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Desktops (Apple) iMac Hardware

New iMac, Mac Mini Benchmarks Show Changes Are Slight 200

Posted by timothy
from the increment-weather dept.
jfpoole writes "Primate Labs has posted some preliminary benchmarks of the new iMacs and Mac minis. They found that processor speed is virtually unchanged between the older and newer models. Clearly these new Macs are minor updates rather than the major upgrades many Mac users were hoping for." As reader olddotter points out, there are changes, also slight, to the new Mini's case.
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New iMac, Mac Mini Benchmarks Show Changes Are Slight

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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @04:57PM (#27069105) Journal
    With the possible exception of going from Intel's ghastly embedded graphics to Nvidia's merely weak embedded graphics.
    • by Kristoph (242780) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:23PM (#27069433)

      Yes, from a CPU perspective, this is only a very minor evolutionary upgrade. I am not even sure why it's news that, you know, virtually the same CPU gets virtually the same performance (is that not sort of a given).

      Anyway the key benefits are:

      1) A much improved video card (especially for the Mac Mini)

      2) A much improved memory capacity which was critical especially for the Mini.

  • by vanyel (28049) * on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @04:57PM (#27069127) Journal

    For the first time, both the mini and the imac have enough memory capacity to be useful. Now if only they'd learn how to keep their cool when you actually use them, and make key components (like disk drives) accessible for replacement, they'd be killer machines.

    • by Em Emalb (452530)

      I run a mac mini as my primary desktop at work.

      The only issue I have with it is that I can only use one monitor (without buying a hacked-together third party box to enable two monitors) with the version I have. I use CoRD and a few other awesome tools...it's perfect for what I do, except for that pesky only one monitor thing.

      So if the new version has support for dual monitors, I'm all for it.

      (I am not a programmer, I'm a networking/VOIP geek)

      For me, the mini is awesome. Now, since the new one has support

    • by Trillan (597339)

      The new Mac mini has the same memory capacity as the old iMac.

      (I realize your first sentence could be read as "the mini now has enough memory capacity to be useful, just like the previous two generations of iMac," but I didn't read it that way.)

      • by vanyel (28049) *

        Good point; my imac is a first gen intel 24", which only supports 3G; I forgot the glossy ones did 4G (which is the other problem I have with the newer imacs: I want a display, not a mirror).

        • by Trillan (597339)

          I hear you. I actually like glossy now, but I'd prefer to have had a choice in the matter.

      • Not exactly. The previous generation Mini officially topped out at 3GB. Technically, it can address around 3.5GB due to chipset limitations. It will recognize 4GB, but wont use all of it.
        • by Trillan (597339)

          New mini, old *iMac.*

          I posted that because I was confused why the old iMac couldn't address enough money (@4GB) while the new mini could (@4GB).

          • Any white iMac with a Core 2 Duo is the same. A Core Duo iMac tops out at 2GB. A Core 2 Duo iMac has the same 3GB/3.5GB/4GB limitation that any of the Santa Rosa-based Macs had.
  • by NaCh0 (6124)

    You mean to tell me that Apple is trying to push style over substance? No way!

  • Video bench? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Drizzt Do'Urden (226671) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @04:58PM (#27069139) Homepage

    What about a video benchmark between the old 2Ghz MacMini and the new one? The main change in this machine was chipset/video related.

    • Re:Video bench? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:10PM (#27069271)
      I agree, in particular I want to see if twice as much shared DDR3 is any slower than dedicated DDR2 for the GPU. When this was announced yesterday, there were a huge number of people [slashdot.org] insisting that the graphics processors were a step downward because the graphics memory wasn't dedicated any more. Since I'm using DDR3 in my new home built PC, I suspect that the speed of the DDR3 will offset any advantage by using dedicated DDR2 memory, but no one really agreed with me. Of course, they couldn't prove me wrong either, they just kept insisting over and over again that "shared memory" sucks, but I'm not so sure in this particular comparison which would be better.
      • Re:Video bench? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Drizzt Do'Urden (226671) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:14PM (#27069319) Homepage

        The older MacMini already had shared video memory using the Intel GMA chipset. It could be a win here, since the last time the memory was dedicated was with the PowerPC minis!

        • Re:Video bench? (Score:5, Informative)

          by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:29PM (#27069535)
          Haha, amazing, you're absolutely right [wikipedia.org]. Both the older and newer models are using shared memory. According to this [optimitza.cat], the NVIDIA 9400M should blow the that intel 950 out of the water. You might actually be able to play games on the mini now.
          • by Trillan (597339)

            My unibody MacBook has the 9400M chipset. It runs Spore really well, at least until Spore chokes on its own memory leaks.

          • Before you get too excited, there are some screen tearing issues with the 9400M. They're very sporadic, and it's not really certain whether it's dodgy chips, dodgy drivers, or an interaction of the two. Fortunately, Apple is not being tight-fisted about servicing them. Just make sure you get that extended warranty.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jandrese (485)
        On the other hand, it's hard to get any slower than Intel GMA graphics. There are some cases where it is faster to use software rendering instead of the Intel chip.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mgblst (80109)

        One of the big reasons shared memory is bad is because you have to share a bus, rather than have a dedicated bus just for video memory. Also, you have to deal with different memory timings, for CPU and Video access. Plus the shared memory is usually physically located furthey away (just kidding!).

    • by aliquis (678370)

      Both will still suck, just to a different level.

  • Video Card Upgrades (Score:5, Informative)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:01PM (#27069181)

    Geekbench 2 only measures processor and memory performance which is why models with the same processors but different video cards have roughly the same score.

    I was under the impression that most of the upgrades were to the video cards. With Snow Leopard and OpenCL [wikipedia.org] coming I'd like to see how the new machines compare.

    Second, why use GeekBench? Yes it's Cross Platform but it's not free. XBench [xbench.com] is free (beer/not speech) and does include video. My 9600 trounces my old ATI card. It even includes a Submitted DB [xbench.com] like GeekBench.

  • under the TV (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Speare (84249) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:05PM (#27069223) Homepage Journal
    I was glad to see Firewire 800 on it, but it would be much better if they just gave an eSATA jack on the back. With appropriate storage, it would be just right to run XBMC.app under the television to serve movies. I already have an older Mac Mini serving as the family dictionary/browser/billpay machine and light server, but wifi just isn't fast enough to do significant data transfers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pete-classic (75983)

      Any Mac Mini should be able to do DVD-quality video over WiFi without breaking a sweat. (Assuming a dedicated 802.11g network with reasonable performance.)

      I use GigE to an AEBS using a Drobo as an AirDisk with a 2006 Mac Mini. 720P video is no problem at all. It can't quite handle 1080P video, but I believe that's a CPU issue. Other than the CPU, read performance on the Drobo should be the weakest link, and it should be able capable of reading back multiple Bluray streams concurrently.

      -Peter

    • eSATA is hardly necessary for the data rate needed to run a media server. Consumer media can be very easily streamed over a USB jack. FW800 gives you some opportunities as well, I think the limit for an eSATA port is five drives with a port multiplier, where Firewire 800 can be used to chain many more than that.

    • by Hao Wu (652581)

      I was glad to see Firewire 800 on it, but it would be much better if they just gave an eSATA jack on the back.

      I would have preferred the next generation Firewire (1600 or 3200). I would have purchased.

      I won't buy now, I really want faster ports.

  • by mr_da3m0n (887821) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:07PM (#27069235) Homepage
    The new mac mini can handle world of warcraft without it looking like the original Quake, only blurrier. I wouldn't call this a "minor update".
    • by creimer (824291)
      Playing Quake in 320x240 on a Mac is AWESOME! :P
    • by StikyPad (445176)

      Yeah, more WoW.. that's just what we need.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      You mean it can run a 4 year old game quite well? awesome~

      • by Graff (532189)

        You mean it can run a 4 year old game quite well?

        World of Warcraft is not exactly a 4 year old game. Each major update to the game has increased the capabilities of the client and also has increased the minimum system requirements to run it. Yes, overall it has been around for 4 years but it is hardly the exact same game and client that it was 4 years ago.

      • by Ilgaz (86384)

        I bet you don't fly with Boeing 737 planes because they are from 1967. It is not the case of course, the 737 is ages ahead of the original one.
        WoW like mega games always get updated to use newer technologies. The most obvious one is WoW since it was one of the first apps to get threaded OpenGL support.
        For the Mini and Games comment? For RTS etc., it would be fine as a real GPU is back. For very advanced FPS stuff? I'd choose a PS/3.

  • upgrades, drat (Score:5, Informative)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:09PM (#27069265)

    I recently took the Mac plunge. After two months, my verdict:

    Pro's
    1. It's not Windows! Yay!
    2. It's not just not Windows, OSX has some really cool features. Mac products seem to have some more thinking put into them as opposed to the Windows-based machines. Yeah, they have their moments of stupid like with cracking Mac Cube cases, powerbook latch failures and screen cracking, but it's nice to get a new OS and be tickled by smart ideas instead of the feeling I get with Windows which is "how are they going to bone the next version this time?"

    Con's
    1. Damn them for keeping upgrades under wraps. I would have held off if I knew the new one was only two months away.
    2. Too dangerous to work on inside. The iMac is technically user-servicable but there's no way I'd risk doing it myself. PC innards are built like tanks and the iMac looks like it's built out of aluminum foil, tissue paper and dreams. I'd rather let the Mac store people risk breaking it and buy me a new one than do anything myself. I'd be much happier with a more robust design but understand that twinky-dink laptop parts is how they make it fit in such a small package.
    3. You really pay a lot more for the parts with Apple. People will go back and forth with you on this one, are you paying for quality or hype? Even if your Vista computer is cheaper, do you really want to use Vista? Ok, you could by a generic Windows pc and run Ubuntu, are you happy? Ah, but then support for Linux isn't as good as for Windows/OSX. You can go round in circles with this.

    Overall, Apple has done good and bad but the good is ahead this time around. Versus Microsoft, I don't think I've had a cheerful thought about any of their products since Windows 2000.

    • Re:upgrades, drat (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trashman (3003) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:18PM (#27069373)

      May I recommend then, this page?

      http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/ [macrumors.com]

      They've been fairly accurate in predicting when the next refresh happens. Plus you can read what the mac-heads think about the HW in the Discussion boards. (hint: it not all wine and roses.)

    • by guruevi (827432)

      Pro:
      1. Neither is Linux with KDE/Gnome
      2. That's also true with KDE/Gnome although I believe Mac has more stable features and a really well integrated UI.

      Con's
      1. That's the hype and a similar problem with Dell. There is no exact date that Dell says their systems will be upgraded. Nobody cares. Either way, there will always be something new on the market.
      2. iMac is simply 1-3 screws (depending on model) and all serviceable hardware is within reach. Just make sure you have a soft cloth to lay the screen on (a

      • Re:upgrades, drat (Score:4, Informative)

        by MoonBuggy (611105) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @07:27PM (#27071261) Journal

        I'm guessing you've not opened an iMac since the G5 days, since those were a matter of a few screws for access to all the important parts.

        Any of the Intel models require a credit card in the vent on the back to pop open the clips holding the front on, after which you need to unscrew the screen and remove the adhesive metal tape that's holding it in place to get to the actual components.

        I've repaired/upgraded a few machines, and it's not a terribly difficult job, but it's not easy either. The use of adhesives over screws, and some very fiddly locations of the bits that are screwed in, make it a hassle when it needn't be one.

    • by Uberbah (647458)

      Damn them for keeping upgrades under wraps. I would have held off if I knew the new one was only two months away.

      That will happen. If you want to buy a system, look and see what the date of the last refresh was. If it's been a while, then you might want to hold off until the next update. Then you can either get the new stuff, or get the out of date stuff for a discount. Or an out of date refurb and save even more money (Apple refurbs have the same warranty as new machines).

      Too dangerous to work on insid

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Secret Rabbit (914973)

      2. Too dangerous to work on inside. ...

      Then get a Mac Pro: http://www.apple.com/macpro/ [apple.com]

      3. You really pay a lot more for the parts with Apple. ...

      No you don't. The problem with what you're saying is that people compare the *possibility* of getting a cheap PC with the cheapest model that Apple offers. This is an apples and oranges comparison. Apple just doesn't offer low end computers.

      The fact of the matter is that when one compares equivalent hardware in the PC v.s. Mac, then they are about the same price. And I say about the same as there rarely are two equivalent models to compare directly. Ther

    • Re:upgrades, drat (Score:4, Informative)

      by hab136 (30884) on Thursday March 05, 2009 @05:10AM (#27075083) Journal

      2. Too dangerous to work on inside. The iMac is technically user-servicable but there's no way I'd risk doing it myself. PC innards are built like tanks and the iMac looks like it's built out of aluminum foil, tissue paper and dreams. I'd rather let the Mac store people risk breaking it and buy me a new one than do anything myself. I'd be much happier with a more robust design but understand that twinky-dink laptop parts is how they make it fit in such a small package.

      Look at a Mac Pro some time. It's a tank++ and upgrading memory/hard drive/GPU is a snap - literally. Okay, more of a noiseless slide, but you get the idea. :)

      The idea with the iMac and mini is that you don't need/want to open it up. Disk/network/sound/etc can all be upgraded through USB/Firewire if need be. The only thing upgradable that requires opening the shell is memory, which is indeed time consuming and intricate to get at (I've done it). Still, the target consumers of iMacs/minis are non-techies, who don't want to do it themselves in the first place.

      I stopped really upgrading my machines a few years ago (around the AGP->PCI-E transition), because every upgrade would require an upgrade of every other component. This CPU needs a certain type of motherboard, which needs a certain type of RAM - they all have to go together. A GPU upgrade without a CPU upgrade doesn't get the full effect, and vice versa. Since upgrading for speed stopped being worthwhile, the only upgrades are for capacity. With that model, I buy my machines with full memory at the beginning, and then eventually add disk if needed. Every few years I sell the old machine and buy a new one, and the price of the new machine minus the sell price of the old machine is about the same as upgrading would have been.

      Computers are becoming consumer items. You don't build a desktop, you buy model A B or C. You don't build servers, you buy a DL385 or a PowerEdge 2980 and slap it in the rack. This is a good thing IMHO.

    • by W2k (540424)
      Interesting. While I haven't taken the plunge myself (and won't) the reflections I've heard from most of my Mac-using friends are the opposite of yours. They like the hardware and aren't too bothered by the lack of user-servicability, but they prefer running some flavour of Linux - or in some cases, Vista - on their sleek-looking Apple hardware. I personally can't stand OS X, and I'm not a fan of white plastic, so I'll stick with PCs for the time being.
  • by MikeMo (521697) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:15PM (#27069323)
    Of course there is little change in the CPU benchmarks: the CPUs changed only very slightly. The real meat in these new machines is the significantly upgraded graphics chips. If you are a gamer, these machines are now acceptable for all but the most extreme requirements. The ATI 4850 is ATI's #2 performer right now, which is pretty good for an iMac. I consider this to be a *value* upgrade, as well, since you are now getting a bit more machine, 2x ram, faster graphics, for a little less than before.
    • The real meat in these new machines is the significantly upgraded graphics chips. If you are a gamer, these machines are now acceptable for all but the most extreme requirements.

      So how does the Mini figure in this equation? It's positioned for a media center type of machine. The upgraded graphics will probably not be used, so I don't understand why it should be considered an upgrade.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        The real meat in these new machines is the significantly upgraded graphics chips. If you are a gamer, these machines are now acceptable for all but the most extreme requirements.

        So how does the Mini figure in this equation? It's positioned for a media center type of machine. The upgraded graphics will probably not be used, so I don't understand why it should be considered an upgrade.

        If you're doing media-center type tasks, the updated graphics will be very helpful, actually. Having hardware decode support f

      • by Telvin_3d (855514)

        One of the biggest changes in the new chipsets is massively improved hardware acceleration for video decoding. The new graphics chips are more than capable of decoding any video stream at 1080p in any of the current codecs like h264, VC1 or MPEG2. For anyone planning on using the mini as a media center, this will make a huge difference. It almost completely removes the load from the processor. So the mini will run cooler, quieter and have lots of processing overhead for any background tasks that you may wis

  • gasp (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:15PM (#27069327)

    Minor updates in a cratering economy. Color me stunned. :-\

    I was considering an iMac if it had a quad core, though. Not sure what to do now. The 24" falling to the price of the previous 20" is a pretty good deal, I would think.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:16PM (#27069337)

    While Mac gear has a higher price point for a reason, this upgrade is nice on the base unit. :

    1. Superdrive - the old base base model could only burn CD and read DVDs.

    2. NVIDIA vs Intel 950 display chips - the five fold improvement make more games playable - especially with all the Windows options.

    3. Although the article still only references CPU an 8% improvement is of course an 8% improvement.

    4. Firewire 800 vs Firewire 400 - again a very nice speed gain.

    5. Dual display vs. Single display interface for HTPC - my main use.

    6. iLife 9 with several big improvements to what is already the most important reason for owning a Mac.

    7. 13 watt low power mode - I assume this is sleep.

    There are two negatives:

    1. Remote costs extra I believe 15-20

    2. Display adaptors aren't cheap at 20-30 for each of the display outs.

    Which I can live with as a trade off. This on top of the nice Core 2 Duo + Bluetooth + Wireless N + GigE

    I personnally look forward to salting a few of these around to get me out of the "My PC is slow again" trap.

    Divemaster

  • test the video in the $1,199.00 $1,499.00 ones that when from 128 - 256 vram to system ram for video.

    Also the $1,799.00 has a weak NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 256MB memory that is just a 9500gt card.

    The $2,499 mac pro has a very weak card for it's price when you can find systems for over a $1000 LESS WITH X2 THE RAM, SAME OR BETTER CPU POWER AND MUCH BETTER VIDEO.

    The question is what will Psystar and others do now?

  • by creimer (824291) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:26PM (#27069467) Homepage
    Apple changed the hardware across the product lines to support the new features in Snow Leopard. Will the performance still be slight then?
  • Worthless Benchmarks (Score:5, Informative)

    by Telvin_3d (855514) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:36PM (#27069667)

    These benchmarks are meaningless and worthless. The site itself says that these are artificial tests based almost entirely on processor power. So, similar processors with the same RAM is going to give the same 'score' regardless of OS, video card, hard drive performance or any other factor. In an update defined by new graphics chipsets that were build specifically to accelerate high definition video playback these geniuses are testing the processor performance.

    These are not Mac benchmarks. They are intel processor benchmarks. You could have gotten the same numbers months ago (and many sites have) by testing the new intel processors as they came out.

    If you are interested in some useful numbers, anandtech did some good competitive tests [anandtech.com] on the current generation of integrated graphics chipsets. No, these are not inside a Mac Mini, but it provides much more relevant information than this ridiculous article.

    • by MojoStan (776183)

      In an update defined by new graphics chipsets that were build specifically to accelerate high definition video playback these geniuses are testing the processor performance.

      If you are interested in some useful numbers, anandtech did some good competitive tests [anandtech.com] on the current generation of integrated graphics chipsets. No, these are not inside a Mac Mini, but it provides much more relevant information than this ridiculous article.

      Those Anandtech high-def video benchmarks [anandtech.com] might be worthless for the Mac mini because, AFAIK, the OS X drivers have not yet enabled full hardware decode for MPEG-2, VC-1 and H.264 on the GPU. This had been a Windows-only feature for a long time and was just recently enabled [phoronix.com] in a Linux beta driver (NVIDIA binary).

      The Linux driver looks like a good sign (for eventual OS X support), but high-bitrate 1080p H.264 playback will continue to be a CPU-hog on the Mac mini (with a whirring CPU fan) until the OS X dr

      • by makomk (752139)
        I wouldn't bet on video decode acceleration for Macs being inevitable. The Linux and Windows drivers are based on NVidia's common driver codebase, so adding Linux support for something is relatively simple. As I understand it, Apple insists on writing its own video card drivers, so it's entirely up to Apple as to whether this ever happens.
  • Looks like on the back they removed the DVI hog port to make room for a mini dvi, a mini display, and another usb port.

    Why did they add a mini dvi AND a mini display port? Can you attach two monitors to it at the same time now?

  • Held Hostage by OS X (Score:3, Interesting)

    by acomj (20611) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:54PM (#27069981) Homepage

    I like mac OSX a lot. I'm using it on a macbook and and old (needs to be replaced) dual 1ghz g4. I have 4 drives in the old g4 for a total of 1.5 TB (it has a sata card). I take a lot of photographs a do video editing , all the stuff that mac software makes usefull. I have a great lcd.

    So what do I buy? I'd like a tower, but at 2500$ or whatever its too expensive. The mini doesn't have the expandable storage. FW800 might work with external drives, but I'd like lots of ram for photoshop and lightroom. When looking at 1200$ PC towers, they give a lot for that price.

    I'm willing to pay a premium for OSX, but they don't have the hardware I want.

    Thus the HW lock in I'm suffering. I use Apeture so I'm actually contemplating switching.

    What bugs me, is that they should be trying to get market share up, so each machine is worth more (more software will be written). Gametap just dropped mac today.

    • by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @06:18PM (#27070339)

      This is really Apple's huge hole in their product lineup and has been for years now. If you want a replacement for your G4 or even a G5 Powermac tower you're shit out of luck unless you want some huge beast with 8 cores that is setup for being a server, a laptop with a 24" monitor attached to it, or a laptop without a screen or keyboard (bring your own!).

      Oh, alternatively you can just buy a Macbook or Macbook Pro laptop and have laptop performance with a smaller screen than the iMac. All they need to do is release a tower "Mac" (drop the Pro even) with standard non-Xeon Intel processors (Intel quad-core Core i7 920 would be perfect), and a *nice* video card lineup option of either low end, medium end, and a high end gamer video card option. Throw in a 640GB or 1TB SATA option, 4GB of memory standard, and so on and you'd have a smoking desktop system. Sadly, Apple will not release this so even though my next system will have these specifications, it will not be a Mac. I'll happily run Windows 7 on it.

      • You can downgrade the MacPro from the standard 2x4 core setup to 1x4 core - this saves you the best part of £1k in the UK.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      So what do I buy?

      If you're set on a Mac, buy a refurbished tower or other used one. Or, buy a cheaper Mac (mini?) and plug your drives into an external firewire enclosure.

      What bugs me, is that they should be trying to get market share up...

      They are trying, but they're doing so by appealing to the big market segments and a few specific niches. If they spread themselves too thin they lose overall share. You're one of about 1% of the population that ever adds a drive to their computer. You're part of a mostly non-intersecting group that also can't afford a pro machine. The sad truth is, you ar

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Do what my friend did who is really into digital photography, but his daughter is in college. So a new Mac Pro was out of the question. He bought a Mac Mini to replace a dual 867 G4 PowerMac. It works great for running Photoshop and Aperture. Then he slapped 4 320GB drives (which were the best bang for the $$$ at the time) into the PowerMac and uses it as a file server over Firewire 400.

      It works like a charm and I know he has well over 200k digital images between his 10MP digital camera and lots and lot

    • by lakeland (218447)

      What's wrong with an iMac with external storage? As long as its graphics is good enough, and it should be now... this seems to give everything you're looking for.

      The only real downside is that storage is over USB2 or Ethernet (I went with ethernet), neither of which is as fast as internal or external SATA. But if 20MB/s is good enough then it isn't a problem.

      Oh, and if the video card isn't good enough then you're screwed too.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gobbo (567674)

        What's wrong with an iMac with external storage? ... The only real downside is that storage is over USB2 or Ethernet (I went with ethernet), neither of which is as fast as internal or external SATA. But if 20MB/s is good enough then it isn't a problem.

        For everything but gaming, the graphics on older iMacs was good enough already, including spanning to an eyeboggling 3840 pixels wide with an extra monitor.

        You're mistaken about USB or ethernet only. I have 6 external drives. Most of them are on the firewire buses (400 and 800) for video work. Backup and secondary storage is on USB. It works well, though firewire is buggy for some video decks and cameras (outrageous, really).

        The only real downside is having a great IPS-quality screen that requires a darkene

    • by grapeape (137008)

      I agree on the Hostage part, here at home we have two macbooks, an ibook, a 20" intel iMac and an old G4 firewire 800. I was looking to upgrade the G4 but there isnt anything I can reasonably afford so I ended up rolling my own hackintosh. I'd rather have apple hardware all around but this time I just couldnt do it so now I have a quad with 8gigs of ram, an 8800 gtx oc and 2tb of drive space, if I could have found something within $500 of what I ended building I would have gladly bought it but as is im ha

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Budenny (888916)

      It will be thought provocative to suggest this, but what you need is a hackintosh.

      Just go over to macintouch, make a note of the spec of the efi-x machine from their review, and either put it together yourself or get someone to put it together. Then, if you've a little spare money and just want a machine that works, buy efi-x, a retail copy of OSX, and do the installation. Otherwise get a copy of the open source efi boot package and do it yourself, without efi-x.

      This is probably the most cost effective an

  • by lancejjj (924211) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @06:06PM (#27070137) Homepage

    They found that processor speed is virtually unchanged between the older and newer models.

    I recently bought some Sun servers. My colleagues told me they were "very slow", but since I had a loaner pair in-house, I decided to benchmark them just for a "baseline".

    I benchmarked them, and found that these new machines were the fastest I could buy in class.

    Were my colleagues wrong? The answer is no - its just that their benchmarks were useless for my application. Their application's needs were quite different than mine. Their app was FP intense, and mine was memory i/o intense.

    I ended up buying the machine they didn't buy. They passed them up because they were slow. But I bought them because they were fast.

  • by toby (759) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @06:46PM (#27070699) Homepage Journal

    Apple's keeping the radical I/O expansion [boingboing.net] well under wraps! At first I was like... wtf... then I was like... cool.

    • While that pic is pretty clearly a photoshop job things have actually improved ports wise. They have added mini-displayport (allowing dual monitor support and use of higher res monitors) and firewire 800.

      On the downside they replaced the DVI with a mini-dvi so if you still use a VGA monitor you will need to buy an apple specific adaptor (afaict apple's mini-dvi to dvi adaptor is digital only) and if you have any firewire 400 devices they will need new cables to connect to the new mini's firewire 800 port.

      • by Ilgaz (86384)

        Funny is the apparent silence of ''Firewire is dead'' guys. Perhaps they are afraid to be asked about why it has one FW800 port while having 4 USB2 ports which already resulted in (unjustified) ''600 dollar USB hub'' jokes?
        Let me tell why. FW800 can use channels while each USB port shared will use share from 480mbit (theoretical!) bandwidth.
        If one chooses FW800/USB2 drive in state of this economy and compare the same hardware connected both in USB2 and Firewire, especially CPU (kernel_task) overhead, he wil

        • when Apple removed the firewire from low end macs, especially portables.
          Your post implies that they removed it from some desktop models as well. Afaict the only models that don't have firewire are the macbook air and the aluminium macbook.

          Afaict the mini has always had exactly one firewire port. I do find it surprising though that they have followed the macbook pro range and imac in replacing the firewire 400 with a firewire 800 port rather than following the macbook and removing it completely.

  • when you have awesome, a slight upgrade is still awesome~

  • This is the blurb from the website hosting some of the pics:

    Macminicolo.net, a Las Vegas colocation company, has been hosting Mac minis since their introduction in January 2005. ... They currently host hundreds of Mac minis for satisfied customers located in 26 different countries around the world.

    Why on earth would you co-locate a mac mini?! It seems like the entire point of the mac-mini is their "mini-ness": that they're small, silent, and attractive -- attributes that don't matter if they're located somewhere else....

    A joke site...?

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