Something between Mac Pro and Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by george-brooks, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. george-brooks macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    I know desktops are going out of fashion and Apple is not likely to release a new line of desktop any time soon, if ever, but I was wondering if there is anyone else out there who would easily choose the option of something in between a mac mini and a mac pro, if the option existed? I am debating switching from a mac pro to an iMac but will really miss expansion slots and professional graphics, swappable drives, etc. I would love a computer, somewhat like the G4 cube, that falls somewhere in between a mac pro and mac mini, a suped up iMac with no monitor. A couple expansion bays, professional graphics, 2, maybe 3 full size HD slots, server grade processor, all in a mid size box...G4 cube sized. I really dont need ALL of the power of the mac pro, but I certainly need a few features the iMac is lacking, on top of the fact that I don't wish to use the iMacs built in display, rather, I want two professional monitors.

    I feel like there HAVE to be a lot of disenchanted mac pro users out there wanting to have a professional desktop without the cost and unnecessary power of the mac pro or the glaring disadvantages of the iMac or Mac Mini. Who's with me?
  2. quasibinaer macrumors member

    Mar 29, 2012
    Hannover, Germany
    I am with you. However, as you pointed out, Apple is very unlikely to do this. As much as we wish for such a product. Heck, I´d even be happy if they gave the iMac a proper Display or put the same hardware in a smaller mac pro enclosure. But I need pro-displays, no two ways about it.
  3. dkersten macrumors 6502a

    Nov 5, 2010
    The fabled xMAC. People have asked for this for years but I don't think Apple will release something like this. Personally I like the idea of a computer made up of something similar to Mac Mini's. You could get just a basic processor, HDD, RAM, etc. of a barebones computer and then add graphics cards, more storage, etc. They could be stackable or something more pleasing to the eye. Unfortunately I know this will never happen, which is a shame
  4. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    People have been asking for this from Apple for about 400 years, so don't hold your breath.
  5. slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    These threads coming all the time. Eventually, some internet supergenius (read: 14 year old) comes a long and starts pontificating about why the marketing would cause Apple to fail as a company and something about how more choices hurt consumers. Then I get hulk-rage when reading this idiocy and have to live out of a hut in tibet for a month to stop being so annoyed.

    However, there is something to be said about it: The xMac WOULD probably increase Mac sales if it were upgradable and weren't totally overpriced (appealed to gamers), but it would also take tons of customers from Apple's other desktop lines.

    Apple likes to shove people into little boxes which they may not be comfortable with but don't have a choice. Did I need 6 server cores ? No, I needed a dual core i7 and ability to upgrade my GPU/add PCIe things -- now I'm stuck with a Mac Pro. Did my mother need all the features of an iMac? No, she just needed a Mac Mini with more RAM -- now she's stuck with a computer and has to essentially give a way her 27" monitor if she upgrades.

    The xMac is too universal and would be too popular. Apple would sap the economy of scale from all the other desktop lines. Apple makes all their money off hardware, if they can't fit their form-factor in a shape that gives it the "magic pixie dust" which makes people forget that there are way cheaper / better PCs, they wont be able to charge as much.
  6. geneking7320 macrumors newbie


    Feb 2, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    I just wish that Cook would acknowledge the demand and then give an honest answer on why they won't produce it.
  7. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    Not for me... I want Sandy Bridge E or Ivy Bridge rather, 8 HDD slots, better GPU (although the 5870 has been quite good for me), 1600MHz RAM, you get the idea.
  8. george-brooks thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    Sure, it would be popular. It would probably mean the end of the Mac Pro, but why not spread the gap amongst desktop lines even further? Make this xMac significantly cheaper to build than the mac pro and charge high end iMac prices for it. Make up for the losses in other areas with a larger profit margin. Make the mac pro even better, more HD slots, more expansion, make it a truly professional machine for true professionals with huge production budgets.

    I guess the beauty of the mac pro, though, is that its much more than you need up front, but a few years down the road you are glad you have it. I wish I had gone for faster processors with my mac pro when I bought it. In 2008 an 8 core 2.8 GHz was way more than I needed for even my most intense applications, now it struggles to keep pace with my macbook pro. Although the xMac is what I truly want, when the next mac pro comes out, I'll buy it with the highest specs possible and keep it for 5-7 years. If I had an xMac, I'd probably replace it every 2-3 years. Apple makes a lot of $$ up front with my mac pro purchase, but they lose out on my 2-3 extra computer purchases
  9. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    You double or triple the height of the mini to support at least 1 SSD for OS and 1 full height hard drive for scratch/whatever, high ghz hex processor and dedicated GPU that the user can change along with 4 memory slots for at least 32GB ram, would be one heck of a mac. Not going to happen though, unfortunately.
  10. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2012
    I agree, Apple need to make a product for everyone. I think Apple should revert back to their 90s product line. Choices never hurt anyone...
  11. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    The xMac wouldn't spell the end for the Mac Pro it would just move the entry level to the hex or the bottom DP.
  12. mslide macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    Sure. I wouldn't be running a Hackintosh at home if I could get a 'Mac Pro Lite'. I'm guessing a lot of people in the hackintosh community would feel the same way.

    It'll never happen though.
  13. george-brooks thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    I've been debating building a hackintosh to replace or augment my mac pro. But I'm not quite comfortable enough with computers to be 100% confident in it. Have you had any major hiccups?
  14. G4er? macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2009
    Temple, TX
    How's that for a problem to have? Just about any other company would love to have that kind of potential in a future product. But Apple appears to have a huge ego and feels it can't lose face by developing a product that the customer is asking for. Instead Apple sees itself as the company that creates products no one is asking for and then creates the market for it.

    It would be too pedestrian for Apple to listen instead of dictate.
  15. george-brooks thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    I think this business model worked for Apple when they were still a "counter culture" company but now that they are the largest company in the world, I think there is some wiggle room to give its growing customer base what they want alongside new markets.
  16. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    This debate does indeed come round regularly but the circumstances change often too. Apple are now in a very different position to when their current desktop line was devised. The predicted halo effect which didn't appear with the iPod seems to have in fact occurred from mass iPhone ownership instead.
    Apple's computer sales market share in the US has gone from 4% to 14% in 6 years. Furthermore the only serious growth in the desktop market is in the All-in-one format. Apple probably feel they don't need to change their line to follow that trend, just refine the iMac for consumer use and keep it the most popular in that class.
    This current situation vindicates Apple's existing model range. I would suggest that without Steve the corporate line will be "It ain't broke so don't fix it.".
    Kinda bad news for the xMac camp and the Pro users still waiting for the next incarnation of our favourite 30 kg slab of alloy and tech...
  17. mslide, Oct 13, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012

    mslide macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    No, I haven't but I've done the hackintosh thing several times before, even with laptops, and I've been building PCs all my life. My current hackintosh is 100% stable but I'll admit that I've never tried sleep. This is my main office computer at home. I wouldn't be using a hackintosh for work if I didn't think it was stable. I've also got Windows installed on a separate hard drive when I need to boot into that.

    It's gotten a lot easier over the years, especially with the latest round of Gigabyte Z77 motherboards since you don't need a "DSDT" file. If you want to give it a shot, go to and start reading.

    Some tips if you want to really try it out...
    1) Buy hardware that is known to work. Use tonymac's Buyer's Guide.
    2) Look at the "Golden Builds" that use the hardware you're thinking of getting and look at any issues others have run into
    3) Don't give up if all you see is a black screen, after the first white apple logo screen, when trying to boot up. That's usually caused by having incorrect kernel flags set. Again, more reading and playing around to figure it out. It's easy to fix.
    4) Be prepared to re-install OSX many, many times before you get the hang of it.
    5) Once you get a 100% stable setup, right down every step you did so you can repeat it.
    6) Use CCC to keep a backup
    7) Always backup prior to software updates

    The only issue I had with my latest hackintosh (gigabyte ga-z77x-ud5h, 3570k, 560ti) was my video card, which was listed in tonymac's buyers guide. Nothing a couple hours of reading and playing didn't fix. Now, it's trivial for me to setup it up again from scratch.

    I only recommend going this route if you're the type of person who doesn't mind spending hours tweaking things so they are perfect. None of this is hard at all. You just have to be determined and have patience. I'm very happy with my setup and would probably never buy another Mac desktop machine unless Apple released something comparable to what I can build myself.
  18. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2009
    Durham, UK
    Not a great idea. Remember Apple nearly went bust in the 90's.....
  19. seanm9 macrumors regular

    Dec 29, 2007
    Cape Cod, MA
    I would love an iMac with upgradeable drives and video cards... but as every one knows that would errode sales of both the MacPro and the iMac/Mini... right now you have to make a choice do I want easy upgrades then get a MacPro... do i want to save a few bucks and sacrifice some upgradeability then get an iMac/Mini.... That being said, Apple under Steve would never do it... he wasn't a hacker that was Woz's function... Steve fought against apple products being expandable since the Apple 1... the original Mac was made with no expansion on purpose (kinda his who will ever need more than 640k of Ram moment)... and to some degree that helps with the it just works mantra that apple has always touted...

    the one thing that gets me about apple's neglect of the desktop in favor of mobility is the attitude that a Laptop can be as powerful as a desktop... and the idea that an ipad is a replcment for a laptop. I mean yes my ipad is faster and lighter than my old Powerbook and my G4 Mini but did it replace my 2006 or2007 (i forget) C2D MBP? not quite but the laptop was a nice updgade from the Mini... but a more powerfull upgrade would have been the iMac or a MacPro... when you dont have to worry about all the space/heat/power restictions that a laptop introduces, you can have more powerful computer overall... yes todays laptops are way more powerful than last years desktop... but did desktops stop evolving at some point... no todays desktops are orders of magnitue more powerful than laptops... it's just that apple doesn't make any (yet)
  20. Schismz macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2010
    Uhm, except for Apple who was busy going bankrupt at that point in time.

    Because the shareholders don't want it; it would make a few 100 thousand people very happy, and overall do nothing but dilute the sales of the Mac Pro (which are nearly nonexistent in the Big Picture), and iMac (which are much higher).

    At the end of the day, desktops as a whole are in decline, what's driving all profit is the iPhone, followed by iPad, and trailing somewhere far behind that are MacBooks. The desktop gear is a very small blip in the Big Picture, and becoming tinier by the minute. The overall paradigm/breakdown they have for, what were they called again, oh yeah, right, computers, seems to be mostly working, firing on all cylinders/beating the overall industry every single Q, but it is a small segment of the market, and getting smaller. The mythical xMac segment of that market is incredibly minuscule, and they already have a Mac Pro which is a perpetual afterthought that Apple really doesn't care about at all, but is at least committed to continuing to produce in some manner for a while longer.

    tl;dr- some people would love to see an xMac, it is highly unlikely there will ever be one, unless the 2013 Mac Pro morphs into an xMac, and there it is, the New Mac Pro!
  21. george-brooks thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    Always a distinct possibility. Remember the rumors of a 3U rack mountable mac pro from a year or two ago? Sounds like an xMac to me!
  22. Omnius macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2012
    It would cannibalize all mac sales. Mac Pro sales would tank because the casual users that end up buying them would buy xmacs. Many imac users would buy them because they could pick and choose with monitors. Some mac mini users would buy them because they're upgradeable.

    Upgradeable products require more universality and focus from Apple. They would be required to support a larger range of products. Apple doesn't want to cannibalize sales, increase support to additional products or spend more time trying to provide solid products for a greater range of hardware.

    If you need an xmac, just build a hackintosh.

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