Think the Mac Pro is pricey? Make one yourself, but get ready to pay a stiff PC tax

Think the Mac Pro is pricey? Make one yourself, but get ready to pay a stiff PC tax

Can you build the PC equivalent of a Mac Pro and save yourself some money doing it? If Stephen Fung at Futurelooks's effort is any indication, then the answer is a resounding no.

Fung attempted to cobble together a do-it-yourself PC with somewhat similar specs to the Mac Pro, and ended up spending quite a bit more money. What's more, the system wasn't nearly as good.

Fung's target was a high-end Mac Pro configuration - Apple's 12-core Mac Pro, equipped with 64 GB of RAM, 1 TB flash storage, two AMD D700 GPUs. That tipped the scales at $9,599.

For his Mac Pro-like PC, Fung went with a micro ATX-form PC case from Silverstone, a correspondingly small PC motherboard, and whatever components he could find that mimicked the Mac Pro. But immediately Fung ran into limitations: Error Correcting Code (ECC) DRAM wasn't available, and he could only find half the RAM. No Thunderbolt 2. No PCI Express-based flash storage - so he substituted two slower SATA drives striped together in a RAID 0 array.

The total damage on this quasi Mac Pro-like PC? Around $11,500. And not nearly as good. And running Windows - though conceivably you could make this a "Hackintosh," as some have done.

The "Apple tax" is a common trope - the idea that consumers pay more when they buy a Mac. But as the Mac Pro demonstrates, Apple can engineer a very sophisticated piece of hardware and keep the price reasonable - even competitive - compared to a PC. The "Apple tax" myth is not true in many cases, especially when you consider the software that Apple bundles on the Mac and the absence of crapware, adware, trial versions and the like - the junk that can make using a PC such a miserable experience.

Having said that, I'll go back to what I've said before - the Mac Pro isn't for everyone. This isn't a general-purpose system in the same way an iMac or a MacBook Pro might be. It's a very specialized piece of hardware designed to do some things exceptionally well. If you're in content creation - especially video editing or pro audio, or if you're in science, research or engineering, chances are you use applications that will benefit from the unique architecture of the Mac Pro - apps that make use of OpenCL, optimized for the Mac Pro's parallel processing pipeline.

Otherwise, it may not be worth your money. And that's okay. Not every tool is a hammer.

What do you think? Does this exercise make you think the Mac Pro a better value than you did before?

Source: Futurelooks

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Peter Cohen

Mac Managing Editor of iMore and weekend Apple Product Professional at a local independent Apple reseller. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

More Posts



← Previously

On cheaper TVs and buying less, but better

Next up →

Save 20% on iPhone and iPad accessories during the iMore store year-end sale!!!

Reader comments

Think the Mac Pro is pricey? Make one yourself, but get ready to pay a stiff PC tax


YES!!... I have been thinking about creating a hackintosh, but this really pushes me to get a mac pro.... ill have to save hard for 3 months!

Keep in mind that if you don't need ECC RAM or the killer GPUs, you actually CAN build a machine that would be as fast or faster for quite a bit less. It's really those GPUs and the insanely expensive Xeon that hold the cost up. If you went with a higher-end gaming GPU and i7, you could save a lot of money. But, then you give up some of the pro features.

If it does, it will be the first thing to ever shut them up. Sadly, Trolls will complain and post "facts" to "prove" their agenda of hate.

And I agree, this is not a machine for everyone. Chances are, you could max this thing out, and you will stop getting OS updates long before the system is no longer capable of updates.

Most of them are just uninformed, but are aware of a partial truth. They can build one for a lot less if they give up some of the pro features that the vast majority of people don't need. For example, outside ECC RAM, an i7 is quite the same as a Xeon, but for a lot less money. And, unless you have software to utilize those GPUs, a high-end gaming GPU will probably be quite fast as well. The other components, while also quite fast, aren't that expensive or exclusive to the Mac Pro (like PCIe based SSD, etc.), or needed (like TB2 ports).

The other point is that for some, building a Hackintosh will actually yield a MUCH faster machine. You can go dual CPU, more RAM, nVidia GPUs (even more than 2) w/CUDA, etc. Such a box, for some apps, would run circles around the new Mac Pro.... years ago in fact.

I absolutely can build a screaming desktop machine for waaaaaaaaaay less than whatever the hell inflated price apple is charging. I typically build these machines that can handle whatever I throw at them for less than $1k. Christ alien wares don't gouge people this bad.

Um, no. When the Mac Pro (entry level model) has $1k of GPUs in it, you might be able to build a 'screaming desktop machine' for $1k, but not THAT screaming. I don't think ANYONE is arguing that you can't build a fast, non-pro system for less. Of course you can. But then your point would be??????

Yeah, it isn't going to. The simple fact of the matter is that you can build a machine with similar performance for far less money. You just can. The new Mac Pro's just aren't that much faster than other hardware that is available around the $2,000 mark. If you care to look up how the new pros are benchmarking you'll find that they are only a little bit faster than a decked out imac that costs less than $3,000, even after paying for the 3.0 Ghz 8 core Xeon processor.
Yes, if you go around trying to buy the exact same hardware it will get really expensive, but you can get an i7 processor that has 90% of the horsepower of the 12 core Xeon for a fraction of the cost. I can go out today and spend $2500 and have a computer that can perform in the ballpark of the most expensive mac pro you can build.

My point was that people usually complain they can put together the same hardware for half the price. I'm not talking about getting the same performance. I'm talking about literally buying the exact hardware that's in this system for half the price. Whether a Xeon is similar to a desktop i7 isn't really Apple's problem, it's Intel's.


I keep wracking my brain to conjure up some justification for a Mac Pro purchase for myself, but I keep coming up empty...

Well, if you have any freelance business of any kind, a nice tax-write-off is a start. I'll always buy something overpowered for the business expense if it can allow my capabilities to grow (perhaps it's time to start a video blog etc).


I could probably find a "reasonably necessary business use" for it between my blogs and my law office, but shelling out $10k for what is essentially fun makes me hesitant.

Well I wouldn't spec out to the max unless you needed it.

For my (future) needs, I'd probably settle for a 6-core 3999 model. Another option is (since I need a new Thunderbolt display) is to go for the 2999 version for the first year (taking the deduction for cpu and monitor) - then sell the cpu off for 1500-2k, and purchase the 3999 version for half the price up-front - and take a whole new 4k deduction for the following year while getting an earnings boost for the first year as a trade off for the 'hassle' of 8k worth of tax breaks in 2 years.

Weird..... If this article is comparing DIY computers and the MacPro, then the author shouldn't even mention "PC Crapware". You get no "crapware" if you build a PC yourself!

Oh, and this article is wrong. If getting a PC at the same specs as the base 27" iMac with the following specs: 16GB RAM, 3.20GHz CPU, 1GB NVIDA Graphics, 27", USB Super Drive, cost: $2,278. Meanwhile, for a System76 PC with the same exact specs: $1,625 which is including a 27" monitor. However, one should note that you could buy the base model of a System76 and actually be able to upgrade it later, unlike Apple's computers. (Base Ratel Performance: $699 + Monitor: ~$900.

When he says "crapware" I believe he's just referring to buying a PC in general, not making it yourself.

I don't understand the article being wrong because of the specs/stats on the iMac. An iMac & a Mac Pro are worlds apart.

I keep seeing comments from bloggers about how the Mac Pro isn't for everyone. Why the need to say this? Last time I checked Apple isn't marketing this to the average joe who owns an iPad or iPhone. I have yet to see a commercial for it on TV and when I was in my local Apple store right before Christmas they had no model on display. I could maybe understand this comment if Apple was marketing it to the masses but they're not.

I would assume that those who need one know they need one and no one else would be thinking about buying one.

Because I have been fielding quite a few questions from people asking if the Mac Pro will run games well, or works good for Microsoft Office, or this or that - all applications where your money would be better spent on an iMac. So clearly there are people out there that don't understand the use case for the Mac Pro. That's why.

I'm guessing the lack of gaming ability is from the type of graphics cards? Isn't it strange how a graphics card can be good for creating and rendering the worlds that you game in, but not be good for playing in that world after it is created?

Not sure on the iMac for gaming as it is basically laptop parts. I guess it would depend on the game. Honestly, if you need a powerful system for gaming, it is cheaper to build a dedicated gaming PC, and do everything else on your Mac.

"I'm guessing the lack of gaming ability is from the type of graphics cards?"

Correct. These graphic cards are designed for those that want to do heavy parallel GPU-type tasks using OpenCL.

As far as everything else you said, I agree.

My wife built her own specced-out PC for the express purpose of playing World of Warcraft. And it was better than the iMac she sold for playing that game better. She has since successfully turned it into a perfectly working Hackintosh and now wants her iMac back for everything else. There are a lot of intangibles, a lot of Apple "secret sauce" for lack of nailing down specifics, that make Apple hardware special. She's saving money now toward getting a new iMac. Silly girl.

Heh... though I suppose I would be interested in the answers to some of those questions. In my current business situation, if I get a Mac Pro, I'd be selling my iMac... and I'd hope my evening BF4 times could continue.

And, I'd guess I might not be alone. At least at the low end, the Mac Pro seems more a prosumer and FCP device than a true pro system, at least until more software comes along to take advantage of it. IMO, it's currently lacking for pretty big segments of the pro market.

Actually they teased the Mac Pro in movie theaters all summer as coming Fall 2013. Advertising to the masses don't get any bigger than a movie theater, just ask Coca-Cola.

The problem with this article is that it forces an Apples-to-Apples comparison (snicker) of what fundamentally is an Apples-to-Oranges comparison -- it seems written to provide red meat for the type of fans that will dismiss the next few paragraphs as from a troll or h8r.

*Of course* if you, as a single user, spec a machine exactly according to what Apple has newly engineered precisely and in bulk, you are are going to lose. The article concedes as much by starting out the comparison with a MacPro-sized enclosure, and restricting all choices from that decision; the simple fact that few commodity parts yet are engineered to fit in that size enclosure stacks the deck from the outset.

Because of this size restriction, only a micro ATX motherboard is possible, and all price, expandability, and performance selections stem from this choice. If you do not care about the size restriction, you can easily get cheaper, more powerful, and more expandable options for virtually everything listed in this article. You can definitely end up with a machine that is far more powerful by the numbers and far cheaper than what the article chose. The downside is you do not end up with as compact an enclosure. However, you could choose a rack mountable one, a form factor I know from experience a lot of professional edit bays would prefer, and which is unavailable on the new Mac Pro.

The point is, PCs and Macs have different strengths. Mac's forte is in integration, and PCs reside in diversity. This article starts from the flawed premise that all PC users have the same single need, and goes downhill from there. Apple is very good at what they do, and, if your values mesh with Apple's, you should go with them. (For the most part, I do.) But if you are creating your own machine, your values do not mesh precisely, almost by definition -- otherwise, you would not be doing it.

Umm.... that's an i7 & GTX760. Hardly an 'apples to apples' comparison. Sure, it would be fast, but isn't necessarily a fair comparison.

Well that was a hackintosh before much was known about the new Pro. Give it a few months (OWC is already pulling it apart) and people will have the same processors available to make a hack. The main point is, if it's available on the market, it's going to be cheaper if you build it yourself and make a PC. It's just the way it is. If you care about looks, get the Pro, it's gorgeous, but if you just want the raw power, and could care less about size, put it in a tower for half the price.

Not necessarily... these are fairly specialized parts and Apple buys in quantity. But yea, a friend of mine is pretty sure that the Hackintosh he built a year or two ago is going to be faster, at least for many apps. I'd have to ask him about costs, but I'm sure it wasn't cheap. High end CPUs, RAM, GPUs, and stuff like bus-based SSDs, good quality MBs and PSUs, cases and cooling, etc. get pricy.

I somewhat agree, though not due to case size as the main point. The problem is more that if you're a true pro, you probably care about things like ECC RAM, or maybe the potential of the GPUs (though if you're CUDA dependant, maybe that's a downside). You're not going to get that stuff for much less money, regardless of case size.

Another point I don't necessarily agree with is the Apple vs builder/PC thing. Builder and PC aren't the same for one. And some end up building because they can't buy what they need. Most professionals who run Hackintosh boxes aren't hobbyists just having fun with the build, but filling a hole Apple left in the product-line. And most PC pros aren't going to build if there is a solid, tested, high-quality pre-built brand available. I think the point was to test the idea of Mac Pro being overpriced, not to say hobbyist-builders should go that route.

I focused on case size because that constraint is what drive the PC price well past a "comparable" Mac. If case size is not an overriding concern, you can get far more favorable price/performance ratios on that side of the fence - a point conveniently unaddressed in the original article and ignored in imore's summary. With more power available at a lesser cost, nobody in their right mind (oem or DIY) would assemble the article's machine. The summary could honestly refer to an "enclosure tax" instead of a "PC tax."

That is not to bag on Macs, or to suggest they are overpriced. (I love all mine, but do not have a Pro yet.) But this comparison is a dollars-and-cents version of rigging a spec benchmark, and should be treated as such.

Sent from the iMore App

Yea, I agree. It was done to prove a point... not because anyone would actually build one. You're right, if you're not a pro, you'll buy more non-pro parts... and if you are, you'll just spend the bucks to get the known good thing. That's why if you head into a corporate server room, you'll see a wall of HP, etc. rather than built up boxen.

GREAT note / article. The "apple tax" is often times a myth when considering the whole picture, as in bundled software, components, OS X, resale value, etc. Also, as it is VERY clear from anyone that actually takes the time to look at the components of the new Mac Pro... This computer is really for professionals. People shouldn't be buying this computer as an everyday computer unless you work in film / tv / music / CAD / science Industries and the Mac Pro is an investment for work.

Sent from the iMore App

The Mac Pro might not suffer from the "Apple Tax," but some of Apple's computers do. Mostly what is bothering me lately is the lack of consumers being able to upgrade. I think the most glaring case of this is the iMac. I like the iMac line, but the difficulty now in upgrading it yourself borders on ridiculous. The areas where a Windows or Linux PC shines over an Apple PC (sorry but they are all personal computers, just different operating systems), is in customization, the ability to upgrade, and the ability to do your own repairs.

I'm not knocking the Mac line, I find them to be good machines with great industrial design.

Person computers are morphing into personal computing appliances (at least where Apple products are concerned) where most of the people use these devices to get s**t done and not for tinkering / modding / internal upgrades. From here on in most "upgrades" happen by way of external expansion.

I don't dislike the mini, but the problem comes in when we are talking about gaming. Sure you can upgrade ram and change HDD to SSD. But the video card performance just isn't there. Hopefully an affordable TB2 enclosure will be the answer and allow for some good external video cards... hopefully.

I'm running fine on my late 2010 model w/NVIDIA GeForce320m - the one after was a step backwards (on the integrated side with the 3000), not the AMD6630 but the newest Intel HD Graphics 4000 compares to a GT 520, or 5450 (or better). Not bad for integrated. I've been fine on Bioshock, Civ V BNW, Minecraft, DoD and TF2 - not barn-burning - but more than playable.

It works, but isn't optimal. I have a late 2012 iMac (base model) and play BF4. It's OK, but I'd like a bit more GPU power. Yea, the mini just wouldn't cut it at all, for gaming or stuff like 3D work. (I sold my mini and bought an iMac for that reason.)

Unfortunately, TB2 isn't going to be the answer for GPUs. There simply isn't enough bandwidth. I think a TB2 port is equivalent to some fraction of a 4x PCI slot. Even if you could somehow combine all 6 of them in the new Mac Pro, a modern GPU would still starve for bandwidth. It's great for storage or AV input, but not really an external bus yet.

The main question is can some one upgrade a Mac Pro's CPU when a new and upgraded CPU is released by Intel or can some one upgrade its graphics card after a Year?

I built a DIY machine last year and recently upgraded its CPU to the new i7's and better graphics card without the need of buying a whole new machine.

All said it comes down to individual preference and its perfectly ok for someone to get a Mac Pro and someone else to DIY their own machine.

@ msohail: This may well be the answer to your opening question:

From AppleInsider on Friday Dec 27 (link was spam-blocked, sorry...)

"A closer look at the parts inside Apple's late 2013 Mac Pro were offered in teardown photos published on Friday by Other World Computing. They show that the Intel Xeon processor found inside the Mac Pro is socketed and can be removed from the system, should a user choose to do so."

It's crazy the lengths people go to justify a price tag. The people buying these machines are not parting out systems (in fact they usually buy turnkey systems). Though it is funny to see the folks run around screaming "good value".

No one is "screaming" here about value. As someone who watches the tech industry and it's products, I appreciate these types of articles that explain the value of such a product.

I for one (as I'm sure many other people have) saw the price of a fully-loaded Mac Pro at nearly 10g and thought well... that's kind of ridiculous. Seems too expensive to me. But what I didn't realize is the actual value of the components of the computer and that the value lies in the sum of its parts. Also, as mentioned before, this is excluding the value derived from free software that comes with the computer, the longevity / durability of the computer, resale value, etc. All of which Macs excel very high in, which makes this an even better value.

Also, don't BS yourself. Whenever someone buys a product, your ALWAYS trying to calculate if the investment in a product is worth the money, especially in big ticket items like these.

Anyways, I appreciate articles like these because at first glance it isn't obvious the value from items like these, until you look at the "whole picture" and realize that there is a lot more to the price of a product then the initial sticker price.

I can easily see why purchasing such a product would be a good investment, especially if it's used for work in an industry that needs a high-performance computer where graphical and computational time = money.

Sent from the iMore App

People who get return on their investment, like producing movies or music for money regularly would disagree with you. Most have a computer as a toy, some use it as a tool to make money — that is where it comes in as an investment. Enjoy your toy.

The Mac Pro is a workstation, and the Mac Pro team were puzzled when consumers started buying them as desktops, as they were enormously expensive due to bring spec'd for work consumers will never do.

But that's what's kept the line alive. Most kids who buy this as a workstation won't understand why the top of line iMac runs games faster than dual workstation cards.

If most kids can afford a machine like this their parents better start asking them where they're getting the money from.

I have known a lot of "kids" whose parents wouldn't think anything of dropping $3,000 on a computer so that little Billy can get his homework done, etc.

Lol the arguments people in the comments are making whether or not all of this is accurate is hilarious. Point in case, the people that need this machine need it because time is money and they most likely ain't got time to build it themselves. This is an investment for them to unbox, set it up and get back to work and making money. And as for resale? Pffft! They will ride this thing til it dies or something better comes along. By the time they are ready to replace the CPU it's time for a whole new setup.

Sent from the iMore App

Apple Tax is very much real and present in every device, just look at that flash storage price in their iPads. Some people will get over the bundled crapware on their machines or look past the other elements if the price is right.

Yes, I'd say the majority of people are often willing to sacrifice quality for price. But, I'd not conclude this is a virtue.

Well that's just ridiculous. We all don't buy Mercedes or BMW because a Camry is just as dependable even though the quality isn't as high. Or the Note 3 vs 5S. 5S quality is light years ahead, but doesn't mean it's better for everyone.

Get what you like. Get what you need. Fuck anyone who thinks they have a right to comment on your choice.

Agreed. I know lots of people with different brands of various devices who are happy with what they have for their purposes. Having said that, I have converted a number of people who were wary of Apple products by selling them my used stuff at prices.

Still, I only have an iPhone because it works so well with my other Apple stuff. That 16x9 screen ratio is ridiculous for anything but watching HD video. Give me 4x3 on all my devices, dammit.

Having worked for decades in IS/IT and tech consulting, I can tell you there is a lot of 'ignorance is bliss' going on out there.

There is more to the matter than basic quality. A Camry does not equal most Mercedes or BMWs, even though it might actually have better quality in some regards. There are many factors at play. On the Note 3 vs 5S, maybe that quality difference doesn't actually matter to the intended use for most people. The OS and apps probably matter more than the actual build and case quality.

My point was that the average person in the developed world typically doesn't actually make very good quality and usage choices, as they are more influenced by things like marketing, cost, short-term-thinking, consumerism, throw-away mentality, etc. Most purchasing decisions are horribly uninformed.

Just because they disagree with you doesn't mean they're wrong. A Prius is a great choice, but when you break down the cost structure, it's actually not a better value than a similar non-hybrid unless you keep the car longer than 7 years if you drive the average miles every year. Some times people are making smarter choices than you, only you have no idea why.

as many many many people pointed out when this was posted on BGR 2 days ago....the guy building it used PC retail pricing...not pricing you could find on newegg or amazon...

I think when someone did that they were able to build it for between 7k-8k....and about $800 less for the base model...

Lets be realistic makes money by overcharging its core customers that will buy anything with an apple logo and making un-upgradable products so you HAVE to buy the next one to get the NEW or MORE factor.

People get entirely too focused on brands...its like politics, you shouldn't be identified by a political affiliation, or what phone/pc/tablet you use...

apple is a niche computer product with its sub 7% market share, its sub 30% phone share, and its now sub 50% tablet share...but its still ok to enjoy them as a device, but enjoy them because you have a REASON not because its the myth of a branding...having a macbook pro to do facebook, internet, and office is pointless...its fun seeing upper middle class white girls and hipsters buying products for their social value...yeah yeah, graphics, rendering, blah blah...oh you mean what it is meant to do well?? Thats the point of it....not to DJ

iPhones...can someone explain the actual value proposition for buying one? What does it legitimately do better than a LG G2 for example? Battery, camera, base storage, screen size, screen quality, RAM...none of those things.

People shouldn't look at price or brand, they shouldn't care what everyone else has,....they should look at what it provides them.

"people shouldn't look at price." uh no. price matters to the majority of people buying most things. a luxury good may give you lots of amenities but most people may not need it. Thus price tends to win out.

I can't build a Lamborghini cheaper than the factory but it's still pricey.

Whether it can be build cheaper has no bearing on whether it's pricey. The same could be said for building a 6 bedroom Malibu beach house. $8-$15 million dollars is still pricey.

as for value. Well that's up to the individual. One who doesn't need the power like me may find little value for the added cost.

Gosh, I don't know... laptops is one place I've always been REALLY glad I've had an Apple. My last corporate IT position (in a Fortune 100) put generic PCs on most people's desks, but all the laptops were Apple, even if they ran Windows. AFAIK, it was a basic cost vs failure rate analysis.

Wow! Apple has put a nice package together. If you need all that power, then this machine is the way together even with price. Great story.

Sent from the iMore App

I think you've said to the effect in a different article, Peter, if you need a Mac Pro then you already know. A top tier iMac will more than satisfy the prosumer, which is where I categorize myself creating, editing, and ripping video and producing multitrack music with high-end 3rd party virtual instruments in Logic Pro X. I usually do these things to amuse myself rather than for money; still, the iMac really is up to the task. The Mac Pro is for professionals with specific needs or hobbyists with a lot of disposable income who want an expensive toy.

The main thing everyone has to remember is that the parts used in this machine are so niche that Apple is getting a way better deal for them then any of us will get by shopping around online. The amount of people that "need" this specific line of processors or specific video cards are so small that anyone who has a good knowledge of computer parts will would know that these parts aren't discounted anywhere. The newest i7 processors (Intel Core i7-4770K) is less than $400. Also the video cards used are overkill as well. You could get two nvidia or ati card that are less than $700 each that will get you the best gaming performance which it should provide good performance for everything. Again my main point is that there is only a small few who need the hardware that Apple is putting in the new Mac Pro. I'd argue that once you get into the 6,000 and up price Mac Pro's you need this specific "niche" hardware and if you buying a $3,000 mac pro you'll be better off building a top of the line Hackintosh in the same price range.

PS.. Apple should offer a version of this for gamers. All they have to switch is the video cards and processors which could drop the price from $3000 to maybe $1500 starting.

Why 12 core CPU when two CPUs would be cheaper with 6-6 or even 8-8 core config? No space for that.
Why 4 memory slot? Like a consumer PC. A 16GB memory is 3x more expensive than a 8GB. With 6 or 12 slots the same memory config could be done. Again this needs space.

An enterprise 400GB SSD is about $2000, so this SSD must be some custom stuff. With 8 SATA slots and a $300 host bus adapter (Like HP 420i) any RAID configuration would be available with 8 consumer SSD drive (256GB or 512GB).

My point is this article and telling the masses that the Mac Pro is a good deal. My point is that unless you can take advantage of the hardware meaning your doing 4k video editing with Apples software your better off building a 4,000.00 PC or Hackintosh because the real world difference in use will not be apparent. A top of the line iMac would be money better spent for 95 % of the mac buyers.

Oh, then I slightly misunderstood that :-) I meant that this hardware is overpriced. If you don't use server grade parts and don't use the bleeding edge versions of them (like top-of-the-line CPU or high capacity RAM) and you could use more physical space (as mentioned above), you could achieve the same or better performance and you could even use that workstation for gaming purposes.

Well I can use a mid tower and buy the components motherboard,ssd,optical drive,Ram,CPU,GPU,liquid cooling system and e erything else. And put it together my self and it will cost about half the price of a Mac by using AMD CPU for one thing will save you a ton. Of cash. You can get a 8 core 3.6 GHz AMD CPU for about half the price of the Intel's 6 core CPU. For gamming I use my PC. for video and audio I use my Mac pro. I also make icons and other artwork with a Mac. I love both though I wouldn't mind seeing android taking a stab at making a full on PC.. Maybe make it a mixture of windows and appkle style. Android is amazing especially when paired with Samsung...