8 core 2.8ghz mac pro upgrade path (long question)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by 68topls, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. 68topls macrumors newbie

    Apr 5, 2009
    I currently have a 2008 mac pro with two 2.8 ghz Xeons, 4 1TB drives, 4770 graphics card,etc. I use to use it exclusively to do pro-tools and final cut pro work but now I mostly do video work. IE one to three cameras in a seminar or church setting with 1 to 4 hours of video. Pro-tools is just a hobby. I almost never use the mac pro unless I'm rendering files as I have a 17" I7 macbook pro with 16gb of ram and 2 1TB SSD drives. I was thinking of upgrading the mac pro to the new mac pro with 6 or 8 cores.

    Is there a huge difference in performance between the 6 and 8 core? Has anyone ever tested a quad core I7 mac mini versus a 2008 mac pro in terms of FCP / video rendering? A buddy got rid of his single four core 2.8ghz mac pro and opted for a new mac mini 2.6 quad core I7, with 16BG of memory and a internal 1TB SSD drive. He spent about 1200 using non-Apple parts but claims its still faster than his 2008 mac pro. Any thoughts?
  2. costabunny macrumors 68020


    May 15, 2008
    Weymouth, UK
    I have used both and would say that the mini has some serious horsepower. It will hold its own against the old octamonster.

    Of course you lose the storage simplicity and there is the thermal envelope to consider. What I mean is for high CPU tasks I would prefer the old octacore as the mini is by definition a small footprint setup and thus its fans will sound pretty loud under pressure.

    For me, I didn't like it running that hot and sounding thrashed. Most of my tasks were transcoding, photoshop and light video work.

    My advice is always this: if your current setup is coping with your workflow-why change it. If you are finding the current 8 core is struggling, then even a maxed i7 mini will also have to work very hard to do the same, but will get hotter in doing so. If you do need more grunt then consider a newer mac pro model or even the latest one.

    Only you can decide if the loss of internal storage and thermal headroom is acceptable for your use.
  3. pertusis1 macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2010
    I can't very well answer the difference in performance between the 6 and 8 core nMP, but FCP uses the video cards extensively, and I doubt you'll notice a big difference.

    I can, however, comment on the mac mini question. I have a current model i7 2.6 quad with 16 GB ram and a SSD (not 1 TB, but that part doesn't matter). If all you do is cut video and it doesn't matter how long the render takes, it will probably work fine. As soon as you do ANYTHING else (filters, effects, etc.), the Mac mini is brought to its knees. The fan revs to full speed; the screen becomes a bit jumpy; and you wait... a long time. This actually became a problem when my kids tried to edit videos because they get a big kick out of effects, etc.

    Don't be fooled by high benchmark scores. I was impressed by the fact the mac minis were over 10,000, but in real life video editing, it seems that they cannot sustain those kinds of speeds, possibly due to heat dissipation issues. For what it's worth, I do not think my limitation was a hard drive speed issue as 'activity monitor' would show all 4 cores running 100% almost continually while using the program.

    I ended up picking up a 12 core 5,1 2.4 GHz on a good deal, and oh, what a difference ;) I can thank my Mini for making me appreciate the Pro all the more.

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