Last-modified: September 8, 1995
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Buying and Selling Macintosh Computers, Software and Peripherals ================================================================ comp.sys.mac.faq, part 5: comp.sys.mac.wanted & misc.forsale.computers.mac Copyright 1993,1994 by Elliotte Harold Please see section 5.8 of the general FAQ if you wish to redistribute or revise this document in any way. Archive-name: macintosh/wanted-faq Version: 2.4.0 Last-modified: September 8, 1995 URL: http://www.macfaq.com/wantedfaq.html Address comments to email@example.com What's new in version 2.4.0: ---------------------------- I've improved the URL formatting. I've added info about several new models, current and future. And of course prices have continued to fall over the last few months. Table of Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------- I. Buying and Selling Used Equipment 1. Should I buy/sell on Usenet? 2. Where should I buy/sell used equipment? 3. I've decided to completely ignore your excellent advice and post my ad anyway. What should I do? 4. I've decided to completely ignore your excellent advice and buy something offered for sale on the net anyway. How can I avoid being ripped off? II. Fair Market Value 1. How much is my computer worth? 2. What is used software worth? 3. Going prices? III. Where Should I Buy a New Mac? 1. Authorized Dealers 2. VAR's 3. Superstores 4. Performas 5. Educational Dealers 6. Direct From Apple 7. Auctions 8. Does anyone know a dealer in New York City? 9. New Equipment Prices IV. When Should I buy a new Mac? 1. Macrotime 2. Microtime 3. When will I get my Mac? V. How Should I Buy a New Mac? 1. Know what you want 2. The dealer needs to sell you a mac more than you need to buy one 3. Have a competitor's ad handy 4. Cash on delivery 5. The sales tax game 6. Leasing 7. Be nice to the salesperson. VI. The Gray Market and Mail Order 1. What is the gray market? 2. Are gray market Macs covered by Apple warranties? 3. Does anyone know a good mail-order company? RETRIEVING THE ENTIRE FAQ ========================= This is the FIFTH part of this FAQ. The first part is also posted to this newsgroup under the subject heading "Introductory Macintosh frequently asked questions (FAQ)" and includes a complete table of contents for the entire document as well as information on where to post, ftp, file decompression, trouble-shooting, preventive maintenance and conditions for reproduction, posting and use of this document outside of Usenet. The second, third, fourth, and sixth parts are posted every two weeks in comp.sys.mac.system, comp.sys.mac.misc, comp.sys.mac.apps, and comp.sys.mac.hardware respectively. Please familiarize yourself with all six sections of this document before posting. All pieces are available for anonymous ftp from <URL:ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/macintosh/> Except for the introductory FAQ which appears in multiple newsgroups and is stored as general-faq, the name of each file has the format of the last part of the group name followed by "-faq", e.g the FAQ for comp.sys.mac.system is stored as system-faq. You can also have these files mailed to you by sending an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the line: send pub/usenet/news.answers/macintosh/name in the body text where "name" is the name of the file you want as specified above (e.g. general-faq). You can also send this server a message with the subject "help" for more detailed instructions. For access via Mosaic use <URL:http://www.macfaq.com/faqs.html> ======================================== BUYING AND SELLING USED EQUIPMENT (1.0) ======================================== SHOULD I BUY OR SELL ON USENET? (1.1) -------------------------------------- No, you should not. Usenet is a medium by which information is broadcast to millions of different people around the world. It's almost certain that noone in Singapore wants to buy a Canadian Classic 4/40, even at a really great price. Import laws, the cost of international shipping and a host of other concerns pose too big an obstacle to the sale of small quantities of used equipment. Even within one country geographical distances often pose a severe obstacle to the sale of used goods. There is simply too great a chance of either seller or buyer being ripped off in a long-distance transaction via non-payment, non-delivery, or non-usable equipment. WHERE SHOULD I BUY/SELL USED EQUIPMENT? (1.2) ---------------------------------------------- LOCAL bulletin boards, both of the electronic and paper varieties, are a far better medium for the sale of used hardware, software, and other tangible quantities. Some Usenet sites and local areas have local for sale newsgroups (e.g. nj.forsale here in New Jersey) which are more appropriate for classified advertising than netwide groups like comp.sys.mac.wanted. In large cities and college towns you should reach just as many potential buyers by advertising locally as by posting to the net. Advertising locally gives both the seller and the buyer the BIG advantage of being able to meet to test the system, verify that what is being offered is in fact what is available, and avoiding the hassle of shipping. The chance of being ripped off either through non-payment or non-delivery is GREATLY reduced by advertising and selling locally. I WANT TO POST MY AD ANYWAY. WHAT SHOULD I DO? (1.3) ------------------------------------------------------ First see section 2.0 below to try and decide on a reasonable price. Be prepared for flames if your price is too far out of line including follow-up posts warning potential buyers that you are trying to rip them off. You may just want to state "best offer." That way you aren't responsible if someone else misvalues your equipment. If an offer does come in that meets your minimum price, you can sell it. If there are no reasonable offers, you don't have to sell. Be sure to include a descriptive subject line in your post. For Sale, Macintosh For Sale, and Macintosh Software For Sale are all HORRIBLE subject lines. Better subject lines would be SE/30 4/40, $395 or best offer or Photoshop 3.0, full edition, unopened, $250. Then include a more detailed description in the body of the post. Also be sure to state whether or not you'll pay shipping. (It's much easier to sell an item if you agree to pay shipping.) You should post your notice in comp.sys.mac.wanted and misc.forsale.computers.mac ONLY. Posting a for sale ad to comp.sys.mac.misc is guaranteed flame-bait, even more so if your offer is over-priced. You should also restrict the distribution of your message to as local an area as possible. Ask your local news administrator for help if you don't know how to do this. Finally if you've sold your item please don't post a message saying the item has been sold. Most of us don't care. If you are getting a lot of offers and want to take the item off the market, it's better to cancel the original message. The bandwidth cost is the same, but you'll save a lot of people the trouble of reading two now-pointless messages from you. Again you may need to ask your local news administrator how to do this. HOW CAN I AVOID BEING RIPPED OFF WHEN I BUY SOMETHING FROM THE NET? (1.4) -------------------------------------------------------------------------- You can't, which is the single biggest reason I recommend against buying and selling on Usenet. The most effective precaution you can take is to insist on check-on-delivery. That way you give the seller nothing until something is delivered, and you can stop payment on the check if what is delivered is not what was advertised. This may cost a few dollars more, but the added security is more than worth it. NEVER pay in advance for used goods from an unknown shipper. You may also want to insist on a work address and phone number for the seller. This is especially effective if the forsale post originates from a company account. The threat of being harassed at work is more effective than the threat of legal action against some unscrupulous individuals who realize you probably won't sue but may complain to their boss. Even when dealing with completely honest individuals it's still much easier to haggle over terms and work out shipping arrangements via phone than through protracted email exchanges. ======================== FAIR MARKET VALUE (2.0) ======================== HOW MUCH IS MY USED HARDWARE WORTH? (2.1) ------------------------------------------ Make your lowest estimate of the resale value of your hardware taking into account current prices on new hardware of equivalent capability. Then divide that estimate by two. The price you now have is somewhere above the fair market value of your hardware. Almost everyone severely overestimates the value of their equipment. I've seen friendships and business relationships destroyed once buyers realized how badly they'd been taken EVEN THOUGH THE SELLERS DID NOT INTENTIONALLY MISLEAD THE BUYERS. Computers are like cars in that they lose 30% of their value as soon as you walk out of the dealer's showroom with one. They are unlike cars in that they lose more value when new models are released irregardless of the condition or age of the previous model. Unlike cars newer models of computer really are better. High-end systems retain their value longer. My 8/45 SE/30, a high-end system when I bought it four years ago, is still barely salable today. Had I purchased a low-end Plus instead it would at most be worth $100 for parts. WHAT IS USED SOFTWARE WORTH? (2.2) ----------------------------------- Almost nothing. It's certainly worth less than the cost of distributing a for sale message around the world on Usenet. If the software is the current version AND includes all original master disks and manuals AND a notarized letter transferring ownership from the original purchaser to the new owner, then it's worth about half of the current mail-order or educational discount price, whichever is lower. Especially note that software left on a hard disk when a computer is sold adds NOTHING to the value of the system. The buyer can pirate payware and download shareware just as easily as the seller. NO REALLY, HOW MUCH IS MY SYSTEM WORTH? (2.3) ---------------------------------------------- I'll give a few numbers I consider current as of Fall, 1995. Unlike the completely ridiculous prices you'll find in the AmCo index these values shouldn't leave the buyer feeling ripped off. As a seller you can often get higher prices than these, but as a buyer these represent what you should be able to bargain somebody down to. Asking prices and configurations vary WILDLY so haggle and don't be afraid to wait for a better deal if you don't like what someone is offering. When trying to determine reasonable prices for discontinued equipment I consider several factors. First I set a floor for a given model based on what used equipment dealers like Sun Remarketing are willing to pay for inventory and by what repair shops will pay for parts. Then I set a ceiling based on two thirds of typical prices for a model at used computer dealers. Used computer dealers can charge more than individuals because they do offer warranties that provide some protection against buying a lemon. Nonetheless the Macintosh market moves so fast that dealers of used equipment sometimes aren't able to unload inventory before the price of equivalent new models drops below what they paid for inventory. The existence of many of these dealers is marginal and depends heavily on customers who assume that new equipment is more expensive than old and that mail order is cheaper than buying from the local dealer, neither of which is necessarily true. Thus I also considered the prices of equivalent and better new machines as well. The real kicker here is the LC 475 (a.k.a. Quadra 605), a 25 MHz 68LC040 (no FPU), 4 megs RAM, 80 megabyte hard disk, keyboard, several useful applications and a twelve month warranty for about $499 new. Very few used Macs currently being offered for sale have as much horsepower as this machine though some may have additional features such as a monitor or more slots. However very few people buying used equipment need more than one expansion slot. Thus as a buyer or a seller ask yourself what a machine is worth compared to an LC 475. Within this range I try to set the suggested price in the ballpark of the lowest asking price I've seen on Usenet or elsewhere. Finally I adjust the prices a little between models to make sure that equivalently capable used Macs cost about the same amount. My ultimate goal is to ensure that a buyer who pays the price listed here does not feel cheated in a transaction, either because they see the Mac they just bought for $1000 advertised for $500 two weeks later or because they realize they could have bought a better Mac new for the same money. Both of these happen far too frequently. These prices are mainly for discontinued models. For models that are still available new, see the list in question 3.8. Figure the same system used is worth about 70% of that price plus an extra half percent for every month of warranty coverage left. For compact Macs all prices include a keyboard and mouse. Take $100 off the price if there's no keyboard or mouse or both. Otherwise the prices are just for the base CPU with internal hard drive and RAM. Most offers to sell do include a monitor, keyboard and mouse and some room for haggling so asking prices will typically be somewhat higher. RAM and hard drive configurations can vary greatly. I've tried to include the high and low ends as well as the configurations you're most likely to run across. Use your best judgment when interpolating and extrapolating to other models. Mac 128 $50 Mac 512 $50 Mac 512ke $50 Mac Plus 1/0 $50 Mac Plus 4/0 $100 SE 1/0 $75 SE 1/20 $100 SE 4/0 $100 SE 4/40 $125 SE/30 1/0 $150 SE/30 4/40 $350 SE/30 5/80 $400 SE/30 8/80 $450 Classic 4/40 $140 Classic 4/80 $165 Classic II 2/40 $265 Classic II 4/80 $370 Color Classic 4/80 $410 LC 4/40 $175 LC 4/80 $225 LC 10/80 $300 LC II 4/40 $175 LC II 4/80 $200 LC II 8/80 $250 LC III 4/80 $300 LC III 4/160 $350 LC 520 4/80 $650 LC 520 5/80/2CD $800 LC 520 8/160/2CD $900 LC 550 4/160 $895 LC 575 5/160/2CD $940 LC 575 8/160/2CD $995 Mac II 0/0 $200 Mac II 0/0/FDHD $225 Mac II 8/40 $300 Mac II 4/105/FDHD $400 Mac IIx 0/0 $300 Mac IIx 8/80 $525 Mac IIci 0/0 $400 Mac IIci 8/80 $600 Mac IIcx 0/0 $250 Mac IIsi 2/0 $325 Mac IIsi 3/40 $420 Mac IIsi 5/80 $475 Mac IIsi 5/120/FPU $500 Mac IIfx 0/0 $700 Mac IIfx 4/270 $900 Mac IIvx 4/80 $400 Mac IIvx 5/80/2CD $550 Mac IIvx 4/230 $450 Mac IIvx 4/230/2CD $600 Centris 610 4/80 $500 Centris 610 8/80 $575 Centris 610 8/230 $675 Centris 610 8/230/2CD $800 Centris 650 8/230 $800 Centris 650 8/230/2CD $950 Mac Portable 1/40 $200 Mac Portable 4/40 $250 Mac Portable 4/80/Backlit $300 Quadra 605 4/80 (LC 475) $400 Quadra 605 4/160 (LC 475) $469 Quadra 605 8/160 $579 Quadra 605 8/250 $599 Quadra 610 8/160 $700 Quadra 610 8/160/DOS $990 Quadra 610 8/230 $800 Quadra 610 8/230/2CD $900 Quadra 650 8/230 $1100 Quadra 650 8/500 $1400 Quadra 650 16/230 $1500 Quadra 650 8/230/2CD $1280 Quadra 650 8/500/2CD $1600 Quadra 660av 8/80 $1050 Quadra 660av 8/230 $1095 Quadra 660av 8/230/2CD $1200 Quadra 660av 8/500 $1320 Quadra 660av 8/500/2CD $1560 Quadra 800 8/230 $1400 Quadra 800 8/500 $1500 Quadra 800 8/500/2CD $1600 Quadra 800 8/1000 $1900 Quadra 840av 8/230 $1660 Quadra 840av 8/230/2CD $1895 Quadra 840av 8/500 $2050 Quadra 840av 16/500 $2200 Quadra 840av 16/500/2CD $2450 Quadra 840av 16/1000/2CD $3900 Quadra 950 8/0 $1960 Quadra 950 8/230 $2100 Quadra 950 8/400 $2250 Quadra 950 8/500 $2500 Quadra 950 16/1000 $2900 Quadra 700 4/0 $600 Quadra 700 4/80 $700 Quadra 700 8/105 $800 Quadra 900 4/0 $1200 Quadra 900 4/160 $1500 PowerMac 6100/60 8/160 $905 PowerMac 6100/60 8/250 $1000 PowerMac 6100/60 8/250/2CD$1205 PowerMac 6100/60 16/250 $1300 PowerBook 100 2/20 $300 PowerBook 100 4/40 $375 PowerBook 140 2/20 $400 PowerBook 140 4/40 $475 PowerBook 140 4/120 $650 PowerBook 145 4/40 $650 PowerBook 145b 4/40 $595 PowerBook 145b 4/80 $695 PowerBook 145b 4/120 $795 PowerBook 160 2/20 $600 PowerBook 160 4/40 $700 PowerBook 165 4/80 $1095 PowerBook 165 4/160 $1195 PowerBook 165 4/160/Modem $1295 PowerBook 165c 4/80 $1295 PowerBook 165c 4/120 $1395 PowerBook 165c 4/120/Modem $1495 PowerBook 170 4/40 $900 PowerBook 170 4/80 $975 PowerBook 170 8/40/modem $995 PowerBook 170 4/120 $965 PowerBook 180 4/80 $1350 PowerBook 180 4/120 $1460 PowerBook 180 4/120/Modem $1570 PowerBook 180c 4/80 $1550 PowerBook 180c 4/160 $1660 PowerBook 180c 4/160/Modem $1770 PowerBook 540 4/240 $2195 PowerBook 540 12/240/Modem $2595 Duo 210 4/80 $605 Duo 230 4/80 $695 Duo 230 4/120 $795 Duo 230 4/120/Modem $895 Duo 250 4/200 $1150 Duo 250 12/200/Modem $1350 Duo 270c 4/240 $1500 Duo 270c 12/240/Modem $1895 ImageWriter $50 ImageWriter II $75 ImageWriter LQ $100 StyleWriter $135 Personal Laserwriter SC $200 Personal Laserwriter LS $235 Personal Laserwriter NT $285 Personal Laserwriter NTR $335 LaserWriter IISC $300 LaserWriter IINT $500 LaserWriter IINTX $600 LaserWriter IIf $735 LaserWriter IIg $995 Apple CDSC $50 Apple CD-150 $75 Apple CD-300 $125 Apple Standard Keyboard $50 Apple Extended Keyboard $85 Apple 12" B/W Monitor $115 Apple 13" HiRes Color $300 Apple Portrait Display $265 ==================================== WHERE SHOULD I BUY A NEW MAC? (3.0) ==================================== AUTHORIZED DEALERS (3.1) ------------------------- Hard as it may be to believe Apple authorized dealers are normally the most reliable, best stocked, and cheapest source of Apple brand equipment. You are unlikely to do better by buying at educational discount, at a superstore, or by mail-order (though walking in with the price list from a local university or superstore is often the quickest way to cut through a lot of haggling). The larger dealers should offer you a price several percentage points less than offered by smaller dealers since Apple charges them less for product. The key number is $5,000,000. A dealer that orders five million dollars of merchandise from Apple in a year pays about three percent less for its product than a dealer that only orders $1,000,000 of Apple products in a year. (This is also a great incentive for dealers that are on the borderline of one of the two tiers to cut margins to move more volume.) Dealers that order less than a million dollars a year normally order product through a master reseller like MicroAge which tacks on its own markup. Apple sets minimum advertised pricing and punishes dealers that advertise lower prices so that smaller dealers can compete, at least for the business of uninformed consumers (which isn't you since you're reading this FAQ list.) This helps keep advertised prices pretty much in lockstep, but you should expect that the larger dealers will offer prices several percent less than what they advertise when you visit their store. VAR'S (3.2) ------------ I include Value Added Resellers (VAR's for short) only for the sake of completeness. These dealers custom configure Macintoshes for specific purposes and sell them at a premium price. Generally they are uninterested in single CPU, retail sales. Very few will even attempt to match rock bottom prices. However they are about the only part of the dealer channel that provides significant after-sale support to their customers. SUPERSTORES (3.3) ------------------ Superstores like CompUSA are fairly hassle-free since they won't do any haggling except on the largest orders. They should be able to match a competitor's advertised price though you may need to show them an ad with the better price first. On the other hand any authorized dealer should almost certainly be able to beat a superstore price. After all, noone puts their best price in an ad for all their competitors to see. The best use for a superstore is to tell salespeople at authorized dealers what prices they need to beat to get your business. PERFORMAS (3.4) ---------------- At various times Apple repackages different models of LC's, Classics and Quadra's with slightly different software and sells them as Performa's through consumer outlets like Sears. With one exception (the Performa 600) these have all been virtually identical to one model or another of the Macs sold at authorized dealers except for the bundled software. Most of the time the regular model is cheaper than the equivalent Performa, especially if you don't want the bundled software; but this isn't always true so you should double-check the price of a Performa compared to the model you want to buy. Finally most Performa dealers will sell Macs over the phone to customers they've never met. So if you can't find what you want locally, a Performa may be a reasonable choice. EDUCATIONAL DEALERS (3.5) -------------------------- The nicest thing about campus computer stores is that they're willing to distribute firm price lists with reasonable prices so there's no need to haggle. Also since they typically don't work on commission they're much more honest and open than the average authorized dealer. The worst thing about campus computer stores is that they're normally the last part of the channel to get product. If you order a Mac that isn't in stock through an educational dealer, plan on waiting at least two months for delivery. Educational prices haven't fallen at the same rate as have prices in other channels over the last two years (mainly because educational prices were much lower to start with) so larger authorized dealers should now be able to match or beat educational prices. One of the most effective tactics for dealing with an authorized dealer that cuts through a lot of hassle and haggling is walking in with a copy of a local university price list and asking "Can you do better?" DIRECT FROM APPLE (3.6) ------------------------ Apple does not sell Macs retail except to their largest accounts. They occasionally sell discounted Macs to certain developers but like educational discounts, developer's discounts aren't what they used to be. Most developers agree that the paperwork and delays involved in buying direct aren't worth any small savings that might be had by buying from Apple rather than from a dealer. AUCTIONS (3.7) --------------- Apple occasionally dumps overstocked equipment at various auctions around the country. Most of the time this is NOT a good way to get a good deal on a new Mac. Once auctioneers fees (5%) are factored in prices tend to be higher than you'd pay at a dealer for newer, better models. However some deals are possible if you know what you want and how much its worth. Here are a few rules of thumb for shopping at auction: 1. Get a list of the merchandise offered for sale. Be sure to preview the items before the auction. Auction configurations are not always the same as dealer configurations. Check whether the models you're interested in are new or demos and what their warranty status is. New equipment should have a full one year warranty. 2. Make a list of street prices and prices you're willing to pay for everything you might bid on. The sections on new and used equipment prices in this FAQ can be of great help here. 3. Don't get caught up in the excitement of the auction. NEVER bid more than you planned on for any piece. 4. Powerbooks almost always sell for more than their street price. Don't even bother attending an auction if you only want a PowerBook. DOES ANYONE KNOW A DEALER IN NEW YORK CITY? (3.8) -------------------------------------------------- If you're planning a trip to New York, you may want to do a little Mac shopping on the side. New York City is one of the most competitive Mac markets in the United States, and the prices here reflect it. For the current ads of most NYC dealers pick up a copy of Tuesday's New York Times. Below I list several dealers you may want to check out. PCSI 26 West 23rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues (212) 255-7600 I've dealt with PCSI several times over the last few years and they've always been friendly, honest, and had competitive prices. MPC 4 West 20th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues (212) 463-8585 I worked at MPC for about a year a few years back. Since MPC is also a full-service service bureau as well as being an authorized dealer, they're by far the most technically knowledgable dealership in NYC. The prices aren't bad either. J&R Computer World 15 Park Row NY NY 10038 (212) 238-9000 (800) 221-8180 This is New York City's superstore. Like most superstores there's limited haggling, not particularly knowledgable salespeople, and decent prices; but you can often do better by going to one of the other dealers and saying "J&R has it for $2000. Can you beat that?" J&R is also authorized to sell Macs over the phone. Sam Ash 160 West 48th Street NY NY (212) 719-2299 While most New York City dealers cater to the graphics design market and the occasional business user, Sam Ash has developed a large and loyal following among musicians. If you need advice on MIDI to Mac hookups and the like, you won't do better than Sam Ash. Be warned, however, that the salsepeople work on straight commission so they can be somewhat aggressive and hard bargainers. There are also locations in Queens, New Jersey, and other parts of the metro area. NEW EQUIPMENT PRICES (3.9) --------------------------- What follows are mostly maximum prices you should expect to pay for current Apple models in standard configurations. You should have no trouble getting these prices at any Apple reseller in the United States with a little haggling. In competitive markets or if you're buying several Macs at once, you may be able to get up to 10% or more off these prices. If you do manage to significantly beat these prices on a single Mac purchase I'd like to hear about it so I can keep this list current. Most dealers are unlikely to stock all configurations listed here. You'll generally get a better price if you order what's in stock (not to mention you'll get it quicker.) Finally several of the models below are officially discontinued. I keep them on the new list as long as some authorized dealers still have stock and are selling them new with full Apple warranties. Finally be sure to check the Last modified date at the top of this file. Apple has been known to cut prices faster than I can post FAQ lists. To get possibly more recent price lists you can connect to the University of Texas Microcenter Store at <URL:http://www.mc.utexas.edu/>. This contains price and product lists from the University of Texas in Austin. While you have to be affiliated with the university to actually buy here, these lists should give you a pretty good idea of what a fair price might be elsewhere. You can be also try Joe Holmes Mac Street Price Index at <URL:http://www.users.interport.net/~joholmes/street_price.html>. For non-Apple equipment prices just scan the back pages of any issue of MacWorld or MacUser. Since most companies besides Apple are willing to authorize mail-order dealers, the mail-order prices on Radius monitors, GCC printers, Quantum Hard Drives and other third party peripherals should be fairly close to the minimum you can expect to pay for such items. In the listings below the first number si the amount of RAM included, the second number is the hard duisk size. 2CD means a double-speed CD-ROM drive, 4CD means a quad speed CD-ROM drive. A number followed by double quotes is the monitor size in inches. (e.g. 14" means the unit comes with a 14 inch monitor). 14.4 means a 14,400 bps modem. Mac TV 5/160/2CD $1095 LC 550 8/160/2CD/14" $895 LC 5200/75 8/500/2CD/15" $1695 Quadra 630 4/250 $895 (All Performa models include keyboards) Performa 450 4/120/14" $779 Performa 475 4/160/modem/14" $999 Performa 550 5/160/2CD/9.6/14" $1199 Performa 550CD 5/160/2CD/9.6/14" $1235 Performa 575CD 5/250/2CD/modem/14" $1275 Performa 577CD 5/320/2CD/modem/14" $1295 Performa 578CD 8/320/2CD/modem/14" $1445 Performa 630 4/250/modem/14" $1199 Performa 630CD 8/250/2CD/modem/14" $1295 Performa 631CD 8/500/2CD/modem/14" $1499 Performa 635CD 5/250/2CD/modem/15" $1299 Performa 636 4/250/ $799 Performa 636 4/250/14" display $1099 Performa 636CD 8/250/2CD $999 Performa 636CD 8/250/2CD/14" $1199 Performa 636CD 8/500/2CD/14" $1269 Performa 638CDV 8/350/2CD/modem/15"/ $1449 TV tuner Performa 640CD 12/500/2CD/14.4/DOS $2295 Performa 5200CD 8/800/2CD/modem/15" $1820 Performa 5215CD 8/1000/4CD/14.4/15" $2295 Performa 6112CD 8/250/2CD/modem/15" $2060 Performa 6115CD 8/350/2CD/modem/15" $1800 Performa 6116CD 8/700/2CD/14"/14.4 $1899 Performa 6200CD 8/1000/4CD/14.4 $2295 Performa 6214CD 8/1000/2CD/15" $1820 Performa 6220CD 8/1000/4CD/14.4 $2300 Performa 6220CD 16/1000/4CD/14.4 $2500 PowerMac 6100/60 8/250 $1095 PowerMac 6100/66 8/350 $1339 PowerMac 6100/66 8/350/2CD $1400 PowerMac 6100/66 8/500 $1430 PowerMac 6100/66 8/500/2CD $1550 PowerMac 6100/66 16/500/DOS $2050 PowerMac 6100/66 16/500/2CD/DOS $2180 PowerMac 7100/66 8/250 $1199 PowerMac 7100/66 8/250/2CD $1299 PowerMac 7100/66 8/500 $1100 PowerMac 7100/66 8/500/2CD $1199 PowerMac 7100/66av 8/500/2CD $1650 PowerMac 7100/66av 16/500/2CD $1950 PowerMac 7100/66 16/250 $1300 PowerMac 7100/66 16/500/DOS $1935 PowerMac 7100/80 8/500 $1999 PowerMac 7100/80 8/700/2CD $2070 PowerMac 7100/80 12/500/2CD/14.4 $2695 PowerMac 7100/80av 16/700/2CD $2800 PowerMac 7200/75 8/500/4CD $1585 PowerMac 7200/90 8/500/4CD $1772 PowerMac 8100/80 8/250 $2400 PowerMac 8100/80 8/250/2CD $2435 PowerMac 8100/80 8/500 $2435 PowerMac 8100/80 16/250/2CD $2595 PowerMac 8100/80 16/500 $2750 PowerMac 8100/80av 16/500/2CD $3035 PowerMac 8100/80 16/1000/2CD $2900 PowerMac 8100/100 8/700 $2575 PowerMac 8100/100 8/700/2CD $2800 PowerMac 8100/100 16/700/2CD $3100 PowerMac 8100/100 16/1000/2CD $3200 PowerMac 8100/100 16/2000/2CD $4095 PowerMac 8100/100/AV 16/1000/2CD $3400 PowerMac 8100/110 16/2000/2CD $3779 PowerMac 7500/100 16/500/2CD $2552 PowerMac 7500/100 16/1000/2CD $2835 PowerMac 8500/120 16/1000/4CD $3777 PowerMac 8500/120 16/2000/4CD $4249 PowerMac 9500/120 16/1000/4CD $4400 PowerMac 9500/132 16/2000/4CD $5097 Workgroup Server 95 16/230 $4555 Workgroup Server 95 48/1230 $8535 Workgroup Server 6150 8/500/2CD/AS $3635 Workgroup Server 8150 16/1000/2CD/DAT $6290 Workgroup Server 8150 16/1000/2CD/DAT/AS $7165 Workgroup Server 6150 8/500/2CD/AS $3635 Workgroup Server 8150 16/1000/2CD/DAT $6290 Workgroup Server 8150 16/1000/2CD/DAT/AS $7165 Workgroup Server 9150 16/2000/2CD $7780 Workgroup Server 9150 16/2000/2CD/DAT $8660 PowerBook 150 4/120 $895 PowerBook 150 4/240 $1109 PowerBook 520 4/160 $1255 PowerBook 520 4/240 $1475 PowerBook 520c 4/160 $1715 PowerBook 520c 4/240 $1729 PowerBook 520c 4/320 $2195 PowerBook 520c 12/320/Modem $2639 PowerBook 540c 4/320 $2900 PowerBook 540c 12/320/Modem $3450 PowerBook 540c 12/500/Modem $3950 PowerBook 5300 8/500 $2079 PowerBook 5300c 8/500 $3435 PowerBook 5300cs 8/500 $2599 PowerBook 5300ce/117 32/1100 $6030 PowerBook 5300cs/100 16/750 $3250 PowerBook 5300c/100 16/750 $4174 Duo 280 4/240 $2275 Duo 280c 4/320 $3170 Duo 280c 12/320 $3595 Duo 280c 12/320/Modem $3700 Duo Dock 512K VRAM $445 Duo Dock 1/230/FPU $717 Duo Minidock $280 Duo Dock II 1 MB VRAM $820 Duo Express Modem $275 Duo external floppy adapter $92 Duo Type II Battery $73 Duo AC Adaptor $60 PowerBook Rechargeable Battery $75 PowerBook External Battery Recharger $75 PowerBook AC Adaptor (100 series) $60 PowerBook AC Adaptor (500 series) $125 PowerBook Intelligent Battery $120 PowerBook PCMCIA Module $190 StyleWriter II $195 StyleWriter Portable $395 Color StyleWriter Pro $495 StyleWriter 1200 $245 Color StyleWriter 2200 $399 Color StyleWriter 2400 $365 Color StyleWriter 2400B $399 ImageWriter II $350 Personal LaserWriter 300 $379 Personal LaserWriter 320 $805 LaserWriter Select 300 $500 LaserWriter Select 310 $650 LaserWriter Select 320 $805 LaserWriter Select 360 $1215 LaserWriter Pro 600 $1300 LaserWriter Pro 630 $1785 LaserWriter Pro 810 $4070 LaserWriter 16/600 PS $2135 LaserWriter 4/600 PS $840 Apple Color Printer $430 LWPro 500 sheet Cassette $110 PLW, LW II, LW Select trays $62 Portable Stylewriter battery $44 LW 360 PostScript Fax Card $255 12" Monochrome Monitor $155 Apple Basic Color Monitor $195 Apple Color Plus 14" Display $275 Apple AudioVision 14" RGB Display $555 Macintosh 14" Hi-Res Display $450 Apple Multiscan 15" Display $392 Macintosh 15" Display $399 Macintosh 16" Color Display $850 Apple Multiscan 17" Display $799 Apple Multiscan 20" Display $1785 Macintosh 21" Color Display $2145 ADB Mouse II $70 Apple Keyboard II $69 Extended Keyboard II $129 Apple Adjustable Keyboard $99 Apple Design Keyboard $75 Apple CD-600E $305 Speech Kit for Power Macintosh $45 Apple Video System $130 Apple Video/TV System $215 Apple One-Scanner $590 Apple Color One-Scanner $755 GeoPort Telecom Adapter $99 Power-CD $179 Apple QuickTake 150 $632 Mac IIsi NuBus Adapter $120 Centris 610 NuBus Adapter $55 Quadra 660AV NuBus Adapter $108 Quadra 610 NuBus Adapter Card $55 PowerMac 6100 NuBus Adapter $82 PowerMac 256K cache Card $247 Workgroup Server 95 128K cache $320 Workgroup Server 95 256K cache $245 Apple IIe card $135 PowerMac 6100 DOS Card $665 PowerMac AV Card $411 PowerMac Upgrade NuBus Card $577 =================================== WHEN SHOULD I BUY A NEW MAC? (4.0) =================================== MACROTIME (4.1) ---------------- Apple releases new models of Macs about every three months. In September the first PowerPC 603e based PowerBooks will hit the market. The 5000 series PowerBooks will include two Type II PCMCIA slots, a PowerBook 500 form factor, 100 or 117 MHz PowerPC 603e CPU's, an infrared LocalTalk port and 10.4 inch active and passive matrix color and 9.5 inch passive matrix gray scale screens. Street prices will run from about $2000 to $6000 dollars. The Duo 2000 series will debut in October with an 80 MHz PPC 603e CPU for around $3500. Also in October the PowerBook 190 will take its place at the low end with a 68LC040 CPU and a PowerBook 500 form factor. As usual all new models will be faster and cheaper than the models they replace. Prices on models being replaced often drop by 15-20% either shortly before or after the introduction of new models. In particular the introduction of a rebate program is a sure sign that Apple is clearing out old stock in preparation for the introduction of new models. Now is a GREAT time to buy a Mac. While prices may drop after the initial back orders are filled (probably around February, 1996), no major new models or significant changes in hardware are expected after October (when the new Duos debut) for about the next year. There will of course be models released with faster CPU's, bigger hard disks and more memory, probably starting around January; but it will still be quite some time before anything significantly different (e.g. FireWire, PowerPC 615 or 620 CPU's, CHRP Macs or even new form factors) comes out of Apple. I advise against buying any more 680X0 series Macs though. The future lies with the PowerPC, not with the 68040 and 68030 models available now; and if you buy one of those now, it's going to become obsolete and slow even faster than Macs have done in the past. (The Mac doesn't really become slower. It's the software that gets more bloated and less efficient, but you get the idea. When I recently complained about the speed of some software I was beta-testing, the programmer told me it seemed fine on his low-end Mac, a IIci that's twice as fast as my SE/30. It took four years for my high-end SE/30 to become something not worth programmers' time to worry about. Today's Quadra 630's should make that same journey in less than half that time.) Apple may not even port the next version of its system software, codename Copland, to the 680X0. MICROTIME (4.2) ---------------- If you're buying a low end home system from a high end corporate dealer and you want demos or a lot of questions answered, shop on the weekend. During the week salespeople tend to be busy with much larger sales and aren't very interested in selling one Performa 575. On the weekends, however, especially on Sundays, salespeople are often twiddling their thumbs waiting for any customer at all. On the other hand if you know exactly what you want and how much you want to pay for it, shop in the middle of a weekday, preferably the day or two after the ads come out in the local papers. During busy times salespeople are much more inclined to give in to your $650 cash offer for a Quadra 605 just to get you out of their hair. WHEN WILL I GET MY MAC? (4.3) ------------------------------ I've never heard of a delivery taking more than a year, and most Macs ordered through whatever channels arrive within six months. However I strongly recommend not putting more than a one dollar deposit on any Mac purchase and making certain that you can back out of a purchase at any time up until the goods are actually delivered and signed for. It's not uncommon for Apple to lower prices or deliver an improved model at lower cost before all orders for older models have been filled. This is especially common for orders placed through the educational channel. For hot models like the PowerMac 8500/120 you may want to place orders at several dealers to have a reasonable chance of getting what you want when you want it. ================================== HOW SHOULD I BUY A NEW MAC? (5.0) ================================== KNOW WHAT YOU WANT (5.1) ------------------------- When you walk into the store where you're thinking about buying for the first time, you should know exactly what you need and the exact maximum price you will pay for that equipment. Never go in to "discuss" your needs with a salesperson. Remember they are there to sell you a computer, not to help you out. If you really want to discuss your needs, talk to a knowledgable friend or even hire a freelancer who specializes in Macintosh (not PC!) pre-purchase consulting. At least that way you're talking to some one who works for you rather than the store. You probably want to ask the salesperson what price they can give you on the system you want before you tell them what price you want to pay. I have occasionally been surprised by a salesperson who initially offered me a system at a price several hundred dollars lower than the price I expected to pay. This is more common on high end systems like 840av's than on low end ones like Classics since there's still more money for a dealer in a 3% markup on an 8500/120 than in a 10% markup on a Quadra 630. Buy the base CPU with the minimum amount of RAM it ships with and possibly an internal Apple hard disk, an external monitor, and maybe an Apple printer from your authorized dealer, nothing else. Many dealers have excellent prices on CPU's but jack up the price on peripherals to near list. They offer very good prices on the base configurations of Macintosh and then pile on the extras, $200 for a modem, $50 for a surge supressor, $100 a megabyte for RAM. Guess where their profit's coming from. Some dealers don't even bother to put individual prices on your sales order, just a package price, so you won't realize how much they're ripping you off on the peripherals. Almost no Authorized Apple Dealer is able to beat mail-order or unauthorized dealer prices on non-Apple peripherals. All other non-Apple brand equipment should be purchased from a dealer who specializes in peripherals, possibly through mail order. And never, ever, buy software from an authorized Apple dealer. Software can always be had mail order for about half the price you'd pay an Apple dealer. Many stores offer to set-up and test your system for you. Typical fees range from $50 to $100 and include hard disk initialization, system software installation, burn-in time, and installation of one software package (normally HyperCard Player unless you request otherwise in writing on the sales order). In other words they're trying to get an extra $75 out of your pocket to make sure that the computer they're selling you works. This is a crock. While these charges might be justified on a PC whose setup is traditionally more problematic, Macintosh set-up is so easy that anyone who can navigate Usenet can certainly plug in their own Mac. THE DEALER NEEDS TO SELL YOU A MAC MORE THAN YOU NEED TO BUY ONE (5.2) ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Remember that the salesperson needs the sale more than you do. The more time a salesperson spends with you the more pressure they're under to justify that time to their sales manager by selling you something. Hemming and hawing over the price (especially if you haven't told the salesperson how much you expect to pay) can often lower it. You can ALWAYS get a lower price than advertised. Aside from the prices in this list a good idea of when a salesperson is genuinely giving you the lowest price can be had by noticing the level at which they have to check a price with their sales manager. HAVE A COMPETITOR'S AD HANDY (5.3) ----------------------------------- Nothing is more helpful in convincing salespeople to lower their prices than a competitor's published ad or written estimate showing a lower price. This works even if you have no intention of buying from the competitor in the first place (for instance because it's a mail order ad and you don't want to buy through the mail). Except on the cheapest systems you should ask that the salesperson beat the price by at least $50 and maybe as much as $300 on high end systems. Justify it on the grounds that you don't want to have to shuttle back and forth between dealers to keep getting a $10 drop in price every time. CASH ON DELIVERY (5.4) ----------------------- If you're buying at a dealership, don't pay a penny until the salesperson brings all pieces of what you've paid for out for you to see. While delivery is sometimes more convenient, it's a lot safer if you walk out the store with your computer. Too many disreputable dealers sell stock they don't have, especially of very popular items. If you must have the computer delivered to you, insist on a clause in the sales contract specifying that delivery must be made by a certain date and time or else the full purchase price shall be immediately refunded. The clause should also specify that delivery is the responsibility solely of the seller. It will normally be necessary to cross out (and initial the change) of a standard clause in the sales contract stating the opposite. For maximum safety insist that the sales manager also approve that change in the contract in writing. Dealers typically pay between 3-5% of the purchase price (including sales tax) to the credit card company for any purchase you make on a credit card. Since the margins they'll be getting on their sale to you are thin enough already, expect that they will pass the cost of a credit card on to you. If you intend to purchase your Macintosh on credit and you're not buying mail order, you're probably better off getting a bank loan or getting a cash advance on your credit card so that you can give the dealer cash (or a certified check.) Your interest charges shouldn't be any higher than if you paid with a credit card in the first place, (though there won't be any grace payment for repayment) and the loan or advance charges probably won't be as much as the dealer would raise prices for a credit sale. Of course if you're buying by mail you should definitely use a credit card despite any added expense. Since most mail order companies have higher volume and lower overhead than independent dealers, the price difference shouldn't be very far away from the cash price. Some credit cards offer extended warranties and theft protection on purchases made with the card. If yours does then the added protection may be worth the extra money for using a credit card, especially if you're buying an easily stolen or easily broken item like a Powerbook. THE SALES TAX GAME (5.5) ------------------------- In some sections of the U.S. a significant savings can be realized by crossing a city or state line in search of a more favorable sales tax rate. For instance in New York City sales tax is 8.25% while right across the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey it's 3.5% and a bit northerly in Westchester County it drops to 6.25%. Drive all the way down to Delaware and there's no sales tax at all. A New York City resident is supposed to pay New York City tax even on purchases made out of state; but it is perfectly legal to use the possibility of your going outside the city to buy your computer to convince a salesperson to lower their price. And in most other venues except New York and California a purchase made by mail from a company outside the state of the purchaser is non-taxable. LEASING (5.6) -------------- The short answer to this option is DON'T. If you're VERY strapped for capital think about it, but most commonly the lease payments over the term of the lease add up to as much as or even more than the cost of the system itself plus the interest on a loan to buy it. If you absolutely must lease try to keep the term as short as possible. Generally Mac power doubles every year while price comes down by about a third. You don't want to lock yourself into obsolete equipment. The most common lease term is two years, but with a little shopping around you can find one year leases. BE NICE TO YOUR SALESPERSON (5.7) ---------------------------------- This final tip ought to be obvious, but many people have a hard time grasping it. If your salesperson likes you, he or she will be much more amenable to giving you a good price. At the larger dealers that will give you the best prices (if you know how to ask) salespeople often don't care about low-end sales enough to do much hard bargaining, and will often decide how low they're willing to go based solely on how much they like a customer and what sort of mood they're in. (Of course if your salesperson just broke up with his boyfriend last night you're out of luck.) Not all stores will be able to offer you a rock bottom price. Please don't get angry about it if they can't. If your salesperson tells you that the price you're asking for is ridiculous, get their lowest price, thank them, and go somewhere else. ===================================== THE GRAY MARKET AND MAIL ORDER (6.0) ===================================== WHAT IS THE GRAY MARKET? (6.1) ------------------------------- Due to Apple's reluctance to authorize mail order dealers, there are few authorized Apple mail-order dealers (unlike in the PC world). Unauthorized "Gray Market" dealers take advantage of lower foreign prices in countries like Mexico by buying computers there and reselling them in the United States, sometimes selling them to the end user for prices as low as other dealers can get their machines wholesale from Apple. They also buy excess inventory from authorized dealers at cost. The gray market dealers get product, and the authorized dealers get steeper discounts from Apple for ordering more machines. ARE GRAY MARKET MACS COVERED BY APPLE WARRANTIES? (6.2) -------------------------------------------------------- Gray market computers are still official Apple product manufactured in the same four factories that make the machines sold in the United States. The main caveat in the gray market is that the computer you buy may or may not be eligible for warranty repair by Apple. Whether an authorized Apple dealer will perform warranty service on a gray market Mac depends almost entirely on the authorized dealer you bring it to. You must make sure your gray market Mac has a valid, non-defaced Apple serial number to have any reasonable chance of getting warranty service. Some authorized dealers remove serial numbers before selling the Macs into the gray market so that Apple can't trace the product back to them. It is almost impossible to find an Apple dealer who will perform warranty service an a Mac without a valid serial number. In the end a gray market Mac's warranty is only as good as the company that sold it to you so make sure that the company you buy from is reliable in performing service. When you buy from an authorized dealer even if that dealer has a totally dishonest and incompetent service department, you can always bring it to their competitors for warranty service. In the gray market you're only promised service from the company you buy from. If that company goes out of business while they've got your computer in their repair shop, you may never see it again. It's also very inconvenient to have to ship your computer away by mail for service and then have it shipped back. DOES ANYONE KNOW A GOOD MAIL-ORDER COMPANY? (6.3) -------------------------------------------------- Many mail-order dealers advertise in the back pages of MacUser and MacWorld. One that has to date seemed reasonably honest and reliable is MacFriends (1-800-331-1322). However their prices are not necessarily better than what you could get from an authorized dealer. Don't automatically assume mail-order prices are better. In many cases they're not. Some Performa dealers like Staples (1-800-333-3330) will sell their Performa configurations over the phone. MacMall (1-800-222-2808) and J&R Computer World (1-800-221-8180) are two regular dealers that are authorized to sell non-Performa CPU's over the phone. There are several steps you should take to protect yourself when buying Macs through the mail. First pay by credit card even if there's a surcharge for using a credit card. You should verify that the card will not be charged until the computer is shipped. If there is a problem with the shipment or if it fails to arrive, you can contact the credit card company to dispute the charge. This is a good idea even if you have had numerous good experiences with the company previously. Jasmine Technologies, a primarily mail order company, had an excellent reputation for fast, dependable service; but when it went bankrupt in 1990, many people who had paid in advance by check for hard drives were stranded without either a drive or their money. Those who had paid by credit card were able to get the charges removed by their credit card companies. Secondly ask a few questions before purchasing a Mac by mail. Keep a written record of who you talked to including time, dates and what was said. Some good questions are: * Is the equipment brand new? * Is the box factory-sealed? * Does it come with an Apple warranty? * Does it come with an Apple registration card? * Does it have a valid serial number? * What is your return policy? You may also want to verify with a local authorized dealer that the offered configuration is indeed one Apple manufactures. -- Elliotte Rusty Harold email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org ..