What would you want from a single processor Mac desktop?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Umbongo, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Apple had Q1 2009 desktop sales of 728,000 units vs. 1,796,000 portables with revenue on desktops falling from $1.5bn to $1.05bn. So a 25% drop in units and 33% in revenue when compared to Q1 2008. They said that Pro sales were down due to the economy. Desktop sales compared to notebooks are dwindling indsutry wide. But I think we most people would feel it is more than just those two factors that have seen Apple's desktop numbers shrink.

    Apple have holes in their product lines and dated hardware that are not as attractive as similar computing solutions from other sources. It doesn't take an expert to see that. The Mac Mini isn't a solution to the low end entry desktop, the iMac and Mac Pro aren't pure replacements for the family PC, enthusiast "rig", or (single socket) professional workstation. Apple have their niches and they are obviously making them money, but so far it has seemed that adding products to cater to those other markets and requirements doesn't appear to be "worth it" to Apple. Whether that is because overall the numbers don't add up, they fear product line dilution or Steve Jobs just hates gamers I couldn't tell you (a combination of all three perhaps), but they have shown no signs they will bring the mythical xMac to the table.

    But that hasn't stopped the speculation and cries for Apple to release such things. I usually find what people want is very different to what others would like to see, or place emphasis on so I'm interested in hearing what you all would like to see in this arena.

    For me I think anything less than the following would be a pathetic solution:

    Processor: Intel Core i7 920, 940 and 965 processors. (2.66, 2.93 and 3.2GHz Nehalem)
    Memory: 3x1GB memory standard with support for 6x2GB.
    Storage: 500GB hard disk drive; Larger capacity options with space for two drives and software RAID support.
    Graphics: Nvidia 9600GT 512MB with the option of a GTX 260 (Core 216) 896MB of memory or another 9600GT but with enough headroom for two GTX 260s.
    Other: Superdrive, 600W Power Supply Unit.
    Expansion: Firewire 800, USB 2.0, Two PCI-E 2.0 x16 and one x4 slots.

    Even with higher end components (including peripherals and an OS) such a system is unlikely to run you more than $1,200. At such a price I doubt Apple's margin would be what they are used to though. Would people pay $1,500 for such a system with, say, $500 for a 2.93GHz processor and $1000 for the 3.2GHz (other manufacturers charge such prices)? I guess that puts it better inline with the Mac Pro (assuming $3,000 for a dual socket 2.66GHz Nehalem system).

    How such a system would compare to the iMacs (even with quad core) makes me think we won't see such a thing this year though :(. Unless Apple have a change in ideology and decide customer choice is more important than they seem to have valued it at in recent times.
  2. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Has it really been 24 hours since we've had one of these hole in lineup threads?
  3. Peace macrumors Core


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    One can purchase a single Quad-Core Mac Pro you know.
  4. Umbongo thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    There hasn't been a decent discussion on it in a thread centered on the topic in some time. Plenty of threads that have gone off tangent several pages in with the same information posted again and again.

    Yes you can, and a refurb price of $1,999 for it is a good deal. However that doesn't mean it's the solution for the hole in the line up.
  5. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    Take me to the land where I can get that build for that price.
  6. DJJONES macrumors 6502

    Mar 9, 2008
    Newengland usa!
    i7 are expensive right now.
    i mean some of the i7 pc's are still almost close to that 2k range from companies like dell and velocity micro , ive priced some from them.

    but i think apple would move more desktops if they rethought what they charged for them.

    honestly its not so bad paying the price for them when they refresh and bring out new updates to the line, but then again from the perspective of it being a computer and not knowing what osx compares to any ms os it just doesnt click.

    i would love to see apple do something about the mac mini, its not worth the price right now its a terrible deal.
    the imacs are some what worth it but i think they will move allot more faster with quad cores in them and the ability to have more then just 4gb of ram.

    the mp's are at a fair value.
    but 320gb hd in a pro machine? lol cmon now.
    especially when there at 2300+ for a new one.
  7. TrapOx macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    You're smokin' crack if you think a machine of those specs will only cost $1200. A Core i7 965 alone costs $1000.
  8. Umbongo thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    I think all Apple can do with the Mini is really make it more price competitive for people to love it. Obviously it would need newer components to.

    As for the 320GB drive thing, this isn't just Apple. Most of the workstation vendors have minimum components (80GB from Dell, 160GB/250GB from HP for example) on their base models. Also plenty of people don't need storage space, so no point in giving it to them for free when you can make a buck of those who do need it.
  9. rylin macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2006
    Personally I think every desktop should have 2-4 gigabit ports.
    One for the external network.
    One for the home network.
    Two bonded links to connect to the storage system in the closet.
    Of course, not using the desktop as a router would mean three bonded links to the storage :D
  10. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula

    Studio XPS Desktop

    Intel® Core™i7-920 Processor(8MB L2 Cache, 2.66GHz)
    Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Edition SP1, 64-Bit
    No Monitor
    Single Drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability
    3GB1 DDR3 Tri-Channel SDRAM at 1066MHz - 3 DIMMs
    500GB2 - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
    ATI Radeon HD 3450 256MB
    Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
    1Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, InHome Service

    Starting Price $949

  11. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    Price is absurd for the Mac Pro quad

              Dell Studio XPS             Apple Mac Pro
              -------------------------   -------------------------
    Price     $949                        $2299
    CPU       Core i7-920 (2.66 GHz quad) 2.8 GHz Quad Xeon
    RAM       3 GiB 1066 MHz DDR3         2 GiB 800 MHz FB-DIMM
               (8 GiB add $250)            (8 GiB add $1500)
    Disk      500 GB 7200 RPM SATA        320 GB 7200 RPM SATA
    Optical   16X Superdrive              16X Superdrive
    Blu-ray   $120 option                 not available
    Graphics  ATI Radeon HD 3450 256MB    Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB 
    (For $2289 in the Dell, you get Core i7-940 (2.93GHz), 
        12 GiB, Blu-ray, 750 GB, ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB)
    The Dell would blast the Mac Pro away, not even close. For SPECrate numbers (multi-core performance), the quad XPS even beats the OCTO 2.8 Mac.

    It's also smaller and greener.
  12. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    I would suggest that Apple take a good hard look at Dell's offerings in business (not budget) systems.

    [​IMG] http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/desktop-optiplex-960?c=us&cs=555&l=en&s=biz

    Instead of offering one mid-range system, offer two or three.

    [​IMG] (specs for the 3 Dells)

    The Small Form Factor (SFF) is like the Mini, but using cheap, fast desktop CPUs and disks.

    The small mini-tower would be the most common system, more expandable than the SFF but still small and quiet.

    The midi-tower would match your specs, and could support SLI/Crossfire.

    The systems could use the same or very similar motherboards. In some Dell models, the extra PCI slots in the larger are on a daughterboard that connects through an edge connector to the main mobo. (However, if I look at the number of unique motherboards that companies like Asus and Gigabyte produce - I have to believe that in fact it's pretty cheap to layout a mobo.)

    I don't think that the choice would confuse many Mac buyers - the machines are identical except for expansion and size.

    People may object to providing extra PCIe slots, however for many configs they can come in very useful. For example, you can buy a dual-DVI PCIe x1 Nvidia Quadro low-profile video card for $140, and go to 4 or 6 heads on a small system.

    With dozens of motherboards on the market for less than $50, the price of the PCIe connectors has to be almost negligible.

    By the way, the second image shows the SFF and the Mac Pro to scale:

    Attached Files:

  13. VoR macrumors 6502a

    Sep 8, 2008
    I don't think choice would confuse any buyers, but probably the sales staff :)
    To exaggerate slightly, how do they currently explain the difference between a 2.4 and a 2.5ghz cpu or a 140 and 160gig drive?
    Go into any retail computer store and the people in there are sales guys, they want to know your budget and sell you a machine at it - A mac with desktop parts thats faster, cheaper, more reliable, more expandable etc would cause some confusion :)
  14. TechHistorian macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Ivory Tower
    Could Apple change its offerings? Sure. Will Apple do so? Probably not, so long as Jobs has anything to say about it. Ever since the 128K Mac was introduced, Jobs has seen the computer as an appliance. You don't offer BTO fridges and toaster-ovens -- you simply offer different models with different features at different price points. And strangely enough, that's what Apple does with Macs every time Jobs gets to have his say.

    And I honestly think this won't change after Jobs leaves. He's stocked the company with managers who think about computers the way he does -- and Apple's business model, much as it may irritate many on this forum, seems to be thriving, especially in comparison to other PC manufacturers such as Dell and HP/Compaq.

    The above point about the sales staff was perhaps the most cogent point I've ever seen in one of these threads.
  15. sbarton macrumors regular

    May 4, 2001
    No real need for dual graphics slots. There are so few appliations/games that would benifit from a crossfire/sli configuration. Its a sad affair, but most games nowadays for mac are Cider ports, and becuase of the DX > OpenGL translation are always CPU bound and thus dual graphics wouldn't offer any performance boost.

    My vote is -

    - quad processor (socketed).
    - 2 optical bays (I would probably be ok with just 1)
    - 4 dimm slots
    - 2 hd bays
    - 1 x16 graphics slot (lowend ATI or integrated base config with lots of options for higher end ati/nvidia cards)
    - Optional wireless
    - Optional bluetooth
    - 2 Firewire 800 (honestly this could be optional too from my perspective)
    - 8 USB 2.0 ports

    Make the base config $1500 or less. Thats still plenty of room for Apple tax and gives me a system I can get into for less than an arm and a let, and lets me upgrade when I have more money.
  16. Umbongo thread starter macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Yeah I don't see OSX supporting dual GPUs working together anytime soon either. The advantage would be for multiple display support. Either with more than two displays or providing the full power of a graphics card to more than one display. Also in supporting non-graphics PCI-E cards.

    The more I see this image the more I would love to see what Apple's engineers could do with those form factors. It's a shame they are happy with their slice of the computing market and not seeking to have products in all areas. Not least because I'd like to see how the likes of Dell and HP would react if Apple could/would start penetrating the enteprise.
  17. nickane macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2005
    I don't know what computer company you've been obsessing over, but I don't expect apple to release anything close to what you want. ever.

    I would settle for:

    $1200 starting point if it was Quad-core across the board, $999 if there was a C2D model at the low-end.
    3-4 Models topping out at $1800-$2000
    Desktop variants of the gfx cards in the iMac.
    Same gfx options as the mac pro
    Desktop ram (DDR3?)
    Same RAM, HD, gfx as an iMac priced 20% more (eg. $1200 iMac in $999 headless mac)
    1 16x PCIe slot
    firewire across all models (800 i suppose, since apple claims 400 is dead)

    If it had 2 hd bays, that would be a bonus.
    If the gfx card could be upgraded without using the expansion slot, that would be a bonus.
    If it could support 2 gfx cards at once, whilst still having a single expansion slot, that would attract a lot more gamers.
  18. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    Unless you're running Windows.... (Serious comment, some people would pick up a mini-tower to dual boot for games.) The second PCIe x16 slot could also be used for any PCIe expansion card.

    Note that Core i7 has 3 memory channels, so best performance is with 3 or 6 DIMMs. It will work with other configurations, but 3 or 6 are best.
  19. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007
    The X58 offers SLI and CF so I'd love to see the second x16 lane, especially for those who dual boot to game. You'd get a ton of flexibility.

    GPUs: 4870 1GB or GTX285 would be a damn nice all around GPU to have (for both the GPU and GPGPU powers)
  20. TrapOx macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    Which is also a completely worthless point.

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