Will PCI-based storage increase price?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by sergiobaschi, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. sergiobaschi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #1
    My Windows 7 based htpc is on its way to computer heaven... during the last 6 months it's started to behave weird, and its sound levels exceed what's normal simply by playing hd-content.

    So eventually it will be replaced by a Mac mini. I wouldn't mind buying one right now (base model, add a 128 GB SSD and maybe 8 GB of ram), as it would do the job perfectly. But naturally I would like to see what the new Mac mini sports. If it comes with PCI-based flash storage as a standard config, do you think we'll see the price increase?
     
  2. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    #2
    Of course the price would go up, GB/$ between HDD and SSD is still very much in HDD's favour and allows the price of a baseline Mini to hit a more attractive price point (especially for the low-end affordable model the Mini is).

    However, there's really no telling whether Apple won't go with flash memory storage only, they could be on a roll to gradually eliminate all HDDs.
     
  3. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    www.emiliana.cl/en
    #3
    No. The prices drop already.
     
  4. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #4
    Forgive my possible ignorance, but doesn't HD content imply that the audio AND video are better quality? I would think that HD content would sound better and louder just based on that. maybe I'm wrong.
     
  5. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #5
    S/he means the sound of the computer in operation, not sound output.
     
  6. sergiobaschi thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #6
    Correct. And it's "he".
     
  7. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #7
    I don't think anyone can say for sure. A lot depends on who much flash would be included. 128GB then maybe/maybe not. However, Apple hasn't gone completely Flash on the iMac, so I find it hard to believe they will do it on the Mini.....
     
  8. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #8
    Oh, ok then. Thanks for that!
     
  9. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #9
    I see two scenarios:

    1) They keep the same enclosure, in which case it'll be like it is today - base unit will have a HDD. In this case, no increase to the cost of the base configuration.

    2) They change the dimensions of the box and make it Flash-only, like the laptops. In this case, maybe $100 more for the base configuration with 128GB flash.
     
  10. Mr. Retrofire, Mar 27, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014

    Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    www.emiliana.cl/en
    #10
    No. Different encoders (Intel Quick Sync or x264) can create different results. And in the case of x264 you can change a lot of settings, so that you can make many mistakes. Some settings waste bits (which are then not available for other video frames) or reduce the encoding quality.

    Apple HD movies have usually a low quality and a high bitrate (i.e. they use very bad sources and/or encoders).
     
  11. sergiobaschi thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #11
    I wouldn't mind option #2. As long as the box doesn't get too small == needs more fans, that would be good. A small price bump would be acceptable.
     
  12. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #12
    I'm not seeing smaller (like the current Apple TV) as much as different geometry, like the current AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule - smaller footprint, go vertical. If the next Apple TV does come with media storage, I can see it going in the same direction. If all three boxes were the same dimensions (or similar proportions), they'd probably want to distinguish between Mini, Airport/Time Capsule, and Apple TV - Airport/Time Capsule in white, Apple TV in black (looking even more like the monolith in 2001 a Space Odyssey), Mini in brushed aluminum (the current color code).

    Then again, would they dare mimic the nMP - single fan, chimney cooling (though keeping it rectangular to make the distinction clear), or even massive heat sinks and convective chimney cooling (the Cube done better)?
     
  13. chelch macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    #13
    Agreed. One of the points they made when releasing the new AirPort Extreme was "taller and thinner has a smaller footprint, therefore more desk space." I think they go this route with the mini as well. It's been long enough for a redesign to be possible. I think price model stays the same and base gets a bump to 1TB HDD with CTO having FD and SSD options. I think it comes in black to differentiate it from the Extreme and AppleTV will be the black Express.
     
  14. sergiobaschi thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #14
    I would not like a "taller and thinner" concept. I would like to hide the computer underneath the TV stand (something like https://secure1.sonnettech.com/images/side_maccuffminidesk.png). That will get really ugly with an AirPort Extreme shape.
     
  15. haravikk macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #15
    Absolutely, but personally I don't think SSDs as standard makes sense for the Mac Mini. Firstly, they're not really performance oriented machines to begin with, so while the option is nice to have, your casual Mac Mini user won't really see any benefit, while they may notice the limited capacity. Otherwise SSDs don't have much use for a Mac Mini; moving to them as standard makes a lot more sense in portable devices due to the lack of moving parts and the lower power consumption, speed is usually more of a much appreciated side-effect after that.

    So yeah, I'd expect the Mac Mini's will keep at least one 2.5" drive bay so they can stay with HDDs as standard, as it makes no sense for Apple to increase the price of their entry level machine. I'm hoping it'll then take a PCIe module on top of that for creating a Fusion Drive or for an SSD only build-to-order option. Personally I'd be fine with mSATA over PCIe, while there's not a huge amount in it on cost, for a budget machine it does make a difference, even if PCIe can be a lot faster, but Apple does like to standardise things across their lineups so PCIe seems more likely.


    Also, as to the mention of taller and thinner; personally I absolutely hate the new Airport Extreme design. While it may well give a better signal (I don't know), it's IMO pretty ugly compared to the flatter Mac Mini design. I could so them making the Mac Mini a touch taller to reduce the footprint, but not as big of a leap as that. Also, I think keeping the Mac Mini fairly is better as it allows for a larger diameter fan, thus either even quieter running or better cooling under heavy load. I could see the Mac Mini becoming rounder though, and I think it could look pretty neat like that.
     
  16. bennibeef macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 22, 2013
    #16
    Well, I bought my first SSD for my macbook because SSD's are fast and this was the main reason not a side effect. lower power consumption und safety due to the lack of moving parts was more of side effect for me - just me 2 cents.

    I would like to see the Mini to get a standard SSD.
     
  17. haravikk macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #17
    I'm not saying the speed advantage isn't important or anything, just that for laptops there are other important factors that make SSDs clearly the superior choice, and thus justifying the added expense/lower capacity.

    But why? Like I say, other than the speed the SSDs don't really offer any clear advantage to the majority of casual Mac Mini users, who I expect would be happier with either a cheaper machine, or greater capacity. I mean, half of my family now use Mac Minis day-to-day for office use and even light gaming, and have never really complained about the speed of the HDD.

    I on the other hand am looking to the next Mac Mini as my next purchase, and I'll definitely be putting an SSD in either build-to-order or by myself, but then I'll also be getting a quad core model and plenty of RAM, as my needs definitely require the extra performance (but not enough for the £3,000 Mac Pro ;)). But that'll be my choice to do since I'll need it as a main machine, but if I were to pick up a second one for personal server use or as an HTPC, then personally I'd rather it were cheaper and/or had more capacity. I just think most regular Mac Mini users will feel the same too, so it's not really a good time for Apple to make that choice for them; at least not until SSDs close the price gap further, as there's still quite a gulf remaining.
     
  18. sergiobaschi thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #18
    I would use the Mini as an htpc, and since I have all my media files on a network drive, 128 GB would do just fine for me. Also, even if it's just a small difference, the SSD should be somewhat quieter and produce less heat?
     
  19. haravikk macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #19
    I think for the Mac Mini the noise and heat should be negligible; I know some people complain about hard drive noise but personally that's not been my experience at all, and I have sensitive hearing and find a Mac Mini practically silent.

    Don't get me wrong, I absolute thing SSDs should still be an option for Mac Minis, I just don't think they make sense to be made a standard part for all Mac Minis just yet, due to the cost and capacity. It makes sense for laptops, as there are other advantages (no moving parts, more battery life etc.).

    Personally for an HTPC I'd still prefer a hard-drive, even a relatively slow one like the Mac Minis currently use, as it's still more than fast enough for loading and playing HD content, but can hold a lot more of it. I mean, an hour long 1080p episode downloaded online can reach 4gb even with (fairly) good H.264 encoding, so 128gb can run out pretty quick depending upon how long you want to keep files, whether you want to download whole series, at what quality etc.

    This is where Fusion Drives are great, or even just any small (more) affordable SSD with a slower, bigger HDD, as it lets you get the acceleration for the OS and apps (so your HTPC can startup and operate faster), without worrying about capacity for your files on the other disk.

    But yeah, I don't see Apple switching to SSDs as standard just yet, definitely not with PCIe SSDs being a little more expensive still, as it doesn't make sense for them to make their entry-level machine even more expensive. But the option should still be there for you to choose if you want to, but like I say, my personal preference is a Fusion Drive. Actually, my preference now is for a partitioned SSD + HDD; OS and apps go fully onto an SSD partition, while the other partition is used to create a Fusion Drive with the HDD. This way you can move your user folders to the Fusion Drive, so caches, preferences etc. still get accelerated, while your OS is fully accelerated and your big movie files have plenty of space.
     

Share This Page