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The MacPro Quad Core Can Be Duplicated While Saving $2,564

Updated on March 20, 2011

Here's How To Get A Reasonable Equivalent Of A Mac Pro For Over $2,500 Less!

You will have to read my Hub on comparing theĀ Mac Pro OctoCore vs. a component build to really catch the drift of what's going on here. After showing that the Apple is overpriced by close to 75%, let's continue the same pricing comparison, but this time to a lower end Mac Pro and equivalent. This time I really want to show that you can blow Apple completely out of the box by comparing it to a slightly different Orange than a full, total equivalent. I think you'll agree with me that the extremely minor performance difference is well worth the price.

Back to we go to price out:

Mac Pro

  • Part Number: Z0D8
  • Two 2.66GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
  • 4GB (4 x 1GB)
  • Two 750GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
  • ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB (2 x dual-link DVI)
  • One 16x SuperDrive
  • Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse - U.S. English
  • Accessory kit
  • Mac OS X - U.S. English

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This system comes in at $4,245, which not only is just a bit less than the OctoCore monster I configured in the other Hub, but seems to be pretty outrageous for a quad core with 4GB RAM. Let's not jump to conclusions, however, until we see how the Orange System stacks up.

A lot of the pricing we can just transplant from our OctoCore System:

  • Two 750GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s: 2 x $210 = $420
  • ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB (2 x dual-link DVI): $270
  • One 16x Drive, Keyboard, Mouse, PSU, Case: $229
  • Windows XP Pro: $140

Notice that we've replaced the Goliathan 1,000W PSU which would have been overkill for this system with an Enermax EG851AX-VH(W) EPS12V 660W Power Supply for $129 from

When it comes to CPU choice this is where the hysterical frenzied hordes will go rampaging through Hubpages vandalizing and pillaging. I'm not going to go with two Intel dual cores. Nope. We're comparing Apples and Oranges, so I'm going with the Intel Q6600 quad core. I can hear the howls from the gathering mob right now! That's not fair! The Q6600 is only a 2.4GHz part against the 2.66GHz Mac CPUs! Well... tough. I'm choosing the Q6600 because it is an absolutely stunning performer but also because the price is just completely unbelievable. The Q6600 is in stock as I write this at for $289. Will you be losing some performance over the dual duals at 2.66GHz? Yes, if you look at the actual tested performance benchmarks between these systems, you'll likely be losing 6%. You have two choices: Realize that it's really not that much of a performance hit considering the price, or overclock it. There are some Q6600s on basic water cooling running at well over 3.6GHz, and 3.2GHz on air, so the Q6600 will run forever at 2.66GHz with its eyes closed and one hand tied behind its back.

All we need to do now is price out the Motherboard and RAM. We can start with the Asus P5K-VM LGA 775 Intel G33 uATX Intel Motherboard at $117 from old reliable, where we can also get our OCZ S.O.E 1GB 240-Pin SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Model OCZ2SOE8001G RAM at $54 each.

Final pricing time!

Hal Orange QuadCore

  • Part Number: HAL9000-4
  • One 2.4GHz Quad-Core Intel: $289
  • Asus P5K-VM Motherboard: $117
  • 4GB (4 x 1GB) RAM: 4 x $54 = $216
  • Two 750GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s: 2 x $210 = $420
  • ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB (2 x dual-link DVI): $270
  • One 16x Drive, Keyboard, Mouse, PSU, Case: $229
  • Windows XP Pro: $140

Total price $1,681. A difference of $2,564, or 153% over the Mac Pro.

Oh, I could editorialize for the rest of the month on what an outrageous pricing policy this is, and how Mac buyers are brainwashed, but I won't. I'll just let the figures speak for themselves. If you really think that $2,564 is a legitimate premium to pay for the Mac Pro over the Hal Orange Quad Core, then just go right ahead! I'll point you to the nearest Apple Store. But forgive me if I laugh while I do so.


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i am a video editor working on both the mac and pc platforms. our pc system specs are very close to our mac systems because we only care about the reliability of hardware through the years. an avid editing spec for a pc system costs pretty much the same as a mac pro config for a broadcast editing system. both use xeon server chips, have 64 bit os, huge ram options. we would never buy a clone system because the individual components are too unreliable and it is harder to optimize a system that way. i think if you want to surf the net and use imovie or winmovie or whatever and do a little photoshop here and there (whatever avg consumers do) you do not need a mac pro system or even a less expensive pc alternative. you can get away with a low end dual core pc with a mediocre os and 2 gigs of ram and you're spending way less than the mac pro pc alternative anyway.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      So uh, I don't know what you Apple fanboys are talking about, to be honest. I've used PCs all my life and when I got to college, we were required to purchase MacBook Pros for graphic design. It's been 2 years since I had to shell out $2500 for this thing and I have regretted it since. I have not had a single crash or anything on my PC. This Mac freezes and crashes multiple times per day and I have lost valuable projects and work because of it. One of my favorite crashes is when I'm trying to save something in Photoshop or Flash! Priceless!

    • profile image

      Kevin Eckhart 

      9 years ago

      I was a long time advocate for PC's. Built many of them. Fiddled with the registry, hotrodded the chips, and generally spent a bunch of time messing with them - and they were temperamental. When they worked, they were great - an then MS would come up with some service patch or other update that would take it back 5 steps and I would start over....tweak, fiddle, adjust.

      Now I have a beautiful macbook pro and a new Mac Pro. Their screens are nicer, there stuff works, and it's a breeze to do anything I want it to do.

      I laugh when I think about how much time I put into Windows machines just to get them to work properly. Even then - they were cheaply made by comparison.

      You want a Timex watch - go get one. But please don't compare it to a Breitling, just because it can keep time.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I can agree that Apple hardware may be overpriced but the major flaw in the whole premise is that Windows XP is in the same league as Apple OSX.

      In my previous job as a web developer for a major NYC hospital I showed up to work each day with my Powerbook G4 (the entire hospital is run on Windows). After taking cracks from colleagues about being an Apple 'fanboy' and spending too much for my computer it later became apparent to the wise-crackers that I was WAY MORE PRODUCTIVE than they were.

      I have always used both Apple OS and Windows for web development; it is a still a Windows world (sadly) but compare development times for the same project done on a Windows machine and an OSX box (assuming the same level of familiarity with both) and the project will inevitably run smoother and be done faster using the Apple.

      Why? Well, while the cheapos are complaining about the cost of an Apple machine and dealing with cutesy balloons offering to clean their desktops for them, throwing fatal errors with meaninless codes, and clicking away warnings about firewalls every five minutes, the person using the Mac is actually working on the project. When I use Windows I am constantly reminded that I am using a machine... a computer to do the work. It constantly interrupts the workflow and sometimes for no good reason and being a power-user of PCs I waste countless hours trying to find and disable obtrusive, annoying, and frustrating default behavors of the OS and MS applications that are found in some obscure corner of an Options>Advanced>Options>Options>Advanced>More Options>Advanced tab because the richest company in the world would rather let engineers decide what to call settings and where to put (hide) them than pay some usability experts to design a meaningful and consisent interface. On the Mac, I just do my work. If I need to change a setting or default behavior, it is usually found in a very logical place and is easily changed.

      As for performance, your processor may clock at only 6% less than the Apple choice, but your WindowsXP is going to drag it even further (even worse if you go with Vista). I run Photoshop on the Mac, too. And I run it at the same time as Aperture, iPhoto and Final cut while editing video and photos for a client project. At one time I had 25 Canon RAW images open in PS with all their layerd goodness while the other apps were open and I was able to seamlessly switch between them as I worked on the project. I had my video deck attached via standard Firewire and two 1 TB hard drives connected to FW800 as I was video chatting with the client online at the same time and sending her samples as I was rendering the video and polishing the photos. There simply are no apps like Aperture and Final Cut for Windows and I could almost have done the entire project with the bundled iLife apps (iPhoto and iMovie) that you so loathe. Oh, did I mention the Wacom Intuous and Shuttle Express HUIs I was using at the same time?

      Getting back to the hardware issue, I paid @ $3000 for a G3 tower and monitor in 1999, at the time, it was Apple's top of the line. I still have that machine and I still use it for web development and testing. It doesn't run the latest OS or software (but I was able to upgrade it from OS8 all the way up to 10.3.9) but is is just as reliable almost 9 years later as it was the day I bought it. All I ever needed to do to it was max out the RAM (1 gig). I still have a G3 Pismo laptop from the year 2000... same story. Upgraded from OS9 all the way to 10.3.9 and it works just the same now as it did when new. I don't even remember what PC I had at the time when I bought these machines, I have been through so many. I bought a G4 Powerbook in '03 (still works perfectly) and in Jan '06 I bought the top of the line G5 Quad which I am using today with 8gigs of RAM, 2x 23" screens and OS 10.5.1.

      I paid a premium for each of these machines, but the moral of the story is that when it comes to my Apple products vs the Windows machines I have had the misfortune of owning, the WHOLE is of much greater value than the sum of the parts.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      you re perfectly right, even if i find apple has an high end service also. let see something apple is making a lot of money in europe. let's choose a macbook pro core 2 duo 2.4ghz at $2400, and you'll see why refuses to sell in europe. now take the same macbook on or .be (france or belgium) and you'll see it comes at €2399. well it looks like apple has a different change rate than us: for them 1$=1€, for me 1€=1,4553$ or 1$=0,6870. we have to pay then $3491 for exactly the same computer. some may argue the custom taxes. don't forget, as apple says, it's designed in california, made in china. the custom taxes in both eu and usa are quite the same. that means somthing to me, apple are thiefs, and i don't buy from thiefs.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      12 years ago from Toronto

      You're absolutely right on the cashing in on brand names. Under the skin some Chryslers and Mercedes are absolutely identical, but one commands a price nearly double of the other. Still, when I'm going to be assembling my dual quadcore (most likely on a Penryn platform and I'm still praying for a 2x775 Skulltrail mobo) I sure as heck am not going to give Mr. Jobs an extra four or five grand just so I can gaze upon his brushed aluminum fruit!

      BTW, try the Apple Centre on Tottingham Court, the guys there are friendlier! :)

    • ervinGPD profile image


      12 years ago

      Dear guys, you are both very right in your own way.

      Apple has a very nice reputation, something very similar to Mercedes Benz or BMW to cash on theirs name. But, hey, why not? We're in market economy! We love brands. Who is not profitable bankrupts and is disappeared.

      PC rules the market and we could find even cheaper, better and faster components for your PC and the price difference could reach even $3000 mark. There is a question I will certainly address by myself very soon: There must be something in the Apple stuff, if most of their users are so very passionate about it!!! And that is so very interesting for me. I would have never argued so intensively, as you guys, because of my numerous PCs. I don't have very high opinion about Microsoft work, because it is simply far too extensive, bad programmed and with great lack of common sense, but I accept it, because it's a fact. It rules the world.

      But, if I could prove to myself that Apple could bring me better feelings while spending time with her/him and to be at least 10% more productive at my work, I'll buy it even if it is $3000 more expensive.


      Thanks guys! I'll visit Apple Centre at Regent Street, London, today and play a bit, there

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      12 years ago from Toronto

      Y'know, it's really funny since in my Mac Plus vs. AMD Dual Core Hub that caused such a ruckus I was widely accused of being an irrational Mac enthusiast! The mobo I chose was perfectly adequate to run the Q6600. Since you are poring through, you can certainly find motherboards with darn near every feature you're looking for that would barely add $100 to the bottom line. I don't use Firewire. I don't use WiFi on my desktop machine. I use a 5 button mouse and wouldn't give it up for Steve Jobs' bank account. All that ILife stuff is fine and dandy but I don't have it, I don't need it and if someone installed it on my PC I'd uninstall it in minutes. I run my PC lean and mean. Only the programs I need and not one extra. If I wanted to get reasonable facsimiles of all the "goodies" that are on OS X I could just go to and come back with a sheaf of shareware that would very adequately duplicate all those functions. My primary goal in a fast system is to run Photoshop at warp speed. The Q6600 as I've configured it will do that literally within a blink of an eye to the $2,564 more expensive Apple. That's what I care about. Full stop.

      I'm sure that there are lots of people who have an extra twentyfive hundred bucks burning a hole in their pocket who want to feel good about themselves because they're part of the Mac Elite, so they can go right ahead. After a decade turning hundreds of people from PC proletarians to Mac Elites, I decided to "downgrade" myself back to prole status. And like I said, I've never looked back.

      I won't try to stop the Mac Elites from spending 4 large on a system barely worth a grand and a half. I'll leave the people with the inferior intellect such as myself to get a system that will do absolutely everything that we want it to do, at virtually the identical speed and capacity of the way more expensive Mac, and laugh uproariously all the way to the bank.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      It is SO Apples to Oranges, and not just for the speed of the processor. You know, a Toyota Corolla is cheaper than a Hummer too. If you did what I suggested in your last article and minned out the RAM and HD, and bought what you were seeking third party, using your favorite provider for RAM (newegg) and using your numbers for HDs only gives a $1760 price differential. That assumes a straight comparison. The motherboard you've chosen only supports half the RAM that the Mac Pro does, it doesn't have FireWire800, it only supports audio in from the CD, it has no optical audio I/O, it doesn't have separate slots for the optional WiFi & Bluetooth (yes you could use the PCI slots, but then you wouldn't have as many available). I'll assume the optical drive is equivalent as they seem to generally be nowadays, but how about the mouse. Is the one you're comparing a 4 button optical mouse with 2 degree of freedom scroll ball? I doubt it. I'm sure the case is not as easy to install or open up as the Mac. Oh, I forgot, no support for a second Optical Drive

      So, you lowballed the processor, the motherboard (significantly) and the mouse, most likely the case, and the powersupply and somehow in your mind it's roughly equivalent? How does that work? I'm sure you latched onto the price difference I came up with farther up, but that only works if it's an equivalent system, which yours definitely is not.

      I'm sure I have forgotten some other difference between what you are comparing and a Mac Pro, but it escapes me. Oh, and there's the assumption that XP Pro is equivalent to the MacOS and included software (iLife, Mail, iCal, AddressBook, OmniOutliner, X-Windows, Developer Tools).

      So, the only conclusions that can be supported are that either: you don't like Apple (for whatever reason: crappy OS in the pre OSX days, feeling the prices are too high, etc), you don't like bundles that have features you think you'll never use, your intellect is too inferior to detect the lack of validity in the comparison. I doubt the last, most likely some combination of the first two.


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