Originally Posted by wizard69
This is why I find Apples marketing so frustrating, the server model isn't drastically different from the base model, most likely varying only in the processor implemented. It is a totally artificial distinction. Even more frustrating is maintains options based on machine designation.
Mediocre is being kind. The 2011 model was an ample demonstration that Apple doesn't even grasp what their customers are asking for. The whole idea behind asking for a GPU in the Mini is to get good compute and 3D performance and support for modern software. The 2011 GPU model failed basic customer requirements right out of the box.
That excuse of being cheap enough doesn't support Apple idiocy here. In fact it highlights just how stingy Apple is with RAM. Even if the base model stays at 4GB hold the rest of the line at 4GB is just stupid. The sad reality is that Apples Minis become poorer values as they get more expensive.
Frankly I think people have had it with Apples pricing structure, at least when it comes to the Mini. That is likely a factor in lackluster Mini sales.
I suppose the best option for drive setup varies with users. However I wold likely go with an SSD for system & apps and put data on a magnetic drive if I get a Mini this year. As you note SSDs are dropping in price fairly quickly thus such an arraignment would work out well for many users. In this regard I do wish that the Mini was shipped configured with cable and parts to make DIY installs easy. Last I knew anyways the base Mini didn't come with the hardware to allow quick and easy installation of a second drive.
As to the replacement cost of a "Fusion Drive", remember it is just two drives tied together with some software volume management tricks. You can already DIY a Fusion solution.
The mini is a bit of a paradox. Apple professes to make a computer (that isn't "cheap") which is moderately priced, but uses needlessly costly mobile components mostly so that the device can be made smaller even when there is no particular utility to the size reduction achieved.
If we were to talk of what such a computer could be, we would want to rationalize the cost of components based upon their utility. In my view, a more powerful, less costly CPU would be at the heart of it. With Haswell's arrival this year, I wonder if Apple will reexamine the rather artificial TDP objectives as it relates to the choice of mobile platform components.
I would put a desktop Haswell CPU in the mix along with a discreet GPU and a PCIe based SSD as a boot drive and/or Fusion Drive. Frankly, there is no particular reason not to use a Fusion Drive on anything but the most bare bones model although Apple really should quit their price gouging for SSDs that are slower than almost any SSD you can buy. Attention to thermal design, as opposed to trying to cram everything into the smallest imaginable container should be the order of the day. If one chooses to stick with the 2.5 inch drives, the overall package can remain small or compact when compared to a Mac Pro (OK, what isn't small compared to a Mac Pro), but not to the point of absurdity. One model could even have X-Serve style expansion bays for HDs/SSDs.
Apple hardware design continues to be a source of frustration for many long term Apple users who prefer the operating system, but are tired of the limited choices of platforms upon which to use the operating system.
Will Apple listen? If history teaches us anything, the answer would be a resounding "NO!", but I have some small hope that Tim Cook may, perhaps, be more open to examining what customers want rather than deciding what the customer "needs" whether it is what the customer wants or not. There are more people than Tim Cook knows who are hanging on by a thread, not wanting to abandon the platform, but being increasingly marginalized by the hardware. It is a shame that much Apple hardware is less capable than that of other platforms while costing much, much more...and the company wonders why many potential customers are reluctant to make the change.