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Price comparison between Apple's new Mac Pro and a comparable DIY PC

Apple's highly anticipated Mac Pro began shipping several days ago, and it's no understatement to say that you'll need quite a bit of cash in your bank account if you're hoping to pick one up. The base model Mac Pro checks in at US$2,999, though that price tag can easily climb up to nearly $10,000 if you want to really trick it out.

Specifically, the top-end configuration on Apple's new Mac Pro will set you back $9599. For that much money, you'll get a machine with 64 GB of RAM, a 12-core 2.7GHz Intel processor with 30 MB of L3 cache, a solid 1 TB of PCLe flash storage and dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6 GB of GDDR5 VRAM each.

At least you get free shipping, right?

With a maxed-out price tag of $9,599, the Mac Pro is clearly not geared towards the average consumer. Still, there's no denying that's a whole lot of money even for seasoned professionals.

To get a better perspective on the value proposition offered by the new Mac Pro, FutureLooks decided to figure out how much it would cost to put together a comparable PC.

The final tally may come as somewhat of a surprise:

After tabulating all the major component costs (plus another $99.99 US for Windows 8 Pro), we are at a total of around $11,530.54 US using today's prices at retailers that actually stock the hardware. I'm not afraid to admit that compared to the asking price of $9,599 US, the new Mac Pro seems like one heckuva deal for these components. Everything is tested to work properly together (versus some of our unknown incompatibilities with this potential build), and a highly proprietary design that is small enough to fit into a carry on bag, with twice the amount of registered memory (32GB vs 64GB ECC). You simply can't build a smaller form factor PC that matches the Mac Pro today.

Indeed, if you're hoping to put all of the Mac Pro's computing power into a do-it-yourself machine, good luck trying to get everything to fit into a smaller footprint than the Mac Pro which is just 9.9 inches tall and 6.6 inches across.

As for the nearly $2,000 price difference, TechGage points out that a lot of the savings comes from the relatively cheap upgrade price Apple offers for AMD's dual D700s. TechGage posits that this is likely due to AMD "bending" for Apple to prevent them from going the NVIDIA route.

Apple's new Mac Pro is undeniably pricey, but you're getting a whole lot of bang for your buck if you need the type of processing horsepower the machine provides. Looked at from a different angle, the new Mac Pro is still a heckuva lot cheaper than the nearly $1 million some anonymous bidder put down for the red Mac Pro that was recently up for auction.

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