Will a Quad Core "last" longer than a Dual Core?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by turtlebud, Feb 25, 2006.

  1. turtlebud macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Do you think a quad core (2.5) will have a longer useful life than a dual core (2.3)? I'm wondering if I buy a quad core, whether I'll be able to use it longer (because it will be able to keep up with speed of new applications) than if I bought a dual core (2.3). Of course all this is speculative, but I'm just wondering whether the $800 price premium is worth it for maybe an extra year or utility.

    Also, will the quad core retain value better than a dual core since it does have 4 processors?
     
  2. alep85 macrumors regular

    alep85

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    #2
    Yes, however, I always recommend you buy a PowerMac based on YOUR needs. Do you really REQUIRE 4 core processing? What kinds of things are you going to be doing? Save yourself the money and go with a refurbed dual 2.0-2.7 from Apple's Certified Refurbished Store page if you aren't needing the extra 2 cores (great deals on great PowerMacs there). Either way, a even a dual 1.8 G5 or higher will be great for a while, probably be fine until everything goes Intel and PowerPC is the one that's harder to find UB for (then it's WORTH upgrading and you got your money's worth outta the machine). My two cents
     
  3. turtlebud thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    For now, I do a lot of picture editing in iphoto and photoshop elements and I edit some home movies (imovie/idvd). I'm considering doing some more video work, maybe for friends/weddings in the future and will probably migrate to FCE at some point. I plan on doing a lot more with photography in the future though - that's my main interest. On the side I may be doing some software development, but that's not a central interest right now.

    I have a student developer ADC asset that I'd be using to purchase the powermac so the 2.3 dual core is going to start at 1999 and the 2.5 quad will start at 2639. I plan to add airport/bluetooth ($80) and upgrade to the 7800gt ($280) which will bring the totals to about 2500 for the dual core and 3200 for the quad core.

    Part of me is torn because I know that I can get a really good deal on a refurb right now and it will probably retain its value better because I won't be paying as much for it, but I also think that the developer discount will offset some of that difference and allow me to get the newer technology (ie, pci-express, DDR2 RAM) going forward. In addition, I really want to upgrade to the 7800gt card and I think the only way to get it right now is through BTO.
     
  4. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #4
    what you want to do now could be done on a mini. What you want to do in the future could be done easily on an imac (g5 or coreduo). But a quad is complete overkill
     
  5. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

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    #5
    I saw a Quad in refurbed yesterday, if that changes anything.
     
  6. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a

    Maxiseller

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    #6
    (laughs)

    ADK : You think 1.2GHz is enough?

    1.2 isn't enough to open safari! No seriously, although it's a "Decent" machine, it's nothing for any video editing, photoshop work etc really - an iMac would be "ok" but really under Rosetta you're getting pretty poor performance.

    I would recommend buying a G5 off eBay for like £600 which will give you great performance at half the cost and it will last you until this transition is well and truly over.
     
  7. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

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    #7
    The Quad is meant for those of us who have multiple programs open doing multiple tasks. It's an effecient computer, not a fast computer like you would think 4x2.5Ghz cores=10 Ghz, not so. For instance, I'm constantly editing in FCP, rendering, compressing with Compressor, and encoding with DVD Studio Pro as well as running iTunes, Photoshop and other apps...ALL AT THE SAME TIME. So my Quad is perfect for me. Unless you're doing this type of work, the Quad offers you little advantage.
     
  8. turtlebud thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Thanks for the insight - it helps clarify what a quad core would/should be used for. I think the quad core would be overkill for me as I don't think I'll be running that many programs concurrently for the time being. That being said, there are times right now on my single process quicksilver that I wanted to encode a dvd and edit pictures while I wait, but I decide not to because it's so dog slow. I usually just leave and come back in a couple of hours (or more or let it run overnight). Two processors should be sufficient for that right? I wonder if I got a quad core whether I would DO more because I CAN. I think I don't do as much concurrently cause I know that I can't.
     
  9. Keebler macrumors 68030

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    #9
    dually should be good

    I use my dual 2.0 G5 for what you plan to do. Runs well, rock solid. I upped my RAM to 3.5 GBs to help with the speed...ie. i i sometimes run compressor while editing. i'm actually thinking of getting a quad, but only because my business is getting out of hand (which is a good thing I guess) and my dual G4 and dual G5 are working overtime as it is. But who knows....so lovely to think about doing that, but so costly on the pocketbook :)

    whatever you do, buy applecare. my burner on my g4 died and within 3 days, I had a new one at my door with self-install instructions. best service i've ever had! means alot when projects need to be finished :)

    good luck!
    Keebler
     
  10. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #10

    First of all, that's why I said G5 or CoreDuo. Secondly, yes, I do think 1.2GHz is enough. When I was in high school I used an emac (1GHz or less processor, either 256 or 512 ram) for video editing with safari, itunes etc. open. The OP doesn't sound like he needs power often enough to need a superfast computer. An imac or a mini with decent ram would be plenty for him, unless he plans on using aperture (and most people don't usually step from photoshop elements to aperture).
     
  11. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    Jul 9, 2000
    #11

    as for lasting an extra year, yes

    retaining more value?...just a little, and after two years, very little price difference in the two...less than $100 dollars perhaps
     
  12. rickvanr macrumors 68040

    rickvanr

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    #12
    The Quad will be quicker in Adobe programs, and all other most likely. I can't speak from experience, however, I've read from reputable sources that iMovie doesn't really get a boost from a second processor, so I don't see why it would from a third and a fourth. Essentially, iMovie on a iMac G5 is on pace with a similar spec'd dual.
     
  13. turtlebud thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Good info to know. I guess this brings up another question - generally speaking, you won't take advantage of 4 or even 2 processors/cores unless you're running 2 programs at the same time. The more processor intensive, the more you're going to notice. I assume that Adobe programs are quicker on the quad because they were written to take advantage of all 4 or at least multiple processors.

    The question is, is there much software that takes advantages of the multiple processors (aside from adobe), most notably, Apple's semi-pro and pro apps like FCE and FCStudio? And going forward, as software companies write universal applications that take advantage of multiple processors, will I benefit from the programs or will that only apply to macs with multiple intel processors?
     
  14. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a

    Maxiseller

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    #14
    Oh come on, my 3 year old Athlon PC runs at 1.4GHz - Over three years old actually, and you're telling this guy to go out and buy a mini of less speed brand new?

    Whatever he'll be doing he will appreciate an extra kick in speed from a Duo/G5 or whatever else. True, four cores May be overkill, but you've got to find the balance between something that will last for a considerable amount of time before an upgrade, and something that doesn't cost the earth. A mid-range desktop is the answer which is why I suggest a used G5. A mini is going to be entirely obsolete when the next version of the OS comes out (maybe something like the core image effects rendered people angry in this 10.4 when they couldn't use the latest efffects) - after all you're spening the best part of £400 on something that has a 32 Mb Graphics card with no expansion slots to upgrade anything.

    It is just an ill-advised purchase.
     
  15. alep85 macrumors regular

    alep85

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    #15

    Comparing an Athlon to a G4 is like comparing apples to oranges. Really can't be done, you're using the old Megahertz Myth.

    That being said, I do agree with the fact that the mini has no room for expansion. Coupled with the fact a SINGLE G4 processor is not optimal for audio and video editing (many multiple track files in Garageband or Logic or Pro Tools REQUIRE the G5), I see no reason to get a single G4. The ONLY G4 I could even think of advising to buy would be the highest end dual G4 1.42 Ghz PowerMac, the ones that were out before the G5. Such a machine would probably do good for you, would be pretty darn fast, and wouldn't be terribly expensive. However, I simply like the G5 processor better, and would still advise the refurb dual 1.8/2.0 PowerMac G5 to you on the PowerPC side of things, or look on eBay for one. If you go on the Intel side, get the iMac Core Duo, it seems that you don't necessarily NEED a ton of expandability, and the iMac offers that in the form of external hard drives and such. Plus the iMac Core Duo will be a little less outdated.

    My reason for leaning towards the iMac Intel would be for one reason. Yeah, developers are going to make universal binaries for years for both platforms, however, how long are they going to optimize performance on both? For instance, will Adobe write in Altivec support for the PowerPC versions of their apps for the next 3-4 years? Doing such a thing takes a LOT more time (UB writing isn't just like Apple says and doesn't make it a one button compile process), and once most are on Intel macs, they could decide that such a thing aren't required anymore, leaving even the most powerful G5 people on slower, unoptimized software.

    The reason why I went with a 1.83 dual-core MacBook Pro instead of a dual-core PowerMac G5 is not only because of the mobility factor, but also because I picture that developers will eventually stop optimizing PowerPC sides of universal binaries. Once this happens, I think you are going to see others start switching and abandoning their G5's, when this or if it will happen, who knows. But I tend to like a platform that has longevity, and even IF the PPC platform will keep up with the Intel mac one and have developers making UB's for it for years, that doesn't mean they are going to concentrate on it as much and keep their software on the highest end for PPC.
     
  16. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

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    #16

    Yeah, Adobe After Effects screams on a Quad because it is multithreaded to take advantage of 4 cores, Photoshop tops out at 2 I think. FCP, Motion, and DVDSP never take more than 2 cores based on my use. Unless programs are multithreaded, you won't see a boost with 4 cores. Hopefully the next versions of the FCP Studio will have more multicore accessibility.
     
  17. TDM21 macrumors 6502a

    TDM21

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    #17
    I don't think speed or the number of cores will be the issue for the future; software compatibility will. With the Intel transition its just a matter of time before software companies (even Apple) stop compiling their software to run on the PowerPC. It might take 2 years, it might take 10 years, but it will happen.

    To answer the original question: they will both last the same amount of time. Hardware is not the issue; software is.
     
  18. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a

    Maxiseller

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    #18
    Yep, software is the issue for sure. I think the previous poster is right though; at some point developers are going to stop optimizing for PPC, and it will happen as soon as "most" mac users have purchased an intel chipped computer. Given that the rate of most peoples upgrade cycle is between a year to three years, it's certainly not too far around the corner.
     
  19. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    #19
    for lasting longer, well it will be faster for long but stop making PPC software, they no matter what kind of PPC you have , it won't run intel so get a Duel Core, and perhaps if u reall start to use more computer power, get a quad intel when they come around
     
  20. turtlebud thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Thanks for all the information and help guys, it's really been a great help to me. I'm most likely going to be the dual core 2.0 (instead of 2.3). It sounds like that should give me all the computing power I'll need for awhile and save me around $400 at the same time. I was happy to see that the dual core 2.0 isn't crippled compared to the 2.3 dual and 2.5 quad. I remember in the past, they had fewer RAM slots or didn't have the latest pci slots, but this one only seems to differ by the size of the HD (160 vs 250) and the stock graphics card (6600LE vs. 6600). The HD size doesn't really make much of a difference because I can either have it BTO upgraded to the 250 for $60 or more likely get a 300+ gig SATA drive for $100+. And the graphics card, I planned on upgrading anyways to the 7800gt.

    btw, will the better graphics card make things any faster when I'm working with editing photos and videos?
     
  21. CubeHacker macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

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    #21
    Nope. The graphics hard will helps with games and anything that might use 3d acceleration or core image (such as Apple's Motion). It won't help with editing photo's in photoshop or video's in iMovie.
     
  22. MUCKYFINGERS macrumors 6502a

    MUCKYFINGERS

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    #22
    in the computer labs at my univ campus the imac g4s run safari and such just fine...
     
  23. BlizzardBomb macrumors 68030

    BlizzardBomb

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    #23
    And congratulations for winning the "exaggeration of the year award"! A 500Mhz iMac G3 runs Safari without flinching. Go for a Rev.C iMac G5 20". If you really think you need the power, get a Power Mac but don't go for a quad :)
     
  24. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #24
    Get an IMac

    For your needs a 20" Intel Imac would be perfect. The iLife programs run faster on the iMac then on the PowerMac. Why spend twice as much or a slower computer?

    If you were a full tie Photoshop user and needed a computer _today_ then get the G5 PowerMac but if you are doing iLife stuff the Intel iMac is the thing to get.

    Never buy a computer before you need it. Wait until the last possable second Used G5 PowerMacs will be seling dirt cheep in early 2007 as everyone will be buying the newer Intel models. In just 6 months the G5 wil loose it's apeal because UBs will be available so don't think of any G5 as an "investment".
     
  25. MUCKYFINGERS macrumors 6502a

    MUCKYFINGERS

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    #25
    yeah... i need a powermac quad core for running safari and office :)
     

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