Horrible value

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by StoneJack, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. StoneJack macrumors 65816

    StoneJack

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    #1
    After some years with MBA as a main Mac, wanted to buy a mini.
    The 499 dollar mini with meagre 4GB of RAM is such a horrible value that 699 with 5400 rpm seems a good deal. But they both are terrible overpriced and represent horrible value.
     
  2. Nospig macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    Bangkok, Thailand
  3. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #3
    Yup. Sadly, they were a pretty poor value even back in 2014 when they first came out. :(

    I can only assume that Apple is so utterly consumed with trying to upsell iMacs to people interested in the Mini that they decided to just castrate the poor machines.
     
  4. Spink10 Suspended

    Spink10

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #4
    Buying a used Mini for a steal of a deal is like the only way to get a decent value for your $$


    Which is difficult to find.
     
  5. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #5
    We're close enough to a possible October event that I'd wait for it to see whether or not there's a 2016 Mac Mini announcement.

    If not, start looking for deals because the Mini might be in for a 3 year wait like the Mac Pro is approaching, or become a zombie model like the 4.5-year old non-retina MacBook Pro that Apple still sells as new today.
     
  6. bbnck macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    #6
    It's a real shame we have to consider a MacBook Pro if we want a Mac with better processor and graphics performance that we can use with our own monitors. Apple desperately needs to launch a pro version of the Mac mini with discrete graphics and better processor performance. They are just asking for customers to leave. It's really dire.
     
  7. dogslobber macrumors 68030

    dogslobber

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Location:
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    #7
    Are you assuming a Mac Pro update is coming this October? Miracles usually happen closer to Christmas!
     
  8. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #8
    I'm half expecting it to be cancelled. :(
     
  9. sublunar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    #9
    The 2 years between updates really seems to have gotten on people's wicks here. Especially so when the price stays constant throughout.

    If Apple just thought about doing small things to encourage consumers that didn't require re-engineering half way through the life they might boost sales cheaply:

    eg. a 2015 Mini refresh might have cut the price, doubled the RAM, made 1Tb Fusion drive standard, or perhaps even thrown in a 2 year Apple Care warranty for the same money instead. It wouldn't have been a hard tweak, and Apple didn't necessarily need to leave the price static either if they were throwing in goodies.

    Car manufacturers (and Apple have ambitions in this general direction) do this every year. Increase the price to take in inflation, but also make some small formerly optional extras standard every year, offer new options, even if the underpinnings remain the same. It's enough to make consumer look again every year, and car manufacturers generally release new model years at the same time of year with facelifts every 3-4 years and all new models every 6-9 years.

    There's signs Apple strategy may be changing. Look at what they did with the iPad. Storage bump, price cuts in some cases and that will tide users over for another year. Remember that flash prices constantly drop, and Intel are constantly offering deals on their parts.

    Back to the Mini. I think Apple will keep it a dual core machine to keep it well away from potentially embarrassing benchmark comparisons with iMac and Mac Pro.

    They could, however, go nuts and re-engineer the case to ape the Mac pro (vertical with exhaust and bigger internal heat sink) allowing them to add an AMD graphics option alongside a 15w Kaby Lake CPU or 28w Skylake CPU with Alpine Ridge USB-C controller - total headroom of 100-200w for example with PSU brick built in and space for a hard drive and PCIe SSD for fusion. Just a basic Polaris to help with graphics compute, with the side effect of potentially allowing the modest Mac Mini to connect to a 5k Apple (or LG/Dell?) monitor using USB-C. Dual cores would mean people won't be buying these in as FCPX machines but they'd start to become interesting for eSports folks and VR types.

    But they won't ;)
     
  10. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #10
    Ah, well, back years ago when the Mac was Apple's main product, Apple would indeed put out updates or new models every year.

    But the Mac is no longer Apple's breadwinner; the iPhone is. And, as such, the iPhone is now what gets updates or new models every year.

    Nowadays, Mac hardware is no longer competitive, because Apple just isn't bothering to compete. That is what gets fans up in arms here...
     
  11. sublunar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    #11
    There'd be a lot less whinging if Apple did a yearly minor change as I suggested - price cut, or basic spec boost (e.g. ram, storage, warranty). No engineering required, just a change in SKU. They could plan this into the product life span upon introduction. It'd be like a Mac Mini S :)

    Phone buyers in the UK expect a different product every year at the very least. The consumer won't accept anything less often and Apple have to listen as it's their cash cow now.

    Macs aren't their cash cow so our voices aren't going to be as important. The overall speed increase between generations of Intel chips is in single digits now, since before Sandy Bridge CPUs were out, and performance per dollar isn't that impressive between generations.

    Apple rightly identifies GPU as the next part that will distinguish Macs between generations but neglects to put one in most of their range and even then only out of date ones - based on AMDs motivation for market share by discounting it would seem. This is what's caused the Oculus Rift guys to claim that Apple don't make a 'decent' PC. But then it launches Mac pro with sub-optimal and out of date GPUs and abandons it for 3 years. It releases iMacs which need graphics cards to run the 5k retina screens but despite effectively annual updates they remain out of date too.

    You can only really argue that Apple are interested in GPU for their compute ability (e.g. video rendering) and not their ability to play Overwatch on a Mac, even the ability to run a 5k panel using one USB-C cable isn't going to move Apple.

    Obviously Tim Cook has latterly said that VR (virtual reality) isn't as interesting as AR (augmented reality), but AR requires a camera (and therefore he's only talking about iPads or iPhones). We shouldn't expect top of the line GPU in a standalone Mac any time soon. Iris Graphics will continue to be adequate enough for Apple. :(

    Here's a nice parallel with Sony. The PS4 was launched in winter 2013 and has only just been effectively obsoleted because they have launched a 4k version. During that time they introduced a version with a bigger hard drive and retailers added packs with various games etc but prices have always drifted downwards as consumer electronics usually do. The UK price at laugh was apparently £349, it's now dropped closer to £249 with games years later.

    The 4k version has been announced with uprated graphics (they call it the PS4 Pro - oh the irony!) and there's a slim version of the original PS4 available people will generally expect the old model to continue the decline in prices.

    The user base gets higher as people jump on the band wagon with steadily decreasing prices. Sony get their cut of games (like Apple get their 30% from the App store).

    So Sony haven't bothered fiddling around with the specs too much, they just let the price slide to keep interest up because they get their cut from the games.
     
  12. reyesmac macrumors 6502

    reyesmac

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    Central Texas
    #12
    The mac mini is a thorn in apples side because it shows how much they value high margins and upselling to other products. At one time they wanted to show how fast their machines were and at least touted how fast these mini's were. But when people saw them as an affordable alternative to their higher end units they stopped being marketed as fast little macs and instead are just there in case someone can't afford a more expensive mac. And because it is a desktop unit and is lower in price than a laptop, it cannot have a CPU/GPU that is faster than their $999 entry level laptops that run off even slower CPU's. Because having them both in the same store will only make the consumer ask why the faster smaller older mini is cheaper than the slower newer laptop.
    They have stopped making the best product they can make and are just using it to show that you can't get a great mac under $1,000. Which is just not true because a properly upgraded mac from 5 years ago can still go toe to toe with some of the stuff they sell as new now. But if their target consumer just wants to surf the web and not do anything high end on them they must figure the people who want comparable performance to a $500 pc must be willing to pay over $1,500 for that kind of power.
     
  13. Count Blah macrumors 68030

    Count Blah

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    US of A
    #13
    They've pretty much told people to leave. And many have listened. Professionals who need powerful machines have pretty much moved back to Windows. Refusing to update machines, gluing everything in, maximizing margins by being consumer hostile, etc... has been Apple's answer to consumers.

    Very disappointed to a company I used to be VERY loyal towards.
     
  14. Johnlpi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2015
    #14
    I agree - it's a horrible value. In fact, there is no "value" in it at all. And the Buyer's guide would agree with you.

    :sigh:

    And with all of the iphone7 issues and iOS 10 glitches, buying anything Apple right now gives me pause.
     
  15. bbnck macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    #15
    I don't mind 2 year release cycles between hardware updates - nothing wrong with that (and the same or perhaps even more so for operating system updates to be honest). However I do mind when Apple doesn't offer any desktop Mac within anyone's reasonable price range with good CPU and GPU performance. I bought a really nice 4K IIYAMA monitor to later find out the Mac mini (Late 2014) only supports it at 30 Hz refresh rate, which is absolutely terrible. I admittedly should have checked "for compatibility" before I bought it - I assumed it'll work perfectly with my Mac mini - but what has made me upset is the fact Apple has no desktop Mac for me that offers something between a Mac mini and a Mac Pro, and that can support a single 4K display at 60 Hz.

    In the end, I had two simple but very painful choices: downgrade my monitor to something that doesn't exceed 2560 x 1600 (which I'm absolutely not prepared to do), or buy an iMac. Apple seriously needs to update their Mac line and offer something in the middle between the only two desktop Macs they have.

    We'll see.
     
  16. sublunar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    #16
    I suspect you'll only have to wait 3 and a half weeks until October 25 when I reckon the Mac updates will take place. If Apple deem it important enough to announce new Macs at an event (because of Thunderbolt 3 and a 5k Cinema Display, possibly taking the entire range to retina) then we'll have notification of an event within around 2 weeks.

    They could still do a silent update by realigning prices and bumping storage options like they did with the iPads if they are waiting for more Kaby Lake CPUs to become available next year. The Kaby Lake CPUs are the 13" retina Macbook Pro are expected early next year, but there's a bit of a question mark over future availability of suitable CPUs for the 15" CPU with Iris Pro graphics.

    A RAM/storage bump (and price cuts) would require just a press release and the Apple Store going down on that Tuesday and give Apple more time to get all their duckpin a row with respect to Kaby Lake, the OLED function key Macbooks and the 5k cinema display.

    Apple couldn't really explain why one of their two headless Macs couldn't connect to a 5k cinema display so I'm rather hoping that the 2016 Mini comes with a GPU or we'll all be puzzling as to why they'd put an AMD RX460 into every 5k cinema display and sell it like that for the next 5 years.
     
  17. Count Blah macrumors 68030

    Count Blah

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    US of A
    #17
    It's just a damned joke at this point.

    I'm in the market for a mini, and refuse to purchase a horribly gimped and overpriced mini, knowing what we once had, and what could be. I'll continue limping along with what I have, and see what Apple deigns to release to the commoners.

    Sad to see how far Apple has fallen from a computer standpoint.
     
  18. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #18
    That could easily be solved by just discontinuing the Mini altogether. :p

    The current lineup is pretty sad though. I used a base model 2012 mini as an iTunes server for the past two years but needed another machine for video editing. Thought about getting another mini and was surprised to find that the current $500 base model has a geekbench score of only 5900 while my $500 2012 mini scores about 6800. I ended up taking the 2012 mini up to 16gb and using it for video, then gritted my teeth and bought a 2014 base mini to replace the iTunes server. It's fine for that, and was a snap to setup with migration asst so it was a practical solution. But not very happy about getting a slower machine for the same price, and it will never be upgradeable from 4gb.

    Didn't realize the performance gap was so great until I looked at the scores. The top of the line 2014 mini has a geekbench of 8295 while there were two i7 2012 models with scores of 10784 and 11759.

    Am doing a lot of work with legacy SD video, so the old mini is plenty powerful for that. But eventually I will want something faster so I really hope we see some better mini's in the future. The trash can MacPro is more than I want, and also not interested in another laptop or an iMac.
     
  19. dogslobber macrumors 68030

    dogslobber

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Location:
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    #19
    You're almost certain to be disappointed with the 2016 Mini later this month as it's gonna turn our world upside down. Perhaps grab a 2014 version while they're still out there.
     
  20. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #20
    How could they possibly make it any worse? Maybe I'm not giving Apple enough credit though, I suppose they could replace all the ports with a single USB-C connector, permanently seal it up so that nothing could be upgraded and make it slower and more expensive. But it would be unbelievably slim and come in lots of pretty colors! :D
     
  21. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    #21
    If you can find it, go back to Phil Schiller's intro of that particular machine.

    He's so proud of the fact they lowered the price $100, then he runs off the stage like a scared little girl, avoiding mentioning what a hack job it was.

    You can thaw frozen bagels on it, but other than that, it's not much good for anything.

    It does represent a good first exposure to the overall Apple experience of under-performing, overpriced machines that can't be upgraded easily.
     
  22. sublunar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    #22
    If Apple can drop the entire range down to 15w MBA CPUs then maybe everything else can drop by $100 too? ;)
    --- Post Merged, Oct 1, 2016 ---
    The two extra cores are producing the extra results from multicore Geekbench scores. In some applications higher single threaded clock speeds win out.

    Apple are supposed to be pushing more of the emphasis for the likes of FCPX and maybe even Logic Pro X on to GPUs which get updated every year rather than relying on whatever Intel push out which seems to increase by single digit percentages year on year.

    For example, they could redesign the Mac Mini case with some a really good cooling solution akin to the Mac Pro, drop in a 15w Kaby Lake MBA CPU (got to protect the Macbook Pro and iMac from the Mini, of course, and 2 faster cores might be better for some applications than 4 slower cores anyway) and bolster it with an mobile AMD RX460 (for example). The least such an arrangement could do is drive a 5k screen adequately while hopefully still retaining that silent Mac Pro style by stopping the fans when the GPU isn't being taxed and when system core temperatures are low enough.

    AMD would then be able to provide double digit improvements in specific benchmarks by releasing new GPUs every year which the Apple Pro apps might be coded towards more heavily using GPU compute and Metal API rather than wait for the slipping Intel product.
     
  23. Count Blah macrumors 68030

    Count Blah

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    US of A
    #23
    Funny. Unlike the qud-core 2012 Mini's, the craptacular 2014 version will be easily obtained, for years to come.
     
  24. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    #24
    At least, at that point, you'd only be throwing $400 down the drain instead of $500.

    But why throw money down the drain?
     
  25. sublunar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    #25
    There's been consistently a varied range of high spec 2014 Mac Minis on the UK Refurb store so they'll be around for some time to come even after any 2016 model appears. I haven't seen a 2012 model in months.

    It's just a bit galling to be spending upwards of £1359 on a refurbished Mini with 8Gb RAM (soldered) and 1Tb of PCIe Flash and still be saddled with an integrated GPU that can't run 4k screens at 60Hz and has no chance of 5k at all. The Skylake version of the 28w Mac Mini CPU can at least do 4k at 60Hz but there'll be no chance of a 5k without a GPU. A USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port will allow the use of external GPU boxes or perhaps plug directly into a 5k Cinema Display which would be boosted by an onboard GPU. Both are ridiculously expensive ways of adding functionality to what should be a cheap device.

    If and when Apple release new Mac hardware next, we in the UK will have to add another 8-15% to prices - if Apple don't change the $ price - because of the UK/$ exchange rate taking a dip, despite flash prices falling over the last 2 years).
     

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