2008 3.2 Octo Vs 2009 2.26 Octo

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by homemade, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. homemade macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    OK... I get the impression some people will be irked by this question, but after reading far too many posts on this forum my head is spinning, and I need advice.

    I never thought I'd be considering an older model, but looking at some of the benchmark tests and baring in mind the HUGE price increases, I've a quandry I didn't expect.

    I could afford a new 2 x 2.26 (£2500), but it seems 2008 2 x 3.2 macs are going 2nd hand now for as little as £1300, and then I could afford some nice upgrading. If I could afford a new 2 x 2.66 then I would, but it's a whopping £3620 (let's not even mention the criminally expensive 2.93!)

    Resale is of no importance to me, nor is the kudos of owning the latest model. I want to use my new purchase for 3D (C4D) - so the most power for my budget is paramount (aside from it being a Mac!).

    I notice people keep referring to the new RAM also, but that's currently going over my head.

    In the past it's been so easy! I'd be very grateful for some wisdom.

    Many thanks

  2. More macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2008
    If someone is seriously selling a 2008 3.2GHz mac pro for £1300 they're obviously clinically insane. Apple refurb price was £2400 so a good second hand price will clock in around £2200 as they should hold their value well.

    If you can find it at £1300 then this thread is pointless. The 3.2GHz is either equal or faster than the 2.26GHz 2009 mac pro at £2499. A £1199 difference.

    You're not kidding!

  3. homemade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    Thanks for the reply.

    I've seen it in Classifieds (in more than one sense of the word!).

    Let's assume that £1300 figure is an anomaly - I haven't heard back from the seller so it probably got sold in the blink of an eye - and my option is a 3.2 at £2000. What then? My question still stands, regarding my budget and my needs.


    Just seen your edited reply.... so even at similar prices, the 2008 3.2 trumps for 2009 2.26?
  4. More macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2008
    You may find a 2008 2.8GHz mac pro for that kind of price if you're lucky. It's upto you really. I bought a 3.2GHz about 7 weeks ago and am GLADx100 that I didn't wait for the new mac pros.
  5. More macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2008
    This has been covered a squillion times in other threads but the 3.2GHz mac pro is a lot faster than the 2.26GHz 2009 for single threaded tasks. The 2.26GHz is just as fast as the 3.2GHz at multi-threaded tasks if you use a lot of multi-core aware applications. Mind you a lot of multi-core aware apps barely use 4 cores in my 8 core 3.2GHz so the limiting factor is the software.

    Hope that helps.

    PS. If it was me and I had a £2500 budget for a new Mac Pro right now I'd be hunting down a 2008 3.2GHz refurb from Apple if I could find one or try to find a mint condition one on eBay. I'd be looking to spend around £2200 for a mint unit (maybe even more) and would use the extra for RAM or an Intel X25-M boot drive.
  6. homemade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    You've helped a lot - the info I'd acquired dotted about this forum was very piecemeal (and at times contradictory) - too much for my tiny mind to process! So thanks muchly.

    So the picture I'm building is that the old 3.2 is definitely the better option for me, unless I'm willing to cough up another £1100 for the new 2.66.

    Also, I'd rather not give up my FW400 ports just yet (not that it's a deal breaker!).

    I've pretty much made up my mind, but could anyone explain in layman's what the pros of the new RAM are please? (and if there are any cons)
  7. homemade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009

    Just found these benchmarks which have reawakened my uncertainty...


    The Cinebench test (which I guess is most relevant to me) shows a slight performance increase of the 2008 3.2 over the 2009 2.26, however the 3.2 gets a pummeling in the Geekbench scores.

    Information overload!! :confused:

    Maybe I should flip a coin.
  8. Fomaphone macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2009
    what is the most you've ever lost on a coin toss?

    they're both great machines. if money is tight right now, go for the 3.2 for the cheaper RAM, the non first-REV tech, and most of all it's decent power. if what you need is a fast machine, you'll find it in the 3.2 for less money.

    but you are sacrificing faster RAM (really only an issue if you've got really fast hard drives anyway), apple care (potentially, depending on where you buy it), and the benefits of the new architecture. if that's worth the cash to you, then bite the bullet and still end up with an awesome computer
  9. More macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2008
    The Geekbench score takes memory into account in its benchmark score. The new 2009 systems have a faster memory architecture so this is why the geekbench score is more. This doesn't mean that the 2.26GHz is faster in overall performance.
  10. homemade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009

    Thanks for both your replies. The scales are tipping, once again (slightly), in favour of the 3.2.
  11. More macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2008
    If you'll benefit massively from multi-core apps you should just go for the 2.26GHz. It'll give you the same performance as the 3.2GHz and it has the newer architecture. The only downside to the 2.26GHz model is that single-core apps that use a single thread will suffer a bit. I use Illustrator CS3/4 and it barely makes use of any multi-core stuff except for the PS filters. I'd rather have the extra horsepower for it thus my choice.

    Music software like Reason only use one core too so you're better having the raw clock speed - the 3.2GHz makes more sense.

    Basically you need to balance these things out and make the decision. :)
  12. homemade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    I currently have a dual G5 (seen better days!) and a core 2 duo MacBook Pro (which has become my main Mac). In all honesty, for Photoshop and Illustrator work I didn't even have a problem with the speed of the G5. It's with C4D I primarily want to see massive performance increases (and also After Effects to a lesser degree).

    C4D (a 64Bit multi-core app) is the basis for the cinebench test, which indicates slightly in favour of the 3.2 over the 2.26. Along with your advice, that's one of the key reasons I was veering back towards the 3.2.

    I'm a bit confused now - do you still think I should go for the 2.26? I'm indecisive at the best of times!
  13. More macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2008
    If it was me and I had approx £2500 allocated to a purchase of a mac pro I'd give the 2.26 a miss and get a 2008 3.2. Simple as that, especially when you can now get the ATI 4870 card :)

    That's just me. I just can't see the benefits of spending extra to get the 2.26 for less performance, even though the new architecture is nice with the faster memory system.
  14. homemade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    Alright... that's settles it.... 3.2 it is!

    *high 5*

    (cue someone to tell me I should get the 2.26 ;) )
  15. PowerPaw macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2009
    For about the same money as a 2.93GHz 8 core you could get the 2.26GHz 8 core... with 2 x 30" ACDs!!! Hmmm.

    Also, something that amused me on a Mac Pro overclocking thread:

    "My 2.8 GHz 8core worked with 3.4 GHz. In Cinema 4D the ~20% speed increase is notable, and measuring with a stopwatch confirmed it. The rendering time went from about one minute to slightly under 50 seconds...

    But I didn't restart the machine or tested the settings for a long time. As long as my mac is faster than me I dont see any necessity to overclock it. In e few years perhaps..."


    I think in the case of the 3.2GHz vs 2.26GHz its a question of what is fast enough - personally I'll chose the newer Nehalem technology and see where that takes me over the next few years. The faster 2009 alternatives just don't present great financial sense for the enthusiast where you can get more out of the money with a stupidly large display area unless of course you already have one of thoses too :D
  16. homemade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    Yeh, the 2.93 has been priced into the Stratosphere. But I sure do covet it.

    Quite funny picturing that guy using a stopwatch, especially when C4D displays a render time read-out! Why not use an egg-timer?

    Thanks for your input, but I'm still leaning towards the 3.2 over the 2.26 given my budget and the cinebench test (C4D is where it really counts for me), unless some compelling evidence is revealed to convince me otherwise.
  17. Fomaphone macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2009
    i assume you've already looked into all possible discounts... student, ADC, business, third party pricing, etc?
  18. xgman macrumors 601


    Aug 6, 2007
    I was thinking about selling my 3.2 system and upgrading to one of the 2009's, but the more I read, the more I am hesitant. Seems like the only real performance difference I would actually notice is if I went whole hog octo 2.9's, but at such an extreme cost ratio, doesn't make much sense. I wonder how long till either the next speed bump or a price break on these 2009's?
  19. intenseinsense macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2009
    Go with the 3.2

    You're talking about differences in SECONDS here. I wouldn't mind waiting a whole 2minutes/year to save 1000$.

    The 3.2 will be a more than a formidable machine for 3 years, then start to decline at 4.
  20. homemade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    Not really, but I don't think they're applicable to me :( (I'm a self-employed motion / web designer). By business discount, do you mean a lease?

    The consensus seems to be that the 2.66 and 2.93, are nice upgrades, but at poor value - I guess some users won't care about the price of the 2.93, but Apple appear to have created a new top tier of consumer (I wish I was in it!).

    The 2.26 is unconvincing though, it doesn't seem right I should be considering last year's model. If the 2.66 was the price of the 2.26, I'd have already made a purchase. If I buy a used 3.2 Apple won't make a penny from me.

    You're probably right... but the whole point of this thread was for me to determine which mac will give me the best performance for my budget (even if we're talking seconds). Also if you're doing 3D animations i.e. thousands of frames, with different passes, then those seconds do add up.

    Still with the 3.2.
  21. summitscout macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2009
    For me, an important consideration is the life-span of the machine. In 4-5 years when I am still using the machine for something, will I be glad I purchased the new technology against being outmoded or will I be regretful that I went with old technology (which may not run then-current software) to save a few hundred bucks over those years.

    I suggest you consider the time span in which you'll be using the machine and amortize the cost differential over that time as a measure of how much the difference in price is worth to you.
  22. PowerPaw macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2009
    Barefeats had some interesting results yesterday based on a 12GB configuration 2.26GHz where they discuss the 'triple channel' effect.

    I'm glad seconds don't bother me in this game - I feel you pain. I hope we see some more definitive and meaningful benchmarks soon though :)
  23. homemade thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    I wish it were a few hundred bucks... The difference between a 2.26 and 2.66 is enough to buy a 24 inch iMac!

    I take your point regarding obsolescence, but I expect I'll upgrade again within 4 years or so, so hopefully it won't be a factor.

    I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for those. In the meantime, my eyes are peeled for a 3.2 bargain!
  24. MadisonTate macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2008
    You'll be happy with either machine. Really.

    Just don't fool yourself into thinking the old machines are just as fast as the new. Snow Leopard and the software being released during the next few years will change that.

    The important question is...do you actually need 8 cores, or even 4? Other than bragging rights, do you do anything with the machine that's actually slow?

    C4D has not been optimized for Nehalem yet, and you're not running Snow Leopard. But does it really matter for you?
  25. MCHR macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009

    That is the single strongest statement on this 'board at the moment. Most power users have their machines for 4 or 5 years. Getting into a new machine with last year's technology may seem like it's "saving" you a few hundred now, but the difference of $1000 over 5 years comes to $200/year. Is that worth it to you? Only you can answer that.

    Plus, what happens when plug ins, software, and OS upgrades are accellerating the newer models? You won't be able to compare a 2008 to a 2009 when these happen, but having the newer architecture may leave you satisfied with your MP for another year or two, or??

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