Why Apple Macs are still way expensive

Why Apple Macs are still way expensive

The numbers will present themselves. Tons of blog posts and columns have been dedicated to the idea that Apple Macs are not only better but actually cheaper than your regular computers from Dell, HP, Acer and Lenovo. Let’s cut to the chase and show you hard facts and real numbers.

Just go to the Apple website and order yourself a fully loaded Mac or MacBook. Here are the screen shots:

Upgrade your MacBook’s RAM from 1GB to 4GB: $850

MacBook RAM

The iMac’s RAM from 2GB to 4GB: $700

iMac RAM


The MacPro RAM from 1GB to 16GB: $4,499 (it’s $699 from 1GB to 4GB)

MacPro RAM

Now, let’s go to the HP website and get our PC a memory upgrade.

The HP D4996T Ultimate Desktop series from 2GB to 4GB: $170


Note, all RAM upgrades are DDR2-667MHz dual channel SDRAM (PC5300). As a comparison, a 4GB (2GBx2) RAM purchase directly from the manufacturer’s website (Kingston, Corsair, Crucial) will only cost you $150.

So why is Apple charging almost $350 per GB or RAM when SRP is just about $50? That’s a 700% mark-up. maybe it’s hard to personally insert an extra RAM module there so Apple is actually charging for professional installation fee to add more memory to your new Mac.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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55 Responses

  1. Ken says:

    Apple RAM prices have always been high, for unclear reasons as Mac desktops are incredibly easy for users to add RAM to. In fact, I’ve added RAM to both Macs and PCs and have found Mac towers to be the easiest to upgrade. I’m not sure about iMacs but I quickly did a search and it seems easy enough.

    So for users “in the know” I’d be careful about using your analyses to quantify prices.

  2. David says:

    Apple has always been expensive for RAM upgrades.
    Why not buy the RAM separately and install yourself.. DUH ! no brainer for Mac users. Only place that could be tricky is with the laptop.

    However Macs can be LESS expensive:
    (1) they have better trade in value… keep one 2-3 years and it’s still worth 40-50% of the list price. Try that will a Dell or HP. Saves $$.

    (2) Don’t need virus software, spyware, and all that crud. Saves $$ and headaches.

    (3) Don’t need an extended warranty except maybe with a laptop- they get more abuse, but I’ve had 8 Mac desktops without ANY extended warranties. Never saw the shop either. Macs are built tough ! Saves $$ !

    (4) Buy a computer like you buy a car, ask yourself what kind of ride you want? smooth and trouble free or bumpy? what kind of trade in you want? a good sum or pennies on the $? how many breakdowns can you tolerate?

    The beauty of the Mac is it’s almost 100% TROUBLE FREE so the only limitation to your creativity is YOUR imagination… and iLife08 and iWork08 suites are really great and cheap- $69 !Try getting MS Office for $69 ! even the student copy is >$150.
    Try Apple’s One to One program- 52 hours of PERSONAL training for $99 !! Saves you money and makes you VERY productive.

    RAM costs are one minor issue.


  3. REB says:

    I think you’re right about special handling. This upgrade may lead to inefficiencies in the shipping process as well. Apple has always charged much higher prices for RAM, even when units were produced stateside. At least the do-it-yourself process is quite easy with Apple’s hardware designs. BTW Crucial has 4GB, (2-2GB), new iMac’s & portables’ RAM for $100.

    Your title implies a broader subject than just RAM.

  4. David says:

    I forgot to add Macs last longer. I upgrade my Mac every 5 years and they still run fine. They don’t become technologically obsolete as fast as other PCs – hence better trade value. The fact I can upgrade every 5+ years instead of every 3 or so saves me $$$.

    And lastly, a Mac with 2 Gb of RAM is a lot of RAM. Windows machines esp running VISTA need more than a Mac running Leopard. If you need 4 or more Gb of RAM you’re a professional using your Mac to make a living (graphics, web design, animation, etc), your costs can be covered, and again there are cheaper ways to get the RAM.

  5. paul says:

    apple has always charged a premium for ram and other options. the cost conscious consumer just orders the computer and gets ram/hard drives somewhere else. no secret here.

    more switchers are seeing the value of a complete package with stunning software. not a stripped down gimmick rebate pc with substandard apps. increasingly the apple difference is the free premium software and robustness of a unix based osx.

    as 2008 unfolds, pc’s will look even more like yesterdays technology. apple’s innovation will continue with integrated consumer devices, mobile web and great software. the differences will become even larger than last years. it will be a great 2008!

  6. SteveN says:

    What am I missing? You don’t have to buy memory from Apple. You can buy it just like you buy the memory for a Dell.

    What’s the diff? What’s the reason for writing this if you don’t know that much?

  7. Don says:

    I can put $500 tires and $1,000 wheels on a Scion, but that doesn’t make the Scion expensive, it makes my choice of extras expensive.

    However, it is true that you won’t find $500 Macs including monitors, keyboards, and a terabyte of memory. But that’s like saying you won’t find Fords at Chevy dealerships—they’re not in that market.

    However, if you compare current Macs with current name brand Windows-based computers on a quality for quality, feature for feature basis, you’ll find that Macs are competitively priced with the exception of servers, where they Mac servers are far cheaper than Windows-based servers (due to Microsoft’s licensing rules).

  8. You could mention hard drives as well, I think Apple charges too much for those as well. But that is well known facts as previously stated. And any current Mac owner will give you the simple hint to buy your own RAM and HD. The manual you get in the box will show you how to install it :).

    But those aside, I think that when adding up all you get in the box, buying a PC with equal hardware and software will indeed cost quite allot more. Or maybe PC users are to used to stealing their software from pirate sites, to even consider the bundled software as part of the price?

  9. Mr Roberto says:

    I think it’s because Apple uses a special apple sauce in all their RAM. It makes the screen ultra-lickable.

    Re above apologists: which part of “$170 from original HP” compared to “$700 from original Apple” is hard for you to grasp?

    1. “Macs don’t need much memory; 2GB on a Mac is plenty.”
    And thank God for that! When you consider that 2GB from Apple costs about the same as 4GB from HP.

    2. “Easy to install own RAM on Macs.”
    As compared to what, flying a rocket ship? RAM installs exactly the same way in a PC. Duh.

    3. “Can buy third party RAM and install it yourself.”
    Right. So all those reports blaming wonky RAM for Leopard’s wonky performance is wrong, then. Leopard really is wonky on its own. Thanks for the clarification.

    4. “Macs hold better trade in value.”
    Really? Tried selling a G5 Mac lately?

    5. “Don’t need extended warranty.”
    Right. Because Macs hardly break. Except for the wonky screen problems on new iMacs and MacBooks, and frequent hard disk failures, and warped cases, they’re just about perfect.

    6. “Macs last longer.”
    So do Celeron PCs, if you’re not into multimedia creation. In fact, most users don’t need much beyond 1GHz processor and 1GB RAM to run Windows XP or Linux.

  10. Yeah says:

    I guess there’s an Apple sucker-er born every minute. No wonder Apple can keep fleecing ’em for so long.

  11. Ben says:

    Bwahahaha. $530 diff btwn HP n Apl ram and ppl r standing in line to defend the practice?? Suckerzzzz!

  12. BrianB says:

    I can’t sell my 3-month old Mac. The keyboard and touch pad look like an old gas stove. I’ve also noticed that I had to reboot sometimes because it freezes. I experience long lags on my Dell Centrino but it never has to be rebooted. Still using it after over 2 and a half years (also used it for gaming).

    Macs are relatively inexpensive here in the Philippines, compared to Dells and Lenovos which are priced almost 100% more compared to the US. I also like the peace of mind that comes with AppleCare. But damn, does it heat up fast. Battery life sucks as well.

    The worst part is the Apple snobs. i can imagine Apple lovers looking at my white MacBook with disgust, and judging the owner as well, no doubt.

  13. veggiedude says:

    Just buy the RAM from Crucial.com, its that simple. Installing into a Mac Book is easy. Just lift up the keyboard.

  14. Ej says:

    Mac market share is almost 8% now. It’s getting a little crowded in here for my liking. So yes, please stay away from my hideously expensive suckerzz only platform.

  15. lantzn says:

    I’ve been buying Macs since 1986 both professionally and for home use. Macs have never been more comparable in price to PCs. The author of this article tries to point out that Apple upgrade ram prices are overly high, and they ARE. Which is why myself and others do NOT buy our ram from Apple. We buy it from places like OWC, Crucial (Micron) and other places found on Pricewatch.com. Even after this is pointed out the Apple bashers continue to bash Macs users and say they are stupid for buying highly priced ram. How thick are you guys, are you listening? MOST of what is found inside Macs these days that are upgradeable are off the shelf hardware, like SATA drives, DDR ram, PCI cards, ATA optical drives. The big advantage is the UNIX OS and the software included with Macs. Plus you can now run any OS or app you want on them.

    Checkout all the upgrades here.

    Checkout real price comparing here.

  16. BrianB says:

    Apple fanboys are ugly and have tiny penises.

  17. Macs are good I’ve heard. But what about Moore’s law? I don’t think Macs works well if we believe Moore’s Law.

    *Moore’s Law describes an important trend in the history of computer hardware: that the number of transistors that can be inexpensively placed on an integrated circuit is increasing exponentially, doubling approximately every two years.[1] The observation was first made by Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore in a 1965 paper.[2][3][4] The trend has continued for more than half a century and is not expected to stop for a decade at least and perhaps much longer

  18. Huw Evans says:

    Why is your post titled “Why Apple Macs are still way expensive” when the subject is actually why third party RAM sold by Apple is more expensive than third party RAM sold by other PC manufacturers?

    I Look forward to readingyour article about Why Apple Macs are still way expensive

  19. JJIrons says:


    Idiot useless comments like yours do nothing for anyone. Why are you so focused on your pee-pee? Are you a pervert or just one in the making?

    Get a brain before you post again. Loser.

  20. BrianB says:


    Losers are people with no sense of humor and are obviously hurt by a common and cliched comment.

  21. BrianB says:

    And JJ, I feel no hesitation about speaking or writing what is TRUE.

    Apple fans act like they invented Apple products. It’s consumer pride for the brainless (think fur coat owners). But since Apple users are obviously not brainless, then we, sir, have to find another motive for their obsession. I was only pointing to the most plausible explanation. If it’s not their brain, it must be their stomach, and since you cannot eat this Apple we are talking about, we must point to the next item on the hierarchy of human motivation…

  22. jhay says:

    I’ve never read so many Apple Fanboys commenting in this blog before. ;)

  23. j4s0n says:

    Yikes… Intriguing title Abe, though you’ve just talked about RAM (and it’s an optional upgrade! which isn’t much necessarily after all). A more detailed comparison would have been better.

    The bundled softwares that comes with mac and a bunch of nifty features made them stand out than any consumer OS and machine around. Commercial Mac softwares are still relatively cheap compared to PC.

    IMO, in general, it’s still cheaper compared to PCs and you really get what you paid for.

  24. well everything is dropping except for macs..hmmm try using a celeron pc with a fedora..and you’ll automatically forget mac and ms :P

    happy new year to all

  25. Hi Abe!

    Are you contemplating on getting a Mac? ;-)

    As what the others mentioned already… those memory upgrades are optional. It is almost always cheaper to get the model/unit with the lowest ram config possible and just buy a new pair of ram sticks with a higher capacity from a reputable brand.

    Then just take out the orig sticks and replace it with a new pair of ram sticks so you won’t encounter stability problems in using different ram sticks. What to do with the old sticks? you can always sell them ;-)

    You may want to check out http://feedback.longbeard.info/ for some good deals on macs and more affordable memory upgrades.

    just my 2c

  26. Adrian says:

    if you have money then go for the memory pero kung wala pwede na pagtiisan ok naman mac eh!

  27. Me says:

    I have to agree with many others here.
    I have read many comparisons about value of computers by different manufactures. Sony, Dell, Alienware, HP, Compaq and more recently Apple.

    In the past year or so I have even read comparisons about Apple actually being cheaper then some of the PC brands. This was by a few Computer Mag’s, not apple propagandists web sites. The mac pro -> high end Dell, the iMac against Gateway One and the Dell all in one. So I was intrigued to see the opposite here that Apple Macs are still WAY EXPENSIVE.

    BUT all I saw here was Apple charges more for Ram, and that you compared different amounts and types. I saw that you compared upgrading 1GB in a Mac to 4GB (a 4x increase) compared to 2GB in the HP to 4GB (a 2x increase). I also learned you compared SO-Dimms (notebook memory) in the iMac and Macbook to regular desktop dimms in the HP.

    After a little searching, I also learned a few more things…………

    There are many grades of Ram and the ones for Mac are higher priced (for PC and Mac) It seems the Mac, for better or worse, requires a more stringent ram requirement.

    There have been numerous articles about Ram costing more at Apple FOR YEARS and advising people to purchase elsewhere. (google -> apple ram price cost)

    SO, while I think you have a very valid article, the title is very incorrect. Maybe Apple systems are more expensive, I didn’t have enough time tonight to do comparisons between MACS and PC’s, but they have been done many times.
    But this is like having an article saying computers at CompUSA cost more, because their add-on ram cost more (I was always shocked RAM cost 2x – 3x more than online at CompUSA)

    I normally do *slight* research on the cost of any upgrades when I buy a system. The last two were a Dell laptop and a cheap e-machine desktop.
    Any shopper will compare the spec’s against what else is out there, or in the store. But If you want a bigger HardDrive, more Ram or better VideoCard, most people will compare what it costs elsewhere. Look at Pricewatch or Google for what you want. If its slightly more, I always buy from the manufacture since its less work and includes a warranty. But if its a LOT less I will buy it elsewhere, even if I have to pay to have it professionally installed.

    So, WHile I agree, Apple charges too much for Ram (and Much more then HP from the above example, I didn’t check other manufactures)
    From what I read in your article that does not mean MACS are more expensive unless you force the person to purchase ram from apple.

    My Bias… I have recently been considering buying an apple laptop and have been reading articles about them.
    BUT FOR ANY CURRENT LAPTOP…… I found I can buy 4GB of Ram for $93 generic to $149 crucial http://www.ramseeker.com/memory/MacBook_(KITS)-4gb/
    And a 250GB HardDrive for under $150 http://www.nextag.com/250gb-2.5/search-html

    Please compare price/feature in price comparisons in the future. Not add-on’s unless the article is about add-on’s.
    Thank You

  28. andre says:

    mahal lang talaga ang Mac, period. if only Mac OS X can be legally run on non-Apple machines! :)

  29. Ordnacin says:

    Good God, naglabasan mga fanboys. As I said before Apple might look inexpensive when you look at the base products but when you factor in the prices of the accessories that’s where they make oodles of money. P4000-5000 for a freaking component cable for the iPod Nano Fatso ?

  30. Apples are nice and fancy, but theyre not winning any cheapest computer awards.

  31. Junelle says:

    There’s only 2 things I like about my MAC. The design and the Photo Booth.

    The rest …

    I am getting myself a new machine when I have saved enough money … and by that time … it’s gonna be back to WINDOWS!

  32. BlueFrix says:

    Hi there Abe. I’ve been reading the whole comments box and you’ve got a lot of explanations to do for some comment reactions. Hehe.. ;-)

  33. Tim says:

    “Apples are nice and fancy, but theyre not winning any cheapest computer awards.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Apple products are indeed nice looking, they perform well, but in the end, they’re just not practical to buy. They’re more hype rather than functionality.

    And i guess the whole “more expensive and classy” image Apple has is the reason behind why fanboys and girls so like to look down on others who aren’t so impressed with Apple.

    Here’s a link that some might find funny: http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=iphone

  34. Brad says:

    The only Mac you should buy fully specced with RAM is a Mini, they are a pain in the harris to fit memory into. All the others, buy with the minimum of RAM and fit your own if you want the same price.

    In fairness, the reason the examples seem so much more expensive is that they are bigger, 2GB modules compared with the Dell’s 1GB DIMMS.
    Even from Crucial, 8 2GB DIMMS of that spec are $1758 + Delivery – OK that is less that half the Apple price, what can I say – don’t buy RAM from Apple!

  35. ralph says:

    acer has better desktops

    alienware too

  36. BrianB says:

    Your country of residence should definitely factor in up high. In the Philippines, MacBooks are the best notebook option if you can afford spending 70k or so, and it’ll last you several years without an upgrade.

    MacBooks aren’t perfect, and I wish to God Dell offers warranties here in the Philippines, but they don’t and Apple is the best option.

    One more thing about owning a Mac. You cannot use Internet Explorer. I cannot open the apply box on JobsDB because it only supports Internet Explorer.

    If you’re crazy about taking pictures and home movies, a MacBook will quickly be your best friend.

  37. Albert Tyrone T Antig says:

    Ey Yuga ! I sell Macs for a living !


    I think the better comparison would be stock configuration. Compare a brand new out of the box macbook and a brand new out of the box branded windows laptop… HP or something else.

    You will find out a Macbook is cheaper than a similarly configured laptop from HP or maybe even Dell. And a macbook has a camera in frot !

    Plus, it runs both MAc OS X and Windows.

  38. Ey Yuga ! I sell Macs for a living ! :)

    I think the better comparison would be stock configuration. Compare a brand new out of the box macbook and a brand new out of the box branded windows laptop… HP or something else with the SAME or SIMILAR configuration. Hard drive, RAM, video card ? should be enough …

    Besides I can sell DDR2 667 RAM for P2,500 for Kingston 2GB stick. DONT BUY RAM FROM APPLE !

    visit my site http://mactrader.multiply.com/

    You will find out a Macbook is cheaper than a similarly configured laptop from HP or maybe even Dell. And a macbook has a camera in front !

    Plus, it runs both Mac OS X and Windows.

  39. Daemon says:

    here’s a tip rather buying a Expensive apple machine , why wont run the New Leopard OS in your Intel Machine… Don’t know how.. email me

  40. daemon… try searching for hackintosh :P

    let me know if you already tried it.

  41. Miguel says:

    The Macbook has lesser specs than non-Mac laptops in the same price class. For instance, those “PC” laptops in the PhP ~60K range have discrete acceleraed graphics from NVidia etc.

    If you just need a dual core laptop with Intel integrated graphics, you could get one from Acer for less than PhP 40K.

    On the other hand, Mac OS and the “Apple experience” of owning these products are… priceless! No?

  42. Sean says:

    I love how all of these people think that having a MAC means that you don’t need a virus scanner. This couldn’t be any farther from the truth, but I guess some people have to learn lessons the hard way.

  43. Miguel says:

    $3,000 MacBook Air + solid state drive, for the win! At least 2 GB RAM is standard.

  44. Dr. H says:

    It is fully-buffered RAM that Apple sells, and the PC RAM you checked out was unbuffered. Check the prices on buffered DDR2.

  45. Tim says:

    An alternative to Apple, Dell, HP, etc. is to build your own pc. Newegg.com offers the components to easily build your own computer. Purchase vista or xp operating system from them or install an alternative os (ubuntu etc.).
    In California, where I live, “you are what you drive” applies to computers as well as cars. This is a poor reason to select a Prius or an Apple.
    The biggest reason for the Apple bias is hate. Hate for the giant corporations from Walmart to Microsoft. This has been going on since Atari and Commodore fought it out back in my day.
    You have seen the recent Mac/PC ads. Conservative person (PC) versus liberal person (Apple). Political bias often dictates what you purchase here. Cost is not the main factor so memory cost is unimportant. These same people even buy coffee at retail plus (“to help the coffee farmer”)because they hate Starbucks giant corporation.
    My DIY pc has parts from Intel,Microsoft and other big corps. and I run Internet Explorer. Memory for my pc in February 09 at Newegg.com can be had for as little as $25 for 4GB ddrII. 300GB hard drives are $50. Build your own!

  46. anonymouscoward says:

    Mac Book Pro 17″
    upgrade ram from 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 to 8GB

    That’s TWICE what Dell and others want. Ridiculous.

  47. anonymouscoward says:

    and thats via the Apple website. Not some 3rd party ‘authorized reseller’.
    Sorry Apple, your Customer Care FAIL award is in the mail.

  48. Anonymous_stumbler says:

    I agree that this is ridiculous pricing.

    But to be fair to apple, the last example is with Error Correcting Code (EEC) ram. It is more expensive to manufacture than regular ram. It is usually only used in specialized server and super computer hardware.



  49. Dazed says:

    All the Mac apologists are missing the point entirely. Sure, you can go buy your ram somewhere else and install it yourself, but most Mac users are tards with no computer knowledge and heaps of money to burn.

    Apple is counting on this. You’re defending a business practice that some might call highway robbery.

    There is nothing at all that can account for the markup except greed and the knowledge that people are stupid. Don’t defend those who are trying to exploit you.

  50. Jim Smith, João Pessoa, Brazil says:

    I upgraded my iMac RAM from the Standard 2 GB to 4 GB for $50. At the same time, I went to DDR3 at 800MHz.

    But on the plus side, most of the software was far cheaper than the PC equivalents when it wasn’t actually free. For example, I was using Sony Vegas that cost $700 when I bought it. The equivalent program for the Mac is Final Cut Express for $150. Plus FCE was easier to learn and use. In fact, I found many free tutorial videos.

    I have NeoOffice, a Mac-Optimized version of OpenOffice that does everything MS Office does and is free. I have other programs that were either free on under $50. So I gave saved a bundle on software.

    Yes, I can play all my PC games and they run faster and better with nothing more than Crossover Games. No dual boot, or Windows emulators needed.

    Then there are the things that come with OSX that cost extra with Windows systems like Preview for all files including PDFs (take THAT Adobe), a spell checker, a group of widgets like a translation program and unit conversion applet, etc. True some of these are also available as free 3rd-party programs for Windows, but do they all work as perfectly as one built into the OS??

    Finally, the quality of the build itself exceeds any PC I have ever owned. Even the KB is the best.

  51. It’s their job to install their own hardware. They don’t need to charge it.

    I think, their hardware are durable that have a long life span of usage.

    In the other side, it is still very expensive and it’s hard to find mac accessories when you are not in the big cities.

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