CPU Price/Perform on buying new Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by WardC, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    Which Mac Pro model currently available (including used and Apple refurb models) do YOU THINK gives the best price/performance, or "bang for your buck." I see alot of people on here are using the new 2.8Ghz 8-core (I've only had experience with a 2.66 quad, older model). I am potentially looking at purchasing a new Mac Pro and would like some insight on user experience with the performance of various models (mainly looking at CPU...2.66 vs 3.0 quad vs. 2.8 quad vs. 2.8 octa-core, etc) Whatever model I get, I plan to upgrade the RAM to 16GB or more and possibly add a 10,000rpm drive.

    Mainly seeking to explore performance differences on various models with user feedback, from people who own/use a Mac Pro. I've read loads of benchmarks, but they mean nothing without really getting the feel for the machine.

    Looking forward to responses!
  2. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I believe the best bang for the buck is the 2.8ghz 8 core quad model. Stack it up with RAM and 8800gt and your good to go!
  3. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    I think the general consensus is that the 8 core 2.8GHz model gives the bang for the buck. Try checking http://www.barefeats.com for some speed comparisons.
  4. Lord Zedd macrumors 6502a

    Lord Zedd

    Oct 24, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
    If you're willing to drop a few grand on ram, $1600 for the 3.2GHz CPUs should be nothing.
  5. davidChief macrumors regular


    Jan 9, 2006
    Warwickshire, UK
    I just bought a couple of machines with the 2.8 x8 core with RAM boosted to 4Gb for business use. Standard graphics card.

    For business tasks (Vista x64) this seemed like the best value configuration to me.
  6. Ged' macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2007
    I just bought myself the 2.8ghz quad core. Financially this made sense as I am a student and this was affordable for me. I would never need to use the 8 cores as I am studying programming and venturing into web design etc. So to me the 4 core was the best "bang-for-buck". If I could though I would have bought the 8 core. As £250 for another awesome quad core processor is nothing really.

    Barefeats reckons the 2.8ghz quad core out performs the old 3.0ghz quad core. So I am more than happy about that.
  7. tugger macrumors regular


    Apr 14, 2005
    If you're not on an unlimited budget then part of the decision has to be what you're needs are. What do you intend to do with it?

    If you're not a heavy gamer and don't use Pro apps, the 2600XT will be more than adequate. If you're not frequently reading/writing tons of data, then RAID probably isn't necessary. Running gads programs simultaneously requires more RAM, but if you're not doing this, why load it up with 16 GB when 6 would be more than enough?

    In terms of processors, will anything you do with the box get even close to maxing-out, say, the stock 2x2.8? Benchmark tests are designed to hammer all of the cores, memory and GPU, but how many real world apps actually do that?

    I think most people purchase based on some kind of balance between what they need and what they can afford, unless, of course, they just want bragging rights :D
  8. WardC thread starter macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    Well, thank you all for your replies.

    I've made my decision (partly based on the opportunity), when Apple threw some refurb 3.0GHz Quads on the Apple Store last night. I had seen them before, but they go quick -- I knew if I wanted one I would have to grab one. I ended up springing for the Quad 3.0GHz (dual-processor) with 2GB of RAM and the ATI x1900 card. I think this is a good card all-round, and will be OK for gaming as well as driving a 23" and 30" Cinema display and doing video work.

    The machine comes configured with 2GB (4x512MB) so I have a few options on upgrading the RAM, which I definitely plan to do. I could add four matched 2GB modules to give a total of 10GB in the system, which would be more than enough (this option would only cost me $314.99 via OWC, and it's probably the best way to go right now). I also plan to add a couple more hard drives for storage, maybe a 1TB and a 150GB 10,000rpm Raptor for performance, using this as a boot drive.

    I don't really think I would need the 8-Core Mac right now, and I realize that it IS POSSIBLE to upgrade the processors to the x5365 (Clovertown) pair in the future, and this could be done for as little as $600....several websites (Anandtech and Hexus) have detailed this upgrade.

    I decided on standard delivery, since last time I used the overnight option it ended up taking 6 days for me to receive my shipment. This way, if all goes well, I should receive my Mac Pro by Monday or Tuesday of next week.

    For this machine, I paid exactly the same price that a current-generation 2.8GHz Quad Harpertown would run ($2299) but I'm getting a slightly better video card, and a dual-processor configuration (although I don't know if a DP 3.0GHz Quad is faster than a single 2.8 harper quadcore). I do realize the newer machines have more L2 Cache (12MB) and faster RAM bus (800MHz). All in all, I don't think I will be disappointed with my purchase at all. I have used one of these in a store and I was very pleased with the performance of the 3.0 quad. One thing I learned is that the RAM upgrade matters - immensely, so I plan to do that.

    Just a question, lastly, if anyone can answer it -- would I be OK adding four 2GB modules to the unit, in matched pairs and upping to 10GB, or would it be better just to upgrade the whole machine to 16GB (all pairs the same size) as far as performance goes?

  9. GotPro macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2007
    The best VALUE is the OCTO 2.8.

    I personally bought the QUAD 2.8... even though the performance value wasn't as good... I really couldn't afford more than the iMac and so the PRO was a stretch already. While I'm VERY happy with my QUAD... if I was making more money than GOD I wouldn't have hesitated on the OCTO.

    This is one of the *VERY* few time, I believe, in Apple's HISTORY where they are actually selling a machine FAR BELOW the prices that you could build a comparable PC yourself.

    I priced out a dual XENON motherboard, twin CPUS, memory, HDD, Video Card, FW800, XP, DVDRW, etc. etc... and the build-it-yourself exact replica (sans quiet computer and incredible design)... was $3632.07.

    The Apple Store Education Discount (if you can get it) is $2599.

    That's a whopping $1033.07 LESS than it would cost to build a comparable PC using internet order places...

  10. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    ZD Net recommends....

    On January 28th of this year, George Ou at ZD Net - who is no Apple fanatic - says of the new 2 x quad Mac Pros:

    The link to the story is here...

    This was deciding factor in my decision to buy the 8 core Mac Pro rather than the cheaper/older quads in the refurb store. (Suppose I should update the info below, eh?)

    Hope this helps ....

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