14 May 2011

Price Wars - iMac Vs Windows PC

Having recently made the decision to buy an iMac I was sure to do plenty of research beforehand to make sure it was the right computer for me. It was during this time I came across the usual argument of “Macs are overpriced” which if I I’m honest I also believed to be true. The model I was looking at after all is £1649 before any upgrades or additional software.
What led me to consider the iMac as an option though was the inclusion of a 27” LED 2560x1440 IPS monitor that I craved to aid my photography hobby. When pricing a similar specification monitor for a Windows PC build I was looking at around £740 with the then current pricing. This got me wondering; if the monitor costs that much alone, how much would the rest of the build cost in comparison to an iMac?
Before looking at the hardware specification I feel it’s worth mentioning that although the specifications are close there will always be discrepancies. The keyboard and mouse combination on the PC for example is not as high quality or feature rich as those included with the iMac. Similarly and argument could be said that the ‘laptop’ type components in the iMac aren’t as quick as their ‘desktop’ counterparts in the PC.
Getting down to business let’s look at the specs:

iMac PC (using Bit-Tech Enthusiast base PC)
27” 2560x1440 IPS LED monitor 27" Dell Ultrasharp U2711
3.1GHz Intel Core i5 3.3GHz Intel Core i5
4GB 1333MHz RAM 4GB 1600MHz RAM
ATI 6790M 1GB graphics ATI 6850 1GB graphics
Mac OS X Windows 7 64-bit Pro
Apple Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Logitech Wireless MK520
17w speakers built-in Logitech X-140 2.0 speakers
Thunderbolt connectivity N/A
Airport Wi-Fi Wireless ‘N’ PCI
Facetime 720p camera MS LifeCam 720p
£1649 £1546.69

Looking at those figures there is £100 difference almost to the pound whilst the specifications are very evenly matched. The 6970M graphics card in the iMac for example although a laptop variant is said to be equivalent to the desktop 6850 card. Performance is of course going to depend in part on the operating system but with one or two minor difference the specifications are as close as possible.
So on cost the Windows PC wins the argument – it is cheaper.
Well not quite. Although these two prices are separated by £100 the iMac is built, delivered and supported for a year at no extra charge. The PC on the other hand has to be built and supported by the end user and could be subject to P&P charges. Is this difference worth £100? I guess that’s up to the individual and how hands-on they want to be with their new PC.
There are of course other arguments that could be raised to debate the perceived value of either system with the upgradeability and overclockability of the PC and the highly polished looks and quiet performance of the iMac. This estimation of value comes down to each individual user and how each system best fits their needs but on the topic of purchase price I am surprised to have found that the iMac actually doesn’t cost anything more than an equivalent built PC.
Now that was a surprise.
And that’s why I now have one.

*for simplicity the Windows PC is referred to as "PC"


Gavin said...

Good post. As I tweeted, the perceived value is the main thing here. Consider the quality of the software pre-installed on a mac, the lack of bloatware and things like Time Machine. To me, it's a price worth paying.

herp said...

Dell U2711 (LN32363) £687.92
Intel Core i5 3.2ghz (LN30145) £141.78
Ati 6850 (LN36011) £125.62
4gb Corsair DDR3 1333mhz (LN35187) £35.28
1tb HDD (LN37556) £37
Windows 7 64 Pro (LN29163) £102.08
DVDrw (LN36786) £18.34
Logitech X-140 (LN23299) £16.28
Wireless PCI (LN29488) £14.00
MS Lifecam (LN39013) £32.36
Logitech Wireless (LN11655) £15.58
TOTAL PRICE: £1226.24

(LN numbers from scan.co.uk)

Veato said...

@herp Before I even look at the list in detail I can see a PSU and case missing which are £105 combined on the Bit-Tech build. And unless I'm not reading it properly I can't see a motherboard either.

Peter said...

Ignoring the perpetual fudging, omissions and basic ignorance of nearly every "Price Comparison" I have ever seen, why do PC users always assume that Mac users pay RRP?

The whole supposed 'more expensive' goes down in flames because, surprise, Ta Da, I NEVER pay the RRP. I usually get 10-15% off on all my purchases.

PC builders seem to think they have a monopoly on cheaper purchase. They also put no value on their own time, the real costs of getting the parts together, the sweating over 'does it work?', the delivery costs, assembly, checking, testing and inevitable problems.

They'd love to have Apple's after sales support but will never get it because they are too cheap to pay for it.

Peter said...

btw Where are is Bluetooth, SD reader, back up disks and the USB hub built into Apple's keyboards?

Not to mention TimeMachine equivalent and Anti-Virus software.

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