Time for a new MacPro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by kylepro88, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. kylepro88 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #1
    Hey folks,

    I need some advice here, from some professionals if possible who are in the graphics/video arena. I've been doing this stuff for years, and the past number of them using my MacPro. It's an older model with a dual 2.66ghz (4 cores total), 13GB RAM, and a ATI 4870 512MB in there for graphics. The card has been sorta sketchy since I got it, but it serves it's purpose. Weird graphics anomalies show up, especially in my FCP viewer when I playback things...so it's been very annoying. Premiere has no issues with the card wile I edit, so it's a problem with the card and OSX/Quicktime specifically (issues shows up at times playing back footage in QT directly).

    This is all besides the point but perhaps someone knows what the issue is? Anyways I think it might be time for a newer MacPro, but I have my questions.

    If I went with the 8-Core 2.4ghz Westmere, ATI 5770, and about 12-16GB of RAM, how is that thing going to compare to my current computer? Obviously there's pretty big differences in specs, but I'm curious how that performance boost will play out (to what degree) when I render or playback footage, compress h264 (which I do a lot of), transcode files (also a biggy), etc.? Can someone perhaps give me a ratio of performance difference even if it's a guess?

    I've had this thing for quite a few years, and it does run extremely well almost like how I bought it, but some of these graphics issues are enough for me to maybe dive into something newer. I plan to keep this tower however and use it to hold hard drives/data, and hook it up to Qmaster for Compressor use, and maybe some other annoying tasks I don't want to run while I'm working on my new one.

    I also run two 24in monitors at a time, in case anyone was wondering what I'm pumping out display wise.

    Any comments? This is a free for all so have at it. Is it worth to upgrade for reasons not stated here? Upgrade possibilities? Lack of FW400 sucks (but I'll have this older tower still).

    Go for it...
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    If your current Mac Pro is fine, just get a new GPU. ATI 5770 goes for 249$. Maybe you can even get your GPU replaced if you're still inside warranty.

    I wouldn't go and spend 4000$ straightaway if you can just get a new part and make it work again.
     
  3. tengo84 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #3
    Regarding FW 400, my older FW equipment works fine on my new Mac Pro using cheap cables like these.
     
  4. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #4
    I agree, if your computer is working fine now, you can just get a new graphics card, if it's starting to be slower than you like, an upgrade could be a good plan. If you do upgrade, I'd check out the 6-core model rather than the 8-core. Unless your applications are very heavily multithreaded (which very few are at the moment), the 6-core will be considerably faster.
     
  5. kylepro88 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 30, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #5
    There is no 6-core model available is the 12-core that has two 6's in it. No single 6-core machine is available.

    I see many threads on putting that GPU in these kinds of machines (older ones). Is it a sure thing? Why would there be so much talk if it was a cake walk to install and get working LOL? Just wondering. :)

    I'm also all for just upgrading my GPU if that'll give me a bit of a boost in my editor, Photoshop, etc. and ESPECIALLY if it would remove that issue I'm currently having with my card, but I would want to be sure it would work.

    What generation is my MacPro if it's the 2x dual-core 2.66ghz version? I'm not entirely sure what "generation" I actually have. It's 2008 I think right?
     
  6. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
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    UK
    #6
    First generation, so 2006.

    BTW: You check check the store again for the non-existent 6-core. :rolleyes:
     
  7. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
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    #7
    Yours is the first one from 06/07. The 6 core is a BTO option under the quad model. Kinda weird how they hid it like that.
     
  8. kylepro88 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 30, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #8
    The only update from what I can tell that makes sense is a 5870 not a 4770. The ATI 4770 is a step down from what I have now (the 4870 upgrade I did a while ago...). I'm a little weary of doing it given the issues I had even with this upgrade.

    I see the 6-core now, thanks. Very odd how it's hidden like that but I understand it keeps the store cleaner. I wonder if that's a good option.
     
  9. khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #9
    THe dual CPU 2.4 Westmere is certainly faster than a 2.66 Harpertown. THe Nehalem/Westmere architecture is faster for a given clock speed than the previous generation. And you would have 16 cores (8 physical + 8 virtual through Hyper-Threading). And there is the "Turbo-Boost" thing where the clock speed can be ramped up for things that are not using all of the cores.

    As to how much faster, that somewhat depends on your software and how well it takes advantage of multiple cores. In the best case, it would be at least 3-4X faster.

    The single 6 core is a great compromise unless you are certain your primary apps are designed to run well with 8-16 cores. You get 6+6HT cores plus a very high clock speed. Even for well-threaded apps it is as good or slightly better than the 2.4x8 - with things like Photoshop or FCP, it is a lot better.

    The only advantage the dual CPU models have (aside from future upgrades of the CPU's) is the 8 RAM slots. You can put 32GB in the single CPU models with 8GB DIMM's - the duals get you to 64GB if necessary.

    The 6 core Westmere has a slight advantage over the Nehalem 4 cores in that it has a larger cache, although I'm not sure you would see that in anything but a benchmark. The 3.66x6 is about $200 more than the 2.4x8 - I'd go for the 3.66. That would definitely leave your present machine in the dust.
     
  10. brentsg macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #10
    There's no wondering. The 6 core 3.33 is a better machine than the 2.4x8. Even with perfectly threaded software that will use all cores optimally.. the 8 core can only hope to achieve parity.

    Of course if you need the extra RAM slots, or think you'll replace the dual 2.4's someday then it's a good option.
     
  11. BertyBoy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2009
    #11
    Can someone confirn this ?
    If the software is not able to use multiple cores, you're left with 1 CPU, rather than 2 in the 8-core.
     
  12. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
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    UK
    #12
    Core = CPU.
    If the software isn't capable, a second CPU/core won't make any difference, no matter where it is physically located.
     
  13. khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

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    Feb 1, 2003
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    Orlando, FL
    #13
    Cores is cores - it doesn't matter whether it is 4 dual cores or a single 8 core "Super CPU". How they are distributed across physical CPU's is not the issue.

    The 2.4 8 core model makes no sense unless someone can get a deal on a couple Westmere hex core CPU's to swap in. In it's stock form, the 3.66 hex is a better machine, unless you really need 64 GB RAM (and I have no idea what software today would make use of that).
     
  14. Marsil macrumors member

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    Feb 12, 2009
    #14
  15. biggd macrumors 6502

    biggd

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    Calgary
    #15
    An SSD and new GPU will keep you Pro running like a Pro and save you $3,600
     
  16. khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

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    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #16
    While that might solve the graphics issue and make the machine feel snappier, neither will do anything to reduce the time to render or transcode video.
     
  17. kylepro88 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 30, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #17
    OK there seems to be a ton of favor for the 3.33 6-core version over the others. I understand why I just want to get a no BS OK from everyone that it's a better option if I'm running things like Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere, and Final Cut Pro (the video being the biggest factor).

    I'm also seeing the price and the savings involved. However, I would likely take the money saved and put it into a Quadro FX card so I can take full advantage of Premiere Pro's Mercury Playback Engine. That would probably suite me just fine. ;)

    I think upgrading this machine is out of the question, and maybe I'll use it for other random tasks, and attach it to Qmaster when I use Compressor for some extra muscle.
     
  18. khollister macrumors 6502a

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #18
    The only MP configs from Apple that are going to smoke the 3.33 hex are the 12 cores and mostly on things like After Effects that are well threaded. For Photoshop and FCP (aside from Compressor) the 3.2 quad is a reasonable option given the current software. The 3.33 hex is clearly the place to be if the $800 premium over the 3.2 quad is not a problem.
     

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