Originally Posted by Marvin
Removing the port doesn't mean it's going away though. If they replace ethernet and FW800 with a second Thunderbolt port, which would actually be quite good, ethernet/FW800 is just an adaptor away:
You could even have dual ethernet ports, previously exclusive to the Pro and run the display over HDMI.
If HDMI stays around. That is a real concern.
However your faith in adapters is far stronger than mine. Time will tell how well those TB adapters will work. I'm actually hoping for far more reliability than what is had with USB adapters.
I think I'd prefer the LE model. It's 10W less (2/3 the 640M) and still 80% of the performance. I don't think they'd be able to fit a higher than 20W GPU in alongside the 35W i5 CPU. The 6630M was 10-15W. The quad-i7 is 45W so they are pretty much working to the 45W range total. This makes sense as they have an 85W PSU and up to 10W per port for Thunderbolt and 5W per USB port x 4 and 7 watts for FW800.
Killing FW will almost balance one TB port when it comes to power budgeting. That is a good reason to remove FW right there. In the end I'd rather see a beefier power supply that would allow for a significant performance delta between the base model and the Descrete GPU model. In the end I'm just not a fan of the one size fits all mentality. This is why I'd rather see Apple offer an XMac, leave the Mini low end and give us a $1000 desktop with a real GPU. Instead of an 85 watt total power budget make it 150 watts which is more than enough to support a respectable GPU, processor, drive bays and I/O. I wouldn't mind one bit if they used a 45/55 watt mobile processor though Ivy Bridge has some really nice solutions if you go up the power ladder a bit.
The obvious problem here is that today 85 watts is a tight squeeze. If you want a better GPU along with a respectable main processor the Mini really can't do it. One problem that crops up when I mention XMac is the notion of a tower which frankly has nothing to do with XMac. It is more the idea of getting rational performance and a few drive bays that one can actually access.
Still, they can dynamically underclock the CPU and GPU as needed and ultra-books are getting the full 640M so if Apple can't match the thermal limits of an ultra-book, they're doing something very wrong.
If they didn't purposely hold the Mini back until the iMac gets an update, I'd feel the same.
Yeah that sucks! It is another emotional issue that Apples marketing team needs to get over. Each machine needs to be salable on its own merits. As to the Mini at this point I can't see what is holding it back. The lack of rumors bothers me a lot and makes me think something is up.
Yeah that would be good but the i7s are $120 more in the best case, Apple only currently charges $100 for the i7 upgrade but guaranteed they aren't making a huge profit on that. Consider the $599 Mini, the CPU in that alone is $225. If Apple makes a 25% margin, that only leaves $255 to pay for everything else.
One thing they could do is:
Core i5, HD 4000 - $599
Core i7, HD 4000 - $749
Core i7 quad, HD 4000 - $999
but I'd value the dedicated GPU much higher than the i7 for $799 and they can still offer i7 BTO for $899.
Quad core is important to me as some things I do get very good speed ups from additional cores. The frustration with HD4000 is that it is almost good enough for today's needs.
The 640M GT pulls up on par with the 8800GT. This was a high-end GPU that launched late 07/ early 08 - 4.5 years later, the entry mobile GPU is the same speed. That's not bad. The quad-i7 Mini should also nearly equal an 8-core 2008 Xeon. If they were able to combine the quad-i7 with the 640M, that would be a pretty neat machine but that's what the iMac is for.
Well the can shove the iMac where the sun don't shine. Until they clean up that machine I'm not interested.
As to Mini performance when running on mobile chip sets there is the opportunity for bottle necks to get in the way. RAM, lots of it, can go a long way to alleviate the problem though. Configuration is important though, I'm hoping that the new Mini gets a make over that makes it far more attractive for a person wanting decent performance and not be limited by I/O.