Thursday, December 26, 2013

How much it would cost to build a Mac Pro-like PC?

The new Mac Pro from Apple is out and showing us what it can do, but when you look at its price tag you'll probably wonder: wouldn't it be cheaper to build a computer with identical specs, using off-the-shelf components? And the answer may surprise you.

Of course, you'll have to assume some things right from the start: you won't be able to build an identical sized computer due to the Mac Pro uncommon format with custom made hardware, and you also won't be able to find exactly the same AMD graphic cards - leaving us to choose the most identical ones - and you'll have to leave out Thunderbolt connectivity as there are no Xeon motherboards available with it. So... keep those in mind.

But looking at roughly the same components, we quickly find out a few of them that catapult its price to "absurd levels". The chosen Mac Pro was the high-end one, costing $9,599 with:
  • 2.7GHz 12-core Intel Xeon E5 with 30MB of L3 cache
  • 64GB (4x16GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC
  • 1TB PCIe-based flash storage (1GB/s(
  • Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each
When you start adding similar components you get:

Yep... a similar PC would cost you more than a Mac Pro, by quite a while! Sure, you would also get a standard PC case where you would be able to install several hard-drives and/or expansion cards; and you might choose each component individually to suit your needs/budget. But it should be enough to prove that the Mac Pro isn't such a bad deal after all.

... In any case, just a couple of years from now you can expect these awesome machines to be as absolete as any other 2y old computer. In fact, give a couple years more and you'll probably end up having a similar amount of processing power in your smartphone or tablet... for a fraction of the price. That's the scariest part! :)

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