Originally Posted by nvidia2008
Personally, I don't understand them ditching the optical drive. Strategically, obviously it has to do with driving everything to digital downloads. Got to hand it to Apple, it can be extremely frustrating but they really don't worry about getting sales from people that they're not likely to get sales from... Blue ocean all the way.
They explain it on their marketing page:
"Mac mini is designed without an optical disc drive. Because these days, you dont need one. Its easier than ever to download music and movies from the iTunes Store. And you can download apps from the Mac App Store with a click. So what did we do with all the extra space? We squeezed in more powerful processors, advanced graphics, and Thunderbolt technology. And removing the optical drive gave us room to do one more thing with Mac mini: lower its price. If you still want to burn discs, consider the external MacBook Air SuperDrive, which connects to Mac mini with a USB cable."http://www.apple.com/macmini/design.html
This is pretty much what I and many others have been wanting to happen for years. Ditch the optical, lower the price by $100, get quad-cores and dedicated GPUs. If you need DVD, buy a $30 drive (you save $70); if you want Blu-Ray, get a $180 drive and you've upgraded to Blu-Ray for $80 compared to the previous model.
They didn't skimp on the GPU either. The VRAM could have been higher but 256MB is generally fine and the 6630M is pretty fast. Not quite at the level of the desktop 5770 like maybe the 6770M would be but enough to run any game out today at a good quality setting and great for compute performance (320M = 120GFLOPs, 6630M = 480GFLOPs).
The 5770 on OpenCL Luxmark scores 2222:http://www.luxrender.net/wiki/LuxMar...encl-gpus-only
6750M scores 1052 and I'd expect the 6630M to score about 850. The 320M and 9600M GT are close so around 250. It's interesting to see the MBP core i7 quad get over 2500 though. The latest processors from Intel outperform almost all of the mobile GPUs. It's not really a vs match of course as you use both together and get a 50-100% speed boost for free but interesting nonetheless. Even in the top iMac, the i7 outperforms the 6970M:http://barefeats.com/imac11b.html
Anyway, think what we'll get in the Mini next year. Quad-cores, 8 threads across the board and we don't have to be stuck with Intel's crummy graphics. At the end of the year, AMD move from 40nm Whistler to 28nm Chelsea for their 7000M series and they expect double the performance.
What more do you even need with the current Mini? You get Thunderbolt for RAID storage, HDMI output, a dedicated GPU for a good gaming experience, dual-core i5/i7 processors (quad if you can live with Intel IGP) and fairly easy access to the HDD so you can replace it with SSD or add one on top. Hopefully, they will offer an mSATA port when SSD hits $1 per GB and then you can opt to have a 128GB boot disk along with the 500GB drive for storage.