2008 Mac Pro vs. Retina MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by hotwire132002, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. hotwire132002 macrumors 65816


    Jan 24, 2004
    Cadillac, MI
    I'm considering moving from my 2008 Mac Pro (8-core 2.8Ghz, 10GB RAM) and Mid-2010 MacBook Pro (Dual Core 2.53Ghz, 4GB RAM) to a top-of-the line Retina MacBook Pro, along with a Thunderbolt docking station at my office (so I can quickly and easily plug in to a larger monitor, additional hard drives, a full-size keyboard and mouse, etc)

    My biggest concern is taking a performance hit. My Mac Pro does everything I need right now (which is pretty heavy-duty; most of my work is in Final Cut Studio 3). The only catch is it's not portable -- and more and more of my work is being done on the road. My current MacBook Pro really feels laggy when editing video in Final Cut, to the point that editing more complicated projects can be a pretty painful process. Plus, a lot of my files are split between the two computers, and it would be nice to consolidate everything onto my laptop and have it with me.

    I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with a similar upgrade -- has anyone moved from an older Mac Pro to a Retina MacBook Pro? How does the performance compare? GeekBench scores seem to indicate that the new MacBook Pro is faster than my old Mac Pro, but I know that benchmarks don't necessarily translate to real-world performance.

    Thanks in advance for any insight anyone can provide!
  2. varunkrish macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2009
    I have the base Retina Macbook Pro and it's pretty fast. I'm sure it is faster than the 2008 Mac Pro.

    A friend of mine who uses a recent Mac Pro used my retina MBP and told me it was crazy fast and probably on par with his Mac Pro.

    I think best way for you to decide is make a short test project and run it a Apple Store on a retina macbook pro and decide for yourself :)
  3. gmanist1000 macrumors 68030


    Sep 22, 2009
    You're talking about a 4 year gap from the Mac Pro to the rMBP. You should try a geek bench test of the Mac Pro and compare it with the scores of the new rMBP's.

    I think that the rMBP would be a great machine if you got the top-of-the line specs. Also, the rMBP has an SSD... now I'm not sure what your Mac Pro has but the SSD will make a drastic speed difference.
  4. gregbenz macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2012
    It's fast

    That's exactly the upgrade I just made (quad core Mac Pro 2008 with 10GB RAM and SSD boot drive). Geekbench scores show the Retina with the 2.6 GHz is about double the speed. My experience thus far would suggest that's about right. I have 16GB RAM and SSD in the new computer and use it heavily for Photoshop. I did an identical Photoshop merge layers and timed them:

    New computer: 2 minutes 15 seconds
    Old computer: 6 minutes 51 seconds

    Tried a few other things. Seems to range from 50% to 200% more time with the old machine. Definitely faster!
  5. yoak macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    I'm in exactly the same position, albeit I have an 2009 MBP, but my Mac Pro is as yours. I am first and foremost a dop/cameraman, but do edit some projects.
    My MP is still working flawlessly, but rendering my RED EPIC footage takes ages and I can only edit in 1/8 resolution. I've read people editing 5K in 1/4 resolution on the RMBP.

    I also spend a lot of time traveling and on remote locations so the lighter form factor is also very welcome
    I went to the local Apple reseller and checked out the RMBP yesterday and that screen and the size is really something to behold.
    Hopefully more people can chime in with real world experience
  6. takezo808 macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2011
    Your old Mac Pro is a beast even at today's standards. You will definately see a drop in performance on the Mac Book with Retina expecially with Apps like Final Cut. Video Editing apps are memory hogging and utilize multiple cores. The Mac Book will have the better mor modern GPu so if you are a gamer or into Graphics such as 3D-modelling. The New 15" Mac book pros are superior in that area. Flash memory in retina model is fast but is it's robust, I just don't know, their is not much data for long haul use a flash based medium (constant reads and writes), Solid State medium have a read and write limit wich degrades it's performace over time. Not sure about the flash on Mac Book with Retina. The high end non -retina mac books have the exact hardware as retina. If you order online you can increase resolution from 1440x900 to 1680x1050 resolution which is still pretty high. It makes sense since i belive you are going to use a much larger screen if your into Video Editing. The non retina is still very light in copmarison to high end PC laptops. It has a much larger HDD wich is battle tested for reads and writes wich are crucial to video editing. You can also save a few hundred dollars upgrading RAM yourself (the ram it's self is much cheaper online).
  7. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    This is great news! I have that exact same spec Mac Pro and I am waiting on my rMBP of the exact same spec...I have been worried. That makes me feel a lot better!
  8. Mr Ski 73 macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2007
    Dont forget cooling, with the stuff you are doing a MBP will run very hot compared to a MP
  9. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    If it's an office/work machine keep one thing in mind:

    Ups the hd (or ssd) broke ...

    Mac Pro:
    Get a new one for $100-200, put it in, restore from backup and continue to work within a few hours.

    Retina MacBook Pro:
    Under warranty: send it in to get a replacement machine and continue to work within 1-2 weeks.
    After warranty: get a new machine for $3000 and continue to work within 1-2 weeks.
  10. mastermind865 macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2012
    One difference is that you have a quad core, the original question was about a 8-core machine. I would think that the benchmarks are going to be much closer with the addition of the 4 cores, has anyone benchmarked this yet?

    "Hillbilly math" would have you divide the old computer time in half to allow for the other 4 cores, but I'm not convinced that would be accurate... it could perform better when spread over the additional cores and result in a time faster than the divided time, etc., etc. I don't think it would do it in the 2m15s that your new computer did, but I believe it would be in the ~3m range. Also, by staying with the Mac Pro you have the ability to add more drives at any time, change out drives, add more RAM easily, etc. all while not sinking thousands into the new machine.

    Would it be worth thousands of dollars to trim 45s-1m processing time off? Thats a question that each person has to ask themselves. Personally, I would wait until the next version of OS X comes out (after Mountain Lion), my bet is that Apple is going to make it so that all of our old Mac Pros will not work with the next version and we'll be forced to upgrade. I'll save my money now to get a much better machine later.
  11. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    Early 2011 MacBook Pros were rivaling 2008 Mac Pros. This is old hat at this point.
  12. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Geekbench scores:

    2.7ghz Retina Macbook Pro - 12000
    2.8Ghz Octo Core 2008 Mac Pro - 9500



    Edit: That was 32 bit, 64bit: 13200, 10700.
  13. umbilical macrumors 6502a

    May 3, 2008
    FL, USA
    same thing here!

    macpro 2008, 10gb ram, a SSD

    I think in change for the retina with 16gb ram

    so the retina is more faster ???? yes o no?
  14. apple-juice macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2012
    I thought this benchmark does not factor in SSD HD in the Mac Pro?
    With SSD card + 8 cores, it may still be faster than Retina i think.


  15. umbilical macrumors 6502a

    May 3, 2008
    FL, USA
    I put a samsung ssd 128gb yesterday on my macpro 08! and :eek: is like a new computer! extremely fast and silence; everything now run smooth and I just have 2gb of ram, with 8gb of ram more for total of 10gb I think is enough and I think is more faster than retina... but I move to retina macbook pro in the next gen, I think is the way to go... mobile + cinema display...
  16. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Geekbench is almost solely CPU bound. The processor in the rMBP is faster than an 8 core 2008. And since the rMBP has fewer cores, it should actually do better in day to day tasks as well since each individual core is faster (so non-threaded apps are faster). Further, the SSD in the rMBP is one of the faster available on the market: Samsung 830. This means even putting a super fast SSD in the 2008 is only going to bring it up to part in i/o bound applications and won't surpass the rMBP.
  17. LorenK macrumors 6502

    Dec 26, 2007
    Not to show my ignorance, but if Geekbench is almost solely CPU bound, doesn't that ignore real world then? In doing his projects, it has to go back to the drive, unless it can fit in RAM, so then there is read-write to the SSD for the rMBP and the HDD in the Mac Pro. If he swaps out his HDD in the Mac Pro for a SSD, will that make a difference in his real world use?
  18. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Sure to some extent it would, but when it comes to CPU intensive tasks such as encoding video, CPU power would still win no matter how fast of SSD he has in it. Even if he puts an SSD into the MP it will only put it on par in i/o applications with the rMBP, but behind it in single-threaded and multi-threaded CPU bound applications. About the only thing a 2008 8 core MP has over a maxed out rMBP is that the 2008 MP can do 32GB of RAM (however he only has 10GB in there now) vs only 16 with the rMBP.

    EDIT: A 2008 MP would also be able to take multiple video cards and drive an "infinite" amount of displays, where as the rMBP has a finite amount of displays it can drive due to only 1 GPU.
  19. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Macworld claims that the 15" Retina MacBook Pro is the fastest Mac they've ever tested. So, I believe it. That said, while expansion for Thunderbolt stuff is fairly new and uncommon, expansion for PCI cards is not and you can augment a 2008 Mac Pro in ways you just can't yet with a 15" Retina MacBook Pro.
  20. labarker macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2008
    I sure hope not! (Mind you, I'm still on Lion.) But I'm already reduced to buying second-hand machines. Haven't had a new machine since the only one that ever died on me--one of those trashy clones from PowerComputing. I didn't even consider a MacBook at the time I bought the Mac Pro. I was looking more at the new iMacs versus the 2008 8-core Mac Pro that I eventually bought (January 2012).
  21. clank72 macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2009
    Me too...

    I would like to add on a few things not covered here.

    I just got my rMBP. After seeing the speed I deiced I'm going to sell my 2008 MacPro. After working 3 days on the rMBP, going back to the MacPro felt like a beat up clunker.

    Note: Before getting the rMBP I had a MBP 2009 Core Duo which was the most painfully slow Mac I've ever had. I was smiling ear to ear when I sold it for $650 on ebay. That poor guy.

    Anyway, back to my MacPro. 3X Western Digital Velociraptors and 14GB of RAM. Still. the rMBP knocks it out completely.

    My MacPro was putting out 1120ppi of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) in my small office during summer days with the window shut (for AC). After 3 years of this my platelets blood count was extremely low and my doctor asked me if I was exposed to any CO2. Ummmmm, i think so...

    And heat? Your room should run cooler anyway with a laptop. My MacPro was making my room 82º while the rest of the house was 76º.
  22. AdamSeen macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2013
    How does a Mac Pro release CO2? Unless you're generating the power locally (like in your office), I can't think of any way that would work.
  23. clank72 macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2009
    Hey, you're right. It wasn't the MacPro. It was actually ME being in a closed space. I got an air cleaner to help.

    Without the MacPro things have been much cooler in the office. Love my rMBP.
  24. llirik macrumors member


    Jul 24, 2011
    So the PSU in my 2008 mac pro died today, and after a day of stress of trying to solve the problem any other way, ive had to give it up and switch over my main workflow to my rMBP.... and I gotta say... even though it's connected and powering 2 displays (lid closed)... it feels noticeably snappier than my MP (octo core, 14gb ram, HD 5870 card, SSD boot drive)... all that in this tiny body.

    When I had done geekbench on them both a few months ago, they were both in the 11000 range, so i'm actually quite surprised that the rMBP is working noticeably better.

    So i'm a bit stuck with what i have, and am thinking whether to replace the PSU or to just get the iMac... which should crush both the rMBP and MP, correct?

    Im a filmmaker and designer, so my main apps are FCPX and Photoshop.

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