To 8 Core or Not to 8 Core?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by tjpeople, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. tjpeople macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2005
    Right as many of you I have been waiting for this anoucement for quite a while.

    As a student I wanted the other all price to drop down, I'm not after the high end. So I was relatively happy that the price seems to have reduced a little.

    What I mainly want to know is what are the benefits of 8 core? Should I save the money - spend it on RAM/HDD?

    Basic Configuration: 2GB RAM, 320GB HDD, ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR3

    My estimated planned usage is:

    • Dual booting XP/Vista and Parallels/Fusion of XP/Vista
    • CS3 - RAW editing etc
    • Final Cut (new to it so I will be learning, but it needs it to last, im not buying a new Mac after this for a while)
    • Video Encoding (x264 XviD etc) casual usage.
    • Maya (again learning)
    • MicroStation (in XP)

    So do you think my needs suit a 8 core (I want some future proofing) or would the the money be better spend on adding to RAM.

    Will parellels/fusion benefit from 8 core? is there a list of programs that can actually use 8 core?

    Side Note: If I should go for 4 core and spend money on RAM, I'm happy to wait a little to add more - will 3rd party RAM be available in the near future and will it be cheaper than buying it now?

    Many thanks for any help :)
  2. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    Save the money and spend it on: RAM, HDD, textbooks, Decent desk/chair and a can of coke.

    4 core is enough for a 'student' (i'm not being patronising, i'm one myself!) - I'm learning maya and Final Cut myself and i'd say 4 cores is plenty for studenty type projects then when you've earnt a few bucks on jobs buy the second penryn chip when the prices fall!
  3. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    An Apple Online Store rep said that the single CPU units ship with a systemboard having only one CPU socket, but I believe they are wrong and they will ship with two sockets (one empty).

    However, if they are right, then you'll need to decide whether or not you will ever see the need for 8 CPUs.
  4. tjpeople thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2005
    Thanks for the replies :)

    I hadn't even considered being able to add a 2nd quad later on, that would be sweet. I hope its possible.
  5. ziwi macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Right back where I started...

    This is important information - we will learn in the next few weeks what the state of the MB is...
  6. sal macrumors 6502

    Oct 13, 2007
    the biggest advantage you will get from 8core (when doing video work) is the fast render times. Although rendering quickly can be important when meeting deadlines, I don't think it's as important as having more memory and a dedicated media drive.

    I say go with 4core, use the extra money for 2gigs of memory(total of 4) and a harddrive that you will use for your media. If you plan on on working with motion, then upgrade the video card(Extra $200)

    As time goes on, keep adding memory if you need it. But my guess is you'll be spending the majority of your "extra" money on extra drives.

    4core is more than enough. But you must create a powerful workflow that will get you through your work, without having to worry about how long it's going to take to render out your files. I think this workflow, more ram and drive space will be far more beneficial to you than the extra 4 cores.

    Yes, it's nice to have the extra speed but at this point in the game(being a student and all) the extra money is better spent elsewhere.

  7. wpwj40e macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    Same Question - Different Situation...

    Rather than posting a new thread on the same subject - thought I'd ask here. If not appropriate will start a new post.

    Anyways - Gonna buy Hubby a MP for his BDAY. Been wanting one - just waiting for the update. He is a WIN/MS developer/engineer and would use dual boot/parralels and other such things for developing work. Doesn't game and is anal about speed.

    So would 8 core be overkill and something that he would not use? I will by 3rd Party RAM and probably a couple of Raptors. And just to be on the safe side will update the g card to the 8800.

    Just don't know whether 4 or 8 core???

  8. tjpeople thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2005
    Thanks, nice to have lots of points of view.

    Speedy rendering inst important really for me.

    I think i'll just upgrade the graphics later if needed.

    I current have about 500Gigs of external drive so I'm not to worried about space, I'm not gunna get an extra HDD from apple - to expensive. I think I might upgrade the 320gigs to 500 tho.

    So I think im going for: standard config except: 4core, 500gig hdd, wifi,

    2 gigs or ram although not perfect I think will do me ok to start with.

    few questions:

    1. I can add 1 gig at a time? or do they have to be pairs?

    2. 3rd party RAM is cheaper right?
  9. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    If you can afford it go 8 and the better graphics card. Let him get the HD's and RAM himself, he'll probably enjoy doing the upgrades.
  10. bpjauburn macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2007
    Out of curiosity, I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on one of the new MP's as well and I am looking to get some 500GB hard drives. What would be recommended? Thanks.
  11. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    I'm in a the same position to you.

    If something takes 30 mins to render instead of 20 mins i'm not going to loose any sleep. Especially as a student where deadlines aren't exactly job threatening.

    I'm going for a single chip, 320GB, 8800GT from apple and then a few extra HDDs from elsewhere.

    for the price of the upgrade to from 320GB to 500GB you can buy a separate 500GB seagate barracuda (or similar) and put it in yourself giving you 320GB for the OS and files and 500GB for more files or do what i'm planning to do - keep it clean and use it as a slave for project work. Keep your maya project in there when working on it, or your DV video files when editing. The system will fly!

    You can install ram 1GB at a time, though performance is best if it is installed as matched pairs (kits)

    3rd party ram will most likely be cheaper. But nowhere seems to stock it yet. And at any rate, it'll be expensive.

    I'm going to start with 2GB and come september/late summer, maybe get another 2GB.
  12. tjpeople thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2005
    thanks fluidedge :)

    yea maybe your right bout the hdd, the less i spend the better. and true for the price difference i could get a 500 gig drive.

    so is it pretty definite that there will be not new mac pro models at macworld? i guess that would be insane.
  13. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    lol - i think thats the only updates we're getting for another 500 days
  14. sinn. macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2007
    Anyone know if you can add the 2nd core in? I need a computer NOW, and getting the 8 core will set me back a few months. I do 3d modeling. More modeling than animation. I plan on running Maya, zbrush and photoshop at all times on this comp. I am a student so my need for more power will keep increasing as I get into tougher classes. We use dual cores at school. I am looking for a computer to last me the next 2-3 years.

    With tax:
    4 core - 2342.10
    8 core - 2822.47
    difference - 480.37

    I see that 500 extra bucks as more ram and HDs. Anyone want to talk me into the 8 core even though my classes start on the 14th and I will never have the money then, unless I sell my beloved camera equipment.
  15. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    go with 4 core. Render times will be longer but as a student that means more time down the pub or learning to cook right??
  16. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    I've only heard good things about the new Seagates :)
  17. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    seagate barracuda 7200.10 or 7200.11
    Western Digital Caviar
    Samsung Spinpoint

    any of these are fine
  18. timestamp macrumors 6502

    Dec 26, 2007
    I don't think the $500 difference is enough to make me back down to a single quad. I will want to wait and see if the other socket is available for upgrade if I were to do it.
  19. tjpeople thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2005
    yea, im gunna go single core, but i do hope there is a spare slot....
  20. sweedigel macrumors member


    Oct 6, 2007
    same for me... I tried to get the new MP service manual to get more infos about that but it's unfindable.

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