Which Mac Pro for Logic 9? Harpertown vs Nehalem?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Erich Yeung, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. Erich Yeung macrumors newbie

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    Jul 18, 2012
    #1
    Hey guys so basically here's my dilemma. I currently have about $1000-1700 for a Mac Pro ($1700 being about the absolute max).

    Now I'm a music producer and I use a lot of 3rd party plugins and instruments with Logic 9 and average about 30-60 tracks per song. I'm currently using a late 2010 Macbook Pro dual core with 8 gigs of ram, and it is a nightmare. Logic gives me the overload message all the time, to the point where my workflow is horribly slow from having to bounce/freeze tracks. So I'm getting a Mac Pro to combat this issue.

    So I think Logic uses about 8 cores max at the moment? So I want to ideally get an 8 core system. The price difference between a late 2008 Harpertown Mac Pro and an early 2009 Nehalem Mac Pro is fairly large so I want to know if there is a huge difference in performance/relevance between the two when it comes to Logic Pro and music production since this is all I will be using it for? Also will the quadcore Nehalem really give me the same processing power as a Harpertown 8 core? WOuld it be cheaper for me to buy a dual slot quadcore and upgrade it to an 8?

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #2
    Yes there is a huge difference. When CPU architecture jumped from Core 2 Duo to Core i7 (Nehalem) the memory location changed to allow faster access to memory and thus process data faster. Furthermore, several enhancements and the addition of triple channel memory.

    If I remember correctly, the jump in performance clock per clock was twice.
     
  3. Erich Yeung thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 18, 2012
    #3
    Oh wow, so there is a massive difference? It's just that the 2009 mac pros with the Nehalem are much more expensive. Do you think I should wait for the new Mac Pro to come out so the 2009s drop in price? Also does every 2009 model have Nehalem or is it only a specific model (ie 4,1?)
     
  4. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #4
    It is a specific model has Nehalem; well, you don't get Nehalem anyway, Nehalem is the consumer side, I think for you it is Gainstown. Anything above Nehalem is Westmere.
     
  5. DPUser macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 17, 2012
    #5
    I just bought a used 2009 4 core 2.66 for $1200, flashed the EFI to 2010 and installed a 6 core 3.33 for $600. Take a look around these parts, and the details abound. Netkas.org is your friend.

    32-bit Geekbench for the 4 core was 8500

    The 6 core gets me 13,800.
     
  6. Phildo macrumors member

    Phildo

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    Perth, Western Australia
    #6
    This. Is. What. You. Want.

    Do a search on here for W3680 and you'll quickly see why you'll be looking for a 2009 or 2010 Mac Pro ASAP.

    This thread in particular: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1122551
     
  7. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

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    Mar 10, 2009
    #7
    Your "overload" is issue is likely as much RAM as it is cores. Just looking at cores isn't going solve the problem.

    The major problem with Hapertown is the RAM costs are significantly out of line with prices for modern RAM associated with the newer (Nehalem and up) Mac Pro models. While you might save a some money going "older" the likely RAM increase needed will likely eat that back up.




    If largely load up your workload into RAM and get fast persistant storage (SSD), then yes. You could try to jump to a six core later but enough RAM and a SSD is likely higher priority.


     
  8. giffut macrumors 6502

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    Germany
    #8
    Your ...

    ... stutters/freezes sound more like an I/O issue: Do you, by chance chance, use the builtin HD as a system and loops and recording repository? If so, you definitely should switch to a dedicated SSD system (and loops) drive and separate internal SATA HD for your audio projects. You loose the DVD drive, though, which is of minor concerns, I guess.

    In case of Mac Pro purchasing, I personally would no longer care anymore due to the outdated tech compared to its prize. The new Macbook Pro Quadcores are plenty fast, and Thunderbolt gives you perfect external options regarding storage and audio I/O via PCI express cages. Selling your current Macbook Pro and getting a recent one should help you waiting for the hopefully arrival of the new Mac Pro in 2013.
     
  9. Luis Ortega macrumors 6502a

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    Fetcham Surrey UK
    #9
    You should know by now that there is never a "massive difference" between cpu iterations.
    It's all marketing hype. You get a little better performance each time at best.

    That said, it's always best to future proof your system by getting the most capable current specs, since they will be superseded by the next "massive" iteration in a few months.

    Currently, I have a 2008 2.8 8-core mac pro harpertown at home with 16 gb of 800mhz ddr2 ram, and I use a 2012 2.5 quad-core i5 iMac at work with 8gb 1330mhz ddr3 ram, and I don't see any difference in performance when using the new iMac to my 4 year-old mac pro in Photoshop, FCP and Flash, the programs I use the most.
    Any mac pro that you buy right now is obsolete, and the next one, assuming that there is a next one, will be out of your price budget, so maybe you'd be better off looking at the newest iMacs if you want the best performance for your budget.
     
  10. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #10
    Nehalem is the architecture name which many processor families were based on and all 2009/4,1 Mac Pros use it.
     
  11. Erich Yeung thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 18, 2012
    #11
    Hey guys thanks for the advice!

    Yes I am using my built in HD as my studio drive, so if I get a Mac Pro with multiple drives in it, should I make one of the drives a dedicated studio drive or get an external as the studio drive?

    Also so I guess it's a no brainer for me to go the 2009 model at this point. I can get an 8 core for $1700 or quad for $1200. I figure I may as well wait and buy the 8 core? Is that a better bet than trying to get a new imac? I figure the imacs will more heating issues compared to the mac pro since it has a screen built in and what not.
     
  12. Erich Yeung thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 18, 2012
  13. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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    Jul 17, 2010
    #13
    Also Logic throws this error up "just because" sometimes. It has happened on my Mac Pro with 4 tracks going:( More memory and higher GHz helps actually. It scales well across cores but has a short track death sometimes on start and stop.
     
  14. DPUser macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 17, 2012
    #14
    Just note that if you intend to upgrade the processor(s), the 8 core 2009 is a tad more challenging in that the CPUs don't have the integrated heat spreaders that your replacement CPUs will have, making the process a little more complicated. And, the dual CPU capable Xeons are waaay more expensive, making upgrading a far costlier process.
     
  15. giffut macrumors 6502

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    Apr 28, 2003
    Location:
    Germany
    #15
    If ...

    ... you are running OSX, Logic and your audio projects from one drive only, you definitely should first separate those:

    1. dedicated system (and loop) SSD drive
    2. internal HD for audio projects (or loops)
    3. external firewire 800/ usb 3/ thunderbolt drive for audio projects (or loops)

    If you have an external firewire drive, you can use that for audio projects interim.

    DON´T USE LOGIC ON THE SAME HD AS YOUR AUDIO PROJECT AND LOOPS, NEVER.

    Like I said before: you can change your internal DVD drive for a fast SSD, so you keep all your workload in one machine with no attachment drives.

    Try this first, before you spend grand money on outdated Mac Pro tech, it´s not worth it when you come into the territory buying a new Macbook Pro 15 Quadcore with thunderbolt/USB3. Selling your 2010 Macbook Pro could net you around US$800, so the actual upgrade cost would be US$900,- the most for you - with new hardware, new warranty to go.

    For audio only, a Mac Pro certainly is overkill.
     

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