Originally Posted by Phong
They can't get that for under 800. The 2.4 Ghz MB is double that and the screen can't cost that much.
The proposed changes aren't necessarily as hard as one might think. Apple AFAIK wasn't losing money on the Mac Mini a year ago and the costs of many of the components has fallen dramatically. DDR2 prices are more than half what they were a year ago and the processor on the Mac Mini has been discontinued by Intel therefore unless Apple bought a huge number of these discontinued processors then Apple hasn't been paying much for the CPUs. Furthermore, even before those processors were discontinued they weren't terribly high end.
At this point going to a SuperDrive on the base model of the Mac Mini wouldn't cost much considering that the price differential between a combo drive and a superdrive is virtually nothing. There are laptops hundreds of dollars less that have DVD burners and a screen and the vendor still manages a razor thin margin. The Mac Mini is essentially a laptop without a screen therefore, Apple should at least be able to have a machine that is on par with a $600 laptop spec wise if not slightly better.
A slight bump in HDD wouldn't cost more than $20. There are ~$600 laptops on the market with HDDs with twice the capacity of the Mac Mini and they are throwing in a small display with the deal. HDD prices have fallen considerable in the last 14 months. Apple should be able to make a bump in HDD size without bumping up the price.
The only suggestion made that might be problematic is moving towards a much more powerful graphics chipset. Upgrading the Mac Mini chipset to the same chipset as the new Macbooks may be asking a bit much insofar as the chipset not only includes the Geforce 9400, but it also includes support for DDR3. If you moved the Mac Mini to that new chipset you not only have the costs of the chipset itself, but also the cost of DDR3 memory, which at this point is considerably more expensive than DDR2. Nevertheless, below the $800 price point Apple should be able to at least put a lower end Nvidia integrated chipset like either the older Geforce 8400 or the the newer 9300. Either would be a huge improvement in graphical performance over the current Intel graphics, but I know that there are chipsets that use these GPUs that are still using DDR2.
Even a modest improvement in the base $599 model would revive sales. Apple could make slight bumps in CPU, RAM, HDD and not add a huge amount in costs, but bring life back to the sales of the Mac Mini. One thing that people forget is that there are a lot of Apple switchers that use the Mac Mini as a way to kick the tires on Mac OS without investing a lot of money into trying it out. Ultimately a certain percentage of those that remain happy with the unit may go on to buy one of the Macbooks or perhaps one of their more expensive desktop units.