Mac vs PC - How Much is The OS Worth?

Published by: TheMightyOz on 24th Sep 2010 | View all blogs by TheMightyOz


How Much is The OS Worth?


I recently had to replace my 8 month old HP DV9700t laptop, and with a budget of $2400, (the price of my laptop when I received it 8 months previously)  I went looking at the different options available to me at the time.   I started my search with Apple.  I had used Apple computers for recording music through most of the 90's, and up until 2004, when I got my first XP PC.  Let me just say for the record, I am not a fan of XP.  I love the Mac OS and I loved the Apple Computer!  "Think Different" was Apples catch phrase for years, and for good reason;  all the Macs that I had been using, used a proprietary chip set called RISC processing.  RISC stands for Reduced Instruction Set Computing and was a much more elegant way of computing.  This type of processing came into the mainstream during the introduction of the Mac-line known as the PowerPC (not to be confused with the company PowerPC, which for a brief period of time, was actually licensed, by Apple, to produce Mac clones).  This made the Apple/Mac world an entirely different beast than the PC world. For a time, if you wanted to do graphics or audio, Mac was the only way to fly. The hardware and software were made specifically for each other, resulting in a more stable platform, right out of the box.   Especially when compared to the very open-ended encoding of Windows, which was built for a multitude of hardware configurations. This, at least in my humble opinion, made it worth the extra $500 to a $1000 dollars one would spend.

This changed in June 2005 when Apple announced that they would be abandoning the Motorola/IBM RISC processor and would now be using Intel processors. That also represents the beginning of the end of Apple computers in my world. I just didn't realize it until December of last year, when I went to the Apple website to replace my laptop.

Understand, at this point, that I use my laptop for running both a digital audio workstation and running a CAD style program for interior design.  I also run 2 desktops, so I need something with a real fast and powerful processor, and a serious video card.  Lots of RAM was also a major consideration.  So, naturally I go to the online Apple store and I start customizing a computer, just to get an idea of the spec /cost ratio (translation=Bang for your Buck).
The first thing I noticed was that the components in the 17" MacBook Pro were pretty much the same, and in some instances not even as good as the DV9700 I had just lost.  Both sported a 17" LCD screen, both used Intel Core2Duo Processors @ 2.53 GHz, both maxed out at 4 gigs of ram…but that's where the similarities end.

My DV9700 had a BD-Rom/CD/DVD Dual Layer Burner with LightScribe, a fingerprint reader, HDMI out, VGA out, and a SVideo out, plus a bay for 2 separate HDD.  The MacBook Pro only had a slot loading DVD/CD Burner and an minivideo out, which one would need to by a special adapter (only $49.99 from Apple) just so one could hook up a secondary external monitor.  It only had room for 1 HDD,  3 USB 2.0 ports and a Firewire 400 port, and of course it runs the latest OSX version "Snow Leopard".


That was  the "current" top-of-the-line model available from Apple as of December 2009.  The price?  $3400….  $1000 more than the DV9700.

 I then went to The HP Website to build a custom laptop from them and the difference was astounding.

Here's what I ordered:
HP Model DV8t CTO (Custom To Order) and it Specs out as so.
Intel i7 720 quad core Processor @ 1.6 GHz (with Intel variable overclocking up to 2.83GHZ)
500Gb 7200 RPM HDD + room for second HDD
 6  Gigs Ram -Expandable to 8 Gig
1GB NVidia GeForce GT 230M (HDMI, VGA out)
18.4" LED LCD 1080p Screen
Fingerprint Reader
WiFi B/G/N/ Bluetooth Network Card
BD/DVD/CD Burner with Dual Layer support
3 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB-eSATA port
1 Firewire 800 Mini-port
Altec Lansing Speakers w/ sub woofer
A built-in HDTV digital/Analogue TV Tuner
Windows 7 OS, 64-bit Home Premium.
 
The Grand Price tag, after tax, came to $1888.

ALL OF THE APPLE COMPONENTS ARE 100% PC COMPATABLE.  Every last one can be purchased at your local pc parts store. The ONLY real difference is Apple put a proprietary chip on their motherboards called a Trusted Platform Module (TPM).  The TPM is what tells the installer that THIS computer came from Mac. This chips' sole purpose is to prevent the general public from loading the Mac OS onto a PC.

So why would I want to spend, in this case, $1200 dollars more, just for the Mac OS?  I mean a software savvy person can easily shoehorn OSX "Snow Leopard" into my HP DV8t and it would run pretty much the same. I know several people who have done just that using a company called Psystar.  The Psystar Corporation not only figured out a way to emulate this chip, they were actually selling PC's with the OSX preloaded.

Unfortunately, Steve Jobs, the hippie turned ultra-yuppie, turned dirtbag, greedy-corporate-bean-counting-jerk, has sued the company for licensing infringement.  Then they release a statement saying they would sue anyone who goes out and purchases a copy of OSX Snow Leopard ($59.99 retail vrs $179 for Win 7 Home Premium) and tries to do the same....even for their own personal use . 

You'd think Mr. Jobs would want a greater share of the OS Market. But I guess if you can mark up the price of the hardware 50-100% and make profit off of that as well as the OS….then I guess Mr. Jobs is a mainstream capitalist just like the boys at IBM, the company he said he didn't want to be…..and after all, he has sort of a Jim Jones type of cult following that will buy anything he cranks out with an Apple logo on it.  EVEN THOUGH IT'S REALLY JUST A PC.

So the next time you are comparing Mac vs PC, just ask yourself, How much is the OS worth?

Here are some Current configurations from both Apple and HP:

Apple Specifications MacBook Pro 17"
"    2.66GHz Intel Core i7
"    8GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X4GB
"    500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm
"    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
"    MacBook Pro 17-inch Hi-Resolution Antiglare Widescreen Display
"    Backlit Keyboard (English) & User's Guide
"    Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter
"    Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter
"    Apple Remote
"    AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Pro (w/or w/o Display) - Auto-enroll
Price $3515

HP ENVY 17
#  Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
o System Recovery DVD with Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
# o HP 2-year Care Pack Accidental Damage Protection Service with LoJack for Laptops
# o Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-840QM processor (1.86GHz, 8MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz
# o 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 5850 Graphics [HDMI]
# o 8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
# o 640GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
# o Microsoft(R) Office Starter 2010
# o No additional security software
# o 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (standard) - Up to 2.5 hours of battery life +++
# o 17.3" diagonal Full HD HP Ultra BrightView Infinity LED Display (1920x1080)
# o Blu-ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support (Slot Load)
# o HP TrueVision HD Webcam
# o Intel Wireless-N Card with Bluetooth
# o Backlit Keyboard
# o Corel(R) PaintShop Photo(TM) Pro X3 + Corel(R) VideoStudio(R) Pro X3
# o FREE Upgrade to Computrace LoJack for Laptops, Four Years from One Year 
Price: $2338

HP DV8t
"   Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
"  o System Recovery DVD with Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
"  o HP 2-year Care Pack House Call Service with Accidental Damage Protection for HP Pavilion Laptop PC
"  o Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-720QM Quad Core processor (1.6GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 2.8 GHz
"  o 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 230M [HDMI, VGA]
"  o FREE Upgrade to 6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
"  o 640GB 7200RPM SATA Dual Hard Drive (320GB x 2) with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
"  o Microsoft(R) Office Starter 2010
"  o SAVE $20! Norton Internet Security(TM) 2010 - 15 Month Subscription (activation required)
"  o 8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (standard) - Up to 3.75 hours of battery life +++
"  o 18.4" diagonal High Definition HP Ultra BrightView Infinity Display (1920x1080p)
"  o Lightscribe Blu-ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
"  o Webcam and Fingerprint Reader with HP Imprint Finish (Espresso Black)
"  o Intel Wireless-N Card with Bluetooth
"  o Standard Keyboard
"  o No TV Tuner w/remote control
"  o FREE Upgrade to Computrace LoJack for Laptops, Four Years from One Year

Price: $1733

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