View Full Version : Quad-core vs. Dual-core

08-29-2007, 10:11 AM
I thought I read that if you buy a ProMac with two dual-core processors, you could add more processors later if you find you need them. Is that true, and will it be comparable to a quad dual-core bought straight from the factory?

Thanks in advance.

08-29-2007, 10:37 AM
Well you couldn't 'add' processors per se. There aren't a bunch of extra slots in there waiting to be filled. You might be able to remove your 2 dual core chips and replace them with 4 core chips. I stress might because I do not know this for sure I have only heard info 2nd and 3rd hand.

Sounds WAY to expensive though

08-29-2007, 12:55 PM
Can be done replacing the original CPUs with lets say 2x 2.66GHz Quadcores but, at a $1.000 price tag it is not a good choice, IMHO.
A 8 core Mac Pro is cheaper that way.

And Apple and some others can buy the 3.00GHz 4 core Clovertons all places I knew don't have them right now maybe in a few weeks or months.



08-30-2007, 07:42 AM
I primarily do Photoshop. Seems like the two dual-core 2.66 GHz is a good balance of price/performance based on comments here. Thanks!

There are often specials on the Apple site for dual quad-core machines. Part of me wants to "future proof" my machine for as long as possible. Will a dual quad-core hinder my performance in any way given that Adobe CS3 is only written to use a dual core machine?

08-30-2007, 08:37 AM
It isn't that CS3 was written to be dual core. It is a 32-bit app. It is thrashing while moving around chunks of memory.

In two years, better systems will get around the issues we see today, partially. With smaller steps every six months.

If you aren't working with 1-2GB files you probably don't need 8-core. And if you are, you are probably spending on memory and faster drives.

There is no future proof. Buy what you need and realize that you either outgrow it or it is more cost effective to buy a new system later.

There are half a dozen articles benchmarking and talking about performance benchmarks.

08-30-2007, 09:16 AM
Thanks TZ.

I will be starting a several month long project in a couple weeks, so I need to order a new unit now. With my luck, Apple will announce something better in October, leaving me bummed out that I didn't wait, but waiting until October when I am in the throws of a large production project is not the time to bring a new machine into the loop.

08-30-2007, 11:04 AM
You are coming from a G4. The Pro will be a nice huge jump in level of performance. You might want to list your hardware in your profile sig - helps to know.

Even a MacBook Pro makes an excellent traveling CS3 workstation for some. Add an eSATA ExpressCard and drive like 750GB WD 80MB/sec.

You do NOT want to have a new machine if it will only run Leopard then, either, and require new drivers and software updates.

It always takes longer to get comfortable and setup with a new system. With each add-on taking time and needing to be done one at a time. Would be nice to just throw in memory and disk drives, software and controllers, drivers and patches, and have it all work.

And taking the time to backup as you go along, so you have a recovery fall-back plan.

The slowest component (outside self of course) is disk drives and storage, and a good RAID and disk drives can go a long way to smooth things out.

Swapping data between disk drive and memory was bad enough and significant. And moving data around in memory. Added to all that, is a new bottleneck, moving that data and memory between physical cpu packages, AND between cores.

The current 8-core is really FOUR dual-core packages, rather than two quad-core packages (2 x 2) * 2. Next level is to get to a true four-core package rather than "bolt" two of the old packages into one socket.

Applications that actually took advantage and required Tiger to run, showed up with 10.4.4. I expect that is when Leopard will too, it can take a year to get there, or next June time frame. Call it the mac version of an "SP1" performance improvement.

Wait for all that to mature and settle down.

Rather than "future proof" what I would want is something that will last two years, that I can save for a new system in 30 months starting now? and still add what I can. Swapping out a cpu for a 3GHz or something use to be normal cpu upgrades for G4s. Maybe not now. It could cost $700 for each cpu but you won't get other improvements that a newer system would offer. Or spend it on a MacBook for travel.

The best thing to do is be talking to others that do the same type of work-load and have comparable systems. Not everyone's will be.

I've talked to people that weren't happy with their Mac Pro until they had 8GB RAM or more; had RAID setup; and had to pretty much wait for CS3. Their Quad G5 and early Mac Pro weren't handling their work load. Extreme case. Most are very very happy. But coming from G4 which was limited to single or dual cpu, 2GB RAM... the Mac Pro should have at least 4GB and probably 6GB RAM for CS3 work.

If you process two or more heavy applications concurrently.... if you work with hundreds or more of files and images... and large images... you'd already be running a G5-something. I can see where two stock systems @ $2500 + RAM and drives, would be better choice than one $4500 system for someone.

Even a lowly ref'd 2GHz Mac Pro $1899 would make a decent machine and upgrade, not as big an investment, and take a noticeable hit from 2.66GHz - but might mean the difference of RAM and everything else or ability to buy a laptop. And easier to say good-bye once it is paid off, paid for itself, and new systems come out in a year.

08-30-2007, 11:44 AM
Thanks TZ. I forgot about the Leopard thing. All my peripherals, networking, etc, works fine now with Tiger, so it make sense to stick with a Tiger machine.

I plan on adding 8GB RAM to the stock 1GB, and per recommendations here, add two 500GB Caviars and stripe them for my Photoshop work. I will also use those RAID 0 drives for files being worked on by an image processing application called Phase One Capture One. It is a photo file processor that converts camera RAW files into TIFFs or JPEGs. Unlike Photoshop, Capture One is mainly processor dependant.

For now, I'll leave the stock boot drive as-is.