Going from iMac to Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by thermodynamic, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. thermodynamic Suspended

    thermodynamic

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #1
    Hello. I am seriously considering upgrading to a Mac Pro. Photoshop CS4 and After Effects CS4 run nice, but with more layers loaded, especially with After Effects processing for college projects, I've managed to get my iMac to slow down. Then again, I will readily open 30, 300DPI photos into Photoshop or use the same images in After Effects (for AE, if I resized the images to web-based sizes beforehand, that might save on some number crunching time...?)

    On the iMac, it takes 9 minutes to render a 90 second animation. Processing settings devote 1GB RAM to each CPU core, with 1.49GB RAM salted for foreground usage (RAM Previews) and 2.01GB slated for background usage (1GB per CPU).

    Current specs:
    iMac (early 2009):
    2.93GHz dual core (After effects set to use both cores)
    4GB DDR3 RAM
    640GB HD
    Nvidia GTX120 video with 256MB discrete RAM (The GTX120 being a rebranded 9400, according to the rumor mill?)
    (I can probably sell this for $1200 as it's four months old and is in NEW condition)

    I am drooling over:
    Mac pro (2009)
    Two 2.26GHz quad core CPUs
    8GB DDR3 RAM
    640GB HD
    ATI HD 4870 video (512MB)
    ($3599)

    Depending on benchmarking site, I am seeing conflicting results - one of which showing favorable results to the iMac! So I am confused... (I discounted the Vista vs Mac site as it used 64-bit versions of Adobe apps and therefore has a bias. And different hardware... Not to mention, Vista's "superiority" wasn't often that great to start with, and having moved from Vista to Mac I noticed truckloads of improvements in EVERY benchmark-worthy category...)

    Once I graduate (2012) I'd obviously look for clients to peddle my ads (static and motion video) to.

    Lastly, for cost savings, would going with a single quad core Mac Pro with the high-end ATI video card be a good cash-saving compromise between power and price?


    Thanks!



    P.S. Here's one of the benchmarks that favors my iMac :eek: :

    [​IMG]
    http://www.engadget.com/photos/apple-mac-pro-early-2009-benchmarks/1438369/
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #2
    I wouldn't get the 2.26GHz Mac Pro because of the clock speed, get quad or at least 2.66GHz octo. If you have the money for higher-end octo, go for it, it's definitely worth it and you'll notice it
     
  3. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

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    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #3
    +1

    ...to a point.

    The 2.26GHz Octo is for people who predominantly use programs which utilise all cores. Unless you do that, it's a waste of money. This means that you should be looking at a 2.66GHz minimum. If you can't afford the Octo, go for the Quad at either 2.66GHz or 2.93GHz and pimp it out.

    If you give us your budget, we could more accurately recommend a specification for you.

    - Michael
     
  4. thermodynamic thread starter Suspended

    thermodynamic

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #4
    Thanks to you both for responding!!

    $3000, absolute max... I'm a starving student right now... :)

    I am going from a 24" iMac dual core, 2.93GHz w/4GB DDR3 RAM... if upping it to 8GB would be the better choice, I'd do that instead...

    Primary apps are:
    Adobe photoshop CS4
    Adobe illustrator CS4
    firefox
    MS Office 2008

    Secondary apps are:
    VMWare Fusion 2.0
    Adobe AfterEffects (which might become a primary app down the road)
    The Sims 2.0

    The only apps that would consistently use of all cores would be AfterEffects and VMWare... I'm trying to rid of VMWare and have only two apps left... (which are Truespace 7 and Bryce 6.1, neither of which I use often)
     
  5. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

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    #5
    In that case, you'll be using single-thread apps mostly (from what I read, After Effects struggles to make use of multiple cores)

    So my recommendation would be to buy a refurb 2.93GHz Quad, and then buy some 3rd party RAM and an extra hard drive
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    I agree. 2.93GHz quad will be a lot faster than 2.26GHz octo because 6 of those cores will be idling a lot.
     
  7. Techhie macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #7
    It depends on what kind of apps he is using. If he is using apps that depend on single core clock like photoshop (and many others, until developers get going), the 2.26 octad may be a poor choice. If I were him, I would get the 2.66 GHz quad and go to 6 GB RAM, and maybe an SSD.
     
  8. Techhie macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #8
    the difference in getting a quad vs low end octad is wether or not you want to future-proof yourself through more cores, and also the fact that the quad core model only has 4 ram slots to the 8 of the dual processor MP.
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #9
    AE and VM are only apps that can utilize 8 cores and as Genghis said, AE struggles with multiple cores. Faster clock speed will speed things up more than more cores in OP's situation
     
  10. Techhie macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #10
    Buying the eight core model may be a better choice in the long run, but he may not want to buy a computer just to let it sit there for 6 months waiting for optimized code :p
     
  11. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

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    #11
    If Adobe can ever get all of the Creative Suite over to efficient multi-threading, Intel will immediately forget whatever they were doing and make a 32 core chip running at 1.0GHz.

    Until that day, faster clock means that you get the majority of stuff done faster.


    MORAL OF THE STORY: Buy the 2.93GHz Quad :p
     
  12. opeter macrumors 65816

    opeter

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    Slovenia, EU
    #12
    Geforce 120GT is a rebranded Geforce 9500
    Geforce 130GT = Geforce 9600GT
    Geforce 140GT = Geforce 9800GT
     
  13. thermodynamic thread starter Suspended

    thermodynamic

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    #13
    I'm now en route to getting a 2.66GHz quad Pro. I don't want to be idling, but I don't want to go overkill either, especially with my budget.

    I've heard gossip somewhere that the single quad core Pros actually have a SECOND slot to allow an additional processor. Is that correct? If so, I'll get the 2.66GHz unit now and find a second Xeon somewhere, or just live with the one CPU. If not, I'll spend the $450 (OWIE!) for 2.93 (to be on par with the iMac).
     
  14. thermodynamic thread starter Suspended

    thermodynamic

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    #14
    By the time that future arrives, when apps are multi-core efficient, future Mac Pros will have dual octo-cores running at 4GHz... Buying more hw now or buying lesser hw every 4 years -- the net cost seems ultimately equal.

    But with my current system, with AE, I am able to get it to slow down. Not by much, but I think the breathing room IS warranted. Especially as rendering can go on and I'll have a core or two free for other tasks, instead of bogging EVERYTHING down...
     
  15. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #15
    No, there's no empty slot in quad, I think. Quad uses 3xxx Xeons while octo uses 5xxx Xeons and motherboards with two CPU sockets are expensive too. Moreover people would buy quad only and add second CPU on their own because it's cheaper
     
  16. Techhie macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #16
    I can verify this, the quad does NOT have an extra socket. The cpu/memory trays for the two models are completely different.
     

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