Originally Posted by climber
Can I build a machine cheaper than the link below? or a equally priced machine but with better components?
Lenovo's gross margins are under 15% so a $999 machine likely cost them $850 to build. They only use a GTX 650 there, which is half the speed of a 680 and a 680 would be over $400. The i7-4770K would be over $300. Motherboard (assume it has wifi/bluetooth) + RAM + box + power supply + hard drive, say $100 each for $500 = $1200. Then monitor and keyboard/mouse, say $250 = $1450. If you got a 27" Dell 1440p display for $585, that would be about $1850 total. Apple has about 30% gross margins so say all retail margins were 15% on the components, wholesale would be $1573, which is $2246 with 30% gross and Apple's top iMac with the i7-4770 and 780M is $2349.
The thing with Apple is they want to bundle a display on the mid-range, which is a smart thing to do because they know that people will just go for a display from someone else instead of pay $1000 for their Thunderbolt display. If Apple took the top iMac at $2350, took off the margins to get a $1645 build cost, deducted $500 for the panel and put the markup back on, it would be $1636, which is competitive with the $1200 build above but like I say, people would probably go for some cheap $200 display. People won't voluntarily pay $1000 for a monitor so Apple would just lose those sales.
The sales they lose without headless mid-range boxes to PCs are negligible. In the $1-2.5k price range, they have a majority share of the market. They lose in the sub-$1000 market because their margins don't let them go that low. They'd just have to ship an insane amount of machines to make up for the lower price. They ship about 1/3 HP and Dell but their revenue is half and their gross margins are about double so they make the same profit from doing 1/3 of the shipments.
Part of the reason they get away with it is, besides the nicer hardware design is because OS X is a much more pleasant working environment, especially for creative work. Even simple things like hitting space-bar to see a file preview or having robust video support with Quicktime, proper buffering of 2D graphics. It's like going back to OS 9 when you have to use Windows.