mac pro vs pc help?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by twoodcc, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #1
    i know this is a mac forum, but i am just looking for others' opinions on which system to buy today, or in the near future.

    now, i have a 2006 mac pro 2.66 quad, and am looking to upgrade it.

    is the 2.26 octo worth the price? or are the core i7's just as good?
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #2
    With a straight Bloomfield machine, you'll have four cores max.

    Gainestown has eight cores minimum. This will make a difference come Snow Leopard and Final Cut Studio 3/Logic Studio 2.

    Of course, having no idea what you'll be doing with it, we really can't say what would be better.
     
  3. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    #3
    If you want to save some cash, go with the i7 build.

    Macs aren't only about the specs, but aesthetics as well, and obviously OS X.

    I have an Octo 3.2 late 2008 model and couldn't be happier. I run Windows on it too.
     
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #4
    Honestly it really does depend on your use. I have a dual processor G5 and a Pentium Dual Core Gaming PC that occasionally I use in OS X for the heck of it.

    Though I can max out the G5 the Pentium Dual Core barely ever gets maxed out. Even with Photoshop when I tried a Photomerge of a 20 picture panorama shot I took at the Grand Canyon in Arizona and of the mountainscape in New Mexico, the best I hit was 60% of each core. This is with 4GB of dual channel DDR2 1066mhz RAM and a scratch disk to remove latencies, only 1.2GB of RAM was being used by photoshop for this.

    If you are regularly maxing out the CPU's then the 8-core Mac Pro is definitly the way to go. Or build an 8 Core Xeon hackintosh. Frankly for the Core i7 compared to your current Quad core will not be a major improvemnt. Unless you get the top end model or O'C it.

    If you are not maxing out the CPU. I would instead look at setting up a RAID 0 array or a RAID 0+1 array, for redundancy, of the fastest 7200 RPM 3.5" hard drives, if you need a lot of storage space, or 10,000RPM drives, if you want the most speed but do not need lots of storage. You could even go with solid state if you do not need a lot of storage as some of those are really fast though are about double the per GB price of 10,000RPM drives. Also boost the RAM and get a better video card depending on your need.
     
  5. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #5
    thanks for the replies.

    in my current mac pro, i have found that the processor is what i am maxing out. i have 14 GB of ram in it, and rarely max that out.

    i do some HD video editing
    huge itunes library - starting to have HD video in there as well
    huge iPhoto library - over 10,000 photos.
    web server - multiple php sites. like 10 sites or so
    run several scripts - for testing the php sites, etc.
    programming - php, java, starting to learn cocoa.

    those are my main usage as of now. i think i would do more HD video stuff if my computer was more responsive. maybe it's b/c i'm using iMovie, i don't know.

    my mac pro did recently crash when trying to take a file that i converted from a blu-ray disk, put it in handbrake to convert for itunes. while trying to scan the file in handbrake, i was using all 14 GB's of ram. eventually my system crashed.

    also, the information on this machine is priceless to me - itunes, iphoto, and the data from the php sites - stored in mysql
     
  6. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    #6
    You might be able to pop in a second Xeon CPU in there and save some money. Take a look around these forums, there should be some instructions.
     
  7. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #7
    i have 2 Xeon CPUs in there. they are both dual-core, so 4 cores total. remember, it's the 1st gen mac pro from 2006
     
  8. surflordca macrumors 6502a

    surflordca

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    #8
    Your having problems like that. I can't believe you are even thinking of a Windows machine.
     
  9. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #9
    well i try to keep an open mind. i do not hate windows or linux. and i have other macs if i have to use OS X.
     
  10. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #10
    You can pop two quad core Clovertown Xeons in there I believe. Given your use either the current Octo-Xeon or upgrading your current machine would be a huge upgrade.

    That is a lot of data. I really hope you have a backup:eek:. RAID 0 or 0+1 will also boost your speed when write operations go to the hard drive especially with HD video. Years ago when I went RAID 0 on the G5 with sd video there was a major boost when saving edits to the video files.
     
  11. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #11
    thanks for the reply.

    so you do think the current octo 2.26 would be a huge upgrade?

    yes, i am currently working on getting a true backup plan together. i currently have 1 TB drive, 2 x 500 GB drives, and 1 x 750 GB drive. i do have several externals, but since i moved recently, i have not managed to get them out yet.
     
  12. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    #12
    The Octo 2.26 would be a major upgrade, but if I had the money burning a hole in my pocket I would pop in a pair of Clovertown quads; after making sure they work, sell the duals and then spend some money on a hard RAID and a large amount of 1TB drives.

    If money is your worry, that's the upgrade path I would take, but that's just me. However, the octo 2.26 would be a far more powerful upgrade then swapping out the CPUs. In fact, by now its probably the wiser thing to do.

    The early '06 doesn't like Harpertown? And how about RAID ZFS? :D
     
  13. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #13
    thanks for the reply.

    yeah i think i would feel more comfortable just getting the 2.26. besides, i'll continue to run my current machine as a server, and let that be it's only purpose.

    but is there any pcs out there that can compare with the 2.26 octo?

    are there any octo pcs out there?
     
  14. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #14
    The Early '06 MP uses a different chipset (slower FSB), thus isn't compatible with Harpertown CPUs. You need an Early '08 model for Harpertowns.

    Dell makes 8-core Nehalem Xeon workstations, too: http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/workstation-precision-t7500?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd

    And in similar configurations, they aren't necessarily cheaper.
     
  15. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #15
    Not to say the 2.26 Nehalem would not be an improvement over upgrading your current machine to an 8 core 2.66ghz Clovertown. It most certainly would. I am just saying it would not be a major improvement. If you compare the improvement from you get from 2.66 quad to 2.66 octo compared to 2.66 octo to 2.26Ghz Octo nehelem.

    From what I have read in most tests the Octo 2.26Ghz Nehelem MP stands somewhere between an Octo 2.8 and 3.2 Ghz MP. Which is not a giant leap beyond an 8 core 2.66Ghz clovertown. These CPU's are also fairly difficult to find and from my searching are only reasonably priced on eBay, they will also likely be used since they are no longer produced.


    I would say to compare the Quad Core MP to the Dell Precision T3500 and the Octo Core to either the T5500 or T7500. I think the T5500 is closest.

    http://www.dell.com/content/products/category.aspx/precndt?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd&~ck=mn

    Be sure to choose dual processors and 64bit os to be able to build one with at Octo 2.26ghz. Everyone was talking about how much cheaper these were than Mac Pros when announced. Those were bottom of the line models. Once you match them to the Mac Pro's specs they become more expensive.

    T5500
    Vista Business
    Octo 2.26Ghz Nehelem
    4GB DDR3
    750GB HD
    DVD RW
    nVidia Quadro NVS295 256MB
    $3,311
    If you just did the CPU upgrade through Dell and did the Memory/HD/DVD yourself it would be about $3,200

    Mac Pro
    Mac OS X
    Octo 2.26Ghz
    6GB DDR3
    640GB HD
    DVD RW
    nVidia GeForce GT120 512MB
    $3,299

    Same Machines as above except both have
    2.66Ghz Octo
    12GB DDR3

    T5500 = $7,231
    MP = $4,999
    If you just did the CPU upgrade through Dell and did the Memory/HD/DVD yourself it would be about $5,821 and you would have 2x1GB DDR3 to sell off
    the MP would run $4,960 and you would have 6x1GB DDR3 to sell off

    The T7500's cost even more

    The more expensive Dell also will need time spent to remove garbage software and not come with a suite like iLife. It will need over 50 patches installed. If you do a clean install of Windows on the you will need to then find and download the latest drivers and let Windows update install a plethora of patches.

    If you are looking to save money and want an Octo core your will need to build your own with components from Newegg. Then go ahead and install Vista or make it a Hackintosh.:rolleyes:

    The Hackintosh route is not easy I have made 3 or 4 and each took at least 20 hours to knock out most driver problems and kernel panics. By finding usable kexts, reading console logs and modifiying kext's plists. If this does not sound like your cup of tea then a hackintosh is not for you. Most updates can be run except system updates like 10.5.5 to 10.5.6. I also have not gotten one to work with sleep mode. After all of that those computers spent 90% of the time using Windows since there stability does not compare with the G5.
     
  16. Gonk42 macrumors 6502

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    near Cambridge
    #16
    I'm trying to decide between Mac Pro and Windows/Linux workstation.

    In the UK (US prices are slightly different) costings go something like:

    Mac Pro > or roughly = Dell 7500 > Mac Pro with Student Discount > DIY > Dell Outlet 7500T

    There have been some T7500s on Dell outlet in the US but not many yet.

    I just costed up building an octo myself with 12GB of RAM etc (2.26GHz)
    and it came to £1839 compared to the Mac Pro equivalent which is
    £2899 or £2486 with student discount. The DIY version (Supermicro motherboard) also has more RAM slots.

    There is no doubt that the present Mac Pros are much more expensive in relative terms than the 08 model. With the 08 model the DIY option was more expensive than the Mac Pro now it is £1000 ($1500) cheaper.

    But if you like OS X and the classy style of the Mac Pro you may be prepared to pay a premium, the question is what magnitude of premium?
     
  17. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #17
    1) Well if you would like the proceeds from your MS purchase going toward killing black people in Africa or euthanizing the poor in the world then don't mind paying for Windoze. Personally if I thought Core i7 was a better processor I would try to run Apple's OS on it. Or Linux. Or both. I see many folks having good success running OS X on those chips.

    2) No. I don't think it is. Just my opinion. Changing out your x5150 processors to x5355 is pretty cheap these days (about $400 or $500) and your machine will be faster at almost everything you mentioned than the new 2.26 octad. To answer your second question I think the Corei7 chips are actually better than Apple's 2.26 Quad. They're available in faster speeds, have identical properties (except for ECC), and cost a LOT less.

    The 2.26 is not an upgrade at all! A 2.26 in 4 cores would generally be the same or slower than what you have at almost everything except for a few benchmark programs. If you upgrade to x5355 then that would be about identical or a little faster than a 2.26 octad. What little differences there are in speed between a 2.26 Octad and a 2006/7 x5355 8-core machine I promise you isn't humanly distinguishable. A Mac Pro 2.8 beats the pants off of a 2.26 Octad from 2009 (obviously!) and is lots cheeper too.
     
  18. davewolfs macrumors regular

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    Jul 13, 2007
    #18
    I'm by no means a video editing expert so I cannot comment on that. But I can tell you that my i7 920 runs at 3.8Ghz and is nearly silent. It's fast as hell and scores significantly higher then the 2.93Ghz machine in single thread performance and almost as fast as the 2.66Ghz machine in multi threaded performance in Cinebench. I've run a bunch of Photoshop tests and the machine I built takes the cake on everything.

    I do a lot of photo editing in PS and Lightroom, run VMWare with Webserver and DB software and everything works perfectly. For what I paid to put together my own system I ended up saving a bunch of money, getting a better video card and also have my drives setup as RAID 0 for scratch, RAID 1 for data and SSD for boot. Windows 7 isn't too bad either.

    If you can allocate the time and effort to build your own machine then purchasing a PC could be a good decision, if you are buying from someone else I can't really comment since I'm not sure how in line prices are with Apple.
     
  19. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #19
    thanks for all the replies.

    first, i'd rather not put any more money in my current machine. even if i could upgrade the processors, i'd rather not. the plan is to keep the current machine for all the webserver stuff, and maybe a file server as well, and a backup machine.

    second: after following a link from above, it looks like dell's 2.26 octo is way more expensive than the mac pro. unless i missed something.

    again, i wouldn't mind a windows/linux machine. if i get a mac pro, i will install windows on it (probably won't use it much). i think every mac i have has leopard and windows on it. i plan on still doing some windows programming. but probably not much.

    i'm still leaning more towards a 2.26 mac pro. but am open to ideas on windows machines that will give me the same or better performance, for cheaper.

    also, i'd rather not build the machine myself. i have done it before, but would rather not hassle with it on this machine.

    thanks
     
  20. steveza macrumors 68000

    steveza

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    #20
    What's all that about then?
     
  21. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #21
  22. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #22
  23. davewolfs macrumors regular

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    #23
    Unlikely to get recommendation on a PC clone from a forum like this. If you would like a part list of what I went with PM me and I'll let you know.
     
  24. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #24
    I wanna see too. Post it up please. :)
     
  25. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #25
    there you go. i sent you a PM, but it'd be just as good to post it here, if you don't mind
     

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