I'm having second thoughts on the octo

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dubaimac, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. dubaimac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    #1
    I have been thinking about my mac pro purchase, the main reason I'm purchasing is that I want 3 24" LED displays on Ergotron MX arms on my desk, and have the storage flexibility and speed. I don't do anything really strenuous, lots of iphoto and aperture for my pro-am attempts, 1.6 TB of iTunes stuff. I do not use anything that need this hyper threading stuff, I have read everywhere, here, barefeats, anandtech, all over the place, and one thing is showing true for non pro work it appears that the quad or a high frequency processor is better than a low frequency octo. My usage will be well served by 8GB RAM and maybe an SSD on either choice, But then I'm stuck, its only a couple of hundred bucks to go from a 2.93 quad to a 2.26 octo, it may be that the 2.66 quad is just fine (ref. Macworld http://www.macworld.com/article/139507/2009/03/macpro2009.html ). I get a lower frequency which from my interpretation is NOT what I need in my situation, domestic apps, lots of scanning (fujitsu Scansnap MAC and Neatworks), office (lots of documents etc. I work in Law (don't hold it against me ;) ), acrobat, maybe more aperture, RDC for HP485, independent windows volume, fusion (for when I'm feeling lazy) and that really is it. I will eventually sell my 2009 imac that I use for windows at the moment, and my MBP 15" unibody (late 2008) connected to my first 24" LED and keep my macbook air for traveling, the sale of these will go a long way to funding my extravagance!!!!!!

    Some of you may say I have answered my own question, maybe, but I would value your opinions as Real Human Expert Users (RHEU's), So knowing what I do and don't do, quad or octo????

    I have already had some great assistance on the HDD setup and either way will buy the OWC or transintl RAM kit to 8GB. Here is the proposed HDD setup http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=747429

    Thanks in advance RHEU's,
     
  2. Tower-Union macrumors 6502

    Tower-Union

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    #2
    You work law, ask yourself how much actual WORK you'll have to do to afford that extra few hundred bucks to go from QUAD to OCTO. Dive in and go for it! Also, have you considered purchasing the base level of RAM and then upgrading it yourself? Apple charges an arm and a leg for 8 GB of RAM. . .
     
  3. dubaimac thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    #3
    Yep, I mentioned I will go for the OWC kit for the RAM, I could get the octo, that's what I have budgeted for, I'm wondering whether I need the octo, is their any benefit for what I do? from the article on macworld, linked above, it appears that the octo is slower than the quad for the things I will be doing, can this be right?
     
  4. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #4
    Yes, the octad is the slower machine for single threaded work. The problem that some people have is the value you get. All Nehalems are less value for money than 2008 machines were but the quads are also not upgradable in terms of processor retrofits to octads. If that doesn't concern you your quad is probably a good solution. If your need to change down the road you can buy another machine and trade your Nehalem in.
     
  5. greenmac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Adelaide
    #5
    Sure the programs that you use might be single threaded, but do you use more than one program?
    For example, I always have fusion running - 1 core already
    if I'm doing an assignment I might have heaps of tabs open in firefox (which actually is quite surprising how much of ur CPU firefox uses), along with word and either preview or acrobat reader.
    I always have mail open
    I might be listening to songs, also downloading stuff with another program maybe even have instant messenger as well.

    you mention you use iphoto and aperture, again if i'm mucking around with photos I will have autopano pro, iphoto aperture, photomatix, and maybe sometimes photoshop.

    So the more cores you have the more single threaded programs can be running. also as part of SL, GCD should mean that the more cores the better.
     
  6. ph0rk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Location:
    OK
    #6
    After living with 1x24" and 2x19" side panels for a long time, I got pretty sick of the head turning, and am now quite happy with one 30" and one 19" side panel turned 90 degrees for tall pages. Less heat and less fuss, and the 24" can be paired with my laptop.

    Just a FYI - 3x 24" is, what, some 60" + of horizontal space? you will be literally turning your head if you have them at the recommended distance from your eyes (about 20" for a 24" capable of 1920x1200). You're talking well over 120 degrees of viewing arc - that's far too much.

    Those suckers will crank out heat like you wouldn't believe, too. The bezel between screens becomes an annoying limitation over time, as well.

    As for the octo vs quad - I'd get a more powerful machine with one 30". Spaces is about as much effort as turning your head/eyes, and creates less strain over time - believe me.


    Also - any video encoding (reencoding for appletv, etc) will happily peg your cores if you let it. Music transcoding will spool up as many threads as you let it, too. The octo will probably have a longer usable life.
     
  7. dubaimac thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    #7
    Thanks for your input (ALL), I already have the two screens here, I am using one and I picked up the other one in Bangkok airport, worked out about 80 USD cheaper at the time, and saved on shipping. I will try with two to begin with, I have the Ikea Galant corner desk, so I can have them 26 inches away, one arm attached to each side of the "L" desk, monitors meeting in the middle so they can be in a straight line. The diagonal measures 55 inches at 27 inches from my eyes. So enough for two screens in a straight line (22.8 inches each left to right. I have also ordered one of those MIMO 7" displays in white, should be here on Monday, that will have my downloads and palette for office apps. My wife also pointed out the 60 inches of "TV" as she calls it!!!!

    Is there a calculation I can do to work out how many cores/threads I would be using as per greenmac's post?

    As SL is still beta, and may not have all aspects complete yet, is there any info I can pull on SL on 4 versus 8 cores?

    Thanks again everyone for your invaluable advice,
     
  8. SydneyDev macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    #8
    One way to solve your problem is to get the 8 core 2.93 model :)
     
  9. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #9
    [​IMG]

    Another cheaper way is to get a 2.8 GHz 2008 octad. It would outperform the 2.28 2009 Octad at least in sigle thread according to Cinebench and the slightly lower performance in multithreaded would not matter much in your use case.

    In fact even the 2007 Octad would do the same. I got one which started as a 2,66 for 1400$ and upgraded it to 3,0 Octad for 620$. So the net price was 2010$.
     
  10. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Middle Earth
    #10
    Unless you're getting a kickass deal on the Quad go Octo.

    You get more RAM slots and it can handle a lot more apps at the same time.


    Definitely get the SSD that's a bigger boost overall than a few hundred megahertz.

    You never know what apps you may be running. You may choose to try the new Macspeech Dictate Legal and need extra horsepower.

    I admit ...I'm biased though. I believe maximum value in computing comes from keeping it as busy as possible. Mac Pros with as many cores as possible and a lot of RAM slots means you don't have to worry about shutting some apps down or doing a whole bunch of things (scanning and OCR) while getting other work done.

    In a couple of years there will be expectation from consumers that an app handle multicore apps well and even the apps that are single threaded still have to play in the same playground and they benefit from better concurrency technology as well.
     
  11. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #11
    I'm going to go against the grain here and recommend the Quad (2.66 is probably the best value). If you have extra money to burn, upgrade the RAM to 6GB and buy an SSD. The SSD will make an impact on you far more than an extra 4 cores.

    Your workload simply will not benefit from those extra cores. Sticking a $1000 bill to the side of your case is about as useful as buying an Octo in your case. :p

    I have a Quad with 6GB and do HD video editing, audio work, and web development and graphics work and I can barely make my machine sweat. ;)
     
  12. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Middle Earth
    #12
    Yes the 2.66Ghz if you're gonna go Quad. I'd pay the $300 delta from the 2.93 Quad to the 2.26Ghz Octo but if budget was a concern I'd save the $500 difference in Quad pricing and stick with a 2.66Ghz.
     
  13. Animalk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 27, 2007
    Location:
    Montreal Canada
    #13
    Go for the 2.26Ghz 8 core machine. The single process performance loss is negligible in my opinion if I base myself uniquely on the cinebench results posted above.

    I've been mentioning this anandtech article all over this forum for the past week or so but its really that good. It gives a great explanation of the true performance value of the different processor options for the 2009 Mac Pro.
     

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