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Thread: CPU or RAM

  1. #1
    CPU or RAM

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    CPU or RAM
    Hey. Its been forever since I've been on here...anyway I tried to search the forums for this, but nothing useful came up. Im thinking of upgrading to a Mac Pro.

    I don't whether to go for more RAM or a better processor. If I go for 4gbs of RAM, then I'll have to jump down to the 2.0ghz core duo processor, and if I go for a better processor then I'll be forced to go for less RAM.

    What I'd like to know is what would be more useful in the realm of Audio Editing... Would I notice a lot of difference between the 2.66 core duo and the 2.0? Or would there be greater performance in 4gbs of RAM as opposed to only 2?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    CPU or RAM
    gilesjuk's Avatar
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    Go for the faster processor. You can add RAM later. Upgrading the processors will cost loads and isn't recommended.

    RAM is easy to add. 2GB will do for now, I have 3GB and I don't think I've come close to running low on RAM. 32-bit apps can usually only see 3-4GB of RAM anyway.

  3. #3
    CPU or RAM

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    Are you thinking about getting the 4 gigs of ram from Apple or another place such as Crucial.com?

    If you didn't compare memory prices from other sources, you might be able to get both of them for not a lot more than you were already planning to spend.

  4. #4
    CPU or RAM
    Kash's Avatar
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    Both giles and musicforme make good points. If you look at RAM from a third party vendor, you may be able to save enough money to get both the faster processor and 4GB of RAM.

    If it turns out you can't afford both, then I would definitely suggest getting the faster processor now as you can easily upgrade the RAM later. Plus, with audio editing, it's not like 2GB is going to hold you back severely. You might find that 2GB is enough for your purposes. Also, you should consider the fact that audio editing programs are processor intensive, so a faster processor will definitely give you a significant performance boost.

    June 2007
    July 2009

  5. #5
    CPU or RAM
    Alexis's Avatar
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    Bear in mind there is very little difference in speed between the two processors and it's certainly not worth the extra cost.

  6. #6
    CPU or RAM
    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Just thought I would chime in. They all are correct.
    Audio/Video encoding is processor intensive.
    But, for others that may be looking at this thread down the road and looking at building a topnotch system - always spend your money first - on the best processor you can afford. This is the most expensive piece of hardware in the system; now and to upgrade. It is also the single piece of hardware that will prolong the useful life expectancy of any system.

    All other hardware (in a Mac Pro - since you have no options available for the system board) can be upgraded inexpensively (relatively) at a later time.

    edit: see post below also
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  7. #7
    CPU or RAM
    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexis View Post
    Bear in mind there is very little difference in speed between the two processors and it's certainly not worth the extra cost.
    There certainly is basically no difference for the average computer user thats browsing the web, using Office, doing some e-mail or messaging and just listening to music. And this individual is wasting money buying a Mac Pro in the first place.

    This is certainly "Not True" when it comes to encoding. That is if your time is worth anything or if you don't like sitting around waiting for something to finish. Speed is everything if you're doing a lot of encoding. The 2.66 is anywhere between about 18% and up to 40% faster than the 2.0, averaging about 30%.

    The 2.66 can shave between 22-30 seconds off of a 90 second encode the 2.0 would take and several minutes off a 7GB video encode. Here is only one test showing the timed differences between multiple CPU's. The link starts on page 8 where the testing begins. There are others that can be found with a little search, all will show similar results.

    edit: I will say again, "For audio/video editing and encoding, the processor is king".
    edit: And the 2.66 will probably prolong the life expectancy of your system for at least a year beyond that of the 2.0. I would say this makes it well worth the $300 difference in price.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  8. #8
    CPU or RAM
    Kash's Avatar
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    bobtomay is absolutely correct. You can most definitely see an improvement with the faster processor when you're dealing with audio or video programs.

    June 2007
    July 2009

  9. #9
    CPU or RAM
    giulio's Avatar
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    Those benchmarks are not comparing merely processor speeds - they are entirely different chip manufacturers.
    schweb This has to be one of the best threads ever in MF history...
    Cherokee This gets my vote for most innovative thread on Mac-Forums... ever.

  10. #10
    CPU or RAM
    Kash's Avatar
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    You can ignore the AMD and Pentium 4 benchmarks. The Intel Xeon 2.66 and 2.0 benchmarks are definitely relevant to this particular case.

    June 2007
    July 2009

  11. #11
    CPU or RAM

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    Thanks guys. This is all very helpful. I believe I will heed your advice and go for the faster processor. Somewhere down the road, however, I will add more RAM as needed.

  12. #12
    CPU or RAM
    Kash's Avatar
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    Good choice

    June 2007
    July 2009

  13. #13
    CPU or RAM
    Alexis's Avatar
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    This is certainly "Not True" when it comes to encoding. That is if your time is worth anything or if you don't like sitting around waiting for something to finish. Speed is everything if you're doing a lot of encoding. The 2.66 is anywhere between about 18% and up to 40% faster than the 2.0, averaging about 30%.
    It's about 13% per 200Mhz from what I can gather. Granted, a small time saver for encoding, but I suppose it's a personal thing whether you think 10 seconds per 90 seconds is worth $300.

    Personally, I'd rather have $300 in my pocket.

  14. #14
    CPU or RAM
    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexis View Post
    It's about 13% per 200Mhz from what I can gather. Granted, a small time saver for encoding, but I suppose it's a personal thing whether you think 10 seconds per 90 seconds is worth $300.

    Personally, I'd rather have $300 in my pocket.
    Didn't feel the need to respond to this at the time since chad had already made his decision. But, upon reading this again, just feel as if I should for those of you that may be reading this post with the same question later on down the road.

    1) While 13% is an over simplification and depends greatly upon the program in use, according to your own calculations of 13% per 200Mhz - moving from the 2.0 to the 2.66 would yield over a 40% improvement.

    2) There was no 10 seconds per 90 seconds savings. The savings seen was 22-30 per 90. The difference here is quite dramatic and a savings of only 1/9 does require a different answer than a savings of close to 1/3.

    3) $300 in my pocket: Guess it all depends on what your time is worth. The difference in time only to re-encode a single 7GB file between the 2 processors in question will be approx. 5 minutes. This does not take into account the time savings that will also be seen during the actual editing phase of the work.

    I just am not able to envision too many of those looking at the Mac Pro line not looking at the time is money equation. And, to be on the conservative side of things, lets say you save only 3 minutes a day for a 3 year life expectancy of a Mac Pro. This is a savings of 18 1/4 hours per year or a total of 54 hrs 45 min. That makes the cost of this processor upgrade $5.48/hr.

    And anyone actually doing much of this type of work, should in reality expect to save a minimum of an hour a week or more. At an hour per week over 3 years, the price of this upgrade is now $1.92/hr.

    I kind of doubt anyone looking at a Mac Pro to begin with would not value
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  15. #15
    CPU or RAM
    Obsidian's Avatar
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    Cool My 2 Cents
    My view is that if you plan to spend the money to get a Mac Pro in the first place, you should get the version of the machine which will stay current the longest. It doesn't cost that much to opt for the faster processors in light of the total cost. I would recommend opting for the 3GHz quad core or 8 core if your budget allows.

    Best Regards,

    Tim
    -Tim

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