Haswell-powered iMacs could hit in late Aug., followed by new MacBook Pros in mid-Sept.

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  • Reply 101 of 140
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    Would your xMac have a desktop or mobile processor? Would it essentially be a larger mini with a discrete card? Full specs?
  • Reply 102 of 140
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member

    Originally Posted by Winter View Post


    Would your xMac have a desktop or mobile processor? Would it essentially be a larger mini with a discrete card? Full specs?


     


    I imagine any "xMac" would use the most recent enthusiast desktop i7 chip. That's what they all complain about in the first place: the price of a Xeon.

  • Reply 103 of 140
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    I imagine any "xMac" would use the most recent enthusiast desktop i7 chip. That's what they all complain about in the first place: the price of a Xeon.

    See when I think xMac, I think basically a gaming laptop in a box.
  • Reply 104 of 140
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    winter wrote: »
    Would your xMac have a desktop or mobile processor? Would it essentially be a larger mini with a discrete card? Full specs?

    Interesting questions.

    As for processors that is tough to say these days. For example Mobile processors can be had with Iris Pro graphics while apparently desktop processors don't have that option. If you value integrated graphics then mobile would be the way to go. However one of the reasons to go XMac is to get a good GPU and today that means a discrete solution. So a desktop processor makes sense and would be preferred. To put it another way, it would be desktop solutions up until Intel integrated solutions don't suck at 3D. Remember the primary reason for the XMac is far better GPU performance followed closely by CPU performance.

    I don't like the idea of a larger Mini, the Mini is a fine machine as it is. Rather before I was thinking of something half rack wide and 2-3U high. However the new Mac Pro offers a different approach. Fill the Mac Pro with a desktop processor card, one GPU card, a couple of SSD slots, and more limited TB ports and you will have a XMac. Sell it for $1200 dollars and rake in the dough.
  • Reply 105 of 140
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    I imagine any "xMac" would use the most recent enthusiast desktop i7 chip. That's what they all complain about in the first place: the price of a Xeon.

    Err that isn't really how I see it. XMac was all about the GPU first followed by at least Midrange CPU performance. Xeon isn't really all that expensive in many of its variants so in that regards I don't think it makes a difference if the chip is Xeon or not, it would be an entry level Xeon if they went that way. Think $300 or so dollar chip here.
  • Reply 106 of 140
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    winter wrote: »
    See when I think xMac, I think basically a gaming laptop in a box.
    Which is a huge mistake. Think of this as instead a light weight professional machine. In some ways it is literally an iMac without the LCD though I would expect a bit of flexibility GPU wise and I/O wise that the iMac doesn't allow or support well. Specifically being able to run the CPU and GPU flat out with no thermal throttling for extended periods.

    The big mistake you make though is the suggesting that the box is a gaming platform. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is really an answer to what happens when you try to run 3D software (engineering) on Intel integrated graphics. To put it plainly it sucks. Sure a decent GPU can support gaming but it will also support OpenGL, OpenCL and other technologies well. This is something Intel doesn't do well at all on Mac platforms. Maybe Mavericks will address this some with better drivers but right now the only reason I avoid he Mini as a primary computer is the crappy integrated graphics. Haswell combined with Mavericks might be the "good enough" transition but we won't know that until product ships. Apples history of borking the Minis GPU isn't really comforting here.

    In a nut shel the Mini is all about the word "midrange". That is this isn't a high performance workstation like Mac Pro nor a limited Mini. The idea is to get good GPU performance and respectable processor performance. Note too that GPU performance isn't just good benchmark numbers, it means solid drivers that support the latest technologies.
  • Reply 107 of 140
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    One of the reasons I'm hedging on processors suitable for an XMac or even the viability of a Mini for my needs is the coming (hopefully) support for OpenCL on Intels Integrated GPUs. If you go here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6993/intel-iris-pro-5200-graphics-review-core-i74950hq-tested/17 you will find that for some cherry picked results Intels GPUs do really well with OpenCL style compute. Supposedly this support for OpenCL on Intels GPUs is coming to Mavericks.

    So if all of this comes together, OpenCL on Mavericks with a Haswell based Iris GPUs, the Mini will become a different platform. I'm not going to say this makes the XMac concept outdated but it would have me reconsidering the Mini. Stuff an SSD in that Mini and add a couple of TB2 ports and you are golden.

    In any event the link above highlights why the right GPU can be important. If the app gels well with the GPUs architecture the performance speed up can be exceptional.
  • Reply 108 of 140
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,269moderator
    wizard69 wrote: »
    If you go here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6993/intel-iris-pro-5200-graphics-review-core-i74950hq-tested/17 you will find that for some cherry picked results Intels GPUs do really well with OpenCL style compute.

    They couldn't use that particular processor in the Mini as it costs $657. The processor they currently use in the $799 model costs $378. The mobile CPUs that cost $378 only have 4600 graphics. The cheapest one I can see with Iris Pro is $440:

    http://ark.intel.com/products/76087/Intel-Core-i7-4750HQ-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-3_20-GHz

    Here they mention that this processor is coming in Q3:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6993/intel-iris-pro-5200-graphics-review-core-i74950hq-tested/19

    "The i7-4950HQ and i7-4850HQ are the only two Iris Pro 5200 parts launching today. A slower 2GHz i7-4750HQ will follow sometime in Q3."

    That would add to the Mini delay as well as Thunderbolt 2. Notebookcheck has scores for the 5200 and although some scores are lower vs the 650M, the playable settings match very closely:

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Iris-Pro-Graphics-5200.90965.0.html
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GT-650M.71887.0.html

    I doubt Apple has the room to overclock it in the Mini like they would with CPUs in the MBP but still, that performance is fine for the Mini. I just hope they don't settle for a 4600 chip because of the price as that means all red bars again:

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-4600.86106.0.html

    They may decide to use the 4600 one in the Server model as it doesn't need a fast GPU but increase the price of the $799 model to $849-899 to accommodate the added expense of the graphics. The entry Mini will have to stick to dual-core and that will have to be a ULT chip but Intel has put prices up on these. The last $599 Minis used a $225 CPU, none of the i5s are that cheap this time:

    http://ark.intel.com/products/family/75024/4th-Generation-Intel-Core-i5-Processors/mobile

    I'd guess they'll use the i5-4258U and have a BTO upgrade to the i7-4558U both with Iris 5100 not Iris Pro and they're probably going to have to increase the entry price to $699. And no they can't use AMD because of Thunderbolt 2.
  • Reply 109 of 140
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    Marvin wrote: »
    I'd guess they'll use the i5-4258U and have a BTO upgrade to the i7-4558U both with Iris 5100 not Iris Pro and they're probably going to have to increase the entry price to $699.

    What's wrong with the 4258 for $599 ($100 more for 4288) and the 4558 for $799?
  • Reply 110 of 140
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,269moderator
    winter wrote: »
    What's wrong with the 4258 for $599 ($100 more for 4288) and the 4558 for $799?

    They would reduce Apple's margins significantly. Their gross margins for their Mac line are probably around 30% so the amount of profit in a $599 model is only $180, which makes their costs $419 (understandable as the processor alone is $225). If they just casually absorb the extra $117 that Intel is charging, Apple's gross profits would drop to $63 and they have to pay shipping with that. It wouldn't be worth building the machine at $599.

    There are low powered desktop processors with Haswell though, even as low as 35W and below $200. They only have 4600 GPUs but they would allow Apple to maintain the price points.
  • Reply 111 of 140
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Marvin wrote: »
    They couldn't use that particular processor in the Mini as it costs $657. The processor they currently use in the $799 model costs $378. The mobile CPUs that cost $378 only have 4600 graphics. The cheapest one I can see with Iris Pro is $440:

    http://ark.intel.com/products/76087/Intel-Core-i7-4750HQ-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-3_20-GHz

    Here they mention that this processor is coming in Q3:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6993/intel-iris-pro-5200-graphics-review-core-i74950hq-tested/19

    "The i7-4950HQ and i7-4850HQ are the only two Iris Pro 5200 parts launching today. A slower 2GHz i7-4750HQ will follow sometime in Q3."
    It is well known around here that I don't trust Anandtech at all. However I was on a developer forum the other day where I seen mention of OpenCL running at one third the speed of NVidia. I'm assuming the test platform was a MBP, the OS was Mavericks. The point is it looks like Intel and Apple have come a very long way in their GPU support under Mavericks. This is why I'm hedging my bets when it comes to any variant that might end up in the Mini. The potential is there for a nice machine.

    By the way I wouldn't expect Iris or even Iris Pro in the base Mini, that is still an introductory machine. What I would be hoping for is a Mini where you pay a little extra for a real advantage in the GPU over the base model. A 4-500 dollar Haswell processor might just be the nuts for this sort of machine and could justify an $800 price tag on an upsell Mini.
    That would add to the Mini delay as well as Thunderbolt 2. Notebookcheck has scores for the 5200 and although some scores are lower vs the 650M, the playable settings match very closely:

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Iris-Pro-Graphics-5200.90965.0.html
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GT-650M.71887.0.html
    Who knows the Mini delay could just be Apple being stupid again not releasing until the iMac is ready. I may want to see a vastly improved Mini but that doesn't mean that Apple cares.

    I doubt Apple has the room to overclock it in the Mini like they would with CPUs in the MBP but still, that performance is fine for the Mini. I just hope they don't settle for a 4600 chip because of the price as that means all red bars again:
    Actually I fully expect a 4600 chip in the base model. What I'm hoping for is real differentiation of the upsell model. As for overclocking that isn't really what is going on these days. However if they could add just ten watts to the Minis thermal capability that would make for a wider range of processor possibilities.
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-4600.86106.0.html

    They may decide to use the 4600 one in the Server model as it doesn't need a fast GPU but increase the price of the $799 model to $849-899 to accommodate the added expense of the graphics. The entry Mini will have to stick to dual-core and that will have to be a ULT chip but Intel has put prices up on these. The last $599 Minis used a $225 CPU, none of the i5s are that cheap this time:
    I wouldn't resist an $800 dollar Mini if I got a real improvement for those extra dollars. Currently the base model and upsell model run the same GPU which for most of us is very frustrating. Getting soaked for a few MHz core speed improvements is not a good feeling, the upsell Mini needs real value to justify its price.
    http://ark.intel.com/products/family/75024/4th-Generation-Intel-Core-i5-Processors/mobile

    I'd guess they'll use the i5-4258U and have a BTO upgrade to the i7-4558U both with Iris 5100 not Iris Pro and they're probably going to have to increase the entry price to $699. And no they can't use AMD because of Thunderbolt 2.
    Either way Iris or Iris Pro the results look very nice, I just don't see them in the entry model.

    As to AMD it really looks like Intel may beat them at the GPU advantage game. At least for this round of processors. I will have to search around for some OpenCL benchmarks to confirm Anandtechs marketing materials first. As for TB I'm not sure there is a problem here, the TB chip interfaces with PCI Express and the various Video signals, the only thing that keeps TB out of that sort of machine would be Intel.
  • Reply 112 of 140
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Marvin wrote: »
    They would reduce Apple's margins significantly. Their gross margins for their Mac line are probably around 30% so the amount of profit in a $599 model is only $180, which makes their costs $419 (understandable as the processor alone is $225). If they just casually absorb the extra $117 that Intel is charging, Apple's gross profits would drop to $63 and they have to pay shipping with that. It wouldn't be worth building the machine at $599.
    Well first Apple isn't paying those prices. Second they can achieve savings elsewhere. In the end though you may be right, we could see a price hike.
    There are low powered desktop processors with Haswell though, even as low as 35W and below $200. They only have 4600 GPUs but they would allow Apple to maintain the price points.

    This is actually a possibility but doing so would eliminate Iris from the Mini for another year. That is unless they are willing to produce two different motherboards for the Mini lineup. I really want to see Iris in the up sell model. It looks like the only way to get that this year is with the laptop series of chips.
  • Reply 113 of 140
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    The processor you speak of Marvin in the desktop line is the 4570T that is 35W.
  • Reply 114 of 140
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    winter wrote: »
    The processor you speak of Marvin in the desktop line is the 4570T that is 35W.

    Which would slip right into a Mini and maybe even lower its cost. The problem with the desktop line is the lack of an Iris solution in the Minis power handling range. Not to beat a dead horse but GPU performance is what bother me about the Mini.
  • Reply 115 of 140
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    Maybe you kill off the base mini and make just the $799 model with the core i7-4558U model available? 8 GB of RAM standard?
  • Reply 116 of 140
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    winter wrote: »
    Maybe you kill off the base mini and make just the $799 model with the core i7-4558U model available? 8 GB of RAM standard?

    The problem with that is that the base model is very important. Even myself, I could find uses for the base model around the house. It is just that for a primary computer, for me at least, the Mini has never had the GPU performance I want. It is a big shortcoming.
  • Reply 117 of 140
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    Let's say the mini was revamped as your xMac type box. What CPU/GPU combination would you put into it if you could?

    I would prefer the base model myself and maybe it will be $699 (preferably $599) with the option for the i7 for $150 more.

    Also what is so bad about Anandtech?
  • Reply 118 of 140
    trip1extrip1ex Posts: 109member


    Apple store being updated now.  Just a maintenance site update or new iMacs arriving?

  • Reply 119 of 140
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    Most likely it is just maintenance.
  • Reply 120 of 140
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    winter wrote: »
    Let's say the mini was revamped as your xMac type box. What CPU/GPU combination would you put into it if you could?
    That is a good question. If Apple had a desktop processor with Iris Pro graphics or a similar laptop processor that might be acceptable. Of course I can't say so now as we haven't seen such a machine but these processors are getting really good OpenCL reports. We are real close to the point where built in GPUs will be good enough.

    If they don't live up to expectations then the xMac should get a desktop processor with a midrange AMD GPU. For all I care that GPU could be a Fire Pro compatible with the Mac Pro. It would be nice to minimize platforms to support to have a midrange pro GPU in the machine.
    I would prefer the base model myself and maybe it will be $699 (preferably $599) with the option for the i7 for $150 more.
    It all depends upon what that base model is. However I beleive Apple will try to control costs to keep the platform "introductory". My preference would be for a model with a souped up GPU.
    Also what is so bad about Anandtech?

    If you read the site enough you come away with the feeling that the get to much "support" from Intel. Basically they punt objectivity to be a cheerleader for Intel. Often they cherry pick results to publish to show Intel hardware in the best possible light. That might be OK for Intel but Anandtech puts them selves out there as some sort of objective blog that people seem to respect.

    Basically it comes down to this, I may read Anandtech but it don't trust them. If something looks interesting I will put it on hold to I can find more objective reporting.
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