Desktop Discussion for 08/09

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
With laptop and iPod/iPhone updates out of the way, it's clear that Apple will next release updated desktop machines. That is 3 desktop lines. Below I'll outline my thoughts on how each will be upgraded and what direction i think they should go in.



Mac Pro

While I love the G5 style case, it's time to retire it. In my opinion, it's much too large and uses too many raw materials to manufacture. Something along the lines of the old G4 case (size-wise) would be preferable.



Internally, I would prefer that they separate the line by chipset/processor. On the high end they would continue to use the Xeon chipset. 8 RAM slots, 3 PCIe slots, Firewire 3200 and same ports as the current system. On the midrange systems I think they should take advantage of the desktop Core 2 processors and chipset. 4 RAM slots and the same ports as the high-end systems. The midrange systems would be a single processor system with up to quad cores.



This would allow Apple to offer a broader array of desktops at evenly spaced out price points and cut costs. In this economy offering a midrange Mac workstation is essential.



Price points: $1,499 - $1,799 - $2,499 - $2,999 First 2 are midrange, the last 2 are high-end.



iMac

In light of the new laptops, I think it's likely that the new iMacs will get the NVIDiA treatment as well. This offers some interesting possibilities:



A low-end iMac: It has a 20" LCD, a suitable Core 2 CPU and the NVIDIA chipset with the 9400M internal graphics and the addition of DisplayPort.



A prosumer iMac: It has a 24" or 30" LCD and an appropriate Core2 CPU (up to quad core). It would also inherit the MacBook Pro NVIDIA graphics hybrid set up.



Price points: $899 - $1,199 - $1,799 - $1,999 - $2,799 First 2 are low-end, the next 2 are prosumer 24" and the last is the 30".



Mac mini

Honestly, I think this little guy will be discontinued. But if not, it will get the same treatment as the low-end iMac above. Faster Core 2 CPU, NVIDIA chipset with 9400M, up to 4GB RAM, Firewire 800 port(replaces the 400), and DisplayPort.



Price points: $499 - $699 Any higher, and why bother when you could get an iMac for the same.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    With laptop and iPod/iPhone updates out of the way, it's clear that Apple will next release updated desktop machines. That is 3 desktop lines. Below I'll outline my thoughts on how each will be upgraded and what direction i think they should go in.



    Mac Pro

    While I love the G5 style case, it's time to retire it. In my opinion, it's much too large and uses too many raw materials to manufacture. Something along the lines of the old G4 case (size-wise) would be preferable.



    Internally, I would prefer that they separate the line by chipset/processor. On the high end they would continue to use the Xeon chipset. 8 RAM slots, 3 PCIe slots, Firewire 3200 and same ports as the current system. On the midrange systems I think they should take advantage of the desktop Core 2 processors and chipset. 4 RAM slots and the same ports as the high-end systems. The midrange systems would be a single processor system with up to quad cores.



    This would allow Apple to offer a broader array of desktops at evenly spaced out price points and cut costs. In this economy offering a midrange Mac workstation is essential.



    Price points: $1,499 - $1,799 - $2,499 - $2,999 First 2 are midrange, the last 2 are high-end.



    iMac

    In light of the new laptops, I think it's likely that the new iMacs will get the NVIDiA treatment as well. This offers some interesting possibilities:



    A low-end iMac: It has a 20" LCD, a suitable Core 2 CPU and the NVIDIA chipset with the 9400M internal graphics and the addition of DisplayPort.



    A prosumer iMac: It has a 24" or 30" LCD and an appropriate Core2 CPU (up to quad core). It would also inherit the MacBook Pro NVIDIA graphics hybrid set up.



    Price points: $899 - $1,199 - $1,799 - $1,999 - $2,799 First 2 are low-end, the next 2 are prosumer 24" and the last is the 30".



    Mac mini

    Honestly, I think this little guy will be discontinued. But if not, it will get the same treatment as the low-end iMac above. Faster Core 2 CPU, NVIDIA chipset with 9400M, up to 4GB RAM, Firewire 800 port(replaces the 400), and DisplayPort.



    Price points: $499 - $699 Any higher, and why bother when you could get an iMac for the same.



    The $700-$800 mini should add 128-256 of it's own vram or drop mini to $500 only 1 system 9400 / 9300 nvidia 2gb or ram and super drive.



    Core 2 and Xeon is due to be replaced core i7 so maybe have a desktop core2 system staring at $700 as at first core i7 is to be high end desktop / workstation / sever.



    $700 desktop nvdia 9300 / 9400m with on board video or no on board video. pci-e 1x16 2 slot wide 1x4 and 1x1 4 ddr2 or ddr3 slots.



    or



    $1200+ core i7 intel (cut down x58 or some other chipset / nvidia core i7 board) desktop 6 ddr3 slots 3 channel ram 1x16 2 wide or a pci or x1 slot in the gap 1x16 (x16 - x1 or x8 x8 cross fire and SLI) 1x4



    core i7 desktop look to have a higher cost then the older core 2 system but apple can cut costs may have a board that is not as high end as a x58 board.



    $2000+



    dual cpu cut down skull trial 2 based system x16 slots 1x16 2 slot wide 1x16 2 wide or a x1 or pci next to it x16 in x4 or x8 mode cross fire and 3 way SLI. 6 ram slots non ecc ram 3 channels per cpu.



    $2800+



    Dual cpu sever / workstation chipset with 12 slots of ECC ram 1x16 2 wide 1x16 at x8 1x16 at x8 1x16 at x8
  • Reply 2 of 60
    gugygugy Posts: 794member
    I agreed that the MacPro needs a design revamp.

    It has been too long and it's time for a fresh new case. Smaller will be nice as long as don't compromise the expandability we have now. In the end the MacPro for most folks sits under the table and nobody sees it. At least for me.



    I do look forward to a refresh on the Cinema Display line. Adding iSight would be a good move and please make sure there is a option for matte screens, since professionals tend to prefer it. A larger than 30" display would be nice, but I am not counting on it.



    I would expect these changes at MWSF. That would be in good time after Apple gets the latest chips from Intel predict by around November. Let's hope so.
  • Reply 3 of 60
    mjteixmjteix Posts: 563member
    @ Outsider

    Too many different models, prices too low (in general)



    @ Joe_the_dragon

    It's too difficult to understand what you're trying to say



    @gugy

    The chips Intel "predicted" from late november are high-end desktop ones (Core i7) and will be followed by Xeons of the same kind (for the Mac Pro). Unless Apple choose to release a single processor tower, they will not used the Core i7 cpus, but dual nehalem xeons in the new Mac Pro.



    - iMac

    With what Intel has to offer in terms of cpu, there's not much to upgrade to for the iMac.

    Even with the chips that will be launched late december, the fastest mobile C2D will still be the 3.06GHz already used in the high-end iMac. Of course, Apple could update the gpus, probably to nvidia ones (9600/9800 flavors). Since Apple has now a 24" LED-BL display, it could be used in the 24" iMac. Probably Apple will also move the 20" to a LED-BL display. Given the higher cost of those displays, if Apple chooses to used them, I don't think we will see any speedbump for the iMac and possibly some pricing changes, just like they did for the 13" MacBook:



    $1299 20" LED-BL display 2.26/2.40GHz 2GB RAM 320GB HDD 9600/256MB GPU

    $1599 20" LED-BL display 2.53/2.66GHz 2GB RAM 500GB HDD 9600/512MB GPU

    $1899 24" LED-BL display 2.80GHz 2GB RAM 500GB HDD 9600/512MB GPU

    $2199 24" LED-BL display 3.06GHz 2GB RAM 500GB HDD 9800/512MB GPU



    They will probably release a 20" LED-BL standalone display for $599 to match the 20" iMac and offer a lower cost option for the MB/MBP/Mac mini?



    - Mac mini

    While I like the small Mac, I am not yet convinced that it will be upgraded. But if it is, the easy way would be to use the new MacBook motherboard as the base. Unfortunatly that would probably mean no Firewire...

    $599 2.00GHz Mac mini 2GB RAM nvidia 9400M 160GB HDD Superdrive

    $799 2.40GHz Mac mini 2GB RAM nvidia 9400M 250GB HDD Superdrive



    - Mac Pro

    We all know that nehalem is coming, first for high-end desktops (Core i7 920/940/965) and just after that for the dual cpus Xeon servers and workstations. Given the high price of the DP enabled cpus we will likely see slower clock speeds (but similar or even better performance than the current harpertown xeons) or higher prices (and probably both).

    $2299 single-quad 2.66GHz, 3GB RAM, 320GB HDD, Superdrive, nvidia GPU (even if that makes no sense to me, they could make a X58+Core i7-965 @ 3.20GHz Mac for about $1999)

    $2999 dual-quad 2.66GHz, 3GB RAM, 320GB HDD, Superdrive, nvidia GPU

    $3999 dual-quad 2.93GHz, 3GB RAM, 320GB HDD, Superdrive, nvidia GPU

    $4599 dual-quad 3.20GHz, 3GB RAM, 320GB HDD, Superdrive, nvidia GPU



    *****

    See my other post for "temporary insanity" predictions/wishes...
  • Reply 4 of 60
    A minor update for the iMac line is reasonably expected for November, just in time for the Xmas season...as for the MacPro, updates will come ONLY once Nehalem is out.



    The MacMini is DEAD...but Apple will release an updated special edition Cube for the happiness of all...wait and see
  • Reply 5 of 60
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Apple needs to get Open CL or CUDA working and fast.



    There isn't going to be much of a speed increase for the mobile chips until Nahalem goes mobile and that isn't until late next year IIRC.



    Open Gl and/or CUDA could help Apple massage a little more performance out of these machines until then. If not the iMac, mini and laptop lineups are going to get a little stale performance wise.
  • Reply 6 of 60
    seek3rseek3r Posts: 179member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    The $700-$800 mini should add 128-256 of it's own vram or drop mini to $500 only 1 system 9400 / 9300 nvidia 2gb or ram and super drive.



    Core 2 and Xeon is due to be replaced core i7 so maybe have a desktop core2 system staring at $700 as at first core i7 is to be high end desktop / workstation / sever.



    $700 desktop nvdia 9300 / 9400m with on board video or no on board video. pci-e 1x16 2 slot wide 1x4 and 1x1 4 ddr2 or ddr3 slots.



    or



    $1200+ core i7 intel (cut down x58 or some other chipset / nvidia core i7 board) desktop 6 ddr3 slots 3 channel ram 1x16 2 wide or a pci or x1 slot in the gap 1x16 (x16 - x1 or x8 x8 cross fire and SLI) 1x4



    core i7 desktop look to have a higher cost then the older core 2 system but apple can cut costs may have a board that is not as high end as a x58 board.



    $2000+



    dual cpu cut down skull trial 2 based system x16 slots 1x16 2 slot wide 1x16 2 wide or a x1 or pci next to it x16 in x4 or x8 mode cross fire and 3 way SLI. 6 ram slots non ecc ram 3 channels per cpu.



    $2800+



    Dual cpu sever / workstation chipset with 12 slots of ECC ram 1x16 2 wide 1x16 at x8 1x16 at x8 1x16 at x8



    I doubt we'll see a sub 2k mac tower, really really doubt it.



    Also, a nitpick, the i7 server chips will be Xeon branded and replace the core2 based ones just as the core2 based ones replaced the P4 based, etc ones before them. Intel's server brand has been Xeon for a long time.



    A last thing btw, I dont know about most people, but I happen to like the current case design, dont think it's dated much :-)
  • Reply 7 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by seek3r View Post


    I doubt we'll see a sub 2k mac tower, really really doubt it.



    But we will see a Psystar system there + maybe even more.
  • Reply 8 of 60
    The Mac Pro is a workstation, not a desktop, so Apple can keep it as high-end as they want. The iMac is an all-in-one and it serves its purpose well. The Mac mini also serves its purpose well, but it needs to be updated with the same innards as the MacBook. The problem isn't what Apple is selling, but what Apple is not selling, and that is a true desktop computer which will support:
    • 1 desktop quad-core processor

    • 4 RAM slots

    • 3 hard drives

    • 1 PCIe 2.0 graphics slot

    • 2 expansion slots

    • 2nd drive bay

    • 1 Ethernet port

    • 2 FireWire800 (1 front, 1 back), no FireWire400

    • 5 USB (2 front, 3 back)

    • Combined optical digital input/analog line in

    • Combined optical digital input/analog line out

    Apple could easily sell this model for $1799. It is $1,000 less than the current base model Mac Pro and $500 less than the base model with one processor.
  • Reply 9 of 60
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,698member
    Outsider, I agree that Apple should release a smaller, mid-range desktop but I highly, highly doubt that they will.



    In terms of the higher-end workstation-class desktop, I really don't think the Mac Pro could be any smaller without compromising its workstation status (i.e. power and expandability). I expect the casework to stay more-or-less as it is.



    iMac - you're probably right except for the low-end price points. Steve made it *very* clear in the last earnings conference call that Apple have no intention of lowering prices.



    Mac Mini - don't think it'll be discontinued. It'll get the nVidia chipset and probably lose firewire altogether.
  • Reply 10 of 60
    The mini has room for firewire and $800+ on board video that uses system ram?



    The imac needs a mate screen.
  • Reply 11 of 60
    ssassa Posts: 47member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by troberts View Post


    The Mac Pro is a workstation, not a desktop, so Apple can keep it as high-end as they want. The iMac is an all-in-one and it serves its purpose well. The Mac mini also serves its purpose well, but it needs to be updated with the same innards as the MacBook. The problem isn't what Apple is selling, but what Apple is not selling, and that is a true desktop computer which will support:
    • 1 desktop quad-core processor

    • 4 RAM slots

    • 3 hard drives

    • 1 PCIe 2.0 graphics slot

    • 2 expansion slots

    • 2nd drive bay

    • 1 Ethernet port

    • 2 FireWire800 (1 front, 1 back), no FireWire400

    • 5 USB (2 front, 3 back)

    • Combined optical digital input/analog line in

    • Combined optical digital input/analog line out

    Apple could easily sell this model for $1799. It is $1,000 less than the current base model Mac Pro and $500 less than the base model with one processor.



    I doubt that the machine really needs 2 FireWire 800 ports, but I doubt going to one would dramatically cut costs. Nevertheless, I wonder whether this model would be significantly worse than the Mac Pro to not really cannibalize sales of the Mac Pro.



    I always thought Apple should have one midrange system than used standard desktop DDR2. Nothing terribly fancy, but large enough to support one decent graphics card and maybe one extra PCIe slot. Offer support for 2 SATA HDDs and you would have a decent desktop gaming Mac. Anyone wanting to use the machine as any type of server or workstation would obviously prefer to have the Xeons, FB-DIMMs, support for SAS, fibre channel, etc., but anyone who just wanted a something with enough power to play a couple of games and maybe some consumer type video would find the the Mac Pro overkill. Since any such machine would be over $1000 it wouldn't likely hurt the sales of the Mac Mini. Therefore, most of the customers for said machine likely wouldn't have otherwise purchased a different model Mac.



    While I agree with you that Apple needs a standalone desktop with more power than the Mac Mini, but not so much power as to possibly siphon off sales from the profitable Mac Pro sales I doubt that in the current economy Apple is going to be doing anything that radical. The last such machine, the Mac Cube was an absolute flop and I think ever since then Apple has been reluctant to make any standalone desktop at the price point. I think the problems with the Cube more came out of the design rather that nobody wanted to buy a Mac at that price point.
  • Reply 12 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by troberts View Post


    The Mac Pro is a workstation, not a desktop, so Apple can keep it as high-end as they want. The iMac is an all-in-one and it serves its purpose well. The Mac mini also serves its purpose well, but it needs to be updated with the same innards as the MacBook. The problem isn't what Apple is selling, but what Apple is not selling, and that is a true desktop computer which will support:
    • 1 desktop quad-core processor

    • 4 RAM slots

    • 3 hard drives

    • 1 PCIe 2.0 graphics slot

    • 2 expansion slots

    • 2nd drive bay

    • 1 Ethernet port

    • 2 FireWire800 (1 front, 1 back), no FireWire400

    • 5 USB (2 front, 3 back)

    • Combined optical digital input/analog line in

    • Combined optical digital input/analog line out

    Apple could easily sell this model for $1799. It is $1,000 less than the current base model Mac Pro and $500 less than the base model with one processor.



    If Apple builds a desktop, it won't have any PCIe slots. It'll have a discrete GPU, but not an upgradeable one on a card. Apple would never jeopardize Mac Pro sales by giving a cheaper machine expansion slots.



    I can see a desktop CPU, 1-2 hard drive bays, one slot-loading optical drive. Apple could easily sell it for under a grand. As low as $500 if it has a plastic case instead of aluminum and an integrated graphics option. Of course they would never sell it so cheap.
  • Reply 13 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    If Apple builds a desktop, it won't have any PCIe slots. It'll have a discrete GPU, but not an upgradeable one on a card. Apple would never jeopardize Mac Pro sales by giving a cheaper machine expansion slots.



    I can see a desktop CPU, 1-2 hard drive bays, one slot-loading optical drive. Apple could easily sell it for under a grand. As low as $500 if it has a plastic case instead of aluminum and an integrated graphics option. Of course they would never sell it so cheap.



    It will need a slot to any good GPU in it. To bad they don't want to use a AMD cpu + a 780g board with side port ram or a 790gx board.



    Maybe 2 slots 1x16 2 wide and a 1x4 slot.



    The workstation parts in the mac pro add about $500+ over the cost of a 1 cpu desktop system.



    on board video with a x16 slot will work and if apple wants to get gamers on mac also have a SLI / cross fire system with a desktop cpu.



    Bump the mac pro systems up to 2 cpus in all systems and have a $1000 - $500 gap from the base desktop to the base mac pro.



    Also the mac pro at $2200+ should have a better base video card.
  • Reply 14 of 60
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,770member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    If Apple builds a desktop, it won't have any PCIe slots. It'll have a discrete GPU, but not an upgradeable one on a card. Apple would never jeopardize Mac Pro sales by giving a cheaper machine expansion slots.



    Absolutely true.
  • Reply 15 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    But we will see a Psystar system there + maybe even more.



    Do you hang round the Psystar forums and keep at the same stuff? like they need an all in one.



    PLEASE just go and buy one of their machines and leave it at that.
  • Reply 16 of 60
    rickagrickag Posts: 1,626member
    The topic that won't die.



    I believe the starting price point of $1499 for the tower would be too high and might end up being discontinued much like the 1.8GHz G5 single processor tower, but that's just me.



    I guess hope springs eternal for the computers who's name shall remain unmentioned.
  • Reply 17 of 60
    ssassa Posts: 47member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    If Apple builds a desktop, it won't have any PCIe slots. It'll have a discrete GPU, but not an upgradeable one on a card. Apple would never jeopardize Mac Pro sales by giving a cheaper machine expansion slots.



    I can see a desktop CPU, 1-2 hard drive bays, one slot-loading optical drive. Apple could easily sell it for under a grand. As low as $500 if it has a plastic case instead of aluminum and an integrated graphics option. Of course they would never sell it so cheap.



    I think the reason why so many people are clammering for such a machine is because the Mac Mini historically has been underpowered where graphics is concerned. While there is a certain cadre who want a machine with upgradeable graphics at a lower price point there are a lot of people who simply want something with more power than a Mac Mini, but don't want to buy an iMac.



    Any standalone machine that offered a quad core, supported 2 3.5" HDDs, an optical drive, and included dedicated graphics even if it were built onto the motherboard would be a huge upgrade from the Mac Mini. A single CPU machine that used standard non-buffered non-ECC desktop memory wouldn't really compete as a workstation against the Mac Pro. Anyone in their right mind who knew what they were doing would get a Mac Pro over this unnamed Mac standalone.
  • Reply 18 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SSA View Post




    Any standalone machine that offered a quad core, supported 2 3.5" HDDs, an optical drive, and included dedicated graphics even if it were built onto the motherboard would be a huge upgrade from the Mac Mini. A single CPU machine that used standard non-buffered non-ECC desktop memory wouldn't really compete as a workstation against the Mac Pro. Anyone in their right mind who knew what they were doing would get a Mac Pro over this unnamed Mac standalone.



    It's not just bad video it's the weak cpu and slow HD in the mini.



    The harder to open case then all other desktops is a other thing.



    The g4 mini had good video for it's time. But apple also had a desktop starting at $1200 - $1500 at the same time.
  • Reply 19 of 60
    mjteixmjteix Posts: 563member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rickag View Post


    The topic that won't die.



    I believe the starting price point of $1499 for the tower would be too high and might end up being discontinued much like the 1.8GHz G5 single processor tower, but that's just me.



    I guess hope springs eternal for the computers who's name shall remain unmentioned.



    Maybe, maybe not, it depends on what is inside. There are plenty platforms to choose from in order to make a powerful desktop computer at that price range. $1499 is also quite the ASP for Apple lately. So it should satisfy the customer (who ever he is). I think we are past the dual-core "era", dual-core is not a differentiation point anymore, and more and more computers come with quad-core cpus, even laptops. In Apple's line-up, only the Mac Pro has more than 2 cores. With Snow Leopard coming later next year, I think that Apple should offer, at least some quad-core computers under $2,000.

    Even the current models could support some quad-core cpus:

    - the $1499 iMac has a DC 2.66GHz, and the upcoming Q9000 (QC @ 2.00GHz) costs about the same price ($348) and is supposed to have a TDP of 35W.

    - the Q9000 could be a less than $200 option for the $1599 MacBook

    - the 24" iMac would even be less expensive if offered with the Q9000 vs the DC 2.80GHz cpu ($348 vs $530),

    the Q9100 (QC @ 2.26GHz) could be offered at the same price as the DC 3.06GHz model (the cpus cost the same), and

    the QX9300 (QC @ 2.53GHz) could be offered as a BTO option for about $200 ($851 vs $1,038).

    - the $2499 MacBook Pro could also be offered with the Q9000 cpu as a BTO option for about nothing ($316 vs $348)



    Please note that I am not saying that a QC 2.00GHz is as fast as the DC 2.66GHz, or the QC 2.26GHz as fast as the DC 3.06GHz under Mac OS X right now. Some apps can make good use of more cores, and Snow Leopard is planned to help in that area too.



    Of course, Apple could keep the iMac/MBP lines as they are and offer quad-core cpus in another form factor (even a Cube) with more high-end/pro components. For example, imagine using the MacBook Pro motherboard, with all its ports, double some of them, and put it in a cube-shaped aluminium machined enclosure, with a mobile quad-core cpu, dual bays for 2.5" 7200 rpm HDDs or SSDs, and a Superdrive. Wifi-n, Bluetooth. Ethernet, 2x FW800, 4x USB, 2x mini-DP, audio I/O and Expresscard slot. Integrated power supply.

    $1299 quad 2.00GHz 2GB RAM 250GB 7200rpm HDD Superdrive 9600/512 GPU

    $1799 quad 2.26GHz 2GB RAM 250GB 7200rpm HDD Superdrive 9600/512 GPU

    $1999 quad 2.53GHz 2GB RAM 250GB 7200rpm HDD Superdrive 9600/512 GPU

    --- options: 4/8GB RAM (+$150/$750?), 320GB 7200 rpm HDD (+$100), 128GB SSD (+$550), 2nd drive ($150/$250/$700) ***Apple prices

    Top-end Aluminium Cube quad 2.53GHz, 8GB RAM, dual 128GB SSD = $3999. Happy birthday!



    I told you earlier, that i was in the mood for some insane predictions/wishes!



    With a (rumored) TDP of 35W, Apple could even offer a nvidia-based Mac mini with a 2.00GHz quad-core for about $999.

    $599 DC 2.00GHz (less that $200) Mac mini 2GB RAM nvidia 9400M 160GB HDD Superdrive

    $799 DC 2.40GHz ($241 for the cpu) Mac mini 2GB RAM nvidia 9400M 250GB HDD Superdrive

    $999 QC 2.00GHz ($348 for the cpu) Mac mini 2GB RAM nvidia 9400M 320GB HDD Superdrive
  • Reply 20 of 60
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjteix View Post


    Maybe, maybe not, it depends on what is inside. There are plenty platforms to choose from in order to make a powerful desktop computer at that price range. $1499 is also quite the ASP for Apple lately. So it should satisfy the customer (who ever he is). I think we are past the dual-core "era", dual-core is not a differentiation point anymore, and more and more computers come with quad-core cpus, even laptops. In Apple's line-up, only the Mac Pro has more than 2 cores. With Snow Leopard coming later next year, I think that Apple should offer, at least some quad-core computers under $2,000.

    Even the current models could support some quad-core cpus:

    - the $1499 iMac has a DC 2.66GHz, and the upcoming Q9000 (QC @ 2.00GHz) costs about the same price ($348) and is supposed to have a TDP of 35W.

    - the Q9000 could be a less than $200 option for the $1599 MacBook

    - the 24" iMac would even be less expensive if offered with the Q9000 vs the DC 2.80GHz cpu ($348 vs $530),

    the Q9100 (QC @ 2.26GHz) could be offered at the same price as the DC 3.06GHz model (the cpus cost the same), and

    the QX9300 (QC @ 2.53GHz) could be offered as a BTO option for about $200 ($851 vs $1,038).

    - the $2499 MacBook Pro could also be offered with the Q9000 cpu as a BTO option for about nothing ($316 vs $348)



    Please note that I am not saying that a QC 2.00GHz is as fast as the DC 2.66GHz, or the QC 2.26GHz as fast as the DC 3.06GHz under Mac OS X right now. Some apps can make good use of more cores, and Snow Leopard is planned to help in that area too.



    Of course, Apple could keep the iMac/MBP lines as they are and offer quad-core cpus in another form factor (even a Cube) with more high-end/pro components. For example, imagine using the MacBook Pro motherboard, with all its ports, double some of them, and put it in a cube-shaped aluminium machined enclosure, with a mobile quad-core cpu, dual bays for 2.5" 7200 rpm HDDs or SSDs, and a Superdrive. Wifi-n, Bluetooth. Ethernet, 2x FW800, 4x USB, 2x mini-DP, audio I/O and Expresscard slot. Integrated power supply.

    $1299 quad 2.00GHz 2GB RAM 250GB 7200rpm HDD Superdrive 9600/512 GPU

    $1799 quad 2.26GHz 2GB RAM 250GB 7200rpm HDD Superdrive 9600/512 GPU

    $1999 quad 2.53GHz 2GB RAM 250GB 7200rpm HDD Superdrive 9600/512 GPU

    --- options: 4/8GB RAM (+$150/$750?), 320GB 7200 rpm HDD (+$100), 128GB SSD (+$550), 2nd drive ($150/$250/$700) ***Apple prices

    Top-end Aluminium Cube quad 2.53GHz, 8GB RAM, dual 128GB SSD = $3999. Happy birthday!



    I told you earlier, that i was in the mood for some insane predictions/wishes!



    With a (rumored) TDP of 35W, Apple could even offer a nvidia-based Mac mini with a 2.00GHz quad-core for about $999.

    $599 DC 2.00GHz (less that $200) Mac mini 2GB RAM nvidia 9400M 160GB HDD Superdrive

    $799 DC 2.40GHz ($241 for the cpu) Mac mini 2GB RAM nvidia 9400M 250GB HDD Superdrive

    $999 QC 2.00GHz ($348 for the cpu) Mac mini 2GB RAM nvidia 9400M 320GB HDD Superdrive



    add 128-256 vram to the $800 and $100 system.
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