Base 4-core sweet spot for Photoshop/Lightoom and light gaming?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by wildmac, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. wildmac macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2003
    So, early on everyone said that the Hex/D500 was the sweet spot of this lineup.. and a lot ordered that. But...

    Looking at the benchmarks we have sofar, it would appear that the the D500 is a bit of a dog for general use, and for apps that don't utilize a lot of cores, anything beyond 6 is certainly a waste, and even 6 core might not really be utilized..

    So for those waffling between a hackintosh, iMac, or the nMP.. seems that the base model, perhaps with boosted ram, might really be the sweet spot for the Adobe app crowd... my thinking here is that if Adobe does start utilizing more OpenCL, even the D300 will crush the iMac in that area.

  2. mrsavage1 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2010
    Yes this is my thinking as well. D500 is useless for gaming either get a D300 or D700. Plus you can always upgrade the CPU's later.

    One problem i feel for ppl who want to make the case to future proof the mac pro's cpu by getting more cores is that their forgetting single core performance. The single core performance can't be upgraded by getting more cpu's only new type of cpus. I am thinking of getting a base mac pro and upgrading in 3 years to another mac pro. The Cpu single core performance of that mac pro will be faster than the current one I have.
  3. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    true, but that is why there has been a real focus on where the drop-off occurs. it seems that the 8- and 6-core models are as fast or nearly so in single-thread mode. the 12-core throttles down more quickly.

    many say the 6-core is the sweet-spot for this very reason, but it makes sense only if one needs the extra 2 cores vs the quad.

    personally, the 6-core was my choice because of the good single-thread performance but also for just a bit of future-proofing.
  4. wildmac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2003
    Yeah, that's what I'm thinking... the amount of time I'll use 6 cores...

    better to put the extra $$ into RAM and the external drive case I'll need.
  5. wildmac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2003
    yeah, still, might be able to buy more performance with ram and ssd....
  6. wildmac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2003
    perhaps what it comes down to is that the D500 isn't anything special over the D300, and the $1000 difference between the D300 and D700 is huge.
  7. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    of course. depends on your usage.

    what will constrain you the most, and for what %age of your day?

    constrained RAM results in a noticeably slower user experience.

    how often are you waiting on CPU-intensive tasks?

    are you running out of storage space?

    for many people, RAM and storage offer more value today. it will generally be easier and cheaper to add RAM and storage in the future as needed vs upgrading a processor.

    well, some folks might find the d500 special and others might not find $1000 "huge" -- those things are relative.

    if you don't know what your needs are, it is probably best to stick with the base model GPU and CPU….unless you have a specific goal of keeping this nMP for as long as possible (4, 5, 6 years).

    my 2 cents.
  8. mrsavage1 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2010
    I was looking at mac pro models that came out 4 years ago and they aren't powerful enough for my current work. Without the ability to upgrade the graphics cards easily and the inability add new generations of intel xeons. I don't think I can keep the mac pro realistically for more than 4 years.
  9. wildmac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2003
    Well, my needs are LR, PS, and WoW.. (and web coding, but that's not really relevant here), and storage for photography.

    I think perhaps I bought the future proofing koolaid too much.
  10. mrsavage1 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2010
    I would even doubt that the d700s would be useful 3 years down the road for average gaming. 4 years down the road the base graphics card in the mac pro will likely be more powerful to take on 4k gaming.
  11. PmattF macrumors member

    Dec 28, 2006
    Yes, *if* Adobe starts using more OpenCL the four core will be reasonable. But for today, using Adobe, there is really not much point in getting the four core vs. iMac or Macbook Pro. See this post about some informal Adobe benchmarking I did in the Apple store...

    I am waffling between a 6 core nMP or a maxed out MBP (for Lightroom/Photoshop use only). I would love to see some 6 core vs 4 core Adobe benchmarks. If my local Apple store gets a six core demo unit it I will try my test again.
  12. wildmac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2003
    You mean our pro workstations are becoming an appliance?... :eek::cool:

    That is a fair point for "future proofing" as well. Who knows if there will ever be replacement GPUs available?

    Would still like to see D700 benchmarks to compare to the others before I cancel my order for a base model with upped ram and ssd.
  13. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    i'm still using my 2008 MP. i'm retiring more for want than pure *need*. at the time i bought it i wouldn't say it had "ability to upgrade the graphics cards easily" -- there weren't many options and they were expensive.

    there's now a wider variety of options. i could do another GPU bump if i wanted and probably get several more years out of it. it's an idea i've toyed with.

    5.5 years on it has been quite a good run. i will probably sell it and it will continue to serve someone else very well. i truly could see it going for another 4-5 years in some capacity, and having acceptable performance.
  14. wildmac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2003
    If I didn't already have monitors, the iMac might be an option, even with that damn glossy screen. But with monitors already...


    Yeah, I'm still using a 5770 in a 1,1 cMP.
  15. mrsavage1 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2010
    Yeah my point is that you could stick consumer graphics cards into the old mp, that alone really increased the longjevity of the cmp but the cpu cores in the 2008 are really really slow compared to todays standards, Single core is like 1000++ points slower than the base mp's.

    Can you still use it. Yes.
    Does it have acceptable speeds compared to current gen hardware I would say no. 2/3 - 1/2 the speed of the single core performance especially on apps that utilise only 1 core is really really slow. Your doing work 2/3 - 1/2 slower than someone using a modern day cpu.
  16. PmattF macrumors member

    Dec 28, 2006
    Exactly. That's why I am only looking MBP vs nMP. I really wish there was a 32 gig RAM option for MBP though.
  17. wildmac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2003
    A fair point, which goes against the "future proofing" strategy.
  18. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    yes, but until it was figured out that one could hack the firmware, the options were very limited. even then, hacking wasn't for the faint of heart.

    agreed on the machine being slower, but as you know performance depends on many factors, not just benchmarks.

    i think it is WAY more than a 'can you use it' situation.

    also, depending on one's tasks the lower score might not affect them very much OR it could have a huge impact.

    on a day where one is not doing much that is CPU-intensive, we might be talking about seconds or minutes over the course of a day. more often the bottlenecks might be RAM, storage, GPU, etc.

    editing video all day? 3d work all day? less useful, perhaps. doing less intensive work that requires fast drive access? CPU is less a bottleneck--or, rather, the bottleneck is an issue for shorter periods of time.

    the multi-core score is more competitive, but i still agree that newer machines outclass the 2008. we're talking about something that is 5-6 model years old, after all.

    how many other machines that are that ildl could still be in this conversation? this is the first machine that i've had with that kind of longevity. sure, i've kept machines for longer but they were barely usable, and that is not the case here.

    i'm sure you know what i'm getting at. one could do worse than an MP3,1.
  19. keigo macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2006
    Same like my usage, the only different is I don't game at all. And uses handbrake a lot of time and occasionally run some home create video.

    the 4, 6 or 8 core have the same single core speed which is 3.9ghz.

    Therefore I'm just getting the base model now and 3 years later just self upgrade the CPU to 8 core E5-2667 v2 with the speed of 4ghz for each single core.

    or if I'm lazy or afraid to DIY CPU replacement. Just brought the 6 core from Apple and should be great for at least 5 years of usage. (cause intel CPU for each generation the speed improvement is just around 10 percents, it just depend on the application to mature to run on multi core rather then single core)

    Reason not going for iMac is very simple for me.
    - constraint at 32gb RAM
    - I don't like mobile CPU & GPU (cause some how I find they age faster)
    - I don't like the screen all in 1 system cause it can be screen death that force me to upgrade instead of system. Not to mention we will see affordable 4k this year or latest next.
  20. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    you've gotten, what, 7-8 years from that 1,1? wow. that's a good run.

    i have an iMac 27" here in a box that i was intending to test out (and then cancel my nMP order if it DID work out, or return if it didn't), but i just can't bring myself to open it. maybe i should….

    i have a 27" LED cinema display and 2x23" LCD ACDs. if i go nMP i will either keep this config or trade the 2x23s for 1x27".

    for me, some of the hesitancy around the iMac is the all-in-one aspect. i just tend to fear that…perhaps a bit TOO much.
  21. wildmac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2003
    The other thing against the iMac, at least for me, as I noted above, if Adobe does start using OpenCL more (which they are using some already, even the lowly D300 will smack the iMac something fierce.


    yeah, the OpenCL issue, and the screen death issue... or worse, color spots that Apple won't fix.
  22. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    iMacs have a desktop CPU. It's only the GPU that is a mobile class.
    Regardless, though, I agree with all the rest concerns for iMac (although a great all-around machine).
  23. xmichaelp macrumors 68000


    Jul 10, 2012
    You can upgrade CPU easily and technically you can upgrade the GPUs if there's third party support for it.
  24. keigo macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2006
    Let assume adobe is not using OpenCL, I don't see any issue D300 is giving now.

    Not to mention crap Adobe is pulling for monthly subscription base which I will be boycotting.
  25. mrsavage1 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2010
    yeah thats a pretty good run with the 1,1 mac pro. I have a 2011 imac and the graphics card can't keep up with running 3x27 inch lcds and the fan is also running much louder than before. When i game on it the fans go to a horrendous sound. I was going to get the 2013 27 imac but next year I would definitely be getting a 4k screen and the imac can't do 4k 60hz.

    I am in a condrum right now. I have no need for the power of the mac pro but getting the imac means i can't run 4k in the future which is a huge no no. I even have extra 32gb 1600mhz ram sticks for imac but it makes no sense to get an imac without 4k. At the base nmp's price, the imac is a more powerful machine, can be specced with 512 gb, and comes with keyboard and mouse/trackpad and LCD, its a better machine for my needs but 4k totally nufflies it. :(

    If those dell 4k's hadn't dropped so fast in price i might have considered the imac. but i am sure now by 2015 4k will be affordable.


    CPUs for multi yes but for single core no, new cpus are the only way to speed up single. Graphics is too much of a leap of faith. I don't think these will be parts you can just buy off apple or some other company.

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