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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Mac Pro - Would I really see a difference?

Mac Pro - Would I really see a difference?
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seventn
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Oct 24, 2010, 10:17 AM
 
I have a Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 Dual Core Xeon and am wondering if I would see a huge speed increase if I got a brand new Quad-2.8 single chip Mac Pro?

I know it is a silly question but it's hard to find information to compare these 2 machines. I am happy with my old machine but I do want to get a new Apple 27 display and my current card won't support it. Thought of getting a new card but even harder to find out what is compatible and what's not..... what a mess that is!
     
turtle777
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Oct 24, 2010, 10:21 AM
 
It's rally funny sad to see how the supposed to be "expandability" of Mac Pros is a big joke.

Not sure if something in this thread is on any help:
http://forums.macnn.com/65/mac-pro-a...ro-video-card/

-t
     
seventn  (op)
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Oct 24, 2010, 10:24 AM
 
Thanks for the link but I went thru that thread and that's what I was calling a mess!
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 24, 2010, 04:51 PM
 
I would definitely not get a single-cpu Mac Pro, it's very bad value in my opinion. If you want to upgrade, save up a little more and get a dual-Xeon Mac Pro.
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SierraDragon
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Oct 24, 2010, 10:46 PM
 
A new box is much stronger but value to you depends on your workflow. I agree with Oreo that the Quad is not good value, especially when you own a MP now. Just do the research to find the right card. Barefeats.com often has good info. Also Apple should advise if they want to sell you the display.

I do not know where dissing MP expandability comes from. Either the 5870 or 5770 should work in your box, no problem. Just do it. Call OWC if you are still confused:
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Apple/6615718/

Also check out the NEC displays...

-Allen Wicks
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Oct 24, 2010 at 11:07 PM. )
     
chipchen
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Oct 25, 2010, 12:46 PM
 
I've personally confirmed that the ATI 4870 and 5770 work in the 2006 Mac Pro. And great too. OR, you can purchase a DVI to MiniDisplay Port adapter. (NO, no the MiniDisplayPort to DVI adapter, that's different) Gefen and Altona make them... they're about $150.
     
seventn  (op)
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Oct 26, 2010, 02:33 AM
 
An ATI 5770 sounds good and is less trouble than changing my whole system BUT it needs 2 slots and I already use 2 of them and will need an other soon...

crap, back to the new Mac Pro solution.

Funny, some people say that a new Mac Pro 1x4core 2.4 would be faster than my 2x2.66 Dual core!?
     
P
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Oct 26, 2010, 03:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by seventn View Post
Funny, some people say that a new Mac Pro 1x4core 2.4 would be faster than my 2x2.66 Dual core!?
It's certainly faster, yes. Clockspeeds are not comparable across generations as newer CPUs get more efficient, and the new memory interface in the Nehalem generation means a massive performance boost compared to older Mac Pros. The difference varies widely with the task, however.

All Oreo and Sierra are saying is that the single CPU MP is overpriced. I agree with that - a top iMac or dual CPU MP is a better deal.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 26, 2010, 03:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
All Oreo and Sierra are saying is that the single CPU MP is overpriced. I agree with that - a top iMac or dual CPU MP is a better deal.
Exactly: either get a 27" iMac or save up some more cash for a dual cpu Mac Pro.
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all2ofme
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Oct 29, 2010, 02:56 PM
 
As far as I can see the iMac and dual CPU Mac Pros are only a better deal if you don't want:
- a more expandable (and more easily expandable) machine
- to bring your own monitor
- several cores that you've paid a good chunk of cash for doing nothing

Bear in mind that I'm not saying that the price I paid for my 3.33 hexacore wasn't approaching extortionate, just the pros far outweighed the cons for me. I didn't want to be dead-ended with an iMac's screen and expandability, and I didn't want what appears to amount to a slower machine for almost everything that I do:
Mac Performance Guide: Apple Mac Pro “Westmere” (August 2010) — Clock Speed and Cores
2010 Mac Pro - Aperture, Color, HandBrake, PhotoZoom
     
SierraDragon
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Oct 29, 2010, 04:07 PM
 
Actually it is the lack of expandability in RAM that bothers me. What is mostly wrong with the Quad core and Hex core offerings are the high prices with only 4 RAM slots. That is why I recommend against that configuration.

With RAM prices low and still falling, OS and apps developers will make usage of RAM more and more beneficial to users of heavy apps (we folks who need towers). Even though 16 GB RAM today is great for almost any app, IMO moving forward four slots is not acceptable in a full-priced tower.

-Allen Wicks
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Oct 29, 2010 at 04:14 PM. )
     
seventn  (op)
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Oct 29, 2010, 04:36 PM
 
Well I did some research and the quad 2.66 makes more sense for me. 1000.00$ more for 10-15% speed increase makes no sense. Most of my apps don't really use all the cores..

Imac would be good but no RAM expandability and I need PCI slots.

Base model it is!
     
P
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Oct 30, 2010, 07:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by seventn View Post
Well I did some research and the quad 2.66 makes more sense for me. 1000.00$ more for 10-15% speed increase makes no sense. Most of my apps don't really use all the cores..

Imac would be good but no RAM expandability and I need PCI slots.

Base model it is!
Current iMac can take 4 DIMMs, exactly the same as the base model MP. Their RAM ceiling is the same.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
seventn  (op)
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Oct 30, 2010, 09:08 AM
 
Thanks, I didn't know that.

But anyway, I really need the pci slots and the 4 drive bays.
     
mduell
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Oct 30, 2010, 03:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Current iMac can take 4 DIMMs, exactly the same as the base model MP. Their RAM ceiling is the same.
Current iMac takes 4 SODIMMs (max 4GB/ea), the MP takes 4 DIMMs (max at least 8GB/ea).
     
P
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Oct 30, 2010, 03:32 PM
 
Apple's stated RAM limit for the single socket MP is 16 GB. Intel stated RAM limit is 24 GB, ie 4 gigs per slot. It may or may not work with bigger DIMMs. Perhaps I'm picky, but all the tests I've seen with 8GB DIMMs are with the dualsocket model, where Intel states a total RAM limit of 288 GB for the current gen and 144 GB for the last gen.

If we leave the specifications and look at what should be possible, DDR3 specifies a max of 8 gigabit per chip, so it would be enough to fit 8 chips onto one SO-DIMM for an 8 GB module. I have seen 8 chip SO-DIMMs from earlier generations, and Google finds lots of them, so 8 GB SO-DIMMs should certainly be possible. 16 GB SO-DIMMs look tricky, though.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
mduell
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Oct 30, 2010, 04:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
If we leave the specifications and look at what should be possible, DDR3 specifies a max of 8 gigabit per chip, so it would be enough to fit 8 chips onto one SO-DIMM for an 8 GB module. I have seen 8 chip SO-DIMMs from earlier generations, and Google finds lots of them, so 8 GB SO-DIMMs should certainly be possible. 16 GB SO-DIMMs look tricky, though.
The Lynnfield chips they're using only support 16GB per Intel. 8GB SO-DIMMs do you no good.
     
P
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Oct 30, 2010, 05:40 PM
 
Yes, I know, but that same argument can be made for Bloomfield - I just MADE that argument for Bloomfield, and linked to the specs. According to Intel and according to Apple, the RAM ceiling for the top iMac and the low-end MP are the same. There is a possibility that you can use more RAM in either or both, but we don't know that.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
seventn  (op)
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Oct 30, 2010, 09:40 PM
 
Well I finally answered my initial question; Would I see a difference in speed between my old DP 2.6 dual-core and a new SP 2.8 Quad-core?

The answer is NO! Ran some real world tests of photoshop and quicktime, compressor and After Effects rendering. The new mac was a few seconds faster here and there (3-4 secs ou of 50sec avg.)

But the revelation is that for anything else I tried other than Photoshop, the old mac was FASTER!!!!

Guess its back to the Apple store for an 8 core tomorrow... i guess they will hit me with a restocking fee after even just 24hrs!?
     
SierraDragon
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Oct 31, 2010, 12:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by seventn View Post
Guess its back to the Apple store for an 8 core tomorrow... i guess they will hit me with a restocking fee after even just 24hrs!?
No, Apple nicely gives us 14 days return no-questions-asked unless it is a build-to-order box.

With a new 8-core MP IMO stock RAM is not appropriate. Plan on immediately trading back the 1-GB-sized DIMMs to OWC and buying four 4-GB sized DIMMs from OWC:
Memory Upgrade DIMM, DDR, DDR2, FB-DIMM, SDRAM, FPM, EDO, SIMMs.
After the 16 GB RAM is on board if you experience significant increases in Page Outs (shown in Activity Monitor) then add 4 more 4-GB sized DIMMs.

Another choice with falling RAM prices is to go immediately to 8-GB sized DIMMs. They cost 50% more and must be used only with identical DIMMs but allow maxxing out at 64 GB RAM. Note that the Westmere processors will likely behave differently than your older box as regards RAM utilization.

-Allen Wicks

P.S. I think the Octo is the smart choice... Note that over time heavy apps and the OS itself are taking better advantage of multiple cores. We buy a new MP for 3-5 years' future usage, so folks who say "XYZ app does not use multiple cores, extra cores are a waste" are IMO misguided.
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Oct 31, 2010 at 12:35 PM. )
     
seventn  (op)
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Oct 31, 2010, 12:17 PM
 
No I checked and the policy in Canada us unless it is broken there will be a charge.
     
SierraDragon
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Oct 31, 2010, 12:40 PM
 
Even trading up? Wow that is way different than the US, unless it changed. I kept a 15" MBP for 10 days then decided I much preferred the 17" and it was no problem.

Try being aggressive about it, emphasizing that you are trading up and see what happens, nothing to lose.

Maybe even get loud in the store. I do not like to do that, but that is a really substandard policy if it was not a build-to-order box.

Maybe it has changed in the US too. I don't see any 14-day policy at the Apple Store website.
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Oct 31, 2010 at 12:54 PM. )
     
seventn  (op)
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Nov 1, 2010, 07:16 PM
 
Well, turns out there was something wrong! I was booting the computer with the drive from my old one. never been a problem in the past. I always do this since that way I don't have to re-install everything when I get a new machine. It was booting fine and everything was working as usual BUT the system was running really slow. Same speed as my old 2x2.66 dual core.

So in real world tests (export to mp4, video rendering in FCP etc) I was getting the same times off both machines. Sometimes a little fast and some time slower with the new one.

So right before I was supposed to return the machine, I decided to boot from the disk that came with the system. Installed a few applications and voila! Getting 2x to 4x the speed with the new machine....

Who knew?!?

P.S. Oh and that's with half (3gigs) the RAM of the old machine.
     
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Nov 3, 2010, 07:47 PM
 
I have upgraded my MacPro Quad Core with an OWC 240 GB SSD.
What would give me the best additional speedboost?
a) upgrading the Geforce GT 120 to an ATI radeon 5770 + 2 GB extra RAM?
b) replacing 6GB RAM with 12 GB (3x4)?

TIA
( Last edited by Mac Hammer Fan; Nov 4, 2010 at 05:42 PM. )
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seventn  (op)
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Nov 3, 2010, 07:48 PM
 
RAM I would think.
     
reader50
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Nov 3, 2010, 10:14 PM
 
It depends a lot on what you use it for. Especially anything that currently seems slow to you.
     
OreoCookie
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Nov 4, 2010, 04:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mac Hammer Fan View Post
I have upgraded my MacPro Quad Core with an OWC 240 GB SSD.
What would give me the best additional speedboost?
a) upgrading the Geforce GT 120 to an ATI radeon 5770?
b) replacing 6GB RAM with 12 GB (3x4)?

TIA
There is no way of telling, unless you investigate what limits performance on your machine. So what apps do you use? Where and when do you experience performance issues? How many page-outs do you have?
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Mac Hammer Fan
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Nov 4, 2010, 05:39 PM
 
Pageouts 238 MB
Applications: Photoshop CS3, Illustrator, Indesign, Quark Xpress, iMovie 11
MacPro SixCore 3.33 Westmere - MacBook SR 2.2 Ghz - PowerMac Dual G5 2.3
Besides Macs, I love Gothic Horror Films
     
OreoCookie
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Nov 4, 2010, 06:07 PM
 
That doesn't sound very substantial after several hours/days of uptime.
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SierraDragon
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Nov 4, 2010, 06:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mac Hammer Fan View Post
Pageouts 238 MB
Applications: Photoshop CS3, Illustrator, Indesign, Quark Xpress, iMovie 11
PS for years has been able to (indirectly under OS X) take advantage of up to at least 32 GB RAM but CS3 does essentially nothing with the graphics card except for 3-D. Of course one does have to work PS hard enough.

Moving forward in time apps and the OS will all tend to go after RAM and also the GPU.

When you do add RAM I would populate 4 slots rather than 3. It is not the absolute Page Outs number, but rather whether or not Page Outs increase significantly while you are working.

-Allen Wicks
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Nov 4, 2010 at 06:22 PM. )
     
Mac Hammer Fan
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Nov 5, 2010, 08:28 PM
 
How about 4x3 GB RAM in three slots and 2GB RAM (one of the removed modules after the upgrade) in the fourth slot. Is this possible?
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P
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Nov 6, 2010, 12:02 PM
 
I think we had a post not long ago that said that that didn't work. It SHOULD work - although memory performance would suffer as it would drop to single channel mode for some accesses - but apparently it doesn't.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 6, 2010, 07:25 PM
 
I decided to buy 4x3 GB OWC RAM. This will work optimal in my MacPro Nehalem Quad.
I will sell the 3x2 GB on Ebay.
Thanks for all your advices.
MacPro SixCore 3.33 Westmere - MacBook SR 2.2 Ghz - PowerMac Dual G5 2.3
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