iMac vs. build-your-own

I’ve been meaning to do this comparison for a while now, but this morning I decided to just jump in and do it. A lot of people are constantly complaining about how expensive Macs are and I’ve long held the notion that they are quite reasonably priced.

Here’s my break down:

  • CPU (i7 2600K 3.4GHz Sandybridge) $320
  • Motherboard (ASUS P8P67) $185
  • RAM (8GB DDR3 1333MHz) $83
  • Hard Drive (WD 1TB 7,200 RPM SATA 6G) $85
  • Video (ATI Radeon 6970M) $300
  • Keyboard/Mouse (MS wireless) $80
  • Monitor (Dell Ultrasharp 27″ 2560×1440) $1000
  • Webcam (Any) $50
  • Speakers (Any) $15

The main expense here is definitely the CPU and the monitor. However, for equal comparisons I wanted to add a monitor that was comparable in quality, display, depth, etc. You could obviously go with a cheaper monitor from an off-brand, but I think that’s not a fair comparison.

Here’s the results:

  • Apple iMac 27″ with 3.4 GHz CPU and 8GB RAM factory installed: $2,199
  • BYO with above specs: $2,118

The difference is about $81.

I poked around a bit at some desktop solutions as well, and even an entry level desktop with the i7 2600K and the Dell ultrasharp monitor is going to start around $2,000.

It looks like my notion about the value of a Mac is accurate. Furthermore, with the fact that the iMac is a single piece of equipment that includes the computer and the monitor and you get what I still feel is the worlds best operating system plus a bunch of free software, it is hard to argue that an iMac isn’t a great value.

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