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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Anything new on Mac Mini Horizon???

Anything new on Mac Mini Horizon???
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Nov 29, 2010, 07:12 AM
 
Before I pull the trigger on a Mac Mini purchase (basic model) as a Christmas gift, should I wait for possible upgrades early next year? What's the rumor people?

Advice appreciated...
     
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Nov 29, 2010, 10:39 AM
 
The current Mac mini is in the middle of the product cycle, probably looking at a new mini in four to five months. Hard to saw what processor it'll use, I bet mduell can chip in.
     
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Nov 29, 2010, 04:03 PM
 
Could be anything from a minor spec bump in 2 months to brand new guts (Core i3 - Sandy Bridge) in 8 months. It's by far the most difficult Mac to predict since it's so unloved and inconsistent.

I'd say buy now.
     
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Mar 4, 2011, 10:26 PM
 
Anyone have any new thoughts now? I'm hoping that we get basically the same choices that are available on the new MacBook Pros--at least the choices on the 13" but it would be great if the video on the 15" was an option. Is this likely?

I'm waiting for a new Mini, money in hand. I need it for a media center but need to be able to throw it in a suitcase once every six months to move from one house to another. So an iMac won't work.
     
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Mar 4, 2011, 10:36 PM
 
Why even bother with a mini? The new MBPs are exceptional.
     
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Mar 5, 2011, 12:21 AM
 
Why not just get a 13" MacBook instead of a Mini?

In large part, size. Overall, in weight and volume the Mini is 60% of the volume and 53% of the weight of the 13" MacBook. MacBook is 134 cubic inches and 5.6 pounds. Mini is 83 cubic inches and 3 pounds.
     
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Mar 5, 2011, 02:26 AM
 
I could see the mini getting updated this summer.
     
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Mar 5, 2011, 07:01 AM
 
The Mac Mini Server would benefit greatly from a quad core i5 or i7.
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Mar 5, 2011, 07:47 AM
 
Best guess is a copy of the MBP 13", or a step down to the i3-2310M - all you lose is 200MHz, the turbo and the encryption instructions. Timing is hard. I want to say late summer, but it's actually been a while since the last update and the Core 2 is getting positively ancient, so it may be as early as May.

Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
The Mac Mini Server would benefit greatly from a quad core i5 or i7.
It would, but... If we're still talking mobile chips, the only quads are i7. The cheapest is the one in the base 15" (2630QM). That price is not public, but a good guess is around $350. That's more than a third of the entire price of the Mac mini server. I guess it's possible, but it's a lot of dough and a HUGE performance upgrade over the current model. Not a bad idea, but I think it will wait for the next revision.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Mar 5, 2011, 06:42 PM
 
My mistake, thought there was a quad i5 too. It may just be a pricey option, but a server will obviously benefit from having four cores more than any laptop. I can think of another reason the Mini should go quad core too, but I'm keeping that to myself for now. I will say it should be done before or soon after Lion ships.
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Mar 6, 2011, 03:45 AM
 
I would think that whatever happen to the Mini will be reflected in Apples future plans for OS X server. Since server is getting rolled into the client OS I can see a role for the mini server as the "Pro" server platform, this might justify the cost of the i7 chip. Mind you the mini is also the unloved Mac so it could just stay as it is.
     
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Mar 6, 2011, 07:33 AM
 
I think there is a slew of upgrades due in the not too distant future. The Mac Pro needs Thunderbolt ASAP and since the new MBPs can give them a run for their money with many tasks, they could use an upgrade anyway. I expect they'll finally ditch the Nehalem based units. I think if Apple wants to show its serious about making Thunderbolt a success, they will add it to the whole range as fast as they can.
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Mar 6, 2011, 08:41 AM
 
There are probably upgrades coming, but the iMac is next in line and the plain MB should be close after that. They can't really cycle too quickly or they risk overstressing the logistics system. With the MBP just updated and the iPad 2 coming, the MP (which doesn't really have a good upgrade anyway, except faster Westmeres) and mini needs to follow that.

The MP is about due for a major redesign, actually...
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Mar 17, 2011, 08:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
Mind you the mini is also the unloved Mac so it could just stay as it is.
Yes, unloved by Apple, but loved by many.I have two of them, one as a DVR.
And, one at work that replaced a Windows 2000 server, saved at least $2500 vs a newer Windows server product. While it probably doesn't rise to the level of enterprise-level Windows Server functionality, it does just fine in a small office with a single server, thank you.
     
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Mar 17, 2011, 11:22 PM
 
I predict a new Mac mini in Q2 with i3, 4 GB RAM, and Thunderbolt.
     
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Jun 12, 2011, 03:16 AM
 
Maybe with a new MBA (probably) coming on Tuesday we'll see a new Mini then too. It would be great if an i7 is an option.
     
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Jun 12, 2011, 06:01 AM
 
Yes, I posted in the 11" or 13" MBA thread linking to a report saying MBA production soon with ULV i5 and i7 processors. Then I wake up this morning and macrumors report new MBAs on Wednesday. If any of this is really true they might be skipping the sandy bridge i3

They might use ULV chips in a mini for low energy consumption figures??

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Jun 12, 2011, 08:56 AM
 
Dadgummit, where's the next MB ? The current model is freaking 13 months old.
My mom needs a new laptop, but MBP or MBA are too much for her.

-t
     
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Jun 12, 2011, 09:00 AM
 
My hunch is that the next MacBook Air is the MacBook.
     
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Jun 12, 2011, 09:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
My hunch is that the next MacBook Air is the MacBook.
Agreed. I cannot think of a reason why Apple should pollute the product mix with an old-style MB except for the cost of SSDs. And based on the $100 it cost me to get an SSD in my MBP it seems Apple is willing to cut markup a bit to get folks into SSDs, which rock.

There are so many cool things Apple could do with MBAs I expect them to become much more significant. Really would like to see Apple do a dock setup again...

And an MBA in a dock could be a Mini.
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Jun 12, 2011 at 09:35 PM. )
     
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Jun 12, 2011, 09:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Agreed. I cannot think of a reason why Apple should pollute the product mix with an old-style MB except for the cost of SSDs
I dunno.

I think the idea of a cheap entry-level laptop was quite smart. It's the perfect first step into world of Apple computers.

-t
     
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Jun 12, 2011, 09:35 PM
 
I'd think Apple agrees.

They make the MacBook Air the same price as the plastic MacBook.

Aditionallly, the iPad covers a lot of why people buy low-end laptops, which makes the white MacBook even more redundant.
     
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Jun 12, 2011, 09:43 PM
 
Yup. Apple subsidizes the SSD cost in the low end MBA and entry-level folks have 4 choices: ugly pc, lame netbook, cool MBA or cool iPad.
     
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Jun 12, 2011, 10:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I'd think Apple agrees.

They make the MacBook Air the same price as the plastic MacBook.
If it's 13", no problem.

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Aditionallly, the iPad covers a lot of why people buy low-end laptops, which makes the white MacBook even more redundant.
Yes, but there is still a problem with people that need to rip music, and manage a iPhoto library.
With iOS 5, the iPad gets a step closer to be independent, but it's not quite there for all applications.

-t
     
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Jun 12, 2011, 10:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
With iOS 5, the iPad gets a step closer to be independent, but it's not quite there for all applications.
That's why I said "a lot" and not "all".
     
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Jun 13, 2011, 04:50 AM
 
Curious to see if those new Time Capsules that were rumoured a week or so back are going to appear. An iPad with a TC could be a solution for a lot people than it is now.
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Jun 29, 2011, 02:11 PM
 
This story has been updated to include Mac mini in the supply shortage list along with the white Macbook, the Macbook Air is widely thought to be updated after Lion is released, so it looks like once the new OS is out there, the C2D processor machines could fall quickly to move to i series processors.

MacBook Supplies Tightening at Third-Party Retailers Ahead of Potential Refresh [Update: Mac Mini Too] - Mac Rumors

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Jul 16, 2011, 07:07 PM
 
Any news on the mini now? i need an upgrade....
     
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Jul 16, 2011, 07:16 PM
 
     
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Jul 16, 2011, 07:30 PM
 
sweet, thanks
     
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Jul 17, 2011, 06:09 AM
 
Possibly not - people are saying they were Cinema Display model numbers.
     
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Jul 17, 2011, 10:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Possibly not - people are saying they were Cinema Display model numbers.
No. That was said about the MacBook product numbers. The Mac mini numbers are still believed to be just that.

-t
     
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Jul 20, 2011, 09:12 AM
 
Apple - Mac mini - Even more powerful. Even more affordable.

i5 dual core 2.3 or 2.5, option on the 2.5 to go to a 2.7 dual core i7
2GB or 4GB memory, upgradable to 8GB
500GB hard drive, configurable to 750GB and/or 256GB SSD
Intel HD3000 (2.3) or AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB (2.5) (a graphics card! In a Mac mini!!)
Thunderbolt port

No optical drive, at all. They all look like the previous Server model now.

$599 for the 2.3, $799 for the 2.5

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Jul 20, 2011, 10:40 AM
 
I am pondering to get this CTO Mac mini,

2.7 GHz Dual-Core intel Core i7
8 GB RAM
500 GB 5400 rpm

That's the model which comes with the ATI GPU card.

Not sure about opting for the 750GB 7200 rpm hard disk, IMHO the price is a bit step for this one. My Unibody MacBook Pro hard disk is a 5400 rpm model and it delivers.

Am I overlooking anything ?
     
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Jul 20, 2011, 12:45 PM
 
I suspect the i7 is best if you ever play a game, possibly its useful for heavy lifting like PhotoShop renders or transcoding video, I don't know. For normal computing, the i5 seems fine, but $100 price difference kinda makes you just want to grab the i7... The dedicated video is the only option imo - the mini has always suffered w/o it.

8GB RAM minimum, but do you pay the $200 to Apple for it preinstalled or buy it 3rd party? 8GB from OWC is ~$80 plus tax and shipping, so for half the price you can just add it yourself, esp. since Apple is touting it as so "easy" now.

Uisce
     
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Jul 21, 2011, 09:34 AM
 
They might have missed a trick by not having the quad core i7 from the server with the hard drive, SSD and the Radeon graphics card options as a 'Mac mini Pro' type deal.

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Jul 21, 2011, 10:11 AM
 
8GB RAM minimum, but do you pay the $200 to Apple for it preinstalled or buy it 3rd party? 8GB from OWC is ~$80 plus tax and shipping, so for half the price you can just add it yourself, esp. since Apple is touting it as so "easy" now.
OWC is awesome. Back in the day I bought RAM from them as even adding H&S plus custom fees, it was cheaper to buy RAM from them than buying it here in Spain. Not sure it is the case nowadays given how cheap RAM is.

They might have missed a trick by not having the quad core i7 from the server with the hard drive, SSD and the Radeon graphics card options as a 'Mac mini Pro' type deal.
I nearly went for the Mac mini server. Fortunately I sobered up and didn't do it. I don't want a fake GPU stealing 384 MB (minimum) from my computer's RAM.

I understand that in order to get this new Thunderbolt Mac mini working with a 23" Aluminum Apple Display, the included HDMI to DVI adapter is all I need.
     
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Jul 21, 2011, 10:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by angelmb View Post
I nearly went for the Mac mini server. Fortunately I sobered up and didn't do it. I don't want a fake GPU stealing 384 MB (minimum) from my computer's RAM.
There is nothing fake about integrated GPUs. They are rather fast and Intel has included a sizable cash which puts less pressure on the shared memory interface of the CPU/GPU and its performance is about on par or slightly faster compared to a Radeon HD 5450 (which is an entry-level discrete GPU for desktops).

I'm quite surprised you use this as a reason against a server: servers by definition don't need much GPU horsepower and anything will do.
Originally Posted by angelmb View Post
I understand that in order to get this new Thunderbolt Mac mini working with a 23" Aluminum Apple Display, the included HDMI to DVI adapter is all I need.
Or you could get a DisplayPort-DVI adapter.
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Jul 21, 2011, 11:47 AM
 
I wondered why there was no option for a quad core with the discrete GPU but I suspect it might be a heat issue.
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Jul 21, 2011, 01:20 PM
 
It's the usual guessing game to figure out which CPUs Apple is using, but if it's the ones I think, the difference in TPD is only 10W. More likely Apple thinks that the price for such a mini would push it into iMac territory price-wise, and they don't want that.

Sidenote: The GPU is the same one that sits in the MBP 15" and 17", except slightly lower clocked and with DDR3 RAM instead of GDDR5 (basically half the memory bandwidth).
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jul 21, 2011, 02:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
There is nothing fake about integrated GPUs. They are rather fast and Intel has included a sizable cash which puts less pressure on the shared memory interface of the CPU/GPU and its performance is about on par or slightly faster compared to a Radeon HD 5450 (which is an entry-level discrete GPU for desktops).
Thanks for the link. If that Radeon HD 5450 is anything like the Radeon 2600 XT I had on the Mac Pro, there is no wonder the intel chip can beat it.

Anyhow, I am really confused here. I don't know which one would be a better choice anymore.

So, CPU wise, which one would be a better fit for Lion, the extra speed of the Mac mini or the extra cores of the Server model ?
     
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Jul 21, 2011, 03:05 PM
 
I'm guessing the quad core CPU is from the 15" MBP too?

Imagine that though, a Mac Mini with two SSDs in striped RAID with the GPU and four cores. That would be sweet. And stupidly expensive.
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Jul 22, 2011, 02:28 AM
 
So it is either…

Option A
Mac mini Server
2.0 Quad-Core
8 GB RAM
2x500GB 7200 rpm hard drives
1199€

Option B
Mac mini 2.7 GHz
8 GB RAM
500 GB 5400 rpm hard drive
1099€

Option C
Mac mini 2.7 GHz
8 GB RAM
750 GB 7200 rpm hard drive
1249€

What is your take on it?
     
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Jul 22, 2011, 03:06 AM
 
I would like quad core i7 512 flash hd 8gigs ram and AMD graphics.
     
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Jul 22, 2011, 03:34 AM
 
Another though… does the Mac mini Server ship with two versions of Lion or just one with the Server add-on?, the copy on Apple site is confusing.

     
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Jul 22, 2011, 04:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by angelmb View Post
Thanks for the link. If that Radeon HD 5450 is anything like the Radeon 2600 XT I had on the Mac Pro, there is no wonder the intel chip can beat it.
The Radeon 2600 XT (#154) is slightly faster than the HD 5450 (#169), but not by much (about 10 % by most benchmarks). The GPU built into Intel's Sandy Bridge processors can be faster (#129, #143) than the HD 2600 XT, but its speed depends on the type of the cpu. (There are other benchmarks out there, but I'm a bit too lazy to search ).

Hence my claim that integrated gpus are quite good nowadays and are plenty fast for most users. They don't compare to dedicated high-performance GPUs, but that's beside the point. Nowadays, most people only need a powerful GPU for gaming. There are a few other apps (3d apps, video encoding) that benefits from a faster GPU, but integrated GPUs are plenty powerful for most people. Certainly you won't notice any difference in apps such as Photoshop. If you have these special needs, I doubt you'll opt for a Mac mini.
Originally Posted by angelmb View Post
So, CPU wise, which one would be a better fit for Lion, the extra speed of the Mac mini or the extra cores of the Server model ?
CPU-wise the quad core will be faster. But since you haven't told us what you want to do with the Mac mini, it's impossible to give you a recommendation. I'm guessing the only reason you're looking at the server model is because you want two hard drives? Unless you plan on playing a lot of games, I'd suggest the quad core model, though.
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Jul 22, 2011, 05:31 AM
 
Thanks Oreo, you're quite a good personal shopper jjj

Nah, not gaming here, not at all. As for heavy apps, I can't say I had noticed a formidable improvement going from the Radeon 2600 to the Radeon 5770. Photoshop is heavy on palettes, that is it.

And yes, two hard drives is the main reason to get the Server.

My guess is that you can run on the Server any software you can run on the non Server model… The only exceptions I have ever find were, if memory serves, NetBarrier and maybe, not sure about it, Norton AV for Mac, I don't use the later anymore, though.

Thanks again for your great advice.
     
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Jul 22, 2011, 06:17 AM
 
I would guess the Mini Server has the Server app pre installed but the Server app downloads and installs the server components on first run. So you can leave it as plain Lion or go to Server as you wish.
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Jul 22, 2011, 06:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Hence my claim that integrated gpus are quite good nowadays and are plenty fast for most users. They don't compare to dedicated high-performance GPUs, but that's beside the point.
I agree, and I'd like to point out just how far the bar has moved. This is a recommendation of graphics cards at various price points. The main article isn't all that relevant here, but look at the context: The $65 card, the cheapest they recommend, has "great" performance at 1680*1050. That's a pretty decent resolution, IMO. On this iMac (2560*1440), I often don't bother with optimizing the settings and just let it fly at 1280*720 and whatever the defaults are. As you might guess, everything works at that resolution, even with the effects turned up to max.

The Sandy Bridge graphics can be used to play modern games, if you keep the resolution down. If you have issues, it's mostly due to the lack of memory bandwidth. The way to fix that is to disable AA and, if you have to, anisotropic filtering as they both use a lot of memory bandwidth.

Final note: The last page of that article I linked above has a ranking comparing GPUs from different generations and manufacturers. It should give you a hint at what you can expect from Sandy Bridge graphics.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jul 22, 2011, 06:53 AM
 
I'm somewhat surprised that OC would recommend quad core over dedicated graphics. I thought the prevailing wisdom up to this point was that dual core was enough for regular users, especially so unless the apps being used were optimized for more cores. Is the dedicated GPU option not good enough to strongly outshine the Intel IGP and therefore be a bigger performance factor that the additional cores?

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