2.66 Smackdown: 8-Core Clovertown 1,1 vs. 4-core Nehalem 4,1

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by JPamplin, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. JPamplin macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #1
    Here's an interesting situation: I just picked up a 2.66Ghz 4-core (8-thread), single-CPU 2009 Nehalem Mac Pro 4,1 with 8GB of RAM (4x2GB) for a REALLY good price. So I currently use a 2006 MacPro1,1 with upgraded dual 4-core Clovertowns at 2.66 Ghz and 8GB of RAM.

    So I've got an older 8-core Pro1,1 versus a brand-new "8-thread" Pro4,1. Same clock speed, same RAM... what would happen if I took the same drives and video card out of my 1,1 - would the 4,1 keep up, lag behind, or blow it away? Would different ports/expansion be an issue? What about heat/power?

    The results are in. Since it's EXACTLY the same software setup, on exactly the same drives / video - the test really concentrated on the "guts" of each system, trying to compare Apples to Apples (heh.)

    Setup: ATI 3870; 3-drive, 3TB RAID0, 10.6.1

    XBench:

    1,1 - 188.92
    4,1 - 259.61 (some CPU, memory, video, and HDs all faster)

    Geekbench:

    (32-bit) 1,1 - 9431 4,1 - 8431
    (64-bit) 1,1 - 10319 4,1 - 9410
    (rosetta) 1,1 - 4158 4,1 - 3682

    Cinebench R10:

    (Rendering, 1-CPU) 1,1 - 2880 4,1 - 3589
    (Rendering, 8-CPU) 1,1 - 16414 4,1 - 14650
    (OpenGL) 1,1 - 5359 4,1 - 6302

    iBench:

    1,1 - 3.01
    4,1 - 3.93

    Handbrake (DVD to x264):

    1,1 - 21 minutes
    4,1 - 22 minutes, 10 seconds


    Other considerations: The 4,1 generates far less heat and draws less power than the 1,1. The 4,1 has one less SATA port due to the DVD drive, which is an issue for me with 6 SATA drives in the 1,1. The 4,1 is also 64-bit clean, with EFI64 and supporting the 64-kernel, if that's your thing. Lastly, since the 4,1 runs everything on a daughtercard, the day might come where you can change out the daughtercard to support dual-CPUs and 8 RAM slots.

    So, I'll keep both probably, and sell my PCs. ;-)

    JP
     

    Attached Files:

  2. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #2
    Fascinating. Thanks for the benches. Looks like Nehalem's tech and hyperthreading doesn't quite make up for having more real cores. Let's hope that dual processor systems are more affordable in the Gulftown Mac Pro (I think everybody's hoping for a return to Harpertown pricing).
     
  3. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

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    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #3
    Thanks for the benches. My X5365 Octad was even faster and smoked a Quad in Handbrake and Cinebench any day.
     
  4. JPamplin thread starter macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #4
    @TheStrudelMeister:

    It really depends on what you want to do with it. For single-threaded tasks, the Nehalem pretty much blows the Clovertowns away (considering you're doing it with one CPU versus 2) due to much faster memory. Even the 3870 likes the faster subsystems as shown in the OpenGL test.

    But if you're in Handbrake, all day every day, and heat/power are of no concern to you, then yes, the 1,1 is slightly faster.

    Considering that I'm not using that kind of app all day, I'm leaning toward the Nehalem as my primary machine. Things feel snappier on it. Only real problems are a) 5 SATA ports, and NO FIREWIRE 400 port, so I have to go buy an adapter, dammit. ;-)

    JP
     
  5. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #5
    Isn't this sad that all Intel really has to show after 2 generations of processors is effectively reduced heat and power consumption?

    Supports my assertions that Intel's strategy is taking us no where... http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=804189
     
  6. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Location:
    UK
    #6
    I would have never thought that the Quad is that fast.
    Impressive benchmarks!
     
  7. JPamplin thread starter macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
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    #7
    I wouldn't say that, really. It goes to show that one 4-core, 8-thread Nehalem is basically the same as two 4-core Clovertown from 3 years ago. Getting 100% more performance out of a CPU in 3 years isn't standing still, is it?

    JP
     
  8. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #8
    Yes, I was confused.... thought it was 4 cores vs. 4 cores. :eek:

    So do you attribute this to hyperthreading or other architectural changes?

    You mention that Nehalem has "much faster memory", which architecturally is indisputable, but realistically the huge cache on both processors somewhat diminishes the real-world gains, no? For example, tests were recently conducted on Nehalem which showed little difference between single, dual, or tri-channel memory configurations which really means that the cache is too large for memory performance to become an issue.
     
  9. JPamplin thread starter macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

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    Nashville, TN
    #9
    Well, both the Clovertown and Nehalem have 8MB L2 caches, so there's no difference there. I think the memory bandwidth has a lot to do with it - seriously, the XBench memory scores for the 4,1 were 3-4X the 1,1. I'll be happy to post the detail.

    JP
     
  10. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #10
    From the perspective of apps actually going multi-core and greater than 4 GB of RAM, all the stuff I like to do like video editing and encoding, 8 cores definitely seems worth the extra scratch you pay out. But I bought in at Harpertown, when going 4 core was actually not the default option and not worth the minimal cost savings.

    More cores will be worth even more, though, when  finally gets around to writing all the Pro Apps for Snow Leopard. Still eagerly awaiting the day when I can store a project in RAM...
     
  11. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #11
    You might want to consider selling that 2.66GHz Quad Mac Pro and place an order for a 2.8Ghz Core i7 27" iMac. They're far cheaper and would be a fair chunk faster and would also give you that gorgeous 27" display. You could keep the 8 core 1,1 Mac Pro and use it as extra processing power and hard drive storage if you like and if you get a 4870 for it you could use the iMac's display with it too. Of course, you could also just sell both of your machines, get an i7 iMac and buy a stack of external drive cases and save yourself a pretty penny.

    If I didn't have a 30" ACD and dual 4870's in my 1,1 Mac Pro then I'd probably do the same. I'm sorely tempted as it is although don't think I'd be happy losing 3" of screen size, 400,000 pixels and my Crossfire setup. However, I've been planning on buying a new Octo for a while but by my current calculations, I could get a 2.8GHz i7 iMac + a Dell 2.8GHz i7 machine for about £100 more than a 2.26Ghz Octo Mac Pro would cost me. Mind you, I'd have to get a dual-link dvi switch on top of that.
     
  12. JPamplin thread starter macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

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    Nashville, TN
    #12
    Wow those 27" i7 iMacs look great don't they? I must admit it's tempting. Then I remember I have 2 Mac Pros now with tons of expandability that the iMac can't match. Heck I just showed my upgraded 3-year-old 1,1 standing toe-to-toe with a 4,1 - you can't say that with a 3 year old iMac!

    I think I'll keep the Pros and upgrade them later. At least with them, I can.

    JP
     
  13. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #13
    Yeah, quite true. I think I'm just blown away at the 27"s screen and price but although its far far better value than the current Mac Pros, they can at least change. My 1,1 Mac Pro now has dual 1GB 4870s for Crossfire in Windows, over 6TB in storage and 6GB of RAM. Had I bought an iMac at the time (not really a fair comparison compared to the new iMacs) then I'd have a 2.16Ghz Core 2 Duo 24" iMac with a GeForce 7600GT. However, the difference with iMacs is that you can upgrade more frequently. With the new iMacs I could conceivably over three years upgrade the CPU and replace a second Windows computer to use the video in with a whole new system over the three years and could end up spending about the same.

    To be honest, why don't you sell the 4 core Nehalem and put the money in the bank. Also be ready to sell the 2.66GHz Quad when the Mac Pros get updated. I'm sure they'll be updated within the next three months or so and then you could get a far better value for money system than the 2.66Ghz Quad. I'd guess you'd have enough money for a new Octo core Mac Pro - I'd guess that you could get a 2.66GHz Octo Nehalem for about the same as the current 2.26Ghz Octo. That's what I would do, especially this close to refresh time.
     
  14. JPamplin thread starter macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #14
    That's an interesting idea, but the 1,1 is out of warranty and the 4,1 is very much in warranty, and I don't use multi-threaded apps that much anyway right now. I think selling the 1,1 with a 23" Cinema HD would be an attractive package on eBay (unless someone is willing to make me an offer here). Do we even have a buy/sell forum here?

    JP
     
  15. airplaneman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #15
    The marketplace, I think.
     

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