Intel's Xeon NUC 9 Pro kit is what we want to see in a 'Mac Pro mini'

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited June 2020
Intel's introduction of the NUC 9 Pro kit continues the rivalry with Apple's Mac mini in the compact computing field -- but this time, it brings PCI-e to the table.

Intel's NUC 9 Pro kit, and Apple's Mac mini
Intel's NUC 9 Pro kit, and Apple's Mac mini


In January, AppleInsider compared Apple's 2018 Mac mini against the Intel NUC 8 Home model, with both offering end users a highly-capable yet still small computing setup. While the Mac mini is a clean and powerful device, the barebones Intel kits showed the NUC lineup can be smaller and just as powerful as its Apple rival.

During CES 2020, Intel showed off its NUC 9 lineup for 2020, boasting new "Ghost Canyon" architectures and both consumer and a Xeon-equipped Pro Kit variant. More importantly, Intel increased the customization options for the new models, giving users the ability to add a PCI-e card. And, those are now shipping.

Intel's Xeon NUC 9 Pro kits are now shipping
Intel's Xeon NUC 9 Pro kits are now shipping


With the release of the new NUC 9 Pro models, AppleInsider is reexamining the situation, as this extra upgradability is something power users may want to consider for their next desktop.

For the purposes of an even comparison, Intel has provided a NUC 9 Pro Kit with incorporated eight-core E2286M processor, Windows 10 Pro, a Quadro P2200 PCI-e video card, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and 512GB of M.2 storage for an approximate street price of $2500.

Our Mac mini is the i7-8700B configuration running at 3.2GHz, with 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage that retails for $1899 from Apple. However, using the same RAM vendor as used in the NUC and performing a half-hour long procedure cuts this price down to $1500 -- and potentially lower if other vendors are chosen.

NUC 9 Pro Kit versus Apple Mac mini i7 - specs

Mac mini Core i7Intel NUC 9 Pro Kit (NUC9VXQNX)
Price$1,899$2800
Dimensions197mm x 197mm x 36mm238 x 216 x 96mm
ProcessorIntel Core i7 3.2GHz 6 cores, Turbo Boost to 4.6GHzIntel Xeon E-2286M 2.4GHz 8 cores, Turbo Boost to 5GHz
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB SSDNone, 2xM.2 2280 Slots
Memory8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB 2666MHz DDR4None, Support for up to 64GB 2666MHz DDR4
VideoHDMI 2.0HDMI 2.0a
Connectivity4x Thunderbolt 3, 2x USB 3.02x Thunderbolt 3, 6x USB 3.1g2, 2x USB 2.0 internal headers, 1x Internal USB 2.0, SDXC card reader
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 802.11ac, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth, option for 10Gb EthernetWi-Fi 5 802.11ac, 2x Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth
Internal ExpansionRAM upgradeable by userStorage and RAM provided by user, double-wide PCI-e X16 slot

NUC 9 Pro Kit versus Apple Mac mini i7 - size

The dimensions of the Mac mini continue to be amazingly small for most computer users, measuring 7.7 inches square and 1.4 inches thick. While last time the NUC's entire footprint including the power adapter took up less space than the Mac mini, things have changed this time around. At 9.3 inches by 8.5 inches and 3.8 inches thick, the new model is physically larger than the Mac mini in all directions, but it is still reasonably sized for those wanting a compact computer setup.

Apple Mac mini stacked on top of an Intel NUC 9 Pro kit
Apple Mac mini stacked on top of an Intel NUC 9 Pro kit


The NUC 9 Pro kit is no longer as small as its name implies, but the extra size enables some other features new to the product line, which we will get to later.

Both of the units have incredibly small form factors for the delivered power. But, in our day-to-day use of the mini, and our trials of the NUC 9 Pro, the latter is far, far louder under load.

In our office environment, and under full load the Mac mini hits about 41 dBa with a Kanomax model 4431 audiometer and a baseline of 26 dBa of ambient noise. The NUC hit 52 while running a CPU-only load, and 55 with the Quadro K2200 video card loaded simultaneously.

NUC 9 Pro Kit versus Apple Mac mini i7 - ports and connectivity

The Mac mini has the familiar setup on the rear, providing an HDMI 2.0 port, two USB 3.1 type-A ports, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a Gigabit Ethernet port that can be upgraded to a 10-gigabit version. Again, much like its slim profile, putting all of the ports on the rear makes it easy to position the chassis out of the way, while still allowing access to the connections.

Ports comparison - Intel Nuc 9 Pro versus Mac mini
Ports comparison - Intel Nuc 9 Pro versus Mac mini


Intel continues to divide up the positioning of its ports on two sides of the NUC. To the front are a pair of USB 3.1 Type-A ports, along with an SDXC memory card reader with UHS-II support. Around the back are four more USB 3.1 type-A ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet connections, HDMI 2.0a, and the headphone jack. Intel also has an internal USB 2.0 port and a pair of USB 2.0 internal headers inside the NUC.

And, all of this in the NUC is before you take into account the PCI-e expansion, which can provide even more connectivity options depending on the user's needs.

Both models also offer Wi-Fi 5 connectivity and Bluetooth 5.0 support. While the Mac mini's 10-gigabit Ethernet upgrade is an extra $100 at the time of purchase, the NUC requires the addition of an adapter plugged into a Thunderbolt 3 port, or a PCI-e card, both of which retail for around $150. Neither 10-gigabit Ethernet option are included in this comparison in any way, other than this pricing discussed here.

NUC 9 Pro Kit versus Apple Mac mini i7 - CPU speed

The Mac mini can be configured to have an eighth-generation six-core Intel Core i7 processor, with a base clock speed of 3.2GHz, rising to 4.6GHz under Turbo Boost. The chip also includes 12MB of shared L3 cache and provides integrated graphics in the form of Intel UHD Graphics 630.

Though the base memory of 8GB DDR4 memory can be reconfigured up to 64GB at the time of purchase, Apple has made the RAM an upgradable component, which can help save money for users wanting high quantities. It also opens up the opportunity for memory upgrades down the line when needed.

Storage starts from 256GB and can rise to 2TB, though only through the configuration menu when ordering. Unlike earlier models, you cannot upgrade the storage in the Mac mini.

The Intel NUC ships with a Xeon E2286M processor, an eight-core chip with base and boosted clocks of 2.4GHz and 5GHz respectively. Given the higher core counts and boosted clock speed, along with 16MB of Intel Smart Cache, this in theory gives the NUC a considerable advantage in both single-core and multi-core workloads.

The NUC is effectively a barebones kit, so several elements are either supplied by the user or a system builder, and can be upgraded after purchase. Though the processor stays put, users can put in 64GB of DDR4 memory, equalling the Mac mini's capacity.

However, the use of two M.2 2280 slots in the NUC means users can not only upgrade the storage later on, but they can also go for higher quantities than the Mac mini supports. These can even be configured in RAID 0 or RAID 1, giving striping for speed and mirroring for redundancy.

The integrated graphics in the NUC is Intel UHD Graphics P630, which is the professional version of the 630 in the Mac mini. For all intents and purposes, it is of a similar level of performance, though depending on the hardware installed by the user -- likely a video card like in our evaluation unit -- this is likely moot.

NUC 9 Pro Kit versus Apple Mac mini i7 - Benchmarks

Benchmarks are controversial. They are relative measures, given the tests included, and they aren't universal. We use two -- GeekBench 5.1.1 CPU and Cinebench R20. The former represents the overwhelming majority of computing uses, with the latter representing heavy CPU loads for extended times better than the former.

The i7-8700B processor in the six-core Mac Mini scores an 1142 single-core result, with a 5466 multi-core. The NUC 9 Pro Kit with E2286M eight-core Xeon processor delivered a 1222 single-core result, with a 7870 multi-core.

For comparison's sake, the $5999 Mac Pro eight-core models deliver a 993 single-core score, and a 7986 multi-core

Geekbench Compute leverages the GPU for heavy computational tasks. The Mac mini has the UHD 630 GPU chipset, and it delivers a 5127 on the OpenCL compute benchmark. The NUC delivers a score of 32,552 with the Quadro K2200 workstation card that was provided to us.

NUC 9 Pro kit, with Quadro P2200 video card installed
NUC 9 Pro kit, with Quadro P2200 video card installed


For that $1000 price difference between the Mac mini and the NUC 9 Pro kit, That same Mac mini can be outfitted with a Radeon VII eGPU that delivers a 146,193 OpenCL score. The Mac Pro with the Radeon VII internal delivers a 161,212. At present, any Radeon VII is far too long to be installed in the NUC 9 Pro.

Not every task, even graphical processing ones, are accelerated by a fast GPU -- which is one of the perils of straight benchmark compares. Before deciding if an eGPU, or for that matter, a PCI-e GPU upgrade, is right for you, it's probably worth figuring out what the specific performance hang-ups are for your particular workflow.

Using the Cinebench R20 benchmark, our Mac Mini i7 scored 2996 -- which is about the same speed as a 2013 12-core Mac Pro. The NUC 9 Pro kit delivered a 3610.

The Promise of PCI-e

The key addition to the NUC 9 is the option to use PCI-e cards. A double-wide PCI-e X16 slot is available, shared with a PCI-e X4 slot, with a maximum card length of 8 inches, which can be a bit of a handicap. This means a short graphics card could be installed, providing a considerable performance boost compared to the onboard graphics as demonstrated by the Mac mini versus NUC 9 Pro kit compute results above.

This expansion is the primary reason why the NUC is much bigger than the Mac mini this time around, and it is arguably a great addition for those who need the option.

The Mac mini is also able to accept PCI-e cards, as we've suggested with the benchmarking testing above, though it only does so with the addition of a Thunderbolt 3 external enclosure. This adds a secondary -- and large -- enclosure to the Mac computing setup that consumes a considerable amount of space.

It's a trade-off. The NUC itself is larger than the Mac mini. The Mac mini with an eGPU enclosure is much larger than the NUC, but can accommodate full-length GPU cards.

xMac? Mac mini Pro? Mac Pro mini?

AppleInsider staffers unsurprisingly prefer macOS and iOS to alternatives. But, we know that there are benefits to the Microsoft Windows platform as well -- benefits that many of us here at AppleInsider partake in in parallel to our Apple gear. We've said it before, if you need or want Windows hardware and have no particular need for macOS or iOS, you generally buy Windows. If you need or prefer macOS, then that's what you buy.

But, Apple can learn from the NUC 9 Pro kit -- or at least be shown a direction to take -- from a long-time hardware partner.

The existence of the Intel NUC 9 Pro Kit and its expansion capabilities is a product market and a price point that Apple doesn't serve very well at this time -- Macs with built-in PCI-e expansion. The approximately $300 it costs above and beyond a video card for an eGPU is a tough ask as it stands. It is an even tougher ask for users to spend thousands of dollars for a Mac Pro just so they can put a graphics card into a Mac case.

The NUC 9 Pro kit is also available in i5, i7, and i9 options, starting as low as $999 with nothing but the computer itself -- and the core of this idea is what we want to see in a PCI-e expandable "xMac." We're confident that Apple can design a Mac mini evolution that is large enough to accommodate a PCI-e card in a similar way to this NUC. We are aware, though, that it probably chosen to not do so because of an evolving computing market.

We've said it before -- Apple didn't set out to make this "xMac" with the Mac Pro and just miss. Apple aimed that Mac Pro It is aimed precisely at who the $9,900 Mac IIfx was targeted back in the day, who $6199 Xserve hardware was tailored for, and who the $3299 G5 quad-core in 2005 was sold to.

We'd like to see a computer like a complete NUC 9 kit, aimed hit the same market segment that the original $1599 Graphite G4 tower was for. Following the same pattern, the Mac Pro should stay, for those same folks who paid $3499 for the machine that was 20% faster.

Even if they did follow this pattern, though, we'd also argue that Apple wouldn't sell a lot of this "xMac" because of that changing market we spoke about a few paragraphs ago. But, it would probably sell more of this "Mac Pro Mini" or "xMac" than the new Mac Pro.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,647member
    So the NUC 9 Pro kit won't be able to run macOS, correct? Just checking. The whole reason for this article is to try and define an xMac or expandable Mac mini, maybe? From what the article shows, the Mac mini still beats the snot out of the NUC 9 box.
    macpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 40
    thttht Posts: 4,040member
    This NUC has a pretty interesting industrial design, and is actually Apple-esque in concept. Not pretty, but it follows Apple's typical Mac Pro board architecture. It doesn't have a mini ATX board inside. It has a main mezzanine or I/O board that CPU, GPU and other cards go into, which is conceptually what the 2008 (?) Mac Pro to 2013 Mac Pro models did. Or maybe you can say the PCIe CPU board is the motherboard and it has an PCIe extender/riser board to mount cards parallel to the CPU board, but I digress.

    Anyways, for $3000, I rather Apple do the 2019 Mac Half Pro idea where they chop 5 inches of depth out the back. It will mean PCIe boards need to be 7" or shorter, but there will be 6 to 7 PCIe slots to play with in a 8.6" wide by 12.7" deep by 20" tall footprint. Getting rid of the handles and using shorter feet would cut it down to about 17".

    Apple's Adobe CC machine or premium consumer desktop is the iMac 5K, and for those who want a little more, the iMac Pro. It's going to take a serious change in direction or philosophy for them to offer a machine that overlaps with that.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 40
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,262administrator
    rob53 said:
    So the NUC 9 Pro kit won't be able to run macOS, correct? Just checking. The whole reason for this article is to try and define an xMac or expandable Mac mini, maybe? From what the article shows, the Mac mini still beats the snot out of the NUC 9 box.
    The CPU benchmarks are all in the NUC's favor, and so are the GPU ones -- assuming you don't add an eGPU. In theory, the Nuc 9 Pro kit could get macOS shoehorned with Hackintosh, but I haven't delved into it that far. 
  • Reply 4 of 40
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,262administrator

    tht said:
    This NUC has a pretty interesting industrial design, and is actually Apple-esque in concept. Not pretty, but it follows Apple's typical Mac Pro board architecture. It doesn't have a mini ATX board inside. It has a main mezzanine or I/O board that CPU, GPU and other cards go into, which is conceptually what the 2008 (?) Mac Pro to 2013 Mac Pro models did. Or maybe you can say the PCIe CPU board is the motherboard and it has an PCIe extender/riser board to mount cards parallel to the CPU board, but I digress.

    Anyways, for $3000, I rather Apple do the 2019 Mac Half Pro idea where they chop 5 inches of depth out the back. It will mean PCIe boards need to be 7" or shorter, but there will be 6 to 7 PCIe slots to play with in a 8.6" wide by 12.7" deep by 20" tall footprint. Getting rid of the handles and using shorter feet would cut it down to about 17".

    Apple's Adobe CC machine or premium consumer desktop is the iMac 5K, and for those who want a little more, the iMac Pro. It's going to take a serious change in direction or philosophy for them to offer a machine that overlaps with that.


    The only problem with 7-inch PCI-e on what you propose is the same problem that the eight-inch NUC enclosure has -- you leave a lot of GPU cards out.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 40
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    rob53 said:
    So the NUC 9 Pro kit won't be able to run macOS, correct? Just checking. The whole reason for this article is to try and define an xMac or expandable Mac mini, maybe? From what the article shows, the Mac mini still beats the snot out of the NUC 9 box.

    If Apple doesn't do something real soon to bring back customers, Mac OS on the desktop is dead.    I can't read the mid of the article writers but it is amazingly clear to many of us that Apple has a huge gap in its desktop hardware between a Mini and a Mac Pro.   As for one beating the other I suspect rose colored glasses are in use here.

    I'm of the opinion that the old trash can Pro wold make a better Mini replacement than the current Mini form factor.   All many of us want is a Mini with a fairly decent GPU card and room for SSD expansion (M.2 slots).   The basic desire for an Xmac as many have called it has not changed in years, we just want a desktop machine that can do CAD and other graphical work without totally sucking.   Apple inability to understand the need and the boondoggle that is the new Mac Pro has me running Linux on a self built machine.  Nothing exceptional in the build, just a 5500XT video card and 3800 AMD CPU.

    In a nut shell the Mini is just a terrible value.
    ElCapitanentropys
  • Reply 6 of 40
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    tht said:


    Apple's Adobe CC machine or premium consumer desktop is the iMac 5K, and for those who want a little more, the iMac Pro. It's going to take a serious change in direction or philosophy for them to offer a machine that overlaps with that.



    Because they haven't addressed the issue people like me have given up on the idea of a rational desktop Mac.   The price they want to charge for a Mac Pro just isn't acceptable if all you need is a good desktop processor and a GPU.     By the way this Nuc is pretty high end, something less would be just as attractive.   The big problem though is that Intel is so far behind performance wise that it makes no sense to even consider one of these.   What Apple needs to do is remove head from butt and start implementing AMD hardware - the Mini is almost the perfect pace to do this.

    I mean really Apple keeps lying to use about how green they are but yet they use power hungry Intel chips across the board.   That right there is reason enough to use AMD but the icing on the cake is that you can beat intel performance wise while running at half the power.  So yeah AMD in the Mini makes lost of sense and has for the last 2 years.
  • Reply 7 of 40
    OferOfer Posts: 101unconfirmed, member
    It feels like Apple has given up on investing in consumer-level desktop machines for someone that isn’t going to spend thousands on (and doesn’t need) a Pro unit. As others have already ready mentioned, the Mac mini doesn’t cut it. The iMac isn’t user expandable and hasn’t seen any innovation in a while.
    ElCapitan
  • Reply 8 of 40
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    rob53 said:
    So the NUC 9 Pro kit won't be able to run macOS, correct? Just checking. The whole reason for this article is to try and define an xMac or expandable Mac mini, maybe? From what the article shows, the Mac mini still beats the snot out of the NUC 9 box.
    The CPU benchmarks are all in the NUC's favor, and so are the GPU ones -- assuming you don't add an eGPU. In theory, the Nuc 9 Pro kit could get macOS shoehorned with Hackintosh, but I haven't delved into it that far. 
    I will never accept the idea of eGPU's so that is a huge strike against the Mini.   As for MacOS I really believe it will be dead as far as desktop machines go if Apple doesn't wake up.   The new Mac Pro leaves far to many professional uses dead in the water so to speak, the economics of the machine just doesn't make sense.   It doesn't matter which way you go, the Mac Pro is whipped soundly at the high end by Thread Ripper machines, and at the low end by just about every none Apple desktop.    Fro an engineering workstation one can buy all sorts of suitable machines from a host of vendors and not have to pay Apple high entry fee.  

    tht said:
    This NUC has a pretty interesting industrial design, and is actually Apple-esque in concept. Not pretty, but it follows Apple's typical Mac Pro board architecture. It doesn't have a mini ATX board inside. It has a main mezzanine or I/O board that CPU, GPU and other cards go into, which is conceptually what the 2008 (?) Mac Pro to 2013 Mac Pro models did. Or maybe you can say the PCIe CPU board is the motherboard and it has an PCIe extender/riser board to mount cards parallel to the CPU board, but I digress.

    Anyways, for $3000, I rather Apple do the 2019 Mac Half Pro idea where they chop 5 inches of depth out the back. It will mean PCIe boards need to be 7" or shorter, but there will be 6 to 7 PCIe slots to play with in a 8.6" wide by 12.7" deep by 20" tall footprint. Getting rid of the handles and using shorter feet would cut it down to about 17".

    Apple's Adobe CC machine or premium consumer desktop is the iMac 5K, and for those who want a little more, the iMac Pro. It's going to take a serious change in direction or philosophy for them to offer a machine that overlaps with that.


    The only problem with 7-inch PCI-e on what you propose is the same problem that the eight-inch NUC enclosure has -- you leave a lot of GPU cards out.

    This is true but there are short and low profile cards out there that still outperform integrated graphics.    Some of those forms are "standard" others aren't but putting a discreet GPU into a small form factor PC is not impossible.   Hell it doesn't even need to be a card, Apple could solder a GPU on the motherboard and I'd be happy if they didn't screw up pricing.    This is a big failing on Apple part in the past, GPU's often added far to much to the price of hardware vs what you was getting in a GPU.   I really can't see a reasons for Apple to charge more for a discreet GPU than it is worth as a plug in card in the open market.   The seemingly just kill sales and then drop the product.
  • Reply 9 of 40
    thttht Posts: 4,040member

    tht said:
    This NUC has a pretty interesting industrial design, and is actually Apple-esque in concept. Not pretty, but it follows Apple's typical Mac Pro board architecture. It doesn't have a mini ATX board inside. It has a main mezzanine or I/O board that CPU, GPU and other cards go into, which is conceptually what the 2008 (?) Mac Pro to 2013 Mac Pro models did. Or maybe you can say the PCIe CPU board is the motherboard and it has an PCIe extender/riser board to mount cards parallel to the CPU board, but I digress.

    Anyways, for $3000, I rather Apple do the 2019 Mac Half Pro idea where they chop 5 inches of depth out the back. It will mean PCIe boards need to be 7" or shorter, but there will be 6 to 7 PCIe slots to play with in a 8.6" wide by 12.7" deep by 20" tall footprint. Getting rid of the handles and using shorter feet would cut it down to about 17".

    Apple's Adobe CC machine or premium consumer desktop is the iMac 5K, and for those who want a little more, the iMac Pro. It's going to take a serious change in direction or philosophy for them to offer a machine that overlaps with that.
    The only problem with 7-inch PCI-e on what you propose is the same problem that the eight-inch NUC enclosure has -- you leave a lot of GPU cards out.
    True, but it'll allow Apple to have 250 W GPU configs, and buyers can put two of those into the box. And, if some OEM is willing, they can package a Radeon into this 7" form factor too. There are lot of 7" or shorter PCIe storage and I/O cards as well. If buyers need 12.5" length cards, there's the full Mac Pro.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    thttht Posts: 4,040member
    Ofer said:
    It feels like Apple has given up on investing in consumer-level desktop machines for someone that isn’t going to spend thousands on (and doesn’t need) a Pro unit. As others have already ready mentioned, the Mac mini doesn’t cut it. The iMac isn’t user expandable and hasn’t seen any innovation in a while.
    It's been over 20 years. The iMac is Apple's offering in the consumer level desktop machine. It ranges from $1100 to >$5000 with the iMac Pro.

    The Mac mini was originally intended as a PC switcher model, not a mainstay computer. With laptops being the large majority of sales for consumers, the marketing of the Mac mini changed to it being a utility computer. The iMac remains as Apple's desktop offering for consumers.

    A lot of people want a cheap expandable box. It's not going to happen. Apple hasn't offered a "cheap" expandable box since the Xeon switch in 2007 or so. Before that, a base model Power Mac could be had for something like $1800 at the cheapest, if that can be considered cheap. Maybe it was $1500 for a G4 model?

    This Xeon NUC comparison is for a $2800 custom box, doesn't come with RAM or storage for that price, and won't fit a lot of GPU and I/O cards. So, not talking cheap with this either.
    davenstompyheadfull0wine
  • Reply 11 of 40
    "We'd like to see a computer like a complete NUC 9 kit, aimed hit the same market segment that the original $1599 Graphite G4 tower was for."

    That's the market served by the standard 5K iMac. The apps that people bought a G4 tower to run back in the day will easily run on even the low end 5K iMac now. 
    chasmfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 40
    skingersskingers Posts: 21member
    At 900 bucks more for a 2 extra cores and a thermally challenged PCIE slot, this article did a great job of highlighting the value of the Mac Mini over the Nuc 9.  I agree a mid range headless Mac with internal expansion slot or two would be nice, but not in this footprint.
    cat52ElCapitanmacpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 40
    thttht Posts: 4,040member

    wizard69 said:
    tht said:
    Apple's Adobe CC machine or premium consumer desktop is the iMac 5K, and for those who want a little more, the iMac Pro. It's going to take a serious change in direction or philosophy for them to offer a machine that overlaps with that.
    Because they haven't addressed the issue people like me have given up on the idea of a rational desktop Mac.   The price they want to charge for a Mac Pro just isn't acceptable if all you need is a good desktop processor and a GPU.     By the way this Nuc is pretty high end, something less would be just as attractive.   The big problem though is that Intel is so far behind performance wise that it makes no sense to even consider one of these.   What Apple needs to do is remove head from butt and start implementing AMD hardware - the Mini is almost the perfect pace to do this.

    I mean really Apple keeps lying to use about how green they are but yet they use power hungry Intel chips across the board.   That right there is reason enough to use AMD but the icing on the cake is that you can beat intel performance wise while running at half the power.  So yeah AMD in the Mini makes lost of sense and has for the last 2 years.
    Considering the rumors, it looks like Apple is on its way to addressing Intel's problems by going to their own ARM processors. It's going to be an interesting next couple of years.
    roundaboutnowwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 40
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,262administrator
    "We'd like to see a computer like a complete NUC 9 kit, aimed hit the same market segment that the original $1599 Graphite G4 tower was for."

    That's the market served by the standard 5K iMac. The apps that people bought a G4 tower to run back in the day will easily run on even the low end 5K iMac now. 
    Read one more paragraph below this one in the article.
    edited June 2020 fastasleeprundhvid
  • Reply 15 of 40
    digitoldigitol Posts: 242member
    Pretty sad day to see an apple fan site, ask,beg,plead Apple for a better computer. Don't get me wrong I absolutely agree with this post, it's just sad. Long gone are the days of Apple's superiority PPC RISC, special made macs. Now we just get macs from the ol parts bin. Apple has almost become all but irrelevant. That's the word in the Valley, not me saying it, just repeating/agreeing. SAD. 
  • Reply 16 of 40
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,395member
    I feel like some people here (not the article's author) need a reminder that 90 percent of Mac mini sales are to regular consumers who want an internet machine that runs macOS (the other 10 percent are for web server co-location farms).

    For their money -- which is very comparable to a good Windows PC -- they'll get exactly what they are looking for, plus better after-sale support, years of reliable use, years of current updates, a very low risk of virus or ransomware, with almost zero clutter or fan noise. The NUC is an interesting experiment and perfect for some use cases, but there's a reason why you don't see them all over the place (in homes or at retail). For the consumer, a NUC is likely viewed as expensive for the kind of use they have in mind.

    As for the mythical xMac -- Apple remains unconvinced that there's enough of a market to justify it that's not served by the iMac/MBP families, and it's probably as simple as that. But if there ever was an xMac -- and I would be happy to see one -- I doubt it would take any design cues from either the mini or the NUC.
    tmaythtfastasleepcat52chiarob53watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 40
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    "We'd like to see a computer like a complete NUC 9 kit, aimed hit the same market segment that the original $1599 Graphite G4 tower was for."

    That's the market served by the standard 5K iMac. The apps that people bought a G4 tower to run back in the day will easily run on even the low end 5K iMac now. 

    The iMac is not suitable for a wide array of professional users.   One big reason is the included screen.   A second issue is the way Apple locks out the storage devices such that you are screwed if something goes wrong.   I can almost understand Apples approach for the boot drive, however that just means they have to provide an open M.2 port so that a persons storage is not compromised.   

    I really don't get it when people offer up the iMac in this manner.   The all in one platform simply isn't acceptable for many, especially one that goes out of the way to restrict access to the internals.   If you should need to destroy the storage device on one of these machine you end up spending excessive time just to get to it.   To put it mildly, for many professionals the storage devices is the life blood of the company and can't fall into the wrong hands.   That include larger organizations that have massive server rooms.
  • Reply 18 of 40
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    digitol said:
    Pretty sad day to see an apple fan site, ask,beg,plead Apple for a better computer. Don't get me wrong I absolutely agree with this post, it's just sad. Long gone are the days of Apple's superiority PPC RISC, special made macs. Now we just get macs from the ol parts bin. Apple has almost become all but irrelevant. That's the word in the Valley, not me saying it, just repeating/agreeing. SAD. 

    This is the truth!   After some really bad customer service from Apple and a total lack of reasonably priced machines that did what I needed done, I went the DIY PC route and put together a modern machine that should last awhile.   I'm running Linux at the moment and frankly it has gotten a lot better since 2008.   Let me tell you my money went a lot farther and I probably could have done the same thing just by going to Dell.

    So yeah SAD that we have to deal with grossly outdated hardware with zero innovation and price tags that are beyond reason.   These days one can buy an AMD based laptop for $600 that compete very well with Apples top of the line machine.   It might not win in every case but if you get 90 to 95% of the performance for a third of the price what do you do?
    avon b7
  • Reply 19 of 40
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,175member
    I sorta think the next major mac mini update will be an Apple based CPU not any kind of Intel CPU. But maybe I'm wrong.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 40
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    chasm said:
    . But if there ever was an xMac -- and I would be happy to see one -- I doubt it would take any design cues from either the mini or the NUC.

    Imagine the trash can with a desktop processor, a GPU card and an M.2 storage expansion card.
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