’s all buy Dell. Let’s all use the cheapest components possible. Let’s all make crappy products. Let American business thrive on Technology with the lowest cost Dell Computers avalible. Cost Leadership Rules. Dell Rules. Let’s never use quality anything, buy Dell, buy now!

    Do you think maybe the reason the Dell PC’s cost $300.00 is because they are not worth any more than that, or should we continue buying $300.00 PC’s?

  23. Comments like this are just asinine. So all Dells suck, is what you’re saying? So they became the biggest computer manufacturer in the world on nothing but crappy product?

    Do you understand how unbelievably stupid that makes you sound?

    I buy Dells. I don’t buy them out of some big philosophical decision. I bought one and found the process to be simple and the customer service to be good. Next time I needed to buy a machine, I remembered an experience without too much pain, and bought from Dell again. And again, and again, and again.

    As a result, I have bought nothing but Dells at my current company. I’ve bought everything from big, dual-processor PowerEdge servers to a boat-load of stripped-down $300 Dimension desktops. I’ve bought fully-loaded Inspiron laptops and budget Latitude notebooks.

    With all those machines, I have had ONE problem — a broken key on a laptop keyboard. Dell shipped a new keyboard the next day, and I had it replaced in two minutes. Other than that, my experience with the quality of Dell machines has been flawless.

    But you’re right, they suck. Nothing but crap. You would know, right?

    Let me stress that I’m not a huge Dell-lover or anything. They’re good machines, and they’re worked well for me. But your comment was so moronic, so completely idiotic, that it just required a response.

    I’m defending nothing but common sense here.

  24. To the guy who says Dells are the best selling computers out there. Hey man dont rag on that other dude just cause he said that dells suck. Ill just say that dells arent that great, you can buy a computer 10 times better than a dell by building it off the net, and just because dells are #1 being sold gives it no reason at all to say that there amazing computers.

  25. PC’s mihgt be cheaper but over time the mac is cheaper, how often does a PC owner have to get viruses or osmething fixed on their computer, i think it is at least once a year, and costing around $100 a visit, that adds up very quick, but wiht the stable OSX you dont have to get it fixed and it is a lot easier, so it only makes sense to own a mac, and if u dont own a mac maybe it is about time u at least give it a try.

  26. Ok, now make a pc that has a 200gb hard drive. and lets see the comparison. For a 200gb hard drive on a mac, you have to pay ~$1000. Pc, less than 150, there’s your overpriced bs that the mac is selling.

    ……….yeah thats why i have a 160Gb hard drive hooked up to my G4 and it cost me ummmm $80 haha $1000 only if you dont know where to shop. Switched to the mac past DEC. and im never going back my desktop custom build fast as can be havnt touched it since i got this badboy. But really tho its all what you need and what you like so im not going to trash anyone that loves pc’s cuz im a gamer and ill admit when im playing a game online its going to be on the PC. But im in to graphic design and web page design video editing and all that is just done easier on the mac.

  27. The reason that Macs have less viruses and spyware than PC’s is that Windows has more of any open and easily programmable code. The MAC OS is much harder to program hence fewer problems (but also less programs).

  28. What’s that about Mac being hard to program? They ship with Xcode installed, free. You gotta buy Visual Studio .NET to do real Winders programming. OS X shares source code with so there’s more SYSTEM LEVEL code open and available for Macs than Windows (of which none is available). The Mac can be programmed in just about any current programming language. C, C++, Objective C, C# (Mono project), Java, Perl, Python, where do I stop?

    The reason than Winders has more viruses and spyware is that it was poorly and sloppily programmed and had thousands of expliots that in the basic install. 5 years of OS X and there are no self propagating viruses, just the half-functional Word macro crap, and we all now what company makes Word… amd why you just delete anything that has macro attachements that you aren’t expecting.

  29. I’ve worked with computers for quite a few years now and I would have to say that Mac OS X is nicer to run than windows. But the only reason I say that is because of it’s BSD base. I used windows only for the longest time until I took the time to move all my computers to Linux. Now for someone like my mother who can hardly turn on a computer, Mac OS X is the best solution. But if you are a little more experienced then why not try Ubuntu, Debian, or even Fedora or even Mandriva. Linux has come a long way to be easier for those with slightly more computer knowledge. For upgrading I would have to say that PCs are cheaper, but that is my opinion, a person who owns a G4 Imac slotloader.

  30. i custom built my pc, and i managed to make a respectable gaming pc that can run things like doom 3 and half life 2 fine, from �700. lets see you get that kind of value from a mac! and although you say that pc’s get a lot more viruses than macs, if you have decent firewall and anti-virus software you will stop most if not all of the viruses that try to infect your pc.

  31. By the time you spent all your money on applications that will keep spyware and virus’s off your computer you could of bought a well packaged g5 that wont give you problems…

  32. Somebody actually wrote this

    “Personally, I prefer the element of danger involved in owning a PC vs. a Mac: trojans, worms, etc.”

    I love it! Extreme geeking. What would it be without the adrenalin rush when the next virus hits? Livin’ on the edge, dude!

    John: Dude, adrenalin rush? Get a life. adrenalin rush, hahaha. FAG

  33. If you have such a problem with spyware, viruses, trojans, ECT… Get Linux. It’s free and better then windows. yeah sure most games dont run on linux, then dual-boot it then. Use linux for doing stuff on the web and use windows for just games. Not too difficult. I haven’t really used a Mac sence the apple II E but from what ive heard from friends they are nice. They also run on a Unix based OS. Macs still seem a little too expencive for me. Yeah you can get things for a mac but you really cant customise it the way you would really want too like you can with a x86. I still perfer an X86 any day. Theyve got more mods for a x86 then they do for a Mac from what ive seen. Also upgrading your machine is also cheaper with an x86. Mac is nice but they arn’t an x86.

    Linux = Great OS Microcrap Windows = 13 year old kid coding Mac = Not Mocho

  34. omg all this mac stuff is like a colt, im using a dell right now, and it seems to be working just fine. I just got it from our school system on monday. we had ibooks for the past four years and now we got dells, and its like the same, its just a computer, i have a personal tosiba a school dell and a home dell, and a mac they all have there +s and minuses but i love em all, why must we fight cant we all just get along?

  35. omg all this mac stuff is like a colt, im using a dell right now, and it seems to be working just fine. I just got it from our school system on monday. we had ibooks for the past four years and now we got dells, and its like the same, its just a computer, i have a personal tosiba a school dell and a home dell, and a mac they all have there +s and minuses but i love em all, why must we fight cant we all just get along?

  36. I thought that PCs were great, I thought they did the job well, and I thought that all the games were great and that it was all cheap…….Then I switched to a mac. – SERIOUSLY – BUY A MAC! You have no idea how much your missing out.

  37. Hey, I agree with “Special K” and the guy she defended. If Dells are so great, then why are they so cheap? I think that they spend all their money on advertising and marketing that they dont have enough for R&D. The only reason that they sell so many computers is because they advertise so much. I mean, do you ever see a comercial for a good computer, like aa Toshiba or a Sony? Not much, if ever. So if you buy a Dell, dont expect anymore than youre paying for.

  38. Hey, people, if u want a good computer, which will play games, do work, surf the web, and be extremely easy to use and will run without all the errors, buy a Mac. Dual-boot. Just use windows to run games, and mac for everything else. It’s that simple.

  39. You guys are just idiots. Learn about computers, build your own, use the extra money to go on vacation, and you’ll understand.

  40. Macs are twice the price of PCs. Just go to HP, Dell or Gateway. Apple sells at a higher cost because its a proprietary system and its market share is low. Mac users like to think their systems are superior because they can’t justify the price. There is nothing hardware or software wise that puts the Mac out front. It is a foolish purchase.

  41. I’ll make it simple… if you buy a mac, you might as well be supporting communism. think about it.

    It’s ironic that mac prides themselves on their first tv ad during the superbowl of 1984… (look it up)! When infact they have become the evil that was portrayed in the ad. You buy a mac and you conform. They are all the same. No freedom! You buy a PC, better yet, you build your own and you can choose the parts you want… specificly choose the brand you want. Not like the standard toshiba hard drive you get with your mac that WILL crash on you! I use macs all the time. I’m a graphic designer. I have used a mac just as long as i have used a pc. But i favor my pc at home. It will do the same job as a mac would. No better, no worse… but when it is done on a pc that you built, that you picked out the hardware yourself, well that gives you pride beyound anything stated above. As far as price goes? You’ll always find discounts, coupon codes, sales etc. online. you have thousands of websites to cruze to find the best price on your hard drive, video card or whatever. Tel me, can you do that with a mac?

  42. Alright, first of all if you are going to go down the road of viruses and such, you might say macs are better. However, if you aren’t a complete idiot you will go through your entire life without getting a virus on a PC. It’s not that difficult to stay off of sketch sites, or to not open emails from unknown senders. Viruses don’t just appear because you are on a PC. Secondly, Macs are more expensive than PCs. I just recently purchased a new Inspiron 1420 from Dell. 2GB RAM, 2.0GHz processor, NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS, 160GB 7200 rpm hard drive, Windows Vista Home Premium, 14.1” screen, I think I’ve listed the most important things. Anyways, the point I’m trying to make is that this configuration came to just under $1000. Now, about 6 months later, I can go configure the supposedly amazing MacBook Pro, with a similar configuration for TWICE the price. If you don’t believe me go check yourself. That being said, how could you ever say PCs are more expensive than Macs, it is absolutely ridiculous. I was shocked when I saw the price of my laptop configuration for a Mac. Also, Macs and PCs have the same hardware so how could one make the claim that a Mac is faster or more ‘fluid’. If you value a sleeker looking laptop, then go for a Mac. But if you only care about what’s on the inside, I would suggest a PC. Sure Windows Vista has some bugs to work out, but it just came out, give them some time to make it better. Also, one final comment, what is up with the one-button mouse that Macs have? Why not just add that extra button? I can honestly say that when I was forced to use Macs in high school I became extremely frustrated and that fact alone turned me away from Macs. I mean come on, that second button is so much more convenient. Sure you can buy a different mouse, but the touch pad on the laptop still only has one button.

  43. One more thing, with a PC you have so much more variety because of numerous companies. Dell, HP, Toshiba, Gateway, the list goes on. With Mac, you have one option and one option only. Where’s the competition? Many people think that you can’t really compare prices between Macs and PCs (which is untrue) so how could you purchase a Mac without knowing you have been ripped off. Well, you could just take an economics class, and realize that they have no competition with prices. Sure they compete against PCs in many things, but price isn’t one of them. Mac users are just full of themselves because they are ‘daring to be different.’ Well guess what? No one in this world really cares if you dare to be different. Especially when that is your only defense to what you believe in.

  44. Today I decided to check out the Mac website and configure the most powerful computer that I could. I was taken aback when I saw all of the options I could choose from and I was actually impressed. Anyways, after getting the best of the best, the total came to around $26K. Immediately after that, I went to Dell and configured an identical, if not better, computer. Guess how much that was going to cost? Only $18,000! So after a simple math calculation, I figured that I would save 8 grand if I bought from Dell. That is absolutely ridiculous that anyone would think of paying an extra 8 grand just to have it say Mac, and have the shitty OS X operating system. I tried to reason with myself as to why it would be 8 grand more for the Mac and I came up with nothing. They were both desktops so space didn’t have anything to do with it, and they were both about the same size. So to all of you Mac enthusiasts out there, next time you are trying to persuade someone to get ripped off by getting a Mac, think of the 26K computer that sells for 18K from Dell. After you think of that, and still think a Mac is a better buy…take yourself to a mental hospital for a check up.

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