The futility of the “Macs are more expensive than PCs” argument

Sections: Desktop Macs, Laptops, Macintosh/Apple Hardware

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Macs are more expensive than PCsIf you’re a Mac user, you’ve heard the comment; “I’d like to own a Mac, but they’re too expensive.” Just this weekend, I got into a computer conversation with a Toys ‘r’ Us employee (do I look so geeky that electronics department reps feel they can approach me with computer questions?) regarding system requirements for a PC game. The conversation led to all the hassles he faced when upgrading computers, so I told him about the ease of this process on the Mac (answer a couple questions, attach FireWire cable, wait). He admitted then, he would’ve rather purchased an iMac, but felt they’re just too expensive.

Are they, though, when you get down to it? Sure, the up front cost looks like more, but how does that play out over a year? Two? Three? How about resale value? Support? Maintenance?

According to Charles Moore over at Applelinks, the Mac, over time, is the clear winner.

I’m not conceding a millimetre of ground on the “Macs are more expensive” gotterdammerung. There are many ways to parse “expensive” and the contrary than up-front capital outlay, and even there a Mac today is demonstrably not necessarily more expensive than an equivalently (hardware) equipped PC, but the real value arbiter is TCO – total cost of ownership, and in that context the Mac is the big winner hands-down.

For example, I’m typing this screed on an 8 1/2 year old PowerBook Pismo running what was Apple’s latest Mac OS version less than a year ago, and enjoying excellent performance. Try running Vista (which was the current Windows version when OS 10.4.11 was released) a PC laptop built in early 2000.

Charles goes on list a few more examples, then offers links to numerous articles on the subject from both sides of the fence. If you’re looking for fair analysis on the subject (and why the “Macs are more expensive” argument is painfully shortsighted), check it out.

Via [Applelinks]

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  • ANON

    Fair? Really?

    An economic analysis of Mac vs. PC conducted by a writer at "Applelinks" and retold through another site named "Appletell" is considered fair?

    If you're going to love the Mac that much, at least tell people upfront so that they aren't misled by your "fair and balanced" report.

    I swear, sometimes Mac users act like they learn their logic from FOX news network.

  • Kirk Hiner

    "I swear, sometimes Mac users act like they learn their logic from FOX news network."


    If you'd read through the article at Applelinks, you'd see that Charles posted many links to arguments in favor of the PC side of things. No one claims Macs aren't more expensive than PCs, rather that these costs balance out more quickly than most PC users and supporters care to admit. Again, if you read through the links provided by Charles, you'll see many PC journalists supporting this.

    Just because we're writers on Mac sites doesn't mean we can't be fair. We're not misleading anyone, as a scan of the articles here at Appletell will review we're quick to point out Apple's flaws. Would it be possible for us to write anything pro Macintosh without you considering it bias just because we're Mac users? The only way we can be "fair," in your eyes, is to bash the Mac?

    As for this:

    "If you’re going to love the Mac that much, at least tell people upfront so that they aren’t misled by your “fair and balanced” report."

    If people come to a site called "Appletell" and aren't expecting us to love the Mac, they've got more to worry about than potentially being misled.

  • Michael

    I built my own PC and it has not cost me a thing since building it other than electricity costs. I have had my computer for about 8 years and it will never cost as much as a Mac. Sure I could get a virus because virus' are made for PC's but I'm not stupid and avoid them. I can upgrade my computer with little effort or cost except for a few components that are at a point that I would need to build a new computer if I wanted more. Perhaps one might think that my computer is unfairly compared as I built it myself, but I have found quality PC's close to what mine cost to build. I was able to upgrade my wife's Mac a little too: I put more ram and maxed it out at 1 Gig, and updated the OS to 10.2.8 from 9. Now her computer cannot be upgraded any further and must be swapped for a new one. She will get nothing but pocket change for her computer and will have to shell out a thousand bucks if she wants a new one.
    Mac is not cheaper no matter how you look at it. I hope Psystar wins their suits and forces Apple to come off their high horse and make affordable computers (heck they are just PC components wrapped up in a pretty OS anyway).

  • Kirk Hiner

    If you're upgrading her from Mac Os 9 to Mac OS X v10.2.8, then that has to be a very old computer. Even still, I sold an Apple II GS on ebay last summer and got over $300 for it.

    But you're talking about building your own computer. I can build my own car and make it cost less than a Honda Fit if I knew how, so let's keep the comparison on the level of the general consumer.

    And for what it's worth, every single person I've talked to who has had a custom built PC has been furious with it, and will never do it again. That's not an exaggeration, every single person, including my boss, who now will buy nothing but Dell.

  • Juan Gonzalez

    Couldn't agree more… I just got that comment from a friend who finally decided to buy a HP laptop.