2.8ghz 8-Core or the new 2.66ghz Quad Nehalem?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by nomotivs, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. nomotivs macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2009
    Hi Everyone, I'm buying my first mac and it will be used for photo processing, audio recording, and general multitasking. I've narrowed it down to two choices which will be about the same price (roughly $2000). Which would you choose?

    2.8ghz 8-Core
    500GB HD, 4GB DDR2 800mhz
    ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB
    Used, about a year old with 2 years of warranty left


    New 2.66ghz Nehalem Quad Core
    640GB, 3GB DDR3 1066mhz
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB GDDR3
    Full warranty that I could extend to 3 years.

    I'm sure both will work fine for my needs but which will have the better performance now and which do you think will have the better resale after 2 years? Any other factors that I should consider? Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. clownjuggles macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2009
    No reason to get the quad core. It is too crippled but so is the ability to stay up to date with your equipment if you use it professionally.
  3. KD7IWP macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2004
    American living in Canada
    I'd love to know how you can get either for $2000
  4. nicolasmasset macrumors regular

    May 25, 2007
  5. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    go the 2.66GHz Nehalem. it will last you MUCH longer than the older 2.8GHz (which is already older technology). longevity is the key. :)
  6. myca macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2005
    If you're using Pro Tools get the old model, seems that the new mac pros play up with Pro Tools, and digidesign take an age to update their software.

    As a side note, last years model should work with everything right now, it can hold more Ram, and in some tasks it has repotadely been seen to be more powerful than the quad 2.6. The quad, being new tech will have problems with some software, of that I've no doubt, but fixes will come and may make it work better than on the octo 2.8.

    If I was in your shoes I'd go for last years model, and I think the quad won't keep it's value as well as the octo 2.8, especially if Apples next update the Mac Pros are all 8 core, and they actually include either 9 or 12 Ram slots for proper triple channel memory, after all 8 isn't a multiple of 3 :confused:
  7. Ploki macrumors 68030

    Jan 21, 2008
    longetivity of having one whole CPU (not cpu core, one whole CPU) less, and 8GB ram limit :S id say think twice

    despite everything audio does use multicore
  8. nicolasmasset macrumors regular

    May 25, 2007
    Yeah, but the quad nehalem can act as an 8 core, can't it? And owc offers up to 16gb ram on the quad, so given these figures, still the old 8 core?
  9. Amethyst macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2006
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    4GB DIMM's are being offered by OWC, so it's currently 16GB vs. 32GB. As larger DIMM's drop, it will get even better for the Quads in respect to memory. Unfortunately, it's a little expensive ATM, as no other vendors have been spotted yet.

    Perhaps others are waiting for a simultaneous release with Intel's Xeon line. ;) So perhaps the wait won't be long at all. :D
  11. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Jun 3, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    I had the same choice earlier today. Went for the 2.8GHz Octo.

    The new quad only beats it in single-threaded tasks, but for multi-tasking, multi-threading etc the octo is better.

    plus for me was $700 cheaper (damn the aussie dollar)
  12. nicolasmasset macrumors regular

    May 25, 2007
    But do we really know it's better? Shouldn't it be the same when the quad utilizes it's 2 threads per core technology?
  13. iMacmatician macrumors 601

    Jul 20, 2008
    Two threads on one core aren't as good as two physical cores. Generally I believe the 8-core Harpertown beats the 4-core Gainestown on tasks that use 8 cores. And the quad-core 2009 Mac Pros have 4 slots of RAM as opposed to the 8 on the octo-core 2009s and previous Mac Pros.
  14. soldierblue macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2009
    You get that 8-core. No reason NOT to. Do it.
  15. MIDI_EVIL macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2006
    So if OWC are offering 4GB Dimms for the Quad, does this 'confirm' that they've tried it with 16GB?

    Is there an article published by OWC stating this?
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    They specialize in Mac components, but I didn't see a specific page, link, etc.

    But I did stumble on this:

    It helps reduce the risk of trying it, but given their business revolves around Macs, it's highly likely they'll work. ;)
  17. myca macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2005
    The few tests that compare the octo 2.8 against the quad 2.66 on barefeats show that the 2.8 out performs it by some margin at times, and the old 2.8 gets quite close to the new octo 2.26.

    So as far as price/performance goes at this moment in time the octo 2.8 seems a much better deal.

    Waiting for software to get updated that may take advantage of the new quads hyper threading properly is a bit hit and miss, you never know when it's gonna be released, or whether you'll have to pay for the new features. You could be waiting six weeks, six months or more.

    There is also an argument that real cores will beat the virtual cores performance, so the octo 2.8 was a good deal last year, at refurb prices it's a steal IMHO.
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    If a user's needs can utilize the memory throughput capability of the new models, it may be well worth getting one. If not, it's a much harder call. The new machines are quite nice, and have a good deal to offer performance wise, but the pricing structures are a sticking point for many.

    When looked at from a price/performance POV, the '09 models are a hard pill to swallow, and makes the used/refurb '08's really attractive.
  19. nicolasmasset macrumors regular

    May 25, 2007
    When is the memory throughput capability beneficial? I would use it for electronic music with ableton and some pop/rock with logic. Nothing with massive orchestral libraries or such..
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Apps that use large amounts of memory. Simulations, 3D rendering,...are applications that can, and hopefully, actually do. ;)

    I'm not familiar enough with Ableton, as I've never had the opportunity to use it. But I'm under the impression that it can, if enough libraries are used.

    Hopefully, another member can chime in, and give you some details that pertain to your situation. :)
  21. nicolasmasset macrumors regular

    May 25, 2007
    Thanks, I'll just lay out my options. These are the business prices I can get:
    What do you guys think? Again, logic or ableton live, with vst plugins etc. Perhaps a bit of vacation foto importing, but no RAW, and no video editing! Just the music apps with some cpu hungry plugs and audio!

    - octo 2.8 with stock 2gb ram for 1680€
    - quad 2.6 with stock 3gb ram for 1900€
    - octo 2.26 with stock 6gb ram for 2450€

    And by the way, what's up with the amount of RAM you should put in a machine? Right now I have a macbook with 3gb, and only sometimes do I ever go above 2.5gb usage, so why should I put 16gb's in a mac pro like all the benchmark units do?
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Do you use the macbook the same way you plan to use the new machine?
    How well does it run?

    I'm just trying to get a sense of how hard you'll run it, before offering up an opinion. ;)
  23. nicolasmasset macrumors regular

    May 25, 2007
    Jup, I will use it the same way. Although there is a pretty cpu hungry plugin that I'm going to buy.. Currently, these are the apps I use almost daily:

    - safari, itunes, mail, firefox, adium, skype, dreamweaver, fireworks (all simultaneous. The macbook handles this quite alright)
    - and then the apps that need the pro computer are ableton live, logic and a bunch of processing plugins. When I switch to these apps, I usually quit the ones from the first list because ...

    ... when I launch my audio apps, the macbook really doesn't need that big of a project to start up it's annoying fans. It's really frustrating to make music with a zooming laptop beside you. It doesn't always slow down the mac per se, but it does crash the app quite often when it's being pushed. You can "hear" on almost every project that the macbook's jogging at steady heart rate, and often times running. I want a mac that's walking for the most part. But it doesn't have to have a 50cm shoesize, you know? Just comfy walking, no running!

    That's why I'm kinda thinking that any mac pro will be way better than my macbook, so I might as well get the cheapest one, and just upgrade every 3-4 years instead of shelling out 1000€ more now.

    Rendering (Single CPU): 2152 CB-CPU
    Rendering (Multiple CPU): 3629 CB-CPU
    Multiprocessor Speedup: 1.69
    Shading (OpenGL Standard) : 1109 CB-GFX
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    It looks like you'd benefit from an MP. :) If budget is a concern, one of the Quads would serve you well. If you can spring for an Octo, you'd be able to have more stuff open, but closing things isn't a big deal. ;) :p

    Personally, I think you'd be happy with the Quad. Let budget dictate which clock speed (include any upgrades in cost analysis you may need), as either would be an improvement over what you're using now. :D

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