Pricing out the Surface Studio vs the 5K iMac

Posted by Matt Birchler
β€” 1 min read

Microsoft unveiled it's impressive Surface Studio today, and it looks like a very capable machine. It looks solid, and I've seen many people see this and say "this is the computer I've been waiting for!" I shared my thoughts on it earlier, but one thing that I found curious is that the pricing of the Surface Studio is a little high, especially for a company (and company's fans) who often criticize Apple for their high prices. So I wanted to quickly compare the price of the Surface Studio vs the current 5K iMac.

Before going any further, I have to make it clear I understand that I'm comparing 2 machines that are different in a number if ways, but will ultimately be used for most the same things. That said, I got the specs are close as I could on each model.

The Matchup

Surface Studio 5K iMac
Cost $2,999 $1,899
CPU Quad-core 6th Gen Intel Core i5 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M 2GB AMD Radeon R9 M380 2GB
Hard Drive 1TB "Rapid hybrid drive" 1TB Fusion drive
Display 28 inch 4500x3000 - 192 PPI 27 inch 5120x2880 - 219 PPI

The $1,100 price differential is likely due to the Studio's touch screen, which surely costs more to manufacture than Apple's non-touch screen monitor. You do get a free Surface Dial and Pen with the Studio, but other than that, these machines are on pretty equal footing. Of note, the Surface Dial is free right now, and looks like a pre-order bonus, not something that will always come free with the device. Please let me know if that is not the case.

For giggles, I threw together a build of the iMac with a 4GHz i7 processor, doubled the RAM to 16GB, doubled the hard drive to 2TB, and upgraded the GPU to the AMD Radeon R9 M395X (a 4GB card), and came right in at $2,999 as well.

Alternatively, you could spend the extra $1,100 on a 256GB 13 inch iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil.

If we're just talking specs, the iMac wipes the floor with the new Surface. There's a million other reasons you might want the Surface Studio over the iMac, but the difference was so shocking I just had to share.