I recently needed (well: wanted) a new computer and decided to go with an iMac, so that, using Parallels, I could run Mac OS X, Windows Vista and Linux Fedora on the same machine –very convenient for testing purposes!

I bought the version with a 24 inch screen (nice if you want to have several windows open at the same time), a 2.4 GHz CPU (IMO, the 16% performance increase of a 2.8 GHz did not justify the additional 240 euro), a 500 GB hard disk (just in case), and… just 1 GB of RAM.

Now, that doesn’t seem to make sense, does it? If you plan to run virtual machines with “foreign” operating systems on top of the “native” Mac OS X, you should really consider buying at least 2 GB of RAM, but preferably more. (Especially if you want to get decent performance from Vista in a VM!)

So why didn’t I order 4 GB? Actually, I did –just not from Apple.

In the Dutch Apple store, upgrading your iMac’s internal memory from 1 GB to 2 GB costs an additional 140 euro; upgrading it to 4 GB costs a whopping 800 euro…

That just did not sound right, and when I checked a few alternative sources (using Kingston’s handy tool to find the correct memory type), I found that I could buy a 4 GB memory kit for less than 80 euro!

So I ordered the memory from a third party and spent about 5 minutes installing it.

I am extremely happy with my iMac, it is a gorgeous computer and it runs just beautifully –but I find it strange (and somewhat disturbing) that Apple charges such an extreme mark-up for something that seems to be just a commodity… Is Apple taking advantage of its customers’ ignorance?