Newbie dumb question: Quad vs octo, single vs. dual, explain for dummies please

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ruggerjvd, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. ruggerjvd macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2007
    Hi all
    been lurking around trying to catch up on the latest lines. I havebeen in the market for a new mac, I currently have a MDD DP, '01 vintage running 10.2.8. I have been considering a newMP for awhile, but decided I could hold off until the new Nehalems came out. I've been fairly discouraged by some of the comments about high prices vs. performance, but I'm not a cutting edge user anyways. But I have no problem shelling out cash, because computers last me 6 - 7 years anyways.

    But in the latest configs, is there a general rule of thumb on performance? I see references to 4-core, 8 core, etc. and then the different speeds. So are two 4-cores considered to be an 8-core? Is this the same as a dual processor?

    Is a Quad at 2.93 "better" than an octo at 2.66?

    My guess is it depends on the OS, program and ability to optimize parallel processing. I do a fair amount of video editing, some games, I'd like to get in to some CAD type stuff too.

    Right now I have my eye on a 2.66 Octo (2x quads, right?), fairly high in the line, but I guess I am holding out for Snow Leopard.

    So thanks for your kind patience in educating a noob.
  2. bozz2006 macrumors 68030


    Aug 24, 2007
    you've basically got it. whereas a dual core has 2 processing cores, a quad has 4 processing cores, and an "octo" has 8. More cores is better when working with software that can effectively utilize multiple cores. Higher clock speed, ie. 2.66GHz instead of 2.26GHz is better, and for programs like safari, email, iphoto, higher clock speed is more important than more cores. while for programs like handbrake, or anything that is dependent on the processor, more cores is better.

    If you're not a "power user", a 4 core mac pro would be PLENTY for you right now, but if you do wish to keep the computer for 7 years, you may want to opt for the 8 core. But this is just a guess, as we don't know what the future holds as far as software. A mac pro is overkill for you at this point, as far as processing power goes, but in the next few years, it may be a good fit for you.

    Waiting for snow leopard is probably a good move. not that buying now is a bad move, but if you can wait, that's a good plan. Take note, however, that as a potential early adopter for both the nehalem mac pro AND snow leopard, you are likely to hit a few "speed bumps" before apple irons everything out.
  3. zmttoxics macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2008
    It has already been posted, but here it is again.

    The barefeats benchmarks show that the 2.26 Octo-core generally out performs both quad cores.
  4. ruggerjvd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2007
    thanks, a big help

    Yes, I agree that the pro is probably overkill for me, but I like, and don't mind paying for, the feature of upgradability, if I so desire. That's the main thing holding me back from an imac, price is right, but I don't want to be forced in to a new computer every 3-4 years. I got in to that trap in the dark years of Apple, don't even get me going about the quada/performa et al. fiascoes, and I always seemed to purchase right before a new OS came out, i.e. from 7 to 8, etc. I almost swore off Apple.

    Who knows, maybe the pro will open up a whole new world for me with the slick programs it can run.

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