Quad vs Hex

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by TheKnifeFight, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. TheKnifeFight macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2008
    I'm committed to purchasing a new Mac Pro but need a little guidance from the community.

    Initially when the specs were released, I was sure that I would buy the quad system but after reading various sources, some people are saying the hex core offers the best cost to performance ratio. As someone who isn't billing hours for their services just yet, I am hoping to get some advice on which system would be a better fit.

    I've gone through the various build options on the quad and as it nears the hex base, I'm tempted to say "screw it" and just buy the hex. But after staring at the $4k machine in my cart, it gives me a little pause.

    I'm wondering if anyone is in my boat and can nudge me in the right direction. I plan on keeping the system for roughly 5 years and would like to buy something that allows me to learn and grow my skill set. I will be using the system immediately for FCPX and Adobe Lightroom with likely future use of After Effects and other NLE.
  2. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    My suggestion is wait 3 months or so. They will receive bug fixes and refurbished units will hit the store. At that point it will be down at the lower price point that you are viewing today. That is of course if you can wait. 12-15% off retail isn't uncommon, so it's not trivial. Ram is something that can be upgraded later when memory for this system is at a low point. I don't know what your needs are like today in that regard. It's really impossible to tell exactly what you'll need later. As you said you're not billing hours yet, so you don't know what your future client list will look like, and you may not really know your market. Just going by software, those span an incredibly broad range of use cases, even if they are restricted to jobs that are typically taken up by freelancers with 1-4 years of experience.
  3. Cubemmal macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2013
    I think the 4k hex package is a sweet spot, but whether it makes sense with your budget is up to you. I ended up spending 5k and am not done yet. The deciding factor for me is that the CPU and GPUs aren't upgradable. That's why I also went for the D700s. But the Octo isn't better for me or most people in my estimation.
  4. Macsonic, Dec 22, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013

    Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Good advice. I second this. It's a new first generation design and architecture and there are unforeseen changes that may affect our workflow and our client's needs. Example is there was another thread here that the new Mac Pro may only run Windows 8. In my work, some of my clients require me to have a separate Windows 7 and Windows XP partition for cross platform spot checks. They're not open to Windows 8. Though probably later on there may be hacks that will emerge.

    @TheKnifeFight. At the end of the day I think you are the one who can make a final decision once you've established your needs and workflow and budget. I know you'll get varied opinions though that's how the ball rolls. Best to wait until the nMac Pro is out in the market for a couple of months. Generally if I intend to purchase a new model, and even after buying it I still keep the old machine for safety or backup plan in case new bugs come in the way.
  5. flat five macrumors 603

    flat five

    Feb 6, 2007
    it does.. but you have to look at it with a little tweak..
    the quad is the best price per core.. i don't know how much of the $3000 base model is for the cpu but a guess is $600

    4core = $150 per core
    6core = $183
    8core = $325
    12core= $341

    so in that regard, the quad is actually the best deal per core.. also consider as the cost of core goes up, the speed per core is dropping.

    but if you know you can use more than a quad and are considering upgrade options, it's then that the 6core becomes the best cost per performance value.. because if going from 4 to 6 costs $500, logic would state going from 6 to 8 should cost another 500.. but it doesn't-- it costs another $1500..

    and while the cost per core rises, the performance increases are dwindling..
    going from 4 to 6 core is a 1.5x gain.. going from 6 to 8 is a 1.33x gain.

    idk. that post grew too long.
  6. rjbenson83 macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2013
    buy the cheapest model and then when you outgrow it in 4 years buy the cheapest model at that time which will be more powerful than the highest current model.
  7. mpantone macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2009
    A large amount of the benefit of the hexa-core Mac Pro over the quad-core unit is based on the superior graphics subsystem of the former.

    Also, the hexa-core model has 12MB of tertiary cache, versus the 10MB of cache in the quad-core.

    The dollars-per-core calculation is an insufficient valuation of the Mac Pro configurations.

    Ultimately, you need to junk benchmarks and decide wisely based on your current and predicted needs. You should have some idea of what you might be doing with your device ___ years down the road.
  8. michaeljk macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2013
    I am in nearly your exact situation. When the prices were released for the base model, I was planning to buy the base model, upgrading the SSD to 512GB and the RAM to 16 GB. I was comparing it to what I would have to pay for a top-end iMac and wanting to keep it in that price range (I already have a better monitor than the iMac so that added little to the equation on the iMac side). After adding the 512 SSD and RAM, I was in shouting distance of the 6-core, which also has the D500 GPUs. So, I ordered the 6-Core, standard model, but with the 512 SSD. Do I need it? No. I don't actually need the Mac Pro at all. I need a new Desktop Mac for Audio, Photography and maybe video. I don't need a laptop (have MacBook Air that's still plenty fast). I don't need another 27" monitor. I don't want the limits of a Mini. Nice going Apple (they have me right where they want me). So, having decided to get a Mac Pro, I went with the 6-core mostly as an attempt to "future proof" my investment as much as possible. Like you, I want to be able to have this for at least five years (I am not a "pro" user so either one would have worked for five years, but maybe I can get 7 years out of it, or still get a decent price when I sell it in five). I just had the feeling the Quad-core is almost out of date already. Not the design, or the architecture, but the CPU/GPU mix. I am hoping Apple actually leverages the GPUs in a meaningful way outside of just a few software tweaks here and there. That is the direction they say they are going. Anyway, I didn't want the D300s and it made no sense to me to get the Quad Core with extra RAM and D500.

    One thing that also swayed me, which doesn't seem to apply to you (since you didn't mention it) is that I qualify for the education discount (I teach at a local college). With that discount, you get $200 off the base price of the Quad core, and $300 off the base price of the 6-core, so it is $900 more, instead of $1,000. Not saying that made the decision for me, but it made it easier.
  9. TheKnifeFight thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2008
    You are right on the money in how I feel/think. I also get a discount through my employer so that will at least take a bit of the sting out of the tax I'm paying.
  10. propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    Quad is $3000 and Hex is $4000
    +$1000 (+33% cost) gets you
    50% more CPU power
    somewhere between 2X and 4X graphics power
    4G more RAM

    Pretty good deal - unless you never max out a quad or utilize the extra graphics power - in which case the quad would have been no different in performance :)... I determined I never come close to maxing out a quad and have pretty much no use for the graphics power -- hence I bought the machine in my signature for $2650. Performance for what I do (pro audio) is near as I can tell identical to the nMP quad. I also get a new machine every 2 to 3 years and get good resale for the old one. Hence never really sweat "future - proofing". Sometimes I only keep it one year if it isn't cutting it "-)
  11. NukeIT macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2013
    Time a weekend getaway in Portland and you can pick it up tax free... Or pickup at an OC store vs LA and save 1% on tax.

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