2014 Mac mini Wishlist

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  • Reply 81 of 1528
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RBR View Post


    Precisely! The iMacs had an extra internal SATA controller port. You could run some wiring from it to an eSATA port (OWC did this) and get the benefit of an external drive at essentially the same speed an an internal SATA drive. It was faster than FW800 in my experience.


     


    There seems to be some confusion about it not being a standard. SATA is a standard. It is just that there are three generations of it and a SATA 3 drive on a SATA 1 controller is only going to transfer data at SATA 1 rates. 


     



     


    Firewire has often sucked on the Macs even more than usual. Typically they'd use a single bridgeport that couldn't negotiate different speeds, meaning if you populated both FW400 and 800 ports, both would run at 400 speeds. They had a lot of irritating gotchas like that. SATA 1 would transfer at SATA 1 speeds regardless of where you run it. Anyway its bandwidth is higher than that of firewire, and the lack of data conversion takes away some overhead. It should run faster, but the upper bandwidth limit is also much higher. It's not as fast as thunderbolt or mini-SAS, but it's much cheaper than either of those. If thunderbolt came down in cost and a two port setup became standard, it could edge out the need for eSATA. Firewire stopped being ideal a long time ago. It was just there for stability and lack of a better option.


     


    Quote:


    There was a combination port I have sen on a few PCs which could physically accept either a USB plug or an eSATA plug. I have not first hand experience with them however.


     




    That would be cool, although I've never seen an external device that would be compliant with such a thing unless a special cable that delivers via eSATA with a usb connector at one end and eSATA connector at the other actually exists.

  • Reply 82 of 1528
    rbrrbr Posts: 631member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hmm View Post

    <snip>


    That would be cool, although I've never seen an external device that would be compliant with such a thing unless a special cable that delivers via eSATA with a usb connector at one end and eSATA connector at the other actually exists.



    The way it was explained to me, you could attach either a USB or eSATA device to this port. As I recall, it was on a laptop and having the combo port saved some space.

  • Reply 83 of 1528
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,787moderator
    rbr wrote:
    There was a combination port I have sen on a few PCs which could physically accept either a USB plug or an eSATA plug. I have not first hand experience with them however.

    eSATA doesn't provide power so they take the power from the USB port:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESATAp

    If it has to be a USB port for power, you'd be as well just using USB IMO. It's faster than FW and USB 2 but with USB 3, it's not important any more.
    winter wrote:
    How long do you figure it takes for a Mac mini redesign? I like the way it is now though knowing Apple, I think it is only a matter of time before it gets smaller and/or thinner.

    They could eventually make it as thin as a rMBP if it goes all Flash. It doesn't need two hard drives if they put the blade SSD on the motherboard. The server would lose the RAID1 option though.
  • Reply 84 of 1528
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    Marvin wrote: »
    They could eventually make it as thin as a rMBP if it goes all Flash. It doesn't need two hard drives if they put the blade SSD on the motherboard. The server would lose the RAID1 option though.

    I would be for that even though I love the current option. My only concern would be cooling though with the smaller nm process, it would be fine.
  • Reply 85 of 1528


    I'd like to see the Mini split into two product lines. 


     


    First line:  Thin.  That's it in a word.  Solder in the DIMMs, use mPCIe blade SSDs like in the MBA, and provide no internal HDD bays.  The goal here is a thin slip of aluminium that gives Ive a woody.  Offer it with only the lowest CPU speeds to keep heat minimal.  Integrate the aluminum exterior with the CPU heatsink to really get this thing THIN.  It should be a shiny bauble of the highest order, designed to sucker in rich computer illiterate buyers who can barely use a mouse.  Think up some gimmick for it that's not on anything else in Apple's lineup, like a special pad on top that inductively charges and syncs your iPhone.  Or whatever, it doesn't really matter what the gimmick is, it just needs to be enough to make people waste their money on a thin POS.  


     


    Second line:  Functional.  No mobile components for this one, just cheap, fast desktop processors, chipsets, and components.  Four 3.5" HDD bays.  Two mPCIe slots for blade type SSDs with logic board RAID support.  One double wide x16 PCIe slot for a video card, one x16 PCIe slot, and one x4 PCIe slot.  Four DIMM sockets, and a desktop Ivy Bridge quad core i7 CPU installed in an honest CPU socket.  Hearken back to the Power Mac Minitower and call it a Mac Mini Tower.  Style should be a miniature version of the Mac Pro with a removable side panel, lots of slow fans for quiet cooling, and ports on both the back and FRONT of the tower for USB, Thunderbolt, a card reader, and maybe Firewire.  Obviously the tower will need to be large enough to house a full length PCIe video card - NOT some custom Apple low profile card or some such nonsense.  No fanless bullsh!t either, this needs to be an honest desktop tower computer, something that expands as a user's needs grow.


     


    Of course only the thin Mini is realistic, which is why the Mini line doesn't interest me.  It's a stupid computer.  Why use more expensive, slower laptop components in a computer that sits on a desk?  Why solder the CPU to the logic board?  Why make it so hard to access all of the internal drive bays?  And no discrete GPU on a desktop computer?  The Mini is designed to be just enough computer for the moment it's purchased, but to require disposal within 2-3 years.  Landfill fodder.  It is ultimately one of the most immoral computers on the market today.

  • Reply 86 of 1528
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    Of course only the thin Mini is realistic, which is why the Mini line doesn't interest me.  It's a stupid computer.  Why use more expensive, slower laptop components in a computer that sits on a desk?  Why solder the CPU to the logic board?  Why make it so hard to access all of the internal drive bays?  And no discrete GPU on a desktop computer?  The Mini is designed to be just enough computer for the moment it's purchased, but to require disposal within 2-3 years.  Landfill fodder.  It is ultimately one of the most immoral computers on the market today.

    No way! 100% disagree. Does it need more for the cost? Yes absolutely no question. If I can get 2-3 years out of the 2011 Mac mini that I have now, I feel that's good.

    I don't want the Mini to be made any thinner but perhaps you give the $599 model (which hopefully it stays at or decreases) a dual-core i7 and then give the others quad-core i7s as before. Integrated graphics are becoming better on Intel's part though it is a shame they are not including a discrete GPU in at least one of them as an option.

    I totally disagree that the mini is a waste because Apple's computers are still too expensive for the average consumer. The fact that you can buy a cheap HDTV from Best Buy or Wal Mart to use as a monitor is grand.

    You're getting the specs of the $1,200 MBP in the $600 Mini. It makes great business sense.
  • Reply 87 of 1528
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Winter View Post





    No way! 100% disagree. Does it need more for the cost? Yes absolutely no question. If I can get 2-3 years out of the 2011 Mac mini that I have now, I feel that's good.

    I don't want the Mini to be made any thinner but perhaps you give the $599 model (which hopefully it stays at or decreases) a dual-core i7 and then give the others quad-core i7s as before. Integrated graphics are becoming better on Intel's part though it is a shame they are not including a discrete GPU in at least one of them as an option.

    I totally disagree that the mini is a waste because Apple's computers are still too expensive for the average consumer. The fact that you can buy a cheap HDTV from Best Buy or Wal Mart to use as a monitor is grand.

    You're getting the specs of the $1,200 MBP in the $600 Mini. It makes great business sense.




    He's trying to make what he wants in a machine out of the existing options. That is unlikely to ever happen. I'd prefer they were all quad core machines.

  • Reply 88 of 1528
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    I personally wouldn't mind that. A quad-core mobile processor starting at $599 would be great, adding in at least the Fusion drive as a BTO.
  • Reply 89 of 1528

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hmm View Post




    He's trying to make what he wants in a machine out of the existing options. That is unlikely to ever happen. I'd prefer they were all quad core machines.



    All quad-cores now, when the max for consumer desktop processors is quad-core, would contradict the purpose of the Mini.  It's not supposed to be a desktop computing solution for serious users, Apple wants those users to buy a new iMac every 2-3 years.  The most likely path for the Mini is thinner, with soldered DIMMs and SSDs, and no HDDs because thin.  Optimally it would just be a sealed slip of aluminum with a USB and Thunderbolt port on the back.  No power button, just a proximity sensor so you can wave your hand over it, lol.  


     


    From a design and technical standpoint, the Mini could easily be everything we all want it to be.  Apple views the Mini from a product strategy perspective, not "how can we make the best sub-$1000 desktop computer" but "how can we suck the most cash out of our loyal user base in the sub-$1000 desktop segment?"  Once this design goal is appreciated, it becomes clear why the mini is so gimped.  

  • Reply 90 of 1528
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    While I do snicker at the thought of JD's suggestions, I don't think the Mini is going to be anorexic thin quite yet. They probably will never go with discrete graphics though again as they want people to buy the iMac but they will move to soldered RAM and flash as was suggested.

    Someone on another forum suggested an idea of something called a Mac micro which was about half the size of the mini but the same thickness.
  • Reply 91 of 1528
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Winter View Post



    While I do snicker at the thought of JD's suggestions, I don't think the Mini is going to be anorexic thin quite yet. They probably will never go with discrete graphics though again as they want people to buy the iMac but they will move to soldered RAM and flash as was suggested.


    I expect that by next year Intels integrated GPU performance should be to the point where there will be less noise about it being "integrated". However people need to be aware that higher performance video or GPU's if you will, put massive demands upon the RAM subsystem. This performance demand will likely lead to soldered RAM simply to get the speeds required.



    Someone on another forum suggested an idea of something called a Mac micro which was about half the size of the mini but the same thickness.


     

    The Mini could stay around in this form factor for years. I really don't have a problem with the Mini concept other than Apple seems to damn quick to introduce models with marginal performance.
  • Reply 92 of 1528
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    wizard69 wrote: »
    The Mini could stay around in this form factor for years. I really don't have a problem with the Mini concept other than Apple seems to damn quick to introduce models with marginal performance.

    Too damn quick? I say the opposite.

    Also I would love the Mini staying in its current form factor, I think it is perfect.
  • Reply 93 of 1528
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    winter wrote: »
    wizard69 wrote: »
    The Mini could stay around in this form factor for years. I really don't have a problem with the Mini concept other than Apple seems to damn quick to introduce models with marginal performance.

    Too damn quick? I say the opposite.

    Also I would love the Mini staying in its current form factor, I think it is perfect.

    Haswell, hopefully with six cores, would make a very nice Mini. That mainly due to the speculated much better GPUs.

    As much as I complain about the Mini I must admit it has come a long way in recent years. The coming Mac Pro retooling makes me wonder if the Mini will get a work over too. I don't really think the current Mini is perfect, it is good but it could be better.
  • Reply 94 of 1528
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post





    Haswell, hopefully with six cores, would make a very nice Mini.


    With the planned gpu changes, I don't think the cpu package will be organized in such a manner. The cpus used in the mini are primarily designed for notebooks. Trying to cram on more cores would most likely mean severely limited clock speeds. I think rather than more cpu cores, properly implemented OpenCL 1.2 would be a nice gain. Right now you can't even get 6 core chips without using LGA2011/Sandy Bridge E which does not allocate space to integrated graphics. I see it as more likely in desktop cpus if they want to implement 6 core E3s. In that case you might also see an i7 version in the typical desktop socket type.

  • Reply 95 of 1528
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    I'm happy with the quad-core mini now. I just wish they would add for options for the dual-core one including at least fusion drive and/or SSD.
  • Reply 96 of 1528
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    hmm wrote: »
    wizard69 wrote: »
    Haswell, hopefully with six cores, would make a very nice Mini.
    With the planned gpu changes, I don't think the cpu package will be organized in such a manner.
    It is hard to tell. Intel is actually rumored to be in a position to lower the thermal profiles of Ivy Bridge. Apparently continuous improvement is alive and well at Intel. Given that Intel is still making power improvements and that Haswell is still in flux I could see a six core machine.
    The cpus used in the mini are primarily designed for notebooks. Trying to cram on more cores would most likely mean severely limited clock speeds.
    This is certainly true overall in the industry but intel is still improving its 22nm process. If they continue to make these strides two additional cores could end up with only a modest impact on the power profile.
    I think rather than more cpu cores, properly implemented OpenCL 1.2 would be a nice gain.
    This is very true.
    http://www.machinetools.com/us/listings/type/1261Right now you can't even get 6 core chips without using LGA2011/Sandy Bridge E which does not allocate space to integrated graphics. I see it as more likely in desktop cpus if they want to implement 6 core E3s. In that case you might also see an i7 version in the typical desktop socket type.
    Actually here is where I wish AMD was doing a bit better. If nothing else they do push Intel along.
  • Reply 97 of 1528
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    Do you now expect integrated graphics in all three models? Do they revert back to dual-core/discrete as with 2011? Do they dare try and use dual-core/integrated on the $799 model? This is Apple don't forget.
  • Reply 98 of 1528


    Originally Posted by Winter View Post

    Do you now expect integrated graphics in all three models? Do they revert back to dual-core/discrete as with 2011? Do they dare try and use dual-core/integrated on the $799 model? This is Apple don't forget.


     


    Yes, the company that now can't count phone models and who has always skimped on the graphics. 


     


    No level of pessimism about future specs is too low.

  • Reply 99 of 1528
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    Do you have enough pessimism that they wouldn't offer at least a dual-core i7 (being that the i7 has hyperthreading) as a BTO as they did in 2011?
  • Reply 100 of 1528


    Originally Posted by Winter View Post

    Do you have enough pessimism that they wouldn't offer at least a dual-core i7 (being that the i7 has hyperthreading) as a BTO as they did in 2011?


     


    Not unless it were to get yet another redesign, making it even smaller. image


     


    I dream huge and reasonable, but never expect any of my predictions to ever come true, being too outlandish.


     


    Apply that thinking only to specs of products we already know exist and it works out really well; if I'm wrong, it's always a welcome surprise, as the specifications are higher than I thought they'd be.

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