Dilemna: 3.2GHz or 12GB of Ram??? What to do?

waiwai

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 24, 2009
238
1
Florida
While looking through pricing for upgrading RAM for the new Quad Mac Pro... I thought to myself... Should I spend my money upgrading RAM or should I opt in for 3.2GHz?

From the looks of it, if I were to upgrade RAM I would get OWC 12GB (3x4GB) kit, but for similar price (through my company's program) I could get 3.2GHz cpu with 3x2GB from Apple. At the moment, I'm gearing towards upgrading the processor and 6GB of RAM instead of going 12GB of RAM from OWC. My logic is that since I'm stuck with the processor and can't upgrade in future, I'd better get a solid cpu if I'm going to be using for long term purposes, the ram I can upgrade overtime in future.

My main uses are professional photography and average gaming (I'll be getting the 5870). Now my question to you guys is whether or not I'd be better off with the faster processor and little RAM or all out MORE RAM. If it helps, I use LR3 and PS CS3 as my main photo editing tools.
 

cherry su

macrumors 65816
Feb 28, 2008
1,217
1
You certainly can upgrade the processor. It takes a bit more work than upgrading the RAM and is not recommended by Apple as a DIY.
 

waiwai

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 24, 2009
238
1
Florida
Ya that's what I meant... I'm fine with upgrading RAM and HD cuz its super easy... I refuse to touch the processor as that to my knowledge voids Applecare if anything goes wrong...
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,834
7,394
I'd go with slower proc and more RAM.

Here is my logic...

Saying you "can always upgrade the RAM" looks to the future but your work is in the here and now. RAW pics devour RAM. Even w/ the fastest proc., if your machine is RAM poor you are in beachball villa. And even the entry level MP is plenty enough power for photo editing w/ Aperture or LR3/PS CS5.

Also it's really easy to upgrade the processors... just sell your machine (or trade it is as some stores allow) and buy a faster one when needed. MPs cost a lot of money, but they also bring a decent price in the used market. Even the '06 MP brings in well over $1000 as a trade in, and even more if you sell outright.
 

VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
115
Vancouver, BC
While looking through pricing for upgrading RAM for the new Quad Mac Pro... I thought to myself... Should I spend my money upgrading RAM or should I opt in for 3.2GHz?

From the looks of it, if I were to upgrade RAM I would get OWC 12GB (3x4GB) kit, but for similar price (through my company's program) I could get 3.2GHz cpu with 3x2GB from Apple. At the moment, I'm gearing towards upgrading the processor and 6GB of RAM instead of going 12GB of RAM from OWC. My logic is that since I'm stuck with the processor and can't upgrade in future, I'd better get a solid cpu if I'm going to be using for long term purposes, the ram I can upgrade overtime in future.

My main uses are professional photography and average gaming (I'll be getting the 5870). Now my question to you guys is whether or not I'd be better off with the faster processor and little RAM or all out MORE RAM. If it helps, I use LR3 and PS CS3 as my main photo editing tools.
I would definitely get the 3.2GHz and 6GB. The extra 6GB isn't going to help much at all unless you're working with hundreds of layers in Photoshop. I run Aperture with libraries of hundreds of 25MP RAW images from a Canon 7D and usually have 1.5GB of RAM free. I have 6GB as well.

12GB will only help in very rare isolated circumstances. 3.2GHz will make everything you do faster.
 

Sqadush

macrumors newbie
Aug 9, 2010
14
0
If CS3 is like CS4 it is limited to 4 Gb of RAM.
Or am I wrong ?

Then I would go for faster proc
 

waiwai

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 24, 2009
238
1
Florida
very interesting insights guys. does anyone have anymore advice/suggestions to support these arguments?
 

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Mar 17, 2005
4,883
407
London, UK
Easy choice in my mind, go for the faster processor. 6GB is more than enough anyway and upgrading the processor later is a bit of a faff to do and certainly voids the warranty on the machine.

RAM is easy to add at any stage and the cost of it gradually reduces. Personally though, I'd rather try to stretch for the hexacore or ideally the entry level octo and go with the stock RAM. The list price of the 2.8GHz Quad core Mac Pro with 12GB of RAM is $3774. The 2.4GHz Octo core Mac Pro with 6GB of RAM is $3499 and an upgrade to 12GB currently costs $420. That's a far better deal in my opinion, stock Octo and upgrade the RAM later.
 

orpheus1120

macrumors 65816
Jan 23, 2008
1,318
10
Malaysia
I would definitely get the 3.2GHz and 6GB. The extra 6GB isn't going to help much at all unless you're working with hundreds of layers in Photoshop. I run Aperture with libraries of hundreds of 25MP RAW images from a Canon 7D and usually have 1.5GB of RAM free. I have 6GB as well.

12GB will only help in very rare isolated circumstances. 3.2GHz will make everything you do faster.
+1. I would get a faster processor and stick with 6gb of ram for now. Test drive the setup with your workflow and determine if 6gb is enough. Chances are it will. If not you can always upgrade the ram down the road when you have saved up enough dough. Upgrading the processor is a more daunting task if not impossible.

I heard something along the line about CS3 with 4gb. But I guess if your copy of CS3 comes with a volume purchase serial from your company, it's only a matter of convincing your company to upgrade to CS5 to fully make use of 64bit and all available rams.

Ask yourself how much ram you are utilizing now and if it works okay with your current workflow.
 

Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
6,025
2,533
California, United States
I pretty much echo everyone's opinion here and there is no doubt in my mind.

Go for the fastest processor you can buy. RAM and HD are a piece of cake later down the road and you can merely get these as your acquire more funds.
 

dknightd

macrumors 6502
Mar 7, 2004
334
1
I went through this today. Decided on 3.2 and 12GB. Yes it pushed my budget, but it was only by a few hundred. Most of time 6GB ram would fulfill my current needs, but I know those needs will go up, and I hate swapping to disk, so I decided to stretch my budget. Going from 3gb to 6gb was a couple hundred, going from 6 to 12 was another few hundred (using OWC). It seemed like a good idea not to have to plan for an upgrade next year on a machine I just bought.

edit: I do the cpu first if you are tight - 6gb should be enough - you can always quite a few things when you need all available memory.
 

waiwai

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 24, 2009
238
1
Florida
Damn... Decisions decisions, I've been discussing this with people at work... And they're saying the jump between 2.8 and 3.2 is not a huge gain and that I could overclock the 2.8 to 3.2 levels easily and to go with an SSD... now some of you are saying to go with Octo... yikes... so many different choices... I'm gonna explode soon... have lots to think about...
 

highdefw

macrumors 6502
Apr 19, 2009
259
0
For those talking about After Effects, its been recommended you have at least 3GB of ram for EVERY core when using AE CS5.

So a 6 core would ultimately lead to 18 GB of ram.
 

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Mar 17, 2005
4,883
407
London, UK
Damn... Decisions decisions, I've been discussing this with people at work... And they're saying the jump between 2.8 and 3.2 is not a huge gain and that I could overclock the 2.8 to 3.2 levels easily and to go with an SSD... now some of you are saying to go with Octo... yikes... so many different choices... I'm gonna explode soon... have lots to think about...
You can't overclock Mac Pro processors. Well there was a tool that would allow overclocking of the 2006/7 and 2008 Mac Pros but there hasn't been anything for Nehalem based Mac Pros.

If you're already thinking of being able to upgrade a Mac Pro's CPU in the future then I still think an entry level Octo is a better buy. It's firmware should already have support for hexacore processors (unless Apple is being seriously nasty and giving the non hexacore Mac Pros the 2009 MP firmware) so you should be able to replace the dual quad 2.4's with dual hexa 3.33GHz in a few years time. That coupled with the additional RAM slots makes for a far longer lived machine. There's also the satisfaction that you're not buying a machine that would cost half the price if made by any other manufacturer.
 

pprior

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2007
1,441
8
Always better to get faster cpu speed, ram is cheap to upgrade later. I paid $400 for 2GB of ram with my first 2007 mac pro, a year later I added another 4GB for less than that.

Now don't starve it - a mac pro with less than 4gb of ram is just silly, and it depends on what you do, but 6-8gb is a fantastic place to start, and you can always easily add more later (and cheaper) but you're stuck with CPU speed for the life of the box.
 
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