After the vast amount of snooping in cyber-space I did today, it would appear as though I have found the answer to the problem of the missing mid-level Mac....build it yourself. Que the ranting from the Peanut Gallery! Impossible you say? No. It is not. I humbly offer this entry as proof. But first, a brief recap of what started it all....
Not long ago, Apple introduced Boot Camp, a way to run Windows natively on a Mac. Since then, several third party offerings have released, most notably Parallels. I, then, asked an innocent enough question: "If a Mac can run Windows, can a PC run OSX?" Oh....the naysayers lined up by the tens of thousands to chastise me for even daring to think it, let alone postulate it upon their sacred forums! You'd be surprised at how naive that proud elitist group really is. (OSx86 aside.) I chose to ignore their insane rantings, much like Christopher Columbus did in 1492, and set off an a voyage of discovery to find my elusive dream. Mission accomplished.
I took a Michael Moore approach to answering the question....in other words, I asked Apple. It's amazing how uncomfortable an Apple support technician gets on the phone when you ask them the secret to what makes a Mac a Mac. Fortunately, they are like police officers: They don't necessarily like the laws they are sworn to enforce so, I finally found a maverick who was willing to share his knowledge of Apple's alchemy.
First off, before I tell you what he said, let me give credit to a few of my detractors for inadvertently pointing me in the right direction when they stated Apple does not make it's own hardware.... They were right, of course, which is the very reason I can now build my very own Mac.
Apple buys it's hardware from third party sources. Anyone can readily buy every component, sans the Mac tower and fittings from various places across the internet. I chose to buy my parts directly from their manufacturers. The savings I accumulated are noteworthy, to say the least. Let me give you an example: Intel's Core i7 Nehalem 920 2.66GHz processor, the very same processor used in the base model Mac Pro, also can be purchased for use in a PC, as can the other two variants, but at a bit more cost. Two of these processors can be bought for $560.00 and added to the motherboard at no additional cost prior to shipping. The motherboard costs $194.00. I cannot divulge the way to make it a Mac here, however. I do not wish to be sued. It IS readily available knowledge, if you know how to Ask the right questions on a net search. Inexpensive, third party memory is readily available, as well. Now, let me hit you with the shocking news...it can use a Blu Ray drive! How, you ask? It's a simple matter of a few individuals reverse engineering Paralells. This machine will run Windows AND OSX, but in reverse order. You only have to boot up in OSX, unless you wish to take advantage of the Blu Ray, of course. OSX still isn't Blu Ray friendly....but I bet it's coming soon.
Needless to say, you still need a Hard Drive, video card, keyboard / mouse, and tower (and a power supply if the tower doesn't come with it.) to finish the basic build... all of which can be had for less than $400.00 total. Then, you have to buy your OS's to complete the journey. The rest, you'll have to figure out by Asking the right questions, just like I did. Of course, there IS that stupid end user agreement garbage that any court in America will throw out as monopolistic. Macs are running Windows now, after all.