The folks over at AppleInsider
assembled a comparable Windows-based system to see just how much value Apple squeezed into its new desktop. For the exercise, they targeted the new Mac Pro’s most tricked-out arrangement, which is the $9,599 configuration.
Their PC build consisted of a 2.6 GHz 12-core Intel Xeon E5 with 30 MB of L3 cache, 54 GB of 1866 MHz DDR3 ECC, 1 TB PCIe-based flash storage and Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6 GB of GDDR5 VRAM each. They chose, Lian Li’s stalwart PC-7B, which was one of the highest-rated ATX-compatible cases available as well. Since the chassis doesn’t come bundled with a power supply, they added Corsair’s CMPSU-650TX 650-watt CrossFire-ready unit for another $89.99.
Driving the displays were two AMD FirePro W9000 GPUs at $3,399.99 each. The graphics match the Mac Pro’s cards on spec with 6 GB of GDDR5 memory and 264 Gbps memory bandwidth, though it is difficult to say exactly how well they mimic Apple’s heavily customized units. The CPU is a duplicate of the Mac Pro and the processor’s 12 22-nanometer processing cores which cost $2,749.99.
Storage is an area that Apple seems to have a leg-up as the handful of PCI Express-based drives on the market usually go for extremely high prices. OCZ’s RevoDrive 3 X2 series is the current model that would be comparable and would set one back $3,000 if they could actually find it for sale. Kingston Technology ended up being the choice for the 16 GB RAM modules, priced at $209.99 each. To get the RAM up to the 64 gigabytes found in the Mac Pro, the configuration would cost $839.96.
Last but not least, to tie everything together, the motherboard needs to support everything, so the folks ended up going with Asus’ Z9PE-D8 board, which brings USB 3.0 and FireWire connectivity for $539.99. The cost of adding a Windows 8.1 Pro license was also part of the build, added for $199.99, since an operating system is a necessity.
Without considering shipping costs, assembly time, or additional complications that may arise from cooling the machine, it would cost roughly $14,300 to replicate Apple’s new Mac Pro spec-for-spec. For the substantial premium, you lose several features found in the Mac Pro, notably Thunderbolt activity, while also increasing the size of the computer by roughly 300%. Users would also not have any option to get the addition of something similar to Apple’s AppleCare warranty service.
Overall, it seems that the new Mac Pro’s starting sticker price showcases the exceptional value of everything it has to offer.