Another 09 MacPro vs. I7 Imac thread (need help)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by pcconvert, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. pcconvert macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2008
    Guys, I need help to judge my strategy to go forward. After a year of conversion I operate 4 MPBs in my family plus one mac mini as HTmac. I need some more power for video editing, photo and PS work my wife does.

    Originally I thought I'd get 09 MP to hook up with our 30' Samsung but then I started reading and do some groundwork.

    I visited Apple store and played with 2.66 quad MP/3GB/120Nvidia hooked to 30' ACD. I brought in my own Aperture book project with 100pg of 430 images (18 years of life of my children for their Bday, ask me how long it takes to reduce 30,000 imgs to 3,000 (person identification) to 430 (album)....:). I am doing this project on my late 08 MPB17 2.5GHz/4MB.

    I was expecting lightning fast operation given the hype MP has but - in short - MP didn't blow me off. Yes, I could move and resize imgs on screen little faster then when I had my MBP hooked to 30' at home but the response was far from being instant. I generated a book (print to JPEG) and altough it was nice to see 8 cores working in Activity Monitor the print time wasn't crucially different from what I got on MBP.

    (The printing process has two parts - Aperture generation, which utilizes all cores and is hyperthreaded, so I could see all 8 virtual cores running, occasionally on 85%:) but there is memory left and the second part is an automator which runs in 64bit but is rather memory demanding then procesor power. Automator literally sucks all available memory but utilizes only some processor and is not hyperthreaded.)

    In short MP's performance didn't blow me off (although Apple rep was insisting that MP at my home would run MUCH faster:))). Plus there is this I7 iMac coming up. Plus I have some (awful) experience in HD editing on my Q6600 PC and FCE on my MBP (even more awful)...

    In short I am thinking let's get i7 imac now to see how 4 cores would perform and get this awesome screen as a bonus because I really don't see its performance dramatically different from MP which would come several hundred $ more and without the screen.

    Then if we'd still see a performance need let's get an older MP, say some 08 model and equip it with Matrox HD compressor card which should take care of encoding troubles.

    Or would be a better choice a basic 27' imac/8MB for PS and Aperture and focus on 2.93 quad MP for video? (Sure there are other variables - SSD, stripping - affecting the performance but let's say that these are gradual gains and not game changing?
  2. jetjaguar macrumors 68030


    Apr 6, 2009
    you typed you used the 2.66 quad in the apple store ? so u have never used an 8 core mac pro yet ? plus that is not alot of ram at all either
    sorry im not an expert .. was just stating that you were just using a quad mp with little ram
  3. AnimaLeo macrumors 6502

    Sep 2, 2009
    Yeah, three gig of ram in a Mac Pro is just a massive waste of potential. Mac Pro can be upgraded easily, so you'd want to put in atleast eight gig of ram. This is where you will see huge improvements over the imac. Also, the Mac Pro has four hard drive bays, so you can upgrade much easyer, you have the option to raid etc etc.

    Mac Pro's might be a rip off, but it's an investment. Through out the years you can upgrade and get more out of your machine. The imac will hit the limit of upgrading much quicker, then you'll have to buy another machine.

    However, it's really up to your needs really. If want a much cheaper option because you're not too fussed about things taking only slightly longer to render or what ever, go for the imac. =)
  4. pcconvert thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2008
    You hit the point - for me it makes no difference whether something renders 8 or 9 minutes. Matrox HD compressor IS a game changer because it cuts time several times. Or if I would be getting instant response during Aperture book editing that would be also game changer. Or print the book in half time having twice more processor on newer architecture. But what I've seen so far were only relatively small gradual improvements. Kinda disappointed I was, I really wanted to justify spending that money...

    As for quad vs. octo - my belief (and experience from running my own win sw company in the past) is that apps (including MacOS:) are (by far) not optimized for multiple cores and it will take few years before developers would catch up and apps would really get advantage of modern architecture. How funny, few years back it was hardware not catching up with software and today is quite opposite.
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Look at the minimum system specs for the apps you are using, if they do not say "requires 10.6 Snow Leopard" ... then there MIGHT be a lot of wasted potential in how well the app makes use of multi-core resources and ram.

    But alas, fighting with the beancounters and marketing to extract an extra 30-40% in performance might not be something a developer team is willing to do ... especially if ends up similar to a Snow Leopard update, with no new features. So you will have to wait for the next point release to get them to support the last OS more fully.
  6. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    Quads are good for most people, just like Duos were good for most people.

    If you think you needed Octo, I think you'd already know...

    a lot of compressing, rendering, etc. Most other apps won't saturate 8 cores...

    i7 is a very nice, very powerful chip.

    I home built a Windows 7 i7 920 computer for $1200 that I'm sure is every bit the equal, if not better (12GB ram, HD4890, 1TB drive) than the Xeon quad core Apple sells for $2500.

    If you don't need to add PCI cards and capture cards and things like that... the i7 iMacs should be the FAR superior deal to the Mac Pro.

    Apple seems happy to let the Mac Pro be a specialized computer mostly bought by agencies and so forth.

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