Quad 3.2 question (compared to octo and iMac)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by bmat, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. bmat macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2004
    East Coast, USA
    First, I've seen tons of information out there in the forum, and have searched a ton. I think the answer is there, but have somewhat been confused by it.

    I'm not in the final stages of which Mac Pro to get (upgrading from my 1,1).

    I think that I've pretty much come down to getting a quad 3.2 (most likely, with a 5870).

    a. I'm not going to get a hex 3.33, even though I'd want it, because the actual cost difference is another $650 at least.

    b. I've been close to getting the octo 2.4 (without the upgraded graphics card), even though I know that the hex is the sweet spot, merely because it's within the price range I've set up (just the way the deals seems to be breaking, the octo ends up being within my budget range whereas the hex is outside it. (It's like $200 more than the quad 3.2.)

    c. I considered getting an iMac i7 2.93, but in the end didn't want to give up the hard drive bays, etc. (And with a ssd boot drive, was pretty damn pricey anyway.)

    d. I didn't consider the base Mac Pro for long, because it would irk me that the iMac is faster for a lot of things.

    I'm into photo editing, some video editing, etc. I want the machine to last 4 years, like my last one.

    So, the issue is -- I haven't seen tons of testing for the quad 3.2. I assuming it will be faster for most things I care about -- Aperture, CS5, than the iMac. And I'm guessing that it will be on par, more or less, for those types of things with the octo 2.4. But if that's not the case, then it seems like it might be worthwhile for me to get the octo 2.4 and just upgrade the graphics card later, if I need it. Any quad 3.2 owners out there?

    I have no intention of upgrading the processors in the future.

    Again, the hex 3.33 is just off the table because of price. Although I'd take that one in a second.

  2. capebud1 macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2010
    I was in the same boat trying to decide between the top end iMac and the 3.2 Quad MP. Today, I went ahead and bought the 3.2 MP! I was more in favor of future upgradeability, enhanced storage, and better graphics. I too would like to see more benchmarks on the 3.2 Quad config w/ the 5870. BareFeats.com has some.
  3. khollister macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    THe 3.2 quad will be faster on most photo-related software due to much of it not being well threaded. The faster quad will also seem snappier on routine stuff as well. The only things the base octo will be faster on are a few Photoshop filters that are threaded well (I have some 3rd party ones that peg all 8 cores, real and hyper-threaded) and some video things like Handbrake, Compressor and Adobe After Effects.

    I would also save my money on the 5870 - it won't make much difference on anything you are going to run it sounds like. Spend your money on RAM, an SSD and some 2TB Caviar Black HDD's.

    I have a 3.2 quad and regularly use Photoshop CS5, Nikon Capture NX2 and Photo Mechanic. Aside from a couple of Topaz Labs filters and Genuine Fractals 6, nothing comes close to lighting up all of the cores.

    If you are using PS or Lightroom along with Final Cut (or iMovie), you would probably be worse off with the 2.4 8 core except for compressing or transcoding video with Compressor or Handbrake. There is only $200 difference between the 2.4x8 and the 3.33x6. I have no idea why Apple even has the 8 core in the lineup. The 3.33x6 is equivalent or faster on everything than the 2.4 8 core.

    Not sure where you are looking, but the 8 core is $600 more than the 3.2 quad at MSRP - bad deal. The 3.33x6 is $800 more than the 3.2.
  4. bmat thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2004
    East Coast, USA
    Thanks. I had budgeted in for the ssd, 12 GB ram, extra fast hard drives, as some of my current ones are close to 4 years old now.

    I might consider not getting the 5870 -- it's just not a great upgrade price compared to having to buy it later.

    If I weren't to get it, I'd be tempted by the base 2.8, just because it's discounted at Amazon. But then there's the whole beaten by the iMac thing, although I'm certain I'd see a huge improvement even with that.

    (the gap between the octo and quad I was looking at, by the way, was narrowed by the video upgrade and the fact that the base is discounted on Amazon compared to BTOs on Apple's website. But you're right, everything I've read and seen indicates it makes little sense for me.)

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