Why Is "Broadwell" Such A Big Deal?

colin.mcgraw

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 2, 2014
8
1
Austin, TX
I have a 2009 Mac Mini that has become so slow it's almost unusable.

I'd like to replace it once a new Mac Mini is presumably announced in a couple of days, but every article I read laments that it won't have "Broadwell" processors, since said processors won't be out till next year.

My question is: why is this such a big deal that it keeps being mentioned?

Broadwell is simply a 14 nm shrink of the 22 nm Haswell processor and while I understand they will be faster, processor advancements such as that seem to happen literally about once a year. Even if you could buy a Broadwell Mac Mini today, it seems like it would be similarly outdated in a year or so anyway and it feels like that's just how it goes with buying a new computer.

Is the timing of this round of Macs really all that different than any other time that the topic of faster processors needs to keep coming up every time they're mentioned? Is the matter being overblown or are there some good reasons to wait?

Also, anyone want to speculate on when the "Broadwell" Mac Mini might be release (if ever)?
 

LachlanH

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2011
158
7
I think with the Mac Mini it's more a case of it's been so long since updated, and Haswell is quite old now, that it would almost be a shame to see a new Mac Mini using Haswell given that it would be outdated again so quickly.

For computers that don't rely on batteries, Broadwell certainly isn't a huge deal in terms of CPU power.

HOWEVER, given the Mac Mini's lack of discrete GPU, it makes a Broadwell upgrade a fair bit more interesting as Intel's integrated GPU's get significantly better each generation.

The current 2012 Mac Mini is perfectly fine in regards to it's CPU. Even a brand new Broadwell CPU isn't going to be much quicker. However Intel Iris or better graphics destroys the Intel HD 4000 found in the current mini, and for some who are interested in playing the odd game here and there, it's very important.

I for one want a new Mini. I want it to have at least Intel Iris graphics.
 

squirrrl

macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2013
855
270
San Diego, CA
I'm not so sure that there's a big bump in specs between the latest haswell and broadwell. As it is, the chips that are readily availabe (M) are no quad core, so quad core haswell would be better than dual core Broadwell M. The major advantage of Broadwell is power consumption, not processing power.

I think with the Mac Mini it's more a case of it's been so long since updated, and Haswell is quite old now, that it would almost be a shame to see a new Mac Mini using Haswell given that it would be outdated again so quickly.

For computers that don't rely on batteries, Broadwell certainly isn't a huge deal in terms of CPU power.

HOWEVER, given the Mac Mini's lack of discrete GPU, it makes a Broadwell upgrade a fair bit more interesting as Intel's integrated GPU's get significantly better each generation.

The current 2012 Mac Mini is perfectly fine in regards to it's CPU. Even a brand new Broadwell CPU isn't going to be much quicker. However Intel Iris or better graphics destroys the Intel HD 4000 found in the current mini, and for some who are interested in playing the odd game here and there, it's very important.

I for one want a new Mini. I want it to have at least Intel Iris graphics.
 

LachlanH

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2011
158
7
Yes exactly I don't care about the ~5% bump in CPU a quad core Broadwell will bring over Haswell, I care about the Mini not having HD 4000 graphics.
 

mad3inch1na

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2013
662
6
I have a 2009 Mac Mini that has become so slow it's almost unusable.

I'd like to replace it once a new Mac Mini is presumably announced in a couple of days, but every article I read laments that it won't have "Broadwell" processors, since said processors won't be out till next year.

My question is: why is this such a big deal that it keeps being mentioned?

Broadwell is simply a 14 nm shrink of the 22 nm Haswell processor and while I understand they will be faster, processor advancements such as that seem to happen literally about once a year. Even if you could buy a Broadwell Mac Mini today, it seems like it would be similarly outdated in a year or so anyway and it feels like that's just how it goes with buying a new computer.

Is the timing of this round of Macs really all that different than any other time that the topic of faster processors needs to keep coming up every time they're mentioned? Is the matter being overblown or are there some good reasons to wait?

Also, anyone want to speculate on when the "Broadwell" Mac Mini might be release (if ever)?
I have a 2007 Mac Mini that runs perfectly. Put an SSD in there and all your problems will be solved.

Some processor updates are bigger than others. Performance can technically increase by as much as 25%. Some people benefit from as little as a 5% increase in performance though, as it can cut as much as an hour off of a 20 hour work load. You probably just don't fit into that category, and it isn't that big a deal if you upgrade or not. The main consumer benefits of new computers are more of the physical features like new ports, smaller form factor, less noise, and stuff like that. Improved and smaller processors help to achieve those goals, so that has an impact on the end product.

There is a chance that Broadwell Minis will announced on Thursday, and they could start shipping by the end of this year. I would honestly be surprised if Apple stuck with Haswell on this one, considering it has been out for over a year. The Broadwell M series chips will most likely be released before their desktop counterparts, so they might start shipping before 2015. Not a guarantee, but it might happen.

Matt
 

squirrrl

macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2013
855
270
San Diego, CA
I would honestly be surprised if Apple stuck with Haswell on this one, considering it has been out for over a year. The Broadwell M series chips will most likely be released before their desktop counterparts, so they might start shipping before 2015. Not a guarantee, but it might happen.

Matt
The haswell architecture has been out for over a year but a new haswell chip was released a few months ago. That is what the updated the macbooks with.

Broadwell M would be a real disappointment as I need the computing power (but not necessarily graphics power) of a quad core. Broadwell M does not come in quad core format and thus would be seriously deficient compared to the quad-core Ivy bridge i7s out now.
 

Crosscreek

macrumors 68030
Nov 19, 2013
2,854
5,726
Margarittaville
I have a 2009 Mac Mini that has become so slow it's almost unusable.

I'd like to replace it once a new Mac Mini is presumably announced in a couple of days, but every article I read laments that it won't have "Broadwell" processors, since said processors won't be out till next year.

My question is: why is this such a big deal that it keeps being mentioned?

Broadwell is simply a 14 nm shrink of the 22 nm Haswell processor and while I understand they will be faster, processor advancements such as that seem to happen literally about once a year. Even if you could buy a Broadwell Mac Mini today, it seems like it would be similarly outdated in a year or so anyway and it feels like that's just how it goes with buying a new computer.

Is the timing of this round of Macs really all that different than any other time that the topic of faster processors needs to keep coming up every time they're mentioned? Is the matter being overblown or are there some good reasons to wait?

Also, anyone want to speculate on when the "Broadwell" Mac Mini might be release (if ever)?
The big draw of Broadwell besides energy savings and die shrink with produces less heat is that the GPU architecture has been redone from Haswell structure and will increase performance by 20%. The Core M benchmarks were really impressive for a tablet/ultra laptop chip with GPU performance of Haswell I5. Also CPU performance was increased substantially due to almost instant turbo from 1.1ghz to 2.6ghz with out having to throttle back do to thermals.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8475/intels-core-m-strategy-cpu-specifications-for-9mm-fanless-tablets

So the U series which is what the Mini normally gets that is due next year should have some significant GPU improvements also.
 

MacTCE

macrumors 6502
Dec 20, 2013
476
15
Upstate NY
As stated above I'm really looking forward to an new Mac Mini with Iris graphics or a Retina 5K iMac. The difference in the Haswell to Broadwell refresh will be minimal on the desktop side. I believe I saw specs of less than 5%. It's really geared towards the lower powered laptops, which the rumored fanless 12" Retina Air would more than likely have.
 

squirrrl

macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2013
855
270
San Diego, CA
As stated above I'm really looking forward to an new Mac Mini with Iris graphics or a Retina 5K iMac. The difference in the Haswell to Broadwell refresh will be minimal on the desktop side. I believe I saw specs of less than 5%. It's really geared towards the lower powered laptops, which the rumored fanless 12" Retina Air would more than likely have.
I agree... especially comparing broadwell M to current haswells in macbook.

While Broadwell U might be better in the mini, I don't think there's any way we will see Broadwell U in mac mini's until they have rolled out the Broadwell Us in macbook pros.
 

MacTCE

macrumors 6502
Dec 20, 2013
476
15
Upstate NY
I agree... especially comparing broadwell M to current haswells in macbook.

While Broadwell U might be better in the mini, I don't think there's any way we will see Broadwell U in mac mini's until they have rolled out the Broadwell Us in macbook pros.
Going from past releases Apple normally releases any chip refreshes to the notebooks first and then the desktops. With Broadwell being readily available on early 2015 I'm guessing a March/April MBP and MBA refresh with a May/June iMac and not likely, but a possible refresh to the Mac Mini even they announce a release on Thursday.
 

poematik13

macrumors 6502a
Jun 5, 2014
786
416
DDR4 memory, power efficiency (battery life, etc), stronger integrated graphics, stronger performance in general and not just the 10-15% spec bump from ivy bridge etc.

its basically a new generation. the last generation started with sandy bridge in 2010, that was the first mobile quad core and i remember all the "waiting for sandy bridge" threads
 

LachlanH

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2011
158
7
DDR4 memory, power efficiency (battery life, etc), stronger integrated graphics, stronger performance in general and not just the 10-15% spec bump from ivy bridge etc.

its basically a new generation. the last generation started with sandy bridge in 2010, that was the first mobile quad core and i remember all the "waiting for sandy bridge" threads

Actually DDR4 support for consumer level hardware will have to wait until Skylake. Battery life is obviously irrelevant for the Mac Mini. Really the only advantage a Broadwell Mini would have over a Haswell one is better integrated graphics. Now while I welcome this, I would be perfectly fine if Apple brings out a Haswell mini, but adds a discrete GPU.
 

mojolicious

macrumors 68000
Mar 18, 2014
1,561
310
Sarf London
Personally I'd sooner have a bit more ooomph at the expense of a few more dB, but one of the big hopes/fears is that the Core M Broadwell processors will result in a fanless mini.
 

mcarling

macrumors 65816
Oct 22, 2009
1,292
180
Actually DDR4 support for consumer level hardware will have to wait until Skylake. Battery life is obviously irrelevant for the Mac Mini. Really the only advantage a Broadwell Mini would have over a Haswell one is better integrated graphics. Now while I welcome this, I would be perfectly fine if Apple brings out a Haswell mini, ...
Up to this point, I agree completely.

... but adds a discrete GPU.
There is no chance Apple would put a discrete GPU in any future Mac mini. A discrete GPU would be too expensive to justify because only about 1% of possible buyers care about it.
 

crsh1976

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2011
972
699
Broadwell-M shouldn't be confused with the Core M chip:

Broadwell-M(obile) are full-fledged laptop processors, which is what the mini currently uses, as well as MBPs; MBAs use low-voltage variants labelled with a U (Haswell-U, etc). Those processors are not out yet.

Core M are Broadwell-Y low-power processors for tablets and convertibles; they're supposed to bring a nice boost to traditionally weaker processors, run cooler, etc. They are one step above an Atom (Intel only compares Core M chips to Atom Bay Trail chips), but they are likely well-below M and U-labelled chips in terms of performance.
 
Last edited:

colin.mcgraw

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 2, 2014
8
1
Austin, TX
Thanks for the great responses, everyone! :) Good information.

Something is wrong here, and I don't think it's the specs of the 2009 Mac Mini.
It happened the moment I upgraded the OS to Mountain Lion or Mavericks (I forget which it was).

I can still (sort of) get things done, but even browsing the web is noticeably slower and frequently hangs/lags for a few seconds.

Even if that weren't the case, I can't currently use features like AirPlay, and the hard drive is small enough that it's awkward to back up my 128 GB iPhone 6+.

At this point, I don't want to troubleshoot and optimize, I'm just ready for new hardware that I don't have to spend time messing with to make it work well.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,453
6,749
OP wrote above:
[[ It happened the moment I upgraded the OS to Mountain Lion or Mavericks (I forget which it was).
I can still (sort of) get things done, but even browsing the web is noticeably slower and frequently hangs/lags for a few seconds. ]]

It was when you "upgraded" to Mavericks.

If you're willing to go through the time and trouble to DOWNgrade to Mountain Lion, it will put the smile back on your face, insofar as this issue is concerned.
 

Yvan256

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2004
5,049
927
Canada
It happened the moment I upgraded the OS to Mountain Lion or Mavericks (I forget which it was).

I can still (sort of) get things done, but even browsing the web is noticeably slower and frequently hangs for a few seconds.
That would be Mavericks and it's "wonderful" memory compression. :rolleyes:

That feature should never have been enabled for Core 2 Duo CPUs and older.

If you search, you'll be able to find information about how to disable this feature. If you have 8GB of RAM, it's worth disabling it.
 

kazmac

macrumors G3
Mar 24, 2010
8,764
6,769
Any place but here or there....
That would be Mavericks and it's "wonderful" memory compression. :rolleyes:

That feature should never have been enabled for Core 2 Duo CPUs and older.

If you search, you'll be able to find information about how to disable this feature. If you have 8GB of RAM, it's worth disabling it.
Yeah, mavericks karked my 2010 iMac as well. It ran like brand new on Mountain Lion. Anyway, I do not blame the OP for wanting to start from scratch with a new system in this regard.

Thanks for the information, everyone. This has been a very helpful thread in understanding Broadwell.
 

Cloudsurfer

macrumors 65816
Apr 12, 2007
1,297
332
Netherlands
Broadwell is simply a 14 nm shrink of the 22 nm Haswell processor and while I understand they will be faster, processor advancements such as that seem to happen literally about once a year.
Broadwell is efficient enough to shrink the Mac mini even further. I personally think that is why they are holding out, to make a slimmer or smaller Mac mini. And the die shrink will help with that.
 

crsh1976

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2011
972
699
Broadwell is efficient enough to shrink the Mac mini even further. I personally think that is why they are holding out, to make a slimmer or smaller Mac mini. And the die shrink will help with that.
Unless they shift storage to a single mSATA SDD 'card' and use a cooler/less performant processor like the Core M, I don't see how they can drastically reduce the footprint..
 

mojolicious

macrumors 68000
Mar 18, 2014
1,561
310
Sarf London
I personally think that is why they are holding out, to make a slimmer or smaller Mac mini.
Wouldn't surprise me. The clamour for a smaller mini is deafening, right? I guess another plus side for Apple would be that it would be easier to defend a sealed 'nano': "ooh, it's far too teensy for your fat fingers."

The gits.
 
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