Purchase 2009 2.93(Quad) or keep 2007 3.0(Octo)?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by handheldgames, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. handheldgames macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    Hey everyone....

    I have a chance to get an upgrade of my 2007 3.0(8 Core) system w/ 9 Gigs of ram for a 2009 2.93(4-Core) system for about and even swap in price.

    I do a lot of desktop work, work in iMovie and FCE, Aperture, Parallels and Handbrake. This is my home studio system to it's not like I'm crunching numbers on it all day long.

    For some reason I'm hesitant to pull the trigger on the upgrade.

    2009: Newer video cards, K64 finder, 64-bit efi
    2.93Ghz, 4-Core, 8Gb ram, 4870 Video, Wifi
    Cost: $3078 including tax.

    2007 +'s: 8 Cores, Lots more ram expansion
    3.0 Octa, 8-Core, 9Gb RAM, 4780 Video, 7300 Video
    Sell for: $2000 MP, $800 CPU's

    While on the surface, the 2009 2.93 4-Core upgrade sounds great, but for some reason I'm hesitant to pull the trigger.

    What am I missing? Not sure which direction to go...
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008

    The chance to get EFI64 is nice, and will be important (already is really). But the main question is, given your current usage (or near future), how well do you utilize the cores of the existing system?

    I ask, as the real core count is what seems to be important ATM. Virtual cores aren't the same (50% of each physical core, but don't perform at that mark due to overhead involved - switching processes).

    If you need the 8 cores now, then don't do it. Wait until a newer machine comes along that's worth the upgrade.
  3. handheldgames thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    EFI64 seems to be one of the main reasons I'm considering the upgrade. I can still get a good price for the 2007MP today.

    I still have (4) 3.0 cores and I don't peg the CPU's that much. But when I do, it's nice to see it chunk through the data quickly. I just got the 8 Cores at a good price and realized what I could have gotten with the same $$$. Buyers remorse... So I haven't installed them yet and I'm debating what to do.

    I do use all of my RAM and was even considering going beyond 9....

  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I certainly understand your dilema.

    So you don't use but 4 cores, but are you going to shift to using them in the near future?
    Granted, it's nice to have them, but if they're sitting there unused, it's a waste. :eek: ;)

    But let's say for the moment, your usage will shift to the necessity of 8 cores. You have another alternative. ;) Get an '08 model (refurb or used). It has the EFI64 (which is highly important for future support, and graphics card options already). But most importantly, you can find them for the same $$$ as an '09 Quad! :D :D

    Then aquire the 3rd party upgrades, and given the applications you've listed, you should seriously think about using RAID for improved drive throughputs. MUST... FEED... CORES. :p

    Personally, I'd be looking seriously at this now. As you say, while you can still sell the '07 at a fair price. :)
  5. SciFrog macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2008
    FYI I decided to buy the machine you try to get rid of instead of buying a 2009 model...

    4 real cores plus 4 virtual will not replace 8 real cores.
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    1 Real Core = 2 Virtual Cores.

    They are NOT the same. ;) HT's not well supported, and what I've come across that's out there, is garbage. I switched HT = Disabled on an ASUS i7 board (P6T6 WS Revolution).
  7. handheldgames thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    The two x5365 8-core CPU's just showed up weds and I just haven't had the time to go through the upgrade process. :cool: This is when the buyers remorse really set in. LOL...

    I guess I'm leaning more towards the latest and greatest MacPro.... But Im still hesitant... The whole EFI64 thing is the major push.... But is it not a worthwhile concern?

  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Seeing how the architectual differences between the Nehalem and Harpertowns aren't going to benefit many (save server usage ATM), I don't see it's worth it, given the prices. The actual performance isn't anything to get in an uproar about, and the higher clocked Harpertown parts can certainly hold their own.

    So that makes the '08 highly attractive for an EFI64 capable machine. If you want RAID, even more so. ;)

    Next, consider the fact that the '09 Quad is limited to 4x DIMM slots. That's limiting capacity, unless you're willing to spring for 4GB UDIMM sticks. Not exactly inexpensive. The Octad models are better, but still more expensive when you figure up everything.

    It's just an opinion, but so far, there's not much in the way of applications that can even think of running DDR3 in tripple channel. Most of it only hits dual channel operation at best. Now given the '08 has more memory slots, is less expensive, and can hold it's own against the Nehalem models performance wise, it seems a no brainer. :D
  9. handheldgames thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    This is my main concern as well.... My other issue is that i wanted to work with SL Server at the house and the 2007 isn't supported....

  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Yeah, HT blows right now, and I'm not so conviced much will ever come of it either, given the resources developers would need to put into it.

    Chips keep getting larger and larger transistor counts, and it may end up being dumped again on the next Tock cycle to regain transistors for some other feature. Personally, I think they'd have been put to better use as cache.

    Given what you've described, you should make a serious comparison between an 8 core '08, say 3.2GHz to an '09 Octad. Then see which one wins out financially, as you should discover, the performance is very close. You should also be able to find a good price on the '08 that makes it cheaper. But do the math, as that should convince you of the right direction. :)
  11. handheldgames thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    Just did more math with Geekbench.. FWIW....

    4-core 2009 MacPro..... 10344
    8-core 2008 MacPro..... 10305
    8-Core 2007 MacPro.... 10353

    All 3 machines come in close to each other.... So I guess the '09 2.93 isn't sounding that bad.... Then again... A benchmark is a benchmark... And not real world performance...
  12. Dreamail macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    Don't the Nehalem CPUs support on-the-fly overclocking (Turbo Boost)? Might be de-activated on the Mac.

    But if not, AFAIR the 2.93 parts can overclock to 3.2GHz when running just one thread.

    So for single threaded apps the 2009 Mac Pro might be faster than the 2007 model.
    But probably not a lot - if at all.

    Also it seems power consumption overall is less when idle, aka 'lower electricity bill'.
  13. yanquis macrumors regular

    Aug 26, 2009
    this is awfully silly to me, but i am coming at this from a chess perspective - there, it's actually -preferable- to disable hyperthreading, at least at the moment. however, the idea that 8 3 ghz cores could be, in any significant way, inferior to 4...well, that's preposterous. unless you're making significant money on the swap, i think this question is laughable.

    at the moment (assuming an octo setup especially), nehalem processors will help you speed up processes you don't even know need speeding up. you are LOSING power in this 'upgrade' (again, for someone like me who is concerned w/ chess analysis, as much as 50%), not gaining it...

    wait till the next iteration before you upgrade. that's my advice & that's what i'm gonna do myself.

    fyi, i am speaking as someone who has not a mac pro but a core i7 920 (w/ HT disabled by option). if u have any purpose to utilize 8 real cores, it has FAR more real advantage than 8 'virtual' ones.
  14. handheldgames thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    From what I've been able to see - the 2009 2.93 Quad performs at the same level as the 2006/2007 Octa. I know it sound silly - but - this looks to be the standard.

    I really wanted to start learning SmowLeopard Server and it will NOT run on the 06/07 MacPro. This probably isn't an issue for most users... But it bugs the heck out of me..

    I have a pause... wondering if I should do the upgrade from the '07 quad to the '09 quad. ( I purchased 2x 3Ghz 4 Core CPUS and they just arrived) But for the same price, I can get the '09 2.93 quad - which is on par with the '07 Octa...

  15. handheldgames thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    From what I have seen... The '07 3.0 Octa, the '08 Octa, and the '09 Quad are close to the same performance levels... As far as over/down clocking goes... It's part of the base Chip features... And since intel built this board with Apple.. SHould be a part of the system.. One hopes :rolleyes:

  16. Dreamail macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    See it that way:

    If you really want to learn about SL Server in a dedicated fashion then it can be considered an investment in a better job. Or at least will classify as training for a higher skill set. In this case getting the 2009 Mac Pro is a good choice.
    Whether overall performance is just about equal or a bit higher or a bit lower, does it really matter?

    On paper the 2.93GHz Nehalem should be faster than the octo-core 3.0GHz for single-threaded applications due to Turbo Boost.
    It could also be slightly slower for perfectly threaded applications running all 8 cores/threads to the max. Yet depending on the application thanks to the new micro kernel some applications might still be faster, others, who require hyperthreading to be OFF explicitly will be lots slower. But I think thanks to SL and Grand Central this last group might only last until the next software revision.
    Overall I'd say it'll be a wash across all applications you use. Unless you have one specific application that you run most of the time, then look for benchmarks on that one specifically.

    If you really have a good use for a 2009 machine, be it SL Server that you want to learn or 64bit drivers that you want to program, then do go for it.
    Learning new skills is never a mistake!
  17. handheldgames thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    I think I'm pulleing the trigger to sell the MacPro @ 3.0 4-Core setup for $2000. Now I just have to sell the 2 x5365 CPU's I acquired off of Craigslist.... Perhaps back on Craigslist or on Ebay!


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