Mac Pro 09 Octad performance for multitasking

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Rerun77, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. Rerun77 macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2009
    I have been following the discussion of performance for the new Mac Pros. Most of the comments and tests have been related to single applications, such as photoshop performance or video rendering.
    All of that is helpful, but I am wondering if anyone can comment on the relative multitasking performance of Octad vs Quad. For example, will the Octad machine be faster than a quad when I have handbrake rendering in the background, while running either photoshop or final cut in the foreground.

    I understand multitasking and # of apps open is often a function of memory so imagine they both had the same amount of memory. (I realize the Octad may have an inherent advantage because it can take more memory).

    To me these are the kind of real world experiences I am after.

  2. Zoowatch macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2004
    Sheffield, UK
    I have the same question.

    When I do a handbrake encoding in the background and at the same time use other app such as iTunes to listen to music, I somehow wonder if I leave Mac Pro's resources unshared by other apps (i.e. not multitasking), Handbrake would encode for me a slightly higher quality (e.g. fps) video file?

    Most of the time, the CPU and memory load is not use even reaching 50%, but I have that feeling that in order to get the best encoded video quality from Handbrake, I should stop doing other things else on my mac Pro (close all other apps, disable screen saver and time machine backup).

    Can anyone please shed some light on this?

  3. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    The black bar in conjunction with the yellow bar should give you an excellent indication of this.

    As for scheduling very many apps at once that has a lot more to do with the OS scheduler than the hardware but the B&Y graph bars show well what the hardware can do. I imagine also that the black bars would all be increased if Cinbench were a 64-bit application.
  4. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I believe multitasking would be about the same from an Quad or an Octad right now.

    But I would get the Octad because once snow leopard ships it will utilize all the cores hence increase productivity and overall speed.

    Also since the new architecture has 2x faster memory as to the last gen's 8 core machines it will be much faster, especially with snow leopard.
  5. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    The quality of Handbrake encodes has nothing to do with multitasking. They will always be the same quality at the same settings being used. Encodes might take just alittle longer if you are doing other things during an encode, but quality will never change.

    Depending on the apps your using, multitasking could be affected by # of cores, but more likely from disk use/access. I wouldn't even try to edit video in Final Cut while running a Handbrake encode. Especially if only using a single hard drive. But the use of Photoshop would be ok, though speed would be limited by file size, Ram, and disk access.

    Honestly, if you don't know if you need a quad or an octo, then you don't need an octo.

    Now wanting one is a different story :) Enjoy whichever you choose
  6. nemodomi macrumors member


    Jul 6, 2008
    That's unhelpful, misleading, and just plain ridiculous.
  7. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    No, it's pretty close to being true. It's the same as asking "iMac or Mac Pro". If you have to ask, you don't need the Mac Pro.
  8. MCHR macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009

    No, neodomi has a point. There are FAR too many vague "answers" on this forum, given that many people are looking for specific information.

    For those asking, we are looking for 1) examples, 2) comparisons based on performance, and sometimes 3) costs associated with those performance comparisons. After all, we are making a purchase of thousands of dollars based on the collective discussion here on these forums. Information is ammunition for a wise purchase choice.

    If people can't reference specific data, performance benchmarks and relevant information, I don't think it's helpful either. A seat of the pants "my 2009 is faster" or "quad will work as well as an octo" is subjective and of no help at all.
  9. NoNameBrand macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2005
    Halifax, Canada
    That's not true at all. There are many of us who'd like the iMac/Mac mini to be good enough (due to price), but are unsure that it will be.

    For the OP:

    Look at Activity Monitor/top while performing your current work flow and see how many processes are running along with their CPU load and thread count. Run each task separately and together. If your tasks are few and are each using ~100% (max load on a n-core system is n*100%), a quad would suffice (assuming you have enough memory).

    In the case of Handbrake, it will use everything you throw at it; therefore more is better.
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Both POV's have their merits. :eek:

    From the first, it's more of a matter of experience from dealing with such questions. Members ask questions, and in the end, the details end up indicating usage not being extremely high, and the lower choice being the best cost/performance alternative.

    From the second, everyone doesn't have the same knowledge, and needs to learn more about their own needs. At least in terms of how things work. For example, is application A single or multi-threaded?...

    A search can help immensely, but it seems that many are too impatient, or don't know what to search for.

    Perhaps requesting information on search criteria first, followed with detailed information would help eliminate "vague" answers, and give the OP the ammunition they need to help them with their decision.

    Just an idea, but I think it will help. :) Look at it this way. Ask a vague question, get a vague answer. Put in the time to do the research needed, as it's your wallet folks... ;) :p
  11. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008
    I don't agree at all.

    Just because a person may not know how multi-core architecture profiles doesn't mean they don't use or want to use 10 apps at once.

    If they use 10 apps at once then they do - period. If they dunno if 8 cores is better than 2 or 4 for that then asking is the best way to find out!
  12. MCHR macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    Not to put too fine a point on it, but I have asked specifics on using Rhino, a 3D app. I have also asked specific questions on using Alias Autostudio, another 3D app. Both will need to be booted through BootCamp, I'm certain. These are somewhat like Maya, but used for surface creation, not just rendering and making pretty images. Of course, my home suite will include Maya as well as Photoshop and the Adobe suite.

    SO. . . now that I have identified my palette of applications, I often keep 2-5 open at any time. If generating images in Phtoshop during that workflow, I may have anywhere from 3-45 layers (yes, I'm not exaggerating) open in a Photoshop file.

    With these newer Mac Pros, what would you suggest for a workstation, knowing that we don't (yet) know much about Snow Leopard, and future software revions that may (or may not) take advantage of the multithreading of these Nehalems.

    Do a search, as I have, reference some data, and I'm all ears.

    Until that time, I remain just as uncertain, and your post was equally worthless.
  13. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    This was the detail I was referring to when I made the original post. It wasn't present in the first post you made in this thread.

    Now that you've identified and listed the relevant details, you would definitely want to skip the Quad and go with an Octad version. Given the price/performance, you might want to look primarily at the 2.66GHz version, as the 2.26GHz would feel sluggish. If cost is not object, the 2.93GHz may be worth it to you for the additional performance it can provide, but here we get in the realm of "total unknown" in terms of details. Again. ;)
    All the new MP's would scale the same way as they do now (using the same OS on all machines). So the performance differences noted now (Leopard), would be present with Snow Leopard as well. It's still a matter of the hardware.

    You can wait for SL if you wish, or have the ability to do so. Otherwise, buy now. Given the price won't change, you might be able to get a lot more work done. And if you derive a living from it, it's certainly in your best interest to improve productivity sooner than later.
    Since you created the thread for an answer to a question, then onus is upon you to perform a search, or post any relevant details.

    As someone attempting to help, it's not upon me to search for other posts you may have made in other threads to gain more information. And if someone asks for the details you may not have given, whether intentional, accidentally forgotten, whatever, you DO NOT jump down someone's throat.

    Simple courtesy, and I would have thought common sense.

    I'm not trying to hammer you, but if you think about it, it should certainly make sense. Treat someone respectfully, especially if you're the one asking for help.

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