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

Mac Pro - Upgrade systems now? G4 PB to MBP and MP


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bwphoto
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Here's my situation. I'm a photographer getting started doing more of my own work. For this, I need to use my own computer system.

Presently I've got a 12" PB G4 and a 23" Cinema Display. It is a 1.33 GHz with 768 MB DDR SDRAM. 600MB PS files are sorta killing it...

Over the next six months I'll need a desktop and a laptop, probably not at the same time. My biggest concerns are based on CS2 not utilizing the processor architecture to its fullest quite yet. Will the performance gains be that noticeable? What about comparing a 2.66 Mac Pro and a 2.16 MacBook Pro?

Since the MP is 2.66 based on the more complicated processors than the MBP, will CS2 run faster on the MBP, which uses processors more "familiar" to CS2?

If I could only have one computer it'd have to be the MBP, so if it is only slightly slower than the MP but WAY faster than my present G4, that would really help make this decision easier.

I apologize if these questions are pretty bizarre. I've been having a tough time sorting through all the reviews and finding real data comparing what I need.

Thank you.
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Howie J

 
Member Since: Sep 11, 2006
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
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Mac Specs: 15" Unibody Mac Book Pro, 2.66 Ghz Mac Pro w/ 2gb RAM. 1ghz G4 Powerbook w/ 768 RAM.

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BW,

I can understand what you are saying. As someone in computer sales and service I get questions like this all day long. My thought would be this: even if the Mac Pro isn't perfectly matched for CS now....I would think Adobe would be cheating itself and it's loyal customers by not re-coding the program to support multiple dual core processors. I just got a mac pro last month and the thing is absolutely amazing. I'm an audio/video engineer and there is nothing I can't do with it, and I have 14 gigs more RAM to put in there. Anyway, the point is that multi-core processing is here to stay and will just get bigger. Any reputable software company like Adobe and the like are working feverishly to make sure that new patches and updates will take advantage of the multi-core processors. So, I wouldn't worry about that as much as which you would rather have first.....the portable one? or the beefy workhorse in the studio. (Not to take anything away from the MBP)

Howie J
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SuB8HaVeN

 
Member Since: Aug 29, 2006
Location: Tampa, FL
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Mac Specs: Powerbook G4 12" 1.5GHz

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Alright, here's my $.02...

Making the decision between the MacBook Pro and the Mac Pro is really going to depend on two things: mobility and performance. Pricewise they are in a similar ballpark, so this isn't really a matter. Seeing that you currently have a 12" PowerBook G4 you're probably used to having a laptop, and a very mobile one at that. Unfortunately as is the case with any laptop, you have to skimp on performance in order to make it mobile. Obviously the Mac Pro is going to have more power than a MacBook Pro, but you can't throw the Mac Pro in your backpack and take off.

That said, since the MacBook Pro comes in 15.4" size and larger, personally I wouldn't purchase one. I've used the MBP 15" before (the CEO at work has one that I set up for him) and while it is thin and lighter than usual, it's just plain large overall. When I buy a laptop I always go for a thin and light; usually something with a 12" screen or smaller. If you're thinking that the 15" MBP is going to be just as mobile as your 12" PB G4, you're in for a disappointment unfortunately. While the battery life will be about the same, you will find that the MBP is much larger, heavier, and runs hotter than your 12" PB G4. Your other option is the MacBook, but you have to remember that the MB uses integrated Intel graphics so you won't get near as good performance as with the MBP's discrete ATi Radeon X1600 graphics. I would not recommend a MacBook for your usage.

Now, with the Mac Pro, you will get much greater performance than the MacBook Pro. The Mac Pro uses dual Xeon 5100 Series Woodcrest CPUs for a total of 4 cores; the MBP has only 2. You also have to keep in mind that Xeon 5300 series (quad core, to be released November 1, 2006) chips will be compatible with the Mac Pro, so if you simply swapped your 5100s out for 5300s, you will have 8 working cores in your Mac Pro. Pretty nifty, eh? And that's not all folks. With 4 full x16 PCI-E graphics slots, you have the capability to add up to 4 video cards supporting up to 8 displays. The memory is also upgradeable very easily as are the hard drives.

All in all, the Mac Pro will be faster off the bat, and will also be upgreadeable. Unfortunately with the MacBook Pro the only thing you will be able to upgrade is the memory and hard drive. Both the video card and CPU are soldered onto the logic board and cannot be replaced or upgraded.

Now, onto the problem that Adobe CS2 isn't optimized for x86 Intel Core processors. The CPUs in both the MacBook Pro and the Mac Pro are both based on the same architecture; Intel Core architecture that is. Being that they are both x86 (non-PowerPC), they will both see the performance hit for the time being until Adobe optimizes their CS2 suite for x86 chips running OSX.

What I would do in your shoes would be to purchase a Mac Pro, hook it up to your 23" Cinema Display, and then keep your 12" Powerbook G4 for whatever mobile needs you may have. Or heck, just keep it for sh*ts and giggles because the 12" G4 Powerbook is straight up just plain awesome if you ask me. I want one! ...Or a Core 2 MacBook...

12" Powerbook G4 1.5GHz/512MB/Superdrive/100GB Seagate Momentus 7200.1
PowerMac G3 B&W 350MHz/1GB/DVD-RW/Adaptec 39160 2X Seagate 36GB 15k RAID0
Dell E521 AMD X2 4600+/2GB/7600GT/320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
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Darwin
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Just wanted to chime in since I'm in the same boat. I can't stand my PB G4 to edit the pictures my 5D take, and I was waiting for the Core 2 Duo Mac Book Pro to get to at least 3G of ram when I realized I would probably be better off with keeping my PB G4 and getting a Mac Pro. After agonizing about a week, I ordered it yesterday, can't wait to try it out. I figure I'll get a nice speed jump now even with CS2 and when CS3 gets out, it'll be perfect. I recommend taking the Radeon over the Geforce, BTW. Good luck in making your decision...
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baggss

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuB8HaVeN
Now, with the Mac Pro, you will get much greater performance than the MacBook Pro. The Mac Pro uses dual Xeon 5100 Series Woodcrest CPUs for a total of 4 cores; the MBP has only 2. You also have to keep in mind that Xeon 5300 series (quad core, to be released November 1, 2006) chips will be compatible with the Mac Pro, so if you simply swapped your 5100s out for 5300s, you will have 8 working cores in your Mac Pro. Pretty nifty, eh?
I just want to point out that there is nothing that says you will be able to do this, although there is nothing that says you won't. This is Apple and I would not be surprised if somehow they have managed to find a that this won't work. That being said, other Apple Intel machines have been successfully updated in the recent past, so it may not be an issue. My point? Don't just assume it will work by swapping out the chips. Your probably better assuming you can't and then be surprised when you can, then vice-versa.


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SuB8HaVeN

 
Member Since: Aug 29, 2006
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Actually Anandtech had samples of the quad-core Intel (Clovertown) Xeon 5300 series chips and tried them in the Mac Pro. Everything worked flawlessly and OSX did recognize all 8 cores. There is nothing on performance though because these chips are still under NDA until sometime soon... cough cough... November 1...

Edit; linkie http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=2832&p=6

Intel designed the new LGA771 server socket to be fully compatible with the upcoming quad core Xeon 5300 chips. Pretty much any LGA771 motherboard that can't take quad core chips would have to be specifically designed not to do so. Some motherboards may (very few, if any at that) require a BIOS update but for the most part upgrading to quad core will be plug and play. I can't wait to pop in some of those Xeon 5300s in my Dell PE2950 boxes at work... yum...

12" Powerbook G4 1.5GHz/512MB/Superdrive/100GB Seagate Momentus 7200.1
PowerMac G3 B&W 350MHz/1GB/DVD-RW/Adaptec 39160 2X Seagate 36GB 15k RAID0
Dell E521 AMD X2 4600+/2GB/7600GT/320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
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