4,1 with two 2.26 GHz, or 5,1 with 2.8 GHz

Mr_Brightside_@

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I'm currently running a 5,1 with the base 2.8 option and a 5770. I see a 4,1 locally that's running:
2.26GHZ 8 CORE~8GB~1TB

Given the ability to flash, the 4,1 should be a no-brainer to switch to, right? It's an extremely reasonable price.
 

kschendel

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The dual CPU box certainly has more potential. The main issue I can think of is that 4,1 dual CPU machines are a bit of a PITA to do CPU upgrades on, because the CPU's are de-lidded. Also, until / unless you upgrade, the 2.26 Nehalem's are going to be noticeably slower than a single 2.8 Ghz doing single threaded work. Plus you're paying for 2 CPU's to do the upgrade and not just one.

I guess it depends on what sort of work you do. If you do things that benefit significantly from more cores, go dual and upgrade the CPU's. Otherwise, I'm not sure it would be worth the delidding hassle, as compared to say putting a vanilla W3680 or W3690 in your 5,1 and getting 6 cores / 12 threads at 3.33 or 3.46 Ghz.
 
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ActionableMango

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Given the ability to flash, the 4,1 should be a no-brainer to switch to, right? It's an extremely reasonable price.
Well actually that 4,1 is going to be slower in most cases (except for very multi-threaded software). So I would not get the 4,1 unless you intend to also upgrade its CPUs to surpass your 5,1, or unless you are definitely certain that your software will take good advantage of every single core.
 
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pertusis1

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I'm going to offer my dittos. Unless you plan to upgrade both processors in the 4,1, you should keep your 5,1 and upgrade the CPU if you want more speed. You can pretty much increase your single thread performance 30%, and double your multi-thread performance by going to a 3.33 or 3.46 6 core processor.
 
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AndreeOnline

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I think we're all saying the same thing. I'm going to say it once more from a slightly different perspective:

The 4.1 is worth considerably more. But it obviously needs a full upgrade: dual 3.46GHz. You can buy the CPUs pre-delidded in pairs. A pair with some tools and paste used to cost $450-500.

I'd still recommend the 4.1 to someone who is very familiar with single vs multi thread performance—and what apps use what.

These are old computers. Maximize their potential, or leave them alone. <--- personal opinion.

If you already own a 5.1, you can stay within that frame and just upgrade that too. Whatever price/performance looks better.
 
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Squuiid

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I had this same choice and went with the 5,1
Even with the 5,1 hack available for the 4,1 I still think you're safer on future OS releases having a true 5,1.
Unlikely, but in theory Apple could start blocking OS releases based on what is stated in about this Mac if they wanted.
Also, as others have mentioned, upgrading (delidding) CPUs on the 4,1 is a PITA and not without some risk.
Depending on your use case of course, I think that if you upgrade the CPU and add an SSD you'll be happy you kept that 5,1, assuming you don't do a lot of multi-threaded work.
 
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AndreeOnline

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Having lots of cores is pretty useless unless you have apps that can take advantage of them.
As long as we agree that saying:

"Having lots of cores is extremely useful, when you have apps that take advantage of them"

...is saying the same exact thing.

And they are both kind of redundant statements. More often, the user won't know which apps take advantage of many cores and which don't. My rule of thumb is, if you don't know that you use a multithreaded workflow, then you probably don't need many cores.
 

h9826790

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As long as we agree that saying:

"Having lots of cores is extremely useful, when you have apps that take advantage of them"

...is saying the same exact thing.

And they are both kind of redundant statements. More often, the user won't know which apps take advantage of many cores and which don't. My rule of thumb is, if you don't know that you use a multithreaded workflow, then you probably don't need many cores.
I don't think it's that hard, and there is no need to know any particular apps can utilise how many cores.

OP just has to do his normal work. And right after finish the most demanding parts.

Open terminal and enter

Code:
sysctl -n vm.loadavg
Then the system will display 3 numbers.

They are the CPU threads demanding in the last 1, 5, 15min.

If any of them >8, then OP should upgrade the CPU, because his current config only has 4 cores and 8 threads.

If the numbers is >12, then may be even the W3690 is not enough (due to the W3690 has higher clock speed, the load average can drop to smaller number with exactly the same loading).

Of course, the numbers usually stay within OP's current config (8 thread). However, that's the demand, not usage, for highly multi threads environments. That number can go above the total threads available. e.g. If OP run Handbrake and few more CPU benchmarks at the same time, that number can easily go above 20. Which means the whole system actually demanding more than 20 threads.

Since that's the whole system demand. So, even OP actually never use any multi thread apps, but he often allow 10 single thread apps open at the same time. The system will still shows a number that >8, which means that he can benefit from more CPU cores.
 
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AndreeOnline

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I don't think it's that hard…
I don't think your method is all that straight forward, to be honest. And you're talking about a person opening Terminal, entering a command and deducting information from three numbers that aren't labeled.

If you're this level of user, you should know if your app can use the cores or not.

The benefit of many CPU cores essentially comes down to file transcoding/encoding/converting in most modern apps. Some converters might be limited to let's say 6 cores (12 threads), but then you can start an additional instance.

If someone is having doubts and is reading that last sentence and doesn't quite understand what it means... that's a sign that they might not 'need' it.

In addition many quality 3D renderers still rely on CPU for rendering: Arnold Render, Maxwell Render (primarily, even if they offer GPU rendering for some scenes now) and others.

These examples above scale almost perfectly linearly with added CPU grunt. That's where you get your money's worth. Most people will profit more from the highest clocked 4 core CPU they can buy.

Anyway... I don't think there's any contradiction here. We're saying the same thing. Many cores is a specialised need. The OP needs to know if he fits that description or not.
 
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Mr_Brightside_@

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Thanks for the input, everyone! The 4,1 looks like it got snapped it pretty quick (he had a 5,1 too and I know some resellers in the area who probably grabbed them) but it sounds like I'm better off with the 5,1 anyway :)