Nehalem 4 core, or 2.8ghz Harpertown upgrade?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MikeT5, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. MikeT5 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    #1
    Hi,

    Found this forum yesterday, and have spent many hours on it! I currently have a dual 1.8Ghz G5 tower that I have had from new, but I have found that it doesn't handle HD video from my Panasonic TM300 camcorder. So, I am faced with buying an Intel machine, and now have no idea what best to do!? :confused:

    I have a nearly new NEC 2490 Wuxi2 monitor, which I intend to use with a new tower, but am not sure what route to go. I run mainly CS4, iMovie, and Final Cut Pro.

    In short, I have been looking at buying a Nehalem Quad core 2.66 tower, but have now realised that I can get a used Harpertown 2.8 Octo tower, with 8 gigs of ram, and 3.32TB of hard drives for the same money. Any ideas on what route to go would be greatly appreciated?

    Many thanks,

    Mike.
     
  2. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #2
    Hi Mike, I would recommend the 2008 Harpertown machine.

    You will be using multithreaded SW if you are mainly doing video editing. This means that something like a cinebench index will be good to look at for comparison.

    [​IMG]

    You will find the following figures:

    2008 Octad 3,244 SCR 18,907 MCR
    2009 Quad 3,572 SCR 14,753 MCR

    The figures say that the 2009 Quad should be a bit faster when it comes to single threaded Apps but that the Octad is significantly faster when you run multithreaded Apps. I think it is relevant for you.

    Other aspects are firmware and GPUs. In this respect the 2008 and 2009 machines have not much difference. Both use EFI64 and have the same graphics cards enabled.

    One can mention that the 2009 machines have a much higher memory bandwidth but that is already expressed in the benchmark. It is the reason why the higher clocked 2008 CPU will be a bit slower in single core render.

    Memory and HDD wise the 2008 machine looks a lot better which will save you money.

    There are other minor items to consider but they would not make much difference to the reasons given above.
     
  3. Inutopia macrumors 6502

    Inutopia

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    South of Heaven
    #3
    One thing to bear in mind, and i was moved enough to register just to post this!

    The 2008 2.8 Octo Harpertown is an absolute MONSTER! Especially coming from your machine, it will be better by several orders of magnitude.

    The closest thing I do to video work on mine is rendering large (3-4gb) panoramas in Auto-Pano Giga, I can tell you that in a multi threaded situation like that the machine literally screams!

    It can be easy to loose sight of where the performance of old model mac pros lies, especially when browsing tech forums which tend to honor the latest and greatest.

    Thats why I posted, I do multicore work on the exact machine you are looking at and can tell you first hand that it is a MONSTER compared to 99% of what people are using out there.

    So, in short, buy one. You wont regret it. These machines have ages of useful life left in them at the highest of high end.

    Chris. xx

    PS also agree with everything said above :)
     
  4. jetjaguar macrumors 68030

    jetjaguar

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Location:
    somewhere
    #4
    i am really tempted to pick up a refurb 3.2 2008 octad .. but for some reason i dont like being 2 generations behind .. i swore i was going to wait for the 12 core mps in feb .. but im growing impatient
     
  5. jwt macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #5
    Don't know what kind of interface your camera has, but the Harpertown has FW 400 and 800 on the front for easy access, the Nehalem does not.
     
  6. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #6
    This. Software won't catch up with this machine's hardware for a few years. When all of its cores actually get cranking, which very little software can do yet, it screams.
     
  7. MikeT5 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    #7
    Well, I have to say, I am impressed with the speed of responses to my question here!

    I can be a kinda impatient sometimes, so your replies helped no end! I have decided on the 2008 2.8 Octo, and will receive it on Thursday!

    My 1.8 Dual G5 will be sadly missed... have had it from new, and it's been fantastic! Even does that benchmark test (sticky at the top of this page) in 1 min 25 secs! shame it won't support HD vid :(

    Thank you very much for your input on this, all of you!

    Best,

    Mike.
     
  8. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

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    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #8
    You will love the 2.8. Its a great machine. Should last you for some time.
     
  9. MikeT5 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    #9
    Thanks Bear, great to hear another endorsement of it! Getting it tomorrow morning, and can't wait! Also figure I'll try hooking up my old NEC 1980sx monitor alongside the 2490 (assuming it will support two with different res)... exciting stuff!

    Will most likely go out and get a WD Caviar Black 640GB today to install as a boot drive, as they are cheap and seem to be the one of choice over the original 320GB one as a worthy upgrade, from what I have read on other threads.

    Best,

    Mike.
     
  10. yoak macrumors 65816

    yoak

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    #10
    When you use compressor for rendering and set up a cluster it really makes all 8 cores work hard.
    I'm editing and rendering out a 45 min film I different versions these days and it really is fast.
    The trick to know is that you can't export from fc to compressor and be able to use a cluster. It's a bug that's still not been fixed in fc7.
    You have to export a QuickTime movie and the open it in compressor. Good luck
     
  11. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #11
    You may want to look at larger drives as well. They are generally faster because they have greater platter density. IMO buying less than 1 TB isn't making much sense when 2 TB are available.
     
  12. MikeT5 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    #12
    Hmmm... will have to see how I get on with the vid, and compressor, etc.

    As for the hard discs... I was looking to buy a WD Caviar Black 640GB, as these seem pretty popular as boot drives. But, Gugucom, the machine I am getting in the morning has the stock 320GB drive installed, and three 1TB drives (don't know what brand though). I also have two WD Caviar Black 1TB drives here, so would I be better off fitting one of these as a boot drive, or get a 640GB?

    Mike.
     
  13. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
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    Munich, Germany
    #13
    If you already have two 1 TB Blacks you should use them because they are faster than 650 GB drives and you might want to SW RAID0 them with disk utility for a really fast boot and apps drive. They would also archive and serve as scratch drive. All you need then is backup. Use two of the unknown 1 TB as backup. If you want more capacity use the 2nd optical bay for the third 1TB HDD with a 5,25" to 3,5" bracket and hook it up to one of the unused ODD SATA ports. All you need is a Molex to SATA power adapter and a 60 cm SATA cable which you thread through the bulk head hole from the ODD bay to the PCIe bay and plug it in there. This stuff goes for less than 10$ at a computer hardware store.

    If you are really lucky and the unknown Drives are also WD Blacks you may want to RAID0 them as four or five internally and go for external backup. Four of those drives would be pretty unbeatable even with SSDs.
     
  14. MikeT5 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    #14
    Thanks for the fast reply! I thought the 1TB WD Black was just a three platter version of the 640GB? Will it still be quicker? Also, do I need any kind of hardware in order to 'Raid0' them? I have always been pretty comfortable working on my own Macs, but tomorrow, have a guy coming to configure the new one for a change, and try to optimise everything.
     
  15. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #15
    The platter density of bigger drives increases, but I have no clue where the steps are. Generally higher capacity is more use full and bigger drives are always at least equally fast or faster.

    As I already explained you need no hardware RAID card to do one or more RAID0 arrays of the six SATA ports you have. You have four standard ports and two ODD-SATA ports. The only disadvantage of the ODD ports is a bit of cabling and mechanical fixtures which aren't required for the standard ports. So theoretically if you fit only 1 TB drives you can have 3 TB Raid0 striped for boot/apps/scratch use and another 3 TB striped or concatenated for internal backup. Of course you can stripe more and do the backup externally if you have more of the black 1 TB drives. So whatever you do it will be pretty awesome.
     
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #16
    It is. Up to the 1 TB models (Blacks or RE3's) use a 334GB/platter density.

    The 2 TB models (Black 2TB, RE4 & RE4-GP lines) use 500GB/platter (4 platters total).

    Yes.

    The higher throughput holds for a larger data capacity before you start to slow down. Drive maker can also implement multi-channel controllers on the boards as well to handle the addtional platters. The boards are actually the same for all of them using the same platters in a line, but as the platter count changes, the unused channels sit dormant due to no connection. Both can allow for higher throughputs, and are typically combined.



    Also, do I need any kind of hardware in order to 'Raid0' them? I have always been pretty comfortable working on my own Macs, but tomorrow, have a guy coming to configure the new one for a change, and try to optimise everything.[/QUOTE]
     
  17. MikeT5 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    #17
    Hi Guys,

    Just thought I should update you on what has happened, as you were so helpful with this thread!!! :)

    I got the machine last Thursday. Reformatted and installed Snow. Fitted a Caviar black 1TB that I had here, as the main startup disc. Two of the other 1TB discs has been Raid0 striped as per suggestions on here. The guy that did it for me also reckoned it was by far the best way! The fourth disc is for image storage, etc.

    The machine runs like a dream, and is virtually silent! Since it has two monitor outputs, I rigged up my old NEC 1980SX in addition to the 2490WUXI2, and its great! Never tried two screens before.

    Many thanks once again... I'm well happy!!! :)

    Best regards,

    Mike.
     
  18. MikeT5 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    #18
    oh, and another thing... the day after getting the new machine, I had a phone call asking if I wanted to sell the old Dual 1.8 G5... so was consequently sold within hours, at £450, which I thought was a pretty good turnout. Lady that bought it was also over the moon, as she does Graphics design work, and had her G5 go bang on her that morning... great result for all!
     
  19. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #19
    Glad it worked out for you, especially finding the old system a new home. :)
     
  20. PaulD-UK macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    #20
    Hi
    What did she do with the carcass? I'm looking to buy a dead G5 box to house a RAID array... ;)
     
  21. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #21
    Sorry for hijacking, but how are you going to do that?
     
  22. PaulD-UK macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    #22
    Hi
    With a hacksaw... :)
    And an angle grinder.
    To fit old Intel server hot-swap drive SATA-backplane caddies, maybe 16 in all.

    An identical sized case alongside my Mac would provide an optimal solution to the festoon of cables - I've currently running with two 8-port eSATA HBA cards, which don't take multilane external cables.

    Together with a 3-port FW800 card that means 15 external drive cables, which added to the 5 internal drives gives a grand total of 23 drives showing up when I open Disk Utility. All works fine day in day out - for editing a huge archive on-going video project... :)
     
  23. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Location:
    Kreplakistan
    #23
    Hey!
    You happen to have links? I have G5 with a dead mobo that is needing a bit tuning...
     
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #24
    A max of 16 eSATA cables!?!? + Power, Ethernet, and potentially others (USB & FW):eek: :eek: YUCK! I'd hate to sort that rat's nest. ;) :D :p
     

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