Quad Vs 8 Core

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by toolbox, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. toolbox macrumors 68020

    toolbox

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Location:
    Australia (WA)
    #1
    Hi guys i am in a bit of a pickle here. I was chasing advise from the people that own either a mac pro quad core or mac pro 8 core.

    Basically i want to use it for general browsing, storing of data and using imovie / idvd and later on Final Cut.

    I thought about getting the 8 core however i have heard from other people that who have the 8 core systems they have noticed performance drops, and from the reviews i have read that the 4 core mac pro out classes the 8 core in the application tests.

    Can i ask what you have, are you happy with the system you have for what you do
     
  2. tempusfugit macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago
    #2
    its a well known fact that you benefit little from the addition of another processor in MOST apps, because they are not written to use all of those threads. Apps like Final Cut, however, will benefit greatly.

    Honestly, you sound like you should be more in the market for an imac given your non-professional grade needs.
     
  3. toolbox thread starter macrumors 68020

    toolbox

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Location:
    Australia (WA)
    #3
    Do those most apps include imovie? I have purchased a ADVC 300 for converting analog video to digital. I am wanting the mac pro because i can see my self doing this kind of stuff quite a lot in the future and they have alot of room for upgrades / store where a imac does't
     
  4. tempusfugit macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago
    #4
    While I'm not 100% certain, I doubt it. It isn't 64 bit yet, either.

    When people tend to publish reviews of mac pros they rarely use imovie as a reference point....


    If you haven't heard (which by being on this board I find hard to imagine) the imacs are likely to see an update soon. I would definitely wait to see what comes of that. Maybe a quad core? Who knows.
     
  5. iriejedi macrumors 6502a

    iriejedi

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2000
    Location:
    Nor Cal
    #5
    4 v 8

    the answer to your question depends on how much 'snappier' you want Safari to run.:rolleyes:

    :D
     
  6. toolbox thread starter macrumors 68020

    toolbox

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Location:
    Australia (WA)
    #6
    True that! - I am also keen on the 8 core because i guess i will have room for upgrades and no doubt later most o the apps will be re written in 64 bit and take advantage of two cpus

    I guess i have kind of answered my own questions!
     
  7. tempusfugit macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago
    #7

    And by that time you'll be getting a new computer anyway.
     
  8. nullx86 macrumors 6502a

    nullx86

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Location:
    Wilmington/Jacksonville, NC
    #8
    Since your not doing anything professional, get an iMac.
     
  9. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #9
    Generally, not much can make use of multiple cores, generally you can use 1-2 on average, but only when your multi-tasking (IE Final Cut + CS4 + Other stuff) does it become noticeable because you have more cores to use across them.

    I ran a benchmark on Windows 7 on my Octo Mac Pro, the first test was using a single core to render a very high quality model (3D I think, although I couldn't actually move it around), I saw it start at the top, and then slowly work it's way down to the bottom.

    I then did the multi-core test, it started at 8 different points across the model and rendered them pretty much as fast as the single one, except there was 8 of them, so obviously it took 8x less time.

    I doubt you'll get much use out an eight core for using iMovie etc.. Unless you intend to run quite a few other things at once.

    I'd go the 2.93GHz Quad or 2.93GHz Octo, leave RAM/gfx card at lowest spec, and buy a good graphics card and more RAM from OtherWorldComputing.com or another reseller, (and personally I'd get a SSD :D).

    I would assume FCP would have a lot of benefit from eight cores.

    Kind Regards
     
  10. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #10
    note: I'm pretty sure that iMovie uses multiple cores for compiling it all when you export.

    As it seems you will be just experimenting with the movie apps, you'll get better overall performance by buying a quad-core with the 4870, buying an SSD and then upgrading the RAM.
     
  11. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    #11
    Macworld compared the two systems when they first came out, and discovered that any application not designed to take advantage of multiple processors (like final cut) would run faster on the quad than on the pro.

    What I'm wondering is if OS 10.6 would make any difference. Anyone?
     
  12. toolbox thread starter macrumors 68020

    toolbox

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Location:
    Australia (WA)
    #12
    I have a collegue whoes brother does video editing - also, he has regretted buying the 8 core systems possibly because the apps he is running do not take full advantage of the 2 CPUS.

    Would it be worth getting the 8 core, anyway no doubt we will see in the near future that all apps will be re written to take advantage of these multiple cores?
     
  13. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #13
    If you install SL properly, it will speed everything up a little bit. No biggy.
    (EDIT, I should say "should" not "will", it's highly dependent on what applications you use, and how well you install it, and possibly other things I don't know of)

    I'm on SL with a SSD, the things I notice most are applications boot ultra fast, iTunes takes about 1 second, mail about half a second, CS4 about 2-4 seconds.
    I opened about 30 applications including Final Cut Studio, almost every Mac application I could find that comes with OSX + the entire CS4 suite.
    Things started opening up immediately it was crazy, took about 5-8 seconds to open everything.

    CoverFlow loads all the images practically instantly, rather than waiting for the previews to load (even with 1920x1200 res images)
    I highly recommend a SSD for high speed performance!

    Your best setup (disregarding price) I would say is a Octo Mac Pro @ 2.93GHz, 16GB (8x2GB) from OWC, GTX 285 1GB from OWC, Intel X25-M G2 160GB SSD, internal or external drive for TM backup (1 TB), and 1 TB of storage.

    If you can start as the base Octo Mac Pro (2.93GHz) and then upgrade everything later when you get the funds, that'd be best.
    Can't afford or can't justify or don't think you need the Octo, go the quad with the same specs and if necessary upgrade over time.

    Basic Quad/Octo would be @ 2.93GHz, stock RAM, stock GFX card, 1TB HD, 1TB EXT HD (Probably could dump the ext HD and drop to a 640GB boot drive if necessary)

    The simple thing is, not all applications can be rewritten to take advantage of multiple cores, at least not 8!
    3D modelling, high end movie editing like FCP should support it, if not, it should eventually although we can be certain of nothing

    If they could, we would find games like Crysis, and anything else using four cores, rather than one and a half or two I think.
     
  14. toolbox thread starter macrumors 68020

    toolbox

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Location:
    Australia (WA)
    #14
    Yeah problem is the 8 core system with out any custom addons is almost 5000+ dollars. It's insane

    if i was to install SL, i do a nuke and reinstall on all macs i have every bought.
     
  15. vincentyan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #15
    Quad 2.93 GHz vs. 8 Core 2.26 GHz

    I am in similar situation. I am comparing a 4 Core 2.93 GHz 16 GB Ram (4x4 GB from OWC) and an 8 core 2.26 GHz 16 GB Ram (8x8 GB, half stock half from OWC), which are about the same price. I learned similar arguments that most applications won't utilize more than 4 cores.

    I have lots of video files to edit (mostly cut and paste, though), and photos to be enhanced/modified. In the past two years I have been using iPhoto, iMovie HD and iDVD. Now I've got SLR camera shooting RAW photos and HD 1080i camcorder, so I am thinking about the next level software: Photoshop, Final Cut Studio and DVD Studio. I have already felt the pain when iMovie imports the HD files from my camcorder (it does converting at the same time) - my VMWare Fusion becomes extremely slow and my Microsoft Office simply freezes, and worse of all, the converted video shows unacceptable artifacts.

    If I run VM Fusion, MS Office, Safari, Mail etc. while using Photoshop on a 13MB RAW photo and Final Cut on a 26GB video file, which one works better, the 4 Core 2.93 GHz or the 8 Core 2.26GHz?

    On SSD, any advantage other than system boot and application launch? My thinking is that once you boot the system and launch all the applications you need for the day, you don't need the SSD anymore, right? 16GB RAM should be enough - you can leave all the applications in the RAM.

    Really appreciate your advice. Thanks.
     
  16. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #16
    Ouch, it's 10,599.01 AUD for the stock Mac Pro with processor upgraded to max.

    Is this question, or a statement? I'm not quite sure, I lean towards the latter.

    I'd install SL on a new HD, transfer what I need over, re-install what I need, and keep the old HD as a bootable backup.



    Kind Regards
     
  17. toolbox thread starter macrumors 68020

    toolbox

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Location:
    Australia (WA)
    #17
    No it's a statement, every computer i have every owned ( an i only by brandnames i it's a laptop) i have erased it and started over.
     
  18. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #18
    That's a tough one, the 2.26GHz might be too slow. I'd say your better off with the quad @ 2.93GHz.
    I try to be careful any time I advise someone, but I really don't know, I assume the quad would be better.

    The Intel SSD I mentioned has a large sequential read of 250MB/s compared to 70MB/s for a 7200 RPM hard drive, it also has a 70MB/s write speed which is about the same as a 7200 RPM hard drive I think.
    The SSDs main area of focus is the random reads & writes iirc, from what I know, the OS and applications make a lot of tiny reads all over the place on the disk, SSD handles it with no problem, so it generally speeds up everything - not meaning that your system is lightning fast, but it just means it's not slow, everything feels smooth, at least it does to me.

    Like I said, it took me about 8 seconds to open the entire CS4 suite, and about 10-15 other applications, and the entire Final Cut Studio...
    Those applications read data from the disk, small amounts and large amounts, so it's faster, and writing is much faster.
    I think the average latency for the Intel SSD levels out at about a 2000th of a second after it's degraded from having all it's blocks written over the period you've used it, where a hard drive accesses the disk (7200 RPM) at about 100th to a 75th of a second I think.

    Big difference.

    I highly recommend a SSD, you can get a crucial 256GB that has a 250MB/s write speed, so that would probably benefit you using Final Cut Pro (or anything like writes large amounts of data), but I don't think it's as good as the Intel when it comes to the random read & writes (the tiny ones, that hard drives hate).
    So boot time, application launch time, all the I/O stuff is fast, reading files is much faster, writing is similar speed to your average 7200 RPM hard drive I think, at least I've not noticed I difference, or not much.

    it depends on how many cores you're giving to your VM Fusion how well the system well handle stuff, I have an octo and run XP, Vista & Win 7 at the same time with one core each (2 on XP sometimes).
    If you gave two cores to the VM, the quad might not be enough, I'd say you need the octo, but 2.26GHz is so slow.

    NOTE: I forgot the new Mac Pro's are nehalems (oops), so w/ the quad OSX should show 8 cores, I'm not sure if the virtual core performance is as good as the physical cores, but in that case you would probably be quite good with the quad.

    I can't say if using a SSD will benefit you or not, but I can say I will always use one if I can afford it!
    Make sure you research or confirm anything I've said, I may be wrong on some of these things!

    Anyone please pick out anything that's wrong that I've posted :p

    Kind Regards
     
  19. vincentyan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #19
    Thanks a lot MythicFrost.

    An alternative to the SSD is 3 or 4 hard drives with Raid 0. I am thinking about once I get the Mac Pro, I would put my external hard drives - two 1 TB and two 1.5 TB - into the four bays, partition them, and create a 1 or 2 TB raid 0 stripe, and the other partitions for backups. That way, I would get better performance on both read and write, which would benefit video file editing. I feel (I maybe wrong, correct me) that the slow write speed of SSD would be a bottleneck to show better performance than the much cheaper regular hard drives. And you only boot system and/or launch applications once for a while - in my case 3-4 days on average.

    I am not sure whether VM Fusion utilizes virtual cores. I read from the web that it won't. If that's true, and I certainly would like to allocate more cores to the Fusion, should I go for an 8 core Mac Pro?

    Yes 2.26 GHz is slow, but I can't justify to myself on the price jump - $2600, it's another Mac Pro! Well if I go for this 2.26 GHz Mac Pro 8 core, and applications don't utilize multiple cores, would I experience even slower performance than my current 2.4 GHz iMac?
     
  20. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2004
    #20
    Why are you thinking Mac Pro again instead of iMac? I ask because I have similar needs, iMovie, Lightroom, iDVD, MAYBE Final Cut later on, but didn't really consider Mac Pro yet because of price.
     
  21. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    #21
    if you're not using it to make money, I would get the imac.

    The reason why is that you won't have that pressure to turnaround projects so if it takes 2 nights to finish something, then no biggee.

    If you plan to make money, get the mac pro. I personally just ordered the quad b/c I already have a 06 quad 2.66 so I can use them together. If I was getting my first mac, I would pony up and get the extra cores.

    Any mac will last you a long time and if you need to sell it, they retain their value.

    best of luck,
    keebler
     
  22. jayman99 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    #22
    you should get a 4-core or an imac.

    from your desired uses i would recommend purchasing a 4-core mac pro or an imac. i have an 8-core mac pro. i use it for final cut studio, all the apps, high def footage, etc. i need the 8-cores for MULTI-TASKING. what i mean is when you're editing in final cut with HD footage, and you're also editing the audio in soundtrack pro, and creating the graphics and titles in motion, and editing graphics in photoshop, ALL AT ONCE, the 8-cores comes in handy. you don't get slowdowns whatsoever (granted you have a decent amount of RAM).

    from the uses you mentioned, you would be more than good enough with a 4-core or an iMac. final cut studio runs on even a MacBook. It would run great on an iMac for personal or small business use.

    I would save the money, get something more practical for your uses, and spend the extra cash on more memory, or more hard drive space, or external drives, or applecare.

    8-cores is only necessary for multitasking with 3 or more PRO apps on a daily basis for hours at a time. also, if your business/profession depends on the mutli-tasking speeds to meet deadlines or turnaround times on projects for clients.

    message me if you have any more questions.
     
  23. Eric S. macrumors 68040

    Eric S.

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Mountains, California
    #23
    Insane is relative. :rolleyes: I remember when this was $8000 (but hey, you got that 25MHz 68030 and a 40MB hard drive!):

    http://lowendmac.com/ii/macintosh-iici.html
    (monitor not included)

    Luckily when I bought mine I had a friend working at Apple and got 50% off.
     
  24. toolbox thread starter macrumors 68020

    toolbox

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Location:
    Australia (WA)
    #24
    Thanks all for the advice, seems the quad might be the way to go. I won't be making money just yet - i am just starting to do the video edits and until i am completely satisfied that there 100% then i will be charging.

    I guess getting a 8 core for just imovie is a bit over kill. I don't have high end Video cameras etc. Might be worth getting the quad, and spending the bit extra cash on some memory?
     
  25. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #25
    Nothing wrong with that, maybe doing 4 1TB's in a raid 0+1 would be a good idea, double speed, mirrored across two raid 0 drives for backup, + backing up with TM on some ext drives.
    BTW don't buy the Mac Pro raid card, I've heard it's trash. (This may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure it's right)
    The very reason those things improve is because it reads & writes small amounts of data so fast and so quickly. The majority of the data read and written from and on your computer are tiny little pieces of data all over the OS (I think), hard drives don't like that.
    If you want to do some reading that I can't put into words very well, this is the article I read, I only survived about 14 pages, but it's very informative and is what got me to buy my SSD.
    Performance Preview (of SSDs including the Intel)
    The long article that I read, which was very informative

    I don't know if that's true or not, but it should, Apple say OSX recognizes 16 cores with the Octo, I don't think programs are able to differentiate between the physical and the virtual, but I may be wrong - maybe VM Fusion is incompatible.

    Comparing one single application that only uses one core, if it was at that speed it would probably be the same, I think the Mac Pro processors are better than the iMacs, so a slightly lower speed would do a bit better than a faster iMac, that's just a guess though.
    With turbo boost, when you have inactive cores, the cores your using will overclock/boost up some more, the 2.93GHz goes up to 3.33GHz with Turbo Boost I think, not sure about the 2.26GHz.

    You can't safely upgrade your processor (it's risky, and voids the Apple warranty I think), so it is what I would invest the most money in.
    Perhaps look at a refurbished Mac Pro @ 2.93GHz, it might get you around $1000 off what you'd normally pay - if you can find one that is. (Or maybe even the previous generation @ 2.8, 3.0 or 3.2GHz might be an option, they are not nehalem processors though)

    The most benefit from an octo Mac Pro would come from multiple applications being able to use one or more cores at the same time, so you can multi-task. Like watching a video, playing a flash game, doing this and that, while something else happens.

    Kind Regards
     

Share This Page