DIlemma! Mac Pro now or wait for Sandy Bridge iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Marquito, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. Marquito macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2008
    Hi all

    I was going to buy one of the forthcoming 'Sandy Bridge' iMacs which are due in the next month or two and spec it as high as possible - max Ram and Dual HDs etc. I'm guessing it would probably be in the range of UK£2,500+ to do so.

    However, for tax reasons I may be forced to buy before the 5th April. So it looks as if my only current option is to get a MacPro. I have one system on hold - Mac Pro 2.4GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon which has 2x 2.4GHz Quad-Core "Westmere" processors. I would put at least 24GB of Crucial Ram and extra HDs in the spare bays.

    I already have a 23" Cinema Display but I was looking forward to running this alongside the 27" iMac.

    How do you think this particular MacPro configuration will hold up against the new iMacs. Should I pull the trigger now or wait and take the Tax hit?

    My usage is Music Production and CS5 work

    All opinions much appreciated...
  2. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    Unless you are planning to upgrade the CPU's in the future, The 3.33 hex core single is a better performer than the base octo, especially for CS5 and most music applications. There have been a number of arguments on here about this, but it is you will be behind the 3.33 hex even with an assumption of 100% scaling across cores (which won't happen). The base octo has 2 potential advantages:
    1) you plan a DIY CPU upgrade - this will be expensive, but at least it is possible.
    2) 32GB of RAM is insufficient.

    While the Nik and Topaz plugins I use are well threaded, CS5 is not. You will get a lot more "snap" and speed in normal PS operations with the faster CPU versus more cores.

    Music production varies depending on exactly what you do.

    As has been noted many times here, the 3.33 Westmere hex core single is the best current performance value in the Mac Pro line. If you are handy, get a base single and do a CPU upgrade yourself - you can beat Apple's price.
  3. mdgm macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2010
    Upgrading the CPU yourself would have warranty implications. It's not deemed to be a user replaceable part. There is a good 3.2Ghz Hex (the W3670 I think) that you can upgrade to yourself which is probably the best value for money if you willing to do a DIY CPU upgrade at the moment. The 3.2Ghz Hex is almost as fast as the 3.33Ghz Hex (W3680) but considerably cheaper.

    If interested in doing a DIY CPU upgrade take a look at http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1122551
  4. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    Yes the upgrade from the base 2.8 quad to the 3.2 hex is very nice. I did it last week the thread on it is mine. In fact the day after i did the upgrade and posted it with all the how to pictures.

    a seller on usa ebay posted one for sale.

    he also posted a 3.46 hex for sale.


    usa price a 2010 quad 2.8 cost 2100 to 2500 basic model the 3.2 chip is 600 usd. so a hex for 2700 to 3000 is easy to build in the usa. ram is limited to 24gb or 32gb. i am using 12gb in my build.
  5. Marquito thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2008
    Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

    First of all, to those of you with the courage to perform a processor upgrade - I salute you. I'm not sure I want to get into it to quite that extent - latex gloves, arctic gel etc... makes me squeamish. Also, I'm in the UK and not quite sure where one would go about sourcing the components.

    So here's another question - Given the RAM limitations (and prices) for the Hex Core - would there be a significant difference between the machines as follows...

    3.33 Single Hex Core MacPro with 12GB Ram - or - 8 Core (2x 2.4GHz Quad-Core "Westmere") with 24GB Ram?

    Is 12GB enough for most situations?

    Thanks again folks
  6. Joshuarocks macrumors 6502


    Mar 12, 2011
    Somewhere in Cyberspace
    Either 3.2 hex core or 3.33 hex core + 12GB will be fine for your needs.. even for my needs my 6-core suits me just fine.. but sad to say since I am not doing any video editing at all, I am mostly on my PB G4 which can do my everyday stuff.. I am beginning to feel I wasted my money on this machine, but nevertheless I intend to keep my mac pro as its my only intel mac and it would CRY if I got rid of it, and so would my PM G5 and G4 also cry.

    All my macs regardless of processor are my children and are loved equally :)
  7. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    I have 12 GB in my MP and it is adequate for my Photoshop uses (12 Mp images from Nikon DSLR's) since I do not typically use dozens of layers. If you are using 30 mP+ images from medium format backs and/or piling up 50+ layers like some folks do, 24 GB would be nicer.

    12 GB might be light if your music production involves full orchestral mockups with heavyweight sample libraries like LASS or Hollywood Strings. If you are doing non-orchestral stuff with audio tracks with a few MIDI VI's and some effects, you're probably going to be fine with 12 GB. It is the large 24 bit sample libraries that chew up RAM, especially libraries that have multiple mic positions and lots of velocity samples.

    Depending on your music use, the 3.2 quad with 24GB of RAM might be a better fit if you are photoshopping hi-res images. A lot of music is produced professionally on machines a lot less capable - it just means you have to bounce/freeze things more.

    I also love the UAD plugins, so the DSP card also takes some load off of the CPU. While I wouldn't advise going the UAD route just for CPU reasons (the cards are as expensive or more than a CPU with more cores), if you like the sound of the plugs, it does help.

    And RAM is far easier and cheaper to upgrade than the CPU's, of course.

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