2011 Mac Mini - Speculation

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Nanker/Phelge, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. Nanker/Phelge macrumors regular

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    #1
    Any thoughts on the new Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs being thrown into a 2011 Mini? Rumor has it the production was recently ramped up after several demos for chip buyers, IE Apple, went over well. I know it will be unveiled in January, but what do you guys think the chances are it's to market for a Q2 release to replace the C2D the Mini and Macbook?

    Cheers
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    Since C2Ds are being EOLed, I think Apple's only option is to use Sandy Bridge, or AMD.
     
  3. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #3
    Sorry, I have nothing to add to the processor speculation, but personally, I would love to see the mini follow the air and have on board flash storage and to remove the superdrive. I'm not too specific on the space constraints, but wouldn't the free space allow for discreet graphic options, granted they kept the current dimensions as is?

    This would be much more appealing to me than processor upgrades.
     
  4. hitekalex macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

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    #4
    You do know Apple has already removed the SuperDrive from the Mini (server), don't you?
     
  5. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #5
    Yes, I do, but it would be nice to have more CTO options with the hardware given. Moving to onboard flash would most definitely give you two drives (and perhaps even a third and fourth?) for the space of one just of the current 7200rpm drives in it currently, leaving the extra space for perhaps a discreet graphics card. Though I'm not sure of the physical sizes of the cards, so not sure if it would still fit.

    Also, I'd love to see Apple give users an option to choose between client OSX and server OSX for the non-optical drive mini.
     
  6. Kebabselector macrumors 68030

    Kebabselector

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    #6
    SSD in a Mini, it would be nice. But I wouldn't want to see the price hike.

    For a desktop I'd be reluctant to loose the DVD though, I use it for importing DVD's/CDs into iTunes.
     
  7. Icaras macrumors 603

    Icaras

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    #7
    CTO.

    USB SuperDrive and/or Remote Disc sharing.

    These issues are easily solvable. Apple just needs to give more options to users, which sometimes can be a tough bet lol.
     
  8. Strolls macrumors newbie

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    #8
    The first Intel Mac Minis ran CPUs with 27W power consumption; current models' CPUs are rated 25W.

    Seems like the eligible candidates of Sandy Bridge CPU for the Mini would be the dual-core mobile models. I guess it depends on the price. Those are hyperthreaded - what's the performance supposed to be like?

    Quad-core Sandy Bridge CPUs seem to be coming in at 45W. I can't see Apple going for that, just yet.

    According to the buyer's guide, the average release cycle would indicate a Mac Mini release in a couple of months time - 63 days, that would be late February. You can't rely on that absolutely, but it is usually a surprisingly accurate indicator.

    I had assumed that the new Mac Minis would use current model i3 or i5 chips. Do you think the Sandy Bridge chips will be out in time?

    It must take a long time to design a new mainboard - will Apple have had samples long enough? If the favourable demos were only recent, then surely not???

    Can't see the optical drive removed from the Mini. Optical drives are important to me, but I think to other people, also, for DVD playback and burning mix CDs. I think Steve would consider that, and I don't think he'd take out such a useful feature just to make the mini a little smaller - what would be the benefit? The Mini is a good size as it is - the removal of the optical drive makes sense on the Air because it's a laptop, but you go don't carrying your Mini around with you. If you want extra internal drives then Apple want you to buy a Mac Pro.
     
  9. calaverasgrande macrumors 65816

    calaverasgrande

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    #9
    I could care less about optical drives. Aside from loading software I almost never use one. I would rather have an external USB drive for the rare occasion I need an optical. And for that matter, it should be blueray!
    If I could trade superdrive for expresscard34 on my macbook pro....:rolleyes:
    I dont see SSD coming to Minis anytime soon. It would cost so much! I would bet they would get discrete graphics first. Discrete graphics is one chip and a couple ram chips. SSD is about half a dozen chips and a lot more money. If they can fit discrete graphics in the macbook pro they can fit it in a Mini. Question is, why would they want to? That cannibalizes the market for iMacs and Macbook Pros. Heck in some cases you could ditch a Mac tower for a maxed out mini with discrete graphics and decent external storage.
     
  10. bearcatrp, Dec 17, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010

    bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Apple could make a descent mini but doubling the height, 2 drive with one being a ssd, keep the optical drive, keep HDMI, get rid of the card slot (worthless) and add esata. Not sure if it would be possible for dedicated graphics though. Oh yeah, forgot to add, put a 4 core chip in it with hyperthreading. 8gb ram will still be ok. This would be the ultimate home theatre that could actually be capable of doing something. But then again, apple wants everyone to buy a ATV2 to suck our wallets dry :eek: .

    Oh, the second drive needs to be 3.5 so a 2tb drive can be installed.
     
  11. evilcat macrumors member

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    #11
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; U; CPU OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    With SSD and low-power mobile quad cores in the wild at reasonable prices, I would not be surprised if Apple at some point release a new Cube. Imagine what they could fit inside a 7.5x7.5x7.5" enclosure! Quad Core i7 with a few RAM slots, dedicated graphics, 2.5" SSD and a couple of RAIDed hard disks... All in a solid aluminium cube. ESATA and HDMI on the back and I'd happily pay up to $2,000 for a powerhouse like that.

    Anyway, with the form factor change last year, expect nothing more in the Mini than the easiest-to-integrate i3 and a slightly different graphics chip.
     
  12. G4er? macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    I agree with bear and evil. There is a huge gap both in capability and price between the mini and the Mac Pro. This big of a gap does not exist in the laptop and iMac lines. Mac mini at $699 and Mac Pro starting at $2499. How about something halfway between at $1299-$1599?
    Right now it is like Apple has a small car and a full size car. Apple doesn't seem to know that mid size cars is the largest market. Apple instead wants all of us to buy crossovers which is what the iMac is. It does a little bit of everything to try to fill the most roles but because it is packaged the way it is it isn't going to be the best at any of them. Too many compromises.
    Look at Jeep. Lot's of models that are designed to try to meet the needs of lots of people but the Wrangler which is the best at being a Jeep is outselling all the other models. The Wrangler isn't the cheapest Jeep ( Mac mini) and it isn't the most expensive Jeep (Mac Pro) but it is the one most Jeep buyers want.
    Instead of a Wrangler Apple gives us a Honda Element (iMac).
     
  13. Strolls macrumors newbie

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    #13
    I've been using Macs maybe 6 or 7 years, and I guess I asked this question back then. The answer was that Apple won't introduce a "middle of the range" tower because it would cannibalise MacPro sales.

    Apple feel they have to have these very high end Mac Pros because, even though hardly anyone wants to buy them, the people that do need that performance (for music- and video- and image-editing) are the very top of their field and very influential - the 0.1% cream of the crop. If Apple could cost-effectively make and sell MacPros to these people and the the mid-range tower to the next 1.9% or 4.9% of the market, then they would do so. But the 0.1% cream of the crop isn't a big enough market to enable MacPros to be manufactured cost-effectively.

    So what Apple does is sell the iMac / Mac Mini range as slightly too gimped for people like us, to widen the Mac Pro market to 2% or 5%, so that we're driven to buy one. Not all of us do, of course, but there are plenty of local wedding photographers and graphic designers who presently buy Mac Pros but who would be all over a mid-range model in a heartbeat. For these guys a couple of grand's savings is not to be sniffed at - if you've got 5 employees using MacPros that's maybe 10 grand in the boss's pocket, if he can switch them to a cheaper model. Of course it's not worth doing that, if the employees are less productive, and thus the gimpification of the Mini.

    The Mac Mini's specification has improved over the last few iterations - I was really surprised when I learned Apple had released one with dual video-out. For me, that is the killer feature that had previously driven me to buy PowerMacs (MacPro's predecessor), though the price sorely stretched me. Consequently, I can't rule out a mid-range model, but I think it's pretty unlikely. I won't be surprised by Apple, anymore, and if they released one tomorrow I'd shake your hand and commend your perspicacity, but they haven't released a mid-range model in the last decade, why do you think they'd release one now?

    I joined this thread to find out more about the next model of Mac Mini, not circlejerk about what I'd like Apple to sell. I don't intend this as a dig at you personally, but I think talking about what we'd all dream of in a mid-range model is derailing the speculation somewhat. I think when I speculated about the power consumption of quad-cores in relation to Minis then that's me circlejerking, too - why would Apple release a quad-core Mini at 1/3 or 1/4 the price of their cheapest Mac Pro? I really want a quad-core Mac Mini, because I can't afford a Pro, but thinking like that I can't see them doing so until they have dropped the quad-core Pro and established 8 cores as the lowest-end of Pro. Maybe I could see a range of 6-, 8- and 12-core Mac Pros in Q1 2011, then a quad-core Mini in Q4. Currently most of Intel's quad-core chips are three to four times the power consumption of those in the Mini.

    Except the largest market is for laptops. In recent years Apple's largest-selling products has been laptops, and they have come to be one of the largest vendors of laptop computers, including all the PC manufacturers out there. They have achieved this by responding to their laptop successes with a wide and embracing selection of laptops - their MacBook ranges are excellent, I doubt if anyone is seriously complaining about gaps in it (more than minor niggles).

    You have to understand Job's psychology in this. I can't say I have medical qualifications or any great insight, but it's clear that he rules the company from the top-down, that he is a perfectionist and that design is important to him. All Apple's creations are results of his "vision" - Steve probably feels that it's not the iMac that's a compromise, but the Mac Mini and even the Pro. The iMac is this simple, elegant product, a computer that anyone can use, that (for the end-user) has no complexity.

    I used to know an architect with this amazing designer home - he had several pieces of furniture which were famous for their notable design, Eames chairs and stuff like this. The place was an old cottage (maybe 17th century, or something), but inside it had white painted walls and minimal clutter, which led it to feel airy and spacious; carefully selected objects provided splashes of colour and interest. This home was exactly how you'd expect an architect or well-off designer to live, and this guy had an iMac - it fitted perfectly into his vision, which he probably shares quite closely with Steve.

    A little old lady buys an iMac, she doesn't need to know whether she needs a VGA or DVI monitor; she doesn't even have to plug in the monitor, getting confused about which connector to use (as I have seen PC buyers do). She doesn't even have to plug in the keyboard! Wireless keyboards are now standard on iMacs - she just plugs in the power and switches it on. This is what Steve believes in - it's how he sees the world, and it's the world he wants to live in. iMacs and MacBooks fit perfectly into this vision, much much more so than the other models in the Apple range.

    I ****ing hate the iMac. I think it's retarded that you have to throw away a monitor when you want to upgrade the CPU. But you have to understand that iMacs are a core product for Apple.

    A very different market - lots of factors influence this, including economies of scale and demands upon the Apple's design team. Apart from anything else, Jeep don't have to redesign their engines every 2 years to accommodate a completely new generation of CPU.

    Stroller.
     
  14. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #14
    Just get a used or refurb Mac Pro, they are about 2000$.

    The amount of people who would buy a computer like that is way too small to be worth it for Apple. Nowadays, Apple aims at consumers. Consumers don't really care about upgradeability as they aren't tech savvies and want that things just work.

    iMac sells like hot cakes. There is no need for Apple to release an "xMac". If iMacs weren't selling that well, then Apple would have to think about doing something for the line up. What Apple could do is make iMac a bit more easily upgradeable. Some kind of HD bay thing or something would be amazing.

    All in all, this xMac discussion has been beaten to death way too many times
     
  15. ZilogZ80 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    I don't know about you, but I'm definitely going be using it as a 2nd monitor when I get my next mac, be it another iMac or (hopefully) a Pro. The 27" screens are excellent - the only improvement will be to have two of them!
     
  16. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #16
    well since the thread is on 2011 mac mini. here goes they keep the new design cause it looks cool get over it. so what can they do with the design as it is now:

    1) NO BLU-RAY ! why it would hurt iTunes and Apple tv.

    2) a flash storage like airbook is the most likely upgrade.

    3) leave the dvd player in ?

    4) better graphics ?

    5) esata or usb3 yes they are going to add some kind of faster connection.
    I think kill the card slot and go with an express slot. Nice move if they do it.

    6) now since I know one thing about these machines by killing the dvd player adding an esata slot is very easy to do they may do that.

    my vote is 2 and 6.
     
  17. calaverasgrande macrumors 65816

    calaverasgrande

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    #17
    I work on Mac laptops alot. They are super well designed inside. It's very educational to look at first gen unibody macboks (with the removable battery), then the subsequent refinements of the unibody. They keep whittling down the amount of stray internal connections and assorted ugliness. Well part of that process they got rid of the damn expresscard slot. This isnt a niggling detail. It sucks that I have to buy a boat of a macbook at 17" to have access to pro level connectivity. EG Apogee soundcards, UAD DSP cards, eSata connectivity.etc.
     
  18. vert18 macrumors member

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    #18
  19. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #19
    another f u from apple the removal of the expresscard slot is an act of theft. IMO you are forced to buy a 2300 computer to get the slot a mac pro is only 200 more. the 15 inch macbook can have one so I figure they are stealing 500 bucks from you. Really nasty to any good dj or even a guy like me a gear freak.
     
  20. evilcat macrumors member

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    #20
    Yup, it has, and I didn't mean to derail the thread. Rather than wank poetic over what would go inside, I'm more surprised Steve hasn't revisited the cube idea after the NextCube and the G4 Cube. That said, they were both perceived as flops... But the iPad shows he's prepared to set Ives and co. beavering away for five years to make his vision viable, so who knows?

    As for the Mac Pro... I will never buy a pro Mac again. My Quad G5 is severely overpowered now I don't work for myself and I'm seriously debating selling it and buying next year's Mini (or maybe a low-end iMac). I want something low-powered to run as a torrent box and iTunes server, with enough grunt to run virtual machines (web testing only - a dual core Pentium has sufficed up to now) and let me run CS3.

    I did use the quad cores once upon a time but I've realised that, since my iPad took most of the day- to-day chores off the G5, I only boot it up to manage the iPad, an iPod, run some torrents, and most of all do web development... So that was twice in the last seven days. The beast is overkill.

    Even if Apple only throw an i3 in the next Mini, I'll most likely buy it. If there was an easy way to get an SSD in it, or it came with eSata, that would be ideal... And then I remind myself that, nice as it is to dream, I need those about as much as I need the xMac I went on about above.

    Tl;dr - nothing to see here. The new Mini will have an i3 but be otherwise identical, and that's all I really need anymore.
     
  21. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    dolphin842

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    #21
    Thanks for the wikipedia link. I've been out of the Sandy Bridge loop for a bit and it's good to see quad-core mobile chips coming our way (as well as improvements to i5/i7 desktop line as well). The only question in my mind is whether or not to wait until Ivy Bridge when we'll have 6-8 core chips allegedly within mainstream budgets for the hackintosh community.

    As to your question about performance, the current dual-core i-series chips offer a noticeable performance increase at similar clocks compared to the C2D for things like video encoding, so any move by the Mini to modern CPUs will be most welcome for the prosumer video crowd.


    My guess is a springtime revision of the Minis, or maybe summer. My foggy memory recalls that Apple has historically put cutting-edge chips in the higher-end systems like the Mac Pro pretty rapidly after release, but as you know the consumer-level models have been taking their sweet time to move on from Core 2 (though in some cases it's not entirely their fault).

    On optimistic days I see Apple realizing this point as a reason for them not cracking down on the Hackintosh community as much as they could be. Apple's not interested in serving niche markets so they leave the geeks to their own devices.... since they're on their own it saves money on support staff as well! :rolleyes:

    I suppose it all depends if Steve felt like spending time making something aesthetic in that form factor again (see previous paragraph about them increasingly not serving niches anymore). The one factor in a hypothetical Cube's favor nowadays though is price... I'd imagine Apple could offer a Cube with similar/slightly better specs to their iMac line at identical price points (kind of how the Air currently overlaps with the low-end MacBook). Without the cost of a monitor, they could probably maintain similar or better margins on a Cube while still giving the option of upgradability to those who want it. At this point, it's just a matter of Steve caring or not.
     
  22. slipper macrumors 68000

    slipper

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    #22
    I do agree with this for the Mac portables but not the Mac Mini or any desktop. Especially with the fact that so many people use the Mac Mini as a HTPC.
     
  23. Wicked1 macrumors 68040

    Wicked1

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    #23
    All I have to say is make the darn thing easier to get into to upgrade. The 2009 Mini I have isn't bad but you can easily break clips, and the new one is insane to get into for the HDD.

    Include the new i series for the next CPU upgrades, ditch the DVD Drive and put in solid state drives, but not built in or have another model with built in.

    Dedicate GPU
     
  24. G4er? macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Which unfortunately goes against the insane "we've got to make everything smaller" mantra. Making it easy for the owner would mean having some room between parts which means a bigger case. But heaven forbid Apple make anything easy to work on.
     
  25. Strolls macrumors newbie

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    #25
    Which one? How many watts does it run?

    LOL.
     

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