Is the new Mac Pro worth the extra $$$?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by 1Dx, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. 1Dx macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2014
    Just a question.
    I work with 40 to 50 weddings per year plus about 100 fam shoots. From the weddings we process about 200 to 300 gig of raw files per wedding and about 40 to 50 gig per fam shoot.
    My concern is the limited upgradability/expandability of nMP
    I have currently a 5.1 2010 MP with 24 TB of internal storage and 16 TB on Drobo drive as a back up.
    I was looking at getting this
    3.0GHz 8-core with 25MB of L3 cache
    64GB (4 x 16GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC
    1TB PCIe-based flash storage and dual D500 cards
    but thats almost $8500.00 after taxes and its not getting me any storage.
    Should I just look at base 6 core unit?
    or should I just wait.
    my 5.1 still works just having issues with video card. and need to replace it.
    I use USB 3.0 in my MP and drobo D is a bit faster than the internal drive units and always looking for speed.
    Some of my photoshop actions take up to 5 minutes per photo looking at the speeds from 4 core nMP i would not get any speed gains but maybe 6 or 8 core would work faster.
    Thank you for input.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    I can probably not help you in your quest, except that you should consider getting the D700 GPU option and upgrade the RAM yourself, as the GPU is currently not upgradeable due to non-available parts, but RAM can be easily bought elsewhere.
    As for your storage needs, you could always get an external Thunderbolt enclosure or two to put your existing HDDs into or use LAN to access your old Mac Pro's HDD via file sharing.

    But the actual reason I am replying, would it be possible for you to share such PS action with us, preferably one that takes 5 minutes? I am just curious, what such an action would include, nothing more. If it cannot be done due to whatever copyright or other reasons, consider this post as not helpful. Yep. Hmm.

  3. 1Dx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2014
    Sorry its crystallize layered action it requires a minimum of 64 gig of ram it will not run on 48 gig of ram. it took us almost a year to perfected and its our studios secret. so sorry. You can start with basic crystallize if you have this option in photoshop and add toning to it with image softening it will take about 2 minutes to process image with just those two options if you do not have crystallize than the action will not work.
    if you do run a full resolution 36 mp raw file through it will take about 5 minutes on 18 mp raw file it takes about 2 minutes just to add crystallize effect assuming you are running a minimum of 64 gig of ram 128 gig is ideal.
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    WOW. Did not know that. I understand about not sharing, no problem. But 64 GB of RAM minimum. WOW. Do you have a website, where I could see your results perhaps? I am just curious, as I do not use PS professionally (to make money) and just use my license for private photo enhancements, you know, getting 18 MP pictures out of a 1996 VGA image and such. Or was it some DSLR footage? Hmm.

    64 GB of RAM. Man.
  5. 1Dx, Feb 6, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014

    1Dx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2014
    It allows for crystallization of an image for example snow effect
    you can try to run it on 32 or 24 gig of ram but it my freeze on you reducing image size may work
  6. 1Dx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2014
    if my 5.1 12 core wouldn't need video card I probably would not look at nMP, as this will become very expensive upgrade of around 16,000 after adding drives and two new 4k monitors and one drive.
    but spending 1000 on a card and than what if something else brakes no warranty on my old MP but new one will come with 3 years :)
  7. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I don't do as much photo processing as you, but the 6-Core nMP has provided anywhere from a 2-4x improvement in performance in Aperture vs my 4,1 2009 Mac Pro Quad. Intensive Photoshop benchmarks I've run show a 2-15x improvement.

    My full review and test results are here...

    BTW, I also go through a lot storage...
    - My current project work/library lives on the SSD
    - Recent work is archived to a Western Digital Velociraptor Thunderbolt Duo so I have fast access to that if I need it
    - Older work is archived to a NAS on the network (which is still remarkably responsive if I have to work off that) and an external USB 3 drive for offsite storage

    I think the 6-core with 32GB of RAM is the best bang for the buck for photo work and if your old system is anything like mine, the improvement will be dramatic.
  8. 1Dx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2014
    thank you,
    I would be stepping in from 12 core with 96 gig of ram, so I do not know if 6 core will be the best for speed improvement.
    Maybe I should wait for a bit?
    other than video card there is no issues with it.
    how is USB3 for you I heard is very slow on nMP i get on my 5.1 260 mb/s write and 298 mb/s read on my usb 3 drobo drive what do you get with yours?
  9. VirtualRain, Feb 7, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014

    VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Yeah, if you're running 12-cores and 96GB of RAM, I don't think you'll find the nMP much of an upgrade unless you go to the 8-core and as you point out, that's a hefty expense. Maybe just get a new GPU as you say.

    The interesting thing is, you bought way too much computer back in 2010... and while it's obviously bought you some longevity now, I think you would have been better off to buy a 6-core for a lot less back in 2010 and then be buying a new 6-core now. Not only would that not have held you back whatsoever back in 2010, it would have saved you a lot of money and it would make an update to the latest technology today much more economic. You'd be getting a much better all around system with PCIe SSD and a couple of modern GPUs. Food for thought for everyone that always thinks its better to buy way more computer than they need. The thing is a $6000 system that you replace every 6 years is going to suck through the last 2-3 years of ownership vs. buying the latest $3000 system every 3 years... and your investment is the same either way.

    USB 3 is a complete gong show on any platform. It seems that performance is completely dependent on the enclosure and that varies from great to terrible. I don't think there's anything wrong with the USB 3 on the nMP, it uses exactly these same chipset as all the USB 3 cards folks here are plugging into their 2009-2012 Mac Pros.

    I only use USB 3 for an offsite backup (single external drive in an enclosure) and for my CF card reader and I'm super pleased with the performance of both. As I said above, my mass storage is a mix of Thunderbolt and NAS.
  10. 1Dx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2014
    Thank you
    You may be correct on buying too much in 2010
    I was hoping at that time i just could grab the drives from my 2010 plug them in in 2014 box and keep on going.
    Was I wrong :)
    So now
    get 6 core with max ram and and ssd get an 8 core with min ram and ssd and upgrade later or wait till 7.1?
    So many questions.
  11. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    actually...$3000 now + $3000 in 2-3 years is less investment than $6000 now.

    loved your post. many good points.
  12. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Another consideration is if you estimate that you can get back the $8500+ you spent on the new Mac Pro on a certain target time frame then may be fine to get either the 8 core 3.0 new Mac Pro.

    Personally, I also factor in the timeliness of the purchase ( this is just me ) I normally hold off any major purchases at the start of a new year and try see first how the business climate shapes up and make the purchasing decision later on the year. I learned this practice from my old company that I used to work years ago. My boss would postpone purchases at the start of the year until he sees a clear path mid year on how the profits are shaping up. Being a multimedia design agency, we were depended if we would get new additional clients or lose some clients to competing agencies. He often loooked at the numbers and how much time was needed to break even. As the year went on , we were getting increases in job requests for video effects renderings. So we determined a 12 core Mac Pro was the choice Originally my boss was planning on a 6 core early that year. We got the benefits of waiting it out a bit.

    I'll be on the lookout for the 7.1 new Mac Pro and check the improvements.
  13. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Forgetting your current over-spec'd system for the purpose of this post... :p

    If you want to get a nMP, I would definitely get the 6-core with as much RAM as you need (32GB is probably more than enough unless you're doing crazy billboard resolution posters with dozens of layers). For RAW processing and photoshop the 6-core is the sweet spot. It's fast and very reasonably priced compared to the 8-core which really poor added bang-for-the-extra-1500-bucks. It's high on the diminishing returns curve for photography work.

    Then one area I would max out is the SSD... That's one thing you can never have enough of for photographic work, and it's reasonably priced and top shelf performance.

    If you wait for the 7.1, the Haswell will probably offer a 6-8% increase in CPU performance clock-for-clock (we know this as Haswell desktop and mobile CPUs have been shipping for a few months). The pricing is unlikely to change, so you will get slightly more computer for your $5K next year, but in the mean time, how much will your old system depreciate on the used market (assuming you intend to sell it). I suspect you might be better off just biting the bullet now. As I mentioned earlier, you will probably be better off getting into a pattern of buying a more modest system every 3 years than paying a premium for a top-end system and trying to get 4-5 years out of it. ;)

    If your business is as busy as you say, maybe justifying this new Mac Pro is easy... And maybe it's worth keeping the old system and running both... You could use the old system for storage and any multi-core heavy lifting while using the new system for your primary workflow with its super fast clock speeds and SSD to work from? I don't know if you often have lots of things you could be doing in parallel, but if you do, sometimes two computers can actually be more effective than one high-end one. But I don't know your workflow.
  14. 4dtough macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2008
    Good points
  15. 1Dx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2014
    Thank you
    I will wait as the current Mac Pro will give me a slight speed increase so next one will be even more and maybe I can also get two drives options, maybe
  16. zarf2007 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2010
    London, UK
    also drop in a 680 mac edition (or flashed pc version if you want to save money) and happy days!
  17. jasonvp macrumors 6502a


    Jun 29, 2007
    Northern VA
    Why would he do that? He's primarily running Photoshop, which when able to, uses OpenCL. An nVidia card's performance in that world would be sub-optimal for the most part save for the very latest (and expensive) cards.

    For what he's doing, he'd be better suited with a Mac version of the AMD 7950, if he can find one that works?
  18. <!DOCTYPE> macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2014
    Try upgrading your GPU. I had a similar problem with Photoshop.

    I design UI for websites and some of my files where getting pretty large (400-500 meg's).

    I upgraded my video card to a NVIDIA Quadro 4000

    The performance boost is amazing. RAM upgrade is only half. Photoshop really utilizes video memory.
  19. Intelligent macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2013
    Why dont you make external drives out of your old Mac pros internal drives?
  20. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    Your current MP has (I think) two six-core 2.66Ghz (turbo to 3.06Ghz) Xeon X5650 "Westmere" CPUs. The nMP 6-core is a Xeon E5-1650 v2 "Ivy Bridge" CPU, 3.5 Ghz, turbo to 3.9Ghz.

    While Intel has made clock-for-clock performance improvements in the "Ivy Bridge" Xeons, and there are some gains from getting all cores on chip, and the clock/turbo speeds are faster, I doubt a 6-core nMP would significantly outperform your 12-core 2010 MP on multi-threaded CPU tasks.

    However there is a diminishing law of returns with higher core counts (Amdahl's Law), so running the lowest core count possible is another advantage.

    If possible characterize your workload, and make a portable test case. Take that to an Apple store and run it on a nMP. Overall I wouldn't expect it to be hugely faster, but without specific tests it's hard to be sure.
  21. Stephent macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2012
    unless I need the power right now my rule has always been to just get the best middle range before the price really spikes. In this case it was the 6-core w/ 512SSD an the D700 and 12GB of RAM that I will upgrade immediately with aftermarket RAM. Found a good deal to get to 64GB for under $700. Plus am likely to get the same when I resell it in 3-4 years as someone who buys the top of the line who resells it in 6. Will see the cost and viability of upgrading the CPU down the road, but that is the plan right now.
  22. Michael73 macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2007
    A couple of points that I don't think have been made here...your existing rig and the new rig are not mutually exclusive. In other words, you could always buy a nMP and still keep your existing machine for additional tasks. Yes, the old rig might not be as fast, but you can effectively have two machines crouching away on all the PS files. Another point, "yes" the new machine is expensive but if you don't go the route above, you can always offset some of the cost of the new machine by selling your old rig. I'm not sure what it's worth but it's probably worth a third or more of a nMP (depending on the spec). Finally, and I've read this here a few times although I've not actually seen anyone do it, would be to buy two base 6 core models whose total cost is less than the 8 in your initial post and daisy chain them via TB. VirtualRain and others who are more knowledgeable than I might be able to shed some light on whether this would be beneficial to your workflow. My two cents worth.

    One last thing, I got my 8 core unit last Thursday. I had a nightmare time with the migration but it's been up and running since late Sunday and it's awesome. I took the plunge on the 8 core because I also run VMs and my old 8 core (MP 3,1) was very noticeably slower when both were in action - not anymore. I also do PS work but nothing to the degree you do...mostly I use it for mocking up websites. I should also mention that with the change from the oMP to the nMP, after much research and thought, I went the Drobo 5D route. I'm running all my libraries - Pictures, Music and Movies through the Drobo over TB and you can't tell the drives are external - everything is as responsive as it was when it was all on the application drive in the old rig.
  23. wildmac macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2003
    Given the OP's current rig, I would suggest considering the GPU upgrade as well.

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