Consummate dilettantism!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Apple's Ridiculous Prices (Part I)

This topic perennially occurs, and I thought it fitting to return to it once more, if only to demonstrate that Apple's computers are still absurdly expensive. This point is often denied, but as the cold, hard facts will show it is undoubtedly true.

These are the tech specs of Apple's bottom-line, $1,199 iMac:
# 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
# 1GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 1x1GB
# 250GB Serial ATA Drive
# Apple Mighty Mouse
# Apple Keyboard (English) + User's Guide
# Accessory kit
# SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
# ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT with 128MB memory
# 20-inch glossy widescreen LCD
# AirPort Extreme
# Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Seems reasonable. Reasonable, that is, until you consider computers with essentially identical specifications from other manufacturers.

From Dell, you can get the basic box-o-junk model with nearly identical specifications for, get this, over $300 less than the price of Apple's iMac. Can't believe your eyes, can you? Go over to right now and customize such a computer yourself. Do it. I dare you. You'll get something like this Inspiron 530 for $889:
Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor E4600 (2MB L2 Cache,2.4GHz,800 FSB)
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium
20 inch SP2008WFP Wide Flat Panel with Webcam and Mic
1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz- 2DIMMs
250GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache™
16X DVD+/-RW Drive
ATI Radeon HD 2400 PRO 128MB
Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
Dell USB Keyboard and Dell Premium Optical USB Mouse
Dell 19 in 1 Media Card Reader
No Modem Option
Internal PCI 802.11g Wireless Network Card
Dell A225 2.0 Speakers
Admittedly, the RAM is a bit slower, but the bitchin' media card reader amply compensates. Vista Home Premium sucks, you say? Well, you can install another operating system, and besides, the point is ultimately subjective.

See, my biggest problem with Apple is that they force you to buy lots of non-essential crap. Get rid of the equivalent monitor ($290) and wireless card ($30) and operating system ($30) and speakers ($20) on this Dell computer (all of which you can purchase or pawn separately for substantially less), and the price drops to an insanely low $519. Essentially, you can get just the stuff in the iMac box for $700 less than the price of the iMac itself. Are OS X and a nifty monitor really worth $700? I think not.

But pull your mouth off the floor, because HP's gonna fucking blow you away. Basically, HP won't let you go below a certain minimum as Dell will (bless their heart), so I had to make do. This is really the closest I could get to Apple's iMac (it's an a6460t):

* • Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
* • Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo processor E4600 (2.4GHz)
* • 2GB DDR2-800MHz dual channel SDRAM (2x1024)
* • 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400GS and TV Tuner / PVR
* • 802.11 b/g USB Wireless LAN card
* • 500GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive
* • LightScribe 16X max. DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti drive
* • 15-in-1 memory card reader, 1394, 2 USB, audio
* • Integrated 7.1 channel sound w/front audio ports
* • Microsoft(R) Works 9.0
* • HP w2007 20" LCD Wide Flat Panel Monitor
* • HP stereo speakers (2.0)
* • HP keyboard and HP optical mouse
Wow, you think. 2 gigs of 800 MHz dual channel RAM? 256 MB of VRAM? 500 GB HD? Fully 64-bit operating system? Microsoft Works? (Kidding.) The monitor doesn't have a built-in webcam or mic (as the Dell and Apple do), but hey, I'm not complaining. This computer clearly blows the both the iMac and the Dell out of the water, but guess what? It actually costs less than the Dell. You can all this for $879. End of story. HP takes the cake. When you can get a vastly superior computer for this amount of money, the iMac looks like a joke. On second thought, the iMac is a joke.

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