The Final Obstacle is clear: New Mac Mini,

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Finally Intel has allowed Nvidia to provide Geforce 9400 Chipset to be used with Atom.

I think there is a very high chance for Apple to introduce the cheapest, or in apple 's tone, the most affordable mac gets even more affordable.



And finally they could make a computer less then $500 dollars which is not a piece of junk.



Dual Core Atom 1.8Ghz ( 4 Threads with Hyper Threading )

Gefore 9400M



HDD or SSD.... ( I think 30GB SSD Makes more sense )



Although i dont expect them to introduce it in MacWorld. Since New Mac Mini would be best run with Snow Leopard.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    Atom was never an obstacle.



    Apple is not going to us an Atom. I'd expect to see an ARM based Mac mini before I saw an Atom sitting in a Mac.
  • Reply 2 of 26
    Irrelevant. Atom is an interesting processor, but it would be a massive downgrade for the mini.
  • Reply 3 of 26
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Atom is an interesting but lower performance processor as such it can't really be used to upgrade the Mini. You would want to see a performance boost to the Mini especially after it's very long time on the market with no significant improvement. Atom simply can't deliver that over a wide code base plus it really isn't a 64 bit processor.



    I cAn however see Atom in something like the next Apple TV. For such a device it might work well. The problem is Apple would be further ahead putting Apple TV into an ARM based SoC.





    Dave
  • Reply 4 of 26
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    I agree with ksec.



    I think an Atom powered mini would be 'good enough'. Throw in the 9400 NVIDIA IG and open cl to harness the power of the GPU and who knows how good the performance could be.



    Take out the optical drive and it could be the $399 machine that Murch was talking about in another thread.
  • Reply 5 of 26
    mjteixmjteix Posts: 563member
    I think that this could probably lead to a Mac nano (Apple's version of a nettop):

    - 1.6GHz dual-core Atom 330 + 9400m GPU, up to 2GB RAM (probably soldered), 2.5" 80-120GB low cost HDD, Wifi-N, BT, GbE, USB, miniDP, audio i/o. $399 seems right. Only after SL is released (summer 2009). Yet it would surprise me if Apple decided to release such a Mac.



    To me, the Mac mini should stay a full featured computer (for at least another year or two):

    - C2D cpu + 9400m GPU, up to 4GB RAM, HDD/SSD, Superdrive, at least as many ports as the MB, hopefully a f(e)w more. $599-$999 (depending on the configuration).
  • Reply 6 of 26
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjteix View Post


    I think that this could probably lead to a Mac nano (Apple's version of a nettop):

    - 1.6GHz dual-core Atom 330 + 9400m GPU, up to 2GB RAM (probably soldered), 2.5" 80-120GB low cost HDD, Wifi-N, BT, GbE, USB, miniDP, audio i/o. $399 seems right. Only after SL is released (summer 2009). Yet it would surprise me if Apple decided to release such a Mac.



    To me, the Mac mini should stay a full featured computer (for at least another year or two):

    - C2D cpu + 9400m GPU, up to 4GB RAM, HDD/SSD, Superdrive, at least as many ports as the MB, hopefully a f(e)w more. $599-$999 (depending on the configuration).



    I like that except the mini dp. Apple will probably adopt it in new machines but that means you'll need to get a dp display and those are expensive. Who wants to buy a $399 machine and an $800 display?



    I guess you could get an adaptor to hook up a VGA display but then aren't you locked out of some DRM protected content?
  • Reply 7 of 26
    By the way, here is the Nvidia "Ion" reference platform:







    In case you can't see the image, it's from here.



    I can't emphasize enough that while this is very interesting, it would be a lot slower than the current mini. Going from Core 2 Duo (even an outdated one) to Atom would result in a huge loss of performance. Even graphically, it wouldn't be a significant boost except for 1080p playback, because the Atom processor and memory are too slow to keep the GPU fed.
  • Reply 8 of 26
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,354member
    That's a hot little platform.





    The problem is Apple not the tech. It's not that Apple can't deliver a sub $500 computer that works it's that they don't want to.



    This would be nice for an Apple TV but honestly I think Apple might be using ARM/PowerVR for the next hardware refresh of the ATV.



    All I know is that next year should be exciting for hardware regardless of whether it comes from Apple or not.
  • Reply 9 of 26
    ssassa Posts: 47member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Atom was never an obstacle.



    Apple is not going to us an Atom. I'd expect to see an ARM based Mac mini before I saw an Atom sitting in a Mac.



    Huh? Of all the adjectives I would use to describe ARM based chips, powerful isn't one of them. Furthermore, you would have binary compatibility issues on a ARM based chip.



    I think we are going to see a <$1000 Mac mini tower before we see an ARM based Mac.



    Furthermore, the dual core Atom isn't that bad of a a chip. It isn't that different spec wise from the original Yonah based Core Duo, which most people would agree while not cutting edge it is powerful enough to do most basic tasks. Most people only have ever used the N270, but the N330 has twice the L2 cache and is a dual core processor. It would be a poor candidate for the Mac Mini because even the fast Atom processors are still slower than the current processors on the Mac Mini, but it might be suitable for an Apple netbook. Such a machine would be quite a bit more powerful than most of the current netbooks, but the N330 wouldn't add too much cost to the machine.
  • Reply 10 of 26
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,354member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SSA View Post


    Huh? Of all the adjectives I would use to describe ARM based chips, powerful isn't one of them. Furthermore, you would have binary compatibility issues on a ARM based chip.



    I think we are going to see a <$1000 Mac mini tower before we see an ARM based Mac.



    Furthermore, the dual core Atom isn't that bad of a a chip. It isn't that different spec wise from the original Yonah based Core Duo, which most people would agree while not cutting edge it is powerful enough to do most basic tasks. Most people only have ever used the N270, but the N330 has twice the L2 cache and is a dual core processor. It would be a poor candidate for the Mac Mini because even the fast Atom processors are still slower than the current processors on the Mac Mini, but it might be suitable for an Apple netbook. Such a machine would be quite a bit more powerful than most of the current netbooks, but the N330 wouldn't add too much cost to the machine.



    This is is easy to see and the pieces keep falling together.



    1. Apple's been sneaking in more support for ARM in Xcode

    Quote:

    Support for ARM (iPhone OS) architecture



    2. Apple has even more engineers working on LLVM and CLANG 6 Engineers to be exact. Future development on GCC will be mostly maintainance



    3. Apple buys 8.2k shares in Imagination and secures license for PowerVR tech.



    4. Apple buys P.A Semi and gains the intellect of Dan Dobberpuhl who's worked extensively with PPC and ARM based IP.



    So we have improving ARM support in the development IDE on the precipice of ARM's rollout of their nextgen Coretex A8 and PowerVR license for OpenGL ES 2.0 and video support.



    These are not the actions of a company that's suddenly going to deliver an Atom based product. The binary compatability doesn't mean much when you're working full steam on heavily optimized JIT targets for different platforms which is LLVM r'aison d'etre.



    Stevie Wonder can see that Apple has no interest in Atom based products.
  • Reply 11 of 26
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    Why put an ultra-mobile processor in a desktop?
  • Reply 12 of 26
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bbwi View Post


    Why put an ultra-mobile processor in a desktop?



    The only reason I can see to use something like ATOM in a desktop is power as in watts. Here though I'm using the term desktop loosely as these would not be mainstream PCs as the performance is to low. Instead we are talking things like Apple TV, special use PC (kiosks), and special purpose servers.



    In any event the low power usage is an overiding factor. For these sorts of devices power saved over time is money in the bank. Lower power devices are usually cheaper so that adds to savings.



    An edample usage might be a super small PC hooked up to a video camera. All this guy needs to do is serve up that video via the net. All the machine needs to do is to sit there with the camera hooked and feed that data to the server or net



    Dave
  • Reply 13 of 26
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    The only reason I can see to use something like ATOM in a desktop is power as in watts. Here though I'm using the term desktop loosely as these would not be mainstream PCs as the performance is to low. Instead we are talking things like Apple TV, special use PC (kiosks), and special purpose servers.



    In any event the low power usage is an overiding factor. For these sorts of devices power saved over time is money in the bank. Lower power devices are usually cheaper so that adds to savings.



    An edample usage might be a super small PC hooked up to a video camera. All this guy needs to do is serve up that video via the net. All the machine needs to do is to sit there with the camera hooked and feed that data to the server or net



    Dave



    The original post wants to talk about the Mini and ultra-mobile processors. I'm just trying to stay on topic and ask the question, "Why put an ultra-mobile processor in a desktop?" Power is of no concern to desktops
  • Reply 14 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bbwi View Post


    The original post wants to talk about the Mini and ultra-mobile processors. I'm just trying to stay on topic and ask the question, "Why put an ultra-mobile processor in a desktop?" Power is of no concern to desktops



    the obvious Apple? Answer: To make it smaller



    Power is of no concern to big desktops. The mini/iMac's enclosure's do have thermal limits (at least I think they do) because of their smallness



    I really hope we do not see an Atom, nor any super-low-voltage processor, in the mini. At least not until they perform quite a bit better.



    But Apple-Anorexia suggests its a possibility.
  • Reply 15 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bbwi View Post


    The original post wants to talk about the Mini and ultra-mobile processors. I'm just trying to stay on topic and ask the question, "Why put an ultra-mobile processor in a desktop?" Power is of no concern to desktops



    1) They're relatively cheap (compared to mobile core 2 chips that are currently used)

    2) They allow Apple to produce a small form factor machine

    3) They're quiet and don't require additional methods for cooling
  • Reply 16 of 26
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by backtomac View Post


    1) They're relatively cheap (compared to mobile core 2 chips that are currently used)

    2) They allow Apple to produce a small form factor machine

    3) They're quiet and don't require additional methods for cooling



    1) Apple doesn't do cheap

    2) How much smaller does it need to be... again, it's a desktop

    3) I have a mini and the processor makes no noise, even with the fan
  • Reply 17 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bbwi View Post


    1) Apple doesn't do cheap

    2) How much smaller does it need to be... again, it's a desktop

    3) I have a mini and the processor makes almost no noise, even with the fan



    I can't really argue with that.



    All I was doing was speculating on what Apple could do to get the mini down in price and make it an appliance to complement other machines in the house.



    Example, if you wanted to get your children a small, cheap machine for their room to surf the web and use iLife and iWork apps for school work. The machine I've mentioned would do pretty well and could be priced at $399 and still be profitable for Apple.



    SJ says they can't make a machine for under $500 that isn't crap. I sort of feel that depends on your definition of crap. I think a OSX nettop machine could fill a niche that many users would appreciate. It's definitely not an enthusiast machine but still useful nonetheless.



    But I still doubt they'd do it. Dell and Asus on the other hand....
  • Reply 18 of 26
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by joelsalt View Post


    the obvious Apple? Answer: To make it smaller



    Power is of no concern to big desktops. The mini/iMac's enclosure's do have thermal limits (at least I think they do) because of their smallness



    I really hope we do not see an Atom, nor any super-low-voltage processor, in the mini. At least not until they perform quite a bit better.



    But Apple-Anorexia suggests its a possibility.



    Again, its a desktop, so it still needs to accommodate ports on the back. I don't see it getting much smaller even if they wanted to. They could trim a little off with a mini display port but not much. The processor they use now isn't that big and wouldn't save a lot of space. By switching processors and using a mini display port you may be able to shave an inch off the size. Is that inch really worth the performance hit?
  • Reply 19 of 26
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bbwi View Post


    The original post wants to talk about the Mini and ultra-mobile processors. I'm just trying to stay on topic and ask the question, "Why put an ultra-mobile processor in a desktop?"



    The point I was trying to make is that power, as in watts, is just about the only reason you have. All of the mobile processors that Apple has used have suffered performance wise verse what are otherwise desktop processors of the era. It is only recently, with Atom, that intel has had markably cheaper processors. Still I see the only reason to use Atom is it's power disapation.

    Quote:

    Power is of no concern to desktops



    See this is where you are wrong. Not to be blunt but every desktop has a thermal profile that must be dealt with. Look at the Mini for an example of a machine that couldn't be possible if built around a desktop chipset.



    Now consider the cool running nature of Atom. That "coolness" gives Apple a lot more options with respect to design. Things like Apple TV could be integrated right into a wall wart just like some of their networking hardware. One design I'd love to see Apple offer up is a computer integrated into a keyboard which would be usefull for dedicated tasks and go well with the new monitors and their integrated power supply.



    Then you must consider the environmental issues. Simply put using more power than required to get a job done is wasteful. For Apple this is a big deal as they like being green. For many businesses and a few homes power usage is a significant expense and is a reason as to why somebody would use Minis in server farms. It is not just watts into the machine that counts but the watts required to cool everything off.



    Actually Google has big issues with power usage that is on a grand scale. As such they have done a lot of research into what is the best way to manage the power issue for their demands. Power usage is an issue wether you have one or one hundred thousand processors to deal with.



    In any event my concern would be that an Atom powered machine be a bottom end machine. That is something sloted well below the Mini. Mainly because Atom doesn't have the performance right now to replace the current Mini for many users.





    Dave
  • Reply 20 of 26
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bbwi View Post


    Again, its a desktop, so it still needs to accommodate ports on the back. I don't see it getting much smaller even if they wanted to.



    If you think along the lines of a Mini type machine then obviously Atom doesnt make sense. Atom can't deliver a full desktop experience even against some of intels older hardware. Measured that way I don't ever see Atom being successful against regular desktop PC implementation.



    Not to sound like a broken record but Atom will likely only be successful in desktop devices that can best take advantage of it's low power nature. Things like AppleTV, kids computers, special purpose servers and fixed installations.

    Quote:

    They could trim a little off with a mini display port but not much. The processor they use now isn't that big and wouldn't save a lot of space.



    I/O can be mixed up to serve the targeted market. Apple has been doing this for years so is nothing new. But I'm not sure your arguement holds anyway because volume is impacted more by other devices than I/O ports. In any event if you don't have enough space on the short side use the long side.



    As to space, if one deletes the optical drive you would be surprised how much smaller the machine could get. There are already a number of embedded cards with Atom driving the works that are extremely small. Apple won't be able to go that small but could reduce PC board size significantly. Especially if they choose a single chip support device.

    Quote:

    By switching processors and using a mini display port you may be able to shave an inch off the size. Is that inch really worth the performance hit?



    Well you are missing the whole point such devices are meant for applications that won't suffer because of the performance hit. You make the assumption that every installation is performance sensitive which may be true but you have to realize performance is measured in different ways. It is not impossible to have a performance metric that says the box has to be completely sealed, you can't put intels latest and greatest into such a box without a lot of work. Or let's say you are making an Internet focused machine, just how much speed do you need considering todays slow pipes?
Sign In or Register to comment.