Help needed for choosing/ configuring MP

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by compainter, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. compainter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    #1
    Hi all,
    I assume that this kind of question has been discussed in this forum before. But since I believe my need for the mac pro is a little bit peculiar, I decided to post my question plucking up my courage.

    So, here we go. I use Photoshop to make mural-sized fine art prints w/high image resolution and lots of layers. The work involves not only lot of layer composition, but also a large-size-brush painting. And, I would like to dedicate my future MP to using mostly two softwares; Photoshop for compositing images, and Vue(E-On software)for some 3D modeling/renderings although PS is to be used as main(I would say 8:2?)

    The problem is that my research for an ideal MP configuration never seems to be ending due to my superficial knowledge and due to many configuration possibilities, and I need your help at this point. I was once almost going for high-core macs and I read this article somewhere about slower PS speed on higher core macs. So now I got more confused.
    RAID and SSD are also new to me too but I would be happy to explore this world although I'm not good at technology.
    I guess I will be fine with current MP models for many years despite of the next gen MP rumors.

    Regarding budget, I am willing to spend some $$ but since this is going to be a big investment to me, I would like to have it well spent on the ideal MP optimization for this kind of work I do.

    Thanks for reading this post and for putting up with my ramblings! Any thought on choosing and setting up MP would be hugely appreciated.

    Thank you all in advance!
     
  2. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    #2
    3.33GHz Hex Core is what you need. People here refer to it as the "Sweet Spot".
     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #3
    The problem with Photoshop is that it cannot take advantage of more than four threads IIRC. That means 3.2GHz quad core will be faster than 2.66GHz 12-core, since only four cores can be used anyway (and the quad has four cores at higher frequency). Future versions of PS may improve the multithreading support but I wouldn't count too much on that.

    As suggested above, the 6-core is probably the sweetest spot. You may want to look into buying the base refurb and then upgrading the CPU on your own to save $ (you really save hundreds).

    RAIDs and SSDs are not hard, but very useful. I think you will want at least two SSDs: one for OS and apps and the other as scratch drive for Photoshop.

    However, if you don't need it right now, wait. While the current gen might be fine, you are investing thousands. Sandy Bridge should provide a healthy boost in performance, as well as improvements in the chipset (SATA 6Gb/s for example). LGA 1366 is also a dead socket, whereas LGA 2011 is brand new, so there are more CPUs to come.
     
  4. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #4
    -Buy a refurb 2.4 quad 2010 model.
    -Upgrade to a six core urself. Sounds complicated but really its very easy, look at this thread: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1122551&highlight=upgrade+2010+mac+pro+cpu
    Anyone can probably do this with such precise instructions and photos!
    - An SSD is a really good investment. Use a 120-300GB disk (depends on your data amounts) for the system, all applications and most commonly used files.
    - Its the easiest to house the SSD in the second optical drive bay (given you wont use a second optical drive)
    - dont purchase the SSD from apple, as they are very expensive and slower than other SATA II SSD's. Also its not worth it doing it through apple when buying a mac pro because its so easy to do it yourself in a MP.
    - RAM: the other two posters haven't mentioned that yet! As you use photoshop a lot you will need large amounts of RAM in order for your system to run very smoothly. The MP will come standard with 3GB. NOT ENOUGH!!! The RAM is the easiest upgradable / replaceable parts. Again don't buy through apple (ridiculously expensive). Id suggest you settle for 12GB RAM (that should be more than enough and be good enough for a while) So you need to purchase 3x4GB DDR3 ECC 1333MHz PC3-10600. (the long memory modules. If you put those in you can leave a factory 1GB model in aswell, which will then give you 13GB. I dont know what country you are in. But for the US look here: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/Mac-Pro-Memory#1333-memory
     
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #5
    As mentioned by others, the SP Hex would bet the way to go. ;)

    Also, the mention of getting a 2009 Refurbished Quad (base model) is a good way to get one on a really tight budget (does require some time <not hard to do>, but the savings are worth it to most in such situations).
     
  6. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #6
    I completely forgot about that option despite having a 2009 aswell :D
    However you cant upgrade a 2009 option to a six core cpu!! And you would mostly need to buy a graphics upgrade (HD 5770) because the GT 120, which will most likely be in the 2009, really is not very good. It would most likely be enough but then I know from my own experience that the GT 120 just dosnt cut it.
    OP: the upgrade to a six core is not a necessity, just an option for down the line if you buy a 2010 quad and find it to slow in the years to come.
    You need to decide if its better to get a 2009 refurb or 2010 new or refurb, depending on your budget!
     
  7. Thessman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    Location:
    GR
    #7
    Of course you can upgrade to a six core, that is exactly what I did.
    Here is your link:
    http://forum.netkas.org/index.php/topic,852.0.html
     
  8. The-Pro macrumors 65816

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    Germany
    #8
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #9
    That hack has made the 2009's a more desirable system. :D
     
  10. The-Pro macrumors 65816

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    Dec 2, 2010
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    Germany
    #10
    Yeh, pretty awesome!! I knew about the hack but thought it was only to get quicker RAM working, didn't know that you can then use the new CPU's. Does that mean I can make my 8 core a 12 core?? :):):):)
     
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #11
    Yes. :D
     
  12. The-Pro macrumors 65816

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    Dec 2, 2010
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    Germany
    #12
    NIIIIIIIICCEEEEE!!!!!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)
    I know what im doing next year :D

    cheers mate
     
  13. compainter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    #13
    Thank you!

    Thank you guys a lot for your insightful replies and all the valuable information! My head has much more cleared up now!

    In the mean time, another question arose in my mind. So, the factor being given that you will have SSD as boot for any machine, Hex core 3.3 w/48GB max Ram could possibly beat 12 core 2.93 w/ 96GB Ram in terms of PS work speed? Sorry that I forgot to mention about speed in my first post.

    For your information, the file size I normally deal with is around 1-2 gigabytes range due to the size of the image.

    Thank you!
     
  14. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    #14
    in certain tasks the Hex can be faster than the 12c 2.93. Depends on what you use.

    For example I use Autodesk smoke / after effects and Avid. For these apps, the 12core blows everything else out of the water.

    Photoshop for example, beats the 12core in certain tasks (some plugins might be faster on a 12core though).

    With the Adobe CS6 family, this might change since Adobe will most likely optimize their apps to take full advantage of multiple cores/processors. At least it's where most of the software are headed anyways :)
     
  15. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    #15
    Yes, it's possible.
    Think of the Hex 3.3 as a Ferrari.
    Think of the 12 core 2.93 as a Bulldozer.

    If your task is to drive on a smooth road, the Ferrari will win.
    If your task is to pull a tree stump out of the mud, the bulldozer will win.

    I don't know anything about photoshop or how it performs. But if it is limited to 4 cores as other people say, then you're trying to drive on a road. Go for speed.
     
  16. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #16
    For your uses the hex 3.3 will be faster. By the Way a single processor MP can support 32GB, a dual processor MP can support 64GB, not 48 and 96
     
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #17
    16GB sticks are already available and work properly (take a look here, and notice the largest value in the density specification for a UDIMM). And these aren't the biggest... :eek: 32GB RDIMM sticks are coming as well (here). :D

    So the MP can run more than 32GB/64GB per SP and DP system respectively, not just other systems built off of Nehalem/Westmere Xeons (though unfortunately, the reduced slot count per CPU doesn't help the MP vs. other systems).
     
  18. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    #18
    Strange analogy... a simpler way to put it is that the 12 core is faster for tasks that can use all 12 cores, while the 6 core is faster only at tasks that can't use all the cores. To the OP I wouldn't jump on a 6 core just yet because future editions of photoshop will likely take advantage of more cores making an 8 or 12 core machine a better option. If anything just wait to see what updates Apple comes out with. If you can't wait, consider that the 2.66 12 core is 44% faster than the 6 core at full load. Also invest in at least 16GB of RAM for heavy photoshop usage.
     
  19. compainter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    #19
    Hex :)

    Yes.. I think I am going with Hex sooner or later :)
    Just one little thing that weighs on my mind is Hex's memory capacity-32 vs. 64 despite the Hex's better performance w/ PS :(

    Ferrari sounds great to me. I wish I could ride a Ferrari+bulldozer-like hybrid in the near future too :)


    Thank you The-Pro,
    Regarding memory, I thought OWC was offering 48GB and 96GB. Please correct me if I'm mistaking them for other macs' memory. If they really are for the current MP, would they be any good? It says they are limited to a maximum addressing of 1066MHz although devices are capable of 1333MHz? Would that make a noticeable difference in speed?

    Thanks for the link! helpful and great info.

    This is one of the many reason why I couldn't make any decision soon. I think I heard the next version release is likely to be Mid 2012. Hope that they are coming up with some improvement regarding multi core by the time.


    Thank you Hellhammer :) I might need one very soon. Couple month ago, I actually thought about getting new Mac Mini as an alternative while waiting for the new MP release. Anyway, I think I'll wait for few weeks (maybe until mid Nov?) and then I'll just go for Hex for the sake of productivity and time :)
     
  20. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    #20
    Good idea :) Wait till mid Nov, see if Apple comes out with something! If not, just grab a refurb Hex. You will love it!
     
  21. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    #21
    Doubt new Mac Pros are coming soon if this is true, I hope it's not!
     
  22. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    #22
    Yep. To be honest, I doubt there will be new MPs this year but I'm just trying to be optimistic ;)
     
  23. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    Germany
    #23
    Wow! I stand corrected. I didn't know they were available for purchase yet. That is seriously expensive though respect.
    Well the the Nehalem Models address max 1066 Mhz RAM, the Westmere models can address 1066, 1333, and 1600.
    And no, the difference is negligible. Integrated Graphics cards see a performance boost from quicker memory though.
     

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