2.93 Quad or 2.66 Octo

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Schkeen, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. Schkeen macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #1
    Ok guys, enough is enough, I cannot decide which machine to buy. So this is my final posting but need as much feedback as possible.

    Choosing between 2.93 Quad or 2.66 Octo. Both will have more than enough RAM, 4870 video card and 3 TB HDD.

    Main reason for using machine is video editing, dvd authoring, photoshop and lightroom. For video and dvd, I will most likely stick with Adobe Premiere and Encore.

    I know these apps don't take full use of the 8 cores and RAM, and no one knows when they will.

    However, that aside, which processor is going to be overall better in speed and performance? Please don't point me too speed test cause I've read all of them and have no idea what I'm looking at anymore.

    As for the money to spend, either one is within budget, but at the same time, I don't want to waste $3000 (I am buying two machines) on the octo if I don't need it.

    As much feedback as possible would be great.
     
  2. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #2
    I use my 2.93 Quad for video editing (1080p HD AVCHD converted to ProRes) on Final Cut Studio and it doesn't even break a sweat.

    I always say that the Octo's can really only be justified if you make money with the machine (and can realize a positive ROI on the added investment) or someone else is buying it for you (company, grant, etc.). Otherwise, the diminishing returns are just not worth it.

    Some will argue that as software becomes more mutli-threaded, you will be better able to exploit the added cores in an Octo - making it more future proof. The thing is that by the time that happens, middle of the road workstations of the day will have 6-8 cores per CPU so why waste money on that now when you can't really leverage it?

    Besides, real performance advances will come from leveraging the GPU... that's where we will start to see an order of magnitude improvement in some tasks. I believe buying a top of the line GPU is a better way to hedge your bets than buying another CPU.

    Personally, I'd rather buy a $3000 workstation every 3 years than try to make a $5000 workstation last 6. However, everyone's different.
     
  3. goodcow macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2007
    #3
    I just bought an octo 2.26 with a 4870 and 12GB RAM.

    I debated getting a quad but figured for $800 more (or $400 more with the 2.93) it was worth getting four more cores and double the RAM. I also don't like how the quad had four RAM slots, it seemed gimped to give triple channel memory four slots and not something logical like six.
     
  4. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    #4
    I'd get the 2.66GHz Octo because of these reasons.

    1) Snow Leopard
    2) 2.66GHz can still clock up to 2.93GHz with turbo boost
    3) 8 core is always better than 4
    4) 8 RAM slots instead of 4
     
  5. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #5
    I really don't think trading clock speed for cores is a sound decision right now... nor will it ever be. Clock speed is still king on CPU's... it impacts every task you do. Really, beyond 2 cores, added cores are of value in very limited circumstances (encoding, rendering, and similar tasks). So if you do these tasks, and time is money, absolutely buy as many cores as you can.

    Even with an improved multi-threaded framework available in Snow Leopard, it will take time for applications to be coded to take advantage of it and I strongly feel that developers will get more of a boost from leveraging the GPU (OpenCL) instead. When you look at the tasks that currently benefit from multi-threading such as encoding and rendering, you can immediately see that they will benefit tremendously from the hundreds of cores a GPU has rather than trying to leverage the 4 or 8 cores available in the CPU(s).

    While I know I'm probably in the minority here, I forsee the ultimate computer hardware build out in the near future to be a high-clock CPU, dual GPU's with 1-2GB VRAM (or as much as possible), and SSD's in RAID.
     
  6. Plutonius macrumors 603

    Plutonius

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Location:
    New Hampshire
  7. Plutonius macrumors 603

    Plutonius

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #7
    1) I would wait on the release of SL and subsequent benchmarks. I believe that OpenCL will make the biggest difference in speed (not 4 vs 8 cores).
    2) 2.93GHz will clock even higher with turbo boost.
    3) Depends on what you are doing. As mentioned above, clock speed > number of cores depending on what you are running.
    4) Depending on what you are using it for, 4 slots can be adequate. It will cost you more in the Quad though for the same amount of RAM.

    In the end, it's your money and both machines are very nice.
     
  8. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #8
    The obvious answer to that is of course the 2008 2.8. ;)
     
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #9
    Yep. :)

    LOL. Quite true though. ;) The '08 is very attractive now, and even better for internal hardware RAID implementations.

    Definitely something the OP should take a serious look at. :D
     
  10. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #10
    Actually the 2.93 quad and the 2.66 quad will both boost to 3.06GHz for up to 4 cores on the 8-core; afterward you have the advantage of more cores.
     
  11. Schkeen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #11
    New to macs and processors, but can you explain turbo boosting?
     
  12. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #12
    You should look it up on Intel's site. They made it so they'll have the best explanation - by far. Heck, they even have videos of how it works. :)
     
  13. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    #13
    1) Open CL will be huge but it'll be a start when SL hits, possibly in 3-5 years it'll contribute massively? Arnt we forgetting one of the bigger features? Grand Central.

    2) 2.93GHz is still another $1200 on top, I would rather have the 2.66GHz 8 core that can still clock close to 3GHz (not that big of a difference in speed for the price imho).

    3) Not really, I have a 2.26GHz 8 core and while doing heavy multitasking (8 spaces worth), running 2 vmware (linux and vista) and the CPU activity fluctuates between 8%-25%, only when I am encoding a 1080p mkv file of 15GB+ that I've seen the CPU go up to 70-95%.

    4) Triple channel cannot be achieved with the memory banks being full, so you will never reach that maximum memory speed. Its much easier/cheaper to reach higher GB of RAM while reaching the triple channel on the 8 core.

    In the end I agree with your last comment, both machines are nice and the OP has to make his own decision for the price/performance that he needs.

    I also was torn between a 2.26GHz or a 2.66GHz 8 core machine but I decided that $1400 didnt justify the difference in speed between the two.

    Maybe if I relied on heavy rendering all day the 2.66GHz would have been my choice (or the 2.93GHz) but I didnt need it. I would say 80% of the time my 2.26GHz machine's CPU activity hardly ever goes above 20% anyway.

    I just came to my own conclusion that the quads are too expensive for what it is. I also do think the 8 cores are overpriced but still a better value than the quads.
     

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