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Apple readying significant Mac mini update

post #1 of 175
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Apple Computer has begun to inform service providers of a revision to its Mac mini desktop computer that is now expected to quietly make its debut in a matter of days.

According to documents shown to AppleInsider, the revision, which will bump the low-end Mac mini from 1.25GHz to 1.33GHz and the two higher-end models from 1.42GHz to 1.5GHz, was originally slated for release last Tuesday.

Sources say Apple will continue to market the three new Mac mini configurations at the current price points of $499, $599, and $699. All three models will ship standard with Mac OS X 10.4.2 and include faster hard drives operating at 5400-rpm. The current Mac minis include 4200-rpm drives.

In the graphics department, both the mid-range and high-end 1.5GHz Mac mini configurations will see their video memory doubled via ATI's Radeon 9200 64MB graphics card with AGP 4X support. The low-end 1.33GHz Mac mini will continue to ship with 32MB version of the card, sources said.

Updates to the Mac mini's wireless technologies are also expected in the revision. Sources say Apple has redesigned the Mac mini's mezzanine board to accommodate a revised AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth combo card, which will ship on the 1.5GHz models and include Bluetooth 2.0+EDR technology. While remaining backwards-compatible with Bluetooth 1.x, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR is up to three times faster, offering a maximum data rate of 3Mbps.

Finally, sources say the high-end 1.5GHz Mac mini configuration will also gain an 8x double-layer SuperDrive capable of double-layer DVD burning.

All models will continue to ship with MPC7447A PowerPC G4 processors from Freescale and 512MB of PC2700 (333MHz) DDR SDRAM.
post #2 of 175
Great, but where are the PowerMac and PowerBook updates?
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post #3 of 175
I guess the usage of the word 'significant' is all relevant.
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post #4 of 175
I'd say this is a rather nice update, all things considered. Slightly faster CPU, now an acceptable amount of VRAM, and, most importantly, a faster harddrive. If I were in the market for a Mac mini, this update would make me pleased.
post #5 of 175
Many 40GB mini drives from the stock 1.25 original config are in fact 5400 RPM 2MB cache OEM Seagate ST940110A (mine is), while the 80GB units were primarily 4200 RPM 8MB cache drives, so the 'bump' in drive speeds is only a bump for the 80GB machines... though if they get 5400 RPM and 8MB cache, it will be a wee bit more noticeable
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post #6 of 175
The Freescale 7448 is still conspiciously MIA...
post #7 of 175
Why not use the RADEON 9550 like in the iBook.
That one IS CoreImage compatible....
post #8 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by maceddy
Why not use the RADEON 9550 like in the iBook.
That one IS CoreImage compatible....

yeah it is a shame that not all the Macs are CoreImage compliant yet.
post #9 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by maceddy
Why not use the RADEON 9550 like in the iBook.
That one IS CoreImage compatible....

Because of heat and cost constraints obviously.

The Mac Mini is already CoreImage compatible. I think you're confused about what CI is. ALL currently shipping macs are CI compatible.

I too wish the Mac Mini had a faster GPU, but I am not representative of the consuming masses.
post #10 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
Apple Computer has begun to inform service providers of a revision to its Mac mini desktop computer that is now expected to quietly make its debut in a matter of days...

Nice, but what about PowerMac and PowerBook updates? By updating the mini twice this year with only one update to the PowerBook, Apple is going to further upset its pro community.
post #11 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by ka2357
Nice, but what about PowerMac and PowerBook updates? By updating the mini twice this year with only one update to the PowerBook, Apple is going to further upset its pro community.

I don't know what to tell you. As a professional I don't remember such slow period of upgrades for Powerbooks and Powermacs. It's very sad. The last 2 years since the big splash introduction of PM G5 we have not seem much. Sluggish updates for the powerbooks and Powermac has been the trend. I can't really figure out out going on over there in Cupertino.
I don't blame just on Apple. IBM and Moto also are responsible for such letdown.
I just wish Apple would go back a put all the efforts they are putting on the ipod back to their professional computer line.
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post #12 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by ka2357
Nice, but what about PowerMac and PowerBook updates? By updating the mini twice this year with only one update to the PowerBook, Apple is going to further upset its pro community.

Don't you guys think they probably have teams working on updates to most of the lines simultaneously? They put out what they have when it's ready. They can't release what they don't have. If the chips aren't ready or aren't yet mass-produced then what do you expect them to do? Maybe they could sell the new Powerbooks without a CPU, and then when it's available, they'll ship it to you so you can solder it in place. You'll be on your way to faster Powerbook computing in no time. I don't get why people are so unrealistic. Seriously folks, Apple wants your money, and they'll do everything they can to get it, but they can't squeeze hundreds of thousands of faster and cooler PPC chips out of a turnip.
post #13 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by gugy
...I just wish Apple would go back a put all the efforts they are putting on the ipod back to their professional computer line.

Agreed. I wonder if Apple is thinking they can ride out the transition by surfing on iPod sales? I wonder if there's enough volume to do that.

Anyways, it's wait-and-see (though hopefully not too long)?
post #14 of 175
Gigabit Ethernet should be included.
post #15 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by dfiler
Because of heat and cost constraints obviously.

The Mac Mini is already CoreImage compatible. I think you're confused about what CI is. ALL currently shipping macs are CI compatible.

According to System Profiler and Apple's own website, the 9200 does not support Core Image. Also, the 9550 is dirt cheap and does not run too hot to be used in the Mac mini. It's used in the iBook which has even tighter space constraints. As usual, they are just crippling the specs so as not to take away sales from their other more expensive offerings.

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post #16 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by gugy

I just wish Apple would go back a put all the efforts they are putting on the ipod back to their professional computer line.

No, that makes far too much sense.

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post #17 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by macbear01
Don't you guys think they probably have teams working on updates to most of the lines simultaneously? They put out what they have when it's ready. They can't release what they don't have. If the chips aren't ready or aren't yet mass-produced then what do you expect them to do? Maybe they could sell the new Powerbooks without a CPU, and then when it's available, they'll ship it to you so you can solder it in place. You'll be on your way to faster Powerbook computing in no time. I don't get why people are so unrealistic. Seriously folks, Apple wants your money, and they'll do everything they can to get it, but they can't squeeze hundreds of thousands of faster and cooler PPC chips out of a turnip.

No we are not unrealistic. Of course if the chips are not ready no new upgrades. but what about price drops? if will take forever to update the current line up then that would be a trade off for the consumers. What annoys me is the fact the line up needs a makeover so badly and Apple hasn't drop their prices because they can't update for whatever reason. Apple's posture on the situation is what's bad. Their silence is bad. Lack of action is bad. So if we are not going to see anything soon, I would expect at least price drops or more RAM or HD capacity of the current models.
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post #18 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by 1984
According to System Profiler and Apple's own website, the 9200 does not support Core Image. Also, the 9550 is dirt cheap and does not run too hot to be used in the Mac mini. It's used in the iBook which has even tighter space constraints. As usual, they are just crippling the specs so as not to take away sales from their other more expensive offerings.

Full Ack!
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post #19 of 175
I have a practical question from a solely consumer user. I'm going to be buying next year--a mini or an iMac. Would I notice a difference in terms of launching applications from the slower hard drive in the mini? And are there other limitations imposed by the mini's 5400 drive? Boot times perhaps?

Consumers, like me, don't need processing power but I'm wondering if a slower drive could impact us most in just the kind of basic tasks we do every day.

(Would it have killed Apple to make the mini just a wee bit larger so they wouldn't have to limit the hard drives and graphics cards? I know, I know, to urge people like me to spring for the iMac.)
post #20 of 175
I think Apple wants to get new PBs and PMs put more than we do - they've been pulling their hair out for years on the lack of new processors, evidenced by the change to Intel. I also have a feeling that new products are not suffering from the iPod or any other Apple product. The iPod is now off on its own - while it was developed using the profits from computer sales the computer division has all the money it needs, it just doesn't have the processors.

Unfortunately MWSF in January is probably the first opportunity for something new and that is only if Intel delivers, which I think they will.

The new mini looks pretty good to me, but then I work on a 1.5 PB hooked to a 23" display every day at the office. For those that need a basic Mac now it is a good option.
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post #21 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by ka2357
Nice, but what about PowerMac and PowerBook updates? By updating the mini twice this year with only one update to the PowerBook, Apple is going to further upset its pro community.

Remember that the Mini team has their own engineers, and this "mini" update (like the last one) isn't too significant. It's not like they pulled all the resources from Pro. They just had something ready sooner.
post #22 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by 1984
According to System Profiler and Apple's own website, the 9200 does not support Core Image. Also, the 9550 is dirt cheap and does not run too hot to be used in the Mac mini. It's used in the iBook which has even tighter space constraints. As usual, they are just crippling the specs so as not to take away sales from their other more expensive offerings.

While these cards don't "support" CI, they are still CI "compatible".

CI is a high-level hardware abstraction API set that will simply make the best use of available hardware. If you have altivec, it will make use of altivec. If you have such and such... it will use of such and such.

The mini is CI "compatible" just as the mini is photoshop compatible.

What you really mean to be talking about is whether the Mini has a GPU capable of lending additional processing power to CI API calls.
post #23 of 175
Another Tuesday pass by without anything.
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post #24 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by dfiler
While these cards don't "support" CI, they are still CI "compatible".

CI is a high-level hardware abstraction API set that will simply make the best use of available hardware. If you have altivec, it will make use of altivec. If you have such and such... it will use of such and such.

The mini is CI "compatible" just as the mini is photoshop compatible.

What you really mean to be talking about is whether the Mini has a GPU capable of lending additional processing power to CI API calls.

dfiler is right.

If you don't believe him, download iMaginator or one of the other CI showcasing apps (I forget their names)...you can use all that CI can offer...you just won't be able to use them in realtime...but it's still fairly fast if you got a fast computer.
post #25 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by gugy
Another Tuesday pass by without anything.

What is the significance of a Tuesday release? Why Tuesday rather than another day?
post #26 of 175
I hope you are aware that Apple uses Tuesdays to release products and updates.
At least they have been doing that in the past couple years. But it could be any day of the week.
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post #27 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by dfiler
While these cards don't "support" CI, they are still CI "compatible".

CI is a high-level hardware abstraction API set that will simply make the best use of available hardware. If you have altivec, it will make use of altivec. If you have such and such... it will use of such and such.

The mini is CI "compatible" just as the mini is photoshop compatible.

What you really mean to be talking about is whether the Mini has a GPU capable of lending additional processing power to CI API calls.

The Mac mini (and every G4 machine for that matter) is CI compatible in the sense that it will accelerate the corresponding API calls using its Altivec unit. Now guess what, the ripple dashboard effect (which requires a CI compliant GPU) is completely disabled in the Mac mini. Who knows what other CI-based functionality of forthcoming applications will be disabled since the Radeon 9200 is not programmable. It is left to developer to decide if it is worth to use the Altivec unit in the case where there is not CI-capable GPU in the system.

Apple's implementation of CI/CV/Quartz 2D Extreme creates something like a grey zone. It is absolutely inexcusable if this is what they intend to do with the mini's GPU.
post #28 of 175
Graphics/Displays:

ATI Radeon 9200:

Chipset Model: ATY,RV280
Type: Display
Bus: AGP
VRAM (Total): 64 MB
Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
Device ID: 0x5962
Revision ID: 0x0001
ROM Revision: 113-xxxxx-133
Displays:
DELL 2001FP:
Display Type: CRT
Resolution: 1600 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
Depth: 32-bit Color
Core Image: Not Supported
Main Display: Yes
Mirror: Off
Online: Yes
Quartz Extreme: Supported
Rotation: Supported

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post #29 of 175
Absolutely inexcuseable?

Because it is a god given right to see the dashboard ripple effect...

More like, no other company is offering a hardware abstraction layer for such high level effects. Apple should be commended for leaving everyone in the dust in architecting this next-gen imaging API.

Oh wait, some people think it is "unexcuseable" to take advantage of pro hardware while still selling an entry level machine.
post #30 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by dfiler

What you really mean to be talking about is whether the Mini has a GPU capable of lending additional processing power to CI API calls.

Um, that's what I said. The 9200 GPU does not support it.

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post #31 of 175
Those are nice specs, a Macmini with 64mb video and a 1.5 G4 will make for a very solid all around computer. 5 out of 5 stars. Sweet.
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post #32 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by dfiler
Absolutely inexcuseable?

Because it is a god given right to see the dashboard ripple effect...

If you think that's all there is to it then you are sadly misinformed as to what Core Image and Q2DE can do. Having the GPU do more frees up the CPU to do more... and faster. Consumer Macs can benefit greatly from this as their CPUs need all they help they can get. And yes, when every other Mac supports it then it's ridiculous not to with the Mac mini as well, especially this late in the game.

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post #33 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by kenaustus

Unfortunately MWSF in January is probably the first opportunity for something new and that is only if Intel delivers, which I think they will.

We're not going to see Intel PowerMacs until late 2006 when the proper chips are available. While a single core Yonah/Pentium M is okay for a consumer Mac and maybe even a dual-core version for the PowerBook, it will never see the inside of a PowerMac. There has to be at least one more PPC revision to the PowerMac before then.

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post #34 of 175
Why are people whining? Everybody complained for the longest time that there were no affordable entry level Macs to compete with Dell. Now the affordable entry level machine doesn't have a good enough graphics card? A significant portion of low end wintel systems don't even have dedicated video memory. What do want an affordable Mac, or one with a pimp graphics card?
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post #35 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by dfiler
Absolutely inexcuseable?

Because it is a god given right to see the dashboard ripple effect...

If you paid attention to what I wrote, the ripple effect is just an example to show the idea behind. My concern is to have applications with disabled functionality on the mini just because the 9200 is not programmable. The ripple effect illustrates very clearly that this is a real concern.
post #36 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Beardsley
Why are people whining? Everybody complained for the longest time that there were no affordable entry level Macs to compete with Dell. Now the affordable entry level machine doesn't have a good enough graphics card? A significant portion of low end wintel systems don't even have dedicated video memory. What do want an affordable Mac, or one with a pimp graphics card?

Exactly. A $500 PC almost invariably has shared memory.

I'll probably grab the $599 Mac mini model with the larger graphics. It's looking to be the best deal.
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post #37 of 175
The mini is an entry level computer with an entry level price and an entry level feature set.

Yet it is still CI complient.

Hardware abstraction was paramount in the design of CI. When effects can't be GPU accelerated or handled by the CPU, the program still functions as intended.

While I wouldn't buy one with the current GPU, I'm not representative of it's target demographic.
post #38 of 175
Quote:
Originally posted by PB
If you paid attention to what I wrote, the ripple effect is just an example to show the idea behind. My concern is to have applications with disabled functionality on the mini just because the 9200 is not programmable. The ripple effect illustrates very clearly that this is a real concern.

It's not that the ripple effect doesn't work with your card...it's just that it doesn't work in real time and Apple disabled it for those that can't run in in real time because people like you would be complaining.

Ripples, color transformations, filters, they all work...just not in real time.
post #39 of 175
what a disappointment. No GPU update is just sad. How much more would it cost to place core graphic capable GPU in the macmini.

It just doesn't make sense to roll out a new mac that is already absolete on the gpu department. It's not about speed, but it's about being able to use built in features in the current OS. I've been waiting for Core Graphic capable Macmini for some time and I just have to wait even longer now.

I know some of the Core Graphic features aren't fully turned on at the moment, but when Apple claims this feature in Tiger and Tiger is factory installed on the Macmini, then the newly released mini should be capable of this feature. Am I being unreasonable?
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post #40 of 175
My lord, such complications over such a simple story.

Apple does what they can. You might as well be complaining because they didn't go to the 1.7GHz chip.

Miniaturizing something always makes its cost higher. As no one here knows Apple's cost, no one can say what Apple should have put into the machine.

You can say what you wish Apple had put into the machine.

It's fine to say that the 9550 is "dirt cheap", but you don't know what Apple has to allow for the cost of the GPU. Every penny of the cost of a part in a machine adds twice that to the finished product.

Also think about what it would require for Apple to replace a GPU. It's not a swap. It requires a mobo redesign because the parts are not pin compatible. Neither are the signals going to them.

At this late stage in the Mini's development the question is whether it pays for Apple to redesign the computer. I don't think so. Apple would have to have a very good reason to do that.

Would any potential sales increases from doing so make up for the expense of the redesign and the retooling of the factory lines making the product? Would this cost Apple more than it would earn them? With the Intel designs taking up more of their time and staff, does it pay to remove them from future product development that is Apple's future to redesign a machine that is selling well, but not spectacularly? Would most consumers of this machine care or even know or understand the difference?

The answer is probably no on most counts.

This is a nice upgrade with no increase in pricing. Take it for what it is.

It has nothing to do with PB's either. Don't bother mentioning them here. It's a totally different subject, and Apple is surely doing all they can in that area.
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