How do you want your xMac?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by nickane, Mar 1, 2008.


How would you like your xMac?

Poll closed Mar 15, 2008.
  1. A higher-end (possibly new form factor) mac mini with a pci-e slot for upgradeable gfx

    11 vote(s)
  2. A stackable mac with modules shaped like an apple tv for upgradeable gfx/sound

    1 vote(s)
  3. A new cube with desktop RAM, upgradeable gfx/sound, priced like a similarly specc'd imac

    5 vote(s)
  4. Grrr! NO! It would cannibalize MP/Imac/MM sales. You are in the minority or a windoze troll.

    5 vote(s)
  5. I don't care cos I don't need one, but I still think that there should be one.

    3 vote(s)
  1. nickane macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2005
    The Mini EOL'd rumour gave us hope and the thread for it rages on unabated but the single processor mac pro suggests it's not happening any time soon. Ideas are getting bandied around a lot, and it seems there are 3 principle options:

    1. The mini should track the imac's specs rather than always being a step behind the macbook, with a single pci-express slot for upgradeable graphics at the top end. I could stratify this further between those who think it should get a 3.5" hard drive and those who think it should stay the same size, but the main point about this is that it doesn't involve a new product, just expanding the options on a pre-existing one.

    Cons: This seems unfeasible because of pricing. Apple wouldn't want the mini to get the same processors as the imac at the same time for the same money it is now, even if the top end model (with upgradeable gfx) was $999, and they would probably want the same class processors across the board.

    2. A stackable modular mac hinged on the form factor of the apple tv/airport extreme/time capsule. This might replace the mini or be a separate line altogether. The gfx modules could cost enough to keep the xMac costing as much as an iMac and for Apple to ensure continued revenue from upgrades it would get to set the price on.

    Cons: As much as graphic designers, audio pros and AV ppl would rejoice (with the av guys needing both sound and audio modules...), apple would probably find this product line too confusing for consumers who would struggle at the BTO page, unsure of whether they need a sound module to use itunes when its really meant for logic. Too many concerns with backwards compatibility on updated modules. Seems a bit of a cabling mess too (how are these things supposed to connect to one another anyways?).

    3. The cube makes a triumphant return, only this time without a price premium on its form factor. For options 2 & 3, I would expect about 10% off the price of a similarly specced imac; maybe a little more off the cube because it would use desktop class components but apple would probably equate the cost of the screen to the revenue lost to the enhanced expansion capabilties. Not sure about what the spec was on the original cube, but I doubt the new one would have a 2nd hard drive or 2nd optical drive. Upgradeable sound/gfx via pci-express would be all it would have over an imac. It probably wouldn't have a desktop processor (it'd be nice if they could squeeze one in though, but there'd always be heat concerns), and it would only be dual core except maybe at the very top end.

    Cons: Apple doesn't like to bring back products that have already failed, but the problem with the cube was that it cost the same as any powermac, whereas this would be a different mac altogether, a true headless imac, closer in spec to the only midrange desktop offering at the moment. This is my preferred option.

    No matter which of these came out, I would buy 2 within 12 months, (one as an HTPC, but as far as apple is concerned, that's probably one of the reasons why they don't want to bring them out, cos if a mac mini could play full hd smoothly, there'd be no need for anyone to buy an apple tv and rent movies off apple when they get round to offering 1080p...). As it stands, I don't have space for a mac pro in my office and I don't do enough editing/rendering at home to justify the expense. Nor do I want to buy an imac, as I am annoyed enough at having to upgrade my 3 year-old G5 because of its limited gfx capabilities (and no, I'm not a gamer). I will probably end up holding out until a macbook pro has 4 cores and get an extra screen for it even though I have no need whatsoever for a laptop.

    That said, there are always those of you who will insist that I represent a demographic that does not exist, that I am a windoze fanboy (one of the millions of fanatics who queued up overnight for Vista no doubt - when will you ppl realize that there is no such thing, certainly none passionate enough to incite mac hatred at a mac forum, but that's a whole different thread...) trolling by insisting there is a gap Apple's product line when there isn't one. So for you, there is option 4, and for those who see the need for one, but don't want one or have a preference, there is option 5.

    Sorry for being so wordy.
  2. iMpathetic macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2007
    Option 2, all the way. Perhaps there could be a basic $600 module, somewhat like the Mac mini. Then, there could be a $200 graphics module, a $150 storage module, and so on and so forth.

    I prefer laptops, sorta, but that would be a great idea. I'd never thought of it like that before.
  3. nickane thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2005
    It's been getting a lot of coverage with those mac nano images and the uniformity of the apple tv/time capsule etc, which is strange cos none of those things are supposed to stack together, they're supposed to be identical units dotted around the house each serving a slightly different purpose. Wireless usb might make it feasible at some point, but I heard that dream was over. I think what you suggest makes most sense, but the connection system bothers me. If they were just hooked up via pci-e, apple wouldn't be able to monopolise the upgrade market, and they probably can't be bother to build a proprietary equivalent.

    Still, it's a very nice idea. I'd prefer that to a slightly better mac mini.
  4. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    I use to think I wanted a XMac but after owning a iMac for the past few months it has become my XMac. Its a fantastic machine in a nice all in one package with power that puts yesterdays Towers to shame. My desire for a consumer tower has gone away.:)
  5. cherry su macrumors 65816

    cherry su

    Feb 28, 2008
    - Core 2 Duo E8400
    - 2GB RAM
    - 320GB HDD
    - nVidia 8500GT

    If you BYO this on Newegg, it comes out less than $1000, so Apple would probably sell it for $1200 - 1500
  6. nickane thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2005
    Fair enough, sorry I didn't make the "there's no need for one" a little less angry. I loved my imac when i got it but I eventually needed more even though I don't quite need a pro. I just like the idea of updating the parts I need to be current halfway thru the life of the computer. Don't get me wrong, it's a great machine and if I didn't need something better for work, I'd be happy with it. For an imac to keep working for me, I would have to ebay it and upgrade almost every year which I can't really afford.
  7. iMpathetic macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2007
    Nice! I'd love that too. Maybe in a case like the iMac, sort of a slab? Perfect size to put an ACD on?

    A C2Q option would be heavenly as well.
  8. nickane thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2005
    Nice one Cherry Su. Thank you for being realistic. I think half the reason ppl hate us xMaccers so much is that when ppl draw up a spec it's always take a mac pro, make it half the size, take away half the hard drive bays and ram slots, but keep it quad core and make it half the price (!). I think price-matching iMacs is fair if it has pci-e slots instead of a screen. They're worth that much to me.

    The other reason is that when ppl say midrange-tower, others just think of an apple shuttle or a half-empty/half-size mac pro, when really apple would do something cool like the cube (perhaps my favourite apple computer of all time, design-wise). I wanted to concentrate on form factor in my poll rather than discuss price ranges, because everyone has different needs. The main obstacle to an xMac ever materialising is that whilst the demand for it is immense, ppl never agree on which sacrifices they would make upon a mac pro's features. My own issue with the mac pro is mainly the size of it, so that's what's most important to me, but most either only want its gfx, its cores, its ram-expansion or its hard-drive bays.

    That said, I'm sure apple could come up with something that would appeal to 60% of xMaccers, and I'm hopeful that with announcements every week so far this year, they'll have come up with a compromise that at least I can live with (since I'm flexible enough to buy any of the 3 options I've mentioned) by MWSF '09.

    Otherwise, the computer most responsible for cannibalising mac sales might just have to be the hackintosh.
  9. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    I think the "modulized" mac would be more confusing than the Nvidia product line to the average consumer. That's a no-no.

    Otherwise, I assume you've seen a 2.5" hdd. The number alone doesn't justify how much smaller it is compared to a regular 3.5". How would you fit that in a mini case when there is NO room already?

    What can Apple come up with that's easy to recognize as an apple product, and also differentiate itself from everything else in the lineup? It's not a rhetorical question, but the answer is hardly obvious.

    I chose none of the options. I don't do 3D word or rendering or use any pro apps, but the Mac Pro simply has longevity that the iMac does not. I still have a G4 that works perfectly well, even though I got it in 2001. It was the Mac Pro of it's day. I have an iMac from 2004 that's more than double the speed and double the ram, but showed it's age much faster because it was using older components the day it came out.

    Spending the extra $1000 makes your purchase good for 5, 6, even 7 years, compared to the year and a half before the iMac totally lost it's edge.

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