osViews compares iMac, DIY system pricing

— 2:14 PM on September 27, 2004

osViews has posted an editorial insisting that Apple's new iMac is less expensive than a DIY PC. The author compares the cost of a 1.6GHz G5-powered iMac, which runs $1,299, with that of a DIY system built around a Pentium 4 3.2GHz. He also adds the cost of a bunch of software to his DIY build, which comes out to $1,596 when all's said and done.

While it's difficult to compare the value of Macs and PCs, especially when you consider software cost, the author's DIY system hardware spec left me scratching my head. He seems to live in a bizarre parallel universe where AMD doesn't exist.

To see if I could do better, I hit up the web site of one of my local shops and started checking prices. I decided to use an Athlon 64 2800+ for my system, since with 64-bitness and a 1.8GHz clock speed, it's a far more appropriate competitor for the iMac's 1.6GHz G5 than a Pentium 4 3.2GHz. Otherwise, I tried to match osViews part for part. Here's what I came up with (all prices in USD):

Abit KV8 Pro motherboard (GigE and digital audio out on-board) - $114
Athlon 64 2800+ - $167
Seagate Serial ATA 80GB hard drive - $76
Liteon CDRW-DVD combo - $51
GeForce FX 5200 128MB - $65
256MB PC3200 memory - $56
56K V.92 Modem - $27
Case/PSU - $37
Speakers - $9
Keyboard - $9
Logitech optical wheel mouse - $13
Benq 17" analog/digital LCD - $361 (after rebate)
4-port Firewire card - $23
Taking software out of the equation, osViews' DIY system hardware costs $1186. My spec, with more graphics memory, Gigabit Ethernet, more USB and Firewire ports, and a much more appropriate processor, is nearly $200 cheaper at $1008. And I didn't even try that hard. You could probably put together an Intel-based DIY system for a similar price, too.

While it's unfortunate that the osViews editorial is so off-base, I'm more disturbed by the fact that the Mac community seems to be largely oblivious to the fact that AMD even exists. It's sad, really.

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