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Old 09-18-2012, 01:18 PM #1
spinny2559
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which is more powerful, older 8 core xeon processor, or newer quad core i5?

Hey guys,
I'm looking at picking up a used Mac to hold me over for maybe a year until I move my business into real offices and get some new computers.
I'm debating between an iMac or MacPro with the following specs:

iMac (2011)
2.8GHz quad core i5 with 8GB of DDR3 1333 MHz RAM

MacPro (2009)
(2) 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5500 series processors with 8GB DDR3 1066 MHz RAM

I use much of the Adobe CS5 suite, and have heavy browsing needs for research (10-20 tabs open at a time minimum, sometimes 2-3 windows with 40+ tabs total).

Which computer will be faster, and in what regard (rendering files, browsing, etc. etc.)?

thanks!
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:25 PM #2
Oedipus
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In general, the i5 would be marginally faster than the dual Xeon setup but depending on what you do in CS5 and how hardcore you are, the extra cores/threads will come in handy. A 2.66 quad 5500 would be an X5550 I think. I've used those before and they are not slow by any stretch.

Another thing to consider is the RAM. 8GB doesn't sound like enough for what you want to do, and the costs of the Xeon-compatible Mac Pro RAM may be substantially different than the cost for the iMac RAM.
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:15 PM #3
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The amount of memory, and being able to address it, will be a bigger concern than the processor selection. The i5 will have plenty of power to batch process and render like a champ in CS5. A large SSD for OS, applications, and swap file would be a strong suggestion to consider.

Another concern will be if the iMac will be able to be tinkered with for such things as memory swaps, drive swaps, multiple drives for RAID.
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Old 09-22-2012, 02:45 PM #4
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OK, a new variable to throw into the equation:
Found this for sale- 2.66 Quad (one quad, not two) Xeon with 14 GB RAM and also an SSD.

Any thoughts on that?

thanks!
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:52 PM #5
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The two labs I used for digital media work when I was in college used tri-boot mac pro towers with the 8 core xeon processors and 8 gigs of ram. They were incredibly fast. They handled intensive modeling and animation in Autodesk Maya along with simulation solvers for things like particles and object fragmentation. Adobe Suite, final cut pro, Nuke, none of it slowed those things down one bit. I even accidentally opened every application on a tower at once, while rendering in the background with mental ray and the machine didn't even beach ball. Mac Pro
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:59 AM #6
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I think the RAM is the main concern here, 8GB is not sufficient, you should increase it.
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:03 AM #7
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Thank you for that quality post
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Old 09-28-2012, 12:09 AM #8
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I would go for something like 16gigs of ram and and an ssd for use as a scratch disk. The setup i use at work is a core i7, 16gigs of ram, two 120gig ssd's and third 1tb drive for files. Doesnt struggle one bit with large complex files
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