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Salon: Resale Value Makes Macs Cheaper to Own than PCs

Salon: Resale Value Makes Macs Cheaper to Own than PCs

by , 5:20 PM EST, November 7th, 2007

Mac resale values make them cheaper to own than PCs, according to Salon columnist Farhad Manjoo. In comparing resale values on eBay for a variety of used Macs and PCs, Mr. Manjoo found that Macs consistently had a far higher resale value than equivalent PCs, and that this equates to the true cost of ownership for computers, making Macs cheaper to own.

Mac users have long made the argument that Apple's higher retail pricing includes more features, more and better software, or even that it is simply the cost of having the Mac experience. Mr. Manjoo argues that these points are trumped by simply looking at the purchase price minus the price you get back once you sell your Mac in the future.

To illustrate the point, he compared an HP Pavilion Media Center A1640n, a computer available in November of 2006 for US$699, to that of the top-of-the-line Mac mini, which was available at the same time for $799. Both computers had similar specs, though the Mac mini had a slower processor, less RAM, and a smaller hard drive.

"A good way to gauge the current market value of a computer," he wrote, "is to check how much buyers have been willing to pay for similar models in auctions recently completed on eBay. Doing so for the HP shows prices ranging from $236 to $257 -- let's say a rough average of $250. Sales of the Mac Mini, meanwhile, go from about $445 to $550. Let's assume you can unload yours for $500."

"If you used your HP for a year and then sold it," he argued, "you would have spent $449 to own it -- that is, your purchase price of $699 minus your sale price of $250. The Mac Mini, for the same year, would have set you back far less: $799 minus $500, or just $299."

He further noted that the very idea of selling an old PC is foreign to many PC users for the very fact that they have so little resale value. Many Mac users, on the other hand, regularly sell or hand down their Macs, as they have a much longer useful life.

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