Mac Pro / CS3 / 4 or 8 cores?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by davidwatts, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. davidwatts macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2008
    Looking for some advice. I'm a graphic artist and photo retoucher who primarily uses Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. Sometimes I need to work on some very large PSD files, but I do only a little iMovie work, and no gaming.

    It's well past time to upgrade my Dual 1.25 GHz G4 with 1.75 GB Ram on which I've made my living for almost 4 years. The new Mac Pros look great to me, but I wonder if the one 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon (quad-core) for $500 less than the 2 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon (quad-core) might not be a better machine for most of the work I do? From what I've been able to gather, CS3 apps aren't multi-processor savvy at this point, and there wouldn't be much of a speed boost for these apps at this time between quad or octo.

    But, perhaps someone could tell me if there will be much of a speed difference in the future when Adobe updates the CS3 apps to take advantage of 4 or 8 cores? Would $500 would be worth it in the future if I went for the 8-cores now? I think I'd rather go with the single quad core and then spend that $500 on third party RAM and hard drives?

    Advice appreciated.
  2. oceanzen macrumors regular


    Dec 4, 2006
    Madrid, España
    For the kind of work you mention, definitely get 4-6GB of ram but not from apple, try
  3. noi375 macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2007
    Nobody else other than OWC has the ram for the new Mac Pro yet (although Crucial site has been updated to list the new Mac Pro, it doesn't have the RAM listed yet), but like everyone said, as long as you buy it from a good name manufacturer, you are fine with using 3rd party RAM.
  4. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    ^ Photoshop CS3 is limited to using 3GB. I went from 4GB in my MP to 7GB recently and it has made very little difference for me personally.

    To the OP...

    How many filters do you use, and how much rendering do you do ? I know in practical terms I didn't notice any difference when working on a design project on an 8core MP, and finished off on my own 4core MP.

    Also I guess it depends on how many programmes do you have open at one time.

    Normally I only have my main program (Photoshop or Painter X) and then in the background maybe iTunes and sometimes iPhoto.

    However if I was buying new one now... I would buy the 8 core standard, may as well.
  5. appledog macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2006
    I am in the exact same situation-- graphic designer using the same apps. I am in sticker shock and considering the 4-core to save $500... but I need to keep it 4-5 years and am afraid I'll regret the decision down the road. Most have told me that the 4-core is fine for the current CS3. One said that Aperture (which I'm hoping to get as well) would work better with 8 core.

    I'm going to try to buy from MacMall or another reseller that will offer no interest for 6 mos. and just bite the bullet, get the 8-core & pay it off over that period.
  6. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2006
    If my memory serves right,the photoshop (and rest of CS3) can allocate 3.5Gbs of memory to the application/pictures,but can allocate another 3.5Gb for direct scratch too,thus being a bit faster than pure HDD scratch.
    So it might be beneficial to have up to 8 Gb (1 for os x+3.5 ps + 3.5 scratch) but I dont know what the actual curve for benefits is.
    Never seen that accurate tests about that.

    And about the single quad/double, you can check out the threads in this forum.
    But in short, it seems that you wont benefit from 4+ cores for the next 12-40 months. So there should be no worries if you go 4core.
  7. Emerson macrumors member


    Apr 1, 2004
    I am in the same boat, I will use the computer for Photoshop CS3 and Nikon Capture NX mainly. I might do a tiny amount of iMovie (mainly just making slideshows of my photos), so I am too wondering if I should get the 8 core version or go with the 4 core and use the extra cash for ram and hard drives. I would appreciate anyones thoughts on this issue, also I would want to be able to keep this computer for at least 4 years or more. Thanks
  8. mmendoza27 macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2007
    If you are already afraid you will regret it and you need to keep it for that long, you need the 8-core. It'll do you best and multi-threading tasks will become more common on the software end. I mean, I'm pretty darn sure quad cores will become common in laptops 4-5 years down the road, probably sooner.
  9. zdobson macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2007
    To the OP: Go with the 8-core. From what I hear, the 4-core does NOT have an empty socket for another processor to be installed later, thus limiting you to that one chip for the life of the machine. Also, while CS3 is not yet optimized for 4-core processors, at some point in the near future (12 months?) it will be. Plus, if you do a lot of multitasking, you will definitely use more of the 8-cores.

    I believe you are correct in this.

    Personally, I think you will have to get the 8-core to get 4+ years out of this system. I am a photographer and had the same thoughts about getting the 4-core, but the lack of an empty socket to install a 2nd chip later sealed the deal on the 8-core for me. Also, consider that the price of the 2.8 chip itself is over $700, so basically you are paying $200 towards the 2nd processor whether you actually buy it or not.
  10. jtblueberry macrumors regular

    Dec 20, 2007
    Pismo Beach, CA
    8-core for me

    I am in the same boat as you. I have dual 1ghz g4. If you are as good as me at putting off updating, as you appear to be, you deserve the 8-core. I mean, think about how little $500 is spread out over 4 years (less than 35 cents a day). Plus you earn a living on this thing.
    I'm getting 2.8 octo and I'm getting an additional 12 GB of ram (2gbx6) from Other World Computing for a total of 14 GB. Ram can get used quickly: ie. Photoshop (3.5), Bridge(2?), Aperture (3?), Itunes (1?), Operating system (1?), safari (1?), epson printer driver (1?), and then there are widgets or other programs. Also, as someone else stated photoshop can use the extra ram for scratch.
    Those are the programs I expect to have open regularly...I am thinking the 8-cores will really come handy when running all of them together.
    I'm planning on spending $5000 for a computer that will last me 5 years. This seems to be a good rule of thumb for me and my business. If you really only plan on running one app at a time maybe 4-cores is better for you.
  11. davidwatts thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2008
    Went for the 4-core

    Thanks for all the info and advice. I ordered the 4-core, and will be putting 6Gb or RAM in it. My reasoning was this: the price of the 8-core was 20% more than the 4-core, and I very much doubt that there will be a 20% difference in performance, even after Adobe updates CS3 to take advantage of the 8-cores. Also, I look at it as I can now replace the computer one year sooner... instead of hoping for 3-4 years from this new computer, 2-3 will be fine.

    For about 75% of the work I do, my G4 is still fine. But I really look forward to working on a machine that will be approx. twice as fast!! Time to raise my hourly rate though.
  12. milo macrumors 604

    Sep 23, 2003
    You don't think there will be at least a 20% difference in performance?

    In apps that are optimized well, a typical increase can be in the 50-75% range going from four to eight cores.
  13. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    Good choice for you, and well thought out. I'm sure your machine will be more than fast enough for your needs. Enjoy :) (don't raise your hourly rate too much or you could scare them off and end up worse :p)

    When it comes to number crunching yes...... when it comes to actual daily normal use of an application, the difference is often negligible.

    As I said earlier I work mostly in photoshop, illustrator and painter. I used a 8 core mac pro (6GB) on a project and found it felt no faster for me in creating/getting my work done than a 4 core mac pro (7GB). :)

    Whilst some applications may make bigger difference, for the OP and the applications he has listed I would not have thought in his daily workings it would give him a 25-75% increase in productivity..

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