Apple Mid-Tower

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Would it be wise for Apple to release a Mid tower? After the updates yesterday and plenty of people disappointed with the lack of a sizable upgrade, should Apple just release one? I know it would sell but where would it fit in? Between the Mini and the iMac? Between the iMac and the Mac Pro? If it is in between the Mini and the iMac it would most likely be under powered and over priced but if it is in between the iMac and the Mac Pro, it would be too expensive and under powered!



What specs would you like to see in a Apple mid-tower if they were to release one?



2.66 Intel Core2Quad with 6MB of Cache (an optional 3GHz)

2GB of 1GHz DDR3 RAM (upgradeable to 8GB)

The Integrated graphics from NVIDIA or a selection of ATI cards

20 or 24 inch LED Display

and all the other goodies that comes with Macs (bluetooth, Airport, etc.)



The ideal price point would be $1,599. Seems expensive but i would like it to include a screen bundled with it.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 173
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by UTisNUM1 View Post


    Would it be wise for Apple to release a Mid tower? After the updates yesterday and plenty of people disappointed with the lack of a sizable upgrade, should Apple just release one? I know it would sell but where would it fit in?



    Yes of course they should. It doesn't have to fit in anywhere special. Honestly it can stand on it's own. Let's face it though it isn't that difficult to produce a desktop that would be faster than an iMac. That using last generation intel hardware. Install a modern i7 based processor and you could whip the iMac at a relatively slow clock speed.



    Quote:

    Between the Mini and the iMac? Between the iMac and the Mac Pro? If it is in between the Mini and the iMac it would most likely be under powered and over priced but if it is in between the iMac and the Mac Pro, it would be too expensive and under powered!



    Again it simple doesn't matter. I would care if it was slotted between Nina Hartely and Sarah Palin, as long as the thing ends up on the market. As to expense, it is an Apple product!

    Quote:



    What specs would you like to see in a Apple mid-tower if they were to release one?



    That is easy; quad cores, two expansion slots, room for two 3.5" drives, fairly good graphics and lots of I/O.

    Quote:



    2.66 Intel Core2Quad with 6MB of Cache (an optional 3GHz)

    2GB of 1GHz DDR3 RAM (upgradeable to 8GB)

    The Integrated graphics from NVIDIA or a selection of ATI cards

    20 or 24 inch LED Display

    and all the other goodies that comes with Macs (bluetooth, Airport, etc.)



    The ideal price point would be $1,599. Seems expensive but i would like it to include a screen bundled with it.



    In no bundled screens please. For the lackluster hardware you describe the box ought to come in around $1100. You have to remember a basic desktop doesn't offer much more than the Mini as far as I/O goes and desktop hardware is cheaper to buy. So at best you have to spend money for a couple of PCI Express sockets, brakets, and a larger power supply.



    Another way to look at this is to spec out a Bargan basement clone with the feature set you would like in a Mac and then add $300 dollars to the price. While Apple has better quality components, at times, the difference in price for the final machine isn't much. My think is that you can get what you describe for about $750.



    Dave
  • Reply 2 of 173
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,232member
    Apple mid tower



    Single Socket Nehalem

    Three 2.5" bays

    4 RAM slots

    PCI-Express graphics card with another open slot

    GigE, Wifi

    FW800 (two ports)



    $1699
  • Reply 3 of 173
    piotpiot Posts: 1,346member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by UTisNUM1 View Post


    Would it be wise for Apple to release a Mid tower?



    You're new here, aren't you?
  • Reply 4 of 173
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Apple mid tower



    Single Socket Nehalem

    Three 2.5" bays

    4 RAM slots

    PCI-Express graphics card with another open slot

    GigE, Wifi

    FW800 (two ports)



    $1699



    LGA1366 (Nehalem)

    2 3.5" bays (If they are keeping 3.5 in the iMac, why move to 2.5" in a mini tower?)

    2 PCI Express (1 16x, 1 4x or 1x)***

    4 DIMMs (either 3 in triple channel or 4 in 2 double channel)

    1 Gb Ethernet, Wireless N

    5 USB

    1 FW

    headphone jack & line in

    1 optical audio out.





    *** This is to preserve the distinction between pro and consumer towers. This should prevent from putting dual graphics cards and getting a 4 monitor system. A PCI Express 1x or 4x should still make available a lot of options for people down the road (USB 3, Firewire 3200, eSATA, TV tuner, etc.)
  • Reply 5 of 173
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Besides the obvious problem (that the industry is trending away from this model, and Apple is leading the trend) the other problem is that since it's wishware everyone has their own idea of what it should be. Most of these threads that I've seen over the last decade end up describing very nearly every permutation of the PC that the Windows market has explored and a few besides--all for about $500!



    So I propose two products: iBoard and Board Pro.



    What are they? ATX compatible motherboards. No case. No CPU. No GPU. No memory. No drives. Just the board. iBoard is compatible with Intel's consumer processors, Board Pro with their Xeons. Since the real desire of the "xMac" advocates is to build their own dream machine, this would provide them with the one piece of the puzzle that is not available on the open market. iBoard could even fit into your existing PC case (if it actually is an ATX case, not a proprietary lookalike).



    The only problem with this is that you're locked into ATX. That's where Board mini, Board shuttle and Board micro come in!



    No warranty would be provided to send home the message that if you don't know what you're doing you don't want this. But if you're serious about rolling your own Mac, this is just what you're looking for!
  • Reply 6 of 173
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,232member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    LGA1366 (Nehalem)

    2 3.5" bays (If they are keeping 3.5 in the iMac, why move to 2.5" in a mini tower?)

    2 PCI Express (1 16x, 1 4x or 1x)***

    4 DIMMs (either 3 in triple channel or 4 in 2 double channel)

    1 Gb Ethernet, Wireless N

    5 USB

    1 FW

    headphone jack & line in

    1 optical audio out.





    *** This is to preserve the distinction between pro and consumer towers. This should prevent from putting dual graphics cards and getting a 4 monitor system. A PCI Express 1x or 4x should still make available a lot of options for people down the road (USB 3, Firewire 3200, eSATA, TV tuner, etc.)



    3 bays meets the mini requirement for RAID-5.

    3.5 HDD development is winding down IMO. I don't see Seagate and

    WD investing as much in HDD technology. They'll probably coast on up to

    4TB and plateau.



    The second part is that SSD is going to supplant HDD in %65 of all computers by 2015 if not earlier. Most SSD will be in a 2.5" form factor.
  • Reply 7 of 173
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    3 bays meets the mini requirement for RAID-5.

    3.5 HDD development is winding down IMO. I don't see Seagate and

    WD investing as much in HDD technology. They'll probably coast on up to

    4TB and plateau.



    The second part is that SSD is going to supplant HDD in %65 of all computers by 2015 if not earlier. Most SSD will be in a 2.5" form factor.



    I see RAID as a pro feature and these people will be leaning toward the Mac Pro anyway. The fact of the matter is that 3.5 is still the dominant HDD tech when it comes to speed and capacity. Plus, you can always get a 3.5 bay adapter that houses 2 2.5 drives.
  • Reply 8 of 173
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,232member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    I see RAID as a pro feature and these people will be leaning toward the Mac Pro anyway. The fact of the matter is that 3.5 is still the dominant HDD tech when it comes to speed and capacity. Plus, you can always get a 3.5 bay adapter that houses 2 2.5 drives.



    That's a hard sell when Disk Utility will set up a RAID set in any Mac with more than one drive. Also approaching the subject from that angle is tantamount to equating data protection at the disk drive as something only a Pro would want when I'm sure every computer user wants their data protected.



    HDD is great for capacity but it's speed dominance is gone forever. All of the SSD coming this year save for the lowest end stuff will be doing 200MBps reads and 150MBps writes regardless of SLC versus MLC designation. The Intel MLC that everyone raves about only writes at 75Mbps for perspective.



    By late 2010 the SSD bar will be 300MBps likely as the controllers will support SATA 6Gbps and 400MBps maximum speed.



    Are you going to give up that performance so that you can stick a pokey 3.5 HDD in your computer? Or are you going to do computer architects have always done. Tier your computing structure so that you most used data is coming off the fastest storage subsytem you can afford.



    Plus it's encouraging to know that a SSD RAID does not vibrate. You could stuff 10 in your computer and they'd make nary a sound.



    Price is the only impediment and I think that will not be an issue in a few years (regarding internal computing storage)
  • Reply 9 of 173
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    That's a hard sell when Disk Utility will set up a RAID set in any Mac with more than one drive. Also approaching the subject from that angle is tantamount to equating data protection at the disk drive as something only a Pro would want when I'm sure every computer user wants their data protected.



    HDD is great for capacity but it's speed dominance is gone forever. All of the SSD coming this year save for the lowest end stuff will be doing 200MBps reads and 150MBps writes regardless of SLC versus MLC designation. The Intel MLC that everyone raves about only writes at 75Mbps for perspective.



    By late 2010 the SSD bar will be 300MBps likely as the controllers will support SATA 6Gbps and 400MBps maximum speed.



    Are you going to give up that performance so that you can stick a pokey 3.5 HDD in your computer? Or are you going to do computer architects have always done. Tier your computing structure so that you most used data is coming off the fastest storage subsytem you can afford.



    Plus it's encouraging to know that a SSD RAID does not vibrate. You could stuff 10 in your computer and they'd make nary a sound.



    Price is the only impediment and I think that will not be an issue in a few years (regarding internal computing storage)



    I just don't see Apple putting 2.5 drives in a mini tower when even the imac still uses these larger 3.5 drives. It doesn't negate your points.



    However, I think backups and data protection are better served with an external solution like a firewire drive.



    The things you mention sound good but SATA 6Gb is still relatively far off and large SSD drives are expensive or non-existent. Thank one reason why an extra PCI Express slot would be useful. Put one of those new SATA 6Gb cards in there, and you have fast access to internal and external drives. Also those Fusion IO cards look very promising.
  • Reply 10 of 173
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,232member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    I just don't see Apple putting 2.5 drives in a mini tower when even the imac still uses these larger 3.5 drives. It doesn't negate your points.



    However, I think backups and data protection are better served with an external solution like a firewire drive.



    The things you mention sound good but SATA 6Gb is still relatively far off and large SSD drives are expensive or non-existent. Thank one reason why an extra PCI Express slot would be useful. Put one of those new SATA 6Gb cards in there, and you have fast access to internal and external drives. Also those Fusion IO cards look very promising.



    I know and big hard drives are marketechture. Consumers feel ripped if they aren't seeing a terabyte of data storage.



    Intel's not ready for SATA 6Gbps



    http://www.tweaktown.com/news/11488/..._sata_3_6gbps/



    No worries there though because it's going to be mid 2010 before you start seeing a plethora of SSD that can actually deliver more throughput than SATA 3Gbps offers in a single drive.



    Oh yeah those Fusion IO drives were just OEM'd by HP. Big win there for Wozniak and crew.
  • Reply 11 of 173
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Amorph, I've often thought Apple should do just that, but instead of them making those motherboards, they should just certify motherboards or barebones systems to be used for loading MacOS. Maybe a partnership with Shuttle... the Apple/Shuttle Enthusiast Collaboration.





    Let's start with this guy:



    A pic of the motherboard





    The thing I like about it: NO LEGACY PORTS!
  • Reply 12 of 173
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    I just don't see Apple putting 2.5 drives in a mini tower when even the imac still uses these larger 3.5 drives. It doesn't negate your points.



    There are a lot of servers these days being built around 2.5" drives so the idea is not far fetched at all. Plus a lot of development effort seems to go into 2.5" SSD. Sure you won't have a system that is ideal for maximal storage but on the other hand you can have a lot more bays for a given platform. Also generally the small drives are lower power.

    Quote:



    However, I think backups and data protection are better served with an external solution like a firewire drive.




    Backup should certainly be an external device. However one should not confuse RAID with a backup device. A back up device can be RAID based but that doesn't make all RAID arrays backup devices.

    Quote:



    The things you mention sound good but SATA 6Gb is still relatively far off and large SSD drives are expensive or non-existent. Thank one reason why an extra PCI Express slot would be useful. Put one of those new SATA 6Gb cards in there, and you have fast access to internal and external drives. Also those Fusion IO cards look very promising.



    Yeah to Fusion I/O. All they need right now is a little competition to bring down the cost. The reality is that PCI Express is the smart connection method for Flash Drives. What would be nice is to see Apple lead the way here and implement / define an expansion card format specifically for Solid State Drives, flash based or not.

    What I'm saying here is that we need a new standard for the much faster technologies coming down the line for secondary storage.



    Dave
  • Reply 13 of 173
    2.66 i7.

    4 gigs of ram.

    Radeon 4870x2.

    1 TB HD.



    Price. A thousand or less.



    I saw 3 gig quads based on the 'Core' with about the same spec on Overclockers half a year ago.



    The i7 3 gig quad is going for slightly more. So...maybe £1200-1300.



    Lemon Bon Bon.
  • Reply 14 of 173
    krassykrassy Posts: 595member
    i'm all for a mid-tower... !
  • Reply 15 of 173
    rickagrickag Posts: 1,626member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Amorph View Post


    ....

    Since the real desire of the "xMac" advocates is to build their own dream machine, ....



    I must be the exception, I have absolutely no desire to build a machine, I just wand a separate monitor, a couple of slots and maybe an extra drive bay.
  • Reply 16 of 173
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,233member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    LGA1366 (Nehalem)

    2 3.5" bays (If they are keeping 3.5 in the iMac, why move to 2.5" in a mini tower?)

    2 PCI Express (1 16x, 1 4x or 1x)***

    4 DIMMs (either 3 in triple channel or 4 in 2 double channel)

    1 Gb Ethernet, Wireless N

    5 USB

    1 FW

    headphone jack & line in

    1 optical audio out.





    *** This is to preserve the distinction between pro and consumer towers. This should prevent from putting dual graphics cards and getting a 4 monitor system. A PCI Express 1x or 4x should still make available a lot of options for people down the road (USB 3, Firewire 3200, eSATA, TV tuner, etc.)



    Still useless for leveraging OpenCL and OpenGL to their fullest, not to mention gaming or anything related to heavy crunching.



    Until the Mac Pro gets 2 full PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots, or the outlandish thought of 3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots producing a Mid-Tower with a differing in x16/x4/x1 slots is not going to happen.



    This year's Mac Pro is a stop gap as the industry moves forward to 32nm and OpenCL gets added to all Nvidia and ATi GPUs, not to mention Larabee.
  • Reply 17 of 173
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Still useless for leveraging OpenCL and OpenGL to their fullest, not to mention gaming or anything related to heavy crunching.



    Until the Mac Pro gets 2 full PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots, or the outlandish thought of 3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots producing a Mid-Tower with a differing in x16/x4/x1 slots is not going to happen.



    This year's Mac Pro is a stop gap as the industry moves forward to 32nm and OpenCL gets added to all Nvidia and ATi GPUs, not to mention Larabee.



    The new Mac Pros DO have 2 PCI Express 16x slots and 2 4x slots. It's right there in the tech specs.



    There are 4 total PCI Express slots. One is already occupied by the graphics card (a 16x).

    Quote:

    Three open full-length PCI Express expansion slots5



    • One PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot



    • Two PCI Express 2.0 x4 slots



    All slots provide mechanical support for 16-lane cards

    300W combined maximum for all PCI Express slots



  • Reply 18 of 173
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Still useless for leveraging OpenCL and OpenGL to their fullest, not to mention gaming or anything related to heavy crunching.



    Until the Mac Pro gets 2 full PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots, or the outlandish thought of 3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots producing a Mid-Tower with a differing in x16/x4/x1 slots is not going to happen.



    This year's Mac Pro is a stop gap as the industry moves forward to 32nm and OpenCL gets added to all Nvidia and ATi GPUs, not to mention Larabee.



    OK, I thought we were talking about a mini tower for regular Joes, people at home, freelancers, self employed photographers, web designers, etc. People who don't need the brutal power of a Mac Pro but require more expandability than an iMac or mini. You know, Apple's bread and butter (at least they used to be Apples B&B). Maybe I'm completely out of touch with that market but i figured there was still a huge demand for a decent desktop for content creators. I know we are at a loss at our medium sized advertising agency as to what Macs to get to replace aging out of Applecare G5 towers. Laptops are out of the question and Mac Pros are putting us over our budget. They are each over $2300 with our corporate discount. If some company can come out with a replacement bezel for the iMacs, those will be our best bets and that is a sorry compromise.
  • Reply 19 of 173
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,232member
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/OCZ...RAID,7181.html







    Quote:

    Zoom The new Z Drive from OCZ is a storage device that connects to an x8 PCIe slot and offers 1 terabyte of storage capacity. The Z Drive is about the same size a dual-slot graphics card, so its not exactly small, but the device is stated to offer maximum read and write speeds of up to 600 MB/sec. and 500 MB/sec., respectively. According to the demo OCZ had on display at CeBIT though, the Z Drive was actually showing minimum and maximum read speeds of 654 MB/sec. and 712 MB/sec., respectively. Incredible.







    Fusion IO for the Rest of us.



    Um yes...I'll take that Mid Tower Mac Prosumer now please.
  • Reply 20 of 173
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Huz-freaking-zah! $1500 is not BAD AT ALL. We are going to be replacing one AVID workstation over to FCP and this would make a great work drive.
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