Worth going Quad...?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MIDI_EVIL, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. MIDI_EVIL macrumors 65816

    MIDI_EVIL

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    I know, I know. I should know the answer myself, but when you are on the point of purchase, it's ruddy hard.

    I'm currently on a PowerBook G4 1.67. I'm frustrated from all angles. CPU, GPU, RAM, storage and inputs...

    I'm a artist/creative, and although I do make some money from video work, it is not my primary income. I work with a lot more photography than video, but like I say, it's not currently an income. I work with film, therefore I have high resolution scans of negatives that the G4 just cannot cope with.

    I plan on turning the Mac Pro, which offers me so much more longevity and upgradeability than another laptop, into a money maker and creative hub.

    If I list my usage, hopefully you guys can help me decide wether, the 8 Core, although probably overkill now, will offer me huge longevity/potential. I plan on keeping this 4-5 years...

    Ok:

    1) High resolution scans (file size in the region of 500mb - 1.76GB)
    2) Photoshop retouching of hi-res negative scans (dust particles or scratches, with view to selling prints)
    3) Video work using FCP (my own work and some client work)
    4) Video encoding/DVD authoring
    5) Handbrake encoding of some of my more precious DVDs
    6) 100GB+ iTunes library, that is currently running off of an external HD
    7) Logic music production (future ambition)
    8) Web design (future ambition to support my photographic/video portfolio)
    8) Gaming, mainly RTS games from the previous 3 years up to current - I am not a FPShooter fiend, and I don't require insane frame counts

    I've been waiting to upgrade to Leopard, as I planned to purchase a new computer this year anyway. I'm also dead against the iMac, and I feel the Mac Pro offers me more control, and longevity.

    If you recommend I go 4 Core (which is £320 less than 8 Core) could you suggest a setup. I will be purchasing a monitor too, this could be the £320 I save by going with quad.

    Please, any suggestions/advice. I feel everyone is in a different boat, and deserve some feedback. Hopefully this will answer other questions for other uses.

    It's worth adding that I am entitled to 8% discount as a Local Government employee.
     
  2. surflordca macrumors 6502a

    surflordca

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    Ontario, Canada
    #2
    You just answered your own question. Keeping it 4 - 5 years the 8 Core will not be overkill.
     
  3. TheThirdMan macrumors regular

    TheThirdMan

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    #3
    The speed increase from 4 to 8 cores will be more than worth the £320 it costs, especially for video editing.
     
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #4
    The CPU is currently around $800 (US) before taxes. Therefore it's worth a more than £320, so I'd say go quad.
     
  5. MIDI_EVIL thread starter macrumors 65816

    MIDI_EVIL

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    #5
    Eh?

    Do you mean go 8 Core?
     
  6. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #6

    You'll be able to do some of this simultaneously and much easier with the 8-core in my opinion, but I'm a strong believer in getting the absolute best possible Mac that fits your requirements you can afford at any given time. Start with a minimum of 4gbs of RAM and you'll be laughing, especially with the discount.

    Just remember: today's super-machine is tomorrow's slowpoke. When we bought our dual 2.5 G5s for work almost four years ago, they were the best Macs we could get at the time. Now, they're benchmarking near the MacBooks and Minis and it's starting to show with some apps.
     
  7. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #7
    Oops, yes I mean go dual-quad (8 core).
     
  8. supercooled macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    #8
    That's a testament to Intel engineering. The alternative is to be stuck in PowerPC architecture and have a smaller margin of performance gap.

    I agree with everyone who has recommended the 8-core. You don't want to be regretting your purchase and this being a sizeable investment, you should do it right from the onset. Sooner or later you will feel the strain of the single processor and upgrading isn't necessarily a cake walk.
     
  9. MIDI_EVIL thread starter macrumors 65816

    MIDI_EVIL

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
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    #9
    Thanks to everyone who has had input in this thread.

    Hope it has served a purpose for anyone else weighing up the odds.

    I'll be purchasing an 8 Core w/4GB of 3rd party RAM (for now) in the next week or so. I don't need the nVidia card for anything yet, I think the gaming i'll be doing will be dealt with by the 2600 just fine.

    Thanks again!
     
  10. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
    #10
    Get the 8 core with the 8800GT. If you're keeping it for 4-5 years, the few hundred you'll pay now will definitely be worth it in the long run.
     
  11. 9Charms macrumors regular

    9Charms

    Joined:
    May 19, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #11
    Save your money

    I would have to disagree with the "get as much Mac as you can" philosophy. You're basically looking at a 20% price difference for the 4 vs 8 core machine. That's a substantial amount of money.

    Mathematically speaking if you spend $2800 on a MacPro and keep it for 5 years, that's $560 per year for your Mac Pro. Well, why don't you spend $500 less, and get a new Mac Pro in 4 years instead?

    Look, you've gotten this far with your G4 obviously you're coping, and you probably should have upgraded a year ago. Your machine is what 3 to 4 years old? Even if you bought a G5 back then, you would probably still want a new Mac Pro now because it runs circles around the G5.

    Intel is known for very quick development of CPU's and changing architectures (compared to PowerPC). Intel is really changing the Mac game. Because of that you can't rely on your past experience with purchasing Macs.

    The next Mac Pro will be so different and so much better than today's machine, that you'd wished you'd bought that one. Considering that Intel does this big leap every few years, you will probably want a new computer in 3 years... just like your PC counterparts.

    In the future, it will be very hard to justify keeping your machine so long. The rate of innovation is going up, so don't get stuck by spending $$ on more computer than you actually need.

    That being said, if you're a professional and video and pictures are your income, then you NEED the 8 core. No doubt. But if you're just a hobbyist who doesn't know if this will become your vocation, then you don't NEED it. If in the future it does turn out to be a viable business, then let your business income justify the purchase of a new machine at that point in time.

    My advice is to save your money and put it towards the next newest computer.
     
  12. MIDI_EVIL thread starter macrumors 65816

    MIDI_EVIL

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  13. AppleMatt macrumors 68000

    AppleMatt

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    I think 9Charms has a very good point, especially if you stick the difference in a bank account to start the fund for the next one...a 'psychological' approach to saving.

    The only argument against that I can see, is that if the time lost in waiting (for encodes etc) would out-weigh the money saved. Only you can answer that, but based on your original post I'd lean towards you can afford to wait.

    There's a thread at the moment talking about how the 2008 Mac Pros have 'murdered' the 2007 - maybe worth a look.

    AppleMatt
     
  14. aibo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #14
    the idea to "just save $500 and buy the next mac pro earlier" doesn't really make sense for most of us. mac pro owners buy for the longevity of the machine. if you want a disposable mac to replace every few years, the mac mini or imac are suited right up your alley.

    go 8 core. people who opted for dual processors in the G4 era were rewarded when software to fully utilize it came along later (OS X!). It's true today too — more and more software will be built to take advantage of all 8 cores and you'll be kicking yourself if you don't do it. no one wants to keep replacing their machines.
     
  15. SimonMW macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #15
    I'm a video professional and I bought my quad in October despite the new octo's being around the corner. My hand was forced for a project I was working on (I was a Windows user, but needed FCP for the project. So it was a good excuse to move to the Mac :) ) Up until then I had been quite happily using a Pentium 4 with Sony Vegas.

    I have to say that in all reality a quad core is more than enough for most video tasks. The only time you really need the octo is for rendering highly complex composites, and if you have done some extreme colour correction with Color etc.

    For the vast majority of video guys that work corporate and industrial and who don't spend loads of time making complex compositing and grading an octo is not a neccesity. It is nice, and I wouldn't get a quad if the octo is the standard if I was buying one now, but having a quad is hardly a slouch.

    There is always something new around the corner. I don't have any regrets about getting a quad. If business keeps going well I'll just get an octo as well :)
     
  16. 9Charms macrumors regular

    9Charms

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    #16
    We're in a new era with Intel's development cycle. We're in the same game as our PC counterparts now. I can't see anyone being able to keep their machines for more than 4 years anymore. Just look at the 4-year old PC's... how useful are they today? The top machines then are relegated to file server duty and web browsing...

    I understand that the machine will last you for 5+ years if you don't upgrade your software, and Mac people are the type that actually do that. But I'm sure Apple will eventually put out the next killer piece of software or a must have computer that will force you to upgrade your hardware. They simply have to, they make more money on hardware than anything else.
     
  17. orpheus1120 macrumors 65816

    orpheus1120

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    Jan 23, 2008
    Location:
    Malaysia
    #17
    You are bloody right.

    But isn't Mac Pro marketed as "upgradable"? If that is so, all the MP users can just upgrade the necessary parts to be updated?? If what you said is right, and the incident with the 8800 not working with the older MP, isn't it false marketing on Apple's part? I personally call bull on the "upgradable" part. The MP may be upgradable relatively speaking to other Apple models, but I suspect never in the processor department.
     
  18. ziwi macrumors 65816

    ziwi

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Right back where I started...
    #18
    So what is 'better' a single quad with the updated 8800 card or the standard dual quad with the 2600?

    I know the standard is still more expensive by $300 in this case - which is the better bang for the buck?

    Doing video work (FC), photoshop work on photo's and the standard computing mix.
     
  19. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    #19
    Orpheus: nVidia is working on an 8800 GT that is compatible with 2006/2007 Mac Pros.

    Also, Anandtech upgraded the original 2006 Mac Pro to an 8-core machine.
     
  20. orpheus1120 macrumors 65816

    orpheus1120

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    #20
    So I read.

    However, and that's my personal view, is that by "upgradable" I am led to believe such upgrades will be released by Apple itself and not being led by some third-party companies. Apple should take the initiative to take care of its loyal customers by providing upgrade kits instead of replying on other vendors to back us up.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  21. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #21
    You can already upgrade the processor in the Mac Pro with a little playing around with the case and heatsinks.
     
  22. orpheus1120 macrumors 65816

    orpheus1120

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  23. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #23
    Of course.
     

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