MacPro purchase?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by fetusface, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. fetusface macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2009
    Hey Guys,

    I'm looking to purchase a brand spanking new computer and considering the MacPro line of options. To start off my research I began digging and searching through the forums here and at to read about peoples recommendations. The problem I found was that most discussions where old and some where not quite on par for answering my questions. With that in mind I apologize for creating yet again another system recommendation thread.

    I'm primarily a motion graphics guy with heavy use in After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator and a medium use of Cinema4D (constantly trying to improve and get more into 3d with the goal of eventually building and rendering more complex scenes). Prices vary greatly with the customization of a MacPro so I obviously want as much bang for my buck as possible. My questions are:

    1.) how much of a difference is there between the Quad-core systems and the 8-core systems? I mean should I be spending more on the max processor speed on a 4-core system or going with a lower processor speed on an 8core system?

    2.) Graphics cards. What does the 1x, 2x, 3x, etc. relate to the performance of the machine? Does that mean im simply adding more physical cards to the Mac? Does it matter?

    3.) Regarding the above 2 questions, where should I be prioritizing my cash.

    One thing I've learned is to never buy ram from apple since its marked up heavily, is cheaper to buy elsewhere and a breeze to install. ( Does this also apply to hard drives as well?)
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Finally something else, been answering MacBook Pro questions for two days now:D

    A quad-core machine should handle your tasks okay, but 8-core would be nice and much more future proving. I recommend 2.93GHz quad-core or 2.26GHz octo-core Mac Pro.

    I would try out with the base GT120 or ATI 4870 and later on buy additional card if needed (they're easy to install)

    Buy at least 6GBs of RAM, that'll help a lot
  3. Pommy macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    Personally, if you don't NEED the extra cores right now, I would stick to the highest-clocked single Xeon you can afford -- the reason being that multithreading is just starting to become pervasive NOW and unless you have specific apps that are heavily multithreaded and rely on / can take advantage of a large number of cores (Photoshop, for instance, does not ... it would favor a higher-clocked dual-core over a slower-clocked quad), it's not going to do you much good.

    Moreover, buying extreme high-end to future proof is sorta meh, since there will undoubtedly be better solutions when the future comes. The "8 cores" in the Mac Pro is actually two quad Xeons. As early as next year, Intel's pushing out single hexacores (6-cores), and by 2011-2012 both Intel and AMD will be pushing quad-cores as entry-level and hexa- and real octocores in the mainstream and high-end markets (this is based on their roadmaps [google it], which could of course change, but the general idea is progression = fast). Which basically just means that it'd be better to get what definitely suits you NOW and for the foreseeable future and then ride it out as long as you can, rather than trying to overbuy and predict how many additional years or months or weeks or days you might get out of it.

    Simple version:
    -The additional cores won't bring that much of an improvement unless the program(s) you're using is written to take advantage of more cores, so you're probably better off w/ a higher-clocked single Xeon.

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