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The Great (mini) Debate

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
The fate of the Mac mini has got to be one of the most posted about topics and while a lot of people have predicted an EOL I thought that the latest RSS feed from Apple could point against this...

http://www.apple.com/business/profil...sr=hotnews.rss

It seems unlikely that they would be promoting the fact that author Elliot Aronson's work was done on a mini if it is to be discontinued from the product line?

Maybe nothing, but then, maybe something... I for one hope this is a brief glimmer of hope that the little fella will live on
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post #2 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc OSX View Post

The fate of the Mac mini has got to be one of the most posted about topics and while a lot of people have predicted an EOL I thought that the latest RSS feed from Apple could point against this...

http://www.apple.com/business/profil...sr=hotnews.rss

It seems unlikely that they would be promoting the fact that author Elliot Aronson's work was done on a mini if it is to be discontinued from the product line?

Maybe nothing, but then, maybe something... I for one hope this is a brief glimmer of hope that the little fella will live on

Not much of a debate. AI thought it would be discontinued. Few others did.
post #3 of 45
There's no reason to EOL the Mac mini concept. They could replace it, but it serves a purpose in the Product Matrix and it has several markets. Also, despite conjecture from analysts, it's very popular, especially for switchers, those building HTPCs (For whom it is the best choice possible if they want a Mac) and people who are tight on space.

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post #4 of 45
Rumours of the mini's demise were greatly exaggerated (thankfully) and IMHO the mini will (should) not be discontinued but continually developed and may eventually evolve into a total media center, maybe merging with AppleTV.

It is a great product with many miles left in it yet. I use mine (1.83 Core Duo SD) on a daily basis, It serves me well, supplying my 42 plasma with video (DVD and streaming) plus it is a fantastic music server connected via optical to a decent Onkyo system. 85,000+ songs on an external HD! Frontrow operated via remote and viewed on the plasma never fails to blow my visitors minds when I give them a demo... beat that Dell et al

Long live the Mac Mini!
post #5 of 45
A good reason, possibly an indication, not to discontinue it is that of all the Macs sold in the Refirb store online at Apple the Mini seems to spend the least amount of time available on the site. When they are available, especially the newer models, they tend to sell out very quickly. Sometimes in as little as 4 hours from what I have seen. It has been this way at least since January. The Mini's price might not be a bit high, but the refirb price on them seems to be just right.
post #6 of 45
...Apple's lack of love for it. Apple needs to treat it like a first-class citizen. I am not expecting it to have bleeding-edge hardware or even the fastest processors, but having current hardware is not too much to ask. When it was updated last August it should have also gotten Santa Rosa, for the graphics if nothing else, especially since Apple is trying to push as much of the GUI onto the graphics card as they can.

When it gets updated it better be a Penryn/Montevina configuration and not a Penryn/Santa Rosa, or God forbid, Merom/Santa Rosa configuration.
post #7 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by troberts View Post

Apple needs to treat it like a first-class citizen. I am not expecting it to have bleeding-edge hardware or even the fastest processors, but having current hardware is not too much to ask.

Agreed. The mini is due for a serious refresh. In addition to the features that others have mentioned I'm looking for a larger (7200 RPM) hard drive. Bring it, Cupertino.
post #8 of 45
Almost everyone wants a 7200rpm drive. But that almost guarantees a change in the form factor.
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post #9 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

Almost everyone wants a 7200rpm drive. But that almost guarantees a change in the form factor.

Probably so, due to heat. In the absence of 7200 drives, let's at least see the hard drive max out at 250 gig.
post #10 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybaritic View Post

Probably so, due to heat. In the absence of 7200 drives, let's at least see the hard drive max out at 250 gig.

7200rpm 2.5" drives are designed for laptops so heat shouldn't be a huge problem. You get 200GB Seagate drives with perpendicular recording for just £85. Apple could offer it as BTO.
post #11 of 45
Apple should do a lot of things...

...Updating the mini would be a start!
...Integrating that power supply into the mini would be a great upgrade.
...Combining it with the AppleTV as one complete computer would be phenomenal...

Regardless, I don't think the mini concept will be going away from Apple's product matrix, as we see Apple's competitors showing prototypes they plan to release soon. If only Apple would get off its butt and update the damn thing...along with its displays!

C'mon, Apple!
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post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

Apple should do a lot of things...

...Updating the mini would be a start!
...Integrating that power supply into the mini would be a great upgrade.
...Combining it with the AppleTV as one complete computer would be phenomenal...

Regardless, I don't think the mini concept will be going away from Apple's product matrix, as we see Apple's competitors showing prototypes they plan to release soon. If only Apple would get off its butt and update the damn thing...along with its displays!

C'mon, Apple!

Apple just need a little competition to get them off of their butts.
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post #13 of 45
Once Vista SP3 comes out, you people are TOAST!
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post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

7200rpm 2.5" drives are designed for laptops so heat shouldn't be a huge problem.

You're right, which makes one wonder if Apple purposely "cripples" the mini—a matter that surely has been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere.
post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHagan4755 View Post

Apple should do a lot of things...

...Integrating that power supply into the mini would be a great upgrade...

I don't understand the constant harping about the power supply. Leaving it outside reduces heat and the chance of a malfunction frying your logic board. It also sits out of sight, so there's no real reason to increase the Mini's size just to accommodate it.

I say give the Mini a 7200rpm drive, a 4GB RAM limit and graphics to drive the 30" screen.

That's all it needs.
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post #16 of 45
I'm so ready to get a Mini to use as a media center to sit under my tv, and also as a backup to my MacBook Pro (since I work from home).

I'm amazed at how well these machines hold their value on eBay - seems you pay as much on older machines as new.
post #17 of 45
I really like my Mini, but it's in desperate need of a lot of things:
  • A better GPU - the GMA 950 is crap. Apple is moving towards Core this or that, but the 950 can't do things Nvidia and ATI has done for years. Needs an upgrade to the GMA x3100/4500 at least.
  • Support for 4 GB of RAM
  • Bigger HDs and DVD burners standard. Combo drives are BS, and should not be sold in computers in this day and age. Hell, I can buy a low-end laptop for $400, and it has a GMA x3100 and a DL DVD burner.
  • 802.11n
  • Easier accessibility to the RAM and HD
post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonfj View Post

I'm so ready to get a Mini to use as a media center to sit under my tv,

This is probably the reason it's been abandoned... no one uses it as a computer,but as some media centre, which is what the Apple TV was intended.
post #19 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by xflare View Post

This is probably the reason it's been abandoned... no one uses it as a computer,but as some media centre, which is what the Apple TV was intended.

But the Mini isn't format-limited like the aTV... The FrontRow interface does everything (plus more formats and a DVD slot) that the aTV interface will do except rentals. And you still have a fully functional computer/OSX to use as well.

My experience has been that the Mini makes a WAY better TV device than the AppleTV.
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post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybaritic View Post

You're right, which makes one wonder if Apple purposely "cripples" the mini—a matter that surely has been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere.

I wonder if Apple is concerned with the Mac mini cannibalizing iMac sales. I know I would get a Mac mini before an iMac, once it gets Montevina or better.
post #21 of 45
Quote:
no one uses it as a computer,but as some media centre, which is what the Apple TV was intended.

there - you said it!
apple offer two TV devices, but no screen-less desktop for less than $2000...

maybe apple should make the mini a bit more fitting for desktop use, rather than cabinet use.
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post #22 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tubgirl View Post

there - you said it!
apple offer two TV devices, but no screen-less desktop for less than $2000...

maybe apple should make the mini a bit more fitting for desktop use, rather than cabinet use.

It's perfectly fine for desktop use. The only people that worry about the GPU are gamer nerds and they should really go off and buy a console.

Do people gripe on about how lame the Macbook is? NO. Think of it as a Macbook in desktop form and you're closer to it's intended audience. Sure, it's slightly behind the Macbook in updates, but not that it'd actually matter to most of the people that it's intended for.
post #23 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

It's perfectly fine for desktop use. The only people that worry about the GPU are gamer nerds and they should really go off and buy a console.

Do people gripe on about how lame the Macbook is? NO. Think of it as a Macbook in desktop form and you're closer to it's intended audience. Sure, it's slightly behind the Macbook in updates, but not that it'd actually matter to most of the people that it's intended for.

The only thing that bugs me about the Mini's graphics is the inability to drive the 30" monitor.
I don't care if the card is soldered in, because I'm not a "gamer nerd" (cool term, btw.)

You're absolutely right about the MacBook comparison with one exception.
The MacBook form factor allows the user to easily access its Hard Drive and RAM.
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post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

It's perfectly fine for desktop use. The only people that worry about the GPU are gamer nerds and they should really go off and buy a console.

Do people gripe on about how lame the Macbook is? NO. Think of it as a Macbook in desktop form and you're closer to it's intended audience. Sure, it's slightly behind the Macbook in updates, but not that it'd actually matter to most of the people that it's intended for.

The 950 is barely adequate to run something like Aperture, as as Apple's only headless Mac under $2000, that is a problem, and with Apple adding more desktop acceleration to 10.6, the 950 is sounding worse and worse, heck even now, it can't switch between Spaces without lagging problems.

It's old, out of date, and needs to go. It's just Apple being cheap, and pushing users towards the iMac and above.
post #25 of 45
Even if they made the Mini capable of using external graphics solutions with Express Card:

http://www.asus.com/news_show.aspx?id=5369
http://www.engadget.com/2007/01/08/h...-external-gpu/

It means an extra power cable but nearly 10 times graphics performance increase is worth it. I think an Express Card slot would open up a lot of possibilities. There are quite a few devices using Express Card to extend the features on a machine:

http://www.expresscard.org/web/site/cons_wtb.jsp

Firewire 800, eSATA, TV tuners, even a PCI box

http://www.magma.com/products/pci/1PCI/index.html

Apple could have approved/supported devices that work with it and it gives people the choice to have the Mini behave how they want without compromising the device form factor.

Give gamers and 3D artists a GPU device. Give audio enthusiasts good sound cards, video enthusiasts capture boards - maybe all these could be covered simply with the external PCI box. Of course a single internal PCI slot would do the trick but it would change the Mini form factor quite a bit.

I think it would be great if they even made the Mini a plug-in component to a larger device. Someone posted a link to this in another thread:

http://www.drobo.com/products_demo.html

Imagine if the Mini was just a slot-in module instead of the two top drives. This allows a RAID setup without the extra cables. Maybe a GPU could be inside the external enclosure. It still means the Mini is small and people don't have to get the extra add-ons but it allows people to get them if they'd like.
post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Imagine if the Mini was just a slot-in module instead of the two top drives. This allows a RAID setup without the extra cables. Maybe a GPU could be inside the external enclosure. It still means the Mini is small and people don't have to get the extra add-ons but it allows people to get them if they'd like.

LOL ... sorry, I was just imagining that.
It might appeal to a few, but not enough for Apple to go to the expense of developing and marketing such a thing.
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post #27 of 45
they can put in a low end video chip with it's own ram like the apple tv has.
post #28 of 45
Actually, an ExpressCard slot is a great idea for the Mini.
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post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

It's perfectly fine for desktop use. The only people that worry about the GPU are gamer nerds and they should really go off and buy a console.

Do people gripe on about how lame the Macbook is? NO. Think of it as a Macbook in desktop form and you're closer to it's intended audience. Sure, it's slightly behind the Macbook in updates, but not that it'd actually matter to most of the people that it's intended for.

It's hard to think of a single reason why the mini wouldn't have essentially the same innards as a MacBook. Say what you will about the hard disk drive size but there's no good reason at all for why the mini can't even sport the same onboard Intel graphics as the MacBook.
post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

It's hard to think of a single reason why the mini wouldn't have essentially the same innards as a MacBook. Say what you will about the hard disk drive size but there's no good reason at all for why the mini can't even sport the same onboard Intel graphics as the MacBook.

Any predictions on when the mini will get a refresh?

Let's assume that the MBP comes in late July or early August. The mini languishes behind the Macbook, which will likely not be refreshed until after the school buying season is over. I'm predicting a mid-fall mini update.

I hope I'm wrong. We need an update now.
post #31 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybaritic View Post

Any predictions on when the mini will get a refresh?

Let's assume that the MBP comes in late July or early August. The mini languishes behind the Macbook, which will likely not be refreshed until after the school buying season is over. I'm predicting a mid-fall mini update.

I hope I'm wrong. We need an update now.

July 14th. Montevina was delayed from early June and a Mini update is way overdue (as updates tend to be with Apple). If Montevina hadn't been delayed, I reckon we'd have seen an update by now:

http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/37644/122/

An update simply couldn't arrive earlier than 3-4 weeks but hopefully not longer than that.

Of course, we must remember the precious iphone 3G comes out then too so you never know. We all know what's more important to Apple these days.
post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

July 14th.

I like the sound of that.
post #33 of 45
That's 11 months since the last update, so I hope you're right. A bit of a price drop would be nice too.
post #34 of 45
I think the mini is the computer that Apple updates when it gets around to it.

The original mini was to allow PC users to give the Mac a try without investing in new keyboards, mice or displays. It came at a time when the iPod was developing the "halo effect".

Now the iPhone 2.0 is about to explode on the scene and a more powerful mini would be well timed to motivate iPhone/PC users to give them to give a Mac a try with a new mini that has current features.

The only question then is where do these people that gave a Mac a try and want to move up a bit while keeping their investments in displays? But then this isn't the time to talk about an xMac.
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post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenaustus View Post

I think the mini is the computer that Apple updates when it gets around to it.

The original mini was to allow PC users to give the Mac a try without investing in new keyboards, mice or displays. It came at a time when the iPod was developing the "halo effect".

Now the iPhone 2.0 is about to explode on the scene and a more powerful mini would be well timed to motivate iPhone/PC users to give them to give a Mac a try with a new mini that has current features.

The only question then is where do these people that gave a Mac a try and want to move up a bit while keeping their investments in displays? But then this isn't the time to talk about an xMac.

The old mini cost $100 less and it had a real video card built in. They even mocked intel on board video. Now they have a intel video chip that has list of games that it does not work with. Not even that both ATI and NVIDIA have much better on board video as well.

Also no dvd/rw in the base system is a joke now days.
post #36 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by guinness View Post

The 950 is barely adequate to run something like Aperture, as as Apple's only headless Mac under $2000, that is a problem, and with Apple adding more desktop acceleration to 10.6, the 950 is sounding worse and worse, heck even now, it can't switch between Spaces without lagging problems.

It's old, out of date, and needs to go. It's just Apple being cheap, and pushing users towards the iMac and above.

what?

how would i notice these lagging issues ? currently folding at home(fairly heavy load?) on my 1.66 core(non2) duo and spaces responds just fine.
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post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post

The old mini cost $100 less and it had a real video card built in. They even mocked intel on board video. Now they have a intel video chip that has list of games that it does not work with. Not even that both ATI and NVIDIA have much better on board video as well.

Also no dvd/rw in the base system is a joke now days.

I have an old mini (G4) and despite what the specifications read it doesn't have a "real" video card. The video performance from its 32MB card is actually worse than from the onboard Intel graphics on a three year old Dell laptop I have laying around.

I actually care less about the DVD-R/RW capability. I find that I hardly ever use it.
post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

I have an old mini (G4) and despite what the specifications read it doesn't have a "real" video card. The video performance from its 32MB card is actually worse than from the onboard Intel graphics on a three year old Dell laptop I have laying around.

It's less compatible though. For example, Motion actually runs on an old powerbook but doesn't on a Mini. Whether or not it may be faster than older dedicated cards in older machines, a low end dedicated card in a new machine is still much faster than integrated graphics. The one that comes with Montevina should be a big help though and should be as much as 6 times faster than the GMA 950 bringing it on par with low-end dedicated chips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

I actually care less about the DVD-R/RW capability. I find that I hardly ever use it.

I never use mine as I prefer a tray-loading external. If Apple somehow made it so that you either get a GPU or an optical drive, I'd go for the GPU.
post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter Slocombe View Post

what?

how would i notice these lagging issues ? currently folding at home(fairly heavy load?) on my 1.66 core(non2) duo and spaces responds just fine.

If I use Control+1-4 to switch Spaces, its fine, but if hit the Spaces shortcut (F8), It's not the smoothest transition.

I've noticed sluggishness too, with magnifying large Dock icons, when compared to an older G5 iMac, with a Nvidia FX5200. My Mini is a bit slow, the iMac is fine. My Mini is the 1.83 GHz C2D variety BTW.

It's not the worst thing in the world; it's serviceable, but long overdue for an update, especially with things moving towards HD video. An GMA x3100 or x4500 could do all the video playback in hardware, and the system would be faster overall. You couldn't play new games on them (that's what a PC or consoles are for), but they would still be better than the 950, but I wouldn't mind playing Age of Empires III with better effects either.

Additionally, IIRC, the current Mini has topped out, in terms of what can be added as far as a CPU update, due to the slower 667 MHz FSB or because the socket type. It would the perfect platform to utilize the cooler, lower power 45nm parts IMO.
post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by guinness View Post

If I use Control+1-4 to switch Spaces, its fine, but if hit the Spaces shortcut (F8), It's not the smoothest transition.

I've noticed sluggishness too, with magnifying large Dock icons, when compared to an older G5 iMac, with a Nvidia FX5200. My Mini is a bit slow, the iMac is fine. My Mini is the 1.83 GHz C2D variety BTW.

It's not the worst thing in the world; it's serviceable, but long overdue for an update, especially with things moving towards HD video. An GMA x3100 or x4500 could do all the video playback in hardware, and the system would be faster overall. You couldn't play new games on them (that's what a PC or consoles are for), but they would still be better than the 950, but I wouldn't mind playing Age of Empires III with better effects either.

Additionally, IIRC, the current Mini has topped out, in terms of what can be added as far as a CPU update, due to the slower 667 MHz FSB or because the socket type. It would the perfect platform to utilize the cooler, lower power 45nm parts IMO.

using the new apple keyboard so F8 is play/pause.

on the old apple keyboard on my other mini, ill give you a very slight judder, that disappears once you toggle back and forth between spaces overview screen and the desktop.

I agree completely the mini is in need of an overhall, and I'd be fairly close to the front once they are released I've had the G4 and now two intel ones. a brilliant little Mac IMO and even better given that there isnt an xMac.. but we wont start that!

I personally think that cooler chips plus faster HDD (7200) would and SHOULD be the way to go, the mini needs some love.
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