Multitasking addict needs new Mac Pro advice

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by johnesocko, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. johnesocko macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2010
    I am ready to dive into the deep end and purchase a Mac Pro for my creative business. Just to clarify; I do not want an iMac, MBP or Mac mini. I am looking to consolidate 2 PCs into one Mac Pro to do everything I need. I have read all the reviews which have actually created more confusion now then before over the hexacore, 8core and 12 etc. I need your professional opinions so I can order and move on.

    What I usually run at the same time (typical workflow)
    • InDesign CS5: 65+ pages for magazines linked to various ai, ps, and photos
    • Illustrator CS5: 4-5 vector images typically open at once
    • Photoshop CS5: 4-5 images typically open at once, some RAW/high res, photo touching
    • Bridge CS5: for file tagging, keywords and organizing
    • Chrome: typically 15 tabs open, downloading large attachements
    • Firefox: typically 15 tabs open as well, downloading large attachements
    • Tweetdeck: tons social of updates
    • Other Adobe Air Apps: typically 3 running during this process
    • Music: music typically playing 75% of my day
    • WordPress Local Test Server: Currently use Wamp to run a local wordpress install 65% of the time, this could very well be in a VM
    • Burning: CD/DVDs while working

    On top of the above I would also like to run a series of Virtual Machines

    • VMware Fusion running Windows 7 64bit Pro which will also run Quickbooks 2010, Office 2007 - this will be on 75% of the time
    • Possibly Windows XP for some older programs that don't run in Win7
    • Ubuntu - for fun, testing purposes - running 10% of the time
    • Occasional video and audio processing but nothing advanced, also I dabble in After Effects if that helps.
    Also I have 1 24" HP LP2475w and I am looking to add a second one, along with 1 19".... does the bigger video card option make a difference for me?

    I am currently looking at:

    I realize there are a lot of posts like this so thank you in advance for commenting on my situation.
  2. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    sounds like me but mostly LR and PS running with the other things in some form or the other :) and netflix at times ?

    but the one thing is RAID! search here for areca
    depending on budget the reason for this is accessing regular HDD can really bog down and get slow where raid has a much better time doing these things without making things slow to a crawl :)
    you get some slow down but I can be downloading 14 gigs off the FTP and uploading and doing PS or LR etc.. streaming a movie or listening to music etc..

    how much disc space do you need ?
    what do you have for BU already ?

    base machine 6 core 3.3 with 24 gigs start you can add another stick later ? but dont think you will need it :)
    cant see the more expensive video card doing anything for ya ?
  3. johnesocko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2010
    Honumaui Thanks for the reply! I will have to research this more, the Areca opens up a whole new world for me. I may consider going to 16 gigs of RAM now, the 3.3 hexacore and adding in RAID after I shop around a bit.

    I am guessing Areca RAID cards are the best? I have built PCs in the past but never with RAID. I am guessing its the same idea on a mac build?

  4. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    yeah same thing Areca are one of the top cards for sure :)

    I would say go for the new 1880 series ?

    it will help you out quite a bit with all that going on :)

    if you do the 16 do it in 8 GB sticks ! that way you can throw in more later without a issue

    1222x areca is what I have ? does the job :) and reasonable price $520 a nice box is $400 then load it up with HDD or as many as you can afford :)
  5. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    Absolutely make sure you have plenty of RAM and fast storage, since storage is always a bottleneck.

    But you seem to be one of the few non-video people who can actually use lots of cores, as I've found personally that my 8 cores, in addition to encoding video way faster, let me run multiple intensive apps with no slowdown.

    The best way to answer your question is for you to give us a budget, so we can decide how many cores are worth getting at what clock speed.

    It's even more helpful if you separate out what you're willing to spend on just the computer and CPUs from what you're willing to spend on RAM, HDDs/SSDs/RAID hardware.

    The video card will not make a difference for you, as the software you use cannot even get the most out of the base Radeon 5770.
  6. johnesocko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2010
    I have 5k budgeted for this if that helps. Personally I am leaning towards the 8 core because it has more RAM slots and allows me to add-on more upgrades both now and in the future. As far as separating out the cost of components I am still researching the best solution for me but I do plan to buy as soon as I sort this out. Thanks
  7. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    I'd agree with your decision there. Bumping up your clockspeed gets more expensive than it should be, real quick, so you may want to stick with the 8 core 2.4 ghz and employ lots of RAM and fast storage. When you say 5k, you mean all of the mac pro stuff, or just the computer/CPU?
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    RAID gets complicated and expensive fast, so pay attention to the questions in the various threads, think about the answers, and go from there. They will help immensely to get you on the right path (do what you need, give you some growth, and keep it to a reasonable cost relatively speaking - this will probably end up a hardware RAID solution <Areca definitely is>, which can scare the bejezus out of people :eek: :p).
  9. hugodrax macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2007
    more cores = better multitasking. Think about it even if the apps are single threaded, if you have two virtual machines (Thats two cores) they both can work on two different core.

    Web browsing another core

    photoshop another core.

    So more cores = smoother and nicer multitasking.
  10. the vj macrumors 6502a

    Nov 23, 2006
    You will need raid hard drive.

    As we "speak" I am working with motion graphics in after effects, final cut pro and apple soundtrack (audio editing) in a 2 x 2.66 quad core Mac Pro and what is making everything very slow is the hard drive, I get beach balls all the time and soundtrack crashes all the time.

    You do not manage such dense data but using one internal drive for software and system and 3 internal hard drives in a raid for storage will resolve your speed bottle neck.
  11. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    While a nice example, this is not how multiple cores work. Install MenuMeters and have it show all 8 cores, and you can see the cores go up and down in a random an arbitrary fashion.

    to the OP

    For what you do, with $5000 I would go for the 8-core, 16 gigs of RAM, and then get a 60gb SSD for OSX and your apps, and then a 120gb SSD for your "high use" work files, and then a 2TB drive in bay 3 for storage, and another 2TB drive in bay 4 for backups, and then a Firewire800 External drive that is large enough to copy the SSD's.

    I am in a similar workflow environment as you, and I'd take SSD's over the RAM any day if I had to.

    That'd put you at $5000, and if you really need more speed, raid0 the SSD's, or just raid0 them from the start.
  12. johnesocko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2010
    Is a 60gig SSD big enough for everything that comes with a new mac, ilife, office, Adobe CS5 master, and other various programs? I currently have 120gigs used on my Win 7 machine for just apps, I know its different to an extent but its the only reference I have.

    Also for backups I already have 2 synology NAS's with plenty of storage
  13. leftPCbehind209 macrumors member

    Aug 23, 2010
    What do you mean by "high use" work files?
  14. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040


    May 20, 2010
    Boulder, CO
    Yes. You only need around 10gb's (?) of storage for the OS + iLife + utilities + whatever else comes with the Mac Pro. And another 1gb of storage for MS Office, with an additional 15gb's (?) for CS5 Master. That leaves you with plenty of space on the 60gb SSD.
  15. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    PS does not use multiple cores well at all !! does Illustrator or InDesign ? this is what I would find out ? from past work my wife did with these its not a big issue as much as it is clock speed you need ?

    and those were on the top of your list ? if video was on top and doing huge renders cause your income depended on it then I migth say look at a 8 core ? otherwise I might say go with the 3.3 ? a good mix of speed and cores
    and memory get 8 gig sticks 32 is still quite a bit of memory

    things like PS want clock speed not cores !!!!

    I have a 100 gig boot SSD ? I would not want to go lower ? I cant afford to dink around this is my living and at the same time I am lucky to be pretty good with tech stuff if I could get away with less I would ? but in working I dont want to tinker and take time to constantly shave down my OS ?
    today its sitting at 52 gigs used I can shave that back down to less and will when I get some free time

    if you have the time and its a hobby ? then time is not as much money :)
  16. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    I have around 60 gigs of files for my current job, but 50 of this gigs are just dormant stuff that never gets used. So if you're doing a project that just is going to need a certain folder of files, move it to the SSD while you're going to be working on it all week, and you can leave old projects or things you don't need on a large capacity HDD.
  17. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006

    Adobe Software is not optimized for OS X, 64 bit, or multiple cores. I am sure it will be eventually, but right now, Adobe doesn't really care that much. CS5 sells many times more copies for Windows than for OS X.
  18. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    not sure what you mean ? kinda vague :)
    not optimized ? its written for it ?
    but CS5 can use more than one core ? not sure if you are saying it wont ? sadly though 4 vs 8 wont matter muchand acording to lloyd it hurts having more in some cases but it can use more than one ?
    also CS5 and Snow Leopard allows more memory to be used ? where before we were stuck with the 3 gig limit thing !
  19. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    Check out this thread:

    I'm saying that Adobe doesn't maximize their code for OS X on multi-core Intel chips. CS5 doesn't take full advantage of any modern Mac Pro, where other programs do. So 8 cores or 12 cores doesn't really help MUCH more with CS5. Especially on a dollare == performance ratio.

    As always - spend as much as you can afford on your Mac Pro. That's the only benchmark that matters - the mark your wallet leaves on the bench.
  20. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    You're a good candidate for the 8 core since you multitask so much. Adobe on its own might not take full use advantage of 8 cores but running that many applications and internet windows up at once will definitely make use of it.

    In an ideal world you'd break that budget a little bit. For your task the 8 core with the 12GB of RAM you specified + a fast boot and applications drive such as the Crucial RealSSD ($620) would be perfect. That comes in just under your budget but excludes the 4TB storage you wanted.

    A simple but pretty robust RAID solution would be to get three 7200rpm 2GB drives and run them in a RAID 5 setup - you get a speed boost due to the striping and you get one large virtual drive to easily store your data on yet you still have the security that your data can survive one of the three drives failing.

    Such a setup would put you back an extra $580 over budget but would give you the benefit of fast, relatively safe data storage and super fast boot and application launches - all in the one machine without the need for external drives.

    If you can still stretch yet a little extra then I'd pop for the 5870 - $200 is pretty good value for that upgrade. You probably won't notice it now much but it could come in handy for CUDA stuff in the future etc.
  21. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    For what it's worth, Photoshop is 64-bit now, and it grabs RAM like crazy on my machine. I have seen it use just under 3 cores when I make it work hard.

    If you wanted to do that while doing something else computationally intense, 8 cores is worth it regardless of whether or not any single app can use it all effectively.

    Right now, encoding video is the only thing that can use all eight of my cores. It definitely saves time. But no commonly used software that I'm aware of will use that many cores aside from video encoding/rendering software (I did know a few academics who wrote their own software to use all eight, though).
  22. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    OK :) not sure if you read my thread or were agreeing with me then :) hehehe no worries and also why I said
    PS does not use multiple cores well at all !!
    things like PS want clock speed not cores !!!!
  23. johnesocko thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2010
    Thanks for all the amazing replies! I never knew that there were this many options for buying, customizing and using of 3rd party hardware. I am now addicted to this forum. I am going to go ahead and get an 8-core, 8GB OWC kit + the 6GB it comes with, 4TB HDDs, ATI 5870, etc. I will plan on adding SSDs and RAID performance later. :apple:
  24. w00tini macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2008
  25. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008

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