2x2=4 cores vs. 4x1=4 cores

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ephraim909, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. ephraim909 macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2007
    I have a question regarding the new Mac Pros vs. the last model. I have the last generation (2 x 2.66 Dual Core) and am currently looking to help a friend purchase a Mac Pro. It will be used mainly for photography work (Lightroom, Photoshop, etc.) While looking at the online store earlier today, I was checking out the refurbished models and happened to notice that there was a model exactly like mine for $2k and also one of the newer models, except a four-core model, with what seemed to me to be higher specs (more RAM, faster RAM, bigger hard drive, etc.) that was also priced at $2k. This was somewhat confusing to me because I was under the impression that 4-cores was 4-cores, no matter how you sliced it. Is there some type of benefit to having multiple processors, even if it amounts to the same number of cores? I have advised her to stay away from the 8-core model and instead stock up on RAM and drive space because in the time I have used my Mac Pro (graphic design, photography) I have never gotten close to working at full-power or seen any slow down. 8-cores seems like overkill to me for her purposes. I am however concerned about the difference between 1 and 2 processors now. Any thoughts?

    P.S. The newer refurbished model appears to be gone now, so apparently it was a pretty good deal!
  2. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    We had workstations with two dual-core Xeons (so 2x2) and ones with one or two quad-core Xeons (so 4x1 or 4x2). I found the single quad-core Xeon to be a bit quicker then the twin dual-core in general. Video, memory, systemboard and HDDs were the same between the two.
  3. JML42691 macrumors 68020


    Oct 24, 2007
    I can't speak towards the cores as I honestly have no clue. But do not have your friend upgrade the RAM through Apple, they charge outrageous fees for RAM and you can buy RAM for much cheaper prices for the same thing from another company (Crucial, Newegg, ect.).
  4. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2004
    To answer your question, both are similar in performance. I think the new single quad is actually anywhere from 5-10% faster, depending on the task. This is due to improvements in the architecture, plus more cache. If you want to compare, check out barefeats.com. They have extensive tests between Macs.


    That has a comparison between the old Woodcrest 2 x 3.0 Ghz dual-core and new Harpertown 1 x 2.8 Ghz quad-core machines. Looks like the single-proc quad is on par with the faster dual-proc quad. With that in mind, the new single quad seems to be more efficient and faster at the same clock speed, not to mention much better power savings.
  5. ephraim909 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2007
    Thanks for the replies everyone. That clears up a lot. It will definitely help in our search.

    We will definitely be buying all the extras from elsewhere. Macsales most likely. That is where I bought everything for my machines, and have had no problems whatsoever. Thanks again. Off to keep an eye on the refurbished store!

    On that note, anyone ever had problems with refurbished Apple Cinema Diaplays? Trying to save every dollar possible!
  6. ChemiosMurphy macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2007
    Warminster, PA
    The Dell 2408 is a much better deal... Cheaper and has a whole slew of inputs like HDMI, commponent. I like it better than the ACD.
  7. Velin macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
    Well, that depends if the Dell is an IPS panel. Depending on which model they are considering, the Apple Cinema Displays are H-IPS, which is the best consumer display technology (albeit the most expensive).

    If the goal is photoshop work, I'd recommend you get an IPS or H-IPS panel for sure.

    I've got an H-IPS NEC monitor, I'll never go back to TN or PVA panels.
  8. mamcx macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2008
    The advantage of have a single 8 core is that you have other slot free to put another 8 ;)

    The kind of apps you mention not benefit that much for that kind of cores. I only think of rendering for get VERY good advantages.

    I currently have a Sun Ultra M4 with 4 cores & 8 GB RAM. Is used by my and somethings I run:

    - Windows 2008, Sql Server 2005, Firefox, Anti-CrapWare software, Word or Excel 2007, other minor things and:

    Inside VMWARE machine#1:

    -Windows 2003 with 2 GB ram, Sql Server 2005 local, VS.NET, Delphi (the best!), Komodo, Python, Firefox, Postgress, Apache, MySql (I don't run all the db at time, but the services start up), my own apps or websites

    Inside VMWARE machine#2:

    - Windows 2000, Sql Server 2000 local, Several apps tested by me, other stuff

    I can't trash my computer. I only see "lags" because the crappy internet connection and vista himself. I can't cope my ram.

    Some of that days I fire up Call of duty 4 and play it very well!

    Then my brother use 3d Studio max 9 and he see increible result. A render that cost 15 hours take 3 hours here. That App can take the whole system, but if I run another app some cpus give it love and not see big slowtime.

    My problems are the hard disk (a single one).
  9. OZMP macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2008
    faster FSB on the newer models. i don't know how that would affect it tho.
  10. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Mar 7, 2008
    Actually.... better phrasing it... the last updates to FSB. Intel is getting rid of FSB forever and ever more in Nehalem and Montevina (the next platform, MB/P updates to carry this) will be its last platform to support FSB.
  11. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    The Dell is an S-PVA.

    One could argue that for a "consumer", who may put more emphasis on watching movies and playing games, the S-PVA panel is actually better as it has faster response times and deeper blacks.

    Agreed. IPS panels do offer the best color accuracy, so they are excellent for photo or print work.

Share This Page