Quick Question

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Andy B, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. Andy B macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2004
    #1
    Hi Guys,

    Sorry to ask a question that's possibly been addressed many times, but I've tried a number of searches and haven't been able to get a definitive answer.

    I'm about to buy a Mac Pro 12 core and I need to know whether it's better to stick to 2s, 3s or 4s when grouping ram. I'm either going to go for 6x4 gig sticks, or 8x4 gig sticks.
    I also have a Mac Pro Quad, bought earlier this year. At the moment it has 3x4 gig sticks but I'd really like to add another 4 gig stick to max things out (this is for loading samples, not for application performance) - is this going to cause any problems?.

    Thanks in advance.

    Andy.
     
  2. PhoenixMac macrumors 65816

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    Mar 7, 2010
    #2
    im no ram expert but from what im reading on these forums the general consensus is the more ram the better, I would go with the 8gb sticks so you can just add more later without having to upgrade the 8gb sticks as those are the biggest you can go per stick. and you can go ahead and use all slots in your quad you wont see performance go down by going dual dual channel over tri channel
     
  3. andalusia macrumors 68030

    andalusia

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    #3
    The OP didn't mention using 8GB sticks, I assume because he doesn't want to pay that much for them, rather than not knowing about them.
     
  4. Andy B thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 12, 2004
    #4
    Thanks for the reply Guys. I've been told that the most that the 12 core can handle is 32 gigs (8x4 sticks) and the Quad, 16 (4x4 Sticks). If that's correct then surely there'd be no reason to get the more expensive 8 gig sticks?

    Thanks,

    Andy.
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #5
    That's what Apple offers. DP Mac Pro can take 64GB and SP can take 32GB when using 8GB modules. 8GB kits are only 100-200$ more expensive than similar 4GB kits

    http://www.transintl.com/store/category.cfm?Category=2865&RequestTimeOut=500
     
  6. Andy B thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 12, 2004
    #6
    Thanks Hellhammer. I assume that DP means Dual processor and SP, single. Oh, btw, my suppliers are saying that they haven't heard of anyone using 8 gig sticks and didn't even know if the mac would recognise them without some sort of firmware upgrade?
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #7
    Quite a few people here in MR are using 8GB modules, especially in SP Mac Pros. The only issue is that some 8GB modules require matched modules, i.e. you can't mix 8GB modules with other (2GB, 4GB) modules. No hacks or updates needed but you need to boot into 64-bit kernel to utilize +32GB of RAM (2010 MPs boot into 64-bit by default I think).
     
  8. Vylen macrumors 65816

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    Jun 3, 2010
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    Sydney, Australia
    #8
    *raises hand*

    24Gb (3x8Gb) bought from Transintl.
     
  9. Andy B thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 12, 2004
    #9
    That's good to know that people are using 8GB modules. Anyone else want to chime in if you're also using 8GB and what you're mainly using the machine for.
    I'm using mine for music production.

    Thanks,

    Andy.
     
  10. Vylen macrumors 65816

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    Sydney, Australia
    #10
    Software development (XCode), Photoshop, 3D modelling (Blender) and my photography hobby.

    Also run a VMWare'd Windows when I need to use Visual Studio or run some "simple" games.
     
  11. khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

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    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #11
    Not sure what SW you are using but now that Kontakt is 64 bit as well as Logic, Omnisphere, Trilian, etc, RAM is king. I have 12GB in my 3.2 quad only because I didn't want to bleed even more money getting 24 or 32 with 8GB DIMM's. And I am typically not doing large orchestral mockups or scores which goes through RAM like a drunken sailor on shore leave.

    while 3 channel is faster (3 DIMM's per CPU), the real world difference between 2 and 3 channel memory access is lost in the noise. In the case of samples, whatever the theoretical loss in RAM speed is is sure a lot less than the huge performance hit of streaming samples from HDD versus playing them out of RAM.

    BTW - I put my frequently used piano samples (Galaxy D, Alcia Keys, Kawai-EX and Emotional Piano) on my SSD boot disk. I'm loading a 8 GB piano in about 3 sec instead of 15-20. Huge difference for big stuff you use all the time. Eventually I suspect we will be able to get 400-500 GB SSD's for reasonable prices (< $500 is my definition) and I can move my entire sample library to SSD :)

    One other thought - I know the conventional wisdom is more cores for music production, but I'm not convinced how well that scales in real life. Clock speed still matters as well, plus a lot of software is still not well tuned for MP use. In my case (Logic), I figured I was better saving a huge pile of money by getting the SP version and using my MBP or some cheap second-hand Mac mini's as Logic Nodes via gigabit ethernet to run effects on if I ever maxed out the cores (plus I can pop in the Westmere hex core CPU in the future as well - plug & play in the quad systems).

    Unless you are running 50+ instances of Kontakt/VI's plus a boatload of effects, I'm not sure that 12 cores is going to be that much better than 6 faster ones. Think of all the RAM & SSD's that money buys. And of course if you are a UAD or Pro Tools TDM user, that offloads the CPU's even more.

    My observation is that most guys doing pop/rock/electro/dance type stuff don't really use all the cores. On the other hand is you are running LASS using the divisi parts or a big VSL suite building up orchestral sections from individual instruments, then the more the merrier.

    One other point - not sure about PT, Digital Performer or Cubase, but Logic currently craps out at 16 cores (either physical or combination of real+hyper-threading).

    Food for thought, YMMV, no warranty expressed or implied, yada yada yada ...
     
  12. Andy B thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 12, 2004
    #12
    Great post khollister. I use Kontakt and will probably be running it standalone (or possibly in VE PRO) and as a plug-in within Digital Performer as this will also be my sequencing machine. I'm also running very large templates of orchestral samples that can take up to 500mb per instrument and 32+ voices of polyphony for a couple of notes.

    After a couple of tests with my slave Mac Pro Quad, I was getting a polyphony count of about 1200 voices (in Kontakt) before my CPU maxed out. I don't really understand how the cores operate, for example can each instance of Kontakt access its own core, or is the load for one application spread across multiple cores? EDIT: I've just noticed that Kontakt allows support for up to 8 cores. SO would that mean that Digital Performer could be assigned to the other 4?

    Sorry if this is basic stuff but I want to have a pretty good understanding before I commit to what is quite a large investment.

    Thanks,

    Andy.
     
  13. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #13
  14. khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

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    #14
    OK - you sound like a prime candidate for a dual processor rig. Unfortunately, I have no idea of how DP scales or uses cores. In general the approach seems to be to go with multiple external instances of instruments to have manual control over how all of the cores are used. Piling everything inside the host (although VE Pro might be the exception here - I don't own any of the VSL stuff at this point) leaves you at the mercy of whatever it does. I would be inclined to run Kontakt and VE Pro outside of DP. As to how many instances versus multi's inside Kontakt (I'll leave the VE Pro config to someone who uses it), some testing once you get the rig should give you the answer. However, you will be able to use all of the cores and as much RAM as you can afford.

    If you haven't already been there, also check out Gearslutz for this type of info - big high end Mac community there with music-specific experience.
     
  15. khollister, Nov 7, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010

    khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

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    #15
    For most people I would agree 100%, but I am personally familiar with what Andy is going to run on it, and the cores (and eventually getting to 64 GB RAM) matter for his intended use and SW. Pretty specialized stuff. Where most folks benefit from the disk IO and options as much or more than the RAM limit and cores, Andy's intended use is all computationally limited - quite the opposite from most folks running FCP, Adobe CS5, etc.
     
  16. Andy B thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 12, 2004
    #16
    Thanks again for the replies - very useful info.

    Something I forgot to mention is that I tend to hold on to my sequencing machines longer than my slaves. The one I'm replacing with the 12 core is a 5 year old G5, which now gives me daily problems, buckling under the strain of what I'm asking it to do.:eek: So going for the biggest and fastest almost certainly (especially with the advice given) looks like the way to go.

    Thanks,

    Andy.
     
  17. Andy B thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 12, 2004
    #17
    Oh, btw, khollister - thanks for the pointer to Glearslutz.
    You may already be there, but this forum is also a great place for people like you and me: http://www.vi-control.net/forum/

    Thanks,

    Andy.
     
  18. khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

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    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #18
    yup - already there as well as KVR and NorthernSounds (although the latter seems to be fairly dormant at the moment). My use of Logic and Kontakt is pretty lightweight compared to what you do - just a hobby for me.

    macosxaudio is also out there, although it is not all that active either. I'm sure you are already on MOTUNation for DP?
     
  19. Andy B thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 12, 2004
    #19
    Yes, on Motunation but I'll check out macosxaudio.
    Thanks again for the advice.

    Andy.
     
  20. khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

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    #20
    No problem - good luck with the "mother of all Mac Pro's" :)
     
  21. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #21
    Seems simlar to the system that was put together in this thread with a need for fast disk I/O as well (3 pages, so it's a bit long). :)
     

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