The reason Apple dropped the quad core...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by lilB, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. lilB macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2011
    Really, its a simple matter of engineering and cost.

    I own the 2012 i7 mini and I can tell you it runs plenty hot. The CPU itself runs at 45 watts at 105ºC max. Probably near the limit of the Mini's power supply.

    The new quad core haswell (the same chip in the retina macbook) maxes out at 47 watts and needs to run 5ºC cooler. To use that chip they would need to augment the power supply and cooling which would require a case redesign.

    Also, the package size is different. The quad haswell is larger and requires a different BGA grid and heat sink design. Larger chips are also more expensive to produce and its very likely Apple can't get the Haswell quad i7 as cheaply as the previous generation.

    It's likely that Apple considered their options and decided to go with a cheaper Mini rather than spend extra R&D to redesign a Mini that could likely be more expensive to produce.

    The i5 used in their mid tier configuration has much higher performance PER CORE that the previous i7, so for most apps it will actually be faster. This diminishes the benefit of the i7 quad in many cases.

    It just sucks for parallelized CPU only tasks like video encoding, rendering, etc. Which will be about 35% slower in my opinion however the faster GPU could pick up some slack. Heavy multitasking will suffer as well.

    Benchmarks will tell the story better.
  2. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    Try 70-80% slower. Benchmarks are already out.
  3. sgrddy macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2010
    McMurray, PA
    Dell can throw a quad-core into their Alienware Alpha. That thing is tiny. It can't be that hard.
  4. markusbeutel macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2014
    BTFO - the 2012's are awful. Might as well just get a MacBook Air if you want these sorts of specs...
  5. SoCalReviews macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2012
    I believe the 2014 Mini base model mirrors the base model 2014 MacBook Air specs.
  6. lilB thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2011
    If your chassis is a machined piece of aluminum than yes actually its a lot harder. Production has to be retooled just to keep a quad core option. The problem is that the quad i7 haswell chips don't fit in the same socket so apple had a choice of having quads or having a lower price.
  7. cfedu Suspended


    Mar 8, 2009
    Or keep last generation higher end models like they did with the iMac this year and introduce a lower cost entry level mini.

    Now I'm going to hear you make up some reason why it's different!
  8. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    Do you know that fabs like intel end up having higher costs for "last gen" chips (when over a year out) per chip because the industry marches ever forward. It's not like supply levels for the 2012 chips are massive as no company in a race to the future keeps production going for many years after the fact.
  9. borgusio macrumors 6502


    Jul 22, 2011
    This is the REAL reason:

    A Mini Quad with discrete graphics would challenge the entry Mac Pro at half the price...

    Maybe is intel rather than apple to complain with. Better xeons would keep the distance with i7 larger which obviously is not the case
  10. cfedu Suspended


    Mar 8, 2009
    Can you cite a source? Everyone is claiming thats the quads must have been cut due to demand and that low end is the price point. If this is the case I don't see how apple would have problems getting chips for such a low volume device.

    Or you are just trying to move the goal post once again.
  11. lilB thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2011
    Theoretical performance with perfect parallelization. Impossible in most real life scenarios.

    Batch jobs like encoding video would be quicker on the quad. Other tasks might be quicker on the dual core because many apps don't stretch across 8 threads very well and the i7's performance advantage is greatly diminished if you only use a few threads.

    The i7 gets those high scores on benchmarks because its doing the same job 8 times whereas if you try to do a bunch of different jobs in smaller numbers, fewer faster cores might be better.
  12. torquer macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2014
    Unfortunately a lot of folks here either don't understand the benefits of additional cores or they are willfully ignorant and angry because Internet forum.

    For those of you who legitimately need more cores than MHz, I'm sorry for you. That's not sarcasm. For users like you, you will miss the 2 extra cores. Video editing, handbrake, all of those things that are thread intensive will suffer under the new regime. Apple has a vested interest in not cannibalizing sales of the Mac Pro and so not only are there legitimate engineering reasons for not doing a quad Haswell mini, there are product segmentation, cost, and profit margin reasons. But, if you're this kind of user you got screwed and no longer have a "poor man's mac pro" to buy at a reasonable price. You have a legit complaint.

    For everyone else who just does normal productivity and not content creation, buck up. Chances are whatever you do does not really benefit from the extra cores as much as it will benefit from improvements in IPC, total MHz, storage infrastructure, etc. More cores aren't always better depending on what you're doing. And again, if your need for more cores is real or perceived, Apple just took away your poor man's mac pro. Not much you can do about it, but frankly Apple never intended the Mac Mini to be a content creation station. That probably doesn't make you feel any better, but you'd have a much more legit complaint if they had marketed it as a Final Cut Pro workstation and then nuked the quad core option. It is designed to do a certain thing (basic use) and the dual core option will do it just as well.
  13. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    Ah yes. Another Apple expert weighs in with another thread to explain to us just how it is. Thanks.:p
  14. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    I can't move the goalposts if that was my first post in the thread.

    As for a source on how economies of scale operate in a chip fab plant...seriously?
  15. rrl macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2009
    Yeah, ask the people that own 15" MacBook Pros if they want to switch their quad cores for some barely faster 13" MacBook Pro dual cores. Mac Mini owners would give the same answer.

    4 cores are better than 2.

    Don't listen to these Apple apologists. They don't seem to know how OS X and its runtime libraries work.
  16. cfedu Suspended


    Mar 8, 2009
    Please explain!! How does that benefit Apple. The dual core i7 in the 2014 has a book price 50$ more than the high end CPU that it replaced.

    Can you cite a source that intel has or will soon EOL that CPU? If you can not I don't thing Apple or anyone else care about Intels economy of scale.

    BTW the older chip is smaller so more chips can be made per wafer. It also probably has better yields since its more established line. Smaller chips normally have higher yields and quad cores with defects can be made in dual cores to be sold. Seriously? you did not know these things?
  17. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014
    I've said this mutiple times and people think im crazy.

    Think about all the amazing feats of engineering Apple does year to year...a Mini with an i7 quad and discrete graphics would probably be cake compared to some of their other projects.
  18. philfry macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2010
    I think this is probably pretty accurate. I've seen other manufacturers that dropped the quad core when Haswell came out. I'm sure Apple could have really fit the quad core if they really wanted but why would they put a ton of engineering effort into an entry level product? I also wonder if they are considering making the mini even smaller with the soldered ram and having only 1 SATA port.
  19. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    It was greed...plain and simple. Make the Mini less attractive, and force the quad i7 consumers to buy your higher profit products.

    No different than the soldered RAM...pure greed.
  20. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

    Nov 16, 2012
    Greed = Good for ALL the stock holders. That is ALOT of people. Many simply call it... get ready... drum roll... BUSINESS!
  21. crazzapple Guest

    Oct 19, 2014
    This is a company with billions and billions of dollars in cash and they can't change a pcb and design a bigger heatsink? No problem spending the money on a lifestyle company that makes crappy headphones though.

    Really apple is just a lifestyle company at this point.
  22. Flynnstone macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    For things like video compression, more cores is better.
    Not many will argue with that.
    But many programs are still single thread bound.

    I'm writing this on a 2010 MacBook. With OS X ... awesome!
    I have a HP ZBook Z15 at work.
    2010 MacBook - 2.4 Ghz Core 2 Duo with SSD.
    2014 Z15 - 2.8 GHz i7 with SSD.
    I wrote some simple single thread apps with RealBasic. This app would read a 2+ Gig CSV file and graph some of the data.
    It was surprising how the Z15 was not as brisk as I would have thought!
    This is a little bit Apples & orange comparison, but a real life situation non the less. (pun intended)
    Basically specs don't mean a lot in reality for most people.
    For most people, they can't tell the difference between a dual & quad.

    I'm still trying to figure out how to disable hyper threading on my Z15. Apparently many apps run faster this way.
  23. torquer macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2014
    Not sure who you're replying to specifically, but this isn't a Mac thing. Remember Apple went with Intel years ago, so what is true for Windows PCs is true for Macs where hardware is concerned. What I stated above is not up for interpretation or debate. Use case and threading is an important thing that a lot of people clearly don't understand.

    I don't see the same folks here complaining about the A8 only being dual core (yet it beats most other quad core ARM CPUs). Cores are great, but they aren't always everything. Its all in what you're doing with it.
  24. lilB thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2011
    The only way a Mini could challenge a Mac Pro is in the case where the user had absolutely no need for the mac pro whatsoever.

    I doubt the IRIS integrated graphics can compete with the dual graphics card mac pro. Yes the CPU raw performance is close but you're comparing a workstation with a standard desktop CPU. Workstation CPUs are typically a little slower because they have error correction and have a higher price.


    They can do it but there is little point as the mini is supposed to be a low cost machine and increasing the cost of manufacturing by creating a separate line just so you can have quad core (which the majority of users don't need) just doesn't make economic sense.

    Yes it sucks for the power users who really don't have any good options at this point, but Apple has not been in that segment for a very long time. The 2012 mini was as close as they were going to get.
  25. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    Meanwhile, Apple can look at units sold for that model and determine that it's not worth it.

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31 October 20, 2014