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Apple iMac 2011: A Rough Component Estimate

Apple refreshed its iMac range yesterday introducing a number of features that make it even more different from the bog-standard PC next door. We have done a virtual teardown (since we don't have the actual product at hand) and tried to guesstimate the cost of the parts, given that most of the components inside an Apple iMac are pretty standard.

The cheapest model costs £999 including delivery; bear in mind though that there are some parts, like the unique Apple all-in-one chassis and features like the Thunderbolt port or Mac OS X, that are not available anywhere. We've used suitable substitutes where possible.

The parts are as follows:

Intel Core i5-2400S 2.70GHz LGA1155 6MB (£150 at Dabs)

Gigabyte GA-P61-USB3-B3 motherboard (£70 at Dabs)

Two 2GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM (£29.96 at Dabs)

500GB Serial ATA Drive (£29.83 at Dabs)

AMD Radeon HD 6750M 512MB GDDR5 (£76.11 at Ebuyer)

A 3.85-megapixel webcam (£9.96 at Ebuyer)

Wireless Keyboard and Mouse (Apple's own Magic Mouse Wireless & Keyboard at £117.29).

A slot in DVD writer (£27.70 at Dabs)

Wi-Fi & Bluetooth (£13.98 for the Wireless card & £7.98 for the Bluetooth at Ebuyer).

A pair of speakers (£3.48 Ebuyer)

Firewire (£13.36 from Ebuyer)

Card Reader (£6.89 from Ebuyer)

21.5-inch Full HD screen (£96 at Ebuyer)

Casing & PSU (£23 @ Ebuyer)

Windows 7 Home Premium OS (£70 at Ebuyer)

A Windows equivalent of the iMac would cost less than £700, especially if you replace the keyboard and the mouse combo (which in our configuration is the second most expensive item). It is therefore very likely that Apple's margin on hardware alone would be more than 50 per cent, especially given the level of integration and the bargaining power of the company.

Note that we haven't accounted for ancillary costs like transport and packaging, cost of development, labour, accessories, logistics, licensing, royalties, marketing, advertising and others.

As for a PC vs Apple iMac match, a straight comparison is not possible, unlike with the Mac Pro, because of the fundamental differences we mentioned at the beginning.