Which hardware on a nMP base model goes obsolete first?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by BeatCrazy, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. BeatCrazy macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Hi gang,

    I'm a current mid-2011 Mac mini owner, upgraded with a CalDigit Thunderbolt dock (for 3 x USB 3.0 ports), Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. I also have a few external HDDs. Seems to run fairly fast, but lags obviously in transcoding video, etc.

    With the release of the Late 2014 mini, I am starting to see a potential dead end for the mini for power users. Sure, no more Quad Core, but also the Iris graphics have no way to support 4K monitors. Meaning, if I ever get tempted by a 3rd party 4K or new/non-existant 4K Thunderbolt monitor, I can forget about any mini supporting this until at least the next generation (2 years+?).

    I have been kicking around the idea of a base model nMP via Best Buy. They're currently on sale, I have a coupon/store credit/etc, in order to knock the price down. Assuming I'm looking to get 3+ years of useful life out of such a machine, where do you think the base nMP will stumble first? Seems like we'll have a few options to update the PCIe SSD, and in a couple of years a 1TB drive will be pretty affordable. The video section seems robust enough for my purposes, as I'd only be doing minor video editing, and 1080p max.

    Am I missing any obvious Achilles heel on the base nMP?
     
  2. brentsg macrumors 68040

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    Oct 15, 2008
    #2
    We're clearly in a spot where both CPU and GPU gains are aimed at efficiency, and we're only seeing incremental performance gains generation over generation. I don't see any major changes coming, other than perhaps "big Maxwell" and whatever ATI responds with.

    Since you have been relatively pleased with your mini, I don't see a nMP going obsolete on you anytime soon unless there are some significant changes in your usage.
     
  3. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a

    Wahlstrm

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    Dec 4, 2013
    #3
    The display port on the back is already obsolete.
    1.3 is on it´s way out now.

    The processor in the base model is quite slow for the amount of money you pay for it.. It´s about 13,8% faster than the 2012 mini at 300% the cost..
     
  4. BeatCrazy thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Probably no significant changes in my use, upcoming. My mini is 3+ years old, and I don't think I'll be able to sit tight for 2+ years to see what the refreshed version of the 2014 mini looks like.

    I have no urge for 5K, nor any editing in the 4K realm. But one (or maybe two) 4K monitors does have appeal to me. DP1.2/TB2 should support 4K panels, for the foreseeable future, correct?

    True, but I only have dual-core 2.3Ghz Sandy Bridge now. So moving up to a quad core in the base nMP will give me at least 2.5X CPU improvement over what I have today, for transcoding via Handbrake.
     
  5. Alrescha macrumors 68020

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    #5
  6. BeatCrazy thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #6
    Thank you. Seems like opinions are all over the board with that thread.

    FWIW, my old machine before my 2011 mini was/is a Core i7-920 Quad Bloomfield Window 7s box OC'd to 3.6GHz. I loved the speed on that thing, and even today the mini is relatively slow when doing CPU intensive tasks. I miss that speed, even though the mini is acceptable for general computing.
     
  7. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #7

    CPU and GPU advancements have all been very incremental in the last couple of years and for desktop CPUs that trend will continue. GPUs may see a big jump with a move to 20nm but at this point, no one knows when that might happen or what will come with it.

    With PCIe SSDs becoming fairly common, that technology has also levelled-off (any gains above and beyond what's in the nMP will be incremental and not impactful).

    New display sizes and increasing pixel densities seem to be undergoing the most change right now and driving upgrades for many. So if there's one thing I think that you will feel is behind the times three years from now, it's likely to be the display you purchase and because the GPU is a key factor in driving those displays, the GPUs in the nMP may very well be holding you back in 3 years time.

    My advice: 3 Years isn't that long. Just buy what you want today (4K displays are still fairly bleeding edge and fully supported on the nMP), be happy with what you have, don't look back (stop hanging out in forums like this), and it will serve you well for the next 3-5 years.
     
  8. Alrescha macrumors 68020

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    #8
    As I commented in the thread, I thought then that the base Mac Pro was worth consideration - a very nice (albeit expensive) machine. With the release of the 2014 Mac mini, I think the Pro is the only option for a power user who does not want an all-in-one.

    A.
     
  9. BeatCrazy thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Jul 20, 2011
    #9
    Thanks. As long as I could go 3 years without thinking about upgrading at least once a month, I might be OK :D And you're right, hanging out here is a bad idea :eek:

    Yep. I know it's been debated to death around here, but for a power user, you're looking at ~$1400 to get a decent CTO 2014 Mac mini. And you're still rather stuck with mediocre graphics, no 4K ever!

    I'm not opposed to the idea of an all-in-one, but I often work from home via a Windows laptop, and I really like the flexibility that I get with a KVM switch and my current monitor.
     
  10. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #10
    Probably the d300's if you're buying the base model. Maybe when we see an 8,1 when tb3 and DisplayPort 1.3 are ready it might start to age driving God knows how many 'K' displays that come out.

    The CPU can be upgraded with a bit of work to an 8 core 3.3 with high turbo clock and ram can be upgraded at a later date. Perhaps the maximum 64gb ram limit may be a factor in years to come and that like all the rest is pretty much down to the obsolescence of the Intel chipset it's built on.
     
  11. maclove4life macrumors regular

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    Oct 17, 2014
    #11
    wow...that's crazy...potential for new mp? it's for 5k?
     
  12. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a

    Wahlstrm

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    Dec 4, 2013
    #12
    Yes, Display Port 1.3 will give you 5K support.

    The next gen processors, Haswell-E are out as well,
    so there should be a new nMP quite soon.

    But Apple being Apple, it might just as well be 2 years before the next one :)
     
  13. BeatCrazy thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #13
    You said it, and you know it's true :D
     
  14. maclove4life macrumors regular

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    #14
    :( apple is mean.
     
  15. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #15
    Hilarious actually.

    Somewhere buried in my many posts I predicted something along the lines of "A new GPU tech will come out, be a must-have, and make even the D700 seem old and passe. When MP 7,1 comes out EBay will be flooded with 6,1s driving prices into the basement"

    So, I was right before I expected to be, and Apple themselves ushered it in with this 5K iMac. We just have to wait for the 7,1s come out to see the 2nd half of my prediction come true.

    As I have mentioned in a few other threads, unless Apple stacks the deck (they have been know to do) you will see a cMP run a 5K display on a single cable before a nMP can.
     
  16. BeatCrazy thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Yes, I'm thinking that the D300s would struggle first. But for casual use, I think you could get 5+ years out of them. I put an HD4870 1GB card in my old desktop almost 5 years ago, and it still holds up OK. I'm not a gamer.

    I've built PCs before with upgradable CPUs, but I actually never found myself using that functionality. By the time the CPU is starting to lag (~2 years), the architecture has changed, and options are typically limited for the socket type.

    Heaven help me if I ever need more than 64GB of RAM!!
     
  17. Wahlstrm macrumors 6502a

    Wahlstrm

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    Dec 4, 2013
    #17
    This is true for the nMP as well, the new processors that are out now (Haswell-E) have a different socket so there will probably not be that many processors available for the current version to buy (new) in the future..
     
  18. AidenShaw, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014

    AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #18
    +1

    It's almost certain that the current lineup of E5-x600-v2 CPUs is the end of the v2 line, no new models will be introduced.

    There's a slight chance that Intel may "overclock" a couple of them slightly, but with Turbo the real benefit of that might be small. (For example, clocking the 6-core at 3.6 GHz instead of 3.5 while keeping the 3.9 Turbo would probably not be noticeable.)

    While it's conceivable that Intel could "bin" chips and come out with significantly faster "v2 Extreme" chips, Intel's history is pretty strong for stopping all development on a line when a successor is introduced.
     
  19. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #19
    Well, I called it 4+ months ago.

    Takes 2 cables but a cMP can run a 5K display in OS X before nMP can. Even if Apple and AMD decide to write similar drivers, it will be rather expensive in terms of lost TB ports and the bandwidth needed to do so.

    3 years came early this time.
     
  20. VirtualRain, Feb 28, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015

    VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #20
    Honestly, if you need a 5K display, get an iMac... The Dell display is way overpriced. And how old is the CPU in a cMP?

    If you have a nMP, get a pair of 4K displays... more screen real-estate and no hoops to jump through.
     
  21. MacVidCards Suspended

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    #21
    This turned out to be incorrect as well.

    I have demo'd a new Apple SSD in my nMP that ups read and write speeds by 40%. Pretty sure that's more than "incremental". Had they given the PCIE SSD slot in nMP PCIE 3.0 x4, it would be 100% faster. (a MP 7,1 upgrade, perhaps?)

    The real irony is that this wonderful tech can go in my cMP....with a simple $15 PCIE adapter. (where it runs a touch faster than in nMP)

    Now if I wanted to add that same PCIE drive to the nMP as additional storage I can do that as well. Just the same $15 PCIE adapter, then a $137 USB3 holder for 500MB/s speeds or $200 for a TB2 enclosure for 1,375MB/s. speeds.

    So, for a just a few hundred more, it is almost as fast as $15 gets you in a cMP.
     
  22. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    Oct 10, 2013
    #22
    At some point in the future you will. The faaaar future.
    I agree with most others in this thread, that the ports and maybe the D300 will be the first parts to become obsolete.
     
  23. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #23
    I've seen some of the results of the SM951... 1400-1500MB/s is very good... about 11-19% improvement over the 1TB in the nMP which hits 1260MB/s in my nMP (and I've been enjoying that performance for over a year already). I'm sure a refresh to the nMP will bring the 951 and PCIe 3 so it should get even better. Whether that offers anything more than an incremental improvement in any real-world benchmark or task remains to be seen.

    There's no doubt you and other folks heres with cMP's are pushing the performance into nMP territory and beyond... not just squeezing life out of an aging platform but keeping it relevant... good for you! I'm wondering though, at what point does the CPU start to become the key constraint?
     
  24. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    The Peninsula
    #24
    64 GiB ram was obsolete on Day 1

    Not the "faaaar future" - but yesterday.

    Memory is tight on my 128 GiB Dell T1650 (same CPU and chipset as the MP6,1 hex core).

    I'm looking for proof that 32 GiB LRDIMM modules work on this system, so that I can bump to 256 GiB.
     
  25. MacVidCards, Mar 1, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015

    MacVidCards Suspended

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    #25
    Amazing how 2 people can do the same math and get wildly different results.

    FWIW, just like Handheld, I have both drives. I even have nMP and cMP to do a fair and accurate comparison. My numbers match his. You should come join the discussion, nobody else with a nMP has posted such numbers. We'd be interested in which model SSD you have. Typically the "F" ones do around 900-1000 while the "G" cards are doing 1400-1500.
     

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