March 2, 2005 12:28 PM PST

Intel shows off Mac Mini-like concept PC

SAN FRANCISCO--Intel on Wednesday showed off its living room PC of the future--and it looks a lot like the Mac Mini.

As part of a speech at the Intel Developer Forum here, Vice President Don MacDonald demonstrated several concept PCs, including the Sleek Concept Entertainment PC--a square, metallic-colored device that was immediately reminiscent of the desktop computer Apple Computer introduced earlier this year.

Intel mini PC gallery

It's unlikely that Intel itself would build such a device. The chipmaker often uses its twice-yearly developer events to try to spur creativity among computer makers. Past efforts have seen PCs twisted into all sorts of shapes and even embedded in an Ottoman foot rest.

An Apple representative declined to comment on Intel's concept PC.

Thus far, the concept PC is just a piece of plastic, literally, although its design showed a clock display and optical drive in front, with ports such as USB, optical audio and FireWire in the back.

Most design efforts from computer makers to date have been focused on making entertainment-oriented PCs that look less like PCs and more like the kinds of electronics people have in the living room, such as stereos or DVD players. Gateway put out such a PC in the past, and HP has a current model, as do several niche PC makers.

The style push has led to smaller, less bulky desktops. In the relatively near future, Japanese desktop makers will likely begin to adopt notebook chips to craft sleek desktops, said Mooly Eden, a vice president in Intel's Mobility Group.

Some notebook makers have adopted Intel concepts, such as VoIP and cellular handsets that pop out of a bay in a notebook, and external second screens in laptops, Eden added.

Future add-ons for notebooks include putting transducers in the screen so that it can act as a loudspeaker, Eden added.

At the same time that Intel is looking to push computermakers on the design front, it is also working to improve the quality of such devices. It is also working to ensure that content can be secured to the satisfaction of Hollywood studios, which will decide whether or not to make their movies available on such machines.

MacDonald brought Microsoft eHome executive Joe Belfiore on stage to talk about collaborations between the two companies. He spoke about an effort to make sure Microsoft's digital-rights management technology is compatible with Intel's push for standards to enable content to move among home devices easily while still being protected from widespread distribution.

A Disney executive also spoke about the potential for bringing its Moviebeam service to PCs. The service, which offers more than 100 movies on demand, currently works only with set-top boxes.

Apple, for its part, has not played up the Mac Mini as specifically designed for the living room, although some enthusiasts have envisioned such a future.

Also at the developer event on Wednesday, Intel Executive Vice President Sean Maloney touted a number of the company's mobile computer and cell phone chip efforts.

He showed off the next generation of Intel's Centrino mobile-technology effort, code-named Napa. The company showed off its first 65-nanometer, dual-core mobile chip, code-named Yonah, as well as a future chipset and updated Wi-Fi chips.

Maloney said that Intel plans to include several new technologies with Yonah, including improved heat management techniques and a Digital Media Boost function that Intel said will aid in content creation.

Intel also talked about its plans for Hermon--its latest effort to crack the cell phone market. The company said that later this year it will have one-chip and two-chip designs that include built-in graphics and models optimized for both high performance as well as low power use.

CNET News.com's Michael Kanellos contributed to this report.

47 comments

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Mac Design
I don't know why the PC industry hasn't looked (and stolen) some of the Mac's designs. I went to a Mac store not long after the dual G5's came out. I was blown away by the fact that it was dead silent. I had to ask the guy if it was even on. Apple is probably the best designer of computer around. Don't get me wrong, I own a PC not a Mac. What I don't understand is why, without water cooling, a PC is still so noisy.

I would be funny to see Intel build their little Mini. I guarantee it would use the Pentium M procs. If the stuck a P4 in there you could use it to cook a steak.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
loud because
fans... if you remove those fans... it will get much quieter...
Posted by volterwd (466 comments )
Link Flag
A Quiet PC Is Attainable
I recently bought a Compaq Presario desktop computer which is whisper quiet. I bought this brand/model in part because it was quiet, based on customer reviews.

The Presario uses an AMD Athlon processor, which runs a lot cooler than a comparable Intel-based system. Less heat means less of a cooling problem. Compaq used a very quiet power supply for the system, and placed a large passive airflow "grid" in back. There is a cooling fan on the CPU which is also very quiet.

I wish I could say the same for my graphics card. I purchased an ATI All In Wonder 9000 card just over a year. The "wonder" is that the bearings in the processor cooling fan started failing, causing the card to make a horrendous sound. The sound was so bad I decided to replace the fan. On inspecting the card and removing the fan screws, I found that I could not unseat the fan, probably because it was cemented in. Not wanting to break the card, I decided to throw caution to the wind and simply disconnect the fan. The AT card now makes no sound, and continues to work reliably.

The moral of this story? Your computer will only be as quiet as the highest decibel component. And that may change over time! I hope there is a special place in Hell reserved for manufacturers who put shoddy, cheap plastic bearings in components.

Keith
www.techcando.com
Posted by Stating (869 comments )
Link Flag
buy a fish tank
get a tall 40 gal. fill it with guppies plants and two angel fish. Then sit back , listen to the water running and immagine that what the angelfish are planning for the guppies is what the future is planning for your boss (he's lunch meat ; johnny ). Seriously a pleasent background noice can really make what your pc is doing irrelevent (and if your into extreme volume it can make the phone pretty much disappear (thats a good thing people))
Posted by mpotter28 (130 comments )
Link Flag
So exciting...
This concept is as exiting as watching trees grow.

It is obvious Intel saw the Mac Mini when it was released, and found they needed something similar to show at their conference.

I mean, when I was following industrial design courses, this was the typical product of student design projects. And I can even say the concepts we created were far more innovative than this box.

Everyone with a little bit of imagination and a good pair of hands can build a box like that in just a few hours...
Posted by Steven N (487 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Been There, Done That
Via has been producing the Mini-ITX for a while now. They even have a newer smaller board called the Nano-ITX.

Intel's "announcement" isn't new.

The Via board is also fanless!
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And all the Mac users screech in unison like a baboon with its fur on fire.
Mac users are probably going nuts over this and rightly so. This isnt a copycat clone of the mini. No. Not at all. Its a blatant rip-off. And people wonder why Apple is so secretive about their designs. Everyone jacks them as soon as they are out. It is getting pretty damn ridiculous. And before some PC zealot comes on the scene screeching that PCs have done this before. No they have not. Not in that size and form factor. Ive seen those PCs. They are the size of toasters. They are loud, they generate a crap load of heat. The mini is unique up til now. Honestly I hope the first person who puts out a real mini clone Apple sues their *** off. Go make your own damn design you cheap b******s.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hear Ye Hear Ye
Intel can kiss my A**... Stop biting and get a real job.
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
dude were did you get your research?
Not sure what your gobbing about - mini and embedded PCs have been around along time before Steve Jobs re-invented them. Granted they are not as pretty as the Mini-Me-Mac-attacks however they have been quite functional in the applications they serve. No they are not ecstatically designed to match your little pink outfits but they serve the rest of us that do real work well.

Heres a pic of a fanless model: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.stealthcomputer.com/littlepc_fanless.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.stealthcomputer.com/littlepc_fanless.htm</a>

You can see lots of other little machines here: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.mini-itx.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.mini-itx.com/</a> - and smaller than your toaster
Posted by lookoutmama (9 comments )
Link Flag
maybe you'd better do some more research
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.stealthcomputer.com.." target="_newWindow">http://www.stealthcomputer.com..</a>. they have an entire line of microsized PCs... most of them use full size HDs that range in size up to 200 Gigs. At least one model which looks SMALLER than the Mac mini doesn't even have a fan!
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
Mac-mini != Windows, that's why
Why are intel bothering? The reason that people are flocking to the Mac Mini concept isn't because they're tiny and cute (tho they are), it's because they DON'T RUN WINDOWS

xserves are too noisy and too expensive for the home. iMacs too bulky and mostly pointless for the money. I have a Mac Mini and an an Airport Extreme and they give me great musical joy, great tv/film playback, somewhere to stash downloads, somewhere to sync my phone to, and if i need a graphics head I open the lid and get my laptop instantly on thanks to apple's idea of sleep.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Dissing Other Macs?
wow your stupid dissing other macs! iMac woops your Mac Mini!
But i don't diss it!
Posted by lilrazztx (25 comments )
Link Flag
Intel Misses the Point
I know a lot of people who went out and bought the Mac Mini, and 90% of them did it for one reason: it was an affordable way to get away from Windows. Intel doesn't seem to understand that there are a lot of users who are tired of dealing with viruses everyweek, tons of spyware, constant updates and security packs, and just a whole litany of issues related to the Windows experience that just make it a hassle to deal with any longer (BTW, I am a PC user who is thinking of switching).

Intel might be better off trying to work with Apple to create a chipset for a future rev of the Mac. But don't misunderstand the market Intel: it's because of Windows, stupid.
Posted by (274 comments )
Reply Link Flag
YAWN - These mini-pcs are not new
The Mini PC has been around for some time now - Years in fact. ITX systems, Embedded PCs, and Small Form PCs have been a growing trend for a number of years. This company - Stealth is one of the leaders in the technology. <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.littlepc.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.littlepc.com/</a>

It seems as soon as Apple announced this Mini-Me-Mac thing everyone jumps on the band waggon thinking they have invented a new wheel or something
Posted by lookoutmama (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
OSX != Windows
Its about not using windows. Nothing more, nothing less.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
There are other more powerful mini pc's as well
There are also other more powerful mini pc's that have been out for a long while as well such as Stealth Computer's Little PC - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.littlepc.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.littlepc.com</a>
or <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.stealthcomputer.com/littlepc.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.stealthcomputer.com/littlepc.htm</a>

They have CPU options of Pentium 4's up to 3.2GHz with 800MHz FSB. They also have numerous different options like PCMCIA, Wi-Fi and many more.
Posted by (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
a P4 Mini PC won't cook a steak
Pentium 4 Mini PCs already exist and they don't cook steaks like you suggest. These LittlePC's support Intel Pentium 4 cpus up to 3.2GHz with 800MHz FSB:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.stealthcomputer.com/littlepc.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.stealthcomputer.com/littlepc.htm</a>
or
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.littlepc.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.littlepc.com</a>
Posted by (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
steak
I assume you were refering to my comment. I was being sarcastic.

That said. I will check out your links. Sounds (or doesn't sound) cool.

**IMO Section**
Let me point a finger and start an argument. Why would you want to buy an Intel chip anyway? AMD runs cooler, faster, and cost less. Aside from that Intel has had a lot of egg in their face.

Oh yeah AMD have been more stable than Intels P4 procs as well. Thats not saying much though. Both have had a good run with stability. Intel's main problem is that you just can't keep the higher end P4 cool.
**End Section**
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
ohh how I long for the days of Radiant Computing
I don't know about you but I sure long for those days of radiant computing. A nice tenderloin roasting atop my machine - mmmmm.. medium rare will do.

Whats wrong with having a multi-purpose PC? I think the industry has been missing the point all along. I'll take 2 - one to cook my food and one with the super chiller option to keep my brew cool
Posted by lookoutmama (9 comments )
Link Flag
Mini PC
The only one they sell that is fanless runs a P3 or 1.5ghz Celeron chip. They aren't very pretty either.

No offence to the company, but I won't buy one if it doesn't have AMD inside (well not without a good reason anyway).
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
Is it possible?
Wow.. judging from the product line at that first site... <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.stealthcomputer.com.." target="_newWindow">http://www.stealthcomputer.com..</a>. I'd say that it's Apple is is stealing the mini PC concept from the Wintel folks! hahahahaha
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
WOW
Intel can make plastic imitations of a pizza box.
Sure isn't hard to see why they get paid millions of dollars is it.

This is SO pathetic.
What kind of looser do you have to be when the biggest tech
chip company can't come up with more than an empty plastic
box and a butt ugly box at that.

Intel truly is a complete looser.
Posted by Clues (84 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So ugly
Intel Mini? Give me a break here, remember when Apple came up with iMac few years ago and many PC companies copied Apple's ideas and created their PCS just like iMacs? Where are those ugly copycats now? If I want a Mini, I will get a Mac Mini, not Intel Mini :(
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mac ALL the Way!
I have looked at this model and look there's a mini mac on my
desk. No comparison for looks. That is the most worst looking
box, and why don't they show the back. Can you use it as a
frying pan to fry eggs or is it going to be a P3? Hmmmm. Use
to use PC's. NEVER again!

Advise: GET A MAC!

Steve
Calgary, Canada
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
Buy a Mac instead.
Buy a Mac. Life is too short not to.
Posted by (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MacTel Inside
If you cannot innovate...imitate. (Citizen Gates)

REAL reason behind Intel's jabs at Apple is very simple.

As soon as "the masses" figure out that you can run UNIX + MAC + LINUX + MS Office for Mac + Virtual PC + convert Open Source &#38; Linux &#38; Unix code to Darwin MAC OSX code via FREE developer toolkit X11 with every Mac sold ALL on a 64Bit PowerPC chip...GEE you don't need Intel &#38; Microsoft anymore...hmmm.

ALTERATE Universe: "the masses" are getting very sick &#38; tired of all the price guoging, vires, spyware, worms, hackers, security updates, forced upgrades to new Windows, monopolistic tactics, etc. &#38; they are converting to Open Source / Linux / Lindows with AMD64 Bit chips...they don't need Intel &#38; Microsoft anymore...hmmm.

Intel's sabers are rattling &#38; UNIX / MAC OSX / LINUX / PowerPC / IBM / AMD64 are putting up a fierce battlefront.

Monopolies fear "thinking different" &#38; "open competion in the marketplace"...

FINALLY: NeXT OS was owned by Steve Jobs &#38; incorporated into the new Mac OSX Unix platform, but was also capable of running on Intel chips in the past. Rumor has it that during this "transitional upgrade development" period at Apple + NeXT, that deep in a vault in Cupertino IS a version of IntelPC-OSX as a secret weapon "Plan B".

Maybe...maybe not...possible on Intel64 or AMD64?
Only the future will tell.
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not really a great Idea the small size Intel Pc
I use Pc since 20 years now (First IBM Pc xt) and never bought a
Mac cause of price. But I recently switch to Apple Mac Mini as it
was affordable and for a test drive. All I can say is that I was
surprise how it's way better than Windows based PCs, I can't tell
you all the benefits here as it's not the subject, since I m using
the Mac, I've simply gave my Pc for my little son for games and
use the mac for professional purpose like video edition, office
tasks, webdesign.... What I want to say is that if Intel plans to
sell these small boxes, it won't be as successfull as the Mac
mini. Wy did I switch, simply because it's their Operating system,
that are too genious (no virus, friendly user, fast, design....) and
now affordable. Would you buy a Ferrari or buy a copy without
the powerful engine ?
Posted by steve suard (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
YOU guys aren't getting it
There were many miniATX PC's powered by VIA WAY before the MAC MINI. Also Intel is marketing this as a living room PC, which a PC is MUCH better suited for. There are many programs that can run large UI interfaces for TV useage and video playback. don't forget PC's play EVERY format for video, and Mac has trouble with some and every file format needs a different player with Mac. This is a decent solution for livingroom PC's, not talking about cheap PC replacement. All PC's are cheap, cheap and affordable, this just brings that to your TV which is much better suited on a PC.
Posted by Electrox3d (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Way Off
You are way, way off about PCs being for the living room and
macs aren't. I guess your impression is because you know a
little about Intel based PCs and nothing about Apple's PCs.

The Mac Perform 638 used an integrated tuner card in 1988 or
abouts. In truth the only real difference between a "PC" and a
"MAC" is the CPU, OS, quality of design, and usability. Windows
has been closing the gap on useability, but that is truly about it.

The OS offers so much more to the average user, and I remain
befuddled why some one would argue to sell someone a "PC" if
they want to use it to manage their internet access, emails, word
processing, graphic and music. Buying a PC for the average
person should require a warning sticker that states:
"will cause virsues, worms, trojan horses, and frequent updates.
This will require loss of time due to manual intervention,
research, and an un-anticipated learning curve (or a technician".
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
Get this intel for your TV, use a Mac for personal stuff
So the PC is much better equipped to be used for a living room pc like this article says, but if you want a Mac Mini for your personal use, you can buy one, or if you've ever thought about trying an offer like blockbuster online, or something similar, you can use referrals to get a free Mac Mini. More info at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.freethemacmini.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.freethemacmini.com</a>
Posted by Electrox3d (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mac Mini is a WORKING device + TV
A cheap rip off hunk of plastic box with NO Intel Inside &#38; NO OS &#38; NO Apps &#38; NO TiVO is better than a working Mac Mini that connects to your TV &#38; a third party TVR(TiVo)like device can be used TODAY?

Intel WISHES they were inside the Mac Mini with Mac OSX &#38; iLife Suite.

dream on...
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Link Flag
Outraged Mac User? Hardly!
This is one Mac user who is snickering over this empty box
which is hyped as a wonder box and won't do anything.

Tee-hee, tee-hee. I'm too busy giggling to be outraged.
Posted by (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mini pc running linux and windowsXP
Mini pc running linux and windowsXP, manufacturer of sd-omega mini pc , car pc <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.sd-omega.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.sd-omega.com</a>
Posted by JackeOwen (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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