New Mac Pro single processor units

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by yesthisisapc, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. yesthisisapc macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2007
    As some of you may know, the new Mac Pros have a single processor option. In the past, Apple has depopulated the other socket. Do any of you have one of the new single processor units? If so, could you please check if the other socket is depopulated?

    I ask this because of a few reasons. As you ALSO may know, it is possible, though not recommended, to upgrade the CPUs in the previous Mac Pros. Being the cheap git that I am, I figure I'd rather purchase a separate set of higher power Penryn chips that Apple would charge more for an upgrade to myself. I've contacted all the people I know at Apple (I work at a reseller) to try and find information, but as you may know, that's like trying to get blood from a stone.
  2. jablko macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    I'm interested in this too. (Sorry, OP, if I've gotten your hopes up by replying, but I don't have the answer).

    I'm also very interested in seeing benchmarks for the single processor MP in comparison with the dual processor ones, especially "real world" tests like Photoshop, mpeg rendering, Fusion/Parallels, etc.

    My guess is that many programs don't effectively use multiple CPUs and the difference in real world apps wouldn't be as significant as in synthetic benchmarks. Please, someone, prove me wrong.

    My office has two new MPs in the budget for this year, one for our student workers/interns to use for videography (that will be a beast) and the other for my workstation.

    I doubt I need eight cores for most of my work, but I do occaisionally do processor-intensive things like video editing, and I want snappy response time for virtualized XP/Vista/Ubuntu even if the computer's grinding away on rendering something. Right now I'm leaning toward saving the college a little money for my workstation and going with the single processor model, but I really want to know if I'll regret it later.

    Whatever we get, it will be a darned site better than going back and forth between my underpowered PC and my noisy PowerMac G4. I just want to make sure the investment is well-chosen.

    So, PLEASE direct me to some benchmarks and tell us if these things look like they could be upgraded to eight cores later.
  3. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    heatsink issues we think might prevent this.

    However, we won't know for a while yet.

    I'd say if in doubt, go for the 4 cores, if you're umming and aaahing about which is right, you probably don't need 8 cores. I won't.
  4. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    remember not so long ago, 4 cores was insane performance. Even for Final Cut Studio. Apple haven't made anything significant like updates or new applications that *need* 8 cores.

    If something takes 30 seconds to render rather than 20 seconds, will you really care?
  5. yesthisisapc thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2007
    I need 8 cores for rendering projects, but at the same time I'm... very poor/cheap. That's the problem. To clarify, I do a lot of work in 3dsmax and Maya, both of which have very CPU intensive fluid dynamic systems in place for things like smoke, fire and liquid rendering. More cores is better, but being poor is an issue.
  6. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    build yourself a Q6600 windows box. cheap. very powerful. and you can run 3DS max. You'd have to use bootcamp to run that anyway.

    I assume you have licences for windows versions of maya and max anyway so i'd stick with windows. if you only plan on using win XP on the Mac Pro then i'd stick with dell/windows.
  7. yesthisisapc thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2007
    Except that the new penryn pros cost less (for the amount of power given), and my license for Maya is for OSX. It's far more cost effective, to a degree, to void the hell out of a Mac Pro warrantee.
  8. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    i could build you a q6600 with 8GB RAM and 1TB of storage for less than the base MP. Way less.

    But that is beside the point, you have a mac version of maya so you must stay with mac.
  9. yesthisisapc thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2007
    See my revised post, for the power I get. Problem is that plugins like FumeFX are absolute HELL to work with.


    We've really veered off-topic though. I'm not the only one interested in the socket being depopulated or not.
  10. sinn. macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2007
    I went with the 4 core. I am also a 3D animation student. I am using the extra money I saved for a 2nd display, more ram and HD space. If I need to render something out, I will start it before I go to class or work. Go with 4 core and buy some extra stuff with the saved money.
  11. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    3D students unite!!

    I've seen/contributed to lots of theads on what spec 3D students should get and we always agree - 4 core.

    I'm still in a quandry (especially after today) on whether to buy a mac pro or build myself a super spec hackintosh.
  12. dralbertqnixon macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2007
    Upgrading the processors isn't hard - you just need to be careful.
  13. hugodrax macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2007
    I would differ, Save up a bit more and go for the 8 cores. Over the ownership of the machine it is not a big hike in cost but the extra cores pay off when doing lots of multitasking, as new enhancements arrive that will take advantage of the power and the longevity of the workstation(more usable years etc..)

    If money is tight, save for a longer period of time and then buy it.
  14. yesthisisapc thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2007
    Can you confirm this though? I'm pretty sure the G5 Powermacs had a depopulated socket. I know how to replace a CPU, and on the Mac Pros it's about as hard as blowing my nose, the question is whether I could toss a second CPU in there when I feel like it.

    Okay, the main reason this would be cheaper for me, in any event, is because I can do things like buy a new CPU and more RAM at cost. What this means for RAM is that I get it for about half off and for CPUs I can get for, well, a heck of a lot cheaper. Let me spec out a basic system:

    Processor: 2x 3.0GHz Quad Xeons
    Memory: 16Gb FB-DIMMS (4x 4Gb)
    Storage: 2x 500Gb (I have more external and internal drives than I know what to do with, the other two slots aren't really an issue)
    Graphics: NVidia 8800GT (I'm not making a gaming rig obviously, but I do some real time stuff too)
    Optical drives: 1x Superdrive
    Wifi: Yes

    From Apple, this would cost me $8,600, which is by no means a small chunk of change. However, if I can buy a single Quad system with 2Gb of RAM, I can upgrade it to those specs for an extra $1800 on top of the $3000 base. I essentially nearly cut the price in half, and that saves me a rather substantial sum of money. For people in my position, buying the full system directly from Apple is not a very cost effective idea.

    This is why I want to know the status of the second socket.
  15. Norco macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    Also another thing for the students to ponder, is that even though it costs an extra $400 for that 2nd processor, I think the resale value of the machine is going to be a lot better later down the road because even as new machines come out and new programs are released, 8-cores is still gonna kick ass for awhile.
  16. bobsbarricades macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2007
    I don't do a lot of video right now, I mainly write music in Logic and I think I would be fine with the 4 core option... but I remember when I was getting my Bachelors and they showed us After Effects and I almost failed because I had no idea dual core machines would take 8 hours to render my project and I'd rather not have that kind of wait..... ever really :)

    I think it'd be great if we could upgrade the second slot later
  17. steelski macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2007

    If someone were to get the single core Pro. Would they be able to test the second socket by just moving the one CPU into it.????
  18. yesthisisapc thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2007
    Theoretically, yes. Though if the socket were fully depopulated, there just wouldn't be anywhere to stick the CPU XD
  19. mestevie macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2008
    I have been told by Apple over the phone that you cannot upgrade to a dual processor if you BTO a single proc Mac Pro.

    However, I feel that this is a canned answer, and that the rep didnt *really* know or has been told to answer in this way because such an upgrade would be unspported by Apple.

    In any case, look at the older Powermacs - you can now upgrade to dual CPU's from a single unit via third party.

    I am in the same dilemma as you, and really want an definitive answer on this - its basically a waiting game until someone does it.....
  20. ash471 macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2008
    own the single cpu harpertown mac pro

    I just got a mac pro with a single quad core. I had the same question all of you had and everyone on the internet seemed to be speculating one way or the other. However, everyone's "expert" advice based on their prior experience with Mac Pro is completely irrelevant since there were no single cpu Mac Pros until Harpertown. Thus, any upgrade prior to the new Mac Pro would have been a change to a totally different CPU, which is obviously complicated. What we are talking about with the Harpertown upgrade is simply going from 1 cpu to 2 cpu. It could be as simple a dropping in the second exact same processor if the board has the socket and heat sink. I called Apple and someone there told me "sure you can upgrade it later." I'm not sure whether the person I talked to has a technical understanding, but it was enough for me to buy the single CPU. (I probably wouldn't have paid for the second cpu version regardless). If you want me to look and see if my computer has the second socket and/or heat sink let me know where to look. Do you think I can open the box without voiding the warranty?
  21. mestevie macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2008

    As I have never owned a MAc pro I can't exlicitly explain how to peek at the motherboard and the processor socket(s).

    However, i would assume its quite easy to open these babys up.

    Interesting that you got that response from Apple, as I got a different answer, as mentioned above.
  22. twoodcc macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
    have you opened the case at all?

    i have the older mac pro, and it is very easy to open the case. and it does not void the warranty
  23. ash471 macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2008
    Actually, I've only received the monitor and some peripherals so far. According to FedEx tracking I should get the rest tomorrow morning. I'll try and open it up tomorrow evening and post the results.
  24. ash471 macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2008
    Like I said above, I wouldn't put to much trust in the response I got from Apple.
    The lady didn't look anything up she just said yes as if it would be no problem.

    I plan on trying to open up the box tomorrow evening. In this case, I think a picture will be worth a thousand words.
  25. Roy macrumors 6502

    Jul 6, 2006
    If you look at your Mac Pro User's Manual, you will find Apple even shows you how to take side panel off so that you can get to the inside of the case. Thus, if Apple shows you how to get into your Mac Pro case, then I don't believe it will void you warranty. (Chapter 3: Making Things Better. Installing memory, hard drives, PCI cards, replacing optical drives, etc)

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