MacBook Pro for an older Mac Pro, yes or no?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by nabiti, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. nabiti macrumors newbie

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    Feb 1, 2011
    #1
    Hi peeps,

    I've got a late 2008 MBP 2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD. It's from the last 17" aluminium series before they introduced the unibody. I do audio production with external synths and DSP boxes and I still manage to max out this laptop and crash Logic Pro on regular basis. Not to mention the perpetual lack of hard drive space. In short I need to upgrade...

    I'm thinking of buying a second hand Mac Pro with 2 x Dual Core Xeons, either 2.66 or 3.0 GHz, bit more RAM and loads more HDD space. This would likely be the original Mac Pro series from 2006.

    How much faster would this configuration be than my current laptop considering it's 2 years older?

    I don't have infinite funds but I do need the fastest computer I can buy. Not bothered about losing portability, the laptop is firmly fastened to my desk and every port is connected to something and then some.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    Finland
    #3
    I would try to gather some cash and get 2008 Mac Pro at least. The issue with 2006 Mac Pro is that it has 32-bit EFI which may in future cause compatibility issues with future OS Xs (can't boot 64-bit kernel). If you don't have the money for never MP, then the 2006 is still good but just be aware of the possible future problems.
     
  3. nabiti thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 1, 2011
    #4
    Thanks guys.

    Good to know about the 2006 model 64 bit issue as I definitely need to use more than 4 GB of RAM.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #5
    RAM isn't the issue, 32-bit kernel supports up to 32GB of RAM. It's just the fact that the support for 2006 Mac Pro will be dropped sooner than later, possibly with Lion. Apple doesn't have a too good history about supporting older Macs.
     
  5. nabiti thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 1, 2011
    #6
    Oh I see.. So what is the 3.5GB limitation on 32 bit systems? Is that the maximum a single process can map?

    I'm def going to save up for an 8 core.. can't have too many eh...
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #7
    That is a Windows limitation. 32-bit Windows does not support more than 4GB of RAM. Funny enough, 64-bit Windows and Linux work fine in 2006 Mac Pro but for some reason, you can't boot OS X 10.6 in 64-bit mode in 2006 Mac Pro.
     
  7. wheezy macrumors 65816

    wheezy

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    Alpine, UT
    #8
    I don't fully understand the whole kernal thing, but Snow Leopard is 64bit, so you won't have that 3.5GB limit, the KERNAL is only 32bit which limits the system to only 32GB? Something like that?

    I even think by default shipping Macs that could do a 64bit kernal were sending booting the 32? Am I wrong?

    So, if you get a 2006 Mac Pro and run a 64bit App you'll be able to send it as much memory as you want.

    *I could be way off about a lot of things in this post*

    BOTTOM LINE: You'll get a LOT more speed and power from the Mac Pro.
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #9
    What Snow Leopard did was it updated most apps to be 64-bit. Before SL, apps like Safari and Mail were 32-bit. It also included a 64-bit kernel but SL boots to 32-bit kernel by default. Most Macs can run 64-bit kernel fine but the reason why they boot in 32-bit is that all kexts and drivers may not support 64-bit kernel.

    64-bit kernel doesn't bring anything spectacular. Some people have reported better performance but usually they just had the "feeling", no concrete benchmarks. In normal usage, you won't notice the difference.

    Current Mac Pros boot into 64-bit kernel by default. Others boot into 32-bit.

    Yes. 32-bit kernel can run 64-bit apps.
     
  9. snakebitesmac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    #10
    Thats a good trade as that mac pro is probably 1.7x as fast as your mbp. However my 2010 mbp has a slightly higher benchmark than my quad xeon mac pro 1,1 if that gives you any kind of relationship to the year and benchmark. One thing to think about is the power consumption. A mac pro consumes 350+ watts of power when running and this heats up the room. They're known for acting like space heaters. The graphics card is also very old in those mp models and many applications like photoshop will not support them anymore for OpenGL. The 2008 Mac Pros have much more compatible PCIe lanes for newer graphics cards.
     
  10. dal20402 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    #11
    Agreed that a 2008 Mac Pro is a better deal. But the 2006 Mac Pro would be a big improvement over your MBP, particularly if you add 16 GB of RAM and a couple nice fast disks.

    All Macs with a 64-bit processor can run 64-bit *apps*. That includes all Intel Macs with Core 2 Duo, Core i-series, or Xeon processors. 64-bit apps can take advantage of more than 4 GB of memory, even if they are running on a 32-bit kernel.

    But Apple has restricted the 64-bit *kernel* to more recent Macs, including MBPs, iMacs, and Mac Pros from mid-2008 forward.

    Right now, not having the 64-bit kernel doesn't hurt you at all. But Apple will eventually drop the 32-bit kernel, leaving a 2006 MP in the lurch. I would be surprised if that happened for Lion, though.

    My machines (2009 13" MBP, X58/i7 hackintosh) seem to benefit by about 5% in CPU-intensive benchmarks when running a 64-bit kernel. It is absolutely not noticeable in daily use.
     

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