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The Mac Pro vs DIY build argument


Stephen Fung for Futurelook:
After tabulating all the major component costs (plus another $99.99 US for Windows 8 Pro), we are at a total of around $11,530.54 US using today’s prices at retailers that actually stock the hardware,” he wrote. “I’m not afraid to admit that compared to the asking price of $9,599 US, the new Mac Pro seems like one heckuva deal for these components.

I've been tabulating component costs since the the Mac Pro specs were announced. I'm not that surprised Apple's integrated product comes in cheaper for off the shelf components. This may be a surprise, however, to people who just look at Apple's price stickers and assume there's a hidden "Apple tax" rather than accounting for everything that goes into delivering and supporting a product to Apple's reputation.

With that said, I've take issue with this comparison. First, Apple is using custom GPUs from AMD, which appears to be similar to the FirePro W9000 in the above build. Minor quibble, but each W9000 offers 0.5 teraflops better than the D700 per specs. Considering the GPUs are the single biggest cost component, that could be enough to tip the scales.

Another factor is while the Mac Pro is technically upgradable with memory, storage, and GPUs, DIY Mac Pro is completely upgradable. Plus additional expansion in the way of PCIe and on-board storage. How do you account for that value?

The biggest issue I have with these comparison, however, is lack of flexibility. Do you really need a Xeon class CPU? If not, you're way over paying for a Mac Pro. Do you really need FirePro GPUs? If not, you're way over paying. For the same money as a Mac Pro you could build a comparable system, but more to the point you could get more bang for your buck based on your needs.


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