Mac Pro vs Newegg special

Over at troll-haven Tech-Seeker, the author posted a completely incorrect comparison between buying a PC and a Mac Pro without any real apples to apples comparisons in the hardware. Besides the complete failure to match up the systems, the hardware chosen is woefully out of date. Apple hasn’t sold a 24″ display in a long time, nor are 512MB video cards being sold, yet the author posted this on June 11, 2011 (about a month ago).

The comments are filled with some of the best non-educated spew I have seen in many months. The hatred flows from both sides of the isles.

I came up with 2 configurations, one from Newegg (who I would never suggest buying from, they are spammers), one from the Apple Store.

The Newegg special is missing WiFi and Bluetooth because no combo cards are available and I could not even find any cards at all for WiFI that were not mini-PCIe. I would expect that I could find such for < $100 somewhere. This number is not included in the totals.

Also missing is a suite of programs like iLife from the Newegg special system, things like iPhoto, iDVD, iWeb (which no one uses thankfully), and iMovie come with a Mac. I do not know what should be purchased to compare so they were left out. iTunes is free and works on both platforms, and I know Windows comes with some kind of movie maker in Ultimate. Beyond that, I am ignorant. As before, no price was included in the totals.

Last item of difference – the Newegg special has some items with replacement warranties added in. The Mac comes with 1 year of hardware ‘walk in and get it fixed’ warranty (which can be extended to three years). There is nothing like that with the Newegg special system and only 3 of the items in the cart even had an option for faster hardware swap vs the standard RMA edition. ie: the Mac is a one stop repair with a trip to any brick and mortar Apple Store, with Newegg, you’ll do your own diagnosis, ship the part in at your expense, and if they determine it is bad, will ship you a replacement. This could take many days and could be refused if Newegg can not reproduce the issue. Or worse case – they force you to deal with the manufacturer directly.

PDFs included:

Newegg special from Newegg, July 15th, 2011

Mac Pro from the Apple Store, July 15th, 2011

Newegg special cost: $4,746.19 (with discounts, about $180 more without)

Mac Pro cost: $5,719.00

Opinion time: the ‘combo’ case I chose to go with the motherboard is ugly and full of plastic and ascetically is no where near as nice looking as the Mac Pro.

7 Replies to “Mac Pro vs Newegg special”

  • Okay, so anyways, this is like the 87th installment of the dorky “Mac vs PC” price comparison game that I’ve seen, but it’s Mike, so of course I have to come up with some snarky comments :-)

    I like Mac OS X, in kind of the same way that I liked SunOS twenty years ago. It’s great stuff but it runs on hardware that’s just unrealistically expensive for the average computer user.

    Apple has chosen, on the Mac Pro, to include a bunch of server-grade components and then price them at workstation prices. Hey, I come from a UNIX workstation background, I can even appreciate that. But the thing that made the PC successful was that it made a less expensive class of hardware available. When a PC user goes out to buy a PC, they don’t buy Xeon processors and ECC RAM and a server-class motherboard. There’s only a small amount of value added to the system from the monster increase in price.

    As a result, I don’t think I can agree with Mike’s selection of hardware, except to note that he did do a nice job of selecting items with feature parity to the Mac Pro.

    On the other hand, I don’t think I can agree with Tech-Seeker’s selection either, as that’s defective in other directions, but it’s probably more close to what a PC buyer would buy if trying to get a Mac Pro-equivalent box. Sure, you lose out a little on absolute performance, but it’s similar enough… in kind of the way that a Ford Fiesta is like a poor man’s Toyota Prius.

    So I instead decided to look at the Mac Mini, and came across this:

    http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/2010/12/building-customac-customac-mini.html

    Sadly, this wasn’t done as a Mac-vs-PC, but rather Hackintosh guys trying to duplicate the Mac Mini but with some upgrades, so the prices don’t really work out. I’ll note that Apple’s price for a similar Mac Mini puts you up at the Mac Mini Server at $999, these guys built similar-capability hardware for $616. On the other hand, the Mac Mini has some real pluses to it, including uber-low power consumption, and it’s these little things that can save over the long run.

    From my perspective, I would be more excited about Apple hardware if it didn’t seem to carry such a price markup, and/or offered better options. There’s nothing to speak of between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro, at least in terms of what I’d find useful.

    For the average user, they’re not going to understand why they should go down to the Apple Store and plunk down $699 for a 2.4GHz 2GB 320GB box when they can go over to Best Buy and pick up

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/HP – Pavilion Slimline Desktop / Intel® Pentium® Processor / 4GB Memory / 750GB Hard Drive/2633112.p?id=1218341070919&skuId=2633112

    a PC with E5800 CPU (2201 passmark vs Apple’s piddly 1620), 750GB 7200RPM SATA (vs Apple’s 320GB 5400RPM), and 4GB (vs Apple’s piddly 2GB) … oh and yeah, it’s HALF THE PRICE, at $359.99. Ok, fine, ten bucks more than half the price. But it’s also twice the machine, at least in several dimensions.

    That’s the ugly thing that so many Apple fans choose to ignore. Mike, most average consumers do not really care if the hardware is exactly equal. They’re used to going shopping for cars and having two different cars from two different manufacturers and weighing the various variables as to which are important to them. So while I respect your effort at a fair comparison, I’d like to say it doesn’t bleepin’ matter to most people.

    Here’s the comparison both you and the guy you’re responding to SHOULD have considered:

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus – Essentio Desktop / Intel® Core™ i7 Processor / 16GB Memory / 4TB Hard Drive/2838773.p?id=1218355304603&skuId=2838773

    Quad core, 16GB, 4TB, $1500

    http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/family/mac_pro

    Quad core, 3GB, 1TB, $2500

    That’s how people see the Mac. You and I both know the Mac’s better hardware. Duh. But that’s still what people see.

  • Oh this post is specifically about Tech-Seeker being blatantly wrong.

    I get your items you mention – most people won’t do this kind of comparison, nor do most people want to buy this kind of hardware at the prices as listed.

    The Mac Mini comparison you did is closer to what normals would do. I’d never use a Mac Mini as my primary workstation either, and I don’t drive Ford Fiestas :)

    I spent real time working on getting a close comparison and though missing a couple of items, I think I did pretty well on matching things up showing that the Mac Pro cost isn’t 4x like the author on Tech-Seeker (there is no such thing as a Pentium 8 core processor…).

    I like my Mac systems, I really do, and I know I pay more for hardware than someone who is willing to spend the time to part things to reach the same specs. I am also someone that does not want to deal with piecemeal parts for RMA if something happens – my time is worth something to me, far more than the $950 I would save over a 3 year period by buying the parts and putting it together myself. I am old now, I don’t need to touch the insides of computers anymore.

    Same reason I don’t buy old but very cool cars – I have no interest in doing my own maintenance.

    Thanks for the comments, wish I could give you more reasons to spend the extra cash besides ‘it is the cool thing to do’…

  • Mike,

    This picture isn’t new or anything. It’s been floating around for quite some time, in both a $2000 variant and a $1400 variant. It’s some PC-owning jerk trolling the Mac fanbois, if you ask me, which you didn’t, but there you go anyways. ;-)

    From what little I care to dig, the $2000/$7300 appeared in 04/2010 at places like http://www.myconfinedspace.com/2010/04/28/pc-vs-mac/pc-vs-mac-3/ while the one you and the TS guy are looking at seems to have appeared in 03/2010 at http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4446853965/ etc.

    I’m still not sure that Tech-Seeker is blatantly wrong. It’s wrong in one way (the $1400 is dubious even today though the $2000 is probably not), but, as I said, the average consumer is going to be looking at things like processor speed and amount of memory rather than the second-tier factors such as processor type and memory type. From that point of view, your comparison is also flawed, even though it is more technically sound. I started putting together a low end Xeon 8-core system over at Newegg and stopped around $1500, pretty convinced that $2000 was a fine number. Without bothering too much to research specific compatibility in depth, these numbers seemed at least ballpark:

    $200 (after rebate) ASUS X8NA-D6C dual LGA 1366
    $620 2 X Xeon W3520 2.66 GHz CPU
    $116 4 X G.SKILL 4GB DDR3 1333 (16GB!)
    $140 2 X Jaton (haha) GeForce 9500 GT w SLI
    $320 2 x Acer G245HBbd 24″ LCD
    $ 60 WD15EARS HDD
    ——
    $1455

    which of course leaves out case, power supply, optical, and OS, but we’re big boys and we know that those are less than $500. So when you say that the Mac Pro cost isn’t 4x, you might be right, but between this and the ASUS system I pointed out at Best Buy, I have to say that I wonder how many people actually find this droolable Mac system to be worth NEARLY 4x what many would consider a similar PC to be.

    Of course, the problem here is that the current Mac Pro system is a bit different; the current 2.66GHz CPU offering is a 6-core beast, so two of those, along with a 2TB HDD and a pair of 27″ Cinema displays, and the Apple Store cost of today’s equal-or-greater system is actually just a shade under $8000. Which has us still pondering a nearly 4X difference in cost.

    From my own perspective, I probably wouldn’t buy the Apple displays, when competent similar displays are a third the cost. There’s more value to be had in the Mac itself because of OS X, which is probably where the compel is here. So we can cut over a thousand off that cost really quick. But this just brings up another question:

    I might not have bothered with this reply except that I’ve always wondered what the average person *does* with 8 or 12 core systems. A Mac Mini could very possibly serve as my primary workstation. For the most part, I’m running things like ssh and firefox. I sometimes have a need to run vSphere Client but I’ve been meaning to see if I can get that vnc’d from one of the vmware servers. A few other odds and ends like Avocent AVWorks are annoying problems (maybe also a target for virtualization). I think the most stressful things my computers do is to allow Flash to run amok when Firefox loads some poorly coded page. I don’t do much gaming but I am not sure that any games require a dozen cores even so. Under OS X, and we do have some Mac Mini’s, I think the most stressful thing they do is running the godawful thing Apple calls iTunes, which often goes all beachball for short periods of time – usually everything else is pretty zippy, even with four or five users logged in.

    From my perspective, we have a number of HP Business PC’s (free Windows licenses! whee!) that can run Windows or pretty much any other *IX, but the downside to them is that they’re piggy on power – about 100 watts worth, maybe. I keep a bunch of them, like the workshop ones, off unless needed, but even so, we have four or five that tend to be burning 24/7. The Mac Mini has a better CPU, and is lower power when idling, but damn those things are a bit on the pricey side. :-) I can’t really imagine what I’d use a big beastly Mac Pro for… so, what the heck does the average person use these things for?

  • I didn’t post before and I should have :)

    You can’t use W series Xeons in a MP system.

    9500 series GPU is for the suck.

    That monitor doesn’t look so great IRL.