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Will you purchase a MacPro?
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Tenex
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bandit Bill wrote:
I agree. Personally I think making a home computer out of laptop components is a bad idea. It's adds needless cost, reduces performance and average life expectancy. It makes it more difficult to upgrade and more costly to repair/replace components due to price and availability.

Essentially the whole Intel range is laptop architecture based isn't it? It's just offered in different cases AIO, lunch box - the PowerMac will probably be the only conventional config.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:21 pm    Post subject: I wonder why it might not be a good time to... Reply with quote

...revive the Cube? It's a mini that fit a full-size disk and a graphics card, and could handle a hotter CPU.

Why not? Apple seems to have a handle on pricing... they could manage it.

I can safely say if one came out I would buy it in a heartbeat. I missed my chance with the G4 Cubes (ended up with a G4 tower). :/
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Bandit Bill
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:45 pm    Post subject: Re: I wonder why it might not be a good time to... Reply with quote

Tuishimi wrote:
...revive the Cube? It's a mini that fit a full-size disk and a graphics card, and could handle a hotter CPU.

Why not? Apple seems to have a handle on pricing... they could manage it.

I can safely say if one came out I would buy it in a heartbeat. I missed my chance with the G4 Cubes (ended up with a G4 tower). :/


I would love an Intel Mac with passive cooling and full sized components in a small form factor. The Cube certainly was a favorite. Too bad it had such a high price point. It was a great machine and it looked good.
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Dan__
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Will you purchase a MacPro? Reply with quote

Bandit Bill wrote:
What would Apple have to offer to inspire you to purchase a MacPro?

Many of us begged for a headless Mac. The Mac mini for many was the answer but for some of us, it is not enough and many people are not thrilled about the iMac's All In One design.

I doubt very much that Apple will make a MacPro affordable enough for most of us to purchase but I hope they do.

At what price point would you purchase a MacPro? What sort of features would it have to offer?

The questions that started this thread are pretty much the whole crux for me. At almost no point, would I buy the Pro. I just don't have the $$.

SOCOMRAIDER wrote "I think the price of a Mac Pro will throw off a lot of PC consumers". Yah. It'll throw off a lot of Mac consumers also.

I don't think Apple should bring the price point down to where I'd buy it, though. I think they need to take a page from their iPod branch, and offer units at all price points.

Think about this - what's the best computer for me? I'm a computer professional. (I write software). I have a pretty big desk, with a 3 yr old Dell sitting next to a long in the tooth Power Mac (an 8600/250 I've upgraded with a G3 and a 10K scsi drive). I've had 3 older Macs. I do the basics. I like to play games, but don't have much time, or money to buy the latest and greatest. Plus I use Photoshop, I do home video on occasion, and I'd like to return to recording my music (MIDI keyboard), audio processing. I have a fair need for drive space. I already have a very nice CRT with excellent color.

Let's try
  • Mac Mini - not bad, I'll probably wind up with this. But it doesn't have enough cheap drive space for me, and for shop I want more main memory. It's getting kinda pricey. The size is cute, and I like it, but really have no need. This box will replace the PM8600 beast that has an external CD burner sitting on top that is literally 2x the size of the Mini.
  • iMac - I'd like to upgrade my computer more often than my monitor, thank yo very much. Plus, it's still probably too tight for Conroe heat dissapation.
  • Power Mac - very nice, just to freakin' expensive. It's a non-starter.

Over in the "Three Things..." thread, I wrote:
Dan__ wrote:
I think there'd be quite a market for a bigger (but not huge), headless box, a real GPU, a 3.5" drive, and with the new Conroe processors. Making things bigger can be cheaper and faster. With more space, you can keep those Conroe's cool enough. Perhaps... the new Mac. $700-$1400 price range.

Conroe prices:

* E6700 : 2.67 GHz – FSB1066 – 4 MB cache – $529
* E6600 : 2.40 GHz – FSB1066 – 4 MB cache – $315
* E6400 : 2.13 GHz – FSB1066 – 2 MB cache – $240
* E6300 : 1.86 GHz – FSB1066 – 2 MB cache - $210

I bet they could build a pretty decent box with the cheapest Conroe, basic but not integrated graphics, 160GB 7200 drive, 1GB memory, Superdrive?, for around the lowest price of that range.


Some of you are afraid such a bear might cannibalize sales of the other 3. Maybe. But the trick for a company like Apple which doesn't really have a monopoly, is to get new customers with attractive merchandise, not just to point them to the most profitable ones. Sure, you don't want to have so much similarity that one is nearly always preferred -- that just doesn't make sense.

But you have to have something attractive for every profitable crowd. And there's a big hole right now.

I'd also like to conjecture that some of you just haven't raised your expectations enough for reasonable prices. You should be able to get a pretty damn good computer these days w/o a monitor for under a $1000.

Apple - what are you going to offer me?

Dan
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SOCOMRAIDER
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Future Mac Pro processors? Or if not, potential upgrades?

http://news.com.com/Intel+quad-core+chips+arriving+in+2006/2100-1006_3-6096192.html?tag=nefd.top
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Will you purchase a MacPro? Reply with quote

Dan__ wrote:
I'd also like to conjecture that some of you just haven't raised your expectations enough for reasonable prices. You should be able to get a pretty damn good computer these days w/o a monitor for under a $1000.

You can always get a "pretty damn good computer" for under $1k. But with Apple, they always charge a premium, usually for the OS and all the included software that comes installed. Oh yeah, they also tend to charge for the industrial design they are known for. True they can release something with everything for a decent price. But if you are going to include the latest and greatest desktop hardware, you pay for it, even on the PC side.

Sure a PowerMac costs a lot. It has a lot of tech in it. But how much does Apple really pay for all of it compared to how much they charge you? PowerMacs have always been Apple's biggest profit maker, per unit.
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Dan__
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:31 am    Post subject: Re: Will you purchase a MacPro? Reply with quote

SOCOMRAIDER wrote:
Sure a PowerMac costs a lot. It has a lot of tech in it. But how much does Apple really pay for all of it compared to how much they charge you? PowerMacs have always been Apple's biggest profit maker, per unit.

Yeah, I'm not really complaining about the (potential) price of the Mac Pro's. Price up those Woodcrests and the other components. They ain't cheap. I'm ok with Apple having some markup for design and included SW (up to a point).

I'm just balking at the suitability of the product price range for me, and likely for a bunch of other people, as well. What was acceptable 5 years ago, even 2-3 years ago, no longer cuts it. Sure it's great for Apple for them to have a high margin unit that everyone loves and is willing to pay for. And they don't really want to compete directly with units that operate in an arena with thin margins. But ignoring a potential market segment can be dangerous.

The bottom line for Apple is this - would having a unit in this market segment make overall profits increase in the long term? In my opinion, yes. And for the following reasons:
  • There are potential customers that don't own a Mac, and are interested in getting one.
  • This type of box has the capability/performance that they need.
  • This type of box fits the budget that they desire.
  • Increase in switchers/users makes the entire platform and infrastructure more desirable, leading to greater market share.
  • This type of product doesn't have the full capability that true pros need.
  • Though it may cannibalize users from other units, there is still decent profit to be had here
By not having the product that best fits, they are likely to reduce (or delay adoption by) a number of new customers, and that hurts (literally) the bottom line.

[BTW, thanks for the pointer to this thread.]

Dan
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Bandit Bill
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Apple could sell the exact same configuration as the mini at the exact same price as a mini using desktop (not laptop) components, they'd make even more money and bring over more switchers. More than likely it would result in much larger sales volume.

Don't get me wrong. I like the mini but do you think less people would have purchased it if it was a few inches bigger?

As far as a 2.5" drive being quieter that is true, but with the additional room in a case sound dampening properties could be implemented resulting in an even quieter unit.

I think Apple would lose some mini sales if they introduced a Mac, but hey they are still selling a computer.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Will you purchase a MacPro? Reply with quote

Dan__ wrote:
Yeah, I'm not really complaining about the (potential) price of the Mac Pro's. Price up those Woodcrests and the other components. They ain't cheap. I'm ok with Apple having some markup for design and included SW (up to a point).

I'm just balking at the suitability of the product price range for me, and likely for a bunch of other people, as well. What was acceptable 5 years ago, even 2-3 years ago, no longer cuts it. Sure it's great for Apple for them to have a high margin unit that everyone loves and is willing to pay for. And they don't really want to compete directly with units that operate in an arena with thin margins. But ignoring a potential market segment can be dangerous.

The bottom line for Apple is this - would having a unit in this market segment make overall profits increase in the long term? In my opinion, yes. And for the following reasons:
  • There are potential customers that don't own a Mac, and are interested in getting one.
  • This type of box has the capability/performance that they need.
  • This type of box fits the budget that they desire.
  • Increase in switchers/users makes the entire platform and infrastructure more desirable, leading to greater market share.
  • This type of product doesn't have the full capability that true pros need.
  • Though it may cannibalize users from other units, there is still decent profit to be had here
By not having the product that best fits, they are likely to reduce (or delay adoption by) a number of new customers, and that hurts (literally) the bottom line.


Well a lot of the products Apple offers have decent mark-ups. Take the iPod Boombox, I highly doubt it even has $90 worth of actual material in it. Especially given the fact, that speakers themselves have the highest mark-up in any electronic store (I know this for a fact, as working in a retail environment I could get speakers nearly 70% off). The amplifier is probably the most expensive part, but even it can't even be more than $15-20.
Then you take iPods, well you know the story with those. Then you have Apple Cinema displays. As nice as they are, without simple functions like a sideways tilt, are still pretty expensive. You could argue that they are "Pro" monitors, but really they are the only Apple made monitors they offer. No 17" widescreen (as of yet), just the beginning of the 20" widescreen. It has a decent price, but can't you get a more functional monitor in the same size for a cheaper price? Yes you can and many people do. But you can get monitors from anyone or anywhere, not the same for a Mac box.

Exactly why the need of a box in the middle of a Mac Pro and Mac mini. Of course they would price it accordingly to the "Apple" standard and get a decent margin off of them. Even on the Mini there is a decent margin on them, especially compared to what is on a standard Dell machine. Well you might say, "you can't compare Apple to Dell or the other way around". That is exactly the point, Apple likes having the little segment that it does. This allows them to price their products accordingly as a niche segment. Not only to mention the fact, you can't get another machine with OS X, without getting it from Apple. This is the main reason why Apple doesn't allow OS X to run on any other machine. Sure I love Apple, but the bottom line is that they are a company to make profit off of you, me and the rest of us.
  • With a market share of 3-4%, there is a huge market for potential customers.
  • Some only need email, web browsing, etc. = Mac Mini
    The above +better video +games +storage = Mac
    Everything above +server/workstation performance +professional video/audio/graphic editing = Mac Pro
  • By offering a Mac at the price smack in the middle of a Pro and Mini. You are offering a price for all budgets.
  • Financially, Apple doesn't need to drastically increase its market share. The bigger the market share, the more competitive you have to get. Thereby dropping prices, losing on the profitability that is obtained in its current form. It would make them compete in a place they honestly, can't win.

The main thing is that if you price it too close to the Mini. Which Apple simply wouldn't do. It could cut into the sales of the Mini. If that happened significantly enough, well say bye to the Mini.
Dan__ wrote:
[BTW, thanks for the pointer to this thread.]
Yeah, no problem.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Will you purchase a MacPro? Reply with quote

SOCOMRAIDER wrote:

The main thing is that if you price it too close to the Mini. Which Apple simply wouldn't do. It could cut into the sales of the Mini.


A fully loaded mini with wired mouse and keyboard is $1350. $1300 if you don't need a modem. An entry level PowerMac is $2000. That's a pretty big window. I'd for sure price The "Mac" higher than a fully loaded mini... at which point I'd be concerned with cannibalizing iMac sales. Now 17" iMacs start at $1300. Maybe thats the magic price point. $1300.

$1300 would make people start thinking hmmm. I could get an iMac with a monitor for that price. For $300 more, I could get a 20" iMac ($300 is a decent price for a good 20" monitor)... or I could buy a "Mac" for $1300 and put the $300 towards a monitor of my choice, or save the $300 and just use what I have.

Even though I'd like to see a "Mac" in the $1000 range. After these thoughts $1300 seems appropriate (to me anyhow).


Last edited by Bandit Bill on Fri Jul 21, 2006 12:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd rather see them put a 1920 x 1200 display in the 20" iMac (and higher resolution on the 17" too). That would bring its pixel density/inch right in line with that of the notebooks'.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 2:19 am    Post subject: Middle Ground Reply with quote

I am currently seeking to upgrade from a hand-me-down G3 iMac, to a newer machine more capable of running current software. Technically, I should be able to get by with a Mini. The power of the Mini is decent. However, I'll likely be installing Windows (Vista, maybe), on my machine. The main purpose would be to play games, etc. The Mini simply doesn't cut it.
The up and coming Mac Pro is not even close to my budget (around 1000 currently). The iMac would be a viable option, but I already have beautiful hand-me-down 20" ACD that I'd like to not put to waste. I have experience with the G4 Mac Mini, and the G5 iMac, and I'd like the power of the iMac, but screenless.
I'd mainly be using the power for simple things like email, internet, etc. But I'd like to know that if I wanted to install something like Photoshop or (extreme) Final Cut Pro, that my computer would probably be able to run it.
Its frustrating, especially when I look at the iPod lineup. There is the top of the line iPod, with video, that can hold a lifetime of music. There is a bottom-end Shuffle, which just does the basics. What is really appealing is the Nano. Its smaller, and more affordable than the full version, but it doesn't cut out anything important (besides video, which I can't see myself using). It doesn't feel like a stripped iPod, and if I wanted to put some serious music on it, I could.
Why can't Apple come out with a computer that is marketed towards a casual market, but is capable of pulling off professional level stuff if needed?
Without a screen attached, thank you very much.[/i]
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SOCOMRAIDER wrote:
Future Mac Pro processors? Or if not, potential upgrades?

They certainly seem destined for the Mac Pro and XServe. Hard to say if they'd work as an upgrade. From what I can tell, Intel is trying to make them socket compatible, but I don't know enough to be sure.

I would not expect them in the $700 Mac. :-)
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 12:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Will you purchase a MacPro? Reply with quote

Bandit Bill wrote:
SOCOMRAIDER wrote:
The main thing is that if you price it too close to the Mini. Which Apple simply wouldn't do. It could cut into the sales of the Mini.
A fully loaded mini [...] is $1350. [...]
I'd for sure price The "Mac" higher than a fully loaded mini.
Why?
SOCOMRAIDER wrote:
The above [Mini capabilities] +better video +games +storage = Mac

Ok, it sounds like we mostly agree, at least that there should be an intermediate headless model, just differ a bit on what would be doable for certain prices.

I really don't think there's anything wrong with the "Mac" encroaching on the upper end of the Mini. When you start expanding the cabability of the Mini's you're getting a poor value because you're building a system with laptop components. This is fine if you want a small system, and there will always be some need for this. But high-powered and small don't work that great together. [read price/performance]. I really think the bulk of people who need added performance will be happier with a more standard box (albeit with great Apple design).

Here's what I'd like to see in ... the new Mac

Lower Model:
Conroe E6300 - 1.86 GHz – FSB1066 – 2 MB cache - ($210) processor
512MB RAM
160GB Serial ATA hard drive
Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
One open PCI-Express expansion slot
One open Optical drive slot [maybe] (i.e. for 2nd DVD drive)
Graphics Card with 128MB SDRAM
Built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0, USB/FW800
No keyboard/mouse/display........................................ $800

Some Basic Options:
Keyboard/Mouse +$60
upgrade to 16x SuperDrive (double-layer) + $50
Add SuperDrive (in 2nd slot) + $100
250GB SATA hard drive +$75
+512 RAM (1GB total) +$50

Pretty nicely equipped (kbd/mouse/superdrive/1gb ram)... $960

Higher Model:
Conroe E6600 - 2.40 GHz – FSB1066 – 4 MB cache – ($315) processor
1GB RAM
160GB Serial ATA hard drive
Double-layer SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
One open PCI-Express expansion slot
One open Optical drive slot [maybe] (i.e. for 2nd DVD drive)
Graphics Card with 128MB SDRAM
Built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0, USB/FW800
No keyboard/mouse/display........................................$1000

Some possible options:
Add DVD/CD ROM drive (in 2nd slot) + $50
250GB SATA hard drive +$75
+1GB RAM (2GB total) +$100
+3GB RAM (4GB total) +$300
Slightly Better Graphics Card with 256MB SDRAM + $50
Much Better Graphics Card +$200+

Very nicely equipped (kbd/mouse/2nd DVD drive/
250GB drive/2GB RAM/Much Better Graphics).............. $1485

Now I could see Apple not wanting to go for a 2nd optical drive slot, for a couple reasons - reduce the space and differentiate with the Mac Pro. And I could also see my base prices as being low (slightly - possibly $50 - $100).

However, these prices are, I think, pretty doable. They're based largely on what Apple already sells the Mini for. That cheaper Conroe processor is just about the same price as the Core Solo in the $600 Mini right now! (Well, when it was introduced, anyway.) 3.5" 160MB SATA drives are roughly the same price as 2.5" 60GB SATA drives, separate graphics are < $50, and I suspect that system slots, fans, FW800, and other interfaces wouldn't add more than $100 to the price of the system. (Think +$50 in profits over the Mini.)

With an opening price of $800, it might take away some sales of the upper Mini, but probably not much from the lower one, especially for the folks that really appreciate the small form factor. The upper one might suffer a bit, but I really think they would cater to different crowds. The Mini can be plopped anywhere, even in your dashboard, and fits pretty nicely in home entertainment setups, or on top of your PC, or under your desk. You can stack 'em. You can slice and dice 'em. You can fry 'em up with onions. It won't die.

But this Mac would be a pretty attractive package to a lot of folks with a preference for performance. And fit their budgets.

Dan
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan__ wrote:
SOCOMRAIDER wrote:
Future Mac Pro processors? Or if not, potential upgrades?

They certainly seem destined for the Mac Pro and XServe. Hard to say if they'd work as an upgrade. From what I can tell, Intel is trying to make them socket compatible, but I don't know enough to be sure.

I would not expect them in the $700 Mac. Smile

That is why I said "Future Mac Pro" processors, not Mac.
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