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More versatile Mac mini expected at Macworld

post #1 of 93
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A much anticipated update to Apple's tiny Mac mini desktop computer is believed to be a lock for next week's Macworld Expo, according to some last minute reports.

TUAW is citing its own sources who say the new models will sport a revised enclosure that more closely conforms to materials used throughout the better part of Apple's product line, namely aluminum and black plastic. Legacy Mac minis have employed a mixture of grey and white plastic.

The report also corroborate some details published by AppleInsider in October regarding a move towards SATA optical drives and hard drives. It was reported that this change would be accompanied by build-to-order options that will allow customers to swap out the optical drive for a second hard drive -- a move that will cater those who intent to use the systems as mini servers.

Other expected changes have included a move towards NVIDIA chipsets, the addition of a Mini DisplayPort, and the ability of the diminutive desktops to address 4GB of RAM, up from the 2GB maximum of today's models.

For what it's worth, AppleInsider has also received a couple of reliable reports in recent weeks that suggest the long-awaited Mac mini makeover is slated to arrive at next week's trade show. We've been following the Mac mini story for some time. Earlier reports on the matter can be reviewed below:

Eating our words: Apple's Mac mini to rock on

Apple Enterprise sending thousands of Macs into hotels, cruise ships

Informed players say Apple's Mac mini still kickin'

Apple tells Mac mini fan to hang in there

Mac mini makeover considered likely for Macworld

New iMacs and Mac minis confirmed to use NVIDIA chipsets
post #2 of 93
I'm going to wager that Apple won't announce anything at this expo. Perhaps some simple upgrades to existing lines if anything.
post #3 of 93
Why not just make a little bigger for a real HD... A second HD and the optical drive... $2700+ is too much for such a configuration.
post #4 of 93
As much as I think it makes sense to go with a 3.5" HDD and the slightly larger aTV / TimeCapsule footprint, the option of configuring for two HDDs suggests that they are going to stay with laptop 2.5" drives.
post #5 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post

I'm going to wager that Apple won't announce anything at this expo. Perhaps some simple upgrades to existing lines if anything.

I'm going to wager that this will be one of the best MacWorld Keynotes to date. Apple will go out with a bang!
post #6 of 93
I've been waiting for this for a long time. I will be buying one strictly for my tv. I will be shutting off my DirectTV (they should go into the business of knocking over banks), and getting a BLACK (HELL YAH) mac mini to match my entertainment center. I'm stoked and can't wait. Now all they need is blu-ray compatibility in them to make them a bitching entertainment center piece.

 

 

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post #7 of 93
Actually they have to move it up. The chips used to produce it are not in full production anymore. It's a good move though as the enterprise market just began the "Love" of the mini as of this year. I can take a monster dell desktop, swap out a MacMini it's place and convert the old into a parallels virtual machine. They use 1/6th the power have twice the performance and the added security of OS X and productivity applications. It's a win/win for business's to switch to the MacMini. It's also, even in it's current form, cheaper than an equivalent low-power/high performance desktop. For the same price from Dell you get a dual core celeron, 1gb ram and a 160bg HD that consumes more than 120 watts. The intel mini's even under a good load only suck up about 50-65 watts (using a kill-o-watt meter to test).

Pro's of a virtual machine with NAT ethernet: startup/shutdown is about 5 seconds each way. Better Virus handling. Quicker interaction between Apple Mail/Downloads and windows desktop.

Con's : Uses more than half of the 2gb of ram depending on configuration.
post #8 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I'm going to wager that this will be one of the best MacWorld Keynotes to date. Apple will go out with a bang!

I have a feeling a lot of these updates will be released a few days before the keynote. They pulled that crap with the mac pro last time. Moving to nehalem, they should talk about it this year. We'll see.

 

 

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post #9 of 93
Great, as far as it has Firewire 800 ports.
post #10 of 93
Good news for us, as long as there's a decent bump in CPU.

These little guys would become just right for low-usage stations that just need internet and a bit of word processing. Everyone's happy. They fit in our counters, CFO likes the price, employees are digging on cool OS X, and us in IT are enjoying the non-Windows and non-anti-virus.

I was getting worried the passed year that the minis would be abandoned just as they started being viable for us. We'd have been forced to move to Shuttle-X and Ubuntu.
post #11 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

As much as I think it makes sense to go with a 3.5" HDD and the slightly larger aTV / TimeCapsule footprint, the option of configuring for two HDDs suggests that they are going to stay with laptop 2.5" drives.

With good reason too...and the good reason isn't configuring for two HDDs. 3.5" is going the way of the dodo. SSD are faster than 15k RPM HDDs, make less noise, need less cooling, are becoming cheaper by the month, and are rapidly going to match HDD capacities within the next 2 years. And SSDs are usually in 2.5" formats.

It would be hard for Apple to justify making the Mac mini bulkier to allow putting a desktop size HDD that is rapidly becoming obsolete.
post #12 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

As much as I think it makes sense to go with a 3.5" HDD and the slightly larger aTV / TimeCapsule footprint, the option of configuring for two HDDs suggests that they are going to stay with laptop 2.5" drives.

I'd also guess that they'd stick wtih 2.5" drives (but I also think they'd be able to get a 3.5" drive in the current footprint by making it a little taller). In any event, 2.5" drives are readily available in 500 GB capacities. The current 160 GB limit is pathetic. 500 GB might not be sufficient for server use, but would be fine for normal desktop use. I'd also like to see an option for a 7200 rpm drive.
post #13 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

Great, as far as it has Firewire 800 ports.

Thanks, I didn't want to be the first one to insist that it keeps Firewire!
post #14 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

I have a feeling a lot of these updates will be released a few days before the keynote. They pulled that crap with the mac pro last time. Moving to nehalem, they should talk about it this year. We'll see.

I agreed.

I think the iMac and the MacMini might be update right before and possibly the MacPro too if there isn't any case redesign. Same for displays.

Phil will probably focus on the MacMini only if it is indeed a new redesigned product, snow leopard and iLife and iWork apps. Maybe that's all we'll see.
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post #15 of 93
I gotcha firewire.
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post #16 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

I have a feeling a lot of these updates will be released a few days before the keynote. They pulled that crap with the mac pro last time. Moving to nehalem, they should talk about it this year. We'll see.

As long as they're updated I don't care if its at the keynote or not. I don't need someone to stand up on stage and explain the ins and outs of a computer. I do that for a living.....

If the MacMini is truly going to be updated I would think they'd spend a little more time on it. That is unless they want to do a keynote filler and explain how they redesigned the iMac's insides, or something.
post #17 of 93
Give me the new enclosure, 2Gb RAM, NVIDIA chipset, displayport, and a trackpad on top like the ones on the new Macbooks all for $499 and I'll buy one immediately. Even though I wasn't planning to.
post #18 of 93
eSATA please.
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post #19 of 93
I would love to see it support 3.5" HDDs but my credit card is already twitching regardless.
post #20 of 93
How about bringing together the Mini, AppleTV, TimeCapsule and AirportExtreme into a single footprint design and all running OSX? Then make them configurable by adding layers.

Basic unit is an Airport Extreme.
Add a HDD layer and it's a TimeCapsule.
Or add an NVIDIA layer and it's an AppleTV.
Or two HDD layers and it's a mini server.
Or an optical drive.
Add an HDD plus NVIDIA and it's a media server.

It's the tower that many have asked for.

Gives lots of configurations based around a common set of hardware components and opens up the format for users to invent their own ideas based around a common OS. Really cool second-hand 'layer' market. Easy upgrades of any layer. Snaps together like Lego - it just works.

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post #21 of 93
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Originally Posted by zunx View Post

Great, as far as it has Firewire 800 ports.

Dream on we'll be lucky to have FW400. Since the Mini has shared its architectural features with the MacBook, the recent dumping of FW from that isn't a good omen for the Mini.
post #22 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

Give me the new enclosure, 2Gb RAM, NVIDIA chipset, displayport, and a trackpad on top like the ones on the new Macbooks all for $499 and I'll buy one immediately. Even though I wasn't planning to.

Yeah... that bundle would make a mini an impulse buy. Do hope they push the price below $500 again!
post #23 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post

I'm going to wager that Apple won't announce anything at this expo. Perhaps some simple upgrades to existing lines if anything.

That's a losing bet for you, I'll bet against that one - $100
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post #24 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

It's the tower that many have asked for.

Apple hasn't had an affordable (Sub $1600) tower in over 6 years.

Sure, I could get one used... but I'm talking NEW.
post #25 of 93
What about new Mac Pros???!!!! Why are the pro consumers being ignored so?? I need a new machine but not until it gets a rev!
post #26 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

How about bringing together the Mini, AppleTV, TimeCapsule and AirportExtreme into a single footprint design and all running OSX? Then make them configurable by adding layers.

Basic unit is an Airport Extreme.
Add a HDD layer and it's a TimeCapsule.
Or add an NVIDIA layer and it's an AppleTV.
Or two HDD layers and it's a mini server.
Or an optical drive.
Add an HDD plus NVIDIA and it's a media server.

It's the tower that many have asked for.

Gives lots of configurations based around a common set of hardware components and opens up the format for users to invent their own ideas based around a common OS. Really cool second-hand 'layer' market. Easy upgrades of any layer. Snaps together like Lego - it just works.

Would be great...but how much are you willing to pay for all of that? Certainly not $599 or $799....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggot777 View Post

What about new Mac Pros???!!!! Why are the pro consumers being ignored so?? I need a new machine but not until it gets a rev!

Unless there is a reason to show it at a keynote (like a total redesign)...the MacPro could easily be updated behind the scenes or say this coming Monday (before the keynote)
post #27 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

eSATA please.

I did a quick Google search and didn't find a clear answer, but can you daisy-chain eSATA drives? If not, I view it as very limited. Short of getting a single-box RAID solution (which some of us might have a use for), I don't believe there are any hard drives capable of making use of all that extra bandwidth. I'm not even sure if today's hard drives are capable of saturating a FW800 connection (??). And I'm even less sure about this, but isn't SATA strictly a hard drive port whereas FW is used for many different types of peripherals?

Is the percentage of the mini's target audience who would set up a RAID sufficient to include eSATA?
post #28 of 93
Screw the 3.5 drive.

If you don't have plans to move to SSD in the next couple of years you're just throwing performance out the window as far as storage is concerned.

Silver and black will certainly look good along with other stereo components. I'm waiting to see if FW and the mini have a future together. I'm not holding my breath.

I will be glad to see Mini-DisplayPort

4GB of RAM is fantastic. I'll gladly re-purpose my Core Duo 1.66 and enjoy the faster CPU, GPU and more RAM.
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post #29 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Screw the 3.5 drive.

If you don't have plans to move to SSD in the next couple of years you're just throwing performance out the window as far as storage is concerned.

Silver and black will certainly look good along with other stereo components. I'm waiting to see if FW and the mini have a future together. I'm not holding my breath.

I will be glad to see Mini-DisplayPort

4GB of RAM is fantastic. I'll gladly re-purpose my Core Duo 1.66 and enjoy the faster CPU, GPU and more RAM.

If Apple can do all of this with the MacMini it will make it a nice little computer. Especially with the new NVIDIA GPU.
post #30 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

As much as I think it makes sense to go with a 3.5" HDD and the slightly larger aTV / TimeCapsule footprint, the option of configuring for two HDDs suggests that they are going to stay with laptop 2.5" drives.

Really I'd like to know how you arrived at that conclusion? A 3.5" drive can easily fit in a slot for a optical drive. That is an indicator of nothing in my mind.

I'd actually like to see them move to 3.5" drives myself but have no evidence one way or the other.

The only thing that the new case hints at right now is that well it is new. Now what I really want to see in a new case isn't so much aluminum but servicesbilty. A Mini designed for easy service would be the best possible update.

As it is I'm not sure I need YAC ( yet another computer ). Unless that YAC is a tablet Touch2/Newton2 for those that need another computer this sounds like it will be a very nice machine. I do hope that the majority of the rumors are true, it will be nice work on Apples part.


Dave
post #31 of 93
I think it will be there in FW800 form with an outside chance of FW3200. With the laptop I could see the rational for the drop. On the Mini it is a different story and the breadth of the user base would still require it. Also a desk top can easily handle the power budget.

Dave
post #32 of 93
Where's the link to the AI story that declared that the Mac Mini is absolutely dead?
post #33 of 93
I thought i had read an article a little while back that the mini display port would keep you from displaying iTunes content on your TV. If this is the case that would be a major drawback from the new mini.
post #34 of 93
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Originally Posted by elroth View Post

Where's the link to the AI story that declared that the Mac Mini is absolutely dead?

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post #35 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by brostd View Post

I thought i had read an article a little while back that the mini display port would keep you from displaying iTunes content on your TV. If this is the case that would be a major drawback from the new mini.

I think the issue was using it to watch some iTunes content on a standard (ie, non-miniDisplayPort) monitor because it doesn't support the DRM. As of yet, I think there aren't any miniDisplayPort-to-HDMI cables, and mDP-to-DVI-to-HDMI may also block the DRM for a TV to work.

Theoretically, once you have a mDP-to-HDMI cable and connect it to a HDCP-compliant TV (pretty much all HDTV, I suspect), the mini/MB/MBP should be able to handshake with the TV and allow the video to display. I'm assuming the creators of the DisplayPort spec weren't stupid enough to create a DRM scheme that was incompatible with HDCP!

That said, until Apple or some other definitive source says it will work, I'm with you! I'm hoping it will work and that it will bring HD movie rental to the Mac (not just the AppleTV).
post #36 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

Where's the link to the AI story that declared that the Mac Mini is absolutely dead?

I know I'd happily dance on the grave of that stupid post again!
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post #37 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

Would be great...but how much are you willing to pay for all of that? Certainly not $599 or $799....

Absolutely I'd be willing to pay $599 or $799, though I highly doubt it would/could be that low of a price.
post #38 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

Where's the link to the AI story that declared that the Mac Mini is absolutely dead?

Closing the book on Apple's Mac mini

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles..._mac_mini.html

Eating our words: Apple's Mac mini to rock on

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...o_rock_on.html
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post #39 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Really I'd like to know how you arrived at that conclusion? A 3.5" drive can easily fit in a slot for a optical drive. That is an indicator of nothing in my mind.

I'd actually like to see them move to 3.5" drives myself but have no evidence one way or the other.

The only thing that the new case hints at right now is that well it is new. Now what I really want to see in a new case isn't so much aluminum but servicesbilty. A Mini designed for easy service would be the best possible update.

As it is I'm not sure I need YAC ( yet another computer ). Unless that YAC is a tablet Touch2/Newton2 for those that need another computer this sounds like it will be a very nice machine. I do hope that the majority of the rumors are true, it will be nice work on Apples part.


Dave

A 3.5" HD measures 5.75" L by 4" W by 1" H
A 2.5" HD measures 4" L by 2.75" W by 0.375" H

Therefore, ~ six 2.5" HD occupy the same volume (and surprisingly weight) of one 3.5" drive. The 2.5" and 3.5" form factors refer to the platter dimension. The fastest part of the HD is adjacent to the spindle, thus a 5,400 RPM 2.5" drive will have better performance then a 7,200 RPM 3.5" drive over the last outer fractional inch difference between these two drives (theoretically speaking based on geometry alone)).

A CD/DVD is ~ 4.75" in diameter
A Half height DVD burner is 0.5" H

So no, a 3.5" HD will not ever fit into the Mac mini, since the Mac mini doesn't include a full height CD/DVD drive.

SSD and 2.5" HD's will eventually replace 3.5" HD IMHO, it may take several years though.

As to the Mac mini, I can wish for eSATA (with PM) and HDMI, but I doubt either of these will happen. I'd actually rather see Socket P then Socket LGA 775, but if the LGA 775 are quad-core and first out of the gate and you can get the Mac Mini configured with one of these, then give me that instead.

And as long as there is a cheap adapter for Apple's proprietary display connection so that I can drive an HDMI or DVI LCD I'll be in seventh heaven, as I'll never waste my good money on Apple's high margin displays, TYVM.

I'd gladly take two 2.5" 500 GB HD's though, 7,200 RPM, with Apple's built in RAID 0/1 though. Or one 2.5" 500 GB 7,200 RPM drive with a 2.5" Intel SSD as the boot drive.

Meh, to Firewire though, just give me plenty of USB 2.0 ports so that I can use one of then for an external DVD burner. Although a Firewire 400 port would not get me upset in the least.
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post #40 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I'm going to wager that this will be one of the best MacWorld Keynotes to date. Apple will go out with a bang!

Bad bet. The Apple of the last decade has shown no propensity for nostalgia. Did you miss the way they've unceremoniously shuffled off old relationships (clone makers, Motorola) and industry shows in the past? Did you not notice how quickly Steve Jobs cleaned house of Apple artifacts when he returned? Ever wonder why they were so eager to jettison those Classic-era ways of doing things ("Oh noooooes! Where's the smiley face at boot up?!") Ever notice how they don't seem to give a rip about anniversaries that everyone else thinks important?

I think the next MacWorld keynote will be yet another MacWorld keynote. No better, no worse. Just what it is--as well as being the last one.
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