Why did apple downgrade the new mac mini?

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I've always loved the mac mini, its power efficient, quiet, effective, and replaces a desktop. I've have lots to say, and unfortunately it isn't pretty. I've been waiting since February for this refresh to find that the newly released mac mini doesn't live up to it's ideal. I should've done my research before going out to buy the recently released mac mini, but I found that it's been significantly downgraded, As a result, I returned it after 2 days of use for a full refund at an Apple store. After looking at the timeline, the mid model of the 2012 Mac Mini came with i7 quadcore CPU, upgradable RAM, and the 2014 version came with duo core i5 and non-removable ram, I'm not very fond of this and you can find many other users addressing this same point. I can almost forgive Apple for the CPU, but the soldiering of the RAM is simply inexplicable. I'll expand, in the low end model which comes with 4gb of RAm is low for today's standard and will have to be upgraded in about 2 years time, in a way I feel that apple is hinting/expecting the buyer to purchase the 8gb of ram out of the box. This is perfect example of Planned Obsolescence. Planned Obsolescence is in most technologies but this tactic is obviously predatory in many ways. In conclusion, the company made two typical conservative apple decision that will further frustrate users and buyers. I can hardly be surprised, Apple have always done things this way, people have frowned upon the first release of the non-removable battery in the iPod, and now batteries in apple laptops cannot be removed. Over time, we just accepted this as the status quo. But I now resent this way of operating, especially after what has been implemented to the Mac Mini. it's a shame.
 

chscag

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You said it yourself; that's the way Apple is trending with all their Macs. If you want an upgradeable Mac, you can either purchase the 2012 MacBook Pro 13" machine which Apple is still selling, the 27" iMac, or a Mac Pro.
 

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I can understand your unhappiness with the changes with the 2014 Mac-Mini's. And as chscag mentioned…this is really the way Apple has been going with many models (non-upgradeable).

But one positive note is…the graphics abilities have been much improved with the Iris graphics in all but the entry level 2014 Mac-Mini (two generations better graphics). And as many folks know…it's the graphics abilities in today's computers is where the "action is at".

Faster cpu's are nice…but better graphics hardware is almost more important. Especially in a more entry level computer model…which is what the Mac-Mini really is. If someone wants faster cpu's & more cores…they're supposed to move up to an iMac, mid-upper level MacBook Pro, or a Mac Pro.

I think that Apple actually made a mistake putting 4-cores into a couple of the 2012 Mac-Mini models. This made them too powerful (no longer an entry level computer)…and from a cpu standpoint…made them too close in cpu performance to the iMac's.

I totally agree..I wish all Apple computers still had easily upgradeable ram and storage. But you would be surprised at how few Apple users actually upgrade their computers. By the time they think about upgrading…they usually just get a brand new faster & sexier computer!;)

- Nick
 

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I'll expand, in the low end model which comes with 4gb of RAm is low for today's standard and will have to be upgraded in about 2 years time, in a way I feel that apple is hinting/expecting the buyer to purchase the 8gb of ram out of the box.
Apple seems to underestimate how much memory it needs for its desktop/notebook lines (it gets away with less than average memory on the iOS devices however). Yosemite "requires" 2GB but I've seen machines with 4GB struggle and mine with 8GB and a fresh install has seen a unnecessarily high number of low memory issues (primarily beach balling).
 
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After 9 years with my faithful Power Mac G5 I got a nice birthday gift to support a new computer and have been trying for the past week to pull the trigger on a purchase. Trouble is once I scratched the surface I found I had issues with every option Apple offers me as of November 2014. I'm so frustrated I've even been thinking about a Macbook Pro, although I don't care for laptops.

I'm pretty much back to the Mini but considering trying to grab one of the 2012s that are left out there for the reasons the OP identifies. But if I do that, I'm likely to wind up with a hard drive, whereas if I order a 2014 Mini, I can get it with a Fusion drive.

Wondering if the speed bump from a Fusion drive would offset the downgrade from quad core to dual core. Any thoughts, anyone?
 
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There is so much more than the processor and it's cores that play into the performance of a computer. There is logic board speed, video GPU speed. Yes, type of storage (ssd vs. fusion, vs. mechanical HD) and amount of memory changes performance but those are variables that can be changed when ordering - as well as CPU and GPU depending on the model. But if all that is the same in all models you can get a better idea of actual performance. Here is what geekbench has to say. This chart gives some very interesting results:

Mac Benchmarks - Geekbench Browser

For the record - I don't like the lack of upgradeability but I understand the vast majority will never upgrade. My 2011 MB Pro has been tweaked but I had to accept my MB Air can not be so I ordered what I wanted initially. For apple it is a new revenue stream which is what businesses are all about.

Nina R - I'd watch the fusion drives. Some people have had problems with them. If you really want performance boost SSD is the way to go. Yes they cost more but they are fast!

Lisa
 

chscag

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Nina R - I'd watch the fusion drives. Some people have had problems with them. If you really want performance boost SSD is the way to go. Yes they cost more but they are fast!

I'll second that. Do some Googling before you spend money on a Fusion drive. As Lisa said, a pure SSD is the way to go for speed.
 
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So Lisa and chscag, do we think Fusion Drive was just a cheap trick to lure us toward the crazy expensive (and not very capacious) SSDs? Sigh. It becomes more painfully obvious every day since I began this quest to purchase a young companion for the G5 ;) that this is not my Uncle Steve's computer company.

I'll probably just go for the 1 TB SATA drive, lower my thoroughly unreasonable expectations, and accept that my next Mac probably won't have the longevity of the G5 or the Power Mac 7600 that preceded it (also 9 years). What the heck, my life expectancy ain't what it used to be either ;)
 
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No. They are a cheap and ineffective alternative to an SSD.
 
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No. They are a cheap and ineffective alternative to an SSD.
I wasn't being as sarcastic as you may think. When I wrote "cheap trick" I meant cheap, literally. The term "gimmick" might even apply to the Fusion Drive. I've been skeptical since the first time I read of them and the comments here reinforce that unease.

The current steep cost of SSD storage from either Apple (in the new Minis) or the various third parties now selling the 2012 Minis is too big a leap of faith for me and my wallet at this time, however, so I'm going to take my chances on old school. Perhaps I'll replace or supplement the SATA drive down the road.
 
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Not being sarcastic. Personally do not think SSD's are dear after using them for six or sewven years and seeing the huge boost they give any computer, and in particular older models.

Fusion drives are not all they have been cracked up to be. Google fusion drive problems.
 
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I've always loved the mac mini, ........ it's a shame.

Yea your not the only one little less the pleased with this. I have the 2012 i7 2.6Ghz Quad Core. Was really looking to see what they would offer. I am not as upset over the RAM as much as I was them limiting it to dual core. Even if it was just a i5 quad I would have been happy. But IMHO this was a marketing decision so the Mini would not take away from the sales of the new iMac with 5K display. They knew they had already dragged along to late on releasing the new mini and customers still want them. So they intentionally made it slower this release. That said, I would not be a bit surprised if the next release is a quad core again.

Now IMHO if you love the Mini, take a look at the 21" iMac. The 2nd up model has a 2.7Ghz i5 Quad core, 1TB drive, 8GB RAM, plus keyboard and mouse. Not to forget the display for $1299. When I bought my Mini and decked it out I had just over $1100 in the system with keyboard and mouse at the time and still no display. So you can still get a great system for a reasonable price.

Cheers,
Joe
 
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Apple seems to underestimate how much memory it needs for its desktop/notebook lines (it gets away with less than average memory on the iOS devices however). Yosemite "requires" 2GB but I've seen machines with 4GB struggle and mine with 8GB and a fresh install has seen a unnecessarily high number of low memory issues (primarily beach balling).

I don't fully agree with this. Lets take the MBA for example. While power users would consider 4GB not enough, I do not see the MBA as a "power machine". It is basically a better functioning net book IMHO. That said it still runs great. Its the right amount of RAM for people who listen to music, surf the web, play FB games and minor photo editing or even a little iMovie usage. It runs perfectly fine and without any performance degradation.

I feel they finally tuned the OS to run as good as it possibly can on less then average RAM. Now you got to understand one of Apples biggest selling point on the MBA is battery life, you start adding more RAM by default and it will start eating away at that batter life. Which is what Apples does not want.

Now I have Lightroom 5, Photoshop CC and Final Cut Pro X on my MBA and use them when traveling. While its not a production powerhouse, it is still function able with very little lag over all.


But that is IMHO the MacBook Air. I fully believe the Mac Book Pro should however be 8GB by default. I also think it should be i5 Quad core by default also. Less then 8GB of RAM and anything less then 4 cores is a spit in the face. I think Apple needs to start defining more what is consumer and what is professional tool.
 

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You can get away with less RAM on an MBA since it has incredibly fast flash storage which doesn't solve the lack of capabilities but does offset the slowdowns that come with having less RAM.

I say what I do having seen my partner struggle with Yosemite. She has 4GB of RAM in her MBP with the stock HD (which I imagine is quite common since most people won't touch the default hardware) and it is really sluggish. Even my machine with 8GB of RAM and a decent (not the best but still good) SSD hiccups more than it should (which should be just about never). Everyone's experience differs of course but with OS X growing in functionality, a growth not accompanied by higher requirements, I have to wonder why Apple is resistant to acknowledge that their machines need more power.
 

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I don't fully agree with this.

The flip-side is...you could also say that you "mostly agree".:)

How often do any of us fully agree/100% agree with each other??;) And if we "mostly agree" on something...can't we just "go with the flow" on the remainder??

Of course if you actually "mostly disagree" (regarding MBA, ram requirements, and Yosemite) this would be a much different matter.;)

Just a thought.:)

- Nick
 
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Got a 2012 Mini (2.3 GHz i7), with hard drive only. Just beginning to work with it today, really. (Last night was basic set-up with teeth clenched from fear that Best Buy's horrible packaging and UPS's horrible handling had damaged it… seems OK… but thought I should mention in case anyone might benefit. If you are looking for one of these machines, avoid this scenario if possible. I was so afraid of it it was almost enough to make me buy the 2014 from Apple. Apple will be receiving some pictures of the crinkled box and its pathetic packing material, when I have time. They need to kick Best Buy's butt. I was going to order from B&H and was talked out of it. I bet they'd have handled it with more respect.)

Anyway, the Mini doesn't strike me as much faster than my Power Mac G5 (late 2005 DC 2.0, with RAM upgraded to 5 GB) but then I haven't done anything yet that would show off the quad core benefits. Will be ordering 16 GB of RAM from Crucial this weekend to replace the factory installed 4 GB, which is absurd. Hopefully that will help. Maybe when I get around to upgrading from Mavericks to Yosemite that will also help according to something I read about VRAM. I wanted to run it under Mavericks for a bit first to make sure it was OK.
 

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Anyway, the Mini doesn't strike me as much faster than my Power Mac G5 (late 2005 DC 2.0, with RAM upgraded to 5 GB) but then I haven't done anything yet that would show off the quad core benefits.

From a cpu perspective...the 2012 Mac-Mini you purchased is about 550% faster than your Powermac G5!!!:)

Will be ordering 16 GB of RAM from Crucial this weekend to replace the factory installed 4 GB, which is absurd.

Not absurd at all...you purchased it this way. If you wanted 16gig right out of the box...you should have purchased it that way.:) What you're doing is simply a 4gig to 16gig ram upgrade...which is great:)

- Nick
 
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Not absurd at all...you purchased it this way. If you wanted 16gig right out of the box...you should have purchased it that way.:)

I woulda if I coulda. I had to defer this obviously needed purchase for a couple of years, and it finally became possible just as the 2012 Minis were discontinued by Apple. By the time I had decided I wanted a quad-core 2012, none were available with upgraded RAM from any seller that I felt comfortable with. And I didn't think I should wait around hoping for that to change. They seem to be disappearing fast, presumably because there are lots of people who, like those of us who've spoken up here, don't think too much of the new version.

The base RAM on *all* Macs has always been absurd in my opinion. Never enough for the machine to run smoothly.
 

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The base RAM on *all* Macs has always been absurd in my opinion. Never enough for the machine to run smoothly.

"Never" and "always" are two words that will generally get you in trouble. Hardly anything is 100% or 0%!;)

- Nick
 
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Or to put it another way ~ you will always be in trouble if you never get around to it!
 

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