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Old 11-24-2000, 02:30 PM
pcvsmac pcvsmac is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 52
Default PC - vs - Mac -- A Breakdown For Everyone

I'm researching as much as I can before deciding which system to buy, PC or Mac. Here's what I've gathered so far from reading these boards, and perusing Pricewatch. Please feel free to add any experience or details I have not found. I'm going to cross post this to the Mac board, as well, so everyone from both sides can share their knowledge.

The BX133-RAID appears to be the best choice among motherboards, as it has the Intel 440BX chipset, supports up to 1GIG of PC133 RAM, and has the ability to hook up two or more ATA/DMA-100 hard drives to its RAID controller, virtually eliminating the need for SCSI and the high price tag associated with it (wow, what a sentence). It is currently $112 on Pricewatch.

How much performance is really gained by having 200 more MHz? The price difference between the 1GHz and the 800Mhz is currently $270. Is it worth the extra cost?
Pentium III 1GHz - $449
Pentium III 933MHz - $320
Pentium III 866MHz - $227
Pentium III 800MHz - $179

This is a somewhat tricky area, in that the quality of the RAM can make a real difference in system stability. The BX133-RAID supports up to 256MB PC133 RAM in each slot. Here are the lowest prices for good quality PC133 RAM that I could find.
128MB - $97
256MB - $198

Hard Drives
ATA/DMA-100 7200RPM Hard Drive costs.
-Western Digital
WD200BB 20GB - $114
WD400BB 40GB - $158
52049H3 20GB - $110
54098H6 40GB - $179

Dual Monitor Video Card
The Matrox Millenium Dual Head Cards
G400 ... 16MB - $74 ... 32MB - $102
G450 ... 16MB - $83 ... 32MB - $146
The G450 has faster DDR RAM, but I doubt it is necessary.

Other Stuff
Decent case prices vary from $35-$75
CD-RW drives 8W/4RW/32R around $111
Floppy $8

-Total System Costs-
BX133-RAID ........ $112
PIII 800MHz ....... $179
256MB PC133 RAM ... $198
WD200BB-Win98SE ... $114
2x WD200BB-Audio .. $228
G400 32MB Card .... $102
CD-RW ............. $111
Case & Floppy ..... $80
Total Cost ........ $1124
Upgrade to 1GHz ... $ 270
to 512MB RAM ..... $ 198
to 2x40GB Audio .. $ 88
to G450 32MB ..... $ 34
Upgraded Cost ..... $1714

So, for a good PC system, you're looking at
anywhere from $1100-$1700. Add your keyboard and mouse for around $15-$50.

Your base stripped down G4 system from Apple is configured as follows for $1549:
400 MHz G4 Processor
20 GB ATA 5400 RPM
RAGE 128 PRO 16MB Video Card
Keyboard and mouse

Dual 450MHz - $600
Dual 500MHz - $900

RAM prices from Apple are expensive, for a 256MB base, instead of 64MB, it's $450 more.
From Pricewatch I got these much lower prices:
128MB - $99
256MB - $199
512MB - $599

SCSI Controller
Looking at the Digi001 compatability pages, I see that the Apple bought SCSI controller isn't supported. There are two supported controllers, one by Atto, one by Adaptec.
ATTO Express PCI Dual Ultra Wide - $309
Adaptec HBA 2906 - $40
Something seems strange about the large difference in the prices, so if anyone knows why, please post why.

Hard Drives
For the OS, you can upgrade to the ATA 30GB 7400 drive from Apple for $150.
For the audio drives, the cheapest prices I could find on Pricewatch are as follows (all drives are 10000 RPM U160).
WD 18GB - $270
Seagate 18GB - $308
Seagate 36GB - $599

Dual Monitor Video Cards
Reading on the Digi001 compatability pages again, I see that the only dual monitor card supported is the Appian Jeronimo 2000 Macintosh, which costs a whopping $715.

Other Stuff
Imation SuperDisk - $98
Regular Floppy - $8

-Total System Costs-
Base 400 G4 system ....... $1549
Add 128MB RAM for 196MB .. $ 99
SCSI Controller .......... $ 40
18GB 10000RPM U160 SCSI .. $ 270
Total Cost ............... $1958
Upgrade to Dual 450MHz ... $ 600
to 30GB ATA 7400RPM ..... $ 150
to 320MB RAM ............ $ 100
Level 1 Upgrade Cost ..... $2808
Upgrade to Dual 500MHz ... $ 300
to 576MB RAM ............ $ 400
to 36GB U160 SCSI ....... $ 329
to Dual Monitor Card .... $ 715
Level 2 Upgrade Cost ..... $4552

Upgraded PC Cost ...... $1714
Comparable Mac* Cost .. $3732
Difference in price ... $2018

*Comparable Mac is Dual 500MHz with 320MB RAM, 36GB SCSI, Dual Monitor, and keeps the 20GB ATA 5400RPM drive.

Zoinks! Note these costs do not include monitors, nor the Digi001 package.

So, it's obvious that the PC wins the price game by over $2000. That's quite a bit.

What about features and performance? I've read here that the Macintosh has more plug-ins and supports more effects at once, and also that it is more stable than PC (though many PC users say their systems are stable). Also, with the upcoming OS X dual processor support, the Macintosh performance could go up quite a bit.

But are the extra plug-ins and possibly more stable performance worth $2000?

I'm interested in all comments regarding this subject.

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