Quad Core or 8-Core advice and suggestions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by phadam, May 17, 2011.

  1. phadam macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2009
    I had been having some video card issues with my last mac pro and it was about that time to let it go anyways. I had an 06 Mac Pro that I had purchased in late 07/early 08 I believe. Sold the tower a lot faster than anticipated and hadn't had much time to do my own research as I would have liked. Now I am computerless and using my blackberry to research as much as I can (reminds me of the dial up connection days). Was hoping I could get some help/advice on my next Mac Pro.

    I am super tech savvy or too knowledgable on the differences or comparisons of GHz's, Mb/s's, westmere vs nehalem, etc.

    I guess my first question being is there or will there be a significant and noticable difference between the 2.8GHz Quad Core and the 2.4 8-Core? The 6GB over the 3GB memory on the 8-Core is a nice feature.

    I work from home a lot being a graphic designer and its nice to have that extram memory. I had 6GB's in my last tower and a 512 hard drive.

    Sorry for the long post was hoping I could save some frustration searching the web through a slow blackberry low reception phone. Any help would be appreciated.

  2. The-Pro, May 17, 2011
    Last edited: May 17, 2011

    The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    If you are using programs that can utilise the 8 cores then the 2.4 8 core will be significantly faster. As you are a graphic designer I presume you use programs like Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign?? If yes then for those purposes you will, I think, benefit from the 2.8 quad core more due to the higher clock speed. RAM (memory) is really cheap nowadays, 6Gb standard is nicer then 3, no doubt, but you can pick up 8GB(2x4GB modules) from OWC for like $140. Meaning you will have a total of 10GB as 2 of the standard 1GB modules will stay in the machine. I dont think that spending 1000 more on the 8core machine will benefit you, id recommend you get the 2.8 quad (or maybe 3.2 quad), the extra memory (not from apple) and a Solid State Drive. You will have spent less then the 8 core costs and have a machine which feels much quicker.
  3. Cheffy Dave macrumors 68030

    Cheffy Dave

    Feb 5, 2007
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    Good post, sound advice
  4. macman312 macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia --> Cincinnati,OH
    exactly what he said, However it is likely that since they have upgraded the macbook pro and the imac with thunderbolt and new processors they will do that to the MacPro. However with apple it is hard to tell when they will do it...
  5. phadam, May 17, 2011
    Last edited: May 17, 2011

    phadam thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2009
    Great information to know and really appreciate it. This definitley helps in the decision process.

    Primary programs of use have been photoshop, illustrator, indesign, flash, lightroom, espresso and css edit. Never really got around to final cut or the cinema tools area so I don't see myself in a need with that dept.

    My previous Mac Pro was a 3GHz dual-core Intel Xeon, and I believe that would be the 2 processors/4 cores? As far as performance, will there be any kind of significant difference between my previous and the current 2.8?

    And just out of curiosity, I see Mac really jumping the price between towers on what looks a lot to be based on the numbers of cores?? What areas of work really benefit from say the 12 core, or the additional core systems?
  6. Dokter_Mac macrumors regular


    Mar 9, 2005
    iMac 27" Core i7 late 2009...

    My iMac, a late 2009 model Core i7 8 cores 8GB Ram 2TB HD Radeon 4850 512Mb GDDR3, is getting so warm that it damages my screen! Luckily that I've bought AppleCare back then! Sometimes my iMac is so warm that I can't hold my hand on it for a few seconds...

    AppleCare is going to fix it so besides this I'm only going to miss my hardware for a few days... I hope that they have fixed this with the new iMacs with quad core processors... On the other side my MacBook Pro with a core i5 is running great!

    Sincerely & thanks for the good advise/articles.
  7. Mobius 1 macrumors 6502

    Feb 11, 2011
    bah mac pro

    i'd rather build my own hackintosh if i were u

    same spec much cheaper and USB 3.0


    buy your own RAM. cheaper also
  8. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    Yeh the best for you would be the 2.8 quad core (maybe 3.2, if i feel like you want it :D) Important is lots of RAM, Photoshop needs heaps of RAM if you wirk with large images, i recommend 10 Gb(as I previously described in detail) so that everything is silky smooth.

    If your previous mac pro was dual core, then it was 1 processor with 2 cores.
    You should definitely feel a difference in performance due to the newer much quicker architecture of the processor. As the processor is a quad core with 8 virtual cores (Mac OSX will recognise 8 cores) you will have much more processing power available (compared to your old one), so the machine wont slow down as easily under high loads. Also the RAM is DDR3 1066 MHz while your old mac pro had DDR2 667 MHz I presume, meaning the RAM is much quicker in the new one. The Graphics card you will get with the 2.8 (new) is much better and quicker then the card of your old mac pro. As photoshop leverages the GPU for certain tasks things will be quicker because of that.

    The number of cores (type of processor) are technically the only difference between the machines. Mostly only people who do 3D renderings will benefit from that amount of cores. I use a 3D program called FormZ which uses the amount of cores you have. So a rendering on a 2.66 Ghz or 2.93 GHz 12 core Mac Pro will be completed approximately 3 times quicker then on the 2.8 quad.
    For most people who need a mac pro, due to performance and expandability, the sweet spot of processing power is to have the 6 core system. If you find that the 2.8 quad core is not giving you enough power, you can switch the quad core with a 6 core pretty easily. There are heaps of guides on the internet. If you perform the upgrade yourself you will save lots of money, especially if you do the upgrade in like a year or two as the old processors will be cheaper.
  9. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    If its for anything remotely close to production then that is the worst possible idea. Im sorry, but if Im using a machine for professional purposes, it has to be flawless, and no hackintosh is flawless and guaranteed to work with every update on release, and may stop working completely at a certain OS update, at least for a while on Apple's whim. USB 3.0 really isn't that important, and if it was it can be added to a Mac Pro anyway, not that its that useful yet. When it is you can guarantee it will be a $50 addition at most, probably less.

    As far as 8 vs 4 core, Id go with 8 cores if you can afford it, as it will speed multitasking up, and make Adobe CS faster. Especially if you multitask. However the RAM shouldn't impact your purchasing decision, as any 4/6-Core Mac Pro can be upgraded with 3rd party to 32GB, and any 8/12-Core to 64GB (Both of which are larger amounts of RAM than everybody outside of a very very select group of users will ever need).

    Also, I suspect the OP is referring to it being 2 * Dual-Core CPUs, I cant recall there ever being a Single Dual-Core Xeon option for the Mac Pro, Just Quad 2.0,2.66 and 3.0 Xeon Configurations consisting of 2*Dual-Core Xeons.
  10. phadam thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2009
    Sorry about the lag in response to all of this. Tough surfing the web through a mobile device :/ anyways, making a purchase this weekend. Was leaning towards the quad core vs the 8 core to save some money. Funds are available for an 8 core and I would like to make a purchase that will benefit myself and work for the next couple of years however if it wouldn't make a noticeable difference or be a significant upgrade between the quad and 8 core I obviosuly would like to save cash where I can.

    Will the different processors between the quad and 8 core towers benefit me in one vs the other?

    Hopefully after this I can post about a purchase decision :D

    Correct. Wish I had a screen shot from the system profler but its a little late now.
  11. The-Pro, May 28, 2011
    Last edited: May 31, 2011

    The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    My advice still stands. Get the 2.8 Quad, buy some ram and SSD (recommend at least 128 Gb for your operating system and applications) from OWC. Good thing about getting the 2.8 quad is you can easily upgrade to a 3.33 GHz hex core. So if in a year or something you need more power you can buy a hex core and put it in. 6 cores is seen as the sweet spot for most people who need a mac pro in the first place.
    Lots of tutorials about upgrading the CPU here on MR.
    the 2.8 GHz quad is a Nehalem processor, the two 2.4 GHz (8 core) are Westmere. Dunno how that affects performance, someone else might know. But im sure there hardly is a difference.

    So im recommending the following:
    - Standard 2.8 quad Mac Pro
    - 8 Gb RAM (2 x 4GB) this will total to 10 Gb when installed. ( 2x4GB and 2x1GB)
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/85MP3E2M08GK/
    - 128 GB Solid State Drive. You can install this in a HDD bay, you will need an adapter for that as the SSD is a 2.5" form factor and the HDD bays are for 3.5". OR you can install it into the second optical drive bay, no adapter needed. On the SSD you should have the OS and Apps. Easiest way to do this is to install the SSD then clone the HDD onto the SSD. Boot up from the SSD and reformat the HDD. You can then use it for Time Machine and Storage. Just so you know the SSD in the link actually is a 128GB, but the formatted capacity is 115GB, which is why it doesn't say 128GB.

    This would add up to a grand total of $ 2848.98. roughly 650$ cheaper then the 8 core and it will feel sooooooooooo much quicker due to the SSD.

    QUESTION: what did you mean with 512 Hard drive starting post??
  12. phadam thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2009
    Just came home last night with a new 2.8 quad-core :D Ordering RAM and SSD today. Can't thank you enough for all the helpful advice and suggestions. Will be doing some searching here for installation tips/advice with the RAM and SSD as well as how to clone the SSD onto the HDD properly.

    The new tower is sooo quiet. It's really nice compared to my previous that sounded like it was ready to take off :)

    I'll post later on my first (hopefully successful) install of RAM and SSD.
  13. The-Pro, May 31, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011

    The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    Sounds good :)
    my pleasure :)
    RAM is no biggie, pretty much just put it in and done
    For the SSD, search for the application SuperDuper which i like a lot and its easy to use, or CarbonCopyCloner, which i have never used and cant say how it is but lots of people have reported its good.

    haha, yeh i know what you mean, some where seriously loud :D You will probably never ever hear your machine even under maximum load, perhaps the HDD now and then. my 2009 8 core is dead silent even when i am using all 16 virtual cores to the max when rendering. So enjoy your peace and quiet :D :)

    nice, looking forward to reading it
  14. phadam thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2009
    Didn't think about asking this before but what do I do with the 1GB card that I will be pulling out? OWC has a trade in program but the trade in chart states that I would only get $5 for it!?? That seems a little ridiculous. I can't even buy lunch at Carls Jr with that.. Is there another option? Is it best to just put away and save?
  15. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    Yeah 1GB modules aren't worth anything nowadays. Put it away and save it. Its not worth the time and effort to sell

Share This Page