Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Buy a Mac Pro NOW?

Buy a Mac Pro NOW?
Thread Tools
Banned
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: From Long Island, at college in Plattsburgh
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 26, 2006, 09:53 AM
 
Now that we are entering October, we are quickly a month away from seeing Intel first release of a quad core CPU. My question is, would it be worth waiting until November to get a Mac Pro with a possible 2x 2.5 Ghz Core 2 Quad, or is it just becoming over kill? I understand Apple is always updating their software and hardware, so you can't play the game of waiting for the next be thing. But we're only talking about 3 month difference from the updated Mac Pro to the possible Core 2 Quad update.

Aside from that question, does anyone know if the Core 2 Quad will really out perform the current Core 2 Duos? And how about those Intel CPUs that have front bus of 1,333?? Worth the wait, upgradable? Questions... questions... questions...
     
Senior User
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Stockholm Sweden
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 26, 2006, 11:22 AM
 
Having a octacore does not give that much more performace unless you either have a very multithreaded application or run many CPU intensive apps at the same time.

I will wait for the next generation of Pros as they hopefully use standard memory sticks. Way cheaper and also with lower latencies than the current ones.


If you need the pro now, get it now. The CPUs are upgradeble in the future.
     
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: My mind (sorry, I'm out right now)
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 26, 2006, 11:50 AM
 
I would hate to be without mine right now. You only have so much time - how much of it do you want to spend waiting?
The first commandment of ALL religions is to provide a comfortable living for the priesthood.
     
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Monterrey, Mexico
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 26, 2006, 12:14 PM
 
Server class CPUs like Xeons have always used EEC, higher latency memories. IMHO, because of the nature that which these cpus were designed, I doubt that they will use faster, no error correcting memory.
     
Senior User
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Bay Area
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 26, 2006, 12:16 PM
 
maybe the new pros will accomodate SLI graphics. seems a shame that such a low-level grahics config is standard (now)
masugu - "Straight Ahead"
BlacBook Core Duo / Original Intel-based MB - DIY Core i7 PC |
     
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: ~/
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 26, 2006, 12:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by polendo
Server class CPUs like Xeons have always used EEC, higher latency memories. IMHO, because of the nature that which these cpus were designed, I doubt that they will use faster, no error correcting memory.
Personally I'll trade the improved reliability of FB-ECC memory for a few nanoseconds of access time. For me, stability is paramount.

When your computer crashes and you lose your work, it doesn't matter how fast your computer was.
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Los Angeles, California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 26, 2006, 02:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cadaver
Personally I'll trade the improved reliability of FB-ECC memory for a few nanoseconds of access time. For me, stability is paramount.
It's more like 40 nanoseconds more (compared with Conroe chipsets using standard DDR2,) which, in the end, can be a pretty big performance drain depending on what you're doing.

Originally Posted by masugu
maybe the new pros will accommodate SLI graphics. seems a shame that such a low-level grahics config is standard (now)
I doubt it. The Xeon can only support up to 28 PCI express lanes, making a 16x SLI config impossible. They might do an 8x... maybe. But from what I've heard you can already do that in windows, so it just lacks software support.
Linkinus is king.
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Cambridge
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 26, 2006, 03:18 PM
 
I've been having the same debate with myself. Do I buy one now? Do I wait? The way I see it, I'm going to buy one soon and not wait for the January update. Here's the scenarios I've thought up.

1. Apple releases an 8-core Mac Pro. Cool. For some tasks, this might be useful for me, but a higher clock speed per core is probably better for most of my tasks. Plus, the memory speed won't be increasing, nor will it be likely to move to a cheaper type of RAM. Fine with me, because like Cadaver, I would prefer stability over a slight speed advantage.

2. Apple uses Clovertown to cut down on logic board costs and increase profits while maintaining a quad-core machine, a la the dual-core G5s (with an octo- option for the top of the line). While this will probably cut down on the core-to-core communication overhead, it does limit the number of cores you can have if/when you decide to upgrade. This scenario isn't really an upgrade, so it may or may not happen.

Given either scenario, I don't see any significant changes happening to the Mac Pro line. After I thought it through, I realized that there wasn't any real reason for me to wait.
Per Square Mile | A blog about density
     
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2005
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 26, 2006, 07:16 PM
 
I'm in a bit of a different situation. I'm moving out of state and recently sold my Poermac. I'll be settled in my new home the second week of November and intended to purchase a new MacPro at that time. Now I'm not really sure what to do, I usually buy a new computer when it is first released but this time it's sort of out of my hands. The question is if at that time a new MacPro will be so close to being released that it doesn't make sense to buy at that time. If I knew for sure new MacPro's would be released in January I will wait.
( Last edited by lizardgator; Sep 26, 2006 at 07:42 PM. )
     
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: My mind (sorry, I'm out right now)
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 26, 2006, 08:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by lizardgator
I'm in a bit of a different situation. I'm moving out of state and recently sold my Poermac. I'll be settled in my new home the second week of November and intended to purchase a new MacPro at that time. Now I'm not really sure what to do, I usually buy a new computer when it is first released but this time it's sort of out of my hands. The question is if at that time a new MacPro will be so close to being released that it doesn't make sense to buy at that time. If I knew for sure new MacPro's would be released in January I will wait.
Well, I'm pretty sure they will be announced in January.
The first commandment of ALL religions is to provide a comfortable living for the priesthood.
     
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Northern VA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 26, 2006, 11:15 PM
 
If you currently have a machine that works, just keep it. Wait til the quad comes out. That's what I would do.
iMac 24" | Core 2 Extreme 2.8GHz | 4GB RAM | 500GB HD
PowerBook G4 15" HR | 1.67GHz | 2GB RAM | 100GB HD
R.I.P 1995 Toyota Supra NA-T
     
CIA
Mac Elite
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Utah
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 27, 2006, 12:39 AM
 
For once it seems like software is lagging behind the hardware.
Everyone has different uses for the machines they own. I would rather see 4 processors (a single quad core chip, or 2 duals) over 3Ghz, then 8 cores running at 2.5Ghz. I don't run a zillion programs at once (remnants of my OS9 and earlier days). Actually, I'd rather have a dual single processors running at over 4Ghz.
Later on, once software starts working better with multi-threads etc. I'll take more cores. Yes, I know OSX is great at multi-threading, but most single apps still need to be optimized.
Works for me, but someone who renders on 2 or more programs at once, would probably take more cores over faster chip speeds.
Either way, seems like the current MacPros are easy to upgrade, which is a nice change over the G5 era machines.
( Last edited by CIA; Sep 27, 2006 at 12:46 AM. )
Work: 2008 8x3.2 MacPro, 8800GT, 16GB ram, zillions of HDs. (video editing)
Home: 2008 24" 2.8 iMac, 2TB Int, 4GB ram.
Road: 2009 13" 2.26 Macbook Pro, 8GB ram & 640GB WD blue internal
Retired to BOINC only: My trusty never-gonna-die 12" iBook G4 1.25
     
Banned
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: From Long Island, at college in Plattsburgh
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Sep 27, 2006, 11:38 AM
 
I agree with you CIA, I've been thinking about that myself. I can't remember the last time I've seen software behind hardware...

Regardless to getting a quad machine, how about that front bus? Would that bump of the FB really be worth the wait? I got a machine now that does the job, but would like to get a MacPro sometime down the road. 1,333 FB seems really nice!
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Aug 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 16, 2006, 02:33 PM
 
the Clovertown Quad core chips will be exactly the same as the Kentsfield quad core chips, just named something different. They will be pinned for socket LGA775, so unless the current Woodcrest chips in the Mac Pros are socket LGA775 instead of Socket 771, they will not be just a drop in upgrade, you will have to purchase a whole new Mac Pro.AaaaA
Also, the amount of PCI-Express lanes are not controlled by the Processor, they are controlled by the northbridge on the motherboard. It is how many lanes that the Northbridge can handle that determines how many lanes can be put to each PCI-Express slot. And whoever posted that SLI on a windows has been done, is right, they have 2 16x PCI-e slots on most boards now, plus some 4x or 1 x slots, so the only thing Apple needs to do is write drivers for the hardware. That is all that needs to happen for SLI or crossfire support on a mac, unless the boards they are using suck and dont have that many PCI-E lanes. In that case, well, no x16, so no Quad SLI, but SLI is certainly possible.
     
Professional Poster
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 16, 2006, 02:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by JustinDonnaruma@mac.com
the Clovertown Quad core chips will be exactly the same as the Kentsfield quad core chips, just named something different. They will be pinned for socket LGA775, so unless the current Woodcrest chips in the Mac Pros are socket LGA775 instead of Socket 771, they will not be just a drop in upgrade, you will have to purchase a whole new Mac Pro.AaaaA
Anandtech already upgraded a Mac Pro with Clovertown pre-production samples, so we know Clovertowns fit in a MacPro.

I doubt we'll see non-ECC RAM in a Mac Pro since they use Xeons and always will use Xeons.

And as for the orginal question, will we see an update of the Mac Pro in November, I doubt it. Updated Mac Pros will probably come out in January, as Power Macs typically came out around then (except for the PM G5s which were a year apart).
Mac Pro Dual 3.0 Dual-Core
MacBook Pro
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Cambridge
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 16, 2006, 03:44 PM
 
I just got my Mac Pro last week, and I have to say I'm not sorry. The thing is wicked fast.
Per Square Mile | A blog about density
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Dec 1999
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 16, 2006, 03:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by F*ckDell
Now that we are entering October, we are quickly a month away from seeing Intel first release of a quad core CPU. My question is, would it be worth waiting until November to get a Mac Pro with a possible 2x 2.5 Ghz Core 2 Quad, or is it just becoming over kill? I understand Apple is always updating their software and hardware, so you can't play the game of waiting for the next be thing. But we're only talking about 3 month difference from the updated Mac Pro to the possible Core 2 Quad update.

Aside from that question, does anyone know if the Core 2 Quad will really out perform the current Core 2 Duos? And how about those Intel CPUs that have front bus of 1,333?? Worth the wait, upgradable? Questions... questions... questions...
AnandTech: Apple's Mac Pro - Upgrading CPUs, Memory & Running XP

They stuck a couple press-sample Quad Cores into current Mac Pros. There was no real increases in performance. It's most likely due to Intel's pathetic FSB, seems to me they're completely saturated and no amount of additional cores on that thing will make it go any faster.

I have no idea about any new motherboards that might be able to actually take advantage of a Quad Core chip.

On the bright side, it does show the potential for upgrades on Macs now.
"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
Forum Regular
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 23, 2006, 02:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
They stuck a couple press-sample Quad Cores into current Mac Pros. There was no real increases in performance. It's most likely due to Intel's pathetic FSB, seems to me they're completely saturated and no amount of additional cores on that thing will make it go any faster.
Thanks for the link. That looks like a complete disaster. A quad core Mac Pro is consistently slower than a dual core Mac Pro in games (why???) and a plain Jane Conroe Core 2 Duo blows the socks out of both of them at everything other than 3D rendering (worst of all QuickTime and iTunes show no benefit of having four cores versus having only two). This is really depressing considering how expensive that Mac Pro is.

I know they couldn't launch without a quad core (because of G5 quads) but maybe they come to their senses, drop the prices and go with Core 2 and plain DDR2 which is actually faster.
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jan 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 23, 2006, 07:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon
They stuck a couple press-sample Quad Cores into current Mac Pros. There was no real increases in performance.
You've read that wrong. They explicitly say they are not allowed to release performance data for the Clovertown. The figures compare 4 cores vs. 2 cores (not 8).

That said, Apple still seem to lag behind their hardware when it comes to getting perfomance increases out of multiple cores. For example it's taken them a year to get Logic making anything like full use of the quad G5, and most of the Compressor codecs aren't using multiple threads well yet.
     
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 23, 2006, 08:34 AM
 
I can wait to get mine. I have a Dual 2.5GHz G5 with 6.5gigs of memory right now.
All I'm waiting for is Photoshop CS3 universal edition to make the upgrade.
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Los Angeles, California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 23, 2006, 06:22 PM
 
I got my Mac Pro and I'm loving it. This thing is insanely fast.
Linkinus is king.
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 23, 2006, 09:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by thebunny View Post
Thanks for the link. That looks like a complete disaster. A quad core Mac Pro is consistently slower than a dual core Mac Pro in games (why???) and a plain Jane Conroe Core 2 Duo blows the socks out of both of them at everything other than 3D rendering (worst of all QuickTime and iTunes show no benefit of having four cores versus having only two). This is really depressing considering how expensive that Mac Pro is.

I know they couldn't launch without a quad core (because of G5 quads) but maybe they come to their senses, drop the prices and go with Core 2 and plain DDR2 which is actually faster.
Games are largely single threaded (or perhaps two threads), so going over one or two processors doesn't help at all.

Run a highly threaded benchmark (~10 "equal" threads) and you'll see much more proportional gains.
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Jun 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 24, 2006, 10:03 AM
 
I've had my MacPro since September and I'm so happy I decided not wait. There's always going to be the latest and greatest computer being released around the corner. For me, I get to enjoy an insanely fast computer now rather then end of 06 or beginning of 07.
Michael
     
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 24, 2006, 05:36 PM
 
I don't know why all these threads always end up debating software lagging being hardware, but when was the last time you were running a single application? Or better yet, when were you forced to close applications to save CPU power while doing a really intensive render/compression/etc? The point of more CPUs is to allow you to do more at once, not put your computer on virtual hold whenever you need to do one of those complex tasks. There are more uses to multiple cores than wasting them all on one application.

I personally would prefer applications stay with the limitation to 2 or 4 cores at the most. That way I can keep working and using my computer while waiting for a time/processor intensive task to be completed.

On the topic, I would wait if the computer is fine. I personally am starting to find my Rev A Dual G5 to be falling a bit behind the times, but I am waiting for the clovertown-based Mac Pros to surface as I'm in no rush to dump the G5. I guess it's needs versus wants, you decide what you need and when.
     
Professional Poster
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 24, 2006, 05:46 PM
 
Thing is, unless you're running background processes, you really can't do more than 1 thing at a time. If you have Excel, Word, Safari, and mail open at the same time, you can only be using one at a time and therefore the CPU isn't being used by the other 3. If you're running Boinc (which is a background process), Photoshop (waiting for a filter to finish), and your working in mail, then yes, all three apps are using CPU. Just because apps are open, doesn't mean they are using CPU. Most apps are actually just waiting on the user for input.
Mac Pro Dual 3.0 Dual-Core
MacBook Pro
     
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 24, 2006, 07:43 PM
 
In reading my post, I think I made it clear that I was referring to background processes which are time consuming. I assume that this computer is aimed at professionals, who are likely to suffer through these lengthy time wasting procedures. Productivity is key, that's why I value the exponentially increasing core numbers even with the relatively stagnant speed increases.
     
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Durham NH
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 24, 2006, 08:33 PM
 
I think buying now or later depends on what you are doing.

If you are mostly gaming, word processing, graphics design, and light coding, then I think you'll find the difference between now and then slim... 4 cores is a substancial amount of spare CPU hanging around.

If you are frequently compiling massive projects, doing scientific calculations, or have some special app that is embarrasingly parrallel, then waiting might be in your best interest.

Computers are like cars, cameras, and cosmetics. There will always be the next greatest thing on the horizon. Buy one you really like, and love it to death, and you'll have gotten your monies worth.
->Crafted with care by the red-bearded pirate<-
     
Forum Regular
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 24, 2006, 09:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Games are largely single threaded (or perhaps two threads), so going over one or two processors doesn't help at all.
That explains why it's not faster with four cores compared to two. It doesn't explain why it's actually *slower* with four cores compared to two. That makes no sense to me.
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 24, 2006, 09:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by Jonaziz View Post
I don't know why all these threads always end up debating software lagging being hardware, but when was the last time you were running a single application? Or better yet, when were you forced to close applications to save CPU power while doing a really intensive render/compression/etc? The point of more CPUs is to allow you to do more at once, not put your computer on virtual hold whenever you need to do one of those complex tasks. There are more uses to multiple cores than wasting them all on one application.

I personally would prefer applications stay with the limitation to 2 or 4 cores at the most. That way I can keep working and using my computer while waiting for a time/processor intensive task to be completed.
You want at least as many application theads as you have execution threads (cores). Any OS with a non-braindead scheduler should handle it just fine and remain responsive. There's no good reason to artificially hamper performance like that.
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 24, 2006, 09:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by thebunny View Post
That explains why it's not faster with four cores compared to two. It doesn't explain why it's actually *slower* with four cores compared to two. That makes no sense to me.
Quake 4 was about 2% faster with the quad and Half-Life 2 was about 2% faster with the dual... all the game benchmarks are within a couple percent of each other. Sounds like "random" differences between tests.
     
Forum Regular
Join Date: Mar 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 24, 2006, 10:46 PM
 
For me, the more cores, the merrier. I'm still holding onto a PM G5 dualie for now, but when the dual-Clovertowns come out, all bets are off. For one thing, I have some Windoze apps that are very processor intensive. They peg my PC at 100% of CPU usage (Athlon 64 X2) for days at a time. I want to be rid of that piece of junk, which means moving everything over to a Mac Pro with virtualization. But I don't want to be slowed to a crawl with my Mac work, either. So eight cores sounds great to me. Of course, it'll have to be stuffed full of RAM, too, but that's another story altogether.
     
Forum Regular
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 25, 2006, 01:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Quake 4 was about 2% faster with the quad and Half-Life 2 was about 2% faster with the dual... all the game benchmarks are within a couple percent of each other. Sounds like "random" differences between tests.
True but flip to the next few pages: F.E.A.R. is 1%, Rise of Legends is 11.5%, Oblivion is 10%/3% slower on the quad. Doesn't seem like an error in measurement. Weird.
     
Forum Regular
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 25, 2006, 01:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by Titanium Man View Post
For me, the more cores, the merrier. I'm still holding onto a PM G5 dualie for now, but when the dual-Clovertowns come out, all bets are off.
Yes, they'll release the new chips on November 13th. I doubt Apple wll change the processor so soon. In any way, I'm hoping they'll start using the non-Xeon quad core - Kentsfield instead of the Xeon version - Clovertown.
     
   
Thread Tools
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:02 AM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2015 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2