Building A Mac Killer Pt. IIa – Breaking Down The iMac

Welcome back folks – as promised, I bring you the 2nd installment in the ‘Building a Mac Killer’ series. Paying attention to these articles will carry a multitude of benefits, especially for those of you who aren’t too hardware savy. You see, there is this false general consensus that an Apple computer is somehow ‘better’ than anything you can get at a particular price point. Apple doesnt really explain why, and neither do the rabid Mac fanboys – it’s just assumed if you disagree you’re a dull witted PC user who is not ‘in on the secret’.

Well my friends, the only secret is that Apple is deliberately robbing their fan base blind, while providing nothing for that premium – unless you think an OS with scarce 3rd party software support is worth that premium when there are alternatives out there that are free (Linux or Solaris x86 anyone?)

Now if you love OSX, and dont mind paying the extra $$ for the experience, power to you! If you are looking for a computer, like to tinker, and are genuinely interested in saving money, read on…

First, let’s take a look at the base level iMac’s system components:

-1GB DDR2 Memory
-250GB SATA Hard Drive
-2.0Ghz Intel Core2Duo
-SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
-Apple Mighty Mouse
-Apple Keyboard (English) + Mac OS X
-ATI Radeon HD2400 128Mb
-20″ Widescreen Display

Not bad – a good general purpose PC for someone who really isnt into gaming or other graphic-intensive stuff. For $1200 though…you could do a whole lot better, even purchasing a machine from an OEM like Dell or HP.

The iMac is now an ‘all in one’ solution – where all the computer components are integrated into the housing of the monitor. While I know everyone has different needs when it comes to a computer system, I really think this is a poor idea – especially when purchasing an OEM computer.

An all-in-one’s biggest fault is that its not very upgradeable. By selecting your own components, it’s very possible to design some level of ‘futureproofing’ into your new machine, ensuring that when new technology arrives – and it does with blinding speed – you’re able to update your machine at an acceptable cost. What if you want a bigger monitor when 28″ display’s drop down below $400? Faster CPU? You’re screwed if you just bought a shiny new iMac – not even an Apple Genius is going to be able to help you there! Unless, of course, you want to spend more money…

With the iMac, or any mac for that matter, you are expected to purchase a new system. This is bad for the consumer – great for the corporation who is selling the locked down, unupgradeable, all-in-one PC solution.

Now, some of you may be thinking ‘but all I want to do is surf the internet, etc – the all in one PC solution is perfect for me!’ Well then son, get yourself a $500 laptop and run Ubuntu on it:

ubuntu - because Apple sucks

…now let’s look at the completely pimped out iMac, which comes in at an nauseating $3449:

-2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme
-4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM – 2x2GB
-1TB Serial ATA Drive
-SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
-Apple Mighty Mouse
-Apple Keyboard (English) + Mac OS X
-ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory
-24-inch glossy widescreen LCD
-AirPort Extreme

Roll those specs and prices around in your brains, and stay tuned for this afternoon’s installment – part IIb, where will see just how much computer we can get at these price points.

You’re gonna be shocked!

2 Responses to “Building A Mac Killer Pt. IIa – Breaking Down The iMac”

  1. francis dinardo on October 24th, 2007 at 9:07 am

    i need to run logic pro 8 software that runs in os10 so if you could tell me what mother board to use with 2- 4 core processors and how to set it up i would be willing to send you 100 dollars as a show of gratuded i need the strongest machine i can build and dont want to make any mistakes in building it . my phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx cell is xxx-xxx-xxxx thanks once agian francis dinardo

  2. Hey Francis! While it certainly would be possible to build a ‘Hackintosh’ that could run Logic Pro 8, I would caution against it – especially if the computer is the central hub of your studio. Because Apple tries to lock down their OS to run only on their specific hardware (they even have a special ‘security chip’ in their computers that is an attempt to keep OSX from running on non-Apple machines) – you may run into issues that could impede your creative workflow. And the Logic folks won’t help you – because the system your are running their software on will be considered ‘unsupported’. My suggestion, if you are not fully invested in Logic, is to explore other alternatives to that DAW software that will run great on a PC that you can build yourself for hundreds less than a Mac with half the performance. Check out Cakewalk’s Sonar 7: – it’s really an amazing DAW solution and with the recent updates to version 7, really stands apart from the pack. Not to mention a native 64-bit version is included with purchase that works great and is incredibly powerful…