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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

The Better Processor


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Grayw97

 
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Hey everyone, I have found to computer I like. The only main difference is one has a 2.8ghz 8-core processor, while the other has a 3.3ghz 6-core processor.

Which is better?
3.3ghz 6-core
2.8ghz 8-core

Is the 2.8ghz 8-core better? That is what I would infer from the computer knowledge I have.

Also, I don't remember where I read this but I read that the six core processor, probably the same on the eight core, actually has 3 cores and 3 threads. Is this true. The guy that said that, I believe, said that he took a benchmark of it and it only showed 3 cores. Is this true?

Oh and I just saw a the almost identical computer with a 3.1ghz 8-core. That is better than the others right?

Any help is appreciated!
Thanks!
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pigoo3

 
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It would probably help if you told us that you were talking about Mac Pro's.

If you're talking about Mac Pro's...then this thread would be better placed in the "Desktop" area (not Schweb's Lounge).

Also...a better question would be which computer is better? On a "Core by Core" basis...generally speaking (if it's the same generation cpu)...the faster the core the better. But then if you throw in 6-cores vs. 8-cores...things do get a bit more complex.

It would probably also help if you spelled out exactly which Mac Pro models you are talking about...so everyone is comparing the proper computers.

Also...I don't think Apple made a "3.1ghz 8-core".

Thanks,

- Nick

p.s. Thread moved to more appropriate sub-forum.

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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Adric

 
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Hi Grayw97,

It depends on how you will be using the machine. The 6 core processor will probably get more performance out of the box due to having a higher clock frequency per core but if you own and use heavy software, the 8 core machine will yield better results.

Adding more cores substantially helps out certain VERY intensive CPU tasks such as high def video encoding however, you need to know how to set up your software to use it. The vast majority of the software out there is designed to use only 2-4 cores out of the box but a few programs let you change how they handle the CPU tasks by using an apple utility called Qmaster. In Qmaster, you select the compatible program, and adjust the amount of "instances" (aka tasks) the program divides across your CPU. It takes some trial and error but a good rule of thumb is to go half of the amount of cores in your machine to yield the best performance out of that program. When finished, you save the profile and select that profile in the corrisponding app.

Both 6 and 8 core machines are not designed for everyday consumer use. They require a user who is first of all running the software that can actually take advantage of all of those cores, and second, a user who knows how to set it all up. If you're just going to browse the web and play games, you're wasting your money on cores that will never be put to use.

As of right now, the only apps that I know of that can take advantage of Qmaster are Apple Compressor and Autodesk Maya. Compressor is relatively inexpensive but has a very specific use. Maya is heavy commercial software for 3D computer graphics and animation. The special effects on the Lord of the Rings trilogy were done on Maya and it is a very expensive program. $3,500 per license last I checked.

Other apps might be able to take advantage of all of those cores (FCPX maybe?) without having to go through Qmaster but I don't know of any off the top of my head. You can bet that they will be heavy stuff though.
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Grayw97

 
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Thanks for the replies!

I will mostly be playing games. Like, Minecraft, Diablo, Dragon Age II, Starcraft, Torchlight, and things like that. I also edit movies. I do multi-task a lot when doing work.

I would like to be able to play the games on at least medium graphics and it run smoothly. I know that graphics is more in the graphics card, but the processor also effects the graphics right?
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Adric

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grayw97 View Post
Thanks for the replies!

I will mostly be playing games. Like, Minecraft, Diablo, Dragon Age II, Starcraft, Torchlight, and things like that. I also edit movies. I do multi-task a lot when doing work.

I would like to be able to play the games on at least medium graphics and it run smoothly. I know that graphics is more in the graphics card, but the processor also effects the graphics right?
Back in the day, yes they affected graphics performance but in the days of modern gaming, processors are generally left to do all of the floating point calculations while the graphics card handles the graphics themselves and all of the effects such as dynamics, resolution, and things like anti aliasing (getting rid of the "jaggies").

A low powered CPU on a game will cause the whole thing to run slowly and sometimes freeze. A low powered graphics card will limit you on how many effects the game can display and affect the frame rate.

All in all, I would go for the 6 core machine. It's powerful enough to run what you want, it'll be somewhat future proof and will save you some money too.
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grayw97 View Post
Thanks for the replies!

I will mostly be playing games. Like, Minecraft, Diablo, Dragon Age II, Starcraft, Torchlight, and things like that. I also edit movies. I do multi-task a lot when doing work.

I would like to be able to play the games on at least medium graphics and it run smoothly. I know that graphics is more in the graphics card, but the processor also effects the graphics right?
To be very honest...buying a 6-core or 8-core Mac Pro for playing games would be a big waste of $$$. I'm not sure there are any games out there that are written to take advantage of multiple cores...and if there are...they probably won't use more than 2-cores.

Beyond gaming...there are not may apps. written to take advantage of all the cores in a Mac Pro either. There are some apps. from Adobe that will use more cores...but unless you are REALLY serious about editing video...you don't really need a 6 or 8-core Mac Pro.

Of course if you got the $$$...go for it. My goal is usually to optimally match up the right computer for the right needs & keep that choice within a reasonable budget. You would probably be just as happy with a quad-core iMac.

Something to think about,

- Nick

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
QUOTE Thanks
Grayw97

 
Member Since: Jun 13, 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adric View Post
Back in the day, yes they affected graphics performance but in the days of modern gaming, processors are generally left to do all of the floating point calculations while the graphics card handles the graphics themselves and all of the effects such as dynamics, resolution, and things like anti aliasing (getting rid of the "jaggies").

A low powered CPU on a game will cause the whole thing to run slowly and sometimes freeze. A low powered graphics card will limit you on how many effects the game can display and affect the frame rate.

All in all, I would go for the 6 core machine. It's powerful enough to run what you want, it'll be somewhat future proof and will save you some money too.
So to sum up what you said, graphics card effects the graphics making them smoother. While the processor effect the actual ability to run the game smoothly. Right?

Also as I said above. I read somewhere that the 6-core processor actually only has 3 cores and 3 threads is this true? If so, would it also be true for the 8-core, so it has 4 cores and 4 threads?

Thanks for your help!
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grayw97 View Post

Also as I said above. I read somewhere that the 6-core processor actually only has 3 cores and 3 threads is this true? If so, would it also be true for the 8-core, so it has 4 cores and 4 threads?
Nope...not true. 6-cores = 6 cpu's...and 8 cores = 8 cpu's.

I believe all current Mac Pro cpu's support "hyper-threading" (2 threads/cpu)...which means 6 cores = 12 virtual cores/threads...and 8 cores = 16 virtual cores/threads.

- Nick

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
QUOTE Thanks
Grayw97

 
Member Since: Jun 13, 2012
Posts: 68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
To be very honest...buying a 6-core or 8-core Mac Pro for playing games would be a big waste of $$$. I'm not sure there are any games out there that are written to take advantage of multiple cores...and if there are...they probably won't use more than 2-cores.

Beyond gaming...there are not may apps. written to take advantage of all the cores in a Mac Pro either. There are some apps. from Adobe that will use more cores...but unless you are REALLY serious about editing video...you don't really need a 6 or 8-core Mac Pro.

Of course if you got the $$$...go for it. My goal is usually to optimally match up the right computer for the right needs & keep that choice within a reasonable budget. You would probably be just as happy with a quad-core iMac.

Something to think about,

- Nick
So games are written so that it only takes 2 cores, why would they do that and not just use how ever many available cores there are? I thought the processor just took what it got and split it into the cores?

Thanks for you help!
QUOTE Thanks
Grayw97

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
Nope...not true. 6-cores = 6 cpu's...and 8 cores = 8 cpu's.

I believe all current Mac Pro cpu's support "hyper-threading" (2 threads/cpu)...which means 6 cores = 12 virtual cores/threads...and 8 cores = 16 virtual cores/threads.

- Nick
Ahh, so that's why my 2 core Macbook Pro show 4 cores in the CPU monitor. Two are cores and the other two are virtual cores/threads?
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grayw97 View Post
So games are written so that it only takes 2 cores, why would they do that and not just use how ever many available cores there are? I thought the processor just took what it got and split it into the cores?

Thanks for you help!
This would be the logical thing to do of course...write software to take advantage of all available cores...I'm sire it must be more complex than that...or I'm sure they would.

I'm not saying all games are written to only take advantage of 2 cores...some only use one core. But personally cannot think of any "main-stream" games that are written to take advantage of 6, 8. or more cores.

FYI...I just sold my 8-core Mac Pro 2 weeks ago...because almost everything I was doing didn't use more than 2 cores (6 cores wasted).

If someone is a professional video, photo, or computer graphics editor/creator...then a Mac Pro is the way to go (or a serious amateur, or someone with lots of $$$ to spend). All others really will not use a Mac Pro to the fullest.

- Nick

ps. Some folks also like Mac Pro's for expandability (4 internal HD bays)...or up to 4 video cards to run up to 8 monitors simultaneously. But many folks that buy a Mac Pro...hardly ever take advantage of this expandability.

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
QUOTE Thanks
Grayw97

 
Member Since: Jun 13, 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
This would be the logical thing to do of course...write software to take advantage of all available cores...I'm sire it must be more complex than that...or I'm sure they would.

I'm not saying all games are written to only take advantage of 2 cores...some only use one core. But personally cannot think of any "main-stream" games that are written to take advantage of 6, 8. or more cores.

FYI...I just sold my 8-core Mac Pro 2 weeks ago...because almost everything I was doing didn't use more than 2 cores (6 cores wasted).

If someone is a professional video, photo, or computer graphics editor/creator...then a Mac Pro is the way to go (or a serious amateur, or someone with lots of $$$ to spend). All others really will not use a Mac Pro to the fullest.

- Nick

ps. Some folks also like Mac Pro's for expandability (4 internal HD bays)...or up to 4 video cards to run up to 8 monitors simultaneously. BUt many folks that do this...hardly ever take advantage of this expandability.
Awesome! Thanks for the help!
I have one more question.

What is the cache within a processor?
Like the L1 L2 L3?
Is the higher the cache the better?
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grayw97 View Post
Ahh, so that's why my 2 core Macbook Pro show 4 cores in the CPU monitor. Two are cores and the other two are virtual cores/threads?
Yes...newer MacBook Pro's (with i5 or i7 cpu's support hyper-threading).

You have 2 cores...or 4 "virtual cores"/threads.

- Nick

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
QUOTE Thanks
Grayw97

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
Yes...newer MacBook Pro's (with i5 or i7 cpu's support hyper-threading).

You have 2 cores...or 4 "virtual cores"/threads.

- Nick
Awesome! Thanks for the help!
I have one more question.

What is the cache within a processor?
Like the L1 L2 L3? What do the L's mean?
Is the higher the cache the better?
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grayw97 View Post

What is the cache within a processor?
Speeds up cpu functions...by "caching" frequently used info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grayw97 View Post
Like the L1 L2 L3? What do the L's mean?
"L" - Level

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grayw97 View Post
Is the higher the cache the better?
Usually. The size of the "cache" has gotten larger over time.

- Nick

p.s. Read this if you REALLY want to know more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CPU_cache

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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