Intel rolls out faster Haswell CPUs possibly bound for MacBook Pro refresh

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  • Reply 21 of 71
    macxpress wrote: »
    I would almost think they'd put something like the low voltage Core i5 like whats used in the MacBook Air, and the $1099 iMac. Then they could make a smaller package, with a smaller built-in power supply. 

    This is why it must be insanely difficult to be an Apple product developer.

    While you want a smaller, lower power mini, I want a more powerful version with a better GPU.
  • Reply 22 of 71
    trobertstroberts Posts: 701member
    blazar wrote: »
    I wonder what macs that apple is running in their lab with A7/8/9 based chips. It's quite conceivable that they are already doing this in an effort to hedge their bets.

    Onviously the issue would be software and graphics chip compatibility but they might be able to conceivably go fanless on macbooks and there is a fair amount of ios software already.

    This is the last major step along with metal and swift that they need to make. I dont mind if intel makes the chips for them but the A series is quite stable.
    The Mac mini, long overdue for an update, and the MacBook, currently not in the lineup, are good candidates for Macs with an ARM processor. Obviously, they will not be available until after OS X Yosemite and the A8 processor are released. Apple already has their iLife and iWork apps updated to run on both OSes and CPU architectures so there will be no problem there, and it should not take 3rd party developers too long to get their apps running on ARM-powered Macs.
  • Reply 23 of 71
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post





    Design change might be interesting.

    However let's have none of this regressive thinking. The Mini needs to be faster with far better GPU performance. If anything the Mini needs to support a higher wattage processors.

     

    I doubt the Mac mini will have a regular processor in it down the road. Everything Apple is pointing to smaller, thinner products. If they were to change the design, I'm thinking it would be about the size in terms of how large of a square, maybe the size of the USB superdrive. It would obviously be a little taller to better dissipate heat. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they put the ultra low voltage Core i5 in it with something like Intel Iris graphics. Or, down the road, maybe they'd even go with some type of ARM processor (an Apple A series spinoff). Intel has been kinda sucking lately with getting processors out in a timely fashion. This is kinda what caused Apple to switch to Intel in the first place because IBM wasn't able to get anything working in a timely fashion (especially a mobile CPU) and now Intel is doing the same thing. Apple on the other hand can control their own destiny if they were able to go with their own processors. This could be something they took into account with when they announced Swift (cleaner, more efficient code for better efficient processing)

     

    Don't get me wrong, I'd like to see what you want too, but I just don't see it happening. 

  • Reply 24 of 71
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    It's time to get excited for me again only to be let down in the fall!
  • Reply 25 of 71
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,423member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

     

    I doubt the Mac mini will have a regular processor in it down the road. Everything Apple is pointing to smaller, thinner products. If they were to change the design, I'm thinking it would be about the size in terms of how large of a square, maybe the size of the USB superdrive. It would obviously be a little taller to better dissipate heat. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they put the ultra low voltage Core i5 in it with something like Intel Iris graphics. 


    The current Mac mini is basically the previous-generation MacBook Air without a display. They are Core i5 or i7 processors (slightly faster clock speeds) with the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000.

     

    There are really no power constraints for the Mac mini since it's plugged into the wall; it already has one of the lowest power consumption ratings and it's very quiet. 

     

    My guess is if Apple changed the form factor, they would include a flash drive connector for their stick-based SSDs that are currently used in other Macs and retain a 2.5" drive bay to be able to offer more internal storage at a reasonable price (and to offer the Fusion drive option). Since the optical drive is history, there's no reason for them to keep it in the current pancake/mini pizza box form factor.

     

    The current AirPort Extreme/Time Capsule device might give a hint on where the industrial design is headed for the Mac mini, in aluminum rather than white plastic: Thunderbolt, HDMI, Ethernet, audio input/output, four USB 3.0 ports, and maybe an SXDC card slot.

  • Reply 26 of 71
    lorin schultzlorin schultz Posts: 2,739member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

     

    Since the optical drive is history, there's no reason for them to keep it in the current pancake/mini pizza box form factor.


     

    It's a decent design the way it is, too. It's easy to find a spot for it on either a low shelf or in a narrow vertical slot. It can be set under a monitor. Plus it has the advantage of easily fitting in a rack-mount enclosure. A tower like the AirPort wouldn't.

  • Reply 27 of 71
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,423member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post

     

    It's a decent design the way it is, too. It's easy to find a spot for it on either a low shelf or in a narrow vertical slot. It can be set under a monitor. Plus it has the advantage of easily fitting in a rack-mount enclosure. A tower like the AirPort wouldn't.


    Yes, that's partly why I think it's a credible path for Apple to take. Designing a product for conventional installation is not The Apple Way.

     

    They changed the AirPort from a similar mini pizza box to the mini tower design. In a similar move, they took the boxy (and fairly rack mountable) Mac Pro into a small cylinder (not friendly at all to 19" racks).

     

    The way I see it, it stands to chance that Apple could very well introduce a new Mac mini that is less convenient for rack mounting because they don't really care about such installation concerns.

     

    We do know that Apple does like to change their industrial design from time to time; some product lines are more constrained in their design changes due to usage requirements (display and keyboard for the notebooks, display for the iMac).

     

    The original Mac mini debuted in 2005 and was taller by smaller box (2.0 × 6.5 × 6.5 inches). In 2010, they squashed the mini (1.4 × 7.7 × 7.7 inches), but it basically retained a similar mini pizza box shape.

     

    Apple does not sit around thinking "let's design the most practical looking thing."

  • Reply 28 of 71
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    troberts wrote: »
    The Mac mini, long overdue for an update, and the MacBook, currently not in the lineup, are good candidates for Macs with an ARM processor.
    I could see an ARM based Mac Book as having potential but there is zero chance that the Mini would get what it needs out of an ARM based solution. Or maybe better said what I want to see in the Mini which is far better performance. Having an iPad though makes me see the value of an ARM based laptop.
    Obviously, they will not be available until after OS X Yosemite and the A8 processor are released.
    Apple would have to create at least two processor branches, one for the portable devices and one more suited for use in a laptop. The primary need in a laptop is far better performance for typical Mac OS loads. This means more and faster RAM to start with and then other imorovements to support far more threads of execution.

    Frankly a laptop suitable ARM processor ought to be easy for Apple to do.
    Apple already has their iLife and iWork apps updated to run on both OSes and CPU architectures so there will be no problem there, and it should not take 3rd party developers too long to get their apps running on ARM-powered Macs.

    It depends upon the Mac you are talking about! In a nut shell we have yet to see an ARM platform powerful enough to replace Intel in a workstation like the Mini.
  • Reply 29 of 71
    kindredmackindredmac Posts: 153member
    I need to know about the iMac!!!!!
  • Reply 30 of 71
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    macxpress wrote: »
    I doubt the Mac mini will have a regular processor in it down the road. Everything Apple is pointing to smaller, thinner products.
    That is certainly how it appears to be, however I'm hoping that public pressure or awareness of waht consumers want will cause Apple to rethink the Mini as their lowest performance platform. With Todays chip technology it has very real potential for being a performance machine at a decent price. Something that comes in below the Mac Pro in performance yet doesn't get blown away by Apples laptops.
    If they were to change the design, I'm thinking it would be about the size in terms of how large of a square, maybe the size of the USB superdrive. It would obviously be a little taller to better dissipate heat. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they put the ultra low voltage Core i5 in it with something like Intel Iris graphics. Or, down the road, maybe they'd even go with some type of ARM processor (an Apple A series spinoff). Intel has been kinda sucking lately with getting processors out in a timely fashion.
    This is true but when Intel fails few jump ahead.
    This is kinda what caused Apple to switch to Intel in the first place because IBM wasn't able to get anything working in a timely fashion (especially a mobile CPU) and now Intel is doing the same thing. Apple on the other hand can control their own destiny if they were able to go with their own processors. This could be something they took into account with when they announced Swift (cleaner, more efficient code for better efficient processing)

    Don't get me wrong, I'd like to see what you want too, but I just don't see it happening. 
    ARM and Apple have created a beautiful solution in the A series processors but I don't see them as a viable Intel replacement in the Mini. There are just far too many i86 solutions out there, many of which are now legacy code.

    It isn't like I don't like the idea of ARM based hardware it is just that I 86 support is extremely important for what I want to do with the Mini. Well at least for one usage. I can see an ARM based Mini being successful in many use cases though. I'm just hoping for the flexibility and performance i86 brings.
  • Reply 31 of 71
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    winter wrote: »
    It's time to get excited for me again only to be let down in the fall!

    You might not like what they do, but it has gotten to the point that Apple will have to do something with the Mini. With these new chips that aught to happen sooner rather than later.
  • Reply 32 of 71
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    wizard69 wrote: »
    You might not like what they do, but it has gotten to the point that Apple will have to do something with the Mini. With these new chips that aught to happen sooner rather than later.

    Yeah and an Iris mini is just fine for me. Iris Pro is better but I'll take an Iris mini. PCIe SSD standard but as an option will work too.
  • Reply 33 of 71
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

     
     

    You might not like what they do, but it has gotten to the point that Apple will have to do something with the Mini. With these new chips that aught to happen sooner rather than later.



    I'm not sure what they intend to do. It looked as though they hesitated due to a change in chip cost, making the chips used in the 13 and 15" macbook pros poor candidates for the mini due to their cost. The low end one by far the furthest out of alignment.

  • Reply 34 of 71
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    hmm wrote: »

    I'm not sure what they intend to do. It looked as though they hesitated due to a change in chip cost, making the chips used in the 13 and 15" macbook pros poor candidates for the mini due to their cost. The low end one by far the furthest out of alignment.

    Possibly, but There really isn't much to a Mini. Plus at this point Apple should be getting industry leading discounts. Intel can only discount on volume and it looks like Apple is doing good in that regard.
  • Reply 35 of 71
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,228moderator
    mpantone wrote: »
     
    Since the optical drive is history, there's no reason for them to keep it in the current pancake/mini pizza box form factor.

    It's a decent design the way it is, too. It's easy to find a spot for it on either a low shelf or in a narrow vertical slot. It can be set under a monitor. Plus it has the advantage of easily fitting in a rack-mount enclosure. A tower like the AirPort wouldn't.

    I think the design works pretty well as it is but it generates a fair bit of noise when the fan is going. Maybe a Mac Pro-like cylinder would work out ok. It wouldn't need a triangular heatsink but they could have the PSU at the base, a single 2.5" HDD in the middle so the cylinder diameter would be just larger than the width of a 2.5" HDD - just under 3" and the height would be just larger than the length - around 4". I'm not sure if the 3" fan would be as quiet as the Mac Pro but that design should have better airflow. They can supplement the internal HDD with an optional SSD to keep the price down. With both HDD and SSD, it would make a Fusion drive and there can be an SSD on its own.

    When HDDs eventually go away altogether, the design can be shortened.

    The CPU and RAM (possibly soldered) would go at the back beside the ports and there could be a flat heatsink with fins vertically that the top fan draws air through and this setup would cool the PSU and HDD.

    The other route would be to keep flattening it like the laptops. The cylinder design would leave empty space inside, the square design lets them pack everything in tight.

    I don't know why they skipped the Haswell chips in the Mini. A lack of refreshes typically points to something being EOL but it could still be the thing about moving manufacturing to the US. They also couldn't update it before October 2013 as they needed dual-core processors for the low-end. The 13" rMBP actually moved to ULT dual-cores.

    An Iris Pro mini would be a nice desktop but if the mini is more effort to build than the revenue it generates, they'll just get rid of it. I think the lower priced entry iMac is evidence of trying to push people away from the low-end.

    What are people who typically buy a quad-i7 Mac going to do without the Mini? If they are invested in the Mac platform, which most people would be, they'll migrate up to a MBP or iMac, both double the revenue. People who want the entry model Mini will either go for an entry iMac or entry Air again both almost double the revenue for Apple. They're not going to lose significant amounts of customers.

    That move would leave the question of their server OS as you can't really use an iMac or laptop as a server but they can make an ARM server running an iOS Server OS. This would work in the enterprise too:

    http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/42296.wss

    iOS is a lightweight OS that works with very small amounts of memory (under 1GB and no virtual memory). This is great for servers and virtualization. They can make an x86 version of iOS server to run on generic hardware too. Most of the software intended to be run on it will be compiled for it anyway. Apple could then make a low-cost personal server product or put an ARM chip into the Airport to use as a personal server.
  • Reply 36 of 71

    Additionally, what would the impact of an upgrade to the MacBook Pro line now be on its inclusion of Broadwell early next year and Skylake late next year.

     

    Also, I am considering a move to a new 15" MacBook Pro, and so should I wait for Skylake, Broadwell, or get these new ones later this year, high performance is very important, and I have a decent laptop now, but want to switch soon, as I am on a Windows machine, so I would want to have the opportunity to get accustomed to OS X.

  • Reply 37 of 71
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post





    Possibly, but There really isn't much to a Mini. Plus at this point Apple should be getting industry leading discounts. Intel can only discount on volume and it looks like Apple is doing good in that regard.

    I don't doubt that. Apple likes to share parts between machines presumably for both engineering cost and volume discount reasons. I suspect a third reason would be to control the number of leftover components in the supply chain at any given point. Their choice for the lower priced imac was a cpu that is also used in the macbook air. If it wasn't for a desire to share components or invoke volume discounts, they would have probably gone with another option. The basic unit price in multiples of 1000 is much higher than some of the less expensive "desktop" parts. In the case of the mini, it has experienced some price drift over the years. 2011--> 2012 they offset the cost of the cpu by dropping discrete graphics. Here the listing on the base 13" chip is more than half the cost of the lowest level mini. It's something like a $130 difference from ivy going by intel's recommended customer pricing. On a $600 machine that is significant, and it presumably remains significant even through discounts. That is my best guess as to what has caused problems for the mini  this round. The higher cost models have at least a little more room to absorb the higher component costs, and the difference in percentage and absolute dollars is much less drastic.

     

    Keep in mind I'm not arguing what they could or should do. I'm looking at what they have done in the past couple years. I see a lot of price drift throughout their lines where I wouldn't have expected it.

  • Reply 38 of 71
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    hmm wrote: »
    I don't doubt that. Apple likes to share parts between machines presumably for both engineering cost and volume discount reasons. I suspect a third reason would be to control the number of leftover components in the supply chain at any given point. Their choice for the lower priced imac was a cpu that is also used in the macbook air. If it wasn't for a desire to share components or invoke volume discounts, they would have probably gone with another option. The basic unit price in multiples of 1000 is much higher than some of the less expensive "desktop" parts. In the case of the mini, it has experienced some price drift over the years. 2011--> 2012 they offset the cost of the cpu by dropping discrete graphics. Here the listing on the base 13" chip is more than half the cost of the lowest level mini. It's something like a $130 difference from ivy going by intel's recommended customer pricing. On a $600 machine that is significant, and it presumably remains significant even through discounts. That is my best guess as to what has caused problems for the mini  this round. The higher cost models have at least a little more room to absorb the higher component costs, and the difference in percentage and absolute dollars is much less drastic.

    Keep in mind I'm not arguing what they could or should do. I'm looking at what they have done in the past couple years. I see a lot of price drift throughout their lines where I wouldn't have expected it.

    I can't really dismiss any of your points but lie to point out that they do have options. Like I mentioned one option is to increase the wattage capacity of the platform which would allow for desktop chips. Another option is to go AMD. People laugh about AMD but the Mini has never been a high performance desktop machine. Combined with AMDs far better GPU you would get a very balanced machine for the targetted user base. AMDs latest chips have a very good GPU and while the CPU isnt outstanding it isn't that much worst than what is in the Mini now. What AMD does offer though is better pricing and some would argue better chipset support.

    Even more interesting here would be Apple contracting with AMD in the same way the set top gaming box makers did. Especially if Apple and AMD debut a machine with DDR 4 support which frankly all of the APU manufactures need. I could see Apple throwing other IP on the SoC to tailor it to their needs. One high priority item would be TB support. Of course Apple could be doing custom with Intel too, either avenue might explain the long delays on new iMacs and Minis.

    In any event I think Apple has options. The long stretch between updates makes you wonder if Intel is the only party at blame here. Let's face it the Mini has now skipped two generations of chips, that is just weird, as such they must have something big planned.
  • Reply 39 of 71
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post







    In any event I think Apple has options. The long stretch between updates makes you wonder if Intel is the only party at blame here. Let's face it the Mini has now skipped two generations of chips, that is just weird, as such they must have something big planned.

    I could see any of those options as options. My estimates are fairly conservative. I look at options tangential to what they have done within 2 major refresh cycles. I can say that even if you stuck completely with the mobile cpus, Apple has options at the same "recommended customer pricing" levels as those from the ivy bridge generation. The skus are there, but they aren't the same as the ones Apple uses in the retina macbook pros. The cpus in the Airs would be a backstep, so they won't go that route. Considering that the mini is often the last thing refreshed and Broadwell won't be around for some time, I don't see why they couldn't refresh it with Haswell apart from higher than desired building costs.

     

    I know what you mean about DDR4, when it's used in place of dedicated vram, and I still do like AMD. You just reminded me, I've been looking at compute shaders lately. The reason is that they run on practically everything, including iphones. They're just slightly more limited on math operations, and I don't think they even support bitfield operations. I have to be careful in that regard, but on anything involving arithmetic, especially with floating point values, I try to stick to calling well tested code. I don't even mix simple arithmetic operations into the higher level code. Anyway.... the talk of DDR4 prompted me to drift into nerd talk.

  • Reply 40 of 71
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,860member
    Marvin wrote: »
    I think the design works pretty well as it is but it generates a fair bit of noise when the fan is going. Maybe a Mac Pro-like cylinder would work out ok. It wouldn't need a triangular heatsink but they could have the PSU at the base, a single 2.5" HDD in the middle so the cylinder diameter would be just larger than the width of a 2.5" HDD - just under 3" and the height would be just larger than the length - around 4". I'm not sure if the 3" fan would be as quiet as the Mac Pro but that design should have better airflow. They can supplement the internal HDD with an optional SSD to keep the price down. With both HDD and SSD, it would make a Fusion drive and there can be an SSD on its own.
    I like the idea of a new platform as long as it does not compromise performance. Actually Id prefer more performance via support for higher wattage processors. The gap between the Mini and the Mac Pro is just massive performance wise and continues to get wider. Many see the Mini as entry level and I suppose the bottom end machine can be seen that way, however I'd rather see it as a machine that is a serviceable desktop machine for people that need good performance without investing in a Mac Pro.

    A cylinder desogned Mini has a lot of potential in this regards. Make it half the size of the Pro and you would still have plenty of room for a strongly performing desktop.

    When HDDs eventually go away altogether, the design can be shortened.
    For a long time I was instant upon the idea of internal expansion via hard disk bays. Im to the point now where that just doesn't show up on the check off list. Far better I/O ports have solved that problem.

    However that being said I hting it would be easy to build a Mini in a cylinder type housing with room for a blade SSD and a standard format hard drive "bay". Todays high integràtion chips would allow for the CPU card to support memory and a SSD mezzanine on one side of a heat sink with the bad side a mounting point for a "disk". In otherwords imagine a machine like the Pro but instead of a triangle heat sink it has hollow slab in the center, one side for the CPU board and one side for the option. These days you could easily do such a machine in a 3-4" diameter tube.
    The CPU and RAM (possibly soldered) would go at the back beside the ports and there could be a flat heatsink with fins vertically that the top fan draws air through and this setup would cool the PSU and HDD.
    I think you are describing something very similar to what I'm thinking about. However I'm also thinking single board computer here, there would be no secondary boards for ports and the like. We would have one power supply board and one computer board. Connection to the expansion or hard drive would be via cable.

    Note I used the word expansion there, the latest HD standards support both PCI and SATA ports. The PCI ports might be a way to offer optional expansion in the form of a "disk" format device.
    The other route would be to keep flattening it like the laptops. The cylinder design would leave empty space inside, the square design lets them pack everything in tight.

    I don't know why they skipped the Haswell chips in the Mini. A lack of refreshes typically points to something being EOL but it could still be the thing about moving manufacturing to the US. They also couldn't update it before October 2013 as they needed dual-core processors for the low-end. The 13" rMBP actually moved to ULT dual-cores.
    The Haswell skip is just plain stupidfity and arrogance on Apples part of you ask me. They could have had 9 months of solid Haswell sales if they had pulled head from ass here.
    An Iris Pro mini would be a nice desktop but if the mini is more effort to build than the revenue it generates, they'll just get rid of it. I think the lower priced entry iMac is evidence of trying to push people away from the low-end.
    Actually I think it is an attempt to recognize that Apple hardware is seen as being very expensive. The problem with the Mini is there is little difference between the entry level machine and the high end models. The high end models struggle to fill the role of a midrange desktop work station. The problem Apple has is the lack of a decent desktop I between the Mini and the Mac Pro.
    What are people who typically buy a quad-i7 Mac going to do without the Mini? If they are invested in the Mac platform, which most people would be, they'll migrate up to a MBP or iMac, both double the revenue. People who want the entry model Mini will either go for an entry iMac or entry Air again both almost double the revenue for Apple. They're not going to lose significant amounts of customers.
    I have to say that people will leave the platform. The Mini is in a niche but a very useful nice. The fact that the likes of Lenovo and others have been trying to take a piece of that niche should highlight that the form factor is coming into its own. Unfortunately it looks like it is coming into its own just about the time Apple will abandon the form factor. I've seen the Mini and other SFF machines stuffed into all sorts of places where a normal desktop could go. Headless tiny boxes are very useful for automation, use specific servers and providing intelligence embedded into machine controllers.
    That move would leave the question of their server OS as you can't really use an iMac or laptop as a server but they can make an ARM server running an iOS Server OS. This would work in the enterprise too:

    http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/42296.wss

    iOS is a lightweight OS that works with very small amounts of memory (under 1GB and no virtual memory). This is great for servers and virtualization. They can make an x86 version of iOS server to run on generic hardware too. Most of the software intended to be run on it will be compiled for it anyway. Apple could then make a low-cost personal server product or put an ARM chip into the Airport to use as a personal server.

    Actually an ARM based server is a good idea. However I think Apple is scared of the server market.
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