Intel Mac mini

Moderator
Posts: 335
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #1
Just ordered the low spec one as it looks like it'll be the slowest Intel Mac you'll ever get (which makes it ideal for testing games and working as a UB target machine). The good news is that it has gigabit ethernet, so it'll be great for streaming movies and should be fairly practical for distributed network builds in XCode or working as a network node in Logic. It also looks like it now has 2 memory slots, which is an improvement over the G4 one.

On the downside, it's go an integrated Intel graphics chip with 64mb of the main memory shared for VRAM. Our worry is that this could be the first Intel Mac to not be able to run our older games under Rosetta fast enough. Although in theory it should be ok as they were min-specced for G3 500 with an ATI 128 or something. Not expecting it to be much good at Quake 4 though Wink
Quote this message in a reply
Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #2
Aspyr's Game Agent is going to need updating Smile

I'm interested whether Apple is supporting the ARB_vertex_buffer_object extension on this hardware... if not, I'm going to have to update Outnumbered Sad
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 335
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #3
Is there a spec sheet anywhere for the Intel G950 or whatever it's called ?

Glenda Adams mentioned on IMG that it's not got vertex shaders but has half decent pixel shader support.
Quote this message in a reply
Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #4
Intel product page: http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/gma950/
Benchmarks: http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2427

If it doesn't have hardware vertex processing, I don't think Apple will export ARB_vertex_buffer_object. That's been their criterion so far.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 321
Joined: 2004.10
Post: #5
I just read an ExtremeTech Article where they had compared the
GMA950 against an Nvidia<something-or-other> discrete component.
The Nvidia chip was some funny number that I didn't recognize and it
was kinda low number - so it must be slow, right? Smile They said the
Nvidia chip could be had for about $60.

Well this chip just creamed Intel's integrated solution. I mean just
beat it silly over the head with a rubber chicken. It was embarrassing.
It was pathetic. It was you get the idea.

What does the current Mac-mini have in it: a ATI7500 or 9200?
Isn't this a BIG step down for gaming on the Mac-mini? To me, this
is saying that Apple has given up on gaming - at least on the Mac-
mini. Or am I being overly pessimistic.

The dual core, however, is anothing thing completely Smile
Quote this message in a reply
Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #6
The i950 is an upgrade over the 9200 in the sense that it supports CoreImage in hardware. I suspect that as far as gaming is concerned, it's slower, though I don't actually have any data to back that up Smile
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 335
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #7
It looks like the main feature of that particular GPU is that it's specced for HD video playback. Any gamers on a Mac mini are more likely to be casual gamers rather than wanting to play the nearly latest PC FPS games so it's within boundaries, so it'll be enough for that.
Quote this message in a reply
Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #8
Most important benchmark for games is usually fill rate. The Intel product page claims 1.6Gpixels/sec. This page: http://www.a1-electronics.net/Graphics_C...0Pro.shtml claims that the 9600 pro does 1.6Gpixels/sec, so I guess the two are probably pretty similar for games, and it suggests that this new card will be substantially faster than the previous 9200.
Quote this message in a reply
Sage
Posts: 1,234
Joined: 2002.10
Post: #9
OneSadCookie Wrote:I'm interested whether Apple is supporting the ARB_vertex_buffer_object extension on this hardware...

We are exporting VBO.

Also supported:
+ pbuffer
+ FBO
+ PBO
+ depth texture/shadow
+ ARB vp/fp
+ GLSL vs/fs

There is no HW TCL, so vp/vs will always be SW emulated. fp/fs are in HW, the limits are roughly equivalent to a 9600.

FYI, I'm going to hold off on updating my GLInfo page for a while.
Quote this message in a reply
Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #10
arekkusu Wrote:We are exporting VBO.

Cool, that's a help... I wasn't looking forward to retrofitting a non-VBO path Smile
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 771
Joined: 2003.04
Post: #11
Overall a nice update, too bad that the $499 entry model is gone now.

- 4 USB ports - finally! Smile
- The G4 model had: (thank you Google cache!)
> Headphone/audio line out
The new model has:
> Built-in speakers, combined optical digital audio input/audio line in, combined optical digital audio output/headphone out
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Double Layer burning on the Core Duo model (not that important but...)
- Pixel Shaders in hardware
- Front Row - DUH Apple! Wink

Also, anyone knows if this is new for Front Row?:
Quote:In addition, Bonjour sharing now makes it possible to access shared music, photos and video playlists from other computers on your network.
Quote this message in a reply
Member
Posts: 204
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #12
PowerMacX Wrote:Also, anyone knows if this is new for Front Row?:

Yes. The version of Front Row which came with the iMacs could not access multimedia on other computers.
Quote this message in a reply
Sage
Posts: 1,482
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #13
Anyone else disappointed by the fact that it just got more expensive? There was all this talk that the Intel switch would lower prices. With 3 Intel machines out now, it's pretty clear that that is not the case.

Staying the same price would have been understandable as it is a bit of an upgrade, but 20% more? Hrmm....

Scott Lembcke - Howling Moon Software
Author of Chipmunk Physics - A fast and simple rigid body physics library in C.
Quote this message in a reply
Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #14
I was a little surprised that they're charging more. I mean, it doesn't surprise me that it costs them more, but I thought that they'd want to keep the $500 price point, and would take less profit to keep it.

Given that it's all standard PC bits now, it really begs the question "where's the PC in this form factor / price bracket?"
Quote this message in a reply
Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #15
Answering my own question, the AOpen mini-pc seems to fit the bill. You can play with configuration options here:

http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/myaopen/MINIPC.html

but, long story short, you pay $100 more than the low-end Mac Mini for a slightly worse system, and that's without Windows...
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply