Which MacPro...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by chasingshadows, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. chasingshadows macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2006
    Hello everyone,

    I am currently looking into buying a MacPro. My question is should I get a "2 Quad-Core 2.8GHz Intel Xeon" MacPro or a Single Quad-Core? I am a visual designer and I use, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flex Builder, Flash, Skype, Safari, and Mail. I usually have most of those applications open and I was wondering if 2 quad core MacPro would be significantly faster?

    On a side note, I currently have one of the first Intel Macbook Pros.

  2. Rmafive macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2008
    Richmond, Virginia
    From what I know, having two processors would make running multiple apps much faster, but a high amount of ram would do the trick also. If you do a lot of design I would suggest getting a single core, with a faster graphics processor. This would probably turn out to be the same amount of money as a mac pro with dual quad core chips and a slower gpu. :)
  3. barijazz macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2007
    2 Quad Cores would definitely help performance with multiple apps and When snow leopard comes along an 8 core beast will be very fast. 8 cores will make it that much more future proof if you plan to use more powerful apps (CS4 Maybe?) later on. More ram also helps a lot.
  4. Mangaroo macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2008
    thing is, how many programs are going to be doing cpu intensive tasks at the same time...just having them running won't be cpu intensive at all.

    Fact is, it is £300/$500 for an extra quad core. Steve said it himself that very few applications use 4 cores and 8 "forget about it". Programs that do video/audio editing, image rendering, yeah they will benefit but right no, other things?

    Snow leopard is supposed to make use of more cores but all 8 cores? Right now, 8 cores make little to no difference in photoshop (source: barefeat). So as much as i want to get 8 cores for the hell of it, i cant justify it, at all.

    What i really want to know is how much CS4 is going to take advantage of 8 cores..i've been asking around but without much luck.

    As a guess, i reckon by about 3-4 years tim, 8 cores would make a significant difference but by that time it would be another 2 years or so till i upgrade, and its not like the machine will run like crap during those 2 years..

    ive also been thinking about this and was originally going for 8 core, but the more i research and think about it, it just makes sense to go with 4 cores right now. But i've got a while to decide (nehalem mac pro release) and i figured if more news comes out that it will be likely to make a big difference with snow leopard / photoshop cs4 then ill invest in the 8 core. If you've got money to kill, go for it
  5. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    I'm not trying to be rude here but all of the tasks you want to perform don't need the power of a Mac Pro.
  6. jroller macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Charleston, SC
    I agree with neiltc13; both of those machines will be more power than you need. But that is not to say that you shouldn't get one.

    Here's my .02...

    Today, I suspect the 8 core machine is going to be virtually indistinguishable from the 4, based on your usage. So, the question is: is it money or power that is more important to you?

    If you are budget conscious, then the single quad will serve you well. If you are power-hungry, go for the double. The double quad will become a better investment when Snow Leopard arrives... so if you are hanging on to this long term, you might take that into consideration.
  7. chasingshadows thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2006
    Thanks for the input. I will be doing video rendering from time to time and I would like this computer to last for 3 years if I can squeak out 4 years that would be great. I think I will be going with the 8 core and hope that CS4 utilizes 8 cores. I will also be running a dual monitor setup. (I have two 24" monitors)
  8. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    None of those programs are cpu intensive at all, they are ram intensive. It doesnt really matter if CS4 is optimized for 8 cores, you cant make those programs run faster than realtime, so they wouldnt have any use for super fast processors anyways.

    You should get the cheapest MP you can find, look for older models in the refurb section. Use the extra money on things that are more useful than processor speed, like an Intuos or 2 fast HDD's for raid. Since you dont render video very much its not worth it.
  9. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2004
    Just get the single processor quad. The only program that really makes use of all the 8 cores, is After Effects. It basically branches out frames for the cores to render, so it takes about 1/4 the time it takes to do it with a dual-core, etc.

    For Photoshop, because it's not constantly making use of the processor, is useless with multiple cores. I assume this'll change once it's optimized for Snow Leopard + 64 bit. Looks like this won't happen until CS5 or whatever it's going to be called though, since the 64-bit version of CS4 is coming to Windows Vista only... :p

    Use the extra money saved to grab an extra 8GB RAM. You'll be glad you did, since that's more important than having more cores.


    BTW, if you're wanting to get it to last 3 to 4 years, you might want to wait til the Nehalem based Mac Pros come first, since those'll much more future proof. If you can hold off til...Maybe January? If you need it now, then you won't be disappointed with the dual-quads. Besides, you only spend an extra like...$400 to get dual-quads? Might as well grab that 8 core then. I was the same situation that you were in a few months ago, but I bit the bullet and got the 8 core, and couldn't be more happier with my purchase. I can do ANYTHING, and this computer won't even slow down for a sec. The ONLY thing that bogs the machine down is if I use all 8 cores to render a comp in After Effects. Otherwise, for everything else, if you do A LOT of multitasking, then this is the machine for you.
  10. chasingshadows thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2006
    Thanks everyone! One other reason I would like to get dual core is because I want to start getting into more 3D rendering. I have been using Modo for the last few months in my spare time. I will be placing 8gb of ram into which ever comp I get.


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