A less-versatile, less-appealing Mini - Ars Technica Full Review

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dvdchance, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    Interesting that Ars Technica states that the 2012 is dramatically quicker at Handbrake but doesn't post any results.

    Other reviews show not much difference as the 2014 supports AVX2 instructions that the x264 component in Handbrake which helps compensate for being dual core. In the test here


    then the higher model 2014's actually performed quicker at handbrake.
  2. dvdchance thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2012
    They show a chart towards the end with results, 2014 186 seconds v 2012 109 seconds. Click below the iMovie chart and show the handbrake chart with details.
  3. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
  4. J232022 macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2014
    The new minis should perform better at graphics heavy workloads . But for cpu heavy tasks the old minis are much better at least the quad-core ones . The developers have to use the extra cores though and a lot of apps don't take advantage of multiple cores so it all depends on the app really .
  5. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    I wasn't able to read the review. What's the summary verdict? Good, bad or ugly? Thx.
  6. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    The good
    • Better storage, Wi-Fi, and graphics performance than last year.
    • Significantly lower idle power consumption, thanks to Haswell.
    • Dual-core models should be faster than 2012's dual-core model, though not by much.
    • Two Thunderbolt 2 ports for external expansion.
    • Thunderbolt 2 and HDMI ports support 4K screens at up to 30Hz.
    • $100 price cut in low end and midrange models.

    The bad
    • The second 2.5-inch drive bay is gone.
    • The Mac Mini Server configuration is also gone.
    • RAM is soldered to the motherboard, and the desktop is generally much harder to open up and work on.
    • No 60Hz 4K support.

    The ugly
    • No quad-core CPU option, which limits performance in midrange and high-end models.
  7. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    Great summary! Thanks!
  8. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    I just copied and pasted from the article :D
  9. crazzapple Guest

    Oct 19, 2014
    Wow... the 2012 is worse than I thought. 2012 absolutely spanks the brand new 2014.

    Having said that, the 2014 is a great computer for pro facebook and twitter users. If you do the occasional graphic design for you son or daughter's soccer team, then the 2014 is the mac mini for you!

    Way to go Apple!
  10. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    Meanwhile folks are recording studio albums and editing feature-length films on the 2012 quad.
  11. crazzapple Guest

    Oct 19, 2014
    I for one am glad apple has not ignored the pro facebook/twitter/pinterest users. The mac mini 2014 is perfect... it's a social media power house machine!
  12. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    I assume some of you haven't actually read the review, which includes an excellent explanation about the CPU choice issue
  13. hleewell macrumors 6502a

    Oct 22, 2009
    Apple will upgrade this when Broadwell becomes cheap enough.
    Or they may introduce a new line up in-between Mini & Mac Pro
    Or just tell people that iMac is the cheaper alternative to Mac Pro and kill the Mini

  14. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    So what? Designing 2 different logic boards wasn't a problem for apple before even when they had a much smaller cash hoard under Jobs. For example, the 2011 had 2 different logic boards. In fact it required even more engineering cash out into it as the mid level board had a discrete gpu. Apple is just being cheap here.

    As Apple has now shown an unwillingness to design more than 1 logic board for the mini along with their subsequent choice for U class mobile CPUs shows that their won't be any more quad core minis in the next 3+ years as even broadwells successor Skylake does not have a quad core made for a u class socket.
  15. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    This will also be a big discussion when the 15" MBP come out with Broadwell with no option so far for a quad core U series Processor.

    I would think Apple will have special SKU chips from Intel so as to provide Broadwell quad core chips for their flagship laptop.
  16. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    Uhmmm.. You might be mixing up the rMBP 13 (which does use the thinner U series chip packaging) with the 15. Unless Apple redesigns the rMBP 15 with broadwell, I'm pretty sure they won't be using U series chips as the 2012/2013/2014 models didn't.
  17. AndyJapan macrumors member

    Dec 13, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    Yep, eliminating product variations and SKUs is one way to optimize manufacturing and inventory management processes and ultimately increase margin. Stockholders are obviously more important to Apple than a (small?) group of noisy customers. Mac sales is up. Looks like Apple is doing many things right. Doesn't mean I agree with them. :p

    Interesting information. That's a pity as I was still hoping that Apple might launch a better Mac Mini within the next 1 to 2 years. :confused: Macs are are slowly but surely becoming Apple-iances that are not supposed to be upgraded or tempered with. :(
  18. timmillea macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2014
    I do not expect any Broadwell minis. Skylake is just behind and there won't be two updates to the Mini in under 2 years. Expect the next Mini, or 'Mac Air' to bring some consistency the the names, to be exactly a Macbook Air without the display in a tinier enclosure:

    SSD (PCIe) only
    Thunderbolt 3
    DDR4 (soldered)
    USB 4
    No discrete GPU

    I would expect a price drop on the new quad-core Mac Pro to help fill the middle ground but neither the Pro nor the Mini are even the focus of Apple's Mac development, let alone their overall business.

    Unless Apple want to go the full hog to demonstrate that they have the greenest computer on the planet, which is a distinct possibility, I would expect continued neglect of the Mini line. There is a business case for a cheap Mac but I get the impression the concept is almost beneath Apple.
  19. macaron95 macrumors regular

    May 5, 2014
    the mac mini will never be a macbook air without display simply because apple doesn't sell the mac mini in the same volume, therefore doesn't order the same quantity from manufacturers and doesn't get the same prices for parts

    i believe that the mac mini is the least profitable machine in the catalog

    apple is trying to please its own pocket before trying to please its loyal community
  20. timmillea macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2014
    The Mini is already a MB Air without the display. The only differences are the paid-for options of faster processors because the power is not dependant upon a battery and a couple more identical ports because space allows. Keeping the specs almost identical keeps costs down.

    The Ars Tecnica review suggests that the Mini lost quad-cores because no two chips in Intel's Haswell lineup had the same pinout for dual and quad cores without one sacrificing HD5000+ graphics. Two different boards or a discrete GPU would have fixed that. No, I think it is an indication of Apple's direction for the Mini.

  21. AndyJapan macrumors member

    Dec 13, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    This sounds very probable. The Mac Mini will most likely become a true appliance (similar to Apple TV) which cannot be upgraded at all.

    Lowering the specs (No Xeon CPU, single GPU) and price of the Mac Pro to fill the mid-range would be appreciated by many customers (who don't like all-in-one computers), but cannibalize iMac sales. Therefore, I am not sure whether Apple will take this step. I would certainly appreciate if Apple offered a 'headless iMac'.
  22. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    People have been wanting that for years and it hasn't happened. So I don't think it is likely.
  23. iZac macrumors 68000


    Apr 28, 2003
    With the PCI express connector and mounting point easily available, what'e the likelihood of a third party doing blade SSD upgrades for the new mini, without having to pull the whole thing apart to replace the HDD?
  24. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2014
    The Netherlands

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