MP 2.8Ghz Quad Nehalem Setup

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by cjoy, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. cjoy macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2008
    Currently I work on a MBP 4.1 (C2D Penryn, 2.4Ghz, 4GB) that needs to be replaced for 2 main reasons:

    1. I have recently adopted a NEC 27" Spectraview (DP) as my main monitor, making it a PITA to keep working with the Wacom 21UX (DVI), as I have to unplug the NEC for it. The only viable solution to running both monitors simultaneously seems to be an external graphics card enclosure, at a hefty price of approx. 700 EUR.

    2. The max. 4GB RAM are regularly pushed to the limit and beyond.

    For these reasons I consider buying a MP. The pricetag on the octo-core models is putting me off a little. What I'm looking at is this:

    Mac Pro
    2.8Ghz Quad-Core Nehalem
    ATI 5770

    + Mercury Extreme SSD 120GB (System Drive)
    + Multi Mount (2,5" -> 3,5")
    + 12GB RAM Kit (3x4 Kingston ValueRam 1066 CL7 ECC)

    total: 2704 EUR incl. tax

    the main workload:
    - Quark
    - Adobe Print Suite (PS, AI, Acrobat)
    - Various IDEs

    to a lesser extend:
    - Cinema4D
    - Adobe AE
    - Premiere Pro

    Since Adobes print suite is yet to make full use of multiple cores, I guess I'd see further performance increase with CS6 down the road and I could upgrade RAM to a max of 32GB as the 8GB modules become more affordable. Although 12GB should do fine for the forseeable future.

    Questions at this point:
    - Is it really worth the extra 1k to buy an octo-core system (with a slightly slower 2.4Ghz clock)?
    - Are there noteworthy performance gains by adding a fast 10.000rpm disk for scratch use?
  2. WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    I think that the 2.8GHz Quad would be an ideal and fast system for all those needs. It will fly with your 120GB SSD, I have one too. For your scratch, you are probably better buying two 1TB HDs and setting up a 2TB RAID Array to use as your scratch disk. The write speeds are really good with a two-disc RAID0 array, use 7200rpm drives with a 32MB cache. I would recommend the Seagate Barracuda drives, that is what I use. They are about $79.99 each for the 1TB drives. The RAID0 array is very easy to setup using Apple's Disk Utility.

    You should run all of your OS X System and all of your Applications off the SSD.

    I think the only Application you are really using that might take advantage of more cores is Adobe After Effects, but that is only with the latest version doing massive rendering projects that take a decent amount of time. You will notice a speed improvement with an 8-core or 12-core machine running After Effects CS5 and doing large rendering jobs. FinalCut or iMovie do not take advantage of the multi-core improvements right now, so it's really not that important unless After Effects is a large staple part of your work.

    I recently upgraded from a 2.93GHz Quad Nehalem System to a 3.33GHz 6-core 2010 machine. I don't notice THAT much speed improvement overall. The most speed improvement I am seeing is in Handbrake when ripping DVDs or when doing audio compression compressing large AIFF files to MP3 files, the 6-core is faster than the 4-core. Photoshop is about the same. The higher clock makes everything a tad faster.

    The best thing you can do for any Mac Pro is to move your system and apps to an SSD. This is where you will notice the most speed improvement overall, because it massively speeds up disk access access speed since it directly from Flash.

    Hope this helps,
    Good luck,
  3. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    To address the issue with the octo, pass on it. There are very few applications out now that would benefit more from core-heavy, low-clock processors. Most would still run considerably faster on the quad. If you were to do a processor upgrade at all, I would just go to the 3.2 quad. It's a pretty decent bump, for not a whole lot of money.
  4. jonnymo5 macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2008
    To make the Octo worth the money over the 2.8 Quad you need to be using the extra cores almost the entire time. Most Apps won't so the slower clock becomes a problem.
  5. cjoy thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2008
    thank you for the detailed feedback... did it's job to sweep away the remaining "must-have-a-dozen-cores-despite-any-logic" creep.

    if the raid is scratch only, wouldnt 2 x 500GB do the job just fine? why waste 2x 1TB for that purpose?
  6. philipma1957, Jan 10, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    speed. you can short stroke a pair of caviar blacks. to do so buy a pair of them and partition them as 600gb and 400gb.

    so drive 1 is partition 1)600gb partition 2) 400gb
    drive 2 is partition 1) 600gb partition 2) 400gb

    now take drive 1 partition 1) 600gb along with drive 2 partition 1) 600gb

    turn them into a raid0 size 1.2tb this raid is larger then the pair of 500gb hdds and it uses the outer rim of each hdd.

    IN EACH spin the outer half of the hdd travels more distance then the inner half so the computer reads and writes a bit faster on the first half or 60 percent of the platter. the money spent on a pair of 1tbs may be 150 to 180 in the case of caviar blacks. the money spent on a pair of 500gbs in the case of caviar blacks is about 120 so even thought you save 30 to 60 bucks up front over the life of these drives (5 year warranties) you will save hundreds if not thousands of hours run time.
  7. Johnf1285 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 25, 2010
    New Jersey
    Higher density disks are said to be faster.

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