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Mac mini makeover considered likely for Macworld - Page 3

post #81 of 175
Yes, I'd like a Mac Mini refresh too, so I sent this to an email address that supposedly belonged to Steve Jobs:


Hello again Mr. Jobs (or whomever reads this...)



As I said before, I'll keep this brief, I really want a new Mac and I'm thinking of a Mac Mini as my ideal machine. I've been saving for a while and here are my thoughts as to what would be just great:



Keep the Firewire!!!!
Add 2.4/2.6 Ghz Processor or better
Add 9400M w/128 mb video or better
Add wireless "N"
Keep the Firewire!!!!
Add 4 Gb Ram capability (or more)
Add 250 Gb Hd capability (or more)
Keep the Firewire!!!!

I don't play games
I don't edit video
I don't need HD capability
I don't need a server


Did I say PLEASE keep the Firewire?


My needs are simple and my eMac has served me well, but its time to move up. My iPod/iTunes collection has grown to nearly 5000 songs and I'd like to run Aperture. The extra horsepower would be great.


Yes, I know I could go with an iMac or MacBook, but I prefer a full size keyboard and I can afford a Mac Mini - along with AppleCare. If I buy a iMac or MacBook, I can't get AppleCare. I could care less about a netbook, touch screen or 1080p, HDMI, HDCP, eSata, blah, blah, blah...


Do that Apple, and you'll get the $1167.85 I have been saving for the last two years, please don't screw this up. I'd really like to have an affordable new Mac that will be viable for at least 4-5 years.


Thanks!
Mac user since 1990 - System 6.0.7 through OS X 10.6 - Mac Mini (2009) - 4/320 - Snow Leopard
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Mac user since 1990 - System 6.0.7 through OS X 10.6 - Mac Mini (2009) - 4/320 - Snow Leopard
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post #82 of 175
What would your choice be for a keyboard to go with it and which monitor would you buy? Looking to buy a new Mini also.
post #83 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve666 View Post

What would your choice be for a keyboard to go with it and which monitor would you buy? Looking to buy a new Mini also.

I have a white Apple Pro ll (USB) keyboard that would work just lovely with a Mini. I have a black Logitech Mouse ($9 at Wal-Mart) that I am going to use also. As for a monitor, I'm probably going to get a Dell 20" or 22" wide screen since they are under $300 - a pretty decent monitor for the money.

The Dells can have DVI input and display 16.7 Million colors which are true colors rather than using dithering to simulate milliions of colors which equates to about 262,000+/- colors on a "millions of colors at all resolutions" 20" iMac display, the primary reason I am buying a Mini in the first place.

The 20" iMac was really my first choice until I found out about the display at which point I changed my mind. I use my Mac for photography and a 6 bit display = 262,000+/- colors (20" iMac) will not give a true representation of all colors that the human eye can perceive (8 bit = 16.7 million colors.) I don't play games, so that aspect is not a concern for me.

I'd get a 24" iMac, but I can't afford it, it's just too expensive and I'd never buy a Mac without AppleCare - I can afford a loaded Mini with AppleCare. It's all about the Benjamins in the end.
Mac user since 1990 - System 6.0.7 through OS X 10.6 - Mac Mini (2009) - 4/320 - Snow Leopard
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Mac user since 1990 - System 6.0.7 through OS X 10.6 - Mac Mini (2009) - 4/320 - Snow Leopard
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post #84 of 175
I like that keyboard also, too bad they switched to the aluminum framed small keyboard. I'm going to try and find something else, maybe MacAlly ?
As for the monitor I havent shopped for one in ages so I'm not sure what to get. I assume a DVI is better than analogue. I dont want anything bigger than a 17 inch really, and I dont like widescreen.
I don't think I could get myself to buy anything from Dell, though.
post #85 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve666 View Post

I like that keyboard also, too bad they switched to the aluminum framed small keyboard. I'm going to try and find something else, maybe MacAlly ?
As for the monitor I havent shopped for one in ages so I'm not sure what to get. I assume a DVI is better than analogue. I dont want anything bigger than a 17 inch really, and I dont like widescreen.
I don't think I could get myself to buy anything from Dell, though.

Well, yes Dell isn't my first choice either, but I don't have the money for a 20" or 23" Apple Studio Display, but I do need to be 8-bit capable as I said before. You can get a pretty decent monitor for around $300 and for photos, I want more than 17".

I've used a CRT iMac and eMac, 15" and 17" respectively since 2004 and its just too cramped when you are using CS3 with a 24Mb file, its like driving on the freeway with only one eye open and sunglasses on.
Mac user since 1990 - System 6.0.7 through OS X 10.6 - Mac Mini (2009) - 4/320 - Snow Leopard
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Mac user since 1990 - System 6.0.7 through OS X 10.6 - Mac Mini (2009) - 4/320 - Snow Leopard
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post #86 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve666 View Post

As for the monitor I havent shopped for one in ages so I'm not sure what to get. I assume a DVI is better than analogue. I dont want anything bigger than a 17 inch really, and I dont like widescreen.

Yes, Steve, DVI is the way to go. For a while, there were a gazillion 1280x1024 17" monitors available. I think there are fewer now that wide screens have become popular. If you like bigger pixels (I don't) the same resolution is available in 19" versions. This aspect ratio is nice for surfing because it's taller and most web pages are tall. But I just got a cheap ($220) LG display for my office. It's 1680x1050, which is as high as those I mentioned but wider. The extra width comes in handy for pallettes or icons on your desktop.

Since the new mini will come with mini-DisplayPort, it's likely to need a DVI adapter. It might come with one but it sure won't come with a VGA adapter. So keep that in mind.
post #87 of 175
Thanks for the info. I am going to look up NEC, Samsung, Viewsonic and Acer and see what I can come up with. Amazon's website has customer reviews.
post #88 of 175
There's no specific reason to ditch firewire due to space as they will replace DVI with mini-dp but there is still the issue of the Nvidia chipset not supporting firewire so it's extra cost. The Mini only had FW400 and FW400 is disappearing in favour of FW800.

I'd say that they'll either go FW800 or not at all.

I also doubt Steve will go about redesigning the whole machine based on what one email asks for. Especially considering he doesn't design, build or manufacture the machines himself.
post #89 of 175
Hi,

I still think the Mini will be phased out in favour of an updated Apple TV. The Apple TV could be significantly improved with a software update (Take 3), to become a more stand-alone media/home server machine.

This would also fit with Apple telling people asking for Mini updates to "hang in there". The added features (below) would problaby cover 80% of current Mini users needs.

Take 3 features:

- iTunes (stand-alone)
- Safari
- External disks via USB
- Keyboard and mouse
- Apps and games via AppStore (I wish)

That would be be a very attractive offer. It's would not be a full Mac. An updated Mini at at current price could be problematic in comparison to other Macs.

Best,

Daniel

iPhone 4

iPad (1st gen)
13" MacBook Pro (late 2009)

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iPhone 4

iPad (1st gen)
13" MacBook Pro (late 2009)

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post #90 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by imacmadman22 View Post

Keep the Firewire!!!!
Add 2.4/2.6 Ghz Processor or better
Add 9400M w/128 mb video or better
Add wireless "N"
Keep the Firewire!!!!
Add 4 Gb Ram capability (or more)
Add 250 Gb Hd capability (or more)
Keep the Firewire!!!!

I don't play games
I don't edit video
I don't need HD capability
I don't need a server


Did I say PLEASE keep the Firewire?

I am confused on why you are so adamant about the Firewire, especially if you don't edit video. Most external HDDs are more likely to have eSATA then FW these days and eSATA has better potential bandwidth than FW400 or FW800 so as far as I am concerned unless you are going to be hooking up a DV camera FW of any variety isn't needed. Especially considering the low end processors that are typical on the Mac Mini while you can edit video on the machine the vast majority of people who are going to be editing video are going to be buying at least an iMac if not a Mac Pro.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I'd say that they'll either go FW800 or not at all.

I may be holding my breath for this one, but I would prefer that they replace FW with eSATA. Far more external drives support eSATA than FW and that trend isn't likely to change anytime soon since FW ports are becoming less common and we are just talking Macs either(eg. a lot of cheap Compaq desktops used to have FW). FW800 would be nice, but there aren't that many devices that take advantage of it. The only argument to retain the FW port is that some people are using Mac Minis with DV cameras.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Nah....he just forgot to append " at the margins we like to seel at" to the end of that sentence.

I would probably agree with that. I seem to remember a story for the first, maybe second generation Mac Mini where the estimated wholesale cost of a $600 Mac Mini was ~$510. After you threw in support costs, and R&D there probably wasn't much margin left on the machine. Needless to say later updates were pretty cheap upgrades there little more than tweaked the specs of the machine so that they could reap bigger margins. I am guessing that Apple either is testing a longer product cycle for the Mac Mini because they are trying to see how much money they can make with a low spec Mac or Apple is developing a dramatically redesigned Mac Mini and needless to say there is a lot of directions that they could go.

Quote:
Jobs is a fcking moron. 17k signatures on a petition. FW complaint threads on various message boards hitting 2 and 3k posts. Jobs' is clearly wrong. Apple hardware has shown very little innovation which is why Psystar and other companies are trying to eat Apple's lunch.

While that is fairly impressive, I don't think that alone is going to sway Apple. At the current moment the new MB w/o FW is a top seller at both the Apple store and at Apple resellers. I think Apple already knew that there was going to be some criticism about the exclusion of FW so they have retained the old white MacBook as a canary in the coalmine is see whether interest in FW on the MB really is that strong. If sales for the white MacBook are particularly strong and sales for the new Macbook miss Apple's internal estimates we might see FW come back on the MB, but even that is just a guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob1varghese View Post

There seems to be 2 markets to serve here:
a. Corporate for which cheap mac minis are perfect for desktop computers or as part of server farms.
b. Consumer looking for low entry point into Mac ecosystem.

I think this doesn't get said enough. I really don't think that there is one type of desktop people are looking for <$1000. The Mac Mini is trying to be too many things to too many people. While with the current economy and uncertainty I have my skepticism that Apple is going to split the Mini into two different designs right now if I were Apple I would have strongly studied the idea if not implemented the idea.

So for a consumer focused machine I think that I would consider making the Mac Mini just a smidge taller and moving to a 3.5" HDD. This would allow for Apple to use HDDs that were cheaper per GB and allow Apple to reasonably include a 500GB HDD on the $600 model. While the 6.5x6.5 footprint is nice a lot of people would trade a slightly taller chassis if the computer had more storage for the same price if NOT a lower price.

As for mini-DP, I really have to differ with some people on the whole idea of dropping DVI for mini-DP. There is only one monitor on the market that uses mini-DP(Apple's LED 24") and it is $900! Hooking up to EVERY other monitor would require an adapter, which on a computer that is intended to bring people into the Apple world is a bad idea. To add insult to injury, Apple hasn't released a mini-DP to HDMI adapter so anyone hoping to use the Mac Mini for a media center will need an adapter from mini-DP to DVI, then DVI-HDMI. That isn't elegant at all, nor would it encourage people to buy this machine. Apple apologists will tell you how forward thinking Displayport is, but where is the mini-DP to DP adapter so you can hook it up to a monitor with standard DP? So Apple is hyping up the advantages of DP, but you can't get ANY of the benefits of the standard because other from their $900 monitor you can't hook up any monitor with DP. Adding mini-DP to the Mac Mini seems like nothing more than giving potential users a world of hurt with no clear benefit. Several commentators have questioned the hype over displayport considering that so few monitors have been released that include the standard. A full size DP port makes sense on the Mac Pro where there are a lot of potential users of monitors with DP, but for a consumer machine any variation on DP seems silly. For the time being I would prefer them to retain DVI. DVI is pretty standard for new monitors these days. If they have to move a smaller connector they would be better off going with HDMI insofar as most TVs have HDMI and HDMI>DVI adapters are commonplace and fairly inexpensive compared to Apple's mini-DP adapters. The only drawback of HDMI is the lack of analog support, but while there still are a fair amount of monitors still in use with VGA only, the vast majority of new monitors have DVI. Heck, I can buy new monitors as cheap as $100 that have DVI! VGA isn't dead yet, but in the new monitor market it isn't hard to find DVI anymore.

As for the specs I would probably bump up the CPU on both the high end and the low end Mac Mini to a first generation Penryn and use the Geforce 9300. I would prefer the Geforce 9400, but I think Apple would prefer to keep costs down by going with a slightly cheaper graphics chipset. The $600 model would have a superdrive and a 500GB 3.5" drive and both models would have 2GB of DDR2(DDR3 would cost too much on these machines), an SD card reader on the front, and 802.11N support. Meanwhile on the $800 model Apple would have a 750GB HDD and offer a DVD-burner/Blu-ray reader.

As for a server focused machine I would probably again create a slightly taller chassis, but instead of using a 3.5" drive like in the consumer model, there would be 2 2.5" drives so that one could have a RAID 1 set if you wanted. Most of the remaining specs would be the same on both the mini server and the consumer machine. The only difference is that I think that a high end mini server would have a better processor or faster HDDs in place of a Blu-ray reader.

As for things I don't think are realistic:

-DDR3 (too expensive at this point for a $600)

-dropping the optical drive (I can see that one isn't needed for a server, but an optical drive isn't that expensive and most consumers are going to want to use an optical from time to time)

-Quad Cores (too expensive and more importantly too much heat for a small computer)

-Intel i7 (way too expensive and I don't think there are any boards in that form factor that would even support it)

- merge the AppleTV with the Mac Mini (The AppleTV doesn't really compete with the MacMini anyways and the AppleTV will either be overhauled or eliminated next year anyways.)

-modular design (too unorthodox, too many unknown costs, not a clear demand for this either)

-An SSD (too expensive, not enough demand in the non-enterprise desktop although because some people are using these at mini-servers it might be CTO option)

- an expresscard slot (not enough demand)

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple eliminates FW and moves to mini-DP and then will claim that there wasn't enough space for FW. That being said if they do that I think that a lot of users would be really unhappy because nobody is clamoring for adapters just to use any type of display nevermind getting the FW fanatics mad. In the last year Apple has underwhelmed and somehow I am cynical that they are going to change this trend.
post #91 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel B View Post

Hi,

I still think the Mini will be phased out in favour of an updated Apple TV. The Apple TV could be significantly improved with a software update (Take 3), to become a more stand-alone media/home server machine.

This would also fit with Apple telling people asking for Mini updates to "hang in there". The added features (below) would problaby cover 80% of current Mini users needs.


That would be be a very attractive offer. It's would not be a full Mac. An updated Mini at at current price could be problematic in comparison to other Macs.

Best,

Daniel

Not with the current hardware of the mini. One USB port that's not functional without hacking. HDMI outputs which would require new cables. No Bluetooth and subpar graphics. The current ATV would be a disasterous computer to attempt to sell to consumers

Quote:
Originally Posted by SSA View Post

I am confused on why you are so adamant about the Firewire, especially if you don't edit video. Most external HDDs are more likely to have eSATA then FW these days and eSATA has better potential bandwidth than FW400 or FW800 so as far as I am concerned unless you are going to be hooking up a DV camera FW of any variety isn't needed. Especially considering the low end processors that are typical on the Mac Mini while you can edit video on the machine the vast majority of people who are going to be editing video are going to be buying at least an iMac if not a Mac Pro.


Firewire may have gotten it's roots in Video with Mini DV cameras but has since become more of a factor in the audio world. The reason for this is that video ingesting isn't latency sensitive but bandwith sensitive whilst audio is latency sensitive but not really bandwith sensitive. Firewire is vastly more important for audio interfaces now vs video interfaces.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SSA View Post

I may be holding my breath for this one, but I would prefer that they replace FW with eSATA. Far more external drives support eSATA than FW and that trend isn't likely to change anytime soon since FW ports are becoming less common and we are just talking Macs either(eg. a lot of cheap Compaq desktops used to have FW). FW800 would be nice, but there aren't that many devices that take advantage of it. The only argument to retain the FW port is that some people are using Mac Minis with DV cameras.

No this simply isn't true nor is it informed. FW is important in multiple ways. I've already mentioned the audio benefits but you also have the ability to run IP over FW and FW over Coax is going to be large for supplying routing of media throughout homes (see www.hanaalliance.org/). FW is a peer to peer protocol as well so it's beginning to be used in automotive applications as well. eSATA is a one trick pony and unpowered at that. It's faster than that FW but you don't get any of the other benefits. Personally I'd like to have FW800 and eSATA but if I'm given a choice I'm going with the more flexible connection. Firewire.




Quote:
Originally Posted by SSA View Post

As for mini-DP, I really have to differ with some people on the whole idea of dropping DVI for mini-DP. There is only one monitor on the market that uses mini-DP(Apple's LED 24") and it is $900! Hooking up to EVERY other monitor would require an adapter, which on a computer that is intended to bring people into the Apple world is a bad idea. To add insult to injury, Apple hasn't released a mini-DP to HDMI adapter so anyone hoping to use the Mac Mini for a media center will need an adapter from mini-DP to DVI, then DVI-HDMI. That isn't elegant at all, nor would it encourage people to buy this machine. Apple apologists will tell you how forward thinking Displayport is, but where is the mini-DP to DP adapter so you can hook it up to a monitor with standard DP? So Apple is hyping up the advantages of DP, but you can't get ANY of the benefits of the standard because other from their $900 monitor you can't hook up any monitor with DP. Adding mini-DP to the Mac Mini seems like nothing more than giving potential users a world of hurt with no clear benefit. Several commentators have questioned the hype over displayport considering that so few monitors have been released that include the standard. A full size DP port makes sense on the Mac Pro where there are a lot of potential users of monitors with DP, but for a consumer machine any variation on DP seems silly. For the time being I would prefer them to retain DVI. DVI is pretty standard for new monitors these days. If they have to move a smaller connector they would be better off going with HDMI insofar as most TVs have HDMI and HDMI>DVI adapters are commonplace and fairly inexpensive compared to Apple's mini-DP adapters. The only drawback of HDMI is the lack of analog support, but while there still are a fair amount of monitors still in use with VGA only, the vast majority of new monitors have DVI. Heck, I can buy new monitors as cheap as $100 that have DVI! VGA isn't dead yet, but in the new monitor market it isn't hard to find DVI anymore.

Actually MDP supports TMDS functionality of DVI/HDMI. It means that you're simply a MDP-->HDMI cable away from an adapter free connection. Monoprice is already working on a MDP to HDMI cable. If the MDP connector has %100 of the functionality of the full size connector then the queston becomes "why should I use more real estate for the full size connector? Anyone who cannot see the benefits of DisplayPort technology should not be commentating on a large scale to other tech enthusiasts. It's license free which HDMI is not. It supports better color gamut over HDMI. It has aux channels that can run audio or other signals. You will be able to daisychain multiple monitors with a cable. There is not internal and external interface like TMDS with HDMI/DVI. It supports 2560x1600 without needing to use dual link TMDS. 4 K resolution over a single cable will be feasible with DisplayPort 2.0.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SSA View Post

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple eliminates FW and moves to mini-DP and then will claim that there wasn't enough space for FW. That being said if they do that I think that a lot of users would be really unhappy because nobody is clamoring for adapters just to use any type of display nevermind getting the FW fanatics mad. In the last year Apple has underwhelmed and somehow I am cynical that they are going to change this trend.

Agreed. FW on the consumer computers is probably going bye bye. Though DisplayPort on the Mini immediately makes it a better HTPC along with that MDP to HDMI cable. I'm tempted to do this solution versus getting an AppleTV so that I have a full computing environment. In this way I really wouldn't need an optical drive because I'll have my HD DVD and eventually Blu-ray to spin upscaled DVD.
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post #92 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSA View Post

I may be holding my breath for this one, but I would prefer that they replace FW with eSATA. Far more external drives support eSATA than FW.

FW400 + FW800 devices will outnumber eSATA devices by a large margin and FW800 is compatible with all of them. eSATA is mainly for storage.

I also think that compatibility is more important than theoretical performance. You can support eSATA devices with a FW800 hub:

http://www.firmtek.com/seritek/seritek-spyder/

eSATA may be faster natively but you'd be hard pressed to get close to the 100MB/s limit of FW800. Firewire is just a more useful port to have.

I don't mind seeing the end of FW400 but I think it would be wise of Apple to keep FW800 going and as many machines as they can. The Macbook was an exception due to space and possibly cost.
post #93 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Steve Jobs said "We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." Yet the original Mac Mini cost $499 when it was introduced. Did Steve admit that the Mac Mini is a piece of junk?

"Notebook computer."
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #94 of 175
For any new Macs in 2009, I would gladly give up FW for a pair of on-board eSATA ports. FW is a great interface/protocol (it's 80% of 1Gb/s Fibre Channel from 1999) but eSATA will allow us to get back on the performance curve. You can buy all kinds of drive enclosures that are eSATA now and while I likey the FW, eSATA is a step forward IMHO. I'm not a USB fan, there's too much overhead; perhaps this will be better with USB3, I don't know; we'll see.

-s
post #95 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by subaqua View Post

For any new Macs in 2009, I would gladly give up FW for a pair of on-board eSATA ports. FW is a great interface/protocol (it's 80% of 1Gb/s Fibre Channel from 1999) but eSATA will allow us to get back on the performance curve. You can buy all kinds of drive enclosures that are eSATA now and while I likey the FW, eSATA is a step forward IMHO. I'm not a USB fan, there's too much overhead; perhaps this will be better with USB3, I don't know; we'll see.

-s

I'm just wondering how many people are actually limited by the connection to their drives. If you're a prosumer or pro and you have a 4 TB Array hooked up to your computer then it's easy to make a case for eSATA.

The case for both technologies is difficult when taken from the context of the storage needs for the avg consumer whereby USB 2.0 is just fine.
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post #96 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by subaqua View Post

For any new Macs in 2009, I would gladly give up FW for a pair of on-board eSATA ports. FW is a great interface/protocol (it's 80% of 1Gb/s Fibre Channel from 1999) but eSATA will allow us to get back on the performance curve. You can buy all kinds of drive enclosures that are eSATA now and while I likey the FW, eSATA is a step forward IMHO. I'm not a USB fan, there's too much overhead; perhaps this will be better with USB3, I don't know; we'll see.

-s

ESATA is a one truck pony, that is an interface for disk/storage devices. That's it! FireWire on the other hand is an extremely flexible serial interface. I will always opt for flexibility over a limited interface unless there is a specific need to fill.

The other reality is that Firewire has an upgrade path that is already available. It really makes no sense to compare old Firewire rates with the rates of a new interface like eSATA. Everything in the computing world either evolves and gets better or dies. Which brings us to the next issue, eSATA isn't fast enough! We are already seeing that single SATA SSD drives being limited by the interface. This will only get worst when Flash drives mature or Flash gets replaced with some of the new tech breaking out of the labs.

What I'm basically saying is that eSATA really doesn't look like it has much of a future. It certainly lacks in flexibility.

Dave
post #97 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

ESATA is a one truck pony, that is an interface for disk/storage devices. That's it! FireWire on the other hand is an extremely flexible serial interface. I will always opt for flexibility over a limited interface unless there is a specific need to fill.

The other reality is that Firewire has an upgrade path that is already available. It really makes no sense to compare old Firewire rates with the rates of a new interface like eSATA. Everything in the computing world either evolves and gets better or dies. Which brings us to the next issue, eSATA isn't fast enough! We are already seeing that single SATA SSD drives being limited by the interface. This will only get worst when Flash drives mature or Flash gets replaced with some of the new tech breaking out of the labs.

What I'm basically saying is that eSATA really doesn't look like it has much of a future. It certainly lacks in flexibility.

Dave

I agree that Firewire is more popular than many think, as they are not considering applications outside of the novice consumer Mac user. Besides being the universal standard for professional level video cameras/equipment, virtually all professional audio equipment, high-speed scientific/laboratory/engineering equipment and automotive systems --- One of the most important users is the military and aerospace industry. The architecture of Firewire is actually so good that it is used for all of the data networking and communications on the latest fighter jets, the F22 Raptor and the F35 lightning!

Anyways, despite being a relatively new standard that is only now beginning to see use outside of pro-level external RAID systems, I think eSATA has a lot of promise for consumer/prosumer external storage. I do, however, believe that it's potential hinges primarily on the release timeframe and success of USB3.0. Firewire 3200 will no doubt be great, but we all know that it is not going to be a widely used consumer standard unless something changes dramatically and Apple opens up the spec for free with no royalties or something. Right now, it looks like USB3.0 devices will not be available until at least the first half of 2010, most likely the end of 2010 for widespread availability and decent pricing. In the interim two years from now, I wouldn't be surprised if more and more people started using eSATA, at least the ones who know better. Also, although it's obvious that people don't always make the best choice given the fact of USB2.0's popularity in external harddrives, the USB3.0 spec will probably come nowhere near it's stated 4.8Gbps (600MB/sec), probably more like 60% of that. The next version of SATA/eSATA, SATA 600, is also rated at 600MB/sec and should achieve pretty close to that. Obviously these numbers are far larger than any harddrive and even the fastest of SSDs, but eventually it will matter.

You are correct though that Firewire is a much more flexible and useful connection. the backwards compatible nature of FW3200, even the cables and connectors is going to make a great upgrade to an already excellent product. It really is too bad that Steve Jobs got in the way and screwed it all up by alienating the manufacturers with high royalties vs. USB.
post #98 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

I agree that Firewire is more popular than many think, as they are not considering applications outside of the novice consumer Mac user. Besides being the universal standard for professional level video cameras/equipment, virtually all professional audio equipment, high-speed scientific/laboratory/engineering equipment and automotive systems --- One of the most important users is the military and aerospace industry. The architecture of Firewire is actually so good that it is used for all of the data networking and communications on the latest fighter jets, the F22 Raptor and the F35 lightning!

What is important is that these advanced applications are increasing in numbers and more importantly diversity. Firewire is finding its way into all sorts of interesting hardware like Software Defined Radios and such.
Quote:

Anyways, despite being a relatively new standard that is only now beginning to see use outside of pro-level external RAID systems, I think eSATA has a lot of promise for consumer/prosumer external storage. I do, however, believe that it's potential hinges primarily on the release timeframe and success of USB3.0.

Interesting because I haven't really considered USB3.0 much. Taking a look at the two I'm still not sure how rational it would be to choose eSATA over USB3.0, for much the same reasons. It is all about that one trick pony problem eSATA has. In the consumer space I see that making eSATA less attractive. After all if you are about to buy a PC with a fixed number of I/O ports wouldn't you want those ports to be flexible?

This brings up an aspect that is real important that is it isn't easy to add ports to some platforms like Notebook computers and more than half of Apples desktop line up. Unless you have a very specific usage, the greater good would come form the more flexible ports. On something like the Mini the eSATA port would only be good for connection of disk drives which causes me to take the opinion that the limitation is to severe.
Quote:
Firewire 3200 will no doubt be great, but we all know that it is not going to be a widely used consumer standard unless something changes dramatically and Apple opens up the spec for free with no royalties or something. Right now, it looks like USB3.0 devices will not be available until at least the first half of 2010, most likely the end of 2010 for widespread availability and decent pricing. In the interim two years from now, I wouldn't be surprised if more and more people started using eSATA, at least the ones who know better.

I don't know about knowing better but it certainly is a good choice for disk I/O. But again is that something you want built into a fixed I/O machine? Frankly this highlights Apples greatest short coming which is the lack of I/O expansion on its mainstream hardware. I wouldn't even bother to discuss this if Apple had an expansion slot that would allow me to install the I/O of my choice. They don't on the low end thus the need to focus on flexibility of the port and not its cheapness, or other qualities.
Quote:
Also, although it's obvious that people don't always make the best choice given the fact of USB2.0's popularity in external harddrives, the USB3.0 spec will probably come nowhere near it's stated 4.8Gbps (600MB/sec), probably more like 60% of that. The next version of SATA/eSATA, SATA 600, is also rated at 600MB/sec and should achieve pretty close to that. Obviously these numbers are far larger than any harddrive and even the fastest of SSDs, but eventually it will matter.

Unfortunately those numbers simply are not good enough! FusionIO already has Flash storage systems doing 600 MB/s writes and 700 MB/s reads. Yeah this years advance tech, but likely next years mid level expectation. Thats with flash in a shipping product, it doesn't take into account what we will be able to obtain if some of the new Solid State Storage technology hits.

This is why I see the fixation on eSATA by many as a big joke as it is already a performance limiter in a version that hasn't even moved into production yet. Now FusionIO's drive is something different but we already have more conventional SSD that are being limited by todays eSATA. Like it or not eSATA is already outdated. I would suspect that by mid 2009 all SSD will at times have their performance impacted by the current eSATA standard.
Quote:

You are correct though that Firewire is a much more flexible and useful connection. the backwards compatible nature of FW3200, even the cables and connectors is going to make a great upgrade to an already excellent product. It really is too bad that Steve Jobs got in the way and screwed it all up by alienating the manufacturers with high royalties vs. USB.

Well Steve has screwed up a lot of things and this is a good example but I'm not sure if the issue is all Steves and all royalties. In any event this is a common mistake of American manufactures and all the blame shouldn't lay on Steve shoulders. Often companies go about trying to monetize a technology and end up loosing more than if they had simply set an open industry standard. Somethings need to be shared openly to grow brightly. I'd expect that part of the blame also lies with modern business schools, they seem to fail at the idea that companies don't operate in a vacuum and sometimes cooperation is more important than wringing the very last dollar out of a widget.


Thanks
Dave
post #99 of 175
Does every thread have turn into an endless Firewire debate?

Stop it!

/Daniel

iPhone 4

iPad (1st gen)
13" MacBook Pro (late 2009)

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iPhone 4

iPad (1st gen)
13" MacBook Pro (late 2009)

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post #100 of 175
I, too, fully expect Firewire to be gone from a redesigned mini assuming the mini is being redesigned. Wish they'd keep it, though. Looking back, I'm not sure Apple has really cared about Firewire for quite some time. Perhaps more accurately I'm not sure they've cared about the superior features that Firewire offers and can impart to a personal computer. Maybe they've only kept it around still thinking that they can give it some traction to drive royalties. Did they give up trying to monetize Firewire and hence no longer give two hoots it? In other words... "if we can't make money off of Firewire then we're no longer interested in putting it on computers, either". Sure, it will stick around on the high end Apple kit but that's because they know they can't alienate that segment.
post #101 of 175
MacRumors has a front page story about new congiguration files in 10.5.6 that make mention of the new NVIDIA chipset in relation to new iMac and mini models. So we have some pretty good evidence to what the new mini's will offer spec-wise:

• 4GB of RAM ceiling
• MacBook equivalent graphics
• DispayPort connector
• Wireless 802.11n

Still up in the air:
• Firewire (shouldn't be ruled out since the mini doesn't have the same space constraints that the MB does. You can make the argument that since the huge DVI port is being swapped for the DP, it opens up a lot of space there in the back.)
• Quad core CPU. I'm thinking some special order low power Intel chip here.
• Refreshed enclosure. Why not?
post #102 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel B View Post

Does every thread have turn into an endless Firewire debate?

Stop it!

/Daniel

"I'm kind of a big deal here"

Firewire
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post #103 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

ESATA is a one truck pony, that is an interface for disk/storage devices. That's it! FireWire on the other hand is an extremely flexible serial interface. I will always opt for flexibility over a limited interface unless there is a specific need to fill.

The other reality is that Firewire has an upgrade path that is already available. It really makes no sense to compare old Firewire rates with the rates of a new interface like eSATA. Everything in the computing world either evolves and gets better or dies. Which brings us to the next issue, eSATA isn't fast enough! We are already seeing that single SATA SSD drives being limited by the interface. This will only get worst when Flash drives mature or Flash gets replaced with some of the new tech breaking out of the labs.

What I'm basically saying is that eSATA really doesn't look like it has much of a future. It certainly lacks in flexibility.

Dave

Fair enough; I am grateful to Apple for bringing us Firewire and I respect its maturity and utility. I guess I under estimated the bulk of people that require it for powered applications (all three of my FW enclosures and my 2 cameras all have their own power sources.)

As for the Mac Mini, I would think that perhaps they could remove the FW 400 port and leave an eSATA plus one FW 800 port.

I also see some value in a merger between the Apple TV and the Mini. Why not, reduce the number of platforms to support; give the Mini some more life, and also perhaps un-encumber Apple from the current law suit they have against them :-)

-subaqua


Dan
post #104 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by subaqua View Post


I also see some value in a merger between the Apple TV and the Mini. Why not, reduce the number of platforms to support; give the Mini some more life, and also perhaps un-encumber Apple from the current law suit they have against them :-)

-subaqua
Dan

I've thought about this merger as well but I don't think it's going to happen for one primary reason. Cost. The AppleTV has to go down to $199 or even $149 to become a hot seller. Where the Apple TV failed was in its ability to change consumer patterns. Consumers do not have faith in streaming technology which means they followed their inclination and sought the devices with larger local storage. Once you have to put a 160GB drive into a media extender you've wrecked it's price point.

The ideal solution is many fold.

1. It all begins and ends with the network. 802.11 is the key along with QoS features for uninterupted audio/video streams. Apple may want revamp the current wireless access points with simultaneous 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz radios so that a person can segment the general wireless access from the A/V stuff.

2. The Apple TV needs to enforce a "streaming first" mindset. Local storage is expensive. The ideal Apple TV would have just enough local storage to buffer streaming HD video to prevent glitches.

3. Apple needs a companion to the Time Capsule. We need a Drobo like device that has removable drives and network access. The Apple TV or any Macs or iPhones in the home would be able to connect wirelessly and stream content from this storage. This means you have access to your media even if most of the computers are shut down. You don't want to have to stream from a running computer you want to stream from a centralized storage pool.

4. The Apple TV needs to move to a SoC design. I'm guessing it'll be ARM/PowerVR SGX/VXD based with 16GB of flash storage embedded for buffering. This would give it a cooler running design, no moving parts and 1080p support and any other whizbang stuff you'd need. The low cost embedded flash memory generates miniscule heate and would allow Apple to dip down and hit that $149 price point.

5. Encourage multiple purchases. If you know anyone with a Sonos wireless home system you know they LOVE the product. Apple could have the same benefit with a multipl Apple TV system and Front Row with zoning capability. It would allow the same music or video to play over all Apple TV or unique data per zone. It would allow you to watch a movie in the living room and them retire to the bedroom and pick right up from where you left off.

The key is delivering a low cost Apple TV that can be purchased in multiples and networked. The key is stable network storage that is always-on and becomes the central pooled storage for all media files. Eventually consumers are going to run their boot partitions on SSD for the speed yet will want to access HDD for their ravenous storage needs. Apple really doesn't need a home server more than they need to offer bulletproof (for the home) network storage.

So..keep the mini and Apple TV separate is my recommendation.
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post #105 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by subaqua View Post

I also see some value in a merger between the Apple TV and the Mini. Why not, reduce the number of platforms to support; give the Mini some more life, and also perhaps un-encumber Apple from the current law suit they have against them :-)

-subaqua


Dan

Yes, I see the simplicity of moving to a common platform for both but we should remember what Steve Jobs has said in the past on this matter... televisions and computers don't mix as they serve very different purposes. For that reason alone I don't think there will be a merged product but that's not to say there won't be more sharing of internal architecture.
post #106 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

Yes, I see the simplicity of moving to a common platform for both but we should remember what Steve Jobs has said in the past on this matter... televisions and computers don't mix as they serve very different purposes. For that reason alone I don't think there will be a merged product but that's not to say there won't be more sharing of internal architecture.

I think the two need to architecturally move in different areas.

Mac mini = general computing and games + internet access.

Apple TV= playing back media content it could evolve into games and internet but its primary reason for existence is to playback media. There are easier ways of getting media to playback than going with a general purpose CPU and motherboard.
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post #107 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Firewire may have gotten it's roots in Video with Mini DV cameras but has since become more of a factor in the audio world. The reason for this is that video ingesting isn't latency sensitive but bandwith sensitive whilst audio is latency sensitive but not really bandwith sensitive. Firewire is vastly more important for audio interfaces now vs video interfaces.

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.


Quote:
No this simply isn't true nor is it informed. FW is important in multiple ways. I've already mentioned the audio benefits but you also have the ability to run IP over FW and FW over Coax is going to be large for supplying routing of media throughout homes (see www.hanaalliance.org/). FW is a peer to peer protocol as well so it's beginning to be used in automotive applications as well.

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.

Quote:
eSATA is a one trick pony and unpowered at that. It's faster than that FW but you don't get any of the other benefits. Personally I'd like to have FW800 and eSATA but if I'm given a choice I'm going with the more flexible connection. Firewire.

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.

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.

Sure, some have noted that even consumer SSDs are already testing the limits of the SATA/300 interface and will quickly hit even the limits of SATA/600 nevermind some of the expensive SLC based enterprise SSDs that need to be plugged directly into a PCIe slot which already would tax SATA/600, but SATA was never designed to last forever. Even though we squeezed a lot of years out of PATA, SATA like PATA before it will be replaced as newer storage technologies make it obsolete. There are already plans for external PCIe to deal with the looming limitations that neither SATA/600 nor FW3200 would be able to deal with. Nevertheless I find this debate silly insofar as on a low end machine like this, this isn't likely to be an issue users will deal with in the near future.

Quote:
Actually MDP supports TMDS functionality of DVI/HDMI. It means that you're simply a MDP-->HDMI cable away from an adapter free connection. Monoprice is already working on a MDP to HDMI cable.

So we should ship a computer that requires either a cable or an adapter that isn't commonly sold in stores just to use the computer because Monoprice is working on a MDP to HDMI cable? How is pushing a non-standard version of DP going to help Apple get more converts? If anything it will hurt since most consumers buying a $600-800 computer aren't going to be in the market for a monitor with DP anytime in the near future. Ironically, unless they buy the Apple LED display they will get NONE of the benefits of DP(MPD>DP is still MIA) meanwhile most users simply get the privilege of having to buy either additional adapters or cables just to hook up anything. Sounds like a bum deal to me. It is an added cost with no clear benefit for them. DP on the Mac Pro? That makes sense. DP on the Mac Mini? That seems silly.

Quote:
If the MDP connector has %100 of the functionality of the full size connector then the queston becomes "why should I use more real estate for the full size connector?

Maybe because there is no compelling reason to go to a smaller connector? What exactly was wrong with the standard DP connector exactly? It is a port that the VESA actually recognizes, which we can't say about MDP. For the 99.99%+ of us who won't be in the market for a monitor with DP in the next 3-4 years adding DP of any variety gives us no upside (ie. benefits), but obvious downsides of needing to buying more expensive cables for no particularly good reason.

Quote:
Anyone who cannot see the benefits of DisplayPort technology should not be commentating on a large scale to other tech enthusiasts. It's license free which HDMI is not. It supports better color gamut over HDMI. It has aux channels that can run audio or other signals. You will be able to daisychain multiple monitors with a cable. There is not internal and external interface like TMDS with HDMI/DVI. It supports 2560x1600 without needing to use dual link TMDS. 4 K resolution over a single cable will be feasible with DisplayPort 2.0.

I visited the Displayport booth at CES this year and I must say that there are certainly a lot of advantages of DP so your claim that I am somehow completely ignorant upon the benefits of DisplayPort are completely off target. Nevertheless while Displayport is very forward thinking for most of the applications I can see DP being far superior than HDMI or DVI aren't exactly things that someone buying a Mac Mini is likely to care about. It is great that I can theoretically support quad HD on a single cable or that I can get better color gamut, but for the target audience for the Mac Mini this is largely much ado about nothing. Most of the quad HD panels I saw at CES are either still not available for sale(eg. 150" Panasonic) or the price tag exceeds the price of a new car for a lot of people(ie. they aren't going to be in most people's living rooms anytime soon).

While some of the people buying Mac Pros might be potential customers for a display using DP, I would wager that for the vast majority of Mac Mini users will wonder what the purpose of the port considering that nothing they own or are likely to purchase can use that port without forcing them to buy an adapter or a cable that converts from MDP, which of course none of the monitors that they will purchase will likely include.

Quote:
Agreed. FW on the consumer computers is probably going bye bye. Though DisplayPort on the Mini immediately makes it a better HTPC along with that MDP to HDMI cable. I'm tempted to do this solution versus getting an AppleTV so that I have a full computing environment. In this way I really wouldn't need an optical drive because I'll have my HD DVD and eventually Blu-ray to spin upscaled DVD.

I don't see any short term benefit to going to DP. If you are in the market for a 2160p HT than sure I imagine that most 2160p HT displays are going to require DP, but for most normal people I don't see DP being a requirement in the typical lifetime of the next Mac Mini. I guess it is neat to to be able to taunt your geek friends that you are so cool because your computer has DP, but realistically the graphics chipset on the Mac Mini isn't going to support that resolution anyways so in many respects DP on the MM will be largely just be for show.
post #108 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

I'm just wondering how many people are actually limited by the connection to their drives. If you're a prosumer or pro and you have a 4 TB Array hooked up to your computer then it's easy to make a case for eSATA.
The case for both technologies is difficult when taken from the context of the storage needs for the avg consumer whereby USB 2.0 is just fine.

You hardly need a 4TB RAID array to enjoy the benefits of FW800 or eSATA. USB 2.0 is a bottleneck for even mainstream 5400RPM external drives. The only people who use it for external storage are people who don't know better or whose computer doesn't have Firewire or eSATA.
post #109 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSA View Post

While some of the people buying Mac Pros might be potential customers for a display using DP, I would wager that for the vast majority of Mac Mini users will wonder what the purpose of the port considering that nothing they own or are likely to purchase can use that port without forcing them to buy an adapter or a cable that converts from MDP, which of course none of the monitors that they will purchase will likely include.
...

I don't see any short term benefit to going to DP. If you are in the market for a 2160p HT than sure I imagine that most 2160p HT displays are going to require DP, but for most normal people I don't see DP being a requirement in the typical lifetime of the next Mac Mini. I guess it is neat to to be able to taunt your geek friends that you are so cool because your computer has DP, but realistically the graphics chipset on the Mac Mini isn't going to support that resolution anyways so in many respects DP on the MM will be largely just be for show.

I completely agree. DP is pointless for the vast majority of individuals buying a Mac Mini. It saves space, and has some nice features, but hardly anyone is going to be using it unless Apple moves their entire monitor line to mini-DP only (which is ludicrous but will probably happen), and even then I would assume most buying the budget-minded mini will be using it with far cheaper monitors than Apple Cinema displays, most of which will not even have a DP connector for years.
post #110 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

"Notebook computer."

...is not what he said.
post #111 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSA

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.

The reason why people are buying beefy computers to run DAW is to run Virtual Instruments and effects plugins. A convolution reverb takes a lot of CPU grunt. However the efficacy at which a Mac mini could produce audio is wholly dependant on the style of music being made. The less CPU crunching effects and instruments you need to run the better. A Core2 Duo Mac mini with FW and a FW interface actually makes for a fantastic audio computer. 10k drives are important for latency which audio applications need to keep low for accurate monitoring. I plan on getting a SSD because they're actually better than a 10k drive in throughput and latency. I'll store my loops and other stuff on an external drive.

Apple will likely drop FW in the mini but for all the wrong reasons.
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post #112 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

...is not what he said.

But is what he meant.

Heck, the iPhone is a computer. I listened back to the conference call, the whole conversation at the time was revolving around netbooks and MacBooks. He was talking about MacBooks, and basically was saying; we go for higher price, higher quality. The mini was not on the radar during the call.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #113 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel B View Post

Does every thread have turn into an endless Firewire debate?

Stop it!

/Daniel

Either people with < 50 posts are here, on behalf of Apple Marketing, to espouse the reasons against FireWire, or they are non-OS X users who have no focus other than attempting to move the platform away from any tactical advantage and thus proclaim it just a PC clone, then to demand the company slash prices and become a Packard Bell.
post #114 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Heck, the iPhone is a computer.

So was my Atari game machine back in the early 80s. It did a great job with Missile Command.

I listened to that portion of the conference call twice since it was such an interesting statement. (The webcast is no longer available at Apple's site.) The question was whether or not Apple had any thoughts of making and selling less expensive computers. Jobs said "we don't know how to make a $500 computer..." He wasn't talking about laptops, and I thought at the time it was a funny statement considering the Mac mini was introduced at $499. He was calling the original mini a piece of junk, which I'm sure he thinks it is.
post #115 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

It is more a question of what will be out at the time the Mini is introduced. It is agreed that the current chips are expensive but that does have to hold at production time. Frankly All Apple would have to do is to agree to clock a special run of i7s a little slower than normal and have intel put a unique part number on them. Let's face it Intel has bent over backwards for Apple already in this reguard.

As to chip set yeah as we currently understand it the chip selection is limited but that doesn't mean that Apple couldn't roll their own. It is not like they don't have experience here to do so. The could even bridge to hyperteansport to make use of GPUs supporting that interface.

I know i7 is a stretch for early next year but it is the platform to go to for a new long lasting generation of Minis.

Nvidia has already said that the 9400M started out as a desktop concept and that Apple refocused efforts on the Laptop market. So I take this to mean that what is in the 9400M is a cut down implementation of a larger chip. It also appears that the execution units are modular enough that a few could easily be added to a desktop chip while keeping power managable. Now this is more hope than anything but it is interesting how strong the collaboration between Apple and Nvidia is.

In any event yes Apple likes to manage costs by keeping parts interchangeable across platforms. That is very important for a low volume manufacture. That however isn't what Apple is anymore especially with the mac Mini.

It is a given that SSD are a bit expensive in the larger size right now but let's look at this as a potential hybrid approach. Say a 32 to 64 GB flash storage system was implemented as a system code storage pool and user and log data went to magnetic storage. The flash drive then only needs to be optimized for reads this controlling costs. Of course this won't work well if you are a user with tons of apps and other code installed but for many users it would be a low cost solution to much better performance. Code segments and apps in general would load much faster. Sure we are talking crappy writes but how often is software installed or updated?

Atom would be good for a Mac Nano! Let's face it for certain types of servers Atom would be fine. It might also be fine for task specific Mac applications. It won't however deliver the performance that Mini users want.

Twelve months is a long time. There are however several things that Apple could do here. One is roll their own support chip something they have had a lot of experience with on PPC. The could also cut a deal with intel for a "special run" which would be nothing more than a relabeled special run that is undercoocked with respect to the high performance chips on the market at the time.

Maybe i7 doesn't mean a $500 computer but it doesn't mean impossible either.

Express Card is certainly a possibility but frankly I see it as less than perfect. Mostly because of two things. One is the rather fragile mechanical housing that the cards are often inserted in. The other is the lack of lanes. A mezzazine card can be more robust if a bit fiddly to install.

What ever they go with it needs to provide a quality mechanical and electrical interface.




Quote:
Well technically Nehalem/i7 was really about increasing the performance of everything BUT the processor core. The processor core itself has been enhanced with hyper-threading, but it's really not much different than the core from Core 2. It is everything else in the platform that has been changed. The memory controller has been moved onto the processor die, all the cores are on a single die (like AMD K10), there is a new 3-level caching system, and the ancient FSB has been replaced with Quickpath.

Which from Apples standpoint makes i7 a lot like AMD and PPC processors. Also quickpath ought to be easier to work with as all the memory traffic gets it's own path. Frankly quickpath is exactly why I could see Apple adopting i7 early. They have slot of experience themselves and they have PA Semi. If anybody could successfully introduce an i7 chipset for relatively low cost machines it is Apple.

Moreso if they are working with Nvidia we could see Apple being the first to deliver a two chip i7 solution. Now that may seem like grasping at straws but there are Apple excutives on reccord as saying the will soon have hardware on the market others can't compete with. I'm fairly certain we haven't seen that hardware yet. So is it really that much of a stretch to think that Apple would go i7 in a big way.

You are making an assumption here that cool desktop chips won't be out early next year. You also assume that Apple would want to run them flat out in the Mini, it is not like Apple doesn't have options here.

As to the integrated GPU version I don't think Apple is all that interested as they look like they have gone all in with respect to OpenCL. As such they will continue to leverage the better performing solutions.


Well that might be useful but still I think an under clocked i7 running at say 2.5GHz would give Apple a better more salable machine. As cooler chips come out they would be able to easily bump up the clock speed while otherwise keeping the execution environment constant.

I know it is a stretch but a Mini replacement that leads off with i7 would create a massive storm of interest.


Dave

Core i7 will be included in the Mac Mini when Core i8 is ready for Mac Pros.
post #116 of 175
[QUOTE=SSA;1352043]I am confused on why you are so adamant about the Firewire, especially if you don't edit video. Most external HDDs are more likely to have eSATA then FW these days and eSATA has better potential bandwidth than FW400 or FW800 so as far as I am concerned unless you are going to be hooking up a DV camera FW of any variety isn't needed. Especially considering the low end processors that are typical on the Mac Mini while you can edit video on the machine the vast majority of people who are going to be editing video are going to be buying at least an iMac if not a Mac Pro.


Well, truth be told, if Firewire is dropped, I'd like to think they would replace it with FW800. I am a photographer with several large FW hard drives and other FW devices. Dropping FW altogether would force me to purchase MORE stuff to replace it. I have 2.5TB of FW400 hard drives, I don't relish the though of having to replace 6-8 external drive enclosures just because somebody thinks a standard is dead. Decent quality, reliable HD enclosures are about $75-$100 apiece these days, so I am sure you can see my point there. FW800 is backwards compatible, it merely requires an inexpensive adapter to use FW400 drives.

Yes, I could purchase a iMac or MacPro, however I began my photography career on film and learned to shoot what I needed to print, rather than shoot like a machine gun and fix it in Photoshop. Consequently, my work does not require extensive editing to make it print or web ready. So, the Mac Mini is actually a very cost effective solution. Besides, A MacPro is overkill and really just too expensive. As far as the iMac goes, I just don't have the room for a 24" iMac, my workspace is limited and along with hard drives, scanner, printer and other assorted gear, there is just no room for that beast as much as it would be nice to have.
Mac user since 1990 - System 6.0.7 through OS X 10.6 - Mac Mini (2009) - 4/320 - Snow Leopard
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Mac user since 1990 - System 6.0.7 through OS X 10.6 - Mac Mini (2009) - 4/320 - Snow Leopard
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post #117 of 175
I would love to see 5.1 optical, or HDMI out...

:P giggle

Laters...
Adobe Systems - "Preventing the Case-Sensitive revolution everyday..."
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Adobe Systems - "Preventing the Case-Sensitive revolution everyday..."
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post #118 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by rezwits View Post

I would love to see 5.1 optical, or HDMI out...

:P giggle

Laters...

No worries DisplayPort support up to 8 channels of 24-bit audio and sampling
rates up to 96 kilohertz.

The future's bright.

Macs already support optical out

Quote:
Headphone/optical digital audio output (minijack)
Audio line in/optical digital audio input (minijack)

Here's the cable you'll need
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
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He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
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post #119 of 175
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.
post #120 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.

The power requirements are valid, but do remember that Apple are using mobile platforms, not desktop. Mobile chips can be a lot more expensive at a given clock speed. Where the desktop 3ghz core 2 duo may only cost $180, the mobile C2D cost $850.
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