Buy Now or Buy Later (Next Intel Chips)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by TallManNY, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. TallManNY macrumors 601


    Nov 5, 2007
    I know we just had a refresh on Mac Pro and I like the new choice in graphics card, but I'm still holding off on my purchase of pro. I don't really need it right now as I got a MB last fall and it is basically getting me by. Sure I can't rip DVDs for my iPod and WoW runs only so so. But I'm doing okay.

    Still I want the bigger screen and I'm itching to get some real power in my hands. I've got some vacation movies that I need to edit, things I have been putting off until I upgraded my equipment.

    But should I try to hold off for the next round of upgrades? Later this year aren't we going to have an architecture update by Intel? Will that be a huge improvement?

    I'm expecting my Mac Desktop to last me five+ years (like my last one, the floating screen iMac did.) Would this new architecture be substantially better?
  2. fernmeister macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2007
    Rip a few DVDs and edit some holiday vids?

    Buy an iMac. They are due for an upgrade this year.

    This is a serious answer.
  3. sturob macrumors regular

    Nov 20, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I think that really, all you're likely to get is wiiiiiiiiiiiild conjecture, unless someone at Apple is posing as a MacRumors member to pepper us with hints at the future.

    I mean, if you search through the posts, the fact that Apple refers to this MP as "Early 2008" is enough for many people to be absolutely, 100% convinced that there will be another refresh this year.

    When you come down to it, the 3.2GHz Harpertown processor is among the best (if not the best) of what Intel is currently offering. It's hard to get, and there are few systems that use it. Sure, over the course of the next few months, it may get a speed change, but right now it still represents the cutting edge.

    The only way anyone could answer your question, IMHO, is this way: are you hampered enough by what you have now to spend thousands on a new machine? Or can you get by? If you need a new machine, this is a great time, since they've been "out" little more than a month, and in peoples' hands less time.

    There is, absolutely, positively, always something better right around the corner. If March 1, Intel were to announce a 20nm-process-based 16-core 5.7Gz processor . . . with a 3200MHz frontside bus and 18GB level-2 cache per core . . . you can bet there'd still be something they could improve.

  4. skyline r34 macrumors 6502

    skyline r34

    Oct 10, 2005
    San Diego
    TallManNY, when the best time to buy a computer, when you need one because if your going to play the waiting game your never going to buy one, there always going to be better and faster MacPro's and Mac's down the road, technology is not going to stop after you buy your mac, I say buy know and start enjoying it, I played the waiting game for a year and it sucked big time.
  5. yetanotherdave macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2007
    Bristol, England
    What's stopping you ripping DVD's and editing home movies on your macbook? It should be plenty powerful enough for that.
  6. Mr.PS macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2008
    The current 8 core Mac Pro is a monster. I mean that too. It's a MONSTER. You should not question a purchase decision even twice. It's the best computer I've ever owned. If you are just doing small video edits and home dvd's. Look into a Macbook/Macbook Pro or Imac. If you want to go all out, go for the Mac Pro - you won't be sorry.
  7. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 601


    Nov 5, 2007
    My MB does handle all this stuff. But the 13 inch screen is limiting and it doesn't do this stuff very quickly. I suspect a Mac Pro would, for example, do the encoding part of ripping a dvd and putting it into iPod format much faster. My plan was for the MB to be travel, use on the porch or around the house, kind of computer. But I'd like to have a big screen on my desktop. (I wonder how well the MB would handly outputting to a 24 inch screen?) And I'd love for the computer to be a little snappier with iPhoto and loading up coverflow.

    Yes, an iMac is certainly good enough for what I do. However, while right now the only game I play on my Mac is WoW that is quite likely to change at some point in the next five years. The iMac might not have enough graphics power for my needs then. Trust me though, I go back and forth about considering just getting the iMac (which would mean wait for that refresh, which should be in the next month or so). While I can relatively easily afford a Mac Pro, I know I'm not going to see much of a performance increase in my day to day usage for the extra $2000 it will cost me.

    But, while Mac Pro is overkill for me right now. But will it be so in two or three years? Or will an iMac be limiting in two years, like my current iMac. By the way, still love that machine and its floating screen.

    Really, I'm just trying to get a sense of how big a jump Nehlam is going to be. (Am I even calling this new processor by the right name?)
  8. kirkbross macrumors 6502a


    Mar 6, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Probably and Yes. And as soon as that happens, both the above questions will once again apply.
  9. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 601


    Nov 5, 2007
    But Intel usually only updates its architecture every two years, right? I can't wait another two years, so once there is an architecture update, then there won't really be another big update for two years and therefore I won't really have another chance to latch unto new architecture.

    Frankly, the whole "Early 2008" name really seems to smack of an "I told you so" cover up. I'm thinking Apple knows that it is coming out with something big at the end of the year.
  10. dukeblue91 macrumors 65816


    Oct 7, 2004
    Raleigh, NC
    Well they are certainly not going a whole year without some kind of update, but my guess is that it will only be a speed bump or two, I don't see a whole new processor to come before the beginning of next year.
  11. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    I think the nehalem chips are worth waiting for. They are supposed to be the biggest change in the Intel line-up since the original Pentium Pro in 1995. What are they adding, you might ask? To answer that question, I'll provide a little background first.

    AMD chips have had an "integrated memory controller" on the chip for a long time, which allows them to better manage memory. Because of this, they don't need as much L2 cache. On the flip-side, Intel has the memory controller off the chip, on the board. This is less efficient, and while it obviously works just fine, AMD's version makes better usage of memory. Instead of having the memory controller on the chip, Intel makes the L2 cache VERY large, which allows data to always be very close to the cores, and thus whenever it needs something, it can grab it from the cache instead of going ALL the way through the memory.

    Nehalem adds this memory controller to the chip, but only for their Extreme chip and their server models. Luckily for us, the Mac Pro uses these same Xeon server chips! Nehalem plans to have the same massive caches in addition, which should make them absolutely fly.

    ALSO, Intel is still using a Front Side Bus, which is comparatively slow, compared to AMD's hyper-transport. HT is essentially connecting all the major components with super highways. Intel on the other hand does not have everything connected to everything else, and instead of the single road being really fast like HT, it's more like a 2 lane road. Intel will be ditching the FSB with Nehalem and making their own version of HT.

    In addition, more SSE4 instructions will be added. These instructions benefit professional level crunching programs and media, but will obviously branch out quickly because their very good at making things faster and more efficient.

    Obviously no speeds have been announced yet, but you can bet that the Mac Pro still be using the same range of chips (Only one chip in the current line-up is faster than the 3.2Ghz Xeon. It's another Xeon clocked at 3.4Ghz, and NOBODY uses it).

    By comparison, the current generation of chips (Penryn) are really just refreshes of the Core 2 micro architecture. They do perform better, but there isn't a world of difference between them and the "old" core 2's.

    If I missed anything please add :D
  12. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 601


    Nov 5, 2007

    That's the kind of response that I was looking for and which makes me nervous about plunking down $4000 right now. This architecture upgrade sounds like a big one. Now do I want to be an early adopter and possibly get hit with some unexpected problems? Hmm. Now these things must be coming out this year, hence Apple wouldn't have called these Mac Pros the "Early 2008". But if they are coming out in September and then shipping won't really happen until October or November, well then now I've got a long way to wait. And that would be something of a bummer.

    So any guesses about when these chips are going to come out?
  13. thedommer macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2008
    meh. I was thinking of waiting but then I said who cares. I dont have my mac yet.(inthe mail) but from what Ive heard it is damn fast. DAMN fast. So what if the next gen is faster. you dont need it unless your editing HD movies all day. even then. you dont really need it. and if you want it then just sell your mac in a year and buy the new one. macs hold their value.

    plus first gen chips might be unstable.
  14. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    It always pays to wait... IF YOU DON'T NEED IT NOW.

    I have a slowwww G4 right now that doesn't make nice with web pages and gets about 5FPS in Halo. I'm getting a super cheap Lenovo using an employee purchase program later this year, which will hold me until next year when I'll buy a Nehalem Mac Pro and a Nehalem MacBook Pro when they come out. Assuming there are no absolutely fatal flaws that is :p

    But if you need a computer now, don't wait. The current Mac Pro is a death machine by anyone's standards, you shouldn't let next years specs bother you too much since 1 year from now there will ALWAYS be something like this on the horizon. ...In this case I'm just banking on the fact that it's bigger than usual.
  15. zdobson macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2007
    Based on what you're saying, screen space is a big thing, so just get an ACD (or whatever) and try that first. If my almost 4-year-old PowerBook G4 can handle a 23" ACD, your 6-mo-old MB will do just fine. If the monitor gives you most of what you want, don't do anything else.

    If you just want things to be a little "snappier," it's not worth spending the money, IMO. I like a massive performance increase when I upgrade. My PBG4 takes 1.5 hours to render and burn a DVD. My MP 2.8 octo does it in 10 min. Now that is a performance increase.

    Also, I wouldn't get your hopes up for Nehalem too soon. Apple took 2.5 months after Penryn was released to adopt it, so a major change like Nehalem might take even longer. Add that to the chance that Nehalem won't even be ready this year and you could be waiting a helluva long time.

    Side note/question: Won't new architecture require new software to fully utilize its capabilities? For example, Photoshop CS3 will run on octo machines, but it still doesn't utilize all four cores of a processor. If I'm right about that, not only will you be waiting for the new architecture to come out, you'll be waiting for the software companies to catch up, too.
  16. Topper macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    Imho, The Nehalem Mac Pro will be one heck of a new powerful computer.
    Nehalem processors are not just an upgrade, they are a whole new processor.
    I don't think you will see Nehalem until early next year.
    A new Mac Pro a couple months after that?
    Nehalem Mac Pro users will be the lucky ones.
    But how many people want to wait 13 or more months for a new Mac Pro?
  17. Dalriada macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2004
    Moorlough Shore
    The new processors on Nehalem architecture will start using 0.045 micron technology. Then 0.032 micron Nehalem model aka Nehalem-C is scheduled to come in 2009. Then in 2010 we will see 0.032 micron Gesher processors with a new architecture.

    So what do you wait for ... ?!? I'd say buy today, use & enjoy. And then sell/upgrade down the road. Stop living in tommorow's world, Life is short enough as is.

  18. Topper macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    "Tick Tock"
    Tick - Penryn (not Nehalem) started using 45nm fabrication (2007).
    Tock - Nehalem has new microarchitecture using the 45nm fabrication (2008).
    Tick - Westmere starts using 32nm fabrication in 2009.
    Tock - Gesher has a whole new microarchitecture using the 32nm fabrication in 2010.
  19. tivoli2 macrumors regular


    May 29, 2007
    My own little world...
    Right - a lot of people (including me) waited a loooong time for the current Mac Pro. (My Quicksilver is '02 vintage... been the best, most reliable workhorse I've ever owned, she's just too slow now. :eek:) For me, it just happened to work out where I didn't absolutely need a new one... now I do. By the time I'm needing to upgrade (probably won't wait 6 years this time!) with these newest processors, the game will have changed dramatically. Unless, of course, Apple completely abandons the computer side for "i"gadgets. :rolleyes:
  20. eyecool macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2008
    Fort Worth, TX
    Bah! Buy now! Carpe diem! This work station will last a while.
  21. Topper macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    Now that is depressing.
    Can you see yet another name change to Apple Gadgets Inc?
  22. Mr.PS macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2008
    Naehlem won't be much of an upgrade over the current Harpertown. It's just like the 07 Mac Pro vs the Early 08. 08 is nice, but 07 is still a beast. If you're going to buy, buy now.
  23. Soop53 macrumors regular


    Jan 20, 2008
    I waited since October of 2006 to buy a new Mac Pro thinking Apple would update the Pro in early 2007. I have since realized to wait is to miss out on all the cool things now! I think we will always see new things.

    My new Mac Pro is super fast and I am very happy with it.
  24. Topper macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    Nehalem processors will have a whole new microarchitecture.
    Nehalem will have three times the peak memory bandwidth of the current Harpertown processors.
  25. Mr.PS macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2008
    I still do not think it will be a worth while upgrade for those with harper-towns. There are those that are always on the bleeding edge, but some are not.

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