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View Full Version : OK, about ready to buy my first Mac Pro, 4 or 8 core?




Stealthipad
Oct 17, 2010, 08:50 AM
I use a iMac now and am happy but am going to move the iMac to another room and replace it with a Mac Pro.

I do a lot of PhotoShop, AutoCad and of course Office. I know many will cringe at the idea but I run Boot Camp and Windows 7 Ultimate exclusively and only will keep a small MAC partition.

OK, here is my question for those who are still reading. I will be buying one of two units the standard 4 core with One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon Nehalem processor or 8 core with Two 2.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon Westmere processors.

Which should I buy. Hoping this unit will last a few years and was thinking the 8 core would be a little faster but how much? It also comes with the 6gb ram which is likely all I will need as I do little multitasking.

I know either would do the job, my question is would it be worth the extra $1000 for the extra processor and 3 additional RAM. My intuitions says yes and I am getting ready to order today from Amazon who will have it to me on Tuesday for little shipping (Prime). This would save a couple hundred dollars plus all the tax! $3350 + $2.99 for overnight shipping. plus a DVI cable as I will use an non Apple monitor.

What do you think, 4 or 8 core?



wheezy
Oct 17, 2010, 09:07 AM
8 core. Might as well make it last that much longer, plus the more RAM slots the merrier. Resale would also be higher if you wanted to play around upgrade cycles.

Transporteur
Oct 17, 2010, 09:13 AM
Since you're considering the 8-core, I assume that money isn't a big concern, which is why I recommend buying the 6-core. It's only marginally more expensive but faster by any means, especially for your kind of work.

SkyNite
Oct 17, 2010, 09:14 AM
I was facing a similar decision, but went for the 6-core 3.33 GHz. It's got the newer Westmere processor, and I have found 6 cores to be more than enough for Photoshop and all my other activities.

Consider the clock speed in addition to the core count. If your apps can't use all the cores, at least it'll run faster on the cores it does use.

But if you are deciding between the 2 in your post, go for the 8-core.

Hellhammer
Oct 17, 2010, 09:19 AM
Photoshop is mostly single-threaded and 8-core has ridiculously low clock speed which means that it's slow in single-threaded tasks. In most tasks, quad core is faster due higher clock speed. AutoCAD seems to be multithreaded so 8-core would be better on that though.

The best bang for buck would be 3.33GHz 6-core from refurb store. It's the fastest Mac on single-threaded tasks but it also beats 8-core in raw CPU power. If you can afford it, pull the trigger.

alust2013
Oct 17, 2010, 09:21 AM
Honestly if you just want to run windows, a windows box would be a better option. You'll save a considerable amount of money, you could easily get away with a quad i5/i7 and a halfway decent video card. Photoshop and AutoCAD really don't require the power of a Mac Pro, especially not more than the base model.

Transporteur
Oct 17, 2010, 09:42 AM
Photoshop is mostly single-threaded and 8-core has ridiculously low clock speed which means that it's slow in single-threaded tasks.

But you do realise that the 2.8GHz quad has only 16% more clock speed when you say "ridiculously low clock speed", don't you?

Personally, I wouldn't underestimate this machine. Keep in mind that the 8-core turbo boosts to 2.66GHz on TWO cores (because of the two processors), the 2.8GHz boosts to 3.06 on one core. Considering that PS supports up to 4 cores, the differences between the clock speeds become even less important.

Still, 6-core is the way to go for the proposed apps.

C. Alan
Oct 17, 2010, 09:51 AM
The best bang for buck would be 3.33GHz 6-core from refurb store. It's the fastest Mac on single-threaded tasks but it also beats 8-core in raw CPU power. If you can afford it, pull the trigger.

+1
I would also be looking at 3rd party ram for this machine.

Hellhammer
Oct 17, 2010, 09:53 AM
But you do realise that the 2.8GHz quad has only 16% more clock speed when you say "ridiculously low clock speed", don't you?

Personally, I wouldn't underestimate this machine. Keep in mind that the 8-core turbo boosts to 2.66GHz on TWO cores (because of the two processors), the 2.8GHz boosts to 3.06 on one core. Considering that PS supports up to 4 cores, the differences between the clock speeds become even less important.

Still, 6-core is the way to go for the proposed apps.

For the price of 8-core, the clock speed is ridiculously low. Remember that 8-core is 1000$ more than base quad is. I doubt you want to pay more to get worse performance in apps like Photoshop.

SOME features of Photoshop support up to four threads but it's still mostly single or dual-threaded, thus the clock speed is crucial. Besides, quad has four cores so it's still faster than 8-core in Photoshop.

Again, the 6-core seems to be the sweet spot. Sometimes I wonder why on earth Apple even released the 8-core model because most people are better off with quad or 6-core. Apple could have made the 6-core a stock model instead

Stealthipad
Oct 17, 2010, 11:50 AM
You people are making my choice HARD!

I want the 6 core but they seem to be out of stock in the refurbished flavor and they are near $5k spanking new and come with only 3gb ram! PLUS a high end monitor.

The Choice was easy till I asked you people but HH makes good sense along with many of the other posters. For $5k I can buy a well equiped HP Z800 but like the Apple hardware.

I am still listening but still doing homework

minifridge1138
Oct 17, 2010, 12:30 PM
Honestly if you just want to run windows, a windows box would be a better option. You'll save a considerable amount of money, you could easily get away with a quad i5/i7 and a halfway decent video card. Photoshop and AutoCAD really don't require the power of a Mac Pro, especially not more than the base model.

I would agree. You can build a very, very nice system for less than $1,000.

With the money left over, you could buy a mac mini (or two) to do anything that requires OSX.

Hellhammer
Oct 17, 2010, 02:00 PM
You people are making my choice HARD!

I want the 6 core but they seem to be out of stock in the refurbished flavor and they are near $5k spanking new and come with only 3gb ram! PLUS a high end monitor.

The Choice was easy till I asked you people but HH makes good sense along with many of the other posters. For $5k I can buy a well equiped HP Z800 but like the Apple hardware.

I am still listening but still doing homework

Since you're "refurb hunting", take a look at Refurb.Me (http://www.refurb.me/). They have various notifications you can get when the model you're looking for hits the refurb store.

Stealthipad
Oct 17, 2010, 02:06 PM
Since you're "refurb hunting", take a look at Refurb.Me (http://www.refurb.me/). They have various notifications you can get when the model you're looking for hits the refurb store.

Thanks, Sir! I have signed up! Going to see what happens before I pull the trigger.

alphaod
Oct 17, 2010, 04:39 PM
If you can afford the 8c 2.4GHz model, I would suggest the 6c 3.33GHz model instead. Much faster.

However seeing you'll be running Windows exclusively, then I wouldn't bother with buying a Mac. Waste of money—just build a machine with nice chipset and pick the i7 980 for your CPU. Probably cost you least $1000 less for the PC.