How fast is the MacPro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by fancybannister, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. fancybannister macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2009
    Seriously. I don't do any hard-core computing. I may open up iMovie or Photoshop now and again, but normally I'm just browsing with about 8 applications open (Word, iPhoto, iTunes, Transmission, Tweetdeck, Omnifocus, mail, etc.). If you were me and money were no object, what's the fastest machine to perform everyday tasks on? I mean, the Mac Pro benchmarks are great, but would I ever be waking up those other processors? Or, is it possible to fool the Mac pro into using all of it's power (running Photoshop all the time, constant rendering) and would that actually speed up browsing and the interminable time it takes to open iPhoto? If you're using only a quarter or a half of the power of a Mac Pro isn't just as fast as a loaded iMac or powerbook pro? Thanks and I'll take my answer off the air...
  2. kastenbrust macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2008
    North Korea
    Low End iMac, or Top end Mac Mini. Since you have many windows open at once i'd buy a Top End 2.26Ghz Mac Mini and get a 30" Dell HD Screen. The processor speed is the main factor in your case, and amount of RAM, not number of cores.
  3. waiwai macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2009
    A stock iMac/MB with 4GB RAM will be more than enough for your needs.

    Since you are doing a lot of multi-tasking, RAM is very important, you wanna max out on your RAM.

    Personally, I'd go with a MB since you can bring it where ever you go :) very convenient.
  4. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Sounds like you'd be better off spending your money on a fast SSD rather than more cores and memory.
  5. raclotz macrumors member


    Mar 8, 2009
  6. DeepCobalt macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2007
    Over and around
    I wouldn't touch any Mac w/ANY 30" display--except the Mac Pro (which is overkill for you). ALL THE OTHERS ARE NOT COMPATIBLE AT THIS TIME. The adapter DOESN'T WORK. Unless you're willing to live with flickering or worse, I would steer clear of anything but the 24" (glossy, unfortunately) display.
  7. fancybannister thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2009
    Thanks everyone. A few follow-ups: If RAM and processor speed are the keys here shouldn't I then get the high-end iMac? The mac mini does not excite me and remember, price is no object. The Mac Pro still has the fastest processor and can take the most RAM. Isn't that the way to go? The lowest end Mac Pro? Will come in handy if I get more into Photoshop and iMovie.
  8. ColinM macrumors member

    Jan 25, 2008
    If price is no object, then definitely go with the Mac Pro. Honestly, it won't become obsolete it terms of being able to run apps, or the latest OS for years. Get as much RAM as you can afford, and you'll be on your way with an EXTREMELY fast computer. I'm not sure about using more cores than it does naturally, but honestly, I don't need one, but if I had the money I'd buy a Mac Pro in a second. Very fast, Very Professional, just... fantastic.

    My dad has one at his Office, and when I'm there... Holy ****
  9. fancybannister thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2009
    Is the chip in the mac pro much better than the chip in the iMac? IMac's run at 3.06ghz and can be upgraded to 8mb of RAM. Starting to rethink this...
  10. Scippy macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2009
    I'd go for the high end iMac.
    From what it sounds like you won't be doing anything that requires more than two cores, so a 3.06 GHz, iMac with 8 gigs of ram should be able to meet all your computing needs.
  11. Mr. lax macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
    I would do iMac, maxed out. If you do upgrade ram (Pro or iMac) make sure you buy it from an external source. The pro is faster than the iMac, even with the slightly faster core in the iMac, the multiple cores in the pro make it wicked fast. Also with the pro, if you only use one core at a time, it over-clocks it and turns the other ones off (3.3 ghz?)
  12. dal20402 macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2006
    This. Your biggest objection seems to be app loading time. A faster disk will make far more difference than a faster processor.

    I don't know if it's possible to mount a 2.5" SSD inside an iMac. If I were in your shoes, I'd buy a 17" MBP, load it up with 4 GB RAM (or 8 if money is *really* no object), and buy an aftermarket SSD (faster and cheaper than the stock Apple one).
  13. fancybannister thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2009
    Right! So... can you fool the Pro into keeping the other cores on and, if so, will that speed up your normal use?

    But, we can all agree that a browser runs faster and Word opens faster on a low end MacPro with maximum RAM than on the high end maxed out iMac, right?
  14. Mr. lax macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
    By 100th's of second, seriously. Not noticable amounts

    Also, i'm thinking you can fool it, but it would everheat
  15. dal20402 macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2006
    You are way too worried about processor speed.

    The speed of your browser will almost always be limited by the speed of your Internet connection.

    The speed of opening Word has *much* more to do with your hard disk than your processor. Word will open faster on a Mac mini with an Intel X25-M SSD than on an 8-core Mac Pro with the stock hard disk.
  16. zer0tails macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    how about a 2.93 GHz macbook pro versus a 2.8 GHz mac pro?
  17. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    omg... get a Mac mini and be happy with your machine for years to come ... Why waste so much money on something you will never need???
  18. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    The Mac Pro absolutely TRASHES it. You're comparing a laptop against a Xeon.

    You're comparing two cores against EIGHT.

    Do you really think that because it has a higher clock speed that it is better? You ought to go buy a 4.21GHz Pentium 4, then.
  19. dal20402 macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2006
    For users for whom processor speed is remotely relevant.

    For the OP, whether the MBP or the Mac Pro "felt" faster would be determined by two things, neither of which has to do with the processor: 1) whether the machines had enough RAM that under his usage they never swapped to disk, and 2) the random read speed of the disk.

    More than two cores only help if you actually do something that uses them. The OP has given no indication that he does.
  20. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    If money is not a consideration here (congratulations on winning the lottery :D ), then an 8 core Mac Pro is what you want. Buy a refurb or clearance late 2008 though. Get it with the fastest processors, bump the RAM up. There are several web pages that talk about the best combinations of RAM to get the best performance. Get two fast internal hard-disks, and optimize Photoshop by using the scratch disk.

    The compelling reason for a late 2008 MacPro is that this is the final version of this model. All the improvements and fixes are in place. The new 2009 models are breaking in new technologies, and there will be some rough edges.

    MacPros are the most future proof. If you want to add displays, no problem. If you need more HDs, you can choose from internal/external/both etc. More RAM? Up to 32 Gb.

    While most applications today only take advantage of one core, with 8 cores you can run 8 single core applications. As others have noted, the bottleneck will be the HDs. Get lots of RAM to help with that, you don't want to have virtual RAM going to the HD.

    I also believe that when Snow Leopard is released regular applications will start to take advantage of the multiple cores. In essence, your MacPro will start to get faster in a couple of years.

    Good Luck
  21. nebarik macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2007
    even if money is no object for you, you seriously dont need a mac pro. just get a mini and be happy. and spend the thousands of $ you saved on movies or something.

    the keyword in mac pro, is 'pro', as in professional. unless your doing some hardcore 3d rendering or editing 1080p HD video in final cut pro, you wont ever use all those cores or ram.

    as others say, the speed your looking for will come in a SSD option and how much ram you have.

    the overkill that comes with a mac pro wont help you open word faster.

    i edit SD video professionally on my 20inch, 2.0ghz, alu imac. and i dont run into any lag whatsoever. while running various other apps mind you (itunes, firefox, msn, vuze, etcetc)
  22. windowpain macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2008
    Are you thinking of buying a macpro because iphoto doesn't open quickly enough?! - in that case...Go for it!! :cool:

    They are stupidly fast, and overkill for just about anything (pro use aside)

    You could set up a raid system in the macpro with 4 Velociraptors. I'd imagine they would be pretty snappy.

    Edit: It appears the velociraptor wont fit in the case :(
  23. fancybannister thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2009
    Oh man, you guys are great. I still have no idea what I'm going to do (except NOT get a mini, that hamster wheel is a lifestyle choice). I think the safest, wisest choice is the latest, fastest iMac with a big hard drive, the best graphics card and the most RAM (of course money is never not an issue, that was just for the sake of arguement). Thanks everyone.
  24. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I think the extra $400 for the high-end iMac is a waste. What I would do is buy the middle range 24" iMac. Upgrade the graphics for $200 to the ATI 4850, that would rock. Then, in a year or two when RAM prices fall out of the sky, load 8 GB of RAM into it for less than $100. That will make it a speedy computer for several years.

    Unless you are doing lots of "pro" level apps, the power of the Mac Pro will not benefit you AS MUCH. However, a Mac Pro is still the way to go in my opinion... if MONEY is NO OBJECT.

    Obviously, the low-end Mac Pro would kick some serious ass over the iMac. The Nehalem Xeon CPU rocks... if money is really no object, might as well buy the high end. If money is really REALLY no object, load it with RAM. If money is really REALLY REALLY no object, put dual Quad 2.93 GHz chips in it and deck it out all the way, RAID and 15,000 rpm drives and all.

    However, if it comes down to what would be fast or a good price value, I think the iMac does a pretty good job with a nice IPS display, and the future potential to upgrade to 8 GB RAM for much less than the current price. Add an SSD drive for some more speed. And I think that computer would be a lot of fun. But if you want truly sick performance, buy the Mac Pro.

    Going back to the first post though, the new Mac mini with a 30" ACD would do the job... for most. Especially with maxed out RAM. The nice thing about mini is it can always be used as a media server later. The nice thing about a 30" ACD is it can always go with a Mac Pro later. I would definitely stick with ACD. Also, I own a 24" ACD, and I use it with an MBA. It works awesome. It's a lot less money and for $899 you get speakers, a USB hub, and video camera included. It would work great with Mac notebooks too (new ones anyways).

    Lastly, Snow Leopard is coming out soon, and it could further make a case for the POWER of the new Nehalem Mac Pros.

    Good luck whichever route you go.
  25. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502


    Jan 28, 2008
    To me speed is relative when it comes to casual use. My new Rev B MBA boots quicker, loads apps quicker, etc because of the SSD in it versus the Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB I've got OSX and all my apps installed on my Mac Pro. Now, during college, as a side job I did web design and graphic design. That cash bought me a Mac Pro; however, now those are only hobbies and I have no professional use for it at all now and I just like having it so I can mess around. I bought the Mac Pro basically even as I knew I wouldn't specifically need the speed or power (although I do have CS3 Master Collection installed and I do use it) and could easily get by with something less powerful. But I didnt want to - I wanted one. I had the money, had a great job out of college, so I bought it. If you want something powerful, hell - even to show off to your friends or to sneak longing glances at at 3 in the morning (umm...i dont do that btw), then get a Mac Pro. I think of it this way, you don't need to be a professional race car driver to own a Ferrari or Lambo, you just need the money and want. If you want a Mac Pro, just get it. It won't disappoint you.

Share This Page