I’m currently evaluating different laptops to decide what I’m going to buy to renew my current one. And while doing so, I came to the conclusion that you are often better off buying the cheapest model of a line, and upgrading it yourself, at least if you’re considering Mac or a Vaio.
If you customize a Macbook on the french Apple web store, it costs you 140€ to replace the default 2 x 512MiB SO-DIMM DDR2 PC5300 with 2 x 1GiB, or 810€ for 2 x 2GiB. Such upgrade on other models have apparently the same price ranges.
On the other hand, the most expensive 1GiB module I can find on materiel.net (a french web store selling computer parts, not necessarily the cheapest you can find) is priced 29.89€ and branded Kingston. That’s a wooping 60€ to upgrade to 2 x 1GiB (instead of 140), and you keep the original 2 x 512MiB ! And for a 2GiB module, it’s “only” 104.95€, which makes the whole 4GiB at roughly 210€ instead of 600 more. And again, you keep the original 2 x 512 MiB.
I don’t really know what Kingston memory modules are worth, but are the Apple ones made of gold ? As far as I know, they’re not even ECC, which could legitimate the difference.
Now, on the same Macbook, it would cost you 140 € to replace the standard 80GB SATA 5400rpm hard drive with a 160GB one and 280€ for a 250GB disk. On the same materiel.net site, I see a Western Digital 160GB 5200rpm SATA drive at 102.99€, and a 250GB one for 152.49€. So again, it’s cheaper to buy the standard model and upgrade it yourself. And you keep the original disk as a bonus !
It works equally well on the american or the japanese Apple stores. And the same applies with Sony (though I couldn’t find how to customize a vaio laptop on the french site, I checked it was true on the japanese and american web stores).
On the other hand, Dell and Lenovo seem to have much more reasonable upgrade prices.
What the fsck ?
Update: The more I look at it, the less the memory thing makes sense to me. If it happens to actualy be ECC, why don’t they advertise so, which is more important (and justifying the amazing pricing) than the memory being SO-DIMM DDR2 PC5300 (which they do advertise) ?
Update 2: Looking for dmidecode output with google makes it clear that Apple and Sony laptops, at least the ones I checked price for, don’t use ECC memory.