Macintosh for sale frequently asked questions (FAQ)

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Elliotte Rusty Harold

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Aug 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM8/5/97
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Archive-name: macintosh/wanted-faq
Version: 2.4.0
Last-modified: September 8, 1995
Maintainer: elh...@shock.njit.edu
URL: http://www.macfaq.com/wantedfaq.html

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 elh...@shock.njit.edu


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 mail-...@rtfm.mit.edu
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
elh...@shock.njit.edu
webm...@nymug.org
..

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