So you haven't read any of the benefits of onboard RAM?
This isn't as big a deal as you may want to make it. What matters is total system cost and what it can do. I would view this as a big picture. If the costs are trending out of your reach or comfort zone, you may want to examine the offerings of other brands before your next purchase. I keep an eye on them every generation.
If we're talking soldering RAM to the logic board, then that probably won't be an issue. The rMBP has plenty of RAM, but will Apple do the right thing with a sub-$1000 Mini? Probably. The current strategy of offering base models with paltry amounts of RAM is designed to force purchases of RAM from Apple, but when RAM is no longer an upgradable component, Apple will be motivated to include enough RAM so as not to tarnish the image of OS X.
Also note that currently the base Mini has plenty of RAM for consumers. It's designed for light web browsing and email, and 4 GB is more than enough for such usage. The high end iMac is problematic, as a $2000+ computer with only 8 GB RAM is questionable, but there is no reason to believe Apple wouldn't double the amount once it's soldered. It's only 8 GB because Apple wants chumps to CTO more memory.
Anyways any of you who have a problem with Apple's amount of soldered memory on the mini should consider another brand of computer, lol...
I mean, what does AMD provide that Intel doesn't? Since we're talking about the Mac Mini, I assume the question can be tailored specifically toward the low end.
We need a pros/cons chart. What do we give up by leaving Intel (obviously Thunderbolt), and what do we gain (if anything) with AMD?
If Intel wants to stick around, they'll do whatever they have to do to improve their integrated graphics. ARM stuff is a bigger threat to them than AMD could ever be.
This isn't that uncommon. They certified it with the configurations that they actually ship. You can install 16GB, but they will not officially support that. This really isn't that uncommon.
That's not the purpose of the Mini. Apple wants you to buy an iMac or MBP if you do more than email and light surfing.
The mini is just a bait and switch product. It's designed to demo OS X to new Mac users, and once they run into the limits of the hardware Apple expects them to throw out the mini and buy an iMac or MBP. If Apple wanted a sub-$1000 computing solution, they would use desktop components and make it larger, though obviously things like the video card would still be non-upgradable. Or at least, Apple would just sell a headless iMac in the sub-$1000 range.
I do agree that 8 GB is possible at the low end when Apple finally solders RAM to the logic board. That would be fine for most uses today.
I actually wouldn't be surprised if Apple just EOLed the entire desktop lineup. If they cared about desktops, they wouldn't have botched the iMac release during Xmas shopping season. They would have introduced the new display tech with the TB display and then migrated it to the iMac. But the goal I suspect is to sell TB displays to laptop users, with the iMac being a test product for which sales aren't so important to Apple. It could simply be rank incompetence, but nobody's been fired yet so that seems unlikely.
The Mini has come a very long way in the last couple of years! Much of the negativity around the machine is directly the result of rather poor models of the past. The Minis single biggest limitation is the lack of a good GPU which continues to lock that machine out of the midrange workstation market. So if you are a CAD user or do other design work the Mini is a tough sell.
Honestly if you want to hold a machine longer than a couple of years I'd go for quad core and not even consider dual core. Everybody has a different buying strategy so it is up to you.
Dual core chips with a discrete GPU would certainly be better than no discrete GPU at all, at this time. However dual CPU machines don't offer a lot of longevity any more. Apps are becoming more and more threaded and people run a lot more processes on their machines these days so I'm highly biases towards quad cores as minimal purchases for a primary workstation. Now I said at this time above because there is a strong wind blowing that will change things dramatically. That wind is SoC technology. As such we will hit a tipping point real soon where a discrete GPU won't be required. I'm just not sure when that will happen, Haswell sounds good of course, but I have zero trust here when it comes to Intel and their GPUs. So it is a wait and see situation, if Haswell doesn't do it in 2013, we will likely see something in 2014 that satisfies many users GPU needs. Interestingly, maybe not surprisingly, AMD is way ahead of Intel here. Their APU technology just keeps getting better and often so out performs Intels offering that it is the recommended processor for solutions using a single chip. Of course if your workload is CPU bound AMD is harder to justify but today many many apps, including common ones like web browsers are GPU accelerated. In the end Intels CPU advantage is really a niche. So yeah right now a GPU as you describe would have made a lot of sense in at least one Mini. Apple didn't go that way so we are out of luck.
No. None. Nay. Never.
I'd prefer a discrete GPU chip from NVidia or AMD. That is today and simply because you need such to get the type of performance I'd want to see in the Mini. It won't be long until I change my tune and look towards the integrated GPU solutions but right now if I had a choice it would be a discrete GPU. However that discrete chip needs at least 512 MB of VRAM and 1 GB would be better. If I had no choice and integrated GPU was mandatory then I'd rather see an AMD chip in the machine.
When you ask the question of which is feasible I look at the question with reservation. I'd much rather see Apple punt and simply make a midrange Mini with a good discrete GPU chip and build a housing and power supply to support it properly. It makes no sense to specify specific chips as that is always in flux and at best we won't get a new Mini until late this year. At that point a Haswell chip of some sort coupled with whatever GPU is a good fit at the time.
Thunderbolt is an issue but I find it hard to believe that Apple would have signed up for exclusive TB use and not cover their butt when it comes to implementing the interface on alternative hardware. You would have to believe at the very least that Apple has the option to put TB on ARM hardware. If they didn't get that written into the contract somebody is asleep at the wheel at Apple.
Close to today's AMD GPUs sure but what happens when AMD puts a Southern Islands core in their SoC? Remember AMD is developing SoC tech just as fast if not faster than AMDs solutions. Intel has never come close to AMD Zacate based chips for example. AMD is suffering right now but that also means aggressiveness.
Even though the linked article is dated it still supports my argument, AMD does better than Intel for GPU focused apps. The article is dated though because compiler technology can improve Piledriver performance significantly. On top of all of that AMDs chips will run much cooler and provide a smoother user experience. Further Apple isn't exactly using top of the line performance in the Mini anyways so the CPU gap isn't that great.
In the end it comes down to this, you pay less for AMDs chips and get better video performance especially in 3D.
No. None. Nay. Never.
Originally Posted by wizard69
Further Apple isn't exactly using top of the line performance in the Mini anyways so the CPU gap isn't that great.
Apple is using exactly the same cpus in the Mac mini than in the 13" and 15" MBPs. If Apple isn't exactly using top of the line performance in the Mini, there are still using very good Core i5/i7 parts with the best igpu Intel has to offer. But that doesn't matter, the results are the same: the cpu gap with AMD is HUGE!
Just look at geekbench scores those parts:
Intel Core i7-3720QM 2600 MHz (4 cores) 10132
Intel Core i7-3615QM 2300 MHz (4 cores) 9037
Intel Core i5-2410M 2300 MHz (2 cores) 5052
AMD A10-4600M 2300 MHz (4 cores) 4235
Or cpu benchmarks:
Intel Core i7-3720QM @ 2.60GHz 8,468
Intel Core i7-3615QM @ 2.30GHz 7,481
Intel Core i5-2410M @ 2.30GHz 3,196
AMD A10-4600M APU @ 2.30GHz 3,072
The cpu in the $799 Mac mini is more than two times faster than the best mobile APU AMD offers. And that Intel cpu is not even top of the line performance. But even desktop apus can't achieve the cpu performance of an Intel mobile quad-core cpu. I'd rather take a small "hit" in graphics than to cut the cpu performance in half.
There's a reason why those APUs are cheap, they suck! Even AMD officially compares them to Intel's Core i3 parts, not Core i5, let alone Core i7. Yeah, they have nice graphics, so what?