New Intel NUC and Next Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Val-kyrie, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. Val-kyrie macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Multiple news sources have reported about Intel's forthcoming Skull Canyon NUC which has a similar dimension to the Mac Mini but possesses a 2.6GHz quad-core, Iris Pro 580 GPU, TB 3 with full USB 3.1, HDMI 2, etc. This will not be available until May.

    Does anyone else think this might portend a new quad-core Mini? Or at least a very solid hackintosh?
     
  2. Cape Dave macrumors 65816

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    #2
    This is great news. It would heat up the small computer market. Which really should be a whole lot bigger than it is. Hackintosh is always a real pain from what I have read, with virtually no exceptions. Yeah, it works until updates, then fails hard.

    So the better "use" by far would be to force Apple to pay serious attention to the mini. For what it is worth, I think we will all be very surprised in a few days. You heard it here first. Mark my words.
     
  3. treekram, Mar 16, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016

    treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    I don't think an Intel NUC portends anything from Apple. When the Skylake chips were announced, it was pretty obvious that they could be used in a NUC form factor so the Intel NUC announcement, vs. the Skylake chip announcement, is no big shakes.

    I think what will portend what could come in a Mini is what comes in the MBP and that may come in a few days. I don't think the Mini will be announced on the 21st, but if somebody has insider knowledge and it is announced, it will be a pleasant surprise, even though I'm not an imminent buyer. History argues against a March Mini intro. Only 2 of the 9 Mini intros happened in the first quarter, and in both cases, there was another Mini intro later in the year. I'm sure that Apple planned dual intros in those years and thus had to have an intro earlier in the year.

    The prices I mention below are the Intel "list" prices. Who knows what Apple actually pays but I give them so that one can get some idea of what would be realistic from Apple's financial standpoint. Also, all the chips mentioned are mobile chips.

    The i7 3.0Ghz dual-core in the 2014 Mini is the i7-4578U and it's list price is $426. By contrast, the i7-6770HQ, which is a Skylake 2.6Ghz quad-core with Iris Pro 580, is $434. (Yes, the dual-core i7 looks like a ripoff at list price.)

    The i5-4278U 2.6Ghz dual-core in the 2014 Mini is $315. The Skylake i5-6350HQ is a 2.3Ghz quad-core, but no hyper-threading (so it can support the same number of threads as the dual-core i5 Minis), with Iris Pro 580, is $306. If Apple wants a cheaper chip, it can use the i5-6440HQ 2.6Ghz, also a quad-core, no HT, but with the HD 530 GPU at $250.

    The i5-4260U 1.4Ghz dual-core in the 2014 Mini is $315 (there must be a big discount on that price). The Skylake i5-6300HQ 2.3Ghz is quad-core, no HT with the HD 530 GPU and it costs $250.

    The reason why I list the i5 non-HT quad-cores is that all of the Skylake processors I listed use the same socket so one logic board should be able to be used for the different processors. That's not possible if one used the Skylake i5 dual-cores and the i7 quad-cores. I think reducing manufacturing complexity is important for Apple.

    With these processors, I think it would be realistic to charge $599 (6300HQ), $799 (6350HQ) and $999 (6770HQ), which I think is what they did for the 2012 Minis (get rid of that 2014 1.4Ghz model). And unlike the 2012 Mini and especially the 2014 Mini, I think people would find the high-end more attractive than the mid model.

    The Thunderbolt 3 + USB 3.1 chip from Intel lists for $8.55 for the dual-channel model. It's also being used in laptops so it should be able to be used in a mobile-chip environment.

    So I think to get a quad-core Iris Pro 850 with Thunderbolt 3 + USB 3.1 is certainly realistic within the financial constraints of what Apple is looking at. The big question, of course, is whether other considerations play a bigger factor (cannibalization of more expensive Macs, lack of interest in the NUC-sized market, etc.).

    EDIT: While the Iris Pro 580 is nice, it should be noted that it doesn't officially support 5K monitors and can only drive HDMI 4K monitors at 30Hz (DP is at 60Hz).
     
  4. Fishrrman, Mar 17, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016

    Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #4
    Here's a link to a preview of the Skull Canyon NUC:
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/3045...nuc-the-most-powerful-game-ready-mini-pc.html

    And another:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/10152/intels-skull-canyon-nuc-is-official

    The case is homely, but functional and the ports are well-laid-out.

    If this could be coaxed to run the Mac OS without much trouble, would be a lot of power in a small package. That it has an external power supply is of no consequence to me -- will probably keep the interior running cooler.

    Apple should step up their game...
    ...But alas, (as always) they won't.
     
  5. Cape Dave macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Ugliest thing I have ever seen. But if it is silent, cool and hyper fast, I will forgive it.
     
  6. DesertSurfer macrumors 6502a

    DesertSurfer

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    #6
    You sound almost certain!
     
  7. Cape Dave macrumors 65816

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    #7
    I am 100% almost certain :)
     
  8. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Continuing my thoughts on what Apple may do with the Mini in the future, I don't know what priority Apple places on power consumption vs. performance. You can't get a quad-core (HT or not) under 45W. Likewise, any Iris Pro 580 requires 45W. The current Mini's take 15W (1.4Ghz Mini) or 28W (remainder). If Apple didn't like the fact that the 2012 Mini quad-cores took 45W and that was one reason that they didn't do quad-core for the 2014 Mini's, then that's a bad omen for quad-cores or Iris Pro 580. One feature that the Skylake mobile processors have is something called TDP-down which allows a computer manufacturer to reduce power consumption (sacrificing what in exchange?). Then, the quad-core/Iris Pro 580 processors will consume 35W maximum.
     
  9. lbjsong macrumors regular

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    #9
    got my CC ready for new Mac mini. Come on...! just make sure put 2 TB ports on them plz plz for dual monitor users
     
  10. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #10
    From a dimensional point of view, having the power supply on the outside is cheating. MM has the power supply inside.
     
  11. dogslobber macrumors 68020

    dogslobber

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    #11
    It will be interesting. The Apple TV 4th gen. got exposure at the event last year which went against the hobby view of the prior generations. If Apple makes radical changes, such as the Mini in an Apple TV box (Mac Nano?), then it might get exposure from Tim Cook. My bet would be a WWDC intro if that change were the case. I'd love Macs to get back to the mainstream instead of being out in the weeds to Apple Watches, etc. I don't find anything remotely interesting about watch straps!
    --- Post Merged, Mar 17, 2016 ---
    Wondered this myself this morning. Is a dual monitor Mini's days numbered? The Apple TV only has one HDMI output...
     
  12. G4er?, Mar 17, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016

    G4er? macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Yeah it's ugly but at least they understand that people might actually plug things in and out from time to time and put ports on the front.
     
  13. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #13
    I don't think that means anything for the Mini. There isn't much use for a set top box to have multi-monitor support.
     
  14. dogslobber macrumors 68020

    dogslobber

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    #14
    I think the next Mini might fit into an Apple TV form factor. That's why I mention single port display. It's possible a new Mini might only have one USB-C port and no more. Sort of a retina MacBook in a Apple TV box and it would probably fit given the logic board size of the rMB.

    Or, more radically, perhaps the next Mini will be Apple TV running OS X. I might need to buy several 2012 Minis to stockpile as I think of that fear.
     
  15. treekram, Mar 17, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016

    treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    If the form factor of the next Mini is radically down-sized, then who knows what compromises will be made. Actually, one can argue that if they radically down-size the form factor, they would want to have one or more USB-C ports which would then allow at least one monitor plus the HDMI.

    If the form factor stays where it is, then it will have one HDMI port and almost certainly two high-speed ports - probably USB-C running both TB3 and USB 3.1. The current Mini has 2 TB ports and USB-C is the next hot port connection so I don't seem them reducing that. That would mean abandoning people who use the current Thunderbolt port. Currently, USB-C to DisplayPort adatpers are about $20 on Amazon. I see just one (didn't search through pages and pages to see if there were others) USB-C to Thunderbolt adapter which will be available in late April at $81 (ouch!). The cost of a two-port TB3 controller chip is only 55 cents more than a single port controller (list price). I don't think but am not sure if a TB3 port would take 2 bus lanes for each port since it has such a high throughput - that would be a limiting factor in the number of TB3 ports you could have.
     
  16. MacFanBoi macrumors regular

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    #16
    I personally don't see Apple ever releasing another quad core Mac mini. They seem to cripple the mini more and more with every release to get more people to move up to iMacs instead from getting rid of quad core options and soldered ram to shorten it's life span. But that's just my opinion.
     
  17. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    I think it's stretching it to say that "more and more with every release" the Mini is being crippled. In terms of a quad-core, before the 2012 Mini, it was only available with the 2011 server model, which was $999. And you couldn't get the dGPU upgrade with the server model. With the 2012 model, there was no dGPU option, but even at that, the performance difference between the dGPU option and the HD 4000 was 31% (according to userbenchmark.com). Now that Intel seems to be serious about iGPU performance, I doubt we'll ever have a dGPU option for the Mini, so from that standpoint, one could consider the Mini crippled. But going from the HD 3000 to the HD 4000 is a 50% performance increase and then from the HD 4000 to the Iris 5100 (in the mid and high 2014 models) is a 82% increase.

    To me, it looks like the people doing the product management of the Mini don't know what they're doing and haven't since the 2011 model. The common myth is that Apple didn't do the quad-core for the 2014 Mini because it cannibalized iMac (or even Mac Pro?) sales. But it seems like a lot of people use the Mini as a media server or want to select their own monitor(s) or can't stand the fact that in a lot of cases a computer becomes obsolete far faster than the monitor does. Those people will never buy an iMac. Conversely, people who like the design aesthetic of the iMac or DON'T want to have to figure out which monitor/cable to get will never consider the Mini. Many questions ... but no answers, at least, not until the next (if there is a next) Mini introduction.
     
  18. sparkie1984 macrumors 68000

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    #18
    I was interested in this review.

    I think I will be going for it if apple don't release an adequate Mac mini before it's released.

    Personally I don't think that Apple will release another good Mac mini and I do think they've lost all interest in anything other than a MacBook or iMac. I wouldn't be surprised if the mini or perhaps even the Mac Pro disappeared in the next few years
     
  19. Serban, Mar 20, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016

    Serban Suspended

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    #19
    macbook macbook pro imac will be updated almost every year, with small exceptions
    mac pro i think 2 or 3 years cycle and mac mini as well
    they know they would sell a mac mini with usb-c gen 2, i7 quad core hd580 or i5 hd550 and so on
     
  20. Jtludwig macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I bought a Lenovo M900 Tiny because I couldn't find a Mac Mini that met my needs.

    It's a quad core i7 with a 9058 passmark score. It works great as a Plex server and home theater system.
     
  21. Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

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    #21
    I'm waiting for the November shopping holidays to see what the reviews are on the new NUC and see if Apple does anything with the Mini.

    Intel normally drops their NUC prices $200 during that period plus M.2 SSDs and RAM are on sale so I'm thinking I can get in one of those at a good price.
     
  22. Serban Suspended

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    #22
    where is the review? you have a link something?
     
  23. dogslobber macrumors 68020

    dogslobber

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    #23
    I'm not so sure we can say we'll never see a quad Mini again. Intel might get to the point where they only make quad core chips and to upgrade the Mini then Apple would need to use them. Go Intel!
     
  24. Jtludwig macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Or Apple could just discontinue the Mini and not worry about making the change.
     
  25. tokyodan macrumors regular

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    #25
    Is anybody developing iOS and OSX apps on a Hackintosh? (So disappointed with today's announcements that i've given up on a Mac Mini and am now thinking of building a NUC Hackintosh.)
     

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