Originally Posted by Marvin
Some of the workstation parts are not much more expensive than the desktop ones though. An i7 chip and motherboard with everything else the same would only be about $100-200 cheaper and only the motherboard makes the difference.
Well this may be true but it also leads to Apples to Oranges comparisons. To put it simply I have no desire to see the Mac Pro displaced as Apple top performing machine. However there is a massive gulf right now between the Mini and the Mac Pro performance and capability wise.
There's a Dell Vostro Mini Tower that can be configured for under $1000 with a quad i7 and is about 40% smaller and lighter than the Mac Pro:http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/vostro-430/pd
So the bulk of the cost has to be elsewhere in the machine and in the margins. The price went up dramatically at one point without the parts being much more expensive so margins have to be a part of it.
Well let's list some of the things that make the Mac Pro expensive. The case jumps to mind real quick followed closely by the main logic board. Then you have the power supply and main memory system.
If we back up a bit, the case itself is custom and certainly isn't a $39 dollar solution. I would be surprised if it cost Apple $100 or more. The main logic board is again custom and from what I can see is not a cheap implementation. In the end I don't see equivalent in the PC world.
It seems to me the iMac is the only way they can make an Apple-chosen IPS display and a Mac together the most affordable. Shared PSU and shared casing will cut the costs a bit along with the volumes of both.
Not at all. They simply don't want to for whatever reason. Look at it this way HP, Dell and a host of others can make very good monitors at reasonable prices. Apple on the otherhand has gone in the opposite direction in the past. That is making marginal quality displays at high prices. This seemingly the result of design over functiion. The most recent example being the $800 screen for the portables that was a huge joke price wise. Not to mention it was ugly.
To put it simply there is no reason I can think of for them not to have a decent monitor around $350 for use with the laptops and Mini. It almost looks like they go out of their way to force people to buy outside of the Apple supply chain.
If you get a quad i7 tower with a 27" IPS in a PC, the cost would be $2000, which is not far off the $2200 i7 iMac price. Personally, I don't think it's good selling a 27" and 21.5". The 21.5" is quite small and the 27" is too big. I reckon a 24" 1080p for all would have been a better option. The problem there is that video editors can't edit 1080p at native size but they could always get a second display and edit at full size.
First let's hit upon 1080p on the small screen. That is doable with today's tech.
As to the screens let's face it minor difference in cost mean nothing. Especially if you are trying to fulfill specific needs.
I would rather they sold a 24" quad i7 iMac at maybe $1800, design it like the Cinema display and then sell 24" Cinema displays for $599 vs $999. They might not be able to get the parts in a 24" chassis just now though.
I'd rather see an XMac then screen size just drops out if the equation.
I think the big issue here is Apples defective policy towards bad LCD screens. This is a greater concern for many than the latest Intel CPU or fancy GPU.
I think they are over-building it. Sure, some people will try to turn it into a Tesla-like compute machine but very few. It's clear it's not being targeted at consumers now so I guess it doesn't matter but it creates the following scenario:
Nope to the overbuilding. The problem with the Mac Pro is that it is a very good solution for certain classes of users. The problem is it is a terrible solution for people that need something similar.
If Apple where to drop the Mac Pro it would do far more damage than dropping the XServe. That is simply because there is a reasonably large number of Apple customers that actually use the capabilities if the Mac Pro. More importantly there are few alternatives. XServe got dropped because there is almost an infinite supply of servers out there. So if the Mac Pro sells ten thousand a month those are sales to customers with little in the way of real alternatives.
If they price the Mac Pro out of reach of consumers, they drop the volume, which pushes prices higher.
Or they know they have people over a barrel with little in the way of real options. I'm nit really sure what drives the ultimate price on the Mac Pro but I'd have to say a big part of it is greed on Apples part. I say that due to the rather stiff price increases for rather marginal component upgrades.
If they design the iMac to be most cost-effective with a display included then they can't make a tower with an extra display cost-effective.
Cost has nothing to do with it. Seriously it really doesn't. Contrary to popular belief the Mini is very popular with people even now. Frankly it really isn't a great value but the flexibility to connect your desired monitor is very appealing.
Like I said earlier, if you go into an Apple Store right now, you can't walk out with a complete desktop computer system cheaper than the iMac and that includes the Mini. It's not necessarily a bad thing as they have a nice design in the latest iteration but you are going to be stuck with the poor display warranty on a very expensive machine.
You really seem to be hung up on price. That is to bad as it misses many of the points people bring up when discussing the Mini and XMac. The reason people want these machines has little to do with price. If price was the only concern people could easily turn to commodity hardware and LINUX.
Also, they would find it hard to build a display-less machine with a standout design that is high performance without using mobile parts.
That is a matter of opinion. An XMac class machine could easily be built with 45 to 60 watt parts. The whole point of XMac is to provide for a bigger chassis that the Mini but at the same time considerably smaller than a Mac Pro. That provides for a lot of room design wise. Especially considering that the design goal is easy access drive slots, maybe a PCI Express slot and a decent GPU. Even if they went to mobile parts that still offers up a chassis that can handle a lot more than the Mini.
Although, chips like Intel's Sandy Bridge i5-2400s are 65W chips and perform ok - it actually performs about the same as the i7-860 in the current iMac but uses half the power. Perfect for a small desktop but for the other reasons won't make it into one.
As long as Intel doesn't have any silly restrictions there is always the potential. However we must remember these new generations of chips provide for advances in hardware capability simply due to their lower power profiles. Apple might not use them in a desktop but that won't stop somebody else.
As a side note for a company that is growing it's PC sales Apples Mac Line up is very stale. I honestly believe they would be even farther ahead sales wise if they had a broader desktop offering. The reality is many shoppers fit into that gulf between the Mini and the Pro.
I think the Mini is the best hope for a standalone consumer desktop people have and I think it's going to become more important over time.
While the shrinking chips certainly mean more power in the little box it still misses the point with respect to the people that are actually asking for something different.
When they ultimately build one in 3 years with 4-6 core processors at 2-2.5GHz with 4-8GB RAM, 256-512GB SSD and a GPU 4x the 320M, why would 90% of people buy anything with a higher spec?
I see that word spec and immediately realize that you still don't get it. It has nothing to do with the CPU spec but rather flexibility. For example you mention 512GB of SSD but yet many people have real applications where that is a none starter with out expansion capability. It also drops out the request for a PCI Express slot or two. Not to mention the need for more RAM than the base models provide.
I'm just bothered by your obsession with specs. The whole idea of XMac revolves around being able to configure for your specific needs. Like it or not it is a highly used feature in the PC world. With Apples reluctance to service this market need a lot of potential application developers never consider the Mac as a platform.
You get all the performance you need with the choices of affordable displays with great warranties and is flexible enough a design that you can use for any number of tasks (server, media centre, desktop),
As good as the Mini is it is not flexible at all, not even close. Again though I think you mis the whole point of the discussion here because frankly it is all about flexibility in a low cost platform. Something that costs $1000 instead of $1600.
Actually it could cost less than that but you get the idea. This can be done easily because there is an endless number of examples in the PC world. Many are in fact wellunder $1000 but $1000 wouldn't be bad for a well designed Apple product.
is easy to resell as it's light and portable, easy to take into an Apple Store for repair.
Yes exactly! One shouldnt have to wear a supporter to take his Mac to the store.
The Mini is our xMac.
Nope, not at all. No where near flexible enough
All we asked for was a decent CPU with a good GPU. Credit to them, they got NVidia to build the best IGP ever made, they just came up short on the CPU. With extra engineering effort, they could get dedicated GPUs in there like other manufacturers but it may be the wiser option to side-step and wait for Intel to improve their IGPs.
Or just go AMD. I think it is important to realize that part of the equation here is offering value for the money. There is no reason why Apple needs to use high price intel chips, Llano would make for a very nice XMac.
Since this is all about getting Apple to break the mold that they have been using design wise, AMD inside could help the process along. IMac, Mini and Pro are a throw back to tge days when Apple couldn't afford a reasonable line up. They need to rethink that strategy now that sales are strong and more people are taking an interest in Apple.
The decisions they make at the end of this month will be interesting to see - does their allegiance lie with innovation or chipzilla?
Actually I'd be surprised if anything more than the laptops got updated.