8 core question

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by vansouza, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. vansouza macrumors 68000

    vansouza

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    West Plains, MO USA Earth
    #1
    Please pardon a visitor to your corner of the forum asking a silly question but, does Leopard even use all 8 cores in a mac pro and does current software make use of them. Say like iLife and iWork and even Office 2008? Thanks for your indulgence.
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #2
    I'm pretty sure that you don't need eight cores to type in Pages...

    Professional apps would take advantage of eight cores, however, and show marked performance increases from two and even four cores.

    Oh, and HandBrake'll do a two hour movie in around nine minutes, so that in itself is worth it. :D
     
  3. vansouza thread starter macrumors 68000

    vansouza

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    West Plains, MO USA Earth
    #3
    More ignorance here but, if a program is written for Leopard does it automatically use all cores on a given system. I wonder if Leopard is ahead of the game here vs. XP and Vista. I suspect Linux might make better use of them then the MS OSs.

    If Pages has no need for 8 cores does Numbers use them? Sorry to drone on.
     
  4. jasonvp macrumors 6502a

    jasonvp

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Location:
    Northern VA
    #4
    It depends entirely on the software. In order for the software to take advantage of more than one core, it needs to be threaded. In real simple terms, think of threading like multi-processing, within a process.

    For instance, a multi-processing operating system can run several processes (applications) at once. Like, say, Safari, Final Cut, QuickTime, Mail, etc.

    A threaded process (application) can do several different things at once. For instance, QuickTime saving a video while it's opening and playing another and downloading a third.

    Does that make sense? In order for an application (let's use Final Cut Express as our example) to take advantage of all 8 cores, it would need to be written with threads in mind. So it could spin off a thread to spool video from tape, while another thread was working on encoding a previous video, while another thread works on editing the current one. That sort of thing.

    The problem is: threading is hard. Sometimes: very, very hard. It makes writing applications very difficult, depending on how tricky the app already is. And, if we return to our example: FCE is not threaded well. If you perform what it considers a CPU-intensive task, it will prevent you from doing anything else with it. And, quite frankly, that sucks.

    QuickTime Pro, on the other hand, will flatline all 8 cores if you want it to. I was encoding two MPEG4s the other night, and my 8 CPUs were all at 100%. That's good threading.

    The OS makes it possible for applications to take advantage of all of the cores. But ultimately, it's up to the application to do so. That's the case with any threaded operating system.

    jas
     
  5. vansouza thread starter macrumors 68000

    vansouza

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    West Plains, MO USA Earth
    #5
    Thank you both...

    That explains a lot. I have done a little bit of reading and understand better now. For what I do with my Macs two cores seems to be quite enough, but I would like to see and feel the power and sheer joy of an eight core Mac Pro.

    Time to go visit the Apple store.
     
  6. darthraige macrumors 68000

    darthraige

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Coruscant, but Boston will do.
    #6
    Mail and Address Book rock out on 8 cores. Not sure, why, but they do. haha. Also, Compressor is the best with 8 cores. :D
     

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