Memory prices have dropped considerably, but memory prices are likely to rise significantly in February 2011, so act now if you’re on the fence.
Apple windfall profit margins
One reason that Apple is so profitable is that Apple doesn’t pass along drops in component costs. Very profitable in the short run, but it has long turned me away from Apple for any kind of hardware upgrade; paying exorbitant prices for a commodity should make anyone feel foolish, and feeds the “Macs are expensive” dogma with the cold hard truth of cash. I don’t mind paying a moderate premium for a reliable vendor with good selection and service, but Apple’s premiums are unconscionably wallet-emptying.
MacBook Pro memory (applies to iMac also)
For a new MacBook Pro, Apple charges $400 just to upgrade from 4GB to 8GB when ordering a new machine. Didn’t get 8GB memory initially? It’s a whopping $600 from Apple, which is 7.2X the market price (compared to OWC with rebate).
View memory prices for the MacBook Pro or iMac at OWC.
The OWC price graphed below is for an 8GB kit; you can also get a rebate on your old memory ($25 as I write this). So the true cost for OWC memory is even lower than shown, about $83 for 8GB. Now that’s a no-brainer.
There are many 3rd-party memory vendors, but OWC tests their memory in every model of every Mac they sell it for in their test lab. I’ve bought all my memory from OWC, and have 100GB or so now in various Macs. It’s a shame that the MacBook Pro maxes-out at 8GB, or I’d stuff 32GB in mine.
Note that a 16GB kit for the iMac is about $220 as I write this (before any rebates). Apple wants $1200.
The price is on trend to be less than half what it was in May.
View memory prices for the Mac Pro at OWC.
I’d have shown what Apple charges in this graph, but it’s so far off the chart it’s just too awkward: $1275 upcharge for a new Mac, or $1500 if bought later.