Swap my 8x2.8ghz for 4x2.66ghz?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sboerup, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. sboerup macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2009
    Ok, new here, if this has been answered already or other resources are available, I would appreciate any links etc.

    I purchased the base 8x2.88ghz Mac Pro in Jan (added 8GB RAM for a total of 10gb now), and my local Apple store said they would allow an exchange (with a 10% restock fee) for one of the new Mac Pros. Sounded like a good option.

    I'm a photographer so my primary use is: Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4. I'm more than pleased with the performance of my current Mac Pro, but if I could pay $250 to help future proof my system (and not see a 25% resale value hit in 3 months from now) it's worth it to me.

    I'm looking at the quad 2.66ghz, as I know that the 2 applications above do not really take advantage of the 8 cores I have now, and would rather have the i7 and DDR3 with a Quad as I feel it would be just as fast if not a little faster. I also plan on adding the 4870 in anticipation of the benefits Snow Leopard will add.

    Any help would be great (sorry again if this has been discussed, I've read some great threads here so far about the 2008 vs 2009 Mac Pros).

    I would love to be proved wrong though.
  2. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    Wait until next week when the testing begins on the new ones. With snow leopard around the corner, you will miss those 8 cores.
  3. oban14 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2008
    Also keep in mind the ram limitation. The 4 core will only support 8 gigs of ram, your current machine will support 32.
  4. wheezy macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2005
    Alpine, UT
    That's the big key for you, yes having 8 cores isn't as important when dealing with Photography, having access to a LOT more RAM is. Currently I only have 6GB in my 2.8x8 MP, and with CS3 being only 32 bit it's not a big deal, but once PS goes 64 bit on Apple I anticipate upping my RAM quite a bit.
  5. sboerup thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2009
    Good points . . . I've always thought 8GB would be plenty, but realizing that 6GB would probably be faster since the new DDR3 and the 3x sets is best. I think that the i7 Nehalem would be pretty darn nice though, assuming the speeds will be similar and the extra RAM bandwidth that people have been reporting with the i7.

    Also, if I stay with my current 2.8x8, I'd increase to 16GB to maximize all the slots, and upgrade my GPU for Snow Leopard as well . . . but the 8800GT doesn't look nearly as nice as the new 4870.
  6. Quash macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2007
    I wouldn't even if it's a bit faster now.

    Only 8GB ram won't make it very future proof at all.

    Also once you really start needing CPU power then i'm confident that the 8 core will still be faster then the 4 core in almost all situations.
  7. zimbaloo macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2009
    I'm not sure why Photoshop switching to 64 bit should greatly increase memory needs. Surely the lion's share of memory is used by image data, and that shouldn't change just because the app switched to 64 bit.
  8. kabelabs macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2008
    the mac pro you have is more then plenty. when and if photoshop actually goes 64bit, the 2008 dual quads with good ram are plenty. if you want to just get a new one to get a new one, then do it.
    i'm keeping my dual 2.8 and putting my extra money to better things, as the dual 2.8 does everything the new one could do, maybe a few seconds to a minute slower depending on what you do, but the 2.8 is no slouch.
  9. twig16 macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2009
  10. wheezy macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2005
    Alpine, UT
    As it stands as a 32 bit app, PS will not use more than 3072MB of memory, going 64bit allows it to access much more memory (I don't know the number, but it's plenty). That's a big plus.

    Also, to the OP, you CAN install the new 4870 in your MacPro once 10.5.7 comes out with the drivers, you don't have to own the newest Nehalem MP to use it. I hope to upgrade to that card soon.
  11. thedarkhorse macrumors 6502a

    Sep 13, 2007
    then get the 4870?
    It will work in the 2008 mac pros.

    I wouldn't do the swap personally, especially with that ram limitation.
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    If you couldn't go with an '09 Octo @2.66GHz or better, I wouldn't bother.
  13. bozz2006 macrumors 68030


    Aug 24, 2007
    If it were me, I wouldn't make the decision until i saw plenty of benchmarks. I am not going to upgrade, but I'm still anxious to see what macworld has to say about the new models
  14. sboerup thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2009
    Thanks again everyone for the comments, I think it seems logical to stay with the current 2.8x8. My initial thought was that the 2.66 i7 would be faster than the 2.8 Xeons, and the DDR3 memory would be much faster as well, resulting in a pretty decent performance increase. But the limitation of 8GB is a pretty valid point . . . whether or not I will ever need anything more than 8GB I'll never know, but if future OSX builds will maximize what your system has, more the better I guess.

    Although I will admit why having 8 cores for the type of applications I'm using is more advantageous than 4 . . . those programs aren't using multiple threads are they? I just don't see the logic I guess, but want to learn too.

    I'm quite familiar with the Photoshop setup to maximize the performance, and although I'm quite happy with it, a little extra performance is always welcome.
  15. osin macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2008
    New Jersey
    Keep you current Mac Pro and put that $250 towards new graphic card...
  16. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    For app that are not multi-core aware, new one is better.

    Otherwise the 8 core will outperform the 4 core, IF ALL CORES ARE MAXED OUT.
  17. myca macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2005
    I'd stick with the 8 core 2.8. there are a few preliminary benchmarks floating around these forums that show the 8 core 2.8 to be faster than a hackintosh that roughly shares the same specs as the new 2.66 quad.

    This includes a test with handbrake where the 2.66 quag was about 15% slower than the 8 core 2.8.

    N.B I'm by no means claiming that the 2.66 quad hackintosh will perform the same as the new mac pro, but it's a good bet that it'll be pretty close to the real thing.
  18. p.luik macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2008
    Faribault, MN
    The 4870 is already available (5-7 weeks) for us with the early 08 MPs.
  19. Tesselator macrumors 601


    Jan 9, 2008

    Me Photog too. :)

    Anyway, the answer is a RESOUNDING no! Don't do it. :)

    For one the 2.88's are actually faster at small tasks - like slider adjustments, brush strokes, mask painting, and etc. Noticeably faster.

    For another, the Quad MacPros are not upgradable to over 8GB ram and it's NOT possible to add a second processor later on.

    For yet another, the Quad 3500 series based machines are spec'ed and perform identically to $1,000 Corei7 systems yet cost 2.5 to 3 times more. I dunno about everyone else but I like to at least feel like I have NOT been made a fool of when buying and owning electronics. With the Quad MacPros that's just not possible. :(

    Now, if he's offering a reasonable upgrade path to one of the octad models it might be worth considering. With the 2.66 vs your current 2.88 you're still going to lose just a tad of the old zip-zip though. :( Batch processing however, will be about 120% to 140% of current though! :)


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