Buying a Mac Pro Quad Core or 8 Core?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by YsoSerious, May 25, 2009.

  1. YsoSerious macrumors 6502

    YsoSerious

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    #1
    I'm trying to decide which mac pro to buy using my ADC discount and if the 8 core is really worth the extra $700 and if I could upgrade to a 8 core later if I went with the quad core. My apologies to you MAC experts out there, if I have committed moral sin by mentioning such a task. As a PC migrating (however slow) to macs, PC users can upgrade CPUs with ease. If the motherboard matches the CPU socket it can work. How upgradable are these Mac Pros?
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #2
    Easily, everything but the processor and PSU (don't try the PSU).

    The processor is... almost doable, but there's really no point.
     
  3. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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  4. ajbrehm macrumors 6502

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    #4
    You cannot really upgrade. And the hassle of trying is not worth the 700 bucks. Really.

    I had the same question to answer for myself a few weeks ago. I finally decided to go with the 8-core, if only for the larger number of memory banks.

    Here's the logic:

    Pro: You get a second CPU.

    Against: It costs more.

    Pro: You get more memory banks.

    Against: The second CPU is rarely ever used. (You get 16 logical CPUs because of hyperthreading and I see only 2.5 of those used fully when the computer is doing a lot.)

    Pro: Those 2.5 logical CPUs are 2 real CPUs on an 8-core, not just two cores with one only connection to the memory or two hyperthreads.

    Against: Memory prices will probably fall and four banks might be enough and you can replace 2 GB modules with 4 GB modules.

    Pro: It is, at the end, only 700 dollars. And I knew I'd be unhappy that I missed the chance a few months later. So I bought the 8-core with 8 GB (2x4 GB) of memory.
     
  5. TonyK macrumors 6502a

    TonyK

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    May 24, 2009
    #5
    Andrew has provided pretty sound advice for buying the 8 core system. Even in the PC world, one generally buys the best they can afford. Of course we could make trade-offs which are harder to do in the OS X world. :)

    Go for the 8 core unit and make sure you feed it plenty of memory. :)
     
  6. 300D macrumors 65816

    300D

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    #6
    Yep, get the 2.26 8-core. In the long run it will be a much better machine.
     
  7. Chad H macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    Auburn, AL
    #7
    It just really depends on what you are using it for. I went with the quad for my needs. The quad core nehalem beats last year's 3.0Ghz 8 core by a little. Ive had both machines and I like the Nehalem alot better. I went with the 2.66 quad w/ 8GB of RAM. Its a great machine, really fast, and will do what I need it to do for many years to come. If you don't need the extra power then save the money and upgrade the ram and upgrade the hd. You can get a 8GB kit from OWC for about $175 now. Also if you game make sure to get the ATI card. I chose that option and was one of the best decisions I have made in awhile! :)
     
  8. ajbrehm macrumors 6502

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    Location:
    Zurich, Switzerland
    #8
    You see, that's exactly the problem.

    4 GB dimms are _very_ expensive, and 2 GB dimms are very cheap.

    With the 4-core you get four memory slots, allowing for upgrades beyond 8 GB only for a large amount of money. With the 8-core you get eight memory slots, allowing for cheap upgrades beyond 8 GB and allowing for 8 GB with possibility to upgrade without losing existing dimms.

    Saving the 700 dollars for the second CPU is not nearly enough to pay for more memory than 8 GB with only four slots.
     
  9. Chad H macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    #9
    Yes, but that again depends on what the machine is used for. You know as well as I do 80% of the general population on Macrumors don't use 8GB.
     
  10. ajbrehm macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I don't think those people are in the market for a Mac Pro anyway.

    When the OP said he was buying a Mac Pro we already knew that we have a candidate for 8 GB or more RAM. So why discuss the large majority of people who have nothing to do with this?
     
  11. Roy macrumors 6502

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    Jul 6, 2006
    #11
    Really? And that's down from the $750 only a few months ago.
    [​IMG] 12.0GB OWC Matched Set (4GB x 3) PC-8500 1066MHz DDR3 E... 12.0GB OWC Matched Set (4GB x 3) PC-8500 1066MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM Modules for Mac Pro "Early 2009" "Nehalem" more Same Day $579.99 [​IMG] Brand: Other World Computing OWC Item # OWC85MP3S4M12GK
     
  12. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

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    Melbourne, Australia
    #12
    Yes, yes it is. Paying the extra $700 gets you twice the processors as well as the ability to buy cheaper RAM.



    But to the O.P.

    It all really depends on what you'll be doing with the Pro. Unless you're doing movie editing or 3D rendering, you won't need dozens of cores and heaps of RAM, so you'd be better off investing in the 2.93GHz Quad.

    - Michael
     
  13. Roy macrumors 6502

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    Jul 6, 2006
    #13

    But my response was to the fact that the $700 savings could not buy you more than 8GB of RAM. In fact, at current OWC pricing, you can get 3 X 4GB (12GB) for $579.00. Nothing to do with an extra processor.
     
  14. Thiol macrumors 6502a

    Thiol

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    Jan 26, 2008
    #14
    I don't know if this applies to the Nehalem Mac Pros, but we've discussed this a lot with the Penryn late 2008 version. It's difficult to add another processor because you need a specific heat sink that can't be bought easily. You have to get it from eBay or an Apple source...
     
  15. ajbrehm macrumors 6502

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    Zurich, Switzerland
    #15
    How would you do this?

    You cannot mix those dimms with the one Apple put in. So I guess you would have to buy the 3 GB model from Apple, remove the 3 GB and add the 12 GB for 600 dollars (including shipping etc.).

    And that leaves you with a machine that can be upgraded only once more to 16 GB (or, technically, to 14 GB as well).

    Not that their prices are not good, but I don't see it as a compelling reason not to get the octocore Mac.
     
  16. Keniff macrumors 6502a

    Keniff

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  17. Roy macrumors 6502

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    Jul 6, 2006
    #17
    I was not replying to you on "a compelling reason not to get an octocore". As I've tried to explain and did show you that your statement about the cost of ram compared to savings on the processor were not accurate:

    You said: Saving the 700 dollars for the second CPU is not nearly enough to pay for more memory than 8 GB with only four slots.
     
  18. zmttoxics macrumors 65816

    zmttoxics

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    May 20, 2008
    #18
    If you have to ask, the answer is almost always no.

    Just get one that fits your budget, they are all stupidly fast.
     
  19. ajbrehm macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Heavens.
     
  20. snouter macrumors 6502a

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    May 26, 2009
    #20
    I would say "no way" is it worth it to try to go from 4 core to 8 core after the fact.

    I'm curious to know if you can upgrade the CPU?

    ie if I buy a 2.26 now, can I make it faster later? Xeons are crazy expensive, may not even want to mess with it regardless.
     
  21. Roy macrumors 6502

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    Jul 6, 2006
    #21
    Don't be calling for any divine intervention to help you with your incorrect assertion. This is a worldly matter in trying to decide the best use of limited resources in purchasing a Mac Pro.:D
     
  22. Chad H macrumors 6502a

    Chad H

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    Auburn, AL
    #22
    Well, you know as I do. That sometimes you get people that want a MP just to have one. They know its the best and have to have the best or someone that is gamer that refuses to switch to PC. In that isntance they wouldn't need more than 8GB of ram.
     
  23. Roy macrumors 6502

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    Jul 6, 2006
    #23
    And I have several friends who have Mac Pros and none of them, just like me, are professionals who make a living using a Mac Pro. I personally don't know anyone who uses a Mac Pro to make a living. There are good reasons to have a Mac Pro without buying one to make a living with. I know some of the elitists on this forum think that the Mac Pro should be reserved for professionals and the rest MUST buy an iMac ONLY.
     
  24. eelpout macrumors regular

    eelpout

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    Oct 30, 2007
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #24
    I understand the whole wanting to own the best of anything, just because. But what do you & your friends use the Pro for? Gaming? Wouldn't it be better to get the top iMac with the 4850 for that? Do you donate the always idle extra cores to the plight of Somalian children or something? ;)
     
  25. Roy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    #25
    See, there you go with your elitist attitude. Tell me what kind of vehicle you drive and I'll tell you what you need to be driving. Then you can donate your extra idle money to the Somalian children. BTW: how much are you donating to the Somalian children currently. I'll be you couldn't give a fat rat's behind about the Somalian children.
     

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