Originally Posted by RBR
Haswell is supposed to be out somewhere around March/April 2013. If Apple were to incorporate the next gen TB (I'm afraid I got lost on which gen TB chipset is the presently shipping one...I thought this was a 1st gen chipset and so I am referring to whatever is "next" as a candidate for a 2013 Mac Mini) into the next release of Macs it would both improve performance potential and possibly have a lesser cost chip. I fully agree about the cabling. I fear that, having made the mistake of putting chips in the cabling in the 1st gen TB, they will continue to do so for backwards compatibility reasons.
I'm not sure where this idea comes from but putting electronics in the cable is not a mistake at all. Please stop all comparisons with USB 3 as the two ports aren't even remotely similar nor are the targeted at similar usages.
In any event the chips in those cables perform very important functions and allow an easy transition to fiber optics for those that need it. In effect Apple/Intel have decoupled the physical media from the current port standard. This gives them real flexibility in the future.
That would be bad all the way around IMO because they simply must get the cost down if TB is to succeed at all, even if it means that the current gen TB is the red-headed step child of the TB family. I think it's that important.
TB is already a huge success. I suspect it is being used exactly as Apple has imagined, that is as a single cable docking solution for laptops. Intel may not like that, you may not like that and frankly I might not like it but for Apple they have solved one very significant issue for themselves.
I don't know how Intel would get the Falcon Ridge (Gen 4) chips ready next year unless they simply chose to skip the intervening generations of chips which would assume that they have had remarkable success implementing both the design and fabrication of that chip set. I would certainly welcome a deviation from the usual incremental upgrades. I really don't think the cost of optical fiber, surrounded by some sort of protective casing to keep it from getting kinked and broken, would cost that much if there were not those chips... which also contribute to overhead in the transmission of data.
What chips! Data cables, that is fiber based data cables have been terminated for years with the electronic interface in the cable. The other option is an optical connector built into your Mac which isn't exactly a user friendly termination technique. Remember we are talking high performance data transmissions here, this is not the same class of performance as seen in your stereo system.
If Apple needed to go to a 95 or 100 W power supply in order to support 2 TB ports I don't see that as a particular problem. There probably would need to be a few tweaks in the system cooling, maybe a second fan or a revised air inlet/outlet system ("in with the good air, out with the bad air"), but it shouldn't be that big a deal. Even if the form factor of the Mini needed to be revised to a slightly larger package, so what. It's still smaller than most anything other than a Raspberry Pi.
Well this is one thing I can agree with Apple needs to have a power supply option in the Mini that allows a true distinction between the base Mini and an uprated model.
On the other hand, Haswell is supposed to have a lower power draw than the current Ivy Bridge CPUs so it might make up the difference and allow the use of the same rated power supply and cooling system.
Ideally any power savings in Haswell will be reallocated to higher performance graphics. Thus I'm really hoping for GT3 class GPUs in the next upper end Mini. Again the base model would likely be more run of the mill but that is really the point. If I buy a $799 Mini I really want to get very good GPU performance for that extra Money.