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Mac mini makeover considered likely for Macworld - Page 4

post #121 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

There's no f-ing way you're going to see an i7 processor in either the iMac or mini. Setting aside the high cost- it's a high-end CPU paired with a "performance" chipset -the i7 runs damn hot. At any given clock speed, Nehalem uses about 40W more power than Penryn. There are reasons for this increase, and the performance increase is just as significant, but that power still gets turned into heat.

Cooling such a beast requires big heatsinks and big fans.

That's is true of the current Nehalem processors; they are enthusiast/gaming/workstation class processors. In the 2nd half of 09 we will see some more appropriate Nehalem processors, Lynnfield and Havendale, that support dual channel DDR-3 instead of triple channel, and forgo the QPI bus for a built in PCIe 16X bus and DMI bus.

The mobile version, Clarksfield and Auburndale, aren't even expected until early 2010. But they'll be mobile bersions of the lower end Nehalems.
post #122 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

There's no f-ing way you're going to see an i7 processor in either the iMac or mini. Setting aside the high cost- it's a high-end CPU paired with a "performance" chipset -the i7 runs damn hot.

Again who says Apple will run the chips flat out in an iMac? Power is directly related to clock rate so slowing the clock down a few hundred megahertz can have a huge impact.

That's if that impact is even needed. As has been pointed out Apple has had a G5 in an iMac. Will they go back to a desktop chip? I see it as nothing more than a possibility, especially for a high end IMac.
Quote:
At any given clock speed, Nehalem uses about 40W more power than Penryn. There are reasons for this increase, and the performance increase is just as significant, but that power still gets turned into heat.

Yeah so?

It is still manageble heat. That is all Apple really needs is the ability to manage the heat.
Quote:

Cooling such a beast requires big heatsinks and big fans.

All solveable problems. If Apple does make this jump look at the positives for the platform. Apple can deliver a new industrial design that will be with us for at least 4 years. To punch out another Penryn based iMac means a total redesign in a year.

The alternative is that Apple just does a processor bump on the current model. Unfortunately I think this is a real possibility if they can't get buy in from intel for the right i7. The mini is a different story being bottom end hardware. Anything Apple is likely to do to Mini would be a vast improvement so I'm not going to argue about Mini. It is IMac that Apple needs to seriously consider performance increases on, i7 is just about the only practicle device to give the iMac a boost. At least from intel, Apple could always go AMD.

I7 isn't impossible it is just a slight stretch.


Dave
post #123 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The alternative is that Apple just does a processor bump on the current model. Unfortunately I think this is a real possibility if they can't get buy in from intel for the right i7. The mini is a different story being bottom end hardware. Anything Apple is likely to do to Mini would be a vast improvement so I'm not going to argue about Mini. It is IMac that Apple needs to seriously consider performance increases on, i7 is just about the only practicle device to give the iMac a boost. At least from intel, Apple could always go AMD.

I7 isn't impossible it is just a slight stretch.


Dave

There are more alternatives to consider before thinking about the current Core i7 cpus (3 models with a TDP of 130W) and even the future "i7" mobile quad-cores (Clarksfield at 55W, $350-$1,050) planned for Q3 2009:
- the 65W desktop dual-core cpus (E8200-8600, from 2.66GHz to 3.33GHz, $163-$266)
- the 65W desktop quad-core cpus:


Going from the current custom cpus with a TDP of 55W to cpus with a TDP of 65W, is far more realistic than going straight to 130W Core i7 even custom ones with a lower TDP.

Also, the desktop single chip 9300/9400 chipsets from nvidia also support the future 65W quad-core cpus. Win-win for Apple: similar drivers for the chipset, huge speedbump for the iMac, little R&D for the upgraded cooling system, cost decrease that would permit other changes (like LED-BL displays) and still maintaining a low price for the user, and probably a price cut in the high-end.

If Apple was to use the current mobile montevina cpus (not the custom ones) in the iMac, the prices for the chips would be: $241/DC2.40GHz, $316/DC2.66GHz*, $530/DC2.80GHZ, $851/DC3.06GHz. *The DC2.66GHz will be available early Q1 (replacing the current 2.53GHz model).

Given the price of the desktop cpus and including a cost increase due to the LED-BL displays, my favorite line-up would be:
$1299 LED-BL 20" iMac, quad 2.33GHz, 2GB RAM,... $100 increase due to the LED-BL display
$1499 LED-BL 20" iMac, quad 2.66GHz, 2GB RAM,... same price
$1699 LED-BL 24" iMac, quad 2.66GHz, 2GB RAM,... $100 decrease due to the cpu cost
$1899 LED-BL 24" iMac, quad 2.83GHz, 2GB RAM,... $300 decrease due to the cpu cost

But I would still be happy with something like:
$1199 LED-BL 20" iMac, dual 2.66GHz, 2GB RAM,... same price
$1499 LED-BL 20" iMac, quad 2.33GHz, 2GB RAM,... same price
$1799 LED-BL 24" iMac, quad 2.66GHz, 2GB RAM,... same price
$1999 LED-BL 24" iMac, quad 2.83GHz, 2GB RAM,... $200 decrease due to the cpu cost

Unless Apple change radically the design of the Mac mini, it will have to use up to 35W mobile cpus, just like the MacBook. 2.00/2.40GHz + 9400m nvidia chipset at $599/699 and $799/899 would be a nice update for the Mac mini (especially with 2GB of RAM standard and probably bigger HDDs).
post #124 of 175
MCP i was referring to Geforce 9400M.
The fact is that Apple could sell a Dual Core Atom with Geforce 9400M Mac Mini, with respectable performance at $399 while STILL making 30 - 50% profit margin.

The problem with current mini is that they dont make much profit at all.

Speaking of Atom, i dont see it hyped at all. ( May be @ Intel only ). It is certainly a lot slower then Core 2 Duo. And perform about the same as Banis ( 1st Gen Pentium M ) in current application and test.

But that is why i mention Snow Leopard. One of the Main Reason for Snow Leopard tuning is because of iPhone. iPhone OSX and Mac OSX have basically the same core. Most of today's software including OS are tuned for out of order execution. But ARM ( at least its current generation and all previous generation ) are in order execution. It is one of the reason why it is slow in today's benchmarks. ( And the lacking of FPU )

If Snow Leopard Grand Central make more uses of threads, ( Atom has 2 thread per core ), and tuning for in order execution. ( Which they are already doing with iPhone OSX ), we could squeeze a lot more out of Atom.

As numerous test has shown. It is perfectly capable of doing most things, Office Works, Internet with Flash, the only thing it doesn't do well is Playing HD Video.
And Dual Core Atom doesn't have much advantage compare to single core atom. Which means software are not optimize.

And that is where Geforce 9400M comes in. Quicktime X will finally make use of Hardware Acceleration in Geforce aka PureVideo. Which means playing Hi Def H.264 and VC - 1 ( Should apple consider supporting it ) will not be CPU bound.

I dont know when is better time to introduce an affordable, yet profitable Mac Mini. Isn't this the perfect item during Economic Crisis?
post #125 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

That's is true of the current Nehalem processors; they are enthusiast/gaming/workstation class processors. In the 2nd half of 09 we will see some more appropriate Nehalem processors, Lynnfield and Havendale, that support dual channel DDR-3 instead of triple channel, and forgo the QPI bus for a built in PCIe 16X bus and DMI bus.

The mobile version, Clarksfield and Auburndale, aren't even expected until early 2010. But they'll be mobile bersions of the lower end Nehalems.

Yes, and Lynnfield will bring with it a new stepping that will undoubtedly run cooler. That's Q3. The Bloomfield processors available now dissipate four or five times as much heat as the weird Core 2 Duos Apple is using.
post #126 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

MCP i was referring to Geforce 9400M.
The fact is that Apple could sell a Dual Core Atom with Geforce 9400M Mac Mini, with respectable performance at $399 while STILL making 30 - 50% profit margin.

Yes apple could make an extremely low cost machine with Atom. In fact I think they should, but this won't be a replacement for the Mini as it is too huge of a step backwards.

What this machine should be is a replacement for Apple TV. What we are really talking about is two motherboards based off the same exact design one simply fleshed out a bit more. The Apple TV replacement would be the minimalist machine especially when it comes to I/O. The more expensive $300 machine would have a few more ports fleshed out and a beefier power supply. Apple TV would still come with the same OS while Mac Nano would come with fill OS/X. What this would do is leverage a motherboard design for Apple TV for the minimalist set, special applications and the like. It however can't even remotely be considered a Mini, it just isn't powerful enough.
Quote:
The problem with current mini is that they dont make much profit at all.

That is just plain old BS.
Quote:
Speaking of Atom, i dont see it hyped at all. ( May be @ Intel only ). It is certainly a lot slower then Core 2 Duo. And perform about the same as Banis ( 1st Gen Pentium M ) in current application and test.

It is hyped it just isn't hyped in the markets you are interested. In any event you pointed out why it isn't going into many desktops. That's right it sucks compared to even last generation processors. Atom has it's place but that isn't on a desktop where reasonable close to state of the art performance is required. It just isn't good enough to sell as a mainstream computer, it could only be reasonably offered as a compromise.
Quote:
But that is why i mention Snow Leopard. One of the Main Reason for Snow Leopard tuning is because of iPhone. iPhone OSX and Mac OSX have basically the same core. Most of today's software including OS are tuned for out of order execution. But ARM ( at least its current generation and all previous generation ) are in order execution. It is one of the reason why it is slow in today's benchmarks. ( And the lacking of FPU )

The iPhone project certainly taught Apple a thing or two about OS/X but I think you are rambling about tuning for in order execution. It is not as simple as that. Plus the new ARM cores do do out of order execution.
[/quote]

If Snow Leopard Grand Central make more uses of threads, ( Atom has 2 thread per core ), and tuning for in order execution. ( Which they are already doing with iPhone OSX ), we could squeeze a lot more out of Atom.
[/quote]
I really don't it. The problem is not all code is amendable to threaded operation. On top of that there are issues with those cores and their cache. SMT is highly variable in the results that it can produce so even if a program is highly threadsble how it will fare on Atom is very depedant on how those threads interact. Plus there simply isn't enough cache for four threads especially with the slow memory system.

Atom has the potential to run some code well but over all there isn't a lot you can do to overcome it's design issues.
Quote:
As numerous test has shown. It is perfectly capable of doing most things, Office Works, Internet with Flash, the only thing it doesn't do well is Playing HD Video.
And Dual Core Atom doesn't have much advantage compare to single core atom. Which means software are not optimize.

You will have to link in some of the reports you are referencing because it doesn't reflect what ive heard nor does it make alot of sense. What I fear is high contrived tests to make Atom look good while ignoring how people commonly use PCz.

As to optimization of software to use more than two core well - don't hold your breath. For some software it will never happen.
Quote:
And that is where Geforce 9400M comes in. Quicktime X will finally make use of Hardware Acceleration in Geforce aka PureVideo. Which means playing Hi Def H.264 and VC - 1 ( Should apple consider supporting it ) will not be CPU bound.

That's nice! Now what about all the CPU bound code that doesn't use or can't use the GPU. It is like reverting back to the G4 days where the shitty integer performance of the G4 was ignored and the vector unit promoted. The G4 machines where still slower than frozen ice cream when it came to running normal or unoptimized code.
Quote:

I dont know when is better time to introduce an affordable, yet profitable Mac Mini. Isn't this the perfect item during Economic Crisis?

It certainly would hurt Apple to introduce such a machine if targetted at the right users. If they try to pass it off as a Mini replacement there will be riots in the streets. People simply are not receptive to going backwards on the performance curve.

I'm also concerned that you have been brain washed into thinking the Mini is unprofitable. Everything I know indicates that it is a gravy train for Apple. Take a look inside one and then price out the components wholesale. Younshould quickly realize why people think Apple hardware is over priced. We can argue about that all day but Apple doesn't have a profit problem with Mini.

Dave
post #127 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjteix View Post

There are more alternatives to consider before thinking about the current Core i7 cpus (3 models with a TDP of 130W) and even the future "i7" mobile quad-cores (Clarksfield at 55W, $350-$1,050) planned for Q3 2009:
- the 65W desktop dual-core cpus (E8200-8600, from 2.66GHz to 3.33GHz, $163-$266)
- the 65W desktop quad-core cpus:


Going from the current custom cpus with a TDP of 55W to cpus with a TDP of 65W, is far more realistic than going straight to 130W Core i7 even custom ones with a lower TDP.

Also, the desktop single chip 9300/9400 chipsets from nvidia also support the future 65W quad-core cpus. Win-win for Apple: similar drivers for the chipset, huge speedbump for the iMac, little R&D for the upgraded cooling system, cost decrease that would permit other changes (like LED-BL displays) and still maintaining a low price for the user, and probably a price cut in the high-end.

If Apple was to use the current mobile montevina cpus (not the custom ones) in the iMac, the prices for the chips would be: $241/DC2.40GHz, $316/DC2.66GHz*, $530/DC2.80GHZ, $851/DC3.06GHz. *The DC2.66GHz will be available early Q1 (replacing the current 2.53GHz model).

Given the price of the desktop cpus and including a cost increase due to the LED-BL displays, my favorite line-up would be:
$1299 LED-BL 20" iMac, quad 2.33GHz, 2GB RAM,... $100 increase due to the LED-BL display
$1499 LED-BL 20" iMac, quad 2.66GHz, 2GB RAM,... same price
$1699 LED-BL 24" iMac, quad 2.66GHz, 2GB RAM,... $100 decrease due to the cpu cost
$1899 LED-BL 24" iMac, quad 2.83GHz, 2GB RAM,... $300 decrease due to the cpu cost

But I would still be happy with something like:
$1199 LED-BL 20" iMac, dual 2.66GHz, 2GB RAM,... same price
$1499 LED-BL 20" iMac, quad 2.33GHz, 2GB RAM,... same price
$1799 LED-BL 24" iMac, quad 2.66GHz, 2GB RAM,... same price
$1999 LED-BL 24" iMac, quad 2.83GHz, 2GB RAM,... $200 decrease due to the cpu cost

Unless Apple change radically the design of the Mac mini, it will have to use up to 35W mobile cpus, just like the MacBook. 2.00/2.40GHz + 9400m nvidia chipset at $599/699 and $799/899 would be a nice update for the Mac mini (especially with 2GB of RAM standard and probably bigger HDDs).

Agreed. I see the iMac and if it were to ever happen, a headless mid-tower to use the E8400-E8600 line, whereas the Mac mini to use the Wolfdale E7200-E7400 line.
post #128 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

MCP i was referring to Geforce 9400M.
The fact is that Apple could sell a Dual Core Atom with Geforce 9400M Mac Mini, with respectable performance at $399 while STILL making 30 - 50% profit margin.

The problem with current mini is that they dont make much profit at all.

Speaking of Atom, i dont see it hyped at all. ( May be @ Intel only ). It is certainly a lot slower then Core 2 Duo. And perform about the same as Banis ( 1st Gen Pentium M ) in current application and test.

But that is why i mention Snow Leopard. One of the Main Reason for Snow Leopard tuning is because of iPhone. iPhone OSX and Mac OSX have basically the same core. Most of today's software including OS are tuned for out of order execution. But ARM ( at least its current generation and all previous generation ) are in order execution. It is one of the reason why it is slow in today's benchmarks. ( And the lacking of FPU )

If Snow Leopard Grand Central make more uses of threads, ( Atom has 2 thread per core ), and tuning for in order execution. ( Which they are already doing with iPhone OSX ), we could squeeze a lot more out of Atom.

As numerous test has shown. It is perfectly capable of doing most things, Office Works, Internet with Flash, the only thing it doesn't do well is Playing HD Video.
And Dual Core Atom doesn't have much advantage compare to single core atom. Which means software are not optimize.

And that is where Geforce 9400M comes in. Quicktime X will finally make use of Hardware Acceleration in Geforce aka PureVideo. Which means playing Hi Def H.264 and VC - 1 ( Should apple consider supporting it ) will not be CPU bound.

I dont know when is better time to introduce an affordable, yet profitable Mac Mini. Isn't this the perfect item during Economic Crisis?

Atom is a 32bit core. Snow Leopard is 64 bit and moving forward. Any pre-existing hardware that is Intel 32bit most likely will continue to work, but to add Atom makes zero sense.

When Intel moves to 64bit for Atom then we can see how Apple would be more interested.

More to the point: the 533Mhz FSB would continue to cripple the only product in the computer space that Apple sells that isn't at least a 1066Mhz FSB.
post #129 of 175
A dual Core Atom 330 and Nvidia Ion might make a nice little
NAS box seeing as how Nvidia was smart to put Gigabit on their
platform.

I'm thinking that I may try FreeNAS once they have a stable release of
FreeNAS with ZFS support ( currently in alpha at version .70).
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post #130 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

A dual Core Atom 330 and Nvidia Ion might make a nice little
NAS box seeing as how Nvidia was smart to put Gigabit on their
platform.

I'm thinking that I may try FreeNAS once they have a stable release of
FreeNAS with ZFS support ( currently in alpha at version .70).

There are a lot of mini-ITX Atom motherboards out now, they use the Intel 945 chipset but Nvidia graphics would be wasted on a NAS.
post #131 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

There are a lot of mini-ITX Atom motherboards out now, they use the Intel 945 chipset but Nvidia graphics would be wasted on a NAS.

Do many have GigE options?
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post #132 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

There are a lot of mini-ITX Atom motherboards out now, they use the Intel 945 chipset but Nvidia graphics would be wasted on a NAS.

One could make the arguement that Nvidia graphics would be a waste anyways. That is the current Atom would not be powerful enough for a general purpose computing chores. About the only reason to do a mate up would be the chips hopefully lower power requirements.

For the Atom on a Mini ITX or other embedded board the combo could result in a reasonably low power board. The thing is such board don't often run heavy OSes like Windows and MacOS.


Dave
post #133 of 175
Yes, ARM does Out of Order, but it is slow, so i didn't take that into account at all.

However, i simply forgot about Atom being 32 bit, so i now think next Mini wont use Atom.

Which again put the hopes of a lower price Mac 's dream further away....
post #134 of 175
There's no good reason for Apple to waste resources trying to expand the types of architectures they support (yes, let's declare Atom as a different architecture) just to potentially save a few watts on a desktop computer. Further, how is changing the CPU going to save $200 to $300?

We shouldn't lose site of the belief that outfits like Asus are using Atom because it's their only entry into the market. Apple doesn't need Atom to do that... they're already there.
post #135 of 175
I am looking forward, expectantly to a revised Mac Mini. Hope it is priced lower, with great features... A revised GPU and CPU would be nice, with a much smaller form factor perhaps?
post #136 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

... Further, how is changing the CPU going to save $200 to $300?
.

Mobile cpus that the Apple use across the iMac, mini, MB and MBp tend to cost between $200 and 300. The mobile extreme parts when used are much higher.

Atom is a sub $100 part.

While there would definitely be a performance 'hit', Apple could save a considerable amount of money switching to Atom which they could conceivably pass on to customers.

I'm not saying that they will or should only what is possible.
post #137 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Do many have GigE options?

Only a couple of them do, although most of them have a single PCI slot that you could stick an ethernet card in.

The Intel 945GCLF2 has a dual-core Atom and GigE. This board also has gigabit, but I can only find the single-core version in stock.
post #138 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

One could make the arguement that Nvidia graphics would be a waste anyways. That is the current Atom would not be powerful enough for a general purpose computing chores. About the only reason to do a mate up would be the chips hopefully lower power requirements.

For the Atom on a Mini ITX or other embedded board the combo could result in a reasonably low power board. The thing is such board don't often run heavy OSes like Windows and MacOS.


Dave

This article should be of interest to anyone wondering how Atom pairs with Geforce. They're testing with a discrete 9300M GPU, but it should perform the same as Ion.

Summary: great hardware accelerated video playback, but CPU too slow for games.

PS: I think Nvidia's Ion will be the guts of the next AppleTV revision.
post #139 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

This article should be of interest to anyone wondering how Atom pairs with Geforce. They're testing with a discrete 9300M GPU, but it should perform the same as Ion.

Summary: great hardware accelerated video playback, but CPU too slow for games.

PS: I think Nvidia's Ion will be the guts of the next AppleTV revision.

I think Ion is going to rock for some uses. As for the next Apple TV I think that's going
to be SoC based. The pieces are coming together.

First the rumors said:

"Apple may be mysterious PowerVR licensee"
"Apple may have mysterious ARM Architecture license"

And then the first came true and I believe the second is true as well.

P.A Semi isn't just working one products for the iPhone. That's what the simplistic Press has finally bumbled across yet they've only scratched the surface.

Apple's beginning to use ARM processors in multiple products.

The Airport Extreme and Time Capsule use pretty beefy ARM processors from Marvell.

Fast Forward to 2009 into 2010

The Rev 4 iPhone will likely still use off the shelf parts and it will be the last generation to do so. From that point on we're going to see custom ARM cores with PowerVR graphics in a P.A Semi architected SoC.

Apple will deliver a MID, Netbook class or whatever-you-wanna call-it device probably 2h '09 and that product will probably share many components with the next Apple TV successor. Apple literally gets to kill two birds with one stone here. The Apple TV will basically be a headless Apple Netbook

Airport and Time Capsule will likely get beefier chips in 2010 which may be custom designed by Apple and fabbed by Samsung .

I'm bullish on the prospects for an Apple network storage device as well using ARM SoC but I'm giving that a couple of years at the most. Likely 10.7 where Apple is either going to fully commit to ZFS or deliver their own homegrown nextgen filesystem.

Summary

The Mac mini needs a general purpose CPU and decent GPU performance along with 64-bit support in Snow Leopard. The Atom cannot provide the performance to meet these needs.

The Apple TV needs to become a cheaper media extender yet does not need to be a general purpose box. The intel chip/chipset now allows for hacking which Apple tolerates but people buy the Apple TV primarily for it's video support and to a lesser extend music and photos and other stuff. So with this in mind it's easy to see why a SoC solution is better. ARM core mated with PowerVR Graphic and VXD decoding will deliver superlative video performance compared to what we have now in addition to being better supported via Quicktime X
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post #140 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSA View Post

True, FW devices are common in both the Audio AND the video worlds, BUT anyone using any of the pro audio devices that are FW isn't likely to be using a Mac Mini. Everyone I have encountered using Cubase or anything similar is using FAR more powerful hardware. A lot of people are putting 10K drives on their rigs, not the 5400rpm drives that come standard in the Mac Mini. While I predict Apple will bump the CPU up to something better I doubt it will be powerful enough that most people mixing and editing multiple audio sources is going to suddenly be considering a Mac Mini for a DAW.

I could slap together a generic Wintel machine for <$400 that has FW and a far more powerful CPU than the latest Mac Mini and if you are really patient you could use as a poorman's DAW, but the reality is that anyone even remotely serious is going to spring for something far more powerful than what even the next Mac Mini will probably offer.

I can't comment about the needs of professional audio requirements, but your very first sentence said it all for me,"FW devices are common in both the Audio AND the video worlds". Firewire is not dead and as I read MacWorld and MacLife magazines I continue to see peripherals advertised claiming Firewire connections.



Quote:
Originally Posted by SSA View Post

FW is also used in some military hardware too, but what does that have to do with whether I need FW in a basic desktop computer? Nothing. Ditto, with using FW in cars. As for IP over FW while the standard has been aroung for a long time there has been a dearth of uses of it.

Target Disk Mode is valuable in any computer and is a very inexpensive addition to any computer, what do the chips cost now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SSA View Post

I don't know about you, but if I have to pick I would go with whatever I would get the most use out of and for the 90%+ of people who don't do AV work that would be eSATA.

Why should anyone have to pick, especially in a computer that is not upgradable. Part of that ease of use thing Apple once touted would mean more connectivity options than on one's standard run of mill PC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SSA View Post

Furthermore, using your flawed line of reasoning Apple should have thrown WiMax and WUSB on their laptops while they are at it, because that would increase flexibility, but we all know that is silly insofar as that people especially in this economy are most concerned about things that they are fairly certain that they are going to use. They aren't interested in paying additional for things they aren't likely to ever use. Virtually everybody who uses their computer for anything beyond browsing the web has data that they don't want to lose (pictures, documents, music, etc.) so everyone ought to have some form of external backup. eSATA is already more popular than FW on external drives and that gap is only growing. Furthermore, eSATA is already faster than FW800 and FW3200 appears to be vaporware. We will likely see SATA/600 before FW3200, which has greater bandwidth capabilities than FW3200 presuming that we ever see FW3200. It doesn't take a genius to see that FW doesn't have much future in external storage.

So Apple should bite the bullet and add a $5 chip to the board and include Firewire, a technology they championed and many of us bought into. It is wayyyyyyy toooooo early to legacy Firewire, even in the low end Mac mini.
just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
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just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
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post #141 of 175
Oh it's getting a makeover all right....


post #142 of 175
That i would buy in a heartbeat.
post #143 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

Oh it's getting a makeover all right....



That looks like it can fit a full size x16 card and only one x16 slot is a waste on x58.

And a low power half high video card is a joke in a core i7 system.
post #144 of 175
I'd lose the 6 USB ports and just stick with 4.

Forget the 3.5" SATA drive. Pop in a 2.5" SATA drive socket or
better yet put two in. Over the lifetime of this computer the owner
would be wise to move to SSD asap. What good is a Quad Core if you're
sticking to a slow HDD?

The graphics slot needs to be full size as the poster above stated.
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post #145 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

There's no good reason for Apple to waste resources trying to expand the types of architectures they support (yes, let's declare Atom as a different architecture)

You can declare whatever you want but Atom is less of a new architecture than i7. So you start off with an arguement that isn't even valid.

Quote:
just to potentially save a few watts on a desktop computer. Further, how is changing the CPU going to save $200 to $300?

Atom might go for $30 buck compared to hundreds for a mobile processor. As to watts it would be a lot more than a few. Both of these savings can be significant for many applications.

In any event Atom won't be going into a Mini class computer as it just doesn't have the horsepower.
Quote:

We shouldn't lose site of the belief that outfits like Asus are using Atom because it's their only entry into the market. Apple doesn't need Atom to do that... they're already there.

I'm not sure what you are saying above. I'm not sure if Apple has any interest in Atom at all. It would however make a nice processor for a Mac Nano.

Yeah I know they don't have a Mac Nano yet but an extreme low power platform would be nice. Such a device could be used for AppleTV, a low power Mac, micro server or other performance limited devices. The problem is Apple is already using ARM extensively as it offers far better thermal performance. It also highlights that Apple doesn't care about architecture as it has volumes that make other considerations more important.



Dave
post #146 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

The Mac mini needs a general purpose CPU and decent GPU performance along with 64-bit support in Snow Leopard. The Atom cannot provide the performance to meet these needs.

The Apple TV needs to become a cheaper media extender yet does not need to be a general purpose box. The intel chip/chipset now allows for hacking which Apple tolerates but people buy the Apple TV primarily for it's video support and to a lesser extend music and photos and other stuff. So with this in mind it's easy to see why a SoC solution is better. ARM core mated with PowerVR Graphic and VXD decoding will deliver superlative video performance compared to what we have now in addition to being better supported via Quicktime X

Yes, the Mini needs a proper CPU so no Atoms or ARM chips - they most certainly can't use ARM in any desktop as no Mac apps would run. The Apple TV however needs to be cooler, cheaper and energy efficient so ARM and a PowerVR graphics chip would be fine. It may move to using the iphone OS, which would mean people couldn't modify it so much but Quicktime X as you say should mean they don't need to.

This also means it will get access to iphone apps although I'm not sure how easily the touch interaction will map to a remote. Perhaps developers will flag apps as compatible with the ATV or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider

Oh it's getting a makeover all right....

I think the bits jutting out the sides make it easier to carry but they make the machine take up so much more room unnecessarily. It also reminds me too much of Dell's high end models.

Shuttle are making a cube Core i7:

http://www.jgadgets.com/2008/12/05/s...em-at-ces-2009

So Apple should definitely be able to make something with similar dimensions but much nicer looking. It wouldn't be the Mini though. I think the Mini will be smaller than the current form factor. It kind of has to be or people will ask why it's called the Mini.

They could base the Mini off the Macbook Air and just use a 2.5" drive vs 1.8". It's still an Nvidia chipset and it's shrunk down considerably.

This is fine for uses like server racks and low cost home computers. I really want to see a return of the Mac Cube. It even has its own identity already marked out. Core i7 would run a bit hot for Apple's liking though. If they could cool it well enough without being too noisy, it would sell very well. I suspect they may opt to go for Core 2 Quads which run much cooler and save them a great deal of engineering effort. They will keep the price down too.

Edit: it would seem that with Apple's move to Nvidia, Atom may be out of the picture entirely:

http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/40702/135/
post #147 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

I'd lose the 6 USB ports and just stick with 4.

Forget the 3.5" SATA drive. Pop in a 2.5" SATA drive socket or
better yet put two in. Over the lifetime of this computer the owner
would be wise to move to SSD asap. What good is a Quad Core if you're
sticking to a slow HDD?

The graphics slot needs to be full size as the poster above stated.

You guys know it's not real right?
post #148 of 175
Quote:
I think the bits jutting out the sides make it easier to carry but they make the machine take up so much more room unnecessarily. It also reminds me too much of Dell's high end models.

Shuttle are making a cube Core i7:

http://www.jgadgets.com/2008/12/05/s...em-at-ces-2009

So Apple should definitely be able to make something with similar dimensions but much nicer looking. It wouldn't be the Mini though. I think the Mini will be smaller than the current form factor. It kind of has to be or people will ask why it's called the Mini.

They could base the Mini off the Macbook Air and just use a 2.5" drive vs 1.8". It's still an Nvidia chipset and it's shrunk down considerably.

This is fine for uses like server racks and low cost home computers. I really want to see a return of the Mac Cube. It even has its own identity already marked out. Core i7 would run a bit hot for Apple's liking though. If they could cool it well enough without being too noisy, it would sell very well. I suspect they may opt to go for Core 2 Quads which run much cooler and save them a great deal of engineering effort. They will keep the price down too.

The things out the side are also there to elevate it to improve cooling underneath it. They would actually be hollowed out to save on material. I would have mocked out the inside but it was Xmas eve

Yeah, I've been eyeing the shuttle for a while now. I think with an external power supply it would make a great Mac. Currently it uses a huge 500w PSU but that's because it wants to support 2 full sized SLI graphics cards, something unnecessary on the Mac.
post #149 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

Yeah, I've been eyeing the shuttle for a while now. I think with an external power supply it would make a great Mac. Currently it uses a huge 500w PSU but that's because it wants to support 2 full sized SLI graphics cards, something unnecessary on the Mac.

With Tylersburg Mac Pros presumably coming in the near future and Apple's new chipset alliance with nvidia, I'm hoping that SLI (and Crossfire) support show up in Snow Leopard.
post #150 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post

That looks like it can fit a full size x16 card and only one x16 slot is a waste on x58.

And a low power half high video card is a joke in a core i7 system.

It's supposed to be an 8" cube, but maybe your right on housing a fuller sized card. but I disagree on only having one PCI Express slot being a waste. Apple doesn't even support SLI.. Although if youmean other kinds of expansion you are right. Maybe tonight I'll add some eSATA ports for shits & giggles.
post #151 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

With Tylersburg Mac Pros presumably coming in the near future and Apple's new chipset alliance with nvidia, I'm hoping that SLI (and Crossfire) support show up in Snow Leopard.

You and me both.
post #152 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

It's supposed to be an 8" cube, but maybe your right on housing a fuller sized card. but I disagree on only having one PCI Express slot being a waste. Apple doesn't even support SLI.. Although if youmean other kinds of expansion you are right. Maybe tonight I'll add some eSATA ports for shits & giggles.

Only one x16 slot is a waste of the x58 chipset 36 PCI-Express 2.0 lanes with only one x16 slot at least have a x4 slot as well + or have a lower cost chip set with less pci-e lanes.
post #153 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post

Only one x16 slot is a waste of the x58 chipset 36 PCI-Express 2.0 lanes with only one x16 slot at least have a x4 slot as well + or have a lower cost chip set with less pci-e lanes.

First off some of those thirty six lanes get used internally. I'd be more concerned that the machine is using a conventional expansion slot myself. I'd like to see Apple adopt something more industrial myself. There is a good possibility too that Apple has a chipset in the works.

When I first saw this prototype design I like it right off. After a bit of thought I have these suggestions:

1.
Provide for at least two FireWire 3200 ports. Four would actually be nice if the rest of the hardware could keep up.
2.
The Six USB ports are good but I might change the split front to back. In a nut shell I'm not sure why you would make your most commonly used port so hard to get to. Especially in the day and age where USB dongles are always in use.
3.
Two gigabit Ethernet ports would be good.
4.
An internal PCI Express Slot designed for a new form factor Flash SSD. For the life of me I don't under stand why the industry has gone stupid with flash storage putting it in the same old mechanical enclosure. Worst yet is the slow disk interfaces used. Solid state secondary storage needs to be cheap and easy to install and the interface needs to be closer to the CPU. Of course a standard 4x slot would likely do the job, though you loose design flexibility.
5.
The flared out corners should become feet for even more cooling.
6.
A quality system monitor with LCD display would be nice.



Dave
post #154 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

First off some of those thirty six lanes get used internally. I'd be more concerned that the machine is using a conventional expansion slot myself. I'd like to see Apple adopt something more industrial myself. There is a good possibility too that Apple has a chipset in the works.

When I first saw this prototype design I like it right off. After a bit of thought I have these suggestions:

1.
Provide for at least two FireWire 3200 ports. Four would actually be nice if the rest of the hardware could keep up.

Dave

You can have 2 fire wire buses each with there own pci-e lane.

x16 slot 2 wide + a x4 slot and maybe a x1 slot.
post #155 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

In a nut shell I'm not sure why you would make your most commonly used port so hard to get to. Especially in the day and age where USB dongles are always in use.

I agree with the first sentence, I think.

However, dongles tend to stay attached, and I'd rather have those at the back. The front ports are for more transient connections like cameras etc.
post #156 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by krispie View Post

I agree with the first sentence, I think.

However, dongles tend to stay attached, and I'd rather have those at the back. The front ports are for more transient connections like cameras etc.

I agree with this.
Cameras, iPod cables, USB flash drives are all things I plug in for a short time. But then I unplug them and store the cables away. Things like hard drives, printers, keyboard, mouse should go in the back.
I did forget the headphone port in front, one thing I think is essential in the front.
post #157 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by krispie View Post

I agree with the first sentence, I think.

However, dongles tend to stay attached, and I'd rather have those at the back. The front ports are for more transient connections like cameras etc.

Yeah not totally clear there. I was thinking flash drives myself which usage is expanding quickly. On the other hand you can have issues handling or moving dongles from machine to machine. I'd actually like to see three or four USB ports towards the front. They are especially useful for machine mounted PCs and other fixed installations.


Dave
post #158 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post

You can have 2 fire wire buses each with there own pci-e lane.

Would that hold for the latest FireWire 3200 spec?
Quote:
x16 slot 2 wide + a x4 slot and maybe a x1 slot.

Well here is my idea: How about at least one forward facing card slot. This would be great for audio or video processing cards. It would also be great in labs and other applications where a lot of transient I/O gets connected to an I/O card.

Yeah I know the above implies using Macs for things they aren't usually associated with. The problem and frustration for many of us is that Mac OS is one of the better OSes available for such technical use. Or maybe I should say would be of they had a low cost machine with slots. I see such an option as useful for a wide range of users from audio engineers to rocket engineers. The uglyness could be easily dealt with by a removable bezel for those operating sans card.

Dave

PS
I like the idea of head phone jacks to the front too!
D
post #159 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Well here is my idea: How about at least one forward facing card slot.

This thing is going to be called the Mac Freak. Cables will be coming out of all sides with holes in random bits of the case.

Apple would never allow this to happen as Ive would probably start crying.

If PCI slots go in, they will always come out the back. An Expresscard slot maybe at the front but not a full PCI slot. Even Expresscard cards have bits sticking out though so probably no.

Apple makes mess but they hide it away as best they can.

If this was a small machine then they wouldn't bother with any ports on the front including headphone ports because it's easy enough to access the back. The Mac Pro is a different story. You can't swivel one of those round easily.

For cost, I also think it would have an internal PSU. If it had a Core i7, an external one would surely look like the XBox 360 power brick.

I really would just like the miniature Mac Pro machine that was mocked up ages ago. Just have it the same setup as the internals of the Mac Pro with a side door but just room for two hard drives.

To be honest, I don't really think there needs to be room for PCI cards. For graphics, they can put in the dedicated chip in the latest MBP - mobile GPU keeps the heat and power draw down. This is fine for most people. For audio people, just add firewire and possibly ExpressCard at the back for add-ons.

This way they have room for more Ram slots, the internal PSU and a faster processor. No sense allowing for too much inside or you're just going to end up with a Mac Pro, albeit a noisy, ugly one.
post #160 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

This thing is going to be called the Mac Freak. Cables will be coming out of all sides with holes in random bits of the case.

That is total bull crap and you know it, time to grow up. The only mention here, so far, was for ports on the front and back.
Quote:
Apple would never allow this to happen as Ive would probably start crying.

If making practicle and usable computers makes little Jonny cry then let him cry. Frankly though he is to good of a designer to fail at meeting such a requirement. I can think of a number of PCs that have USB ports along with other ports that look just fine. Sure it is slightly more challenging than a blank panel at the front of the machine but it is not impossible
Quote:

If PCI slots go in, they will always come out the back. An Expresscard slot maybe at the front but not a full PCI slot. Even Expresscard cards have bits sticking out though so probably no.

This is extremely short sighted and frankly is the type of thinking that has companies like Motorola making the same old cell phones year after year with no innovation. If you don't look at the world from different angles from time to time you will get stuck in a rut.

Actually the Unibody MacHooks are a good example of Apple rebooting the design process and taking a significantly different approach. I'm still wondering how it can be cost effective but Apple isn't going broke so I don't worry about it.
Quote:

Apple makes mess but they hide it away as best they can.

What? We aren't talking about Apple here we are talking about making the product easier for the user to address.
Quote:
If this was a small machine then they wouldn't bother with any ports on the front including headphone ports because it's easy enough to access the back. The Mac Pro is a different story. You can't swivel one of those round easily.

Again you make assumptions on just where that PC will be placed. In any event reaching around to the back side is a much more difficult operation even on a laptop. I know this because I use one extensively on the plant floor.
Quote:

For cost, I also think it would have an internal PSU. If it had a Core i7, an external one would surely look like the XBox 360 power brick.

I actually have mixed feelings when it comes to external power supplies. As to i7 I don't expect that in a Mini until after the iMacs get the chip and then only after the low power variants come out. Unless of course Apple blows out the case size.
Quote:
I really would just like the miniature Mac Pro machine that was mocked up ages ago. Just have it the same setup as the internals of the Mac Pro with a side door but just room for two hard drives.

Apple can achieve the same goals in a much cheaper machine. At least looking at what I want to see in a desktop PC.
Quote:

To be honest, I don't really think there needs to be room for PCI cards. For graphics, they can put in the dedicated chip in the latest MBP - mobile GPU keeps the heat and power draw down. This is fine for most people. For audio people, just add firewire and possibly ExpressCard at the back for add-ons.

The need a reliable expansion slot. Expresscard isn't even remotely suitable for a desktop machine, it barely passes as a reliable laptop card. By the way for some apps USB or FireWire would not be fast enough.

As to what the cards should look like I don't really care other than to say full size PC expansion cards are out. I'm not sure why you mentioned graphics cards as this would not be the place for them. The idea is to support a wide range of I/O cards.
Quote:
This way they have room for more Ram slots, the internal PSU and a faster processor. No sense allowing for too much inside or you're just going to end up with a Mac Pro, albeit a noisy, ugly one.

That is why we don't want to support full size PC expansion cards. In the simplest form the would be small cards with a correspondingly small bracket to support, in most cases, a single type of I/O port. Run down to any electronics store an look at a PCI card for USB expansion, there are very few square inches to deal with. Having this one slot greatly reduces the grief Apple gets (very much deserved) for not supporting XYZ slot on machine W. If somebody thinks eSATA is worth then they just plug in the card they need to get the port.


Dave

Go with more slots and the approach would have to be a bit different.
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