Mac Pro 2009 Nehalem: Single 2.93 or Dual 2.26


nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,718
2
You might be better off with the higher clocked unit.

That said, how heavy is your video/graphics work?

And are you committed to a Mac (i.e. not another system that can be hacked), given the tight budget?
It's just a question, not a fanboi issue, as there's compromises with either solution, such as time and finances.
 

Genghis Khan

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2007
1,202
0
Melbourne, Australia
If FCP is a must for you, you could justify the 2.26GHz as encoding times would be fantastically fast.

The games will run no problem on a 2.26GHz Nehalem.

You'd also get the benefit of 8 RAM slots and you could also upgrade the processors in the future should you wish.

- Michael

*N.B. the first time I've recommended a Octo above a Quad in weeks :p
 

gugucom

macrumors 68020
May 21, 2009
2,136
0
Munich, Germany
Upgrading to the 5570-5590 CPUs is a real option, although the mechanical side is a challenge to all who are inexperienced with CPU upgrades.

When Intel gets into the Westmeres and 12 core CPUs prices are likely to fall and such projects should be economically more viable.

So I would allways recommend the more future orientated version but the OP must know what suits his philosophy.
 

VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
114
Vancouver, BC
I use the 2.93 Quad for FCP editing of HD video and it's way more than adequate... it's amazing!

Don't buy the 8 core machine. Very little software can actually leverage that many cores and you will benefit from the clock speed increase in EVERY application.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,047
1,106
NYC
Basically of the 4 you listed, the only thing that can take advantage of 8-core is FCP. If you don't use that much, stick with the quad.
 

Gomff

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2009
802
1
It's true that at the moment there aren't too many apps that are coded to take advantage of 8 cores but Snow Leopard has been engineered in such a way that near future software should be more multi processor aware.

Something that should be of particular interest to you is in the area of video rendering and compression, where more cores will definitely mean less waiting time while your edits are being processed. I imagine the next version of FCP will be optimised to take advantage of all your CPUs.

Personally, I would go for the 8 core. I have a Jan 2008 octo machine (I do 3d graphics so 8 cores makes a lot of sense for me) and I love it. Don't forget that even with non optimised programs, it means that you can have your machine processing video whilst you're simultaneously playing WOW or whatever.
 

thermodynamic

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May 3, 2009
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I'm looking into purchasing my first Mac Pro for my computing needs. I'm stuck on either getting the Single 2.93 Nehalem Processor or Dual 2.26 Processors, since the prices are very similar.

On it I'll be doing the following:

  • Final Cut Editing with HD files
  • Amatuer Photoshop CS4 Work
  • World of Warcraft
  • PC Gaming in either Parallels or BootCamp

I'm aware that gaming is more concerned on higher clock speeds rather than having more cores, which is why I'm considering the single 2.93. The 8-core with a 2.26 clock seems a bit TOO low for me, and I can't afford upgrading to the 2.66/2.93 8-core.


Any help or advice is greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your time. :apple:
http://www.barefeats.com/nehal04.html

I was thinking single quad, but given that a 2.93 single quad and 4870 video with 8GB is only $20 cheaper than a dual 2.26 quad with 6GB and 4870 video... I'd go 8 core. Thanks to reading those benchmarks.
 

thermodynamic

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It's true that at the moment there aren't too many apps that are coded to take advantage of 8 cores but Snow Leopard has been engineered in such a way that near future software should be more multi processor aware.

Something that should be of particular interest to you is in the area of video rendering and compression, where more cores will definitely mean less waiting time while your edits are being processed. I imagine the next version of FCP will be optimised to take advantage of all your CPUs.

Personally, I would go for the 8 core. I have a Jan 2008 octo machine (I do 3d graphics so 8 cores makes a lot of sense for me) and I love it. Don't forget that even with non optimised programs, it means that you can have your machine processing video whilst you're simultaneously playing WOW or whatever.
Seconded. MOST apps are multithreaded, even to a minor extent. As with Windows, OS X will let a single app run on an available core/CPU.

It'll be great to run After Effects WHILE doing something in Bryce or Ultrafractal in Windows emulation (WINE) WHILE web surfing... Sitting there waiting forever... yuck...
 

fandsw

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2007
174
33
Helena, AL
http://www.barefeats.com/nehal04.html

I was thinking single quad, but given that a 2.93 single quad and 4870 video with 8GB is only $20 cheaper than a dual 2.26 quad with 6GB and 4870 video... I'd go 8 core. Thanks to reading those benchmarks.
Agreed, I've got the Nehalem 2.26 Octo w/12GB and it was notably faster than a 2.66 Quad w/8GB. People also keep forgetting the 4 vs 8 memory slot issue of the MPs as well. 4GB memory sticks are way more expensive, and even then you are limited to 4 slots with a quad.
 

thermodynamic

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I use the 2.93 Quad for FCP editing of HD video and it's way more than adequate... it's amazing!

Don't buy the 8 core machine. Very little software can actually leverage that many cores and you will benefit from the clock speed increase in EVERY application.
With the high end single quad being $20 less than the entry dual-quad (when the single quad has a 2.93 CPU and 8GB RAM and 4870 video compared to the dual quad's 2.26 CPU and 6GB RAM and 4870 video), and that even single apps can run on their own core, one can still do a LOT.

600MHz difference in CPU speed is ultimately negligible.

Though I won't deny, a lot of cores would still remain idle, I agree.
 

Cynicalone

macrumors 68040
Jul 9, 2008
3,209
0
Okie land
The Dual 2.26 seems to slow to me. If you do go that route, you could at a later date upgrade the CPU's. RAM upgrades will be cheaper (4 slots in the Quad, 8 slots in the Octo).

The real question is are you okay with every single thread app being roughly 22% slower to get those 8 cores?
 

AZREOSpecialist

macrumors 68020
Mar 15, 2009
2,104
881
Future proof yourself and get the 8 core.

Trust me IT IS FAST!! :)
That's not very good advice IMO. You can't "future proof" yourself with any machine. By the time mainstream developers are on board with the changes in Snow Leopard and can actually deliver software to scale across multiple cores/CPUs, you'll be able to get a much faster Mac Pro for the same or less money. Get the Mac Pro that will give you a maximum benefit FOR YOUR WORKFLOW and save your money for the next big upgrade. By then, more software will take advantage of the available horsepower.

If the majority of software will not see a benefit with 4-core vs. 8-core, you'll end up running 20% slower for the majority of your software and time spent on your computer. That doesn't make sense. However, if the majority of your time is spent doing work in software that can actually utilize all 8 cores effectively, then the consideration is reversed. It all depends on what you are doing.

However, it does not make economic sense to overpay for a machine today that you can't fully utilize on the hope or expectation that future software will take advantage of the untapped power. As I said earlier, by then you'll have Mac Pros twice as fast.
 

nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
11,718
2
Sorry for the moderately late reply.

I'm committed to a Mac in the sense of it's exclusive applications, Final Cut is basically a must to me. I couldn't get used to any Windows alternative at all. I'm avoiding any type of hackintosh systems to avoid any type of problems with OS X.

As for the graphics: Final Cut Editing with HD files, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty 4, and some PC gaming. I'm looking at the upgradeable 4870, and possibly upgrading to the GTX 285 later on if I'm not satisfied with the performance.

I feel that with the dual 2.26 processors not ALL of the 8 cores will be used a majority of the time, and doesn't really feel worth sacrificing for the much higher clock speed. I just don't know if my "theory" is accurate for what I plan on using the computer for.
:cool: NP. :) I just wanted to find out where you were on other possibilities than an MP, given the budget.

If you're doing a lot of FCP, you would benefit from an Octad. :) But I have another idea than the 2.26GHz '09 model. Go for an '08 Octad as a refurbished or used machine. It's cheaper, and it will do what you want. It has EFI64, so it's good with current/future graphics cards, and will continue to support OS X when it goes completely 64bit.

It's also better with internal hardware RAID controllers if you decide to add one in at a later time, the memory is less expensive than DDR3 UDIMM's, and if you ever choose to use SSD on the SATA controller on the logic board, it's not limited to 660MB/s, as it is on the '09's (Intel's fault here), should you ever RAID 0 more than 2x of the Intel units (~250MB/s each reads). You'd be throttled on the 3rd and up.

The faster clock speeds on it would help with both single and multi-threaded applications, and the memory throughput will suffice for what you want to do. There's very few applications that can take advantage of triple channel DDR3, and those are meant for servers so far (not going to change anytime soon either IMO). So the IMC and QPI in the '09's though nice, isn't being utilized by much, and won't benefit you for the added cost of it.

Last I checked, Apple was offering a 3.2GHz '08 Octad for $3299USD.

Just an idea to consider. ;) Good luck. :D
 

Gomff

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2009
802
1
That's not very good advice IMO. You can't "future proof" yourself with any machine. By the time mainstream developers are on board with the changes in Snow Leopard and can actually deliver software to scale across multiple cores/CPUs, you'll be able to get a much faster Mac Pro for the same or less money.
I can see your point, but one of the apps mentioned was Final Cut Pro, which is of course, Apple software. I'd be very surprised if the next version of FCP doesn't fully utilise all cores for rendering and processing, what with Apple's presumably intimate knowledge of the workings of "Grand Central". I imagine they will want to showcase this feature of Snow Leopard ASAP and will be amongst the first to utilise it.

Anyhow, it doesn't matter too much about which machine is chosen as none of the options could be called slow:D

The Nehalems are nice and undoubtedly quick....I think the pricing is all wrong on them though.
 

Abidubi

macrumors 6502
Feb 13, 2009
329
0
Montreal
For Gaming purposes alone though, would the 2.93 GHz Quad be the much better choice over the 2.26 Octo?
Yes. Or if you feel adventurous you can get the 2.66 and for $1000 buy a W3580 3.33Ghz Xeon and swap your CPU. Then sell the 2.66 for about $200 on ebay. When I am swimming in cash, the 2.93 gets a little slow or the prices drop... I'll be doing just that for my system.

Some games are not very CPU limited, other are very much so. It depends what games you play. One thing is for sure though, there are no games that benefit from more than 4 cores, so the quad is a much better deal (especially price/performance) for that. The faster CPU will definitely make some things feel snappier though.
 

thermodynamic

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May 3, 2009
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For Gaming purposes alone, I assume the 2.93 GHz Quad be the much better choice over the 2.26 Octo?
No. Macworld did a review on the 2.93GHz quad, and most apps improved by 2 seconds... except for the games, which doubled in FPS. That was due to the ATi 4870 video card being installed.

http://www.macworld.com/article/139919/2009/04/cto_macpro.html

The difference between a 2.66 and 2.93 GHz CPU is .270GHz. 270MHz. That is negligible. The video card is what matters for gaming. The integrated GT120s are really unsuitable.