Need to purchase Mac Pro for Immunology Lab

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by skerfoot, May 6, 2010.

  1. skerfoot macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2010
    One of our G5s died and I need to find a replacement. I know that an upgrade should be coming soon, but we need a replacement now (and besides, I just went through that heartache with the MBP and I don't think I can take it again).

    We tend to use applications that analyze a large number of events (FlowJo and Genespring, for those in the know). There will likely be some Photoshop usage, but not a lot.

    I don't think that an upgraded graphics card would be beneficial, correct?

    The just to an 8 core machine is pretty pricey. Is it likely to be worth it for us? I imagine that it might speed up FlowJo, but I don't use Genespring so I don't know whether it would benefit.

    Thanks for the advice.
  2. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    any current mac would pretty much blow just about any G5 away.

    yes, even a mini.

    by far the best bang for you buck is an i5/i7 iMac. i5/i7 iMacs are faster than current generation MPs in many areas.
  3. grndfthrprdx macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2010
    Can either of those programs take advantage of multicore processors? If not 8 cores won't do you much good. Sounds like more ram would be a more effective use of money.
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    How long do you want the MP to be useful for? Apple, I believe, is going to be continuing to release OS updates that will manage multiple cores to their best efficiency, even if if the particular program isn't really written for multiple cores. Like the announced Grand Central Dispatch.

    If I'm correct, then an 8 core machine will get faster each time there is an OS upgrade, until all 8 cores are used just about all the time.

    My recommendation is to go for the 8 core MP, and don't worry about CPU clock speeds. Put in a whack of RAM, and you will not believe how fast it is compared to what you are used to. Then, each time OS X is updated you *should* see things get faster - if you are running multiple tasks simultaneously.

    Or, in other words. You may not see any one single program get faster with updates, but you will notice that running 3, 4, 5, 6 CPU intensive tasks gets faster with each update. Just my prediction.

    Good Luck.
  5. gshng macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2010
    our immunology lab uses a imac 21.5" and it works great for flowjo and the adobe suite runs just fine. I'm not sure about genespring. I would imagine any mac pro would be able to handle everything you throw at it
  6. paintballswimgu macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2010
    I'm a biochem major. I worked with a lot of different sequencing programs last summer when i was doing research. Go with an imac. You can get the i5 processor one for far less then the mac pro cost. It will run everything you need it to run perfectly. You don't need anymore graphics processor power then this. You may want to upgrade to the i7 processor, it'll speed up stuff a little bit. I'm not sure what kind of processing your doing. If your doing modeling of any type. I.E. calculations that take the computer an hour or two to run. (like hyperchem) then you should opt for the i7 processor. If its for a lab, i would get the wired keyboard with the number pad on the side. And get a wired mouse. Its really annoying to have your keyboard die at 11 o'clock at night in a lab with no batteries (personal experience)
  7. EasyJW macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2010
    just go with an i5 iMac, your applications will see ram as a bigger benefit then cores i would imagine [​IMG] plus it would save a lot of money for other things
  8. HDLconsulting macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2012
    Macbook air

    Has anyone used a MBA for flowjo analysis? I typically acquire 500,000 events on 20-30 samples. My i7 PC dies!!! with this. I know flowjo was designed for mac so I was wondering if the MBA could handle this?
  9. velocityg4, Jan 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012

    velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Some things to consider.
    - Will those programs run on Intel CPU's and 10.7 Lion?
    - Will you also have to buy all new software?
    - Will the datasets created on the new versions be compatible with the old and vice versa?

    Lion no longer sports Rosetta so any PowerPC only program will not run on the Mac Pro. Though I suppose you could buy a Snow Leopard disc and roll it back to 10.6. Even then you may take a performance hit emulating PowerPC code. I don't know about those other programs but for Photoshop you need at least CS3 for Intel.

    You should answer these questions before upgrading. It may make more sense to pick up a working high end G5 on eBay for the time being. As the lab may have to replace all the computers and get new versions of all software to incorporate an Intel Mac.

    If everything else checks out than any Mac Pro would be a major upgrade. A quick search on FloJo and Genespring both show marked improvements on multiprocessor systems. So the more cores the better on that mark. I even found some references to Genespring GX being used in cluster computing.

    FloJo Benchmarks (2x2.0Ghz G5 vs 2x2.0Ghz Intel) (pay attention to the 8 core and 4 Core benchmarks on version 7.5b, each newer version of FloJo seems to also be more efficient)

    Problems with Genespring GX 10 under Snow Leopard.

    Edit: Genespring 11 system requirements. They recommend at least a quad core with 4GB RAM.

    With scientific computing more RAM and cores is usually better. You may actually get better performance on an 8 core with with 64GB of RAM than a 12 core with 16GB. The more you cram into the CPU and RAM the less time you will wait for results.

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