Well, here's a question for you or, rather, a couple of examples followed by a question.Assuming 1 karma=2000 since I'll be using a chargen in this discussion.
If It costs 20 Karma (40,000 Nuyen) to go from a Strength 3 to a 4,
and it costs 30 Karma (60,000 Nuyen) to go from Strength 5 to 6,
and it costs 40 Karma (80,000 Nuyen) to go from Strength 7 to 8 (assuming your Metatype allows that!)
Then how much Nuyen (Karma) should it cost for a +1 bonus to your strength that also costs you 0.5 Essence?
I'll use a human as an example- a guy that is going to be a close combat specialist so wants to max out agi and str.
Let's Start with Exceptional Attribute for 14 karma <So the guy is AGI 7 and STR 6>
Muscle Replacement  Alpha 120000k or 60 Karma
But you you would normally need to spend 10 additional karma for restricted gear.
If a human could gain those extra 4 levels with karma:
AGI= 40+45+50+55= 190karma
STR= 35+40+45+50= 170karma
plus you gained 35Karma of AGI from going from 6 to 7
So you spent 14+60+10= 84karma worth
You gained 35+190+170= 395karma
So you gained 321karma for 3.2ess
So roughly every .01ess is worth 1karma discount
That makes this damn cheap if you ask me.
And if you actually value karma at 5000 nuyen, then it's an even bigger discount.
Instead of 60 karma for 120k it's only 24.
Which means you only spent 48karma to get 395 karma value.
So you guys that complain about costs being too high,
be glad I wasn't on the team because I'd be arguing for higher prices on attribute boosting items.
And remember, I was doing the math assuming a human.
If you do a race with higher racial maximums, you gain even more karma value.
If you add in Gen Optimization, you gain more karma value.
If you add in surge mutation (whose name I'm not sure of but adds to racial max), you gain more karma value.
Thats a calculation that only makes sense if you ommit all other options.
Thing is, thats going to lead to faulty stuff like we have today.
If you want to balance the costs of augmentations, you need to make sure that there are not "strictly better" paths to begin with.
Some geneware giving a cheaper means of raising a stat than normal Karmaprogression isn't a problem.
The problem appears when you have different means of augmentation with highly different levels of effectiveness.
Wired Reflexes vs the Adept Power, for example is a good example for a very problematic one. Not only is the Adept Power usually way cheaper than the combined cost of Nuyen and Essence you have to pay for WR, it also scales without brakes. And THAT is a really big Advantage. Going from level 2 to 3 for the Adept Power is a fixed single PP, so basically 13 Karma (as the cheapest Option) after Chargen.
Going from WR 2 to WR 3 however, is VERY expensive if you stick to the printed Rules.
If you have a generous GM who allows the upgrading rules from the FAQ, however, you are still looking at 88 400 Nuyen, so around 44 Karma in difference (plus the opportunity Cost of lost Essence that creates a hardcap).
44 vs 13 Karma.
That is a VERY badly done job from a game design perspective.
You wouldn't need to have both things cost the same, obviously, and there is stuff that modfiers the actual cost like the ability to combine it with reaction Enhancers, but still.
On top of that, WR has the additional cost of Essence (5 out of 6) and the Adept Power has the additional Bonus of linear scaling and no restriction on finding it, which should both modify its net value.
Sure, there are stuff where *ware is cheaper than Magic or offers effects that Awakened can't reproduce, but INI is one of the most important concepts of the game (as in, it has a very high impact on the gaming table) and here the different costs are way to disproportionate.
It shouldn't be THAT much cheaper than every other option to reach a set (important and relevant) goal by taking a specific option that is not even open for everyone. No-brainers are not a good idea.
So, if one was very polite, one could say that the person who designed this didn't think it through to the end.
I, however prefer to be a bit more direct:
The person who made these rulings is in my humble opinion not suited for this specific task of game design.
If you design rules for a complex game, please have at least some basic knowledge of economics and mathematics. If you don't have them, grab a book and spend a night or two reading up on basic stuff.
Like, fire up Wikipedia and read up on "Opportunity cost", "Budget constraint" and "trade off"; all three articles are very simple and short (maybe an hour to properly read an another one to properly understand), but these concepts are very handy in these cases of having to weight different options against each other and/or setting the prices for them.