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Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Retromac2008, Feb 28, 2016.
(compared to their original price)
they keep their value
Dependent on which models you consider «old» there are at least two reasons:
- Quad core i7
- User-installable RAM
Because they're a (comparatively) cheap Mac, and people are willing to pay reasonable money for them.
The 2012 models are the best versions and have a long future ahead of them.
All Macs hold their value pretty well, especially compared to PCs. I once sold a 2-year old Mac Mini for almost the same amount of money that I originally bought it for (after upgrading the RAM and HDD).
A 2010-era Dell workstation with W3690 CPU (better) just sold for $157. The W3690 CPU sells for about $190, so the entire Dell with CPU sold for less money than the CPU alone is worth. The rest of the computer actually drags down the value of the used CPU.
To compare, a roughly equivalent 2010-era Mac Pro workstation (better GPU, worse CPU), sold for $1009.
So not only do Macs hold their value well over a few years, in the same timeframe PCs become essentially worthless or even have negative value.
I don't mind the extra cost of a Mac because after I sell it, the total cost of ownership is actually lower.
With the 2014 update, Apple has begun to try and reduce the possible uses of the Mini. They have eliminated the 4-core CPU option that was available in 2012 (a dual-core i7 is now the most powerful option available), they have soldered the RAM directly to the motherboard (eliminating the option of ever upgrading RAM in the future), and they've continued to make it much harder to access the drives in the machine. The 2014 machines do have slightly improved GPUs, but otherwise are quite a bit less flexible than the 2012s.
My own guess is that Apple would be very, very happy if folks would move up to an iMac on their desktop. And to make that choice easier, they are slowly reducing the ability to use a Mini as your main desktop machine...
You should also think about the original purpose of the Mac Mini. It was designed as 'gateway' to Macs, a cheap little machine that allowed you to recycle your existing mouse, keyboard, screen, etc. from your PC desktop and therefore become a Mac user for low cost. And as they say, 'once you go Mac you never go back'.
Fast forward a decade; Apple computers are now very popular, especially laptop computers, largely I think because of being so popular with students (who then remain Apple users forever). Basically, I think Apple have converted all the users they can to the Apple ecosystem (and if they haven't, the iPhone is the new gateway, not the Mac Mini). This is because in 2016 desktop computers have lost their utility for most normal users - people mostly access the internet on their smartphones, tablet, or if it's still a computer then a laptop.
As for the new models not being upgradeable, you have to keep in mind that the vas majority of people never upgrade anything in their computers (this forum is not representative). This has led Apple to sacrifice upgradeability for form factor. This may annoy us, but it makes sense for their point of view. But because there remains a small but dedicated portion of the Apple user base that does continue to want upgradeable computers, the 2012 Mac Mini continues to be a very strong seller.
We will see, what the 2016 update of the Mac mini will bring ... I think we won't have a quad-core option anymore, but I hope for powerfull Skylake DCs in forthcomming models.
the intel HD graphics 4000 will be obsolete very, very fast. Especially how OS X is increasingly becoming GPU oriented.
You can actually hook up the 2012 model to an external GPU. But it has superior CPU power so can still do a lot by itself.
OS X does not support external GPU's.
That's not entirely accurate.
You can modify the kext configurations to enable hot-plugging of external GPU's, and after that they'll work just fine.
OS X has A LOT of stuff like this; generic drivers that work for all sorts of crazy configs, but some configuration file locks you into some kind of limitation. However, if you know how to change the configs, pretty much anything is possible. I'd go so far as to say that OS X's hardware support rivals that of Microsoft's if you know what you're doing.
This is very very far from "out of the box" and it's definitely not an option for the average consumer that wants to play games on their mac.
The only way you will ever be able to seriously play games on a Mac is with this kind of thing as Macs have always had weak GPUs. That's why there are so few games for Mac.
Er, say what??? This may have been true a decade or so ago, but not today; in particular, the higher-end iMacs come with quite capable graphics cards, and have done so for some time now. While Windows PCs still frequently receive titles first, the OSX userbase is large enough that most top-tier titles are eventually ported.
I just did a quick check on my Steam account store page, and as of today their catalog contains over 6300 products that support OSX for sale (most of which are games).
You didn't say "out of the box" - you said OS X does not support external GPU's, and I said that's not entirely true. It's true right out of the box, but it's entirely true.
I'm actually surprised nobody has yet written a program that does this for you. It's really, really easy to do. Maybe someone has and I just haven't seen it yet.
The Mac Mini doesn't have GPU's at all.
The iMac has mobile GPU's in a desktop, meaning it's generally 60% as fast as what is available for PC's at the same price point (ignoring every other component). There does exist a GPU Apple could've used to great effect here, but they didn't: The GTX 980 for AIO's and notebooks.
The Mac Pro is 3 years out of date, uses a GPU from 2012 iirc, it's two workstations GPU with mediocre performance and an architecture from 2009. However, the yare workstation GPU's so they are massively expensive. OS X does not support SLI or CrossFire, though the hardware does support it.
The MacBook and MacBook Air do not have discrete graphics.
The MacBook Pros do not have discrete graphics either, except for the top-end model which has low-end mobile graphics that are barely faster than the graphics in a PlayStation 4, but the system costs 10 times as much.
The only solution that comes close to being decent is the iMac, but sadly it has a high resolution display as well which the mobile GPU cannot drive well enough for gaming AND the display has high latency.
If you think Apple currently offers great gaming machines you have low standards.
Okay, this makes absolutely no sense to me. I totally get the form factor issue in a portable where creating custom, form-fitted batteries add extra capacity, and where creating smaller and lighter laptops leaves space at an absolute minimum, but with the Mini, the 2014 version is the exact same machine as the 2012, but with less ability to change/upgrade. Had Apple gone with a quad i7 with improved graphics, I probably would have purchased a minimum of three machines by now. As it were, I did buy one retro 2012. I currently run 8 Minis of varying age, using them for web servers, presentation machines, HTPC, and classroom computers for a children's home. going forward, I don't anticipate continuing my previous path, but will most likely begin to build some less expensive machines with an alternative OS.
Oh, absolutely, I agree there are no (and never have been any) high-end Apple gaming machines.
However, that's not quite the question here. The question is whether Apple had "weak graphics" and "few games". Certainly, a high-end PC graphics card will allow you to run a high-end game at high resolution and with all settings turned up. However, please note that today, all high-end 3D games allow you to change resolutions and reduce settings. This is because, even in the Windows PC world, the number of PC owners who invest in a top-flight GPU is very, very small; and, if you really want to make a profit, you have to sell software that will work on a large percentage of machines.
Of course Apple's GPUs are not gaming GPUs. But right now, they are as good or better than the average Windows PC GPU (at least for high-end iMacs and Macbook Pros). And therefore, it has become much easier to port PC games to the Mac. So, OSX now has many, many games, including many top titles available.
I agree with your facts, as they are facts, but I disagree with your analysis.
The upshot of this whole situation is that with the higher prices and worse GPU's, with there being no top tier GPU's available in any Mac at all, if you're intent on playing games, a Mac will offer a degraded experience at a higher price point. As a result, you need some kind of other motivation to get a Mac. Thus, core gamers, which buy the majority of AAA titles, aren't interested in gaming on the Mac.
Well, sure; the Windows PC world, unlike Apple, allows you to purchase or build hardware that is optimized for the tasks you are interested in. As such, for gaming (and, I would submit, for almost any other task as well), you can acquire a Windows machine that is far superior to anything Apple currently provides.
But that said, you still need to be willing to shell out some major bucks to pick up one of these optimized devices; and most people just aren't doing that. The vast majority of Windows PCs are not gaming PCs. Still, many (if not most) PC owners will be interested in purchasing a game or two; so it makes sense for game producers to make sure that their software runs well on a wide variety of machines, even if it is optimized for high-end machines.
So yeah, core gamers are not (and should not be) interested in Apple hardware; but game producers are very interested in supporting Apple hardware (and should be).
(One point -- core gamers will certainly buy AAA titles (and at full retail price!), and they drive much of the industry; but there are many, many more non-gamer PC users than there are core gamers. In fact, I would predict that core gamers do not actually buy the majority of AAA titles, as the rest of the market has got to be so much larger...)
Oculus Rift won't be in Mac until they release a good computer:
"That is up to Apple and if they ever release a good computer we will do it. It just boils down to the fact that Apple doesn't prioritize high-end GPUs. You can a buy $6,000 Mac Pro with the top of the line AMD FirePro D700s and it still doesn't match our recommended spec. If they prioritize higher-end GPUs like they used to for awhile back in the day I think we'd love to support Mac.
"Right now there's just not a single machine out there that supports it so even if we can support it on the software side there's just no audience of people that can run the vast majority of software out there."
They get their tech savvy relatives to do it for them. I've upgraded numerous iMacs, Mac Minis, macbook and MBPs for family members over the years. I use to encourage them to buy macs, so I could support them. I'm not telling everyone to NOT purchase new macs, and to hold on to what they have currently(no one plays games, so it's doable). The last purchases were two mac mini's(both quad core i7s), right before the 2014s were released.
Apple's transition to disposable machines has put me off greatly, and has slowed/stopped a my extended family form purchasing more Macs for the time being.
Apple is interested in only Apple's best interests. Apple used to include the consumer's point of view in many of their decisions, but not any more. I can only hope my 15" 2012 cMBP with 16Gigs of RAM and 1T of SSD storage, lasts a long, long time.
I was looking at 2012 i7 to replace my aging iMac from 2007. The going prices are crazy. Makes no sense for me to buy an i7 and a 27" monitor. For a couple of hundred more, I can get a new 27" iMac with much better specs. The downside of course is losing the ability to do any type of upgrades myself.
Well yes and no ...
You can still open up the iMac (the glass/monitor is glued with an adhesive tape to case, but it is not so problematic to remove it, you only need to have patience), upgrade the HDD/add an SSD and swap the RAM modules. At least the older models (and I think the same is true for 4k and 5k retina iMacs)
Also, the 5k retina iMac has a super-simple RAM upgrade procedure. Look:
It is true however, that the cheapest 21,5" iMac has 8GB soldered RAM (has the same inside as the cheapest Mac mini, except the CPU is faster -> 1,6 GHz vs. 1.4 GHz in MM)