Burn Down Apple

Skilled with computers? Understand how to configure a boot loader like GRUB? Jump into the emerging market of building Mac clone PCs for customers who like Apple products (but not enough to buy them). Or, do it for yourself. On an existing PC. For free. Like I did.

Using a Mac Pro that costs approximately $3000 as our point of reference, one can build and configure a clone with comparable hardware for about a third of the cost, by my calculations (at Mac Pro configuration page: downgrade CPU, double RAM, make hard disk 500MB, and change video card to Nvidia to see a machine roughly comparable to the one the article's author built).

In the quote below, he claims it is roughly half the cost, with roughly equivalent performance:

But the real question is, just how does the $950 Frankenmac compete with Apple’s hardware? Overall, quite well. To get a sense of just how well, I ran a few tests here, though I plan to ship the whole machine off to the Macworld Lab in San Francisco shortly, for an official run through our Speedmark test suite.

For the unofficial testing, I used a few old favorites—Xbench for overall benchmarking, Cinebench for graphics, and a quick blast through the standard Quake3 timedemo to give a sense for raw gaming performance. I ran the tests on the Frankenmac and my Macworld-provided Mac Pro (a 2.66GHz quad-core Xeon with 4GB of RAM and the ATI X1900xt video card). Using Xbench, the Frankenmac beat the Mac Pro on the overall score, 149 to 143. Within the individual tests, the Mac Pro was faster at the CPU, thread, and OpenGL tests, while the Frankenmac was better at the memory, Quartz graphics, user interface, and disk tests. Overall, there’s not much difference in the two machines’ Xbench results—and keep in mind that the Mac Pro is more than twice as expensive as the Frankenmac.
It seems wrong to charge $500 to install two extra Gigabytes of RAM. I got two gigs of RAM on a PC I built last week for less than 50 dollars. My RAM has a lifetime warranty at no additional cost. Apple's entire system, including the RAM, has a free warranty that lasts a year. You can get an additional two years added to the warranty for $249. At Newegg, most of the RAM at the same specifications (roughly 80%), even the high end stuff, is between 25 and 75 dollars.

They're not using some unique RAM that is blessed with holy ointment distilled from the afterbirth of every new product that Steve Jobs pushes out; their own specifications page shows that it's the same speed as my RAM. They are charging a 1000% markup on the RAM alone. Normal RAM.

That doesn't seem fair.

Pay attention to what's inside the box.


Unknown said...

this is useful

Parag K. Mital said...

that is some biased reporting!

how can you neglect the conclusion of the article?

Parag K. Mital said...

and there is nothing stopping you from buying your own ram and installing it yourself. so long as you don't fuck up the machine then you don't violate the warranty.

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