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“I want to know if they were they trying to scare people away?”
I personally thought the high-end prices were low-balled a bit. Bottom line is; if you are like Earl and must depend totally upon your machine and 1st or 2nd party tech support you should expect to pay some level of premium for your workstation and support. My company builds all of our NLE’s and graphic computers. Occasionally I look at pre-built jammies because Co’s like HP, Mac and Dell make some rock-solid rigs. However, currently we can build a rig that has more ‘lateral’ power for much less. Yet, we can do that because of our experience and expertise in working with computers. Now that we can unofficially build our own mac rigs, that’s not an issue either.
You are correct though, with some knowledge and shopping around you can find some great deals even with Mac’s sold outside the Mac Store. Not everyone is well versed on what to get and how much this stuff should cost (just look at the mass of ‘What ____ should I buy?’ posts we get around here.) Giving them some real-world numbers on what to expect is good.
Too many times amateurs or the uninformed just run out and buy the first thing that catches their eye. Often they pay too much for something that is not suited for what they need. Those looking to move from the intermediate to advanced level equipment need that ‘this thing costs how much!?” wake up call so they will take the time to seriously look at what they want versus what they need within their budget. When you’re doing work that’s bringing in the rent money, you’re going to need gear that’s going to do what you need and hold up while you’re doing it. That quality of gear is going to cost money.