Whither Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by wfriedwald, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. wfriedwald macrumors member

    wfriedwald

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2017
    #1
    I have been using a 2008 Mac Pro (since 2008, in fact) - it still works, but it takes forever to boot, and is somewhat buggy - though works overall very well for an eight-year old machine. (I refurb-ed some of it about four years ago, graphics card, DVD rom drive etc.)

    Anyhow, for a while I have been thinking that I will replace it with the next iteration of the Mac Mini.

    However, we all know that there hasn't been a new Mini since 2014 (and also that most people seem to like the 2012 better than the 2014).

    So, my very basic question - do we think there might be a new Mac Mini in 2017? And if so will be it be an improvement on 2012 or 2014? Is it worth waiting for?

    I know these are strictly educated opinions... there are no real hard facts out there on the subject.

    Thanks!

    w
     
  2. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

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    #2
    If there is a new Mac mini in 2017, and that's a big IF (no Mac Pro updates for 3 years), I could see them releasing one to match the specs of the 13" MacBook Pro without an OLED touch bar (2.0GHz Intel Core i5-6360U, which is around 40% faster than the current 1.4GHz Intel Core i5-4260U; 8GB of RAM standard, and perhaps a 256GB PCI-e SSD, although that one might be wishful thinking). They can also wait until the 7th-gen Kaby Lake processors that will be released soon, but let's face it, why would they update the Mac mini to those first out of all their products?

    I was more hopeful for a new model before October 2016, but now, I'm not even sure they'll continue to update it :(
     
  3. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

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    #3
    Well, yes, it really isn't possible to predict with any certainty what Apple will do with its line of desktop machines. We are talking about an enormous company with many talented employees and a gigantic bankroll -- they really could, at any moment, decide to pull a rabbit out of their hat.

    But there is, as I'm sure you've seen, a clear trend. This company has grown to its current enormous size mainly on profits from the iPhone. As such, it spends most of its time working on new iPhones, and seeks to utilize the "iPhone model" in other areas to achieve maximum profitability.

    One of the main features of the iPhone (or, really, of all modern smartphones) is that it is intended to be used for a year or two, then the user should dispose of it and purchase a new one. The concept of upgradability is not only pointless, it is counter-productive. And so, we now get desktop machines that have limited or no upgradability, but do now come in fashionable (and thin!) packages. If you find your current machine seems slow, don't bother trying to improve it; instead, look at this hot new model right off the factory floor!

    So yeah, if there even is a 2017 Mini, Apple's current strategy would be to make it pretty, non-upgradable, and as always less powerful than any iMac (because they really would prefer for you to buy an iMac). And, given that iMacs have not been given a lot of speed upgrades lately, I don't think it'd be all that much an improvement on the 2014 (or 2012) machines. :(
     
  4. wfriedwald thread starter macrumors member

    wfriedwald

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    Jan 1, 2017
    #4
    thanks for the feedback.

    the question is - whether to keep waiting or not? And waiting for what?

    The day will eventually dawn when my old reliable 2008 Mac Pro just refuses to start-up.

    I don't need the mini-ness of the Mac Mini, I just like the idea of an unpretentious desktop with a separate monitor & keyboard (therefore upgrade-able.)

    Maybe a refurbed 2012 (NOT 2014) model is the way to go?

    w
     
  5. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

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    #5
    If upgradeability is what you're looking for, then the 2012 Mac mini would be your only option, but even that model only accepts more RAM for upgrades, nothing else. And to be honest, while that model is a step-up from your 2008 Mac Pro, it's already more than 4 years old, so it makes no sense to make a big investment in it at this point, since Apple looks at the lowest common denominator in the models to decide whether or not to allow macOS updates, in this case the HD Graphics 4000.

    If you can wait a bit longer, I would suggest you do. But if Apple does not release anything by October 2017, then I say it's pretty much safe to say the Mac mini would be dead by that point.
     
  6. wfriedwald thread starter macrumors member

    wfriedwald

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    Jan 1, 2017
    #6
    nuts! It's a shame - the idea of a basic Mac that's upgrade-able is such a good one.

    I don't need the full power of the latest Mac Pro, and, more to the point, I can't afford one. (Those are not cheap!)

    Needless to say, there's a need out there that Apple isn't filling - no wonder I'm starting to see those Hackintosh things proliferating ....

    thanks for feedback!

    w
     
  7. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

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    #7
    Couldn't agree with you more! If Apple truly cares about its Mac ecosystem, then they would realize that the Mac mini plays a vital role as the entry point for macOS.
     
  8. wfriedwald thread starter macrumors member

    wfriedwald

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    Jan 1, 2017
    #8
    Maybe I should start a new thread for this - but the answer is probably "no" in any case - it wouldn't be possible to put state of the art 2017 hardware in my 2008 Mac Pro?

    (Probably not ... but maybe I should do some benchmark tests and see how well, overall, it's performing - I can tell you that it takes about 15 minutes to start up every morning...)

    w
     
  9. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

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    #9
    That would be a question for the folks at the Mac Pro thread. They'll probably suggest using a solid state drive, but I think its upgradability is limited.
     
  10. krause734 macrumors 6502a

    krause734

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    Jul 30, 2010
    #10
    I would bite the bullet and switch to PC. You can get the same specs as a Mac Pro for less than half the price. Obviously MacOS has its advantages but so does the dreaded Windows. Blasphemous, I know.
     
  11. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
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    #11
    you don't mention which 2008 you have and how it is currently configured. upgrading that is likely a case of rapidly diminishing returns. if you like the form factor, a 2010 Mac Pro (with some upgrades) can be a surprisingly capable (compared to current macs) for a far less money and will slot right into your current setup. if you want a new machine with a warranty, the 27" iMac is your best bang for the buck.

    figure new 2017 Mac desktops when Intel releases the appropriate Kaby Lake products, somewhere around April, May. the question remains, what will Apple do with the Mini. current trends lead to the expectation (as mentioned by @Andres Cantu above) that it will be an all soldered in system with guts similar to the base MacBook Pro.
     
  12. wfriedwald thread starter macrumors member

    wfriedwald

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    Jan 1, 2017
    #12
    * gosh - I really don't like windows - plus I would have to get and learn all new programs - but you're right, the flexibility and versatility of Windows machines in this instance is much greater.

    * I would switch to Ubuntu Linux full time before windows, I like it much better - I actually have a very cheap 2015 HP stream laptop - I struggled with windows on it until about 3-4 months ago, when I installed linux. It's a major improvement over windows...

    * I would consider an iMac, but I wonder ... is it possible to use additional monitors, for instance? (I should start a new thread for that.) right now I have two monitors on the Mac Pro...

    * So, the prediction is that new Intel processors (Kaby Lake) will be out in the Spring and a new Apple announcement will follow? I can wait until then. (Hopefully!)

    w
     
  13. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #13
    Recently I got a used 2.6ghz i7 quad Mini with 16gb RAM and the original Apple 256gb SSD from OWC (macsales.com). They are not "refurbished" however they have been checked out and include a 90 day warranty and 15 day return/exchange period. It looked like new, cost me $1250 and I am just delighted with this machine. It's 50% faster than the top of the line 3.0ghz 2014 Mini and it was $150 cheaper. Primarily using it with legacy Final Cut Pro and it has cut my render times in half.

    I guess the HD 4000 graphics chip could be a problem for some people, but it seems to work fine for my applications. The fact that I can run MacOSX 10.8.5 is a plus for me, and the firewire port is handy since I use a Sony DVCAM/HDV deck with all my legacy videotapes. I don't know what your priorities are, but with a geekbench 3 score of about 12,500, it should really run circles around a 2008 Mac Pro - you can compare specs here: http://www.everymac.com

    I am very skeptical about the prospects for a new Mini, and if they do introduce one it seems likely to have features I don't want, such as fewer ports and USB-C that would require dongles for all my peripherals.
     
  14. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

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    #14
    The 4000 is serious limit for any current image creating/processing software. but you found the perfect spot. and, yes, the last machine with all the ports, just looking at a picture of a back of it makes me happy.

    you can add a couple more monitors to the iMac. won't get a matching set as Apple has decided they are not in the monitor business (even though most of their products include a monitor. ?). the best you can do is the LG 5K that Apple sells. same res and pixel pitch. That's why I asked if you were happy with your Mac Pro form factor. you can keep everything else in your setup the same (unless you want to buy all new stuff). the 2012 Mac Mini is great in some ways but that keeps it's resale price high. for a similar amount of money, a 6 core 2010 Mac Pro would be a nice upgrade (with room to grow) over your 2008.
     
  15. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    #15
    From a new article on the MacRumors front page: http://www.macrumors.com/2016/12/30/what-to-expect-from-apple-in-2017/

    "Like the Mac Pro, the Mac mini has not seen an update for multiple years, with the last update coming in October 2014. Unfortunately, we've heard no rumors on whether or not we can expect to see an upgraded Mac mini in 2016".
     
  16. Partron22 macrumors 68020

    Partron22

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    #16
    Owned Macs since 84. This looks like end of product life for the mini.
    I've seen them end major product lines before.
    Perhaps they'll introduce a small form-factor slotted desktop unit instead.
    Something with at least some user upgrade options.
    Most folk don't need a computer anymore, but a lot of professionals do.
    They may not need an expensive updated Mac Pro, but they need something a bit more versatile than an iMac, MacBook or tablet.

    I got tired of waiting, and bought a small Windows machine. Once I'm happy with how that's running I'll put a Debian drive in there and set up dual boot. I'm downloading Doom (64.6 gigabytes for $20) even as we speak. It'll be fun for a while, not being locked out of most games.
     
  17. Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

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    #17
    Your going to need a little graphics power to run that. Did you check to see if you meet the minimum requirements?
     
  18. Partron22 macrumors 68020

    Partron22

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    #18
    Yup, the minimum. Had to figure out how to update my graphics driver before it'd run. Once running, I set resolution to "medium" under advanced options, and things render plenty quick. My demons may not be quite as pretty as some people have, but I didn't spend $2500+ to kill them either. (Lenovo M900 16GB, 250 SSD)
     
  19. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

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    #19
    How do you feel about building a hackintosh? That's what it'll take for an upgradable computer. If you want a small footprint, then an NUC5i5MYHE may be the ticket; it's smaller than a Mini and has a dual-core 2.3 gHz i5 in it. I'm very happy with mine with 16 gb RAM, 500 GB m.2 SSD, 2 TB hard drive and 802.11AC/Blutooth 4.
     
  20. mryingster macrumors regular

    mryingster

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    Feb 1, 2013
    Location:
    California
    #20
    I'm in the same boat as you. I purchased a 2008 MP in 2008. Around 2013 I decided that with the way things were going, a quadcore i7 MacMini could replace my 8 core tower, so I waited for the announcement only to be disappointed by the 2 core, soldered monstrosity that they released. I considered buying the 2012 quadcore i7, but wasn't happy with the graphics or the idea of buying a two-year old machine.

    So, I decided to keep using my Pro until something better comes along (Which nothing really has)...

    The MacPro is upgradable. I went from 4 core 2.8 -> 8 core 2.8 -> 8 core 3.2. I also went from 2 GB ram to 16, added a BlueRay drive, USB 3.0 card, 802.11 AC wireless card, and a PCI mounted SSD drive. Not 2017 tech, but better than it was. I find it boots in 20 seconds or less. I haven't made the jump to Sierra, and am using El Cap. Sierra slowed my MacBook down to the point where it's barely usable anymore, so I am not chomping at the bit to make the upgrade on the Pro.

    If there is no MacMini update in 2017, I'll either use my 2008 until it dies (which it shows no signs of) or build a hackintosh. I don't care to buy a computer with built in monitor.

    Also, in answer to one of your other questions, I believe you can attach 2 additional displays to the iMac over thunderbolt.
     
  21. wfriedwald thread starter macrumors member

    wfriedwald

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    Jan 1, 2017
    #21
    thanks for this - I feel the same way about the iMac (with built-in monitor) - I shall have to follow your progress building a hackintosh! Maybe I'll buy one from you.

    In the meantime, on another thread, I decided to try installing an SSD drive in the current Mac Pro (2008 / 3,1) but so far I have not been able to make that work for me. More details to come.

    thanks again!

    W
     
  22. Count Blah macrumors 68040

    Count Blah

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    #22
    Apple will not risk the sale of a single iMac or 15" MBP, so they will not put a quad core in the Mac mini ever again. Expect middling performance, and bare minimum graphic performance. Again, they don't want to risk the sale of iMacs/MBP.

    Oh yeah, and the upgrades you made to your 2008 Mac Pro are not possible, as Apple glues/solders everything in.

    I'm holding out hope for an updated Mac mini, as my son needs an upgrade to the 2008 iMac he is currently using. If Apple disappoints, as expected(as has been commonplace the last 5 years now), then this will start my migration away fro the Apple environment.

    It's the way Tim wants it, he'd rather chase off a 30+ year Apple user, than provide a non-user hostile computer.
     
  23. Partron22 macrumors 68020

    Partron22

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    #23
    Just slipped a second SSD into my Lenovo M900 in under 10 minutes.
    Easy as pie.
    While I was in there, I noticed that memory fits in sockets, user installable.
    Bluetooth card looks replaceable too, so once Bluetooth 5 comes out...
     
  24. Count Blah macrumors 68040

    Count Blah

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    #24
    It's amazing what computers can do. Too bad Tim's chosen maximized $$$ over even the pretense of customer choice.
     
  25. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

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    #25
    Apple was going to do a new mini... but decided to do wireless ear pods instead.
     

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