Buying my Mac Pro on Monday! Should I pick Quad 2.93 or Octa 2.26?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MasterM6, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. MasterM6 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    #1
    I am in the decision making for my new mac pro and I am trying to decide which one is right for me and my needs. These last few weeks I have been reading and trying to decide which Mac Pro I should buy.

    I have come so far that I am going to buy a Octa 2.26 or a Quad 2.93. But we are talking about allot of money so what I want to get out of this purchase is a reliable model that will last me 4-5 years from now.

    Today I am sitting on a PowerMac Dual G5 2.5 and it is just too slow for me. I am the kind of person that gets irritated if something takes too long once I have pushed the button! I am a hobby photographer and programmer.

    I work in the following programs:
    PS
    Flash
    Illustrator
    Lightroom
    Xcode
    (Low level programing C)

    I have been thinking allot about the future and how I think the software will be developed and from that perspective been trying to decide if I need 8 cores or if I will be fine with 4 cores. This last few weeks I have been thinking about how I use my PowerMac and how many programs I am running at any given time. This just to try and sort out what kind of user I am. When I am working ”hard” the most programs that I use at the same time are PS, Flash,Illustrator, Lightroom, Itunes, Firefox, Thunderbird and VLC.

    Here is a small list I have compiled of pros and cones:

    2,26
    Pros:
    8 Cores.
    Can take up to 32Gb RAM.
    Cons:
    ”Only” 2,26 Ghz.
    Is about 100€ more expensive.
    Is slower in singlethreading.
    Can only handle 1067Mhz RAM.

    2,93
    Pros:
    Speed at 2.93Ghz.
    Is about 100€ cheaper.
    Gives more speed under the mouse.
    Might be able to use 1333Mhz RAM when I upgrade from 6Gb.
    Cons:
    Can only take 16Gb RAM.
    Is slower in multithreading.

    For the kind of work I do I have reached the conclusion(Now as I am writing this) that I will do fantastic with the Quad 2.93 and that I most surly won´t be needing more then 16Gb of RAM in the next 4-5 years.

    The programs that I use aren´t good at multithreading today so to get the most speed right now is to get the 2.93, but programs will change over time. However I have come to the conclusion that I am not a power user in that remark that I work with 3D or other sorts of video or rendering programs that always will be needing maximum amount of cores. And I will most likely just work with a few programs at a time. There for I am planing on buying the Quad 2.93.

    The exact system that I am planing right now is:

    # One 2,93 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    # 6GB (3x2GB)
    # 640GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    # ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB
    # One 18x SuperDrive
    # Apple Mighty Mouse
    # Apple Wireless Keyboard
    # Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter


    Do you agree with me? Can you come up with any reasons why I should go for the Octa 2,26?


    I will order my new Mac Pro on Monday so I am all ears till then! :)
     
  2. RemarkabLee macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #2
    Get the quad. From your apps list, you have very few apps that will take advantage of a multi core workstation. Even with the 8Gb supposed limit on memory (which may end up being 16Gb or 32Gb if the higher capacity DIMMs end up working on the quad) you will have plenty of memory.
     
  3. DrawingArt macrumors member

    DrawingArt

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Location:
    Slovenia
    #3
    2,93 Quad definatelly for what you use it for. It will be much much faster then octo in most applications you use. Same way I'm going with quad with similar specs as yours soon.
     
  4. MasterM6 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    #4
    Sounds like I am on the right track here :)

    The 16Gb has been confirmed so that is no problem anymore!
     
  5. DrawingArt macrumors member

    DrawingArt

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Location:
    Slovenia
    #5
    Exactly, 16Gb possibilitty in Quad made me decide on it since at the moment you get the most from that for single cpu applications and possibility of upgrade in a year when 4gb stick prices drop :) And also multi core benshmarks are more then impressive on 2,93.

    Here specs I'll get:
    Mac Pro Quad 2,93Ghz
    8GB Ram
    ATI Radeon HD 4870
    1Tb disk
    1Tb disk (for raid 1)
    640Gb disk
    Airport Wireless
    Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter

    In a year after I get it I plan upgrade with 16gb ram and Nvidia GT120 for third LCD - 24" LED :apple:

    This will be mean for me for couple of years for sure so I guess it will be also for you. Good choice.
     
  6. joubex macrumors member

    joubex

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Location:
    Montreal/ Canada
    #6
    16Gb in Quad

    I am also on my way to order a 2,93 Quad, but (Master6 and DrawingArt), where do you see online that so has already tried 4Gb sticks on a MP quad? I thought that it remains speculations ?
    Joubex

    :confused:
     
  7. DrawingArt macrumors member

    DrawingArt

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Location:
    Slovenia
    #7
    OWC is already selling 4gb sticks for Quad Mac Pro.
    Here you go: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/Mac-Pro-Memory
    Soon other manufacturers will follow I guess so hopefully prices will drop in next few months or year.
     
  8. Mac Husky macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Location:
    Bavaria, Germany
    #8
    I don´t doubt and hopefully it works - but did you find any article or especially statement from OWC on their sites confirming 4GB sticks in Nehalem quads?! Are there any benchmarks published so far? I am grateful for every link concerning this subject. Of course, to expensive so far. Would be cheaper to buy an octad and "upgrade" with the same amount of RAMs using 2GB sticks. But not unimportant for the next months, when deciding to go for a quad now.

    Edit: I just found this and that in another thread.

    Looking forward to some benchmark tests with 4GB sticks in a 2.66 oder 2.93 quad now. Already published?
     
  9. DrawingArt macrumors member

    DrawingArt

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Location:
    Slovenia
    #9
    Octo wouldn't be cheeper with 16 gigs atm from quad with 16 gigs. Remember thaw we are after single CPU speed so you need octo 2,93 to work same as quad 2,93 in photoshop for example :). Big price difference and octo is much expensier.
     
  10. hobes270 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    #10
    I am kinda in the same decision....

    I am either going with the quad 2.93 or octo 2.26. All I really use on it is the Adobe programs. I do alot of design work so I dont need much of anything else on it. I do use FCS2 some.

    Would the 2.93ghz quad benefit me more than the 2.26 octo also? Is adobe goin to ever make their programs to utilize all 8 cores?
     
  11. Mac Husky macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Location:
    Bavaria, Germany
    #11
    Sorry, you are absolutely wright. I was calculating my two Mac Pro in choice - thinking about a quad 2.66 or 2.93 vs the 2.26 octad. Kind of comparing apples and pears. But those three are the three I can afford.
    So do I. Using Adobe Creative Suite 4 Premium Edition Apps (especially Photoshop) and looking forward to FCE 5.0.
    I guess so.
    Who will now? But I think they will somewhere in the future. I am not shure, wether it should influence my decision now or not. Just owned CS4.
     
  12. hobes270 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    #12
    I am either going with:

    1. A 2.26 octa OR 2.93 quad with 2.4ghz macbook

    2. 2.66 quad with 2.93 MBP 17"
     
  13. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    #13
    I would definitely go with the 2.26ghz octo. Because even though it's $200 more it's still cheaper.

    Because just look at the prices for the 4x4gb=16gb it costs $800. 8x2gb=16gb costs $283. And don't expect 4gb dimms to come down in price any time soon.

    Probably have to wait another year and a half for prices to come down or when 8gb sticks are available.

    Also it seems like the quad are crippled to me. I mean your already paying close to 3k and your getting a real cheap 3500 series parts. Might as well pay the $200 more and get the full physical 8 cores and 8 virtual cores.

    Just wait until the nehalems are fully utilized you won't be disappointed.
     
  14. bobbydaz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    I am in exactly the same position with my choice of new MP, but now that 16gb ram has been confirmed I'm leaning towards the Quad 2.93. I use my mac for graphic design so CS4 Suite, Quark etc and no 3D or video work.

    I think a quad would easily last me 4 years or so. I am currently using a 2.5 quad G5 which has served me well for 4 years, but now is the time to make the switch to Mac Pro.
     
  15. Mattww macrumors 6502

    Mattww

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    #15
    I also struggling to decide between a Quad 2.66 (saving some cash), a Quad 2.93 or an 8-Core 2.26 all with 6GB of RAM to start and the 4870.

    The most intensive stuff I use is going to be H264 encoding, games and audio apps. I have a lot of encoding planned and I'm not sure the Quads will handle encoding in the background whilst gaming for example. On the other hand the faster clock speed will definitely be better for games and today's software.

    Then there is the unknown factor of future software making more use of the extra cores - a definite factor when keeping a machine for many years.
     
  16. RemarkabLee macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #16
    Handbrake will suck every last CPU cycle so unless you throttle it, gaming will suffer whatever you machine you choose.

    Check other threads regarding handbrake, you will see every core is 100% used while encoding.

    The advantage of course is that encoding will be faster so you can fire up your game all the sooner :)
     
  17. Mac Husky macrumors regular

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    Mar 28, 2009
    Location:
    Bavaria, Germany
    #17
    I just calculated the prices for Germany (although 4GB sticks are not available yet).
    Took the price of OWC +20% - but I think it will be more expensive here the next months.

    4-Core 2.66 12GB RAM € 3.050,- (with 6GB it is € 2.570)
    4-Core 2.93 12GB RAM € 3.650,- (with 6GB it is € 3.020)
    8-Core 2.26 12GB RAM € 3.270,- (with 6GB it is € 3.000)

    4-Core 2.66 16GB RAM € 3.500,-
    4-Core 2.93 16GB RAM € 3.950,-
    8-Core 2.26 16GB RAM € 3.450,-

    The choice is on me...
     
  18. Mattww macrumors 6502

    Mattww

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    #18
    Thanks - I didn't realise it scaled so well. I notice you have the Quad 2.93 - how long does a 45 minute TV episode take to encode with the new Apple TV pre-set?
     
  19. bobbydaz macrumors regular

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    Jan 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #19
    will upgrading the graphics card to Ati 4870 be of any benefit to Photoshop users?
     
  20. cmaier macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #20
    No. (Or at least nothing noticeable).
     
  21. DrawingArt macrumors member

    DrawingArt

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Location:
    Slovenia
    #21
    Exactly that was my point. 4-core is much cheeper :). Remember you compared 2,26Ghz Octo which comes almost same as 2,66 or 2,93 quad with same ram. But for photoshop and most of the other adobe software you have to compare Octo 2,93 with the quad 2,93 to get same speed. 2,26 Octo for photoshop would be waste of money.
     
  22. DrawingArt macrumors member

    DrawingArt

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Location:
    Slovenia
    #22
    Sorry but check single CPU benchmarks ... Here in this thread most of the users are using software that works with single cpu ... not multi core so they would much more benefit from higher single cpu clock then really low octo clock ... if someone uses multi core programs mostly octo would be definatelly better way as you say.

    Overall I understand and know what you mean and I agree with you ... for longer future it would be definatelly octo core win but we still don't know if adobe will soon go multi core ... ok osx will benefit from it but still.

    I think with my choice I'll be more then happy :) so everyone needs to decide for themself what they need and what they do. In my example octo wouldn't be used ... so hard core quad is better choice specially now that 4gb ram is avaible. Prices of those sticks will fall down sooner or later and until then 8gb will be more then fine for me.
     
  23. RemarkabLee macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #23
    That's true of today, but what about in the future? Perhaps Adobe are utilising OpenCL in the next version, or the version after that? The difference may be substantial.... Buying a workstation today will probably want to last for a few years. At which point people can upgrade of course.

    Just something I thought was worth mentioning ;)
     
  24. RemarkabLee macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #24
    I don't have it - yet.

    Check this thread for some benchmarks.
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=7305414&postcount=23

    In short, Shrek encodes in 17 minutes on a quad 2.66 using the Apple TV preset. Not sure on the duration of Shrek, assuming 90 minutes, so at a rough guess, I'd say a 45 minute TV program would be 8 minutes on a 2.66, so perhaps 5-6 minutes on a 2.93? :D
     
  25. DrawingArt macrumors member

    DrawingArt

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Location:
    Slovenia
    #25
    Thats awsome :p Congrats RemarkabLee ... report when you get it :)
     

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