Originally Posted by hmm
You're too hung up on that. The parts used aren't drastically different in any of them.
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.
They label one a server to drive extra sales. The idea originated with their customer base. They put it in there to drive extra sales. As to a discrete gpu, I don't see it ever coming back. They made a mediocre effort one round. They dropped it the next.
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.
This means they expect further improvements will ensure performance that meets the criteria of good enough. Apple has gone this route before. They'll push machines with higher price points as their performance options. 8GB of ram should have already been the norm, but it's cheap enough to upgrade after market.
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.
You can do that for under $50. 16 is only $80 or so. They should provide cto drive options throughout the range rather than forcing the purchase of higher end models to access such things. That is a typical way to prop up margins, but I hope it backfires on them with people doing their own upgrades.
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.
When you look at the total cost to get a Fusion drive, some people may opt for an after market drive. I know I've seen Samsung 830s 512GB models fall below the $500 mark. That doesn't help if you want terabytes of storage, but you may want to opt for Applecare if you go that route. At the very least you'd want to find out what the replacement cost is for a Fusion drive, as it's no more immortal than any other HDD or SSD.
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.