My nMP 6core Arrived Today -- View from a non-Pro user

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by carrerascott, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. carrerascott macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2009
    I had it in mind to move back to an iMac, but finally couldn't resist.

    I got the base 6-core today from MacMall. I'm on it now, and it sure is snappy. I do my work on it (I work for myself from home so I spend a LOT of time in front of my computer), run VMWare Fusion (Win XP) which is half my work, a lot of emails (many thousands come in per year), processing work. Most of it isn't processor intensive, but a lot of it accesses disks. I also rip DVDs and BluRays for myself, and do some video editing with my son for fun, nothing professional.

    Yes it's more machine than I need. But it is fast. The internal drive is only 256GB on these stock machines, but as long as I use it smart, it should be fine. I will get a fast Thunderbolt external for some stuff. I'm planning to upgrade my RAM to at least 32GB so I can give the Virtual Machine some dedicated Ram and keep it snappy.

    But overall, after just a few hours of use, I'm very happy with it. It's silent, it's cool (well, the air coming out of the top is warm, which is nice on these chilly nights).

    I'm not going to post any benchmarks. Yeah I ran Black Magic Disk Speed Tester and Geekbench, but those are posted elsewhere. I just ran it to compare to my old Mac Pro, and it's quite a bit faster. But the unmeasurables, feeling fast and responsive, are excellent.

    I have a second Thunderbolt screen coming tomorrow (don't have a need for 4k) so I'll add pics tomorrow once I get my rig set up.

    Just my 2 cents.
  2. michael_aos macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2004
    I think I'm in a similar situation. I spend around 12hr/day in front of my computer.

    6-core new Mac Pro / 512GB flash / D500's / 32 GB RAM.

    No complaints per se, but I do find myself wondering if the base-model, plus aftermarket RAM would have been good-enough.
  3. carrerascott thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2009
    I wanted to have my Fusion PC to be able to utilize 2 cores (sometimes I have to have it run some processes), so I definitely wanted 6 cores. I probably could have gotten by with 4, but I'm glad I got the 6.
  4. jondunford macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2013
    Going for a poo Moderator
    thanks, interesting to hear

    i'm in the same position as well, also a non pro looking at a 4 core/d700 model

    we all know an iMac is enough but theres something about the nMP right? :)
  5. richard371 macrumors 68020

    Feb 1, 2008
    Im tempted to get the same model too mainly to run VMware fusion and I may get more serious into Xplane 10. I bet I can run smoothly with everything fully maxed. The problem is my friends think its crazy for me to drop around 5K on a computer+monitor then again some people drop that on a watch lol. Good thing they are hard to get now as I have some time to think and read more opinions. I played with one in the Apple store and the quality is awesome. Enjoy and keep us posted on your thoughts.
  6. carrerascott thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2009
    The software I use in Fusion is definitely running much faster. Very happy with it! That's also with the Virtual Machine file currently on a slow usb2.0 drive. Looking forward to getting a TBolt external drive.
  7. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    VMware sees threads, not cores

    I don't know if it's different on Apple OSX - but my Win7 x64 runs just fine with a quad core VM on top of a quad core i7 with hyperthreading enabled.

    The host system is always responsive, even if the VM is maxing out its four cores. CPU usage show every other core busy - which is perfect scheduling.

    If you have twelve logical cores, try giving the VM four cores.

    My 16 physical core - 32 logical core VMware ESXi servers behave the same.


    Give the VM lots of RAM - it will cache tons of stuff and not hit the drive for it.

    Most of my VMs have 8 to 16 GiB of RAM, one even has 96 GiB.
  8. carrerascott thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2009
    Yup I will once I get more RAM installed -- only have the 16GB now. I had 32GB in my MP5,1. The Fusion machine is noticeably faster on the nMP even with the lesser RAM. And I did have an internal SSD on the 5,1, though it was a lot slower than the PCIe SSD.
  9. carrerascott thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2009
    More RAM installed and moved the VM file over to the internal SSD and man does it fly.
  10. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    i've got an nMP on order (6c) and am currently testing an iMac (27"/i7) vs my MP3,1. i pretty much have at least one VM (Win7 or XP) open at all times.

    over the past few weeks i was experimenting with ways to speed up my MP3,1 in case i decided to keep it. my 3,1 is an 8-core model.

    to cut a long story short, i ran benchmarks from within the VM. i allocated from 1 to 6 cores and adjusted RAM (from 1GB up to 75% of the total installed RAM). i found there was a sweet-spot, and that surprisingly i got the fastest performance with 2 cores and 3GB of RAM. this was a bit shocking to me as i assumed the more (RAM/cores), the better.

    the VM was stored on an SSD, though the MP3,1 is SATAII only.

    YMMV, but my point here is that if VM performance is important, one might wish to download a benchmarking tool and run some tests. you, too, might be surprised.

    can't comment on the nMP, but the iMac crushes the MP3,1 in VM performance with the same settings (2c, 3GB RAM). haven't run a full range of tests yet on the VM on the iMac, but i plan to. i cannot break down the exact cause: SSD on which the VM is installed is faster (SATAII on the MP3,1 vs 2-drive RAID0 on the iMac), processor is faster (i7 3.5 on the iMac vs 2x2.8 Xeons) and RAM is faster, too.
  11. torxcrossword macrumors newbie

    Dec 18, 2013
    analog guy, do you use VMWare or Parallels and which version are you using?

  12. carrerascott thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2009
    I haven't tested speeds on the Fusion machine but it's definitely running a lot faster now. I'm running it on 2 cores and 4MB RAM. I can't imagine it running much more responsively, but I'll see about getting a speed tester and see if I can't optimize it.

    I'm enjoying the warm air coming out of the top of the nMP on these cold nights, might hands appreciate it. :)

    Will take pics of my setup tomorrow.
  13. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    Fusion 6.0.2.
  14. carrerascott thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2009
    I'm using fusion 4.0 and it's working fine , FYI.
  15. michaeljk macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2013
    Same situation here, non-Pro, but didn't want either an iMac or Mini. On my latest desktop (2008 iMac), I was running into bottlenecks all over the place. Display resolution was too low, disk speeds were glacially slow, I/O was slow, RAM limited to 4GB.

    I've been using my 6-core stock config now for a week. The only bottleneck I now deal with is using an external HDD drive setup that includes a LaCie D2 Thunderbolt Drive and an older FW 800 HDD as backup. When prices come down and options open up for TB2 external storage, I will definitely be looking at external SSDs in the 1-2 Terabyte range for current project files (using Aperture and Logic). I will also be able to put my sound source samples on a much faster drive. 16GB RAM is plenty for me right now (my iMac was limited to 4).

    I am thrilled to be able to sit down in my office, click on either Logic, Reason, Komplete, or Aperture, and it just goes. I have a two monitor setup with my 27" high-res color accurate Photography Monitor (NEC PA271) next to the Mac Pro, and then a light (and cheap) 24" LED HP monitor sitting right on my old beast Midi Controller Keyboard (Roland A-90EX). Perfect. I can swing around depending on the project, and it is all super great.
  16. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    What app are you using for your VMs?
    You say you dedicate 96GB for a VM. What is your physical RAM size?

    I know VMware fusion you allocate RAM and it stays w the machine.
    With VMware vsphere you can oversubscribe CPU and RAM.
  17. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2011
    United States
  18. AidenShaw, Jan 11, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014

    AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    You didn't mention the model for the Imac - but your 3,1 only has the original VT-x virtualization acceleration. The new MP will have more virtualization assists (VT-d and EPT) and will be much faster on VM loads with lots of kernel activity.

    Also for that reason, I'd avoid using a "benchmarking tool" - and instead measure the applications that you actually use. VMs can be sensitive to the activity profile for the app - and you want your app to run best, not the tool.


    Yes ESXi 5.5.0 - 1331820. ESXi limit is 1011 GiB per VM.

    I have several 16 core 32 thread ProLiants with 256 GiB RAM each in a vSphere cluster on 10 GbE, sharing a 16gbps FibreChannel RAID array. (The FC array has 16gbps ports for each ESXi server, it's not a shared 16gbps link.)
  19. CrAkD macrumors 68040


    Feb 15, 2010
    Boston, MA
    I have been waiting to purchase either a top of the line imac or a mac pro for a few years now. My self built hackintosh is going on 6-7 years old now. I all but decided to get the imac after they announced the prices of the new mac pro.... but now I am thinking...I am going to keep this new machine for probably another 6-7 years. imac screen and all and mobile parts makes me nervous. plus I don't really want a fusion drive.... But I do want dual 27" apple the iMac would save me $1000 AND come with 1 display. I feel like the 6 core mac pro will be rock solid for years to come. if anything needs to be replaced its easy to get to and if a display gos down the whole machine wont go now i'm stuck again. I am going to just keep adding to my gift cards and hope this hackintosh doesn't die before I make a decision.
  20. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    I moved my VM over from my MP3,1 to the iMac. I have not enabled hypervisor or code profiling in Fusion. Should I?

    I agree--the ultimate test is how fast one's own applications run, and I did test just that, but since my main application is pretty obscure it was not worth mentioning it. There are no benchmarks for it, other than timing actions with a stopwatch.

    I used the benchmarking tool to help quantify results, in addition to the app testing. It also helped me determine quickly and quantitatively at which settings (cores & RAM) the VM was performing best. It was easy to see trends in CPU, GPU and memory performance broken out to determine where the sweet-spot was.

    I then tested the top few settings with my application.

    The poster I responded to just mentioned his VM was "faster", so I was letting him know that more is not always better in terms of cores or allocated memory.

    PS My iMac is a late-2013 27" i7/3.5 with 512SSD and 32GB RAM. I used shorthand above when I said the processor was an i7/3.5. Not sure if the earlier model had the i7 or it was only the late-2013, but I should have clarified.

  21. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    Most likely not....

    The former is to let you run a VM as a host (your VM will have VMs). The latter is to enable hardware-based performance tools to run in the VM.

    All Core i7 have all three virtualization assists - so not surprising that it is much faster than the 3,1.
  22. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    thanks for the education. i appreciate it.

    if you had to guess, would you expect that the iMac (and core i7) would offer better performance than the nMP for VMs (Xeon-based), assuming equal RAM and storage of the VM (SSD)?

    VM performance is material to me.

    i'd expect the nMP (configured as 4- or 6-core) would outperform the MP3,1 (2x2.8 8-core), but I wonder what I could expect with the nMP vs the iMac.

    i have to make a decision to keep or return the iMac in a few days, and it looks like my nMP won't arrive in time for a head-to-head comparison.

    thank you!
  23. 2128506 macrumors regular


    Dec 28, 2013
    Heart of Mordor
    If your VMs are not maxing CPU most of the time (which might cause CPU downclocking due to overheating), i7 iMac with SSD would definitely perform the same or maybe even better. nMP has good CPU, but it is a server-class previous generation chip.

    I run 3 VMs (Linux Oracle DB, Linux server, Bootcamp) in Fusion on i7 iMac while doing work in OS X - performance is more than adequate.
  24. wesk702 macrumors 68000


    Jul 7, 2007
    The hood
    Thanks man! It's refreshing to read just a simple user experience review instead of being bombarded with nothing but data and benchmarks. You had me at "snappy."
  25. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    Agree - with the added warning that the Imac has a max of 32 GiB of RAM, and the MP can hold 64 GiB (and should be able to support 128 GiB when 32 GiB DIMMs become affordable).

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