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Apple Mac mini as a new Platform - Page 3

post #81 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by sunilraman
Jeff, you da man. That is the bomb! y'all......

Um why do you need so many USB and firewire ports? Nah scratch that, good idea, you need like a million free USB ports nowadays for everything from thumbdrives to your rechargeable shaver.

Thanks!

I didn't think I need that many ports, just that this is where the design progression led. I bought one hub that includes 4 USB + 3 Firewire, and when designing the case to put it in, I decided to put in opening for two of them because there was plenty of room, so I can add another one like it later. As it is, I'll leave the back one empty.

I would have been plenty happy with half that many ports on each end, but the part wasn't made that way, and as you said, makes sense to have a little spare capacity. Putting in the time and work for one neat hub slice now beats a mess of hubs later.
post #82 of 124
Everytime I drop by this thread I get excited. I don't know if Apple ever thought about the "slice" concept, but I'm sure there design teams are working on it now.

Designing stackability into the miniMac involves only the modest aesthetic changes at virtually no cost. In return, Apple opens the door for others to fill in the niches.
Apple's I've owned: AppleTV2; Ipad2; Iphone4; Iphone3; 13" 2010 MBP; 13" CoreDuo MB; 14" iBook (1 Ghz g4); Powerbase 240; PB 5300; Newton; PB 800; Mac LC; Mac plus; Mac 512; Apple II+.
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Apple's I've owned: AppleTV2; Ipad2; Iphone4; Iphone3; 13" 2010 MBP; 13" CoreDuo MB; 14" iBook (1 Ghz g4); Powerbase 240; PB 5300; Newton; PB 800; Mac LC; Mac plus; Mac 512; Apple II+.
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post #83 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
Thanks!

I didn't think I need that many ports, just that this is where the design progression led. I bought one hub that includes 4 USB + 3 Firewire, and when designing the case to put it in, I decided to put in opening for two of them because there was plenty of room, so I can add another one like it later. As it is, I'll leave the back one empty.

I would have been plenty happy with half that many ports on each end, but the part wasn't made that way, and as you said, makes sense to have a little spare capacity. Putting in the time and work for one neat hub slice now beats a mess of hubs later.

Is there enough room for airflow to the mini? Just wanted to make sure that you don't cook it. Looks great.
post #84 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by macmike
Is there enough room for airflow to the mini? Just wanted to make sure that you don't cook it. Looks great.

There will be. I haven't finished making the top plate, or rather, I need to remake it now, the first try won't work well for other reasons. As it sits, it is actually sunken. I think I will try to set it up so there will be at least as much air gap. I won't operate it as a stack until all the parts are done anyway.
post #85 of 124
Jeff, nice work. Did you machine that a solid slab of aluminium?

Very impressive
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post #86 of 124
Thread Starter 
OK, as the topic starter I'm going to give JeffDM the WIINNAR! for the best slice yet.

Jeff , you actually have a good thing there. Bring it into production and make some money with it!

I suggest bead blasting it to get the Mac mini's look and feel.

GOOD ONE, congratulations.
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post #87 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by Aphelion
OK, as the topic starter I'm going to give JeffDM the WIINNAR! for the best slice yet.

Jeff , you actually have a good thing there. Bring it into production and make some money with it!

I suggest bead blasting it to get the Mac mini's look and feel.

GOOD ONE, congratulations.

Thanks!

I will try some form of blasting.

I do hope to produce this one (I actually made two), and other designs. I've already started the design work on slice #2, hopefully I can post pics of that this weekend.

The problem is, as Bart Smastard suspected, is that the shell is machined from a solid slab of aluminum, short of very high volumes and a large investment, I don't see a good way to bring that cost down and still have the slice look good. I want to price it such them such that they are accessibly priced, but I need to balance that against the time, effort and money to make them. I haven't sent the parts out for quote yet, so maybe I'll be surprised.
post #88 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by Aphelion
OK, as the topic starter I'm going to give JeffDM the WIINNAR! for the best slice yet.....

Shure, give HIM the prize, just because he didn't make it in PhotoShop
post #89 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
Thanks!

I will try some form of blasting.

I do hope to produce this one (I actually made two), and other designs. I've already started the design work on slice #2, hopefully I can post pics of that this weekend.

The problem is, as Bart Smastard suspected, is that the shell is machined from a solid slab of aluminum, short of very high volumes and a large investment, I don't see a good way to bring that cost down and still have the slice look good. I want to price it such them such that they are accessibly priced, but I need to balance that against the time, effort and money to make them. I haven't sent the parts out for quote yet, so maybe I'll be surprised.

Putting on my old Fitter and Turners hat: The best way to make it cheaply from a solid slab would be to use CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining - AKA CADCAM. Program it once and let the machine go for it's life. Unfortunately, a lot of aluminium would be wasted in machining out the guts of the slice.
Another option would be to stamp it from a sheet of say 1.2mm thickness (which is probably what Apple do... well the guys who make it for them - but you get what I mean).
It depends on the level of market you'd want. Use sheet ali if you want every Mac mini owner out there to buy one, machine it from a slab if you're happy to cater for a smaller more selective crowd.
I'm sure they'll be plenty of competitors in this market so maybe having something a bit different would capture some of the flair Apple users demand.

Good luck
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post #90 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by sunilraman
Shure, give HIM the prize, just because he didn't make it in PhotoShop

sunilraman, you get the prize for being first (or at least early) with the visual concept. I saw your slice pic only a week or two after Steve presented the mini. I was impressed back then and I still am.
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post #91 of 124
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by sunilraman
Shure, give HIM the prize, just because he didn't make it in PhotoShop

Yep, extra bonus points for actually making one in the physical sense.

But he is only the current winner in the real category. Bot I'll give your entry a blue ribbon for Photochop entrants.

And Jeff, I didn't realize that was machined from a solid piece of aluminum. I'd be interested in seeing some shots of the interior of your slice. I hope you left air channels in there for air to flow up into the mini's air passages.

What about a variable speed fan or blower in their to pump ait up into the mini? Might be a selling point, and cheap to add compared to the machining costs.

Did you think about bending sheet aluminum around a form? I'm sure that's what Apple's supplier does to create the mini. It's got to be cheaper than even CNC controlled milling of a solid slab.
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post #92 of 124
Well, I was thinking of learning some new skills, moving beyond PotatoChop graphics stuff...

First you gotta have a workshop or a shed or somethin right? And some power tools...

I'll start by watching some old reruns of HomeImprovement with Tim Allen

Nah it's cool Aph, you had some kick ass mock-ups and you did start this thread afterall... Hurrah for everybody!!!!

........
wait a minute, these aren't cigarettes....
post #93 of 124
From what I've seen inside the mini's top shell, Apple used an extrusion with some secondary machining.

I have access to a CNC machine, using it is part of what I do for a living. What I will do is negotiate a discount rate to get me going to work up the volume.
post #94 of 124
My first post !!
Bring your own display, keyboard and mouse

What about speakers?





Just a bit of 3d design work i decided to do, rendering isnt brill but:

2 x 90cm floorstanding speakers
1 x 40cm stand
1 x sound module (amplifier) with all cpntols via a remote and itunes
1 x mac mini which is the one on top.
oh and not forgetting the apple 30inch cinema display.
i think the modules should be as blank as possible at the front so as not to spoil the effect.

And i dont even have a mac mini.
post #95 of 124
mini slices

They aren't terribly profound but look useful. Not much information there yet, so who knows if they exist yet or not.
post #96 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by ChevalierMalFet
mini slices

They aren't terribly profound but look useful. Not much information there yet, so who knows if they exist yet or not.

It would be nice if there was some decent information. Or any information at all. I would like to add a hard drive but I don't know if I want to deal with making a drive enclosure yet.

Another to add to the collection:


If it's not obvious, it is a flash memory card reader.

I'm making some progress.
post #97 of 124
If the volumes for the mini stay strong, I can see Apple exploring some of these possibilities in house.

What's important to Apple is control of the user experience and peripheral specifications. Having a bunch of power cords running into the mini won't do, and any slices that add more than simple port multiplication may need more power than firewire/usb can provide. Also, poorly designed peripherals that turn the mini into a kludge (at best) or that could possibly short the mini or cause it to malfunction (at worst) will have to be guarded against.

To that end, I can see Apple re-jigging the mini slightly for a proprietary bottom connector, something that uses FW800 protocol, but adds extra power. With the mini's external PS this is easily done. It would force 'licenced' periperal makers (and end users) to conform to a few basic specificatons, define how slices are to be joined together, and ensure that add-ons are highly integrated in look, feel, and operation. Regular USB2 or FW400 devices would be just that, peripherals. Slices, OTOH, would be a higher order presence in the eco-system of the mini brand, much like iPod peripheral makers exploit a specialized connector exclusive to the iPod.
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post #98 of 124
Thread Starter 
I agree with Matsu that some sort of bottom facing external bus would be ideal for a future rev. My ThinkPad has a dock connector built right into the bottom that plugs in with cone shaped guide pins.

Something like that would be perfect for stacking slices. My own idea is for a "power slice" that contains a power supply for the mini, replacing the brick, and a bay for a standard Powerbook battery. It would not only be a UPS for the attached mini, but also serve as a charger for your Powerbook's batteries.

Build in a mount for a standard 3.5" HD and throw in some USB and Firewire ports and it would truely be a Power Slice.
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post #99 of 124
i want a FireWire400 dual-layer (8.5GB) DVD-R burner slice
post #100 of 124
i'm gonna bump this thread: (mods, this could go to insider lounge since mac mini is no longer 'future' hardware )

check this out peoples:

"DVD Studio Pro 4, Final Cut Studios professional DVD authoring program, is the first commercially available DVD authoring software that lets users burn their HD projects to high definition DVDs based on the latest HD DVD specification. DVD Studio Pro 4 will be demonstrated at NAB with a prototype consumer HD DVD player from Toshiba set to debut later this year. Distributed encoding tools included in DVD Studio Pro 4 tap the power of networked Macintosh® computers to dramatically reduce encoding time for high definition projects. DVD Studio Pro 4 also includes support for mixed formats and advanced scripting for the most sophisticated commercial titles."

now we've discussed why you might buy say 2 powermac g5s instead of 5 mac minis...

but right now living with my family, we're always trying to juggle *ahem* fight over our one iBook. imagine if you had 3-5 wirelessly networked Mac Minis around the house, because each person in the house kinda 'needed' their own Mac. now you can tap into this sort of "distributed render/encoding farm"... nice potential on the hobby/pro-sumer side.

apple is waaaay ahead on the curve with this h.264 and HD, they're really going after the Pro video market, notably to boost their somewhat ailing powermac g5 line \

remember that with DVD Studio Pro 4 you can burn HD content to a regular ol' DVD that complies to the HD-DVD spec.
post #101 of 124
The Revolution has begun.
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post #102 of 124
nice

come on, come on, someone come out with a h.264 encode/decode mac mini module.... for us poor bastards with G4s....
post #103 of 124
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Frank777
The Revolution has begun.



It had to happen. And this thread is relevant to future hardware because it is all about future slices. The above image is not even the first, just the first commercially available slice product.

Kudos to Micro Net for the mini Mate.

...
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post #104 of 124
> Kudos to Micro Net for the mini Mate.

Yes. Very nice looking unit. The 80 GB model appears overpriced, but all the others are right in there with external drives that don't offer USB and FireWire, and extra ports,. Only one minor gripe: no ports on the front.

Interesting that they only claim 50 MB/s transfer rate on the FireWire connection. Shouldn't that be higher?

- Jasen.
post #105 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by jasenj1
> Kudos to Micro Net for the mini Mate.

Yes. Very nice looking unit. The 80 GB model appears overpriced, but all the others are right in there with external drives that don't offer USB and FireWire, and extra ports,. Only one minor gripe: no ports on the front.

Interesting that they only claim 50 MB/s transfer rate on the FireWire connection. Shouldn't that be higher?

I don't believe for a second that the cost absurd for the base model. A USB + Firewire combined hub costs $50 (separately, $20 for USB and $30 for a Firewire). A good firewire/USB drive enclosure costs $50, you can get pretty sad looking ones for less, but MicroNet's model looks nice. An 80GB hard drive costs about $60. It's still equal or less than the sum of the parts, and so far it might be kind of a niche product, designed to look right with a single particular computer model.

It is impossible to GET more than 50MB/sec on Firewire 400. The 400 in Firewire 400 is 400 Megabits per second, which translates to 50 MegaBytes per second (1 byte / 8 bits 400/8 = 50). You probably won't see even that data rate though because of overheads and such.
post #106 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
It's still equal or less than the sum of the parts...

It does seem to be worth the money.

But it makes you ask the question: How much would adding another chip have cost?

If they had added another chip, they could have put a USB and FW port on the front, along with maybe a couple more on the back.

Then the product would have been a must have, as opposed to just a good buy.


---

Can a mod fix the photo above so the page renders correctly? Thanks!
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post #107 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by Frank777
But it makes you ask the question: How much would adding another chip have cost?

If they had added another chip, they could have put a USB and FW port on the front, along with maybe a couple more on the back.

Then the product would have been a must have, as opposed to just a good buy.
[/B]

You do have a good point. I want ports on the front, so far the commercially released products haven't provided. I've always thought it annoying to have to reach around a computer to plug something in. I've liked the fact that more computers have ports on the front, many of Apple's designs seem to have sacrificed a lot of convenience for prized prettyness. If anything, if they want a clean front, at least put the jacks on the side. Having all the jacks on the back on products like mini and iMac seemed short-sighted, I do like that the Powerbooks have jacks on the side edges.
post #108 of 124
I want a G5 slice
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post #109 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
I don't believe for a second that the cost absurd for the base model. A USB + Firewire combined hub costs $50 (separately, $20 for USB and $30 for a Firewire). A good firewire/USB drive enclosure costs $50, you can get pretty sad looking ones for less, but MicroNet's model looks nice. An 80GB hard drive costs about $60. It's still equal or less than the sum of the parts, and so far it might be kind of a niche product, designed to look right with a single particular computer model.

Not absurd, just over-priced compared to the other models - or the other models are a REALLY good deal. Even though I don't own a mini, if/when I get another external drive, I'll definitely take a close look at these things. The mini is a nice looking case, and these have a nice looking case.

Quote:

It is impossible to GET more than 50MB/sec on Firewire 400. The 400 in Firewire 400 is 400 Megabits per second, which translates to 50 MegaBytes per second (1 byte / 8 bits 400/8 = 50). You probably won't see even that data rate though because of overheads and such.

Thanks. I was just too lazy to do the math.

- Jasen.
post #110 of 124
Thread Starter 
And now there is this:



PlasticSmith MiniShack
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post #111 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
You do have a good point. I want ports on the front...

So just turn it around
post #112 of 124
Thread Starter 


The Mac mini Pod

Technical Specifications:

3 USB 2.0 High Speed Ports (Hub)
3 Firewire Ports
Interactive Cooling System (Heat Sink & Auto Sensing Smart Fan)
Supports any 3.5" Hard Drive (ATA 6 Compatible)
External Power Adapter


Looks like they are starting to add up. This one lets you choose your own 3.5" hard drive.
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post #113 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by Reid
So just turn it around

To clarify, I'd want to add ports on the front and the back. And not to have cables wrap around.
post #114 of 124
These new hard drive slices for the mini are great. Port and hard drive expansion aren't issues anymore. (Still hoping for a built-in optical port though.)

Does anyone know if the hard drives are connected via USB or Firewire?
post #115 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by pdubyu
Does anyone know if the hard drives are connected via USB or Firewire?

The drive works with either connection. Using only USB, though, enables only the USB hub; vice versa with FireWire. If you use both connections, the FireWire bus takes priority.

How long until Elgato releases an EyeTV Mini slice? I'd love one of those with a built-in hard drive.
post #116 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by Aphelion
And now there is this:



PlasticSmith MiniShack

I like this, but I'd only be willing to buy it if it offered BOTH USB and Firewire ports ... I need more of both, not just USB.

Still, very nice.
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post #117 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by rustedborg
I like this, but I'd only be willing to buy it if it offered BOTH USB and Firewire ports ... I need more of both, not just USB.

Still, very nice.


Belkin has what you want for $49.95. No pictures yet.

http://www.macworld.com/news/2005/05...lkin/index.php
post #118 of 124
Quote:
Originally posted by snoopy
Belkin has what you want for $49.95. No pictures yet.

http://www.macworld.com/news/2005/05...lkin/index.php

Here's one:

post #119 of 124
Apparently, our Mods are temporarily on vacation. When they return, I'm sure they'll get around to my previous request...

---------------

As for the latest new "slice", it's clear that these things are getting better at an ever faster rate. It's not quite the iPod accessory market, but it's getting there.

With regard to the hub issue, I'm thinking we definitely need a 5 or six port Firewire Hub slice.
The combo hubs seem to only give you one or two ports more at the most.
Methinks a 7 port USB slice along with a 5 port Firewire slice would be the best choice for the long term.
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post #120 of 124
thats interesting... the mac mini being a server and such.. never thought of it in that sense.. hmm... something to ponder on w/ ideas... but i would need a bigger music collection.. hmm... more ideas coming.... thanks take care all...
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