Better processor or more RAM+HDD?

empezar

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 14, 2006
144
1
I'm working with digital photography, and I am close to buying a Mac Pro. This is what I had in mind:

2x 2.66ghz
x1900xt
7gb memory (6gb crucial)
4x750gb hdd (not BTO)
bluetooth + airport extreme

...which leads me to my question:

Should I buy a 3ghz with 5gb ram and 4x500GB hdd instead?
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,638
61
Harrogate
To be honest either system will probably be overkill. I don't know which apps you are going to be using, but the chances are they are 32bit (Photoshop, Aperture and Lightroom all are). So at an individual level each of these apps cannot use more than 4Gb of RAM. Two or more apps in combination can (and of course the OS, iTunes playing music etc all use RAM) but 5Gb is likely to be plenty.

Given that it's easy to add RAM and difficult to change CPUs I'd be tempted to say get the faster CPUs and add more RAM if needed in the future (when it'll be even cheaper than it is now)...
 

LeviG

macrumors 65816
Nov 6, 2006
1,277
2
Norfolk, UK
I have to go with the more cpu power option. I'm looking at it like this, although its been proven the dual quad is just a drop in solution, ram is damn site easier to change, plus you don't have any thing just sitting there after you've finished upgrading (assuming you dont do lots of little 512/1GB modules).

Hard drives are really cheap and easy to upgrade so buy them outside of apple store, theres also no reason to buy them all at the same time unless you have 2TB of data :)
 

empezar

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 14, 2006
144
1
I have to go with the more cpu power option. I'm looking at it like this, although its been proven the dual quad is just a drop in solution, ram is damn site easier to change, plus you don't have any thing just sitting there after you've finished upgrading (assuming you dont do lots of little 512/1GB modules).

Hard drives are really cheap and easy to upgrade so buy them outside of apple store, theres also no reason to buy them all at the same time unless you have 2TB of data :)
oh yes there is! :) i'm planning on using all 4 disks as raid.10.
 

termina3

macrumors 65816
Jul 16, 2007
1,078
1
TX
oh yes there is! :) i'm planning on using all 4 disks as raid.10.
Even if you're using 4 discs in a RAID10 solution, you'd be better off buying 1 disc from Apple, 3 identical OEM (or retail, if you wish...) from newegg or the like. You can then go through the process of setting everything up in a RAID10.

It's considerably cheaper, but you would have to reinstall OS X, etc, etc, whereas if you order the HDDs from Apple they'll do it for you--again, at a steep price.
 

empezar

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 14, 2006
144
1
Even if you're using 4 discs in a RAID10 solution, you'd be better off buying 1 disc from Apple, 3 identical OEM (or retail, if you wish...) from newegg or the like. You can then go through the process of setting everything up in a RAID10.

It's considerably cheaper, but you would have to reinstall OS X, etc, etc, whereas if you order the HDDs from Apple they'll do it for you--again, at a steep price.
it's actually cheaper to buy 1x 250gb drive from apple and throw it in the trashcan, and then buy 4x 500gb drives from someplace else, than to buy 1x 500gb drive from apple and 3x 500gb from someplace else.
 

Sean Dempsey

macrumors 68000
Aug 7, 2006
1,617
3
I'm working with digital photography, and I am close to buying a Mac Pro. This is what I had in mind:

2x 2.66ghz
x1900xt
7gb memory (6gb crucial)
4x750gb hdd (not BTO)
bluetooth + airport extreme

...which leads me to my question:

Should I buy a 3ghz with 5gb ram and 4x500GB hdd instead?

My experience with a quad core 2.66 machine is that the quad core 3.0 ghz won't make that big of a difference for photography. I have 5 gigs of ram also, and haven't even used half of it at one time (I leave the activity monitor in the dock, showing ram usage). If you are gonna spring, get the Octo-Core 3.0ghz, but if not, just the 2.66 quad is fine.

What I've noticed is one thing, and 1 thing only - hard drive speed. Sure, you could have a 340mhz boost on each core, which may or may not make a noticable difference in photo programs, or you could beef up the hard drive speeds as much as you can, and really see it there.

Right now, my ONLY speed complaint is with drives. I am thinking of tearing my system down and building it back with hardware raids and more raptors. I've never pegged my CPU yet, or my RAM, but I wait on hard drives all the time.
 

termina3

macrumors 65816
Jul 16, 2007
1,078
1
TX
My experience with a quad core 2.66 machine is that the quad core 3.0 ghz won't make that big of a difference for photography.

...[truncated]...

Right now, my ONLY speed complaint is with drives. I am thinking of tearing my system down and building it back with hardware raids and more raptors. I've never pegged my CPU yet, or my RAM, but I wait on hard drives all the time.
I know this is slightly insubstantial, but complete ditto... I have only 2 gigs of RAM and haven't waited on it once. Usually, running Aperture, iTunes, and Firefox, I only use up 1 or 1.5 gigs of the RAM.
 

Oldschoolwax

macrumors member
Feb 5, 2007
45
0
NY
I've beat the piss out of my 2.66 system and barely got past 3 gb ram usage... working with CS2 while streaming video, separate audio, playing a dvd and watching downloaded video at the same time... I may have even been playing an mp3 at the time... ( obviously just messing with the system )

Even using XP Pro SP2 on the original 250 drive, I've run Ableton Live 6 up to 65 live tracks with less than 68% cpu usage...

The 2.66 quad does seem to hold together quite well, but I'd wait for the OS update to buy, as my Mac Pro is nowhere near as stable as my G4 running the same ( # ) version of OSX. I lose external drives all the time on the pro ( only in OSX, not with XP! so it's not the hardware ) Same drives no problem on the G4... go figure.