Apple's Mac mini now inexcusably getting trounced by cheap Intel hardware

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  • Reply 201 of 239
    gbdocgbdoc Posts: 82member

    FWIW (not much, I’m sure), I wholly agree with the author. Altogether, Apple seems to be more interested in bells and whistles for the music and social media crowd than in making and improving the simply excellent products for computer users which used to be their forte. Terrific emojis, better AirPods, trackbars, even Mojave, are all, at best cool (underwhelming, for me), but really useful cutting-edge technology is what I’ve been missing more and more. Sic transit ...

    edited October 2018
  • Reply 202 of 239
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,692member
    MacPro said:
    The only explanation I can see for not doing a redesign this year (2018) is that it is on hold for the new display — if you look at the manuals and other materials for it, the Mac mini has always been pictured with an Apple display.

    In short: no Apple display = no Mac mini.

    I’d bet Apple has data supporting this equation — the mini doesn’t make them worthwhile money unless a percentage of buyers are also buying an Apple display, or already own one...
    I've never used any display with a Mac mini, always used them headlessly.
    I have an old MacMini I could find a use for, but never deployed one "headlessly." I've pondered looking into it, but I think I saw Mojave dropped the back to my mac support. How do you configure them headlessly? Don;t you need to boot it up with some monitor first?
  • Reply 203 of 239
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,466administrator
    eightzero said:
    MacPro said:
    The only explanation I can see for not doing a redesign this year (2018) is that it is on hold for the new display — if you look at the manuals and other materials for it, the Mac mini has always been pictured with an Apple display.

    In short: no Apple display = no Mac mini.

    I’d bet Apple has data supporting this equation — the mini doesn’t make them worthwhile money unless a percentage of buyers are also buying an Apple display, or already own one...
    I've never used any display with a Mac mini, always used them headlessly.
    I have an old MacMini I could find a use for, but never deployed one "headlessly." I've pondered looking into it, but I think I saw Mojave dropped the back to my mac support. How do you configure them headlessly? Don;t you need to boot it up with some monitor first?
    Setup with a monitor first is easiest, yeah. Otherwise, screen sharing inside your network works fine, and other VNC clients will allow for roughly the same functionality as BTTM.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 204 of 239
    Come on Mr. Cook.  This borders on ineptness.   I've been waiting and waiting for both Mini and Pro refresh. Your just throwing sales away.
    ElCapitan
  • Reply 205 of 239
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    sflocal said:
    I've been wanting to purchased a Mac mini for some time now for an office, but kept waiting for a refresh.  I hope Apple does something sooner or later, or if anything, put a fire-sale on the current Mac to reflect the real price depreciation of the unit and I'll snap one up.

    What a shame.  I think Apple is dropping the ball here.
    Droppped the ball is being kind here!    Apple debuted a crap design in the Mini 4 years ago and hasn’t had the guts to admit they designed a machine few would buy.   Then there is the ethical question of selling something as new that really isn’t.   Sure the parts are new but the technology certainly isn’t.  
    cgWerks
  • Reply 206 of 239
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    tylersdad said:  Which MacBook or iMac gives you 2.6Ghz quad-core i7, Thunderbolt 3, 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD, and 16GB of RAM for around $800? I realize the NUC doesn't come with a monitor, but iMac or MacBook-quality monitors can be had for well under $300.  
    If you follow the link that the author provided, the next NUC on the page that actually includes RAM etc. (without a monitor) is almost $1200. I think people are forgetting what the point of the Mac mini was for Apple. It wasn't to compete for small $$ in the mid-range PC gaming hardware market. 
    What many are missing here is that small form factor PC’s are big in business right now!    I know that is what gets implemented at work for most desktop use cases.  More importantly most of these small form factor machines aren’t afraid of technology.   SSD’s, ports galore (some front facing 😜) and external power supplies are common.  The days of the big office towers is basically gone.  
  • Reply 207 of 239
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    macxpress said:
    macxpress said:
    Oh boy...here we go! Continuous bitching about the Mac mini. I doubt most here are gonna buy one anyways. 
    You really think that only the "most here" types read AppleInsider?
    No but its not exactly a big seller and doesn't make much money for Apple so I can see why they're not doing much with it. As I recall, the Mac mini even when it was updated a lot wasn't exactly a big seller. Its pretty much always been near the bottom of the sales list back when they broke sales down by models and I believe Apple has even admitted both the Mac Pro and Mac mini were on the bottom of the sales list consistently. 

    I still think Apple is planning on releasing a Mac mini with an Apple based CPU inside it, but I guess Apple could give it a "speedbump" with more modern Intel CPU's but I seriously doubt its gonna do much for sales. People seem to think Apple should make the Mac mini into this Mac Pro mini machine with interchangeable RAM and storage and I just don't ever see that happening. By the time you buy a screen to go with it along with a keyboard and mouse you might as well just get an iMac. I bet this is what Apple see's in the end. 


    While this is true does Apple ever ask itself why Mini and Mac Pro sales are so low?    It is pretty easy to investigate this but I will save Apple the time.   In simple terms Apple always does the wrong thing when a product experiences bad sales.   The last Mini update being a perfect example (actually the update before the last left a lot to be desired too).  

    How is was the update screwed up?   By not providing a real performance option!!   Instead they went backwards with a pathetic Intel chip series that didn’t effectively upgrade the system. (The GPU was a significant upgrade).  It is one thing to have an entry level box but that same box needs an upgrade path to higher performance that is a reasonable delta from the entry level machine.   Intel has done a fantastic job of doing just this with their Nuc’s.    You can buy Nuc’s with very respectable performance at a reasonable cost that work very well on the desktop.   No they aren’t machines with 150 watt CPUs and 500 watt GPUs but they offer decent operating capability for a given generation of technology.   4 years ago Apple debuted a Mac Mini that didn’t even do that, considering all the chips they had to choose from it was actually a bit of an insult.   Today with very competitive chips from both AMD and Intel the Mini is a terrible joke.  
    muthuk_vanalingamcgWerks
  • Reply 208 of 239
    MacPro said:
    The only explanation I can see for not doing a redesign this year (2018) is that it is on hold for the new display — if you look at the manuals and other materials for it, the Mac mini has always been pictured with an Apple display.

    In short: no Apple display = no Mac mini.

    I’d bet Apple has data supporting this equation — the mini doesn’t make them worthwhile money unless a percentage of buyers are also buying an Apple display, or already own one...
    I've never used any display with a Mac mini, always used them headlessly.
    So then you’re not part of that percentage of buyers who do purchase displays for them. Doesn’t change my point that Apple does not seem to want to market a Mac mini without an Apple display to go with it.

    The decision not to refresh the 2014 mini must have been made around the same time as the decision to not revise the Thunderbolt Display, which Apple stopped selling in 2016. It’s not crazy to think they are connected, and thus we’ll get a new Mac mini when we get a new Apple display or displays, but not before then.

    Again, it seems possible that Apple’s sales data tells it that a mini just for the headless and lower-end display markets doesn’t cut it, while additional sales of Apple displays does make it worthwhile.
    edited October 2018
  • Reply 209 of 239
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Feels like it will be this month or never for the Mini.
  • Reply 210 of 239
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    emoeller said:
    I've not seen a compelling reason for me to own a mini.  That said, and not straying too far from topic, I can't help but look around and see all of my various devices (iPhones, iPads, laptops, AppleTV's etc, etc) and wonder why I really need so many independent devices.    With the dramatic speed improvements in wifi/mesh networks ( and soon 5G) coupled with the huge increases in processing capabilities it just seems to me that if someone could come up with a way to share computing power between existing devices we would all end up with more efficiency and less duplicative hardware.  If each of the processors (many of which are already multi-core) could be arranged for parallel shared computing and that could also be shared with cloud computing power we could have small, highly efficient devices with limitless computing capabilities.  

    Back in the day when the mini first came out I thought that was the way personal computing was going to go (smaller form factor with increased computational sharing via then early versions of wifi).
    Computational sharing never caught on in the world of physical networking so I don’t see it happening widely for WiFi.   However if you consider Siri and similar services you have  what amounts to a service with shared processing. 

    As as for the Mini or whatever replaces it, I do hope Apple takes a long hard look at what is happening in the Raspberry Pie and ODroid worlds of single board computers running Linux.  Because to be perfectly honest that is how far I believe Apple need to go with a Mini replacement.  Not so much chain price and performance but rather in concept of a small device that easily gets embedded in to something else as a base Mini replacement.  Honestly they already have most of what they need to pull this off.  A12 is already more powerful than the Mini.   So today’s A12 or the very soon A12X becomes the chip on the very low end Mini.  Apple adds more RAM and a decently sized SSD and sells the Mac OS running machine for $250.  That takes care of the bottom end with little investment on Apples part.   They then create a high performance ARM product, let’s call it the B1, that goes into a performance oriented Mini replacement and the laptops.  B1 would have more performance cores, the ability to drive external GPUs and of course more ports including high end ones.  While there is more engineering in B1 much of it is already baked into the A12 series.   The CPU cores would be the same but far more of them and an external GPU takes care of what Apples internal GPU can’t.   So you end up with a product line that is well spread out with real value at each price point.  The A12 Mini takes the low end while a B1 takes the midrange and a B1 with a high performance GPU takes the high end.  Prices: $250, $600 & $950.   

    In a nut shell Apple needs an embeddable low cost engine that can take on all sorts of duties which is the point of a $250 Mini.   It won’t compete directly with an ODroid but extra RAM and storage means that it is a more powerful machine.  Frankly such a machine would have good potential in education.   
    cgWerks
  • Reply 211 of 239
    IMHO the Mac side of Apple is secondary to Apple’s emphasis on iOS. 

    I’m not sure if it’s because of the success of the iPhone and iPad and the general consensus that you don’t need a Mac anymore to do whatever you do and can use a device instead. 

    Ironically I saw more businesses buying Mac minis for server use instead of Mac Pros. 
    The original idea of selling a cheap Mac for PC users to try ended up being a great product for businesses to make servers out of. 

    I don’t know what Apple’s intentions are on the future of the Mac. They know they have made mistakes like redesigning Macs with features that never took off. Killing their displays and then pulling a 180 and announcing they are going to redesign them. Admitting the Mac Pro was a bad design and committing to a new Pro that will be worth the wait. Giving us a suped up iMac without re-engineering the enclosure. 
    Making a new keyboard that has design issues and then insinuating that failures are due to users getting food or foreign particles in them before admitting they have an issue. 

    I just hope Apple realizes the Mac is still
    important. 

    Maybe DED can write an article about how many Macs are sold, how many people have switched to the dark side for computers and what it would look like if Apple decided to stop making the Mac. Kind of a wake up call to Tim and Phil and the others. 
    gbdoc
  • Reply 212 of 239
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    macxpress said:
    entropys said:
    macxpress said:
    Oh boy...here we go! Continuous bitching about the Mac mini. I doubt most here are gonna buy one anyways. 
    Of course not. To be frank, you would have to be a brainless idiot to buy the current insult of a Mac mini.

    I get that most of the money comes from the iPhone, so it’s the priority.  But the most stupid thing about the neglect and/or gimping of pretty all Mac lines over an extended period is that it is mistreating Mac buyers, who are the most loyal long term buyers of all things Apple, and have always been the greatest evangelists for its platforms and ecosystems. Neglecting and deliberately crippling functionality and utility of macs by design, and then failing to at the least keep them up to date is beyond the pale.

    Divorce is ugly. And just like a neglected and spourned spouse, lovers can be turned into passionate haters.

    Even if Apple updated them today with modern specs...how many are gonna actually go buy one? Its just like the Mac Pro. Everyone wants to complain about it, but very little here are actually gonna go buy one. 
    Well consider how badly they screwed up with the Mac Pro considering who they marketed it to.    The idea they had was to build a machine they could market too content creators and other needing a high performance workstation.  Instead of designing for that market the came up with what should have been a midrange PC but with a workstation price.  Frankly a few internal changes could have made for a better more professional Mac Pro but the lack of an external Apple disk array killed any chance of the machine having any success (in Apples targeted market).  

    So in a sense Apple created a machine for a group of users that didn’t have a need for it.  On top of that there was no variant that could rationally be sold to customers outside of that group.  Think about where is a reasonably priced Mac Pro with a single video card and a CPU with good single thread performance?   This is what many professionals need out of a “pro” desktop.  

    I really don’t see how Apple could be successful with any machine sold to a market segment that doesn’t meet that segments needs.  This is compounded with no appeal outside of the targeted market segment Also.  I’ve said this again and again but Apple needs a Pro desktop that starts at $1500 and it needs to be reasonably competitive at that price point.    It can be done and frankly sky’s the limit after that machine.  In any event somebody atApple needs to grasp the idea that “professionals” are a much wider audience than a silly movie producer.   The broader audience is what drives volume.  
    cgWerks
  • Reply 213 of 239
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,398member
    The Mac mini is really old, of course new small computers are blowing it away. However, they still run Windows so I know which one I'd choose.
    If you want a small and powerful computer running Mac OS, make a Hackintosh.
  • Reply 214 of 239
    There is a large number of Minis out there that was originally sold as server configs 6, 7 or 8 years ago with not a single offering from Apple to upgrade to.

    A good portion of these machines cannot be upgraded to run 10.14 (the 2012 models still can). Granted, in the process Apple have absolutely gutted macOS server so even there the only real alternative is migrate to Linux or Windows given your applications will run there.  If you move your server apps, you might as well move your clients too to reduce complexity.

    Addition: Most of these machines are running headless anyway, so having an Apple branded display is not important at all. Most people would not get a high end display for the server console in any case. 
    edited October 2018
  • Reply 215 of 239
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Soli said:
    macxpress said:
    entropys said:
    macxpress said:
    Oh boy...here we go! Continuous bitching about the Mac mini. I doubt most here are gonna buy one anyways. 
    Of course not. To be frank, you would have to be a brainless idiot to buy the current insult of a Mac mini.

    I get that most of the money comes from the iPhone, so it’s the priority.  But the most stupid thing about the neglect and/or gimping of pretty all Mac lines over an extended period is that it is mistreating Mac buyers, who are the most loyal long term buyers of all things Apple, and have always been the greatest evangelists for its platforms and ecosystems. Neglecting and deliberately crippling functionality and utility of macs by design, and then failing to at the least keep them up to date is beyond the pale.

    Divorce is ugly. And just like a neglected and spourned spouse, lovers can be turned into passionate haters.

    Even if Apple updated them today with modern specs...how many are gonna actually go buy one? Its just like the Mac Pro. Everyone wants to complain about it, but very little here are actually gonna go buy one. 
    I think that all depends. Let's say they came out with a new Mac mini that was considerably faster than the current models at a give price point -and- started at $100 less than they do now because they're CPU is Apple silicon. I think that would be a huge success for the Mac mini (Mac Air).
    $100 isn’t enough.   They need a base Mac Mini model that starts at $250 with the lineup completed by a midrange and high end model (each offering real performance value).   4 years ago the Mini was grossly overpriced they need to make up for that but more importantly A12 provides for a way to make a very profitable Mini replacement at the $250 mark.  More importantly the price point drives volume.  Even if Apple decided to take an extra $50 the price would still be very competitive.  Get the volume up and you communities that build around your product.  Get power down and maybe more so demonstrate very low power standby and you get schools and interest from conservationists.  Get the price down along with the operating power requirements and people will dedicate the boxes to all sorts of uses.   

    ApplesMac problem is pretty simple, they see the lack of volume as failure but they do exactly what is required to make sure volume never increases.   In a nut shell that is build expensive low performance machines nobody wants.   
  • Reply 216 of 239
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    trackdude said:
    who hard wires RAM onto the motherboard anymore
    Apple, with every product they make.
    Probably for good reason too.  
  • Reply 217 of 239
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    cgWerks said:
    knowitall said:
    I would call it a YUC: the Mac is designed 100 times better, has style and is minimalistic at the same time, kudos for Apple.
    Internal power conversion is a big plus and makes Mac mini an even better product.
    The mini could become the best computer overall if it blended with the puck; intels very very expensive i7 would be blown away by a $20 A12.
    No, actually it would not unless they build a desktop version of the A12. They certainly could use the A-series architecture, but no, just putting an iPhone/iPad chip into a Mac won't make it compete with desktop/workstation/server processors (aside from a few instantaneous tests on a benchmark, maybe). Also, you're assuming, I think, continued growth in performance of the A-series and complete stagnation of Intel. Apple is going to hit the same physics walls Intel did eventually, too. The main thing holding Intel back is backward compatibility... and physics.
    We are talking Mini here so no one cares about work station processors.  The A12 already out performs the hardware in the Mini and that is without active cooling.   Depending upon how things are measured the A12 could be seen as a big jump in performance when the Neural Engine is included.  Neural Engine by the way is a good example of Apple pulling ahead of Intel and just about everybody else.   It is this ability to add Apple only hardware that makes Apples chips in Mac so interesting.  
  • Reply 218 of 239
    wizard69 said:
    cgWerks said:
    knowitall said:
    I would call it a YUC: the Mac is designed 100 times better, has style and is minimalistic at the same time, kudos for Apple.
    Internal power conversion is a big plus and makes Mac mini an even better product.
    The mini could become the best computer overall if it blended with the puck; intels very very expensive i7 would be blown away by a $20 A12.
    No, actually it would not unless they build a desktop version of the A12. They certainly could use the A-series architecture, but no, just putting an iPhone/iPad chip into a Mac won't make it compete with desktop/workstation/server processors (aside from a few instantaneous tests on a benchmark, maybe). Also, you're assuming, I think, continued growth in performance of the A-series and complete stagnation of Intel. Apple is going to hit the same physics walls Intel did eventually, too. The main thing holding Intel back is backward compatibility... and physics.
    We are talking Mini here so no one cares about work station processors.  The A12 already out performs the hardware in the Mini and that is without active cooling.   Depending upon how things are measured the A12 could be seen as a big jump in performance when the Neural Engine is included.  Neural Engine by the way is a good example of Apple pulling ahead of Intel and just about everybody else.   It is this ability to add Apple only hardware that makes Apples chips in Mac so interesting.  
    I seriously doubt the A12 outperforms the i7 minis with 8 threads.  Besides you don't seem to grasp how the minis are used. 

    They are used in a slew of server settings in addition to development in non Apple software shops.  To a large extent an A-series processor will make the mini obsolete for these purposes because the open source and in-house developed libraries that are written in other development languages than those currently supported in Xcode probably never will be ported to these processors. In addition it robs these systems of the possibility of the mixed mode of running both macOS with Windows and Linux in virtual machines on the same system, unless you want to return to the sub par experience we had on virtual machines in the PPC days. 

    An A-series mini competing with very low end systems like the Raspberry and other single board computers could be highly successful in such a market and even dominate it, but to ditch the Intel systems for A-series will be shooting itself even more in the foot than they currently have done. 

    Actually we care VERY much about workstation and server class processors. This is also the Bloomberg reported target for a Mini Pro - server and professional users requiring more performance. 
    edited October 2018 cgWerks
  • Reply 219 of 239
    Last week I bought a 1TB SSD and Mac Mini tools, watched the YouTube video, and replaced the hard drive.   What a difference it made!!!!   Things that took 10 to 30 seconds to open are up within 3 to 5 seconds.  Its super fast compared to what it was.  It’s like having a whole new machine.   Whatever Apple makes to replace it, I hope they just put an SSD in it.  FYI, the process to replace the drive is not hard but you do have to tear down most of the machine CAREFULLY which would be entirely unnecessary if you could just open the top cover!   
    ravnorodomcgWerks
  • Reply 220 of 239
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    cgWerks said:

    Soli said:
    ... So why assume that a Mac running ARM would be using the A-series chip out of the an iPhone? Why assume that it wouldn't be able to compete with Intel when Apple's A-series chips which are designed for much lower TDPs and smaller batteries in mobile devices are already trouncing Intel chips in Macs. Do you think all the independent, comparative testing of the 12" MacBook and Mac mini are a lie?
    I'm not assuming that, just stating it won't be the case (i.e.: same chip). This means putting some substantial resources into the Mac, when they haven't even been able to pull off something simple like updating the chips in already designed models.

    Can they do it? Of course. Do they have the will? I don't know. That's my point.
    re: benchmarks - not apples to apples (pardon the pun).
    Well considering that Intel has a variety of chips that are slight variants of each other there is no reason why Apple couldn’t do the same.   You mis the important point here though, Apples A12 could go into a a Mini today and outperform the current Mini’s.  That is as a passively cooled device.  

    Im pretty put out about the lack of Mac updates myself.  This is why I’m hoping for a move to ARM.   Because in the end they would have to engineer a chip suitable for higher end Minis and the laptops.  Four years to engineer such a chip is a long time though.  

    As for benchmarks I don’t think you understand them.    You don’t expect a processor to win every little part of a bench mark.   What a benchmark will do is to tell you that f a processor is capable of running your apps.  As a ch the little bit of benchmarking we have seen so far, indicates that A12 could in fact power a Mini and actually beat current models in performance.  Even soi wouldn’t expect to see A12 (probably A12X) in anything other than a low power (performance) Mini or Mac Book with a performance chip for higher end machines.  For Apple that performance could come more CPU cores or specialized hardware.    Apple would have no more difficulty with such chip upgrades then Intel or AMD.  This expecially considering all the chip engineers they hired recently.  

    In any event I have no idea why Apple is so screwed up of late.   All I want to do here is point out what might be possible.    To look at it another way you have Linux running on chips that aren’t even half as fast as Apples chips and Linux runs there fine.  The performance is there.   
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