Mac mini: What we want to see in an update to Apple's low-cost desktop

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  • Reply 101 of 127
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    Eric_WVGG said:
    Damn. Those are cool. I'm nearly positive they are in violation of the USB 3.1 spec, but I'll be grabbing a couple anyway.

    [edit] Here it is, courtesy of some wonk:

    This adapter does NOT comply with the USB Type-C specification version 1.1 section 2.2 of the specification which states the following :
    "USB Type-C receptacle to USB legacy adapters are explicitly not defined or allowed. Such adapters would allow many invalid and potentially unsafe cable connections to be contructed by users."

    This is because if you combine this adapter with a USB Type-A to Type-C cable, you may create a dangerous condition where two power supplies may be connected together opposing each other using the combined cable.

    Furthermore, this adapter violates Section 2.3.1 :
    "Power is not applied to the USB Type-C host or hub receptacle (VBUS or VCONN) until the DFP detects the presence of an attached device (UFP) port."

    In my testing, even when no UFP device is attached, this receptacle port's VBUS line is powered on at 5V. It should only be at 5V when a UFP device is present.

    This adapter and port violates Section 4.5.1.2.1 - Please see figure 4-5. A correct DFP receptacle must use two distinct Rp resistors. According to my testing, the CHENYANG adapter leaves the CC lines completely floating, with no Rp at all on either CC pin.
    This means that the Chromebook Pixel 2015 does not detect a charger device at all, as it depends on the presence of Rp to start charging.

    Finally, this adapter also claims to support USB 3.1 SuperSpeed, but because it is only a passive adapter, there is no way to support both orientations of a potential USB device as that requires a mux on the receptacle end. Indeed, when I tried it, it would only ever enumerate a USB-C thumbdrive as high speed (usb 2.0).

    Long story short : This adapter is a type forbidden by the USB Type-C specification, and should NOT exist. It gets my lowest rating of 1-star because there is no simple thing that the manufacturer can do to make this adapter correct.
    Eric_WVGG said:
    … but yes, I do as you, it's a simple matter to replace the cables on external hard drives. Pity most keyboards and mice don't have detachable cables.
    While not compliant with the spec, being connected to something as simple as a keyboard or mouse would likely prove a non-issue, but I see your point, and kudos on doing the research to hunt down that information. It makes me wonder just how unsafe some of these setups are. Not necessarily from an accidental installation, but if someone deliberately creating a system where, say, plugging into two live PSUs into each other using one of these cheap couplers if it could cause a fire. (That may sound a bit sinister, but I'm thinking about it for a story I'm writing and it sounded like a quick way to MacGyver a distraction when I was reading the hazards of those unauthorized adapters.)
  • Reply 102 of 127
    sirozhasirozha Posts: 801member
    rweiser said:
    I wonder if the Mac mini is also due for a rebranding. 
    When it comes to computing, Apple has the:
    * iPad and iPad Pro
    * MacBook and MacBook Pro
    * iMac and iMac Pro
    * Mac mini
    * Mac Pro

    Why not change the Mac mini to just be the “Mac”, as the Mac Pro’s counterpart?
    If Apple converted the iMac to just the 27” 5K display, they could put the compute parts in a Mac Mini case and call Mac Mini - Mac. However, going from an all-in-one firm factor to two boxes is backward. On the other hand, decoupling compute from display may have its benefits, as displays age much slower than computers. The iMac Pro is unnecessarily too powerful and too expensive for most users. 

    I think Apple should release stand-alone 24” and 27” monitors based on the iMac design, though. They can make it slimmer than the iMac, and it can be used with MacBooks (24”) and MacBook Pros (24” & 27”). 
    edited May 2018 wozwoz
  • Reply 103 of 127
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,569administrator
    Eric_WVGG said:
    Damn. Those are cool. I'm nearly positive they are in violation of the USB 3.1 spec, but I'll be grabbing a couple anyway.

    [edit] Here it is, courtesy of some wonk:

    This adapter does NOT comply with the USB Type-C specification version 1.1 section 2.2 of the specification which states the following :
    "USB Type-C receptacle to USB legacy adapters are explicitly not defined or allowed. Such adapters would allow many invalid and potentially unsafe cable connections to be contructed by users."

    This is because if you combine this adapter with a USB Type-A to Type-C cable, you may create a dangerous condition where two power supplies may be connected together opposing each other using the combined cable.

    Furthermore, this adapter violates Section 2.3.1 :
    "Power is not applied to the USB Type-C host or hub receptacle (VBUS or VCONN) until the DFP detects the presence of an attached device (UFP) port."

    In my testing, even when no UFP device is attached, this receptacle port's VBUS line is powered on at 5V. It should only be at 5V when a UFP device is present.

    This adapter and port violates Section 4.5.1.2.1 - Please see figure 4-5. A correct DFP receptacle must use two distinct Rp resistors. According to my testing, the CHENYANG adapter leaves the CC lines completely floating, with no Rp at all on either CC pin.
    This means that the Chromebook Pixel 2015 does not detect a charger device at all, as it depends on the presence of Rp to start charging.

    Finally, this adapter also claims to support USB 3.1 SuperSpeed, but because it is only a passive adapter, there is no way to support both orientations of a potential USB device as that requires a mux on the receptacle end. Indeed, when I tried it, it would only ever enumerate a USB-C thumbdrive as high speed (usb 2.0).

    Long story short : This adapter is a type forbidden by the USB Type-C specification, and should NOT exist. It gets my lowest rating of 1-star because there is no simple thing that the manufacturer can do to make this adapter correct.
    I appreciate you posting this here. We've spoken about this in other threads and discussed the disallowance of the adapter under the spec, but not to this detail.
  • Reply 104 of 127
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    The MacMini and SE share common features:   They are both "entry level" cheap and they're both small.  Those two major features drive two very different markets -- those who like small as well as those who prefer low cost (and a few who like both).

    But, for the MacMini, while smallish is nice (less bulky and less desk space taken), it is beyond me why AppleInsider seems to think smaller is intrinsically better -- even to the point of making the device unrepairable and unupgradeable because it's glued & soldered together.  They need to learn from the MBP and it's $700 cost to replace a sticky "B" on the keyboard.

    In a smart phone or a laptop (both of which are meant to be highly portable) small has functional advantages.   In a desktop computer small offers far fewer advantages - particularly if it comes with trade offs in functionality, repairability and upgradeability.   In that case, small becomes a very unApple like sales gimmick.

    No matter how you cut it:  it's a desktop computer and functionality (not size) should be the primary design emphasis.
    In the end, Apple and the MacMini will be judged on how well it meets the needs and desires of its users -- not how cute it is....
    cgWerks
  • Reply 105 of 127
    BigDannBigDann Posts: 66member
    If the Mac mini's most common use was as a media server AND the Apple TV 4K is unquestionably a very capable media server...why bother updating the Mac mini?
    The Mini is a media server (storage), the Apple TV is a media player (front-end) I have both and I use them together.

    The next gen Mac Mini will likely be more of a home server for HomePod, Siri services & HomeKit devices. In addition to what people use the Mac Mini today as a home media server and it's likely to be using Apples APU chip.

    As far as a low end desktop system which was the start of the mini, I think that need has drifted away. The low end MacBook & MacBook Air I think has taken that role on.
  • Reply 106 of 127
    cincyteecincytee Posts: 382member
    The most important thing we'd like to see in a Mac mini refresh is ... a Mac mini refresh at all. Any confirmation that the general form factor still registers with Apple as useful.
    wozwozcgWerks
  • Reply 107 of 127
    wozwozwozwoz Posts: 257member
    Don't need a new form; don't need new peripherals. Just a new mini + a monitor to hook it up with.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 108 of 127
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,855member
    pmb01 said:
    rfrmac said:
    I don’t know why we keep talking about this. Tim Cook doesn’t like the Mac so he just lets it go.  He thinks that Apple no longer needs to have a Mac.  Take a look at what has happened to the Macs since Steve died. It continues to break my heart. I haven’t bought a Mac in years.  Not because I didn’t want to, there just wasn’t  a new Mac that could justify the cost.  The new iMac just doesn’t do it for my profession.  Would love a couple of mini's for movie servers but I’m not buying that old of technology. 

    Tim doesn't think that at all. He just understands that Intel hasn't pushed processor upgrades much since 2014. Only the latest gen Kaby Lake CPUs gave us significant performance gains. What he DOES believe (like Jobs did) is that the desktop is becoming a much smaller market, which is why all the MacBooks have been upgraded a couple times in that same time period. As for what we'll actually see from an update, here is the most likely scenario: Same case design, the new Intel/AMD collab chips, RAM still soldered, PCIe SSD standard, 4 TB3 ports, 2 USB-A ports, Ethernet and HDMI still there, and no SD slot (unless they move it to the front). What would be cool (and unlikely) would be some modular port that would allow for "expansion modules" so you could add like better graphics or more storage. Sort of a "Mini Pro" concept.
    In fact it was Jobs who began any perceived "neglect" of the Mac. He presided over the death of the XServe and it's associated peripherals - with no apparent attempt to improve the product or find what customers wanted to boost sales. He stood by and let the big aluminum Mac Pro rot on the vine while users begged for updates for years and years.  He also permitted Final Cut to get revamped to such a degree that it chased off thousands of dedicated users who were also buyers of Macs. I understand why Steve did some of these things - he tended to look forward only, to the detriment and exclusion of everything that was "old". However, there is no reason why Apple could not have continued regular development and releases of Mac Pros and Mac Minis while still moving forward with a vision that recognized the desktop market was shrinking.  In fact since Apple tends to hold market share and even improve market share with Mac sales every year while PC makers market share erodes.  Seem like, with minimal effort, Apple could boost desktop sales with just slight changes to strategy and product lineup. They would then be able to continue their solid Mac sales performance and maybe even improve upon it.
    bkkcanuck
  • Reply 109 of 127
    maciekskontaktmaciekskontakt Posts: 1,169member
    If you have Thunderbolt then you can upgrade graphics. You do not need to use internal one. Internal PCI? Why nobody goes this way anymore. Just buy eGPU wiith fast Thunderbolt transfers
    GeorgeBMaccgWerks
  • Reply 110 of 127
    bkkcanuckbkkcanuck Posts: 862member
    If you have Thunderbolt then you can upgrade graphics. You do not need to use internal one. Internal PCI? Why nobody goes this way anymore. Just buy eGPU wiith fast Thunderbolt transfers
    NO!  Hooking up an eGPU is great if you have no other possibility like you have a laptop.  

    Thunderbolt has overhead, Thunderbolt is limited to 4 PCIe lanes, Thunderbolt does not have the full bandwidth available on a top of the line graphics card requires. 

    There is a reason why the graphics cards are recommended to go in the slot closest to the CPU, and they use 16 PCIe lanes without the overhead of the Thunderbolt PCIe protocol.  

    The more powerful the graphics card, the more the impact.  

    When you get to the top end of the graphics card you basically throwing away a good 30% of the performance.  The price difference between that card and a lesser card of 30% less performance is hundreds of dollars.

    Thunderbolt is basically taking 4 PCIe lanes, running them along a wire, into another box that has PCIe slots, another power supply etc.  You are talking about hundreds of dollars wasted on an eGPU box, a couple hundred dollars of lost performance on the graphics card, the $100 for the Thunderbolt cable.  

    Talk about a waste!
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 111 of 127
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,774member
    kharvel said:
    This is the best mental masturbation I have had on AppleInsider after a long time.  
    Yep. Everyone's fetishes clearly on display, as it were. AI started with "this is what we want to see" without really giving us a hint as to why. And the metaphor fits perfectly. People get so worked up about their...preferences.

    Rayz2016
  • Reply 112 of 127
    The MacMini has always been the ubiquitous rip-off member of Apple's Family, not a little dissimilar to Uncle Fester.

    MacMini's technical specs are always in the region of sub £100.00 PC Laptops yet it commands a price three times greater with no possible end-user upgradability - Are Mac owners too stupid to install RAM or larger HDD/SSD's? The chief designers at Apple certainly seem to think so. Or could it be a cynical plan by Gomez to make Apple Family customers pay exorbitant prices and be the butt of jokes, taking the inevitable and worthy scorn heaped on them by PC users?

    The Apple Family need to move away from these overpriced, underperforming and downright embarrassing (Things) and start making an entry-level Mac(Mini) which can hold its own against a similarly retailed priced PC Laptop. They also need to upgrade it more frequently and reintroduce a Server Version.

    If the Apple Board cared enough and took time to look over their shoulders they'd see inferior Google products smashing their way through the Apple brand. Likewise, Xiaomi is copying everything Apple make, building it to a high standard and undercutting Apple prices by around 70%.
  • Reply 113 of 127
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,899member
    sirozha said:
    However, going from an all-in-one firm factor to two boxes is backward. ... The iMac Pro is unnecessarily too powerful and too expensive for most users. 
    Hmm, I don't think there is anything particularly 'forward' about all-in-one, though.
    Yes, an iMac Pro (from what I've heard/read) would be quite nice, but $6000+ is a bit spendy for what I need.

    GeorgeBMac said:
    But, for the MacMini, while smallish is nice (less bulky and less desk space taken), it is beyond me why AppleInsider seems to think smaller is intrinsically better -- even to the point of making the device unrepairable and unupgradeable because it's glued & soldered together.  They need to learn from the MBP and it's $700 cost to replace a sticky "B" on the keyboard.

    In a smart phone or a laptop (both of which are meant to be highly portable) small has functional advantages.   In a desktop computer small offers far fewer advantages - particularly if it comes with trade offs in functionality, repairability and upgradeability.   In that case, small becomes a very unApple like sales gimmick.

    No matter how you cut it:  it's a desktop computer and functionality (not size) should be the primary design emphasis.
    In the end, Apple and the MacMini will be judged on how well it meets the needs and desires of its users -- not how cute it is....
    Well said!
    Yes, the smallness makes the Mini more practical as a home media server or something than, say, a cheese-grater Mac Pro, but you're absolutely right that we don't care about squeezing every last bit of size out of the thing. I'd *MUCH* rather Apple add more cooling power to several of their desktop machines (heck, even the laptops) than trying to make them at tiny as possible.

    And, if they are working on making something as tiny as possible for some kind of imagined target audience, I wish they'd also make a non-$6000 desktop for 'the rest of us.'

    BigDann said:
    As far as a low end desktop system which was the start of the mini, I think that need has drifted away. The low end MacBook & MacBook Air I think has taken that role on.
    I think you're probably correct in Apple's thinking... but that thinking is flawed. The laptops really aren't good replacements for a low-to-mid end desktop. For one, why have all the extra parts you don't need (screen, keyboard, etc.)? Laptops also aren't as clean in terms of desktop setup and cabling as something like a Mini.

    cincytee said:
    The most important thing we'd like to see in a Mac mini refresh is ... a Mac mini refresh at all. Any confirmation that the general form factor still registers with Apple as useful.
    Absolutely! My best case hopes are that they simply put a 2/4/6 core latest Intel CPU in it and update the ports. Bonus points for changing to SSD, but even if they don't, I can fix that.

    welshdog said:
    In fact it was Jobs who began any perceived "neglect" of the Mac. He presided over the death of the XServe and it's associated peripherals - with no apparent attempt to improve the product or find what customers wanted to boost sales. He stood by and let the big aluminum Mac Pro rot on the vine while users begged for updates for years and years.  He also permitted Final Cut to get revamped to such a degree that it chased off thousands of dedicated users who were also buyers of Macs. I understand why Steve did some of these things - he tended to look forward only, to the detriment and exclusion of everything that was "old". However, there is no reason why Apple could not have continued regular development and releases of Mac Pros and Mac Minis while still moving forward with a vision that recognized the desktop market was shrinking.  In fact since Apple tends to hold market share and even improve market share with Mac sales every year while PC makers market share erodes.  Seem like, with minimal effort, Apple could boost desktop sales with just slight changes to strategy and product lineup. They would then be able to continue their solid Mac sales performance and maybe even improve upon it.
    The Xserve, I think, was just Apple recognizing they didn't have the time/resources to serious continue into the server/corporate space. It was a lot more complicated than just continuing to make the Xserve. (I was upset about that, but it kind of made sense.)

    As for the Mac Pro and dumbing down of a number of the pro apps, yea, I'd have to agree with that. I just chalk it up to being distracted by all the shiny new iDevices. I'd even give Tim a lot of slack for the first couple of years, but now Apple is plenty big and successful enough to get back to operating properly. I don't think there is any excuse if they don't do something relatively serious for the Mac lineup in a couple weeks (i.e.: it's already done).

    If you have Thunderbolt then you can upgrade graphics. You do not need to use internal one. Internal PCI? Why nobody goes this way anymore. Just buy eGPU wiith fast Thunderbolt transfers
    It's rather expensive, but yes, this is kind of the perfect solution for the Mini. Then it ends up being like $600-1k for a Mini with GPU that works for most people. And, if you need more or want to seriously game, etc. then you spend another $600-1k and you're all set with a nice, neat package. With one design, you cover the entry level through prosumer. I suppose that just makes too much darn sense for Apple, though.

    bkkcanuck said:
    NO!  Hooking up an eGPU is great if you have no other possibility like you have a laptop.  
    Thunderbolt has overhead, Thunderbolt is limited to 4 PCIe lanes, Thunderbolt does not have the full bandwidth available on a top of the line graphics card requires. 
    Yea, but you're not going to stick a top of the line GPU *inside* a Mini!

    bloodshotrollin'red said:
    MacMini's technical specs are always in the region of sub £100.00 PC Laptops yet it commands a price three times greater with no possible end-user upgradability...
    I don't think you'd be getting Mini level power in a laptop even close to that cheap. And, most of us here are bemoaning the loss or downgrade of the Mini from it's 2012 quad-core state. You don't get cheap laptops with that kind of power.
  • Reply 114 of 127
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    One might think Apple could offer at least one loss leader product
    Any company stupid enough to sell something that doesn’t accrue currency for every unit sold deserves to go under.

    Baffles me that this still needs explaining. 
    Solitallest skil
  • Reply 115 of 127
    RobinZypherRobinZypher Posts: 3unconfirmed, member
    =( at least they should bring back the classic MBP I want! ....I understand the needs of usb-c/thunderbolt 3 ports but instead of having touch bar why can't they just bump up the specs like add that cost to a secondary hard disk/higher ram/best keyboard avail instead. I owned late 2016 MBP and want to upgrade in the next release I'm hoping they finally realized TB have no best use case for us.. MBP is traditionally made for power user not entertainment.
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 116 of 127
    bkkcanuckbkkcanuck Posts: 862member
    =( at least they should bring back the classic MBP I want! ....I understand the needs of usb-c/thunderbolt 3 ports but instead of having touch bar why can't they just bump up the specs like add that cost to a secondary hard disk/higher ram/best keyboard avail instead. I owned late 2016 MBP and want to upgrade in the next release I'm hoping they finally realized TB have no best use case for us.. MBP is traditionally made for power user not entertainment.
    Lots of use cases for Thunderbolt for power users / 'professionals', just not for you.  Higher end peripherals are best served by lower latency and/or higher bandwidth are best connected to Thunderbolt over USB.  Lower end peripherals - USB is fine and a cheaper alternative.  

    Touchbar is more of a novelty and not as useful and just adds cost (other than touch id).  
  • Reply 117 of 127
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,569administrator
    =( at least they should bring back the classic MBP I want! ....I understand the needs of usb-c/thunderbolt 3 ports but instead of having touch bar why can't they just bump up the specs like add that cost to a secondary hard disk/higher ram/best keyboard avail instead. I owned late 2016 MBP and want to upgrade in the next release I'm hoping they finally realized TB have no best use case for us.. MBP is traditionally made for power user not entertainment.
    Apple has been shooting for one cable for data, power, and video for literally decades. Thunderbolt 3 is the ultimate expression of that.

    I don't think you're going to get myriad other ports on a new MacBook Pro, ever again. Machines with more space internally like the iMac and possibly any new Mac mini may continue for a bit, though, in much the same way that the blue and white G3 had an ADB port, where the iMac of roughly the same age did not.
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 118 of 127
    New mac mini should achieve at least:
    225mmx200mmx65mm case max attachable to VESA TV mounts and with wall mount capability
    2 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR4 RAM configured with either 16GB(i3/i5) or 32GB(i7)
    2 internal drive bays 2.5" one will 500GB SSD and Optane enabled
    1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160
    1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2304
     Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
    4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1(or later) ports on rear, 2 USB 3+ on front
    1 x USB Type-C™ port on the back panel
    Gigabit Ethernet
    3 x audio jacks
    Core i3-8300T or Core i5-8600T or Core i7-8700T
    1 x PCIe 3.0 x16
    2 M.2
    minimal cooling fan, if any
    edited August 2018
  • Reply 119 of 127
    225mmx200mmx65mm case max attachable to VESA TV mounts and with wall mount capability
    Some third party will just make a grabber-case for that.
    2 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR4 RAM configured with either 16GB(i3/i5) or 32GB(i7)
    2 internal drive bays 2.5" one will 500GB SSD and Optane enabled
    2 M.2
    That clearly won’t happen. Has any Mac Mini used anything but 2.5” drives in the first place? I don’t have MacTracker handy.
    1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160
    1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2304
    4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1(or later) ports on rear, 
    You mean “four Thunderbolt 3 ports” and that’s all you get.
    2 USB 3+ on front
    Now you’re really just posting a fantasy.
    Gigabit Ethernet
    I wouldn’t put it past Apple to forgo 10 gig.
    3 x audio jacks
    You mean 0x.
    1 x PCIe 3.0 x16
    It’s a Mac Mini.
  • Reply 120 of 127
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,899member
    2 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR4 RAM configured with either 16GB(i3/i5) or 32GB(i7)
    2 internal drive bays 2.5" one will 500GB SSD and Optane enabled
    2 M.2
    That clearly won’t happen. Has any Mac Mini used anything but 2.5” drives in the first place? I don’t have MacTracker handy.
    Hmm, I don't think so. But, I'd doubt any drives (and actually hope not). It will likely be SSD, though they still use HDs in the iMacs, oddly enough.

    1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160
    1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2304
    4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1(or later) ports on rear, 
    You mean “four Thunderbolt 3 ports” and that’s all you get.
    Probably, though maybe they would be smart enough to put HDMI on it, being more of a 'desktop' machine.

    1 x PCIe 3.0 x16
    It’s a Mac Mini.
    LOL, no doubt. No Mac has had PCI slots since the pre-'13 Mac Pro.

    That said, many of have been arguing Apple should have some entry to prosumer level box... but I doubt they ever will, and it won't be the mini.

    But, now that TB3 is roughly powerful enough to put an eGPU external, I'm not even sure there needs to be such a box anymore... but there needs to be something. Apple has nothing in that range at all until they update the mini.
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