I need some advice on buying a Mac

I’m planning to buy a Mac very soon. I want to go for either the Quad 2.93 Ghz or the 8-Core 2.26 Ghz. According Apple the Quad can hold up to 8 Gb of memory while the 8-core can have up to 32 Gb. Will 8 Gb be enough for a decade when using 3D Apps?

So which one is best for Blender?

For rendering I imagine the 8-core will be fastest, but only one core is used when modelling in blender and then I think the Quad with the higher CPU will be a lot faster (roughly 700 Mhz). Also many other Apps will run faster on the Quad for that same reason. What is the best choice?

I’m thinking a little more 8-core than Quad right now, am I right?

If you are planning on rendering a lot (animation) go with 8 core. This should almost cut your rendering time in half.

build a pc with the same specs for half the price :-X

I think most people know this, and since Linkeltje clearly asked for advice on macs, we shouldn’t turn this into a flame war.

Linkeltje: Its a tough call, but I agree with zanos. If you’re planning on doing a lot of rendering/animations, you should probably go with the 8-core. You might also want to look into what graphics cards these have (a nicer graphics card helps out modeling a lot).

Did Apple downgrade its processors? I have an 8-core 2.8GHz Mac Pro from 2008…

go with Machintosh clone… I dont have the link to the site now but them seem relatively inexpensive.

Nevermind, it’s the new Nehalem processors, which is like 2x faster… Still, they raised the price of the 8-core station about $500!

Anyway, in my experience, RAM is more important than processor speed. Get as much RAM as you can afford. I have 14 GB in my Mac Pro, it really speeds things up. But don’t buy the memory through Apple, go to a site like Macsales.com.

There is a debate over at CGtalk.com about the new macs.

The new cores are slower, but have better architecture, however the prices are extremley bloated for what your getting. The quad core is limited to 8GB’s of RAM, you get 3 x 1GB RAM modules as standard and you need to install them in 3’s to get the full speed out of them. Also you have two graphic card options (for 3D work, since 3D apps dont use more than one GPU), the rebranded 9600 or the ATI (which costs alot more).

If you really want a mac, get an Imac or look around for a shop that sells the older models, you’ll get so much more for your money, Or you could buy a BOXX machine, or build your own.

Just look around abit more, Apple may have had really nice machines in the past (i use to work with them everyday) but the new mac pros are aimed for the pros but geared for light gaming and light number crunching (i.e. converting video and other things like that).

Thanks for the replies!

I’m still not totally convinced the lower speed 8-core CPU will be a better fit for me than the highest speed quad core Mac.

For rendering it’s easy:

8 x 2.26 Ghz = 18.08 Ghz

4 x 2.93 Ghz = 11.72 Ghz

But for Photoshop which I heard uses 2 cores max the math would be quite different:

2 x 2.26 Ghz = 4.52 Ghz

2 x 2.93 Ghz = 5.86 Ghz

This (quite big) advantage for the Quad of course also counts for the one million other applications which don’t take use of multi cores.

And again, an advantage besides the fast rendertimes the 8-core has is the possibility to install 32 Gb of memory. So if what roofoo says is true and I might need up to 14 Gb of memory, according Apple there’s no room for this much RAM in the Quad.

Well, I think I’ll still wait a bit for the first benchmarks this week, and then make my choice.

Thanks again for the tips! Also thanks for the tips on how to spend less money, but since I was a young boy I dreamed about using this tool that is called: Mac. Now my PC is dying this seems to be the most logical step for me.

Thanks for the advice.
I’m not sure the iMac is the best choice for rendering 3D-animation. I’d like to grow further in that area. But you’re right when the benchmarks will be not that good, I might go for an older Mac Pro model.

If you want a mac, go for it :slight_smile:

About the core speeds, in photoshop you wouldnt have any problems working with extremley large files, the 2.26GHz, all the way upto the 2.93GHz will easily power through apps like that, however you would see a big increase when it comes to multi-threaded/ core applications, which are becoming more and more common nowadays. However it’s £1,120 for the upgrade to the 2.66GHz and £2,080 for the 2.93GHz cores.

Depending on your budget i would go with this;

  • Two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
  • 12GB (6x2GB)
  • 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
  • ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB

With this config you wont actaully need to upgrade anything, for sometime anyway. Adding RAM and more HDD’s after market will save you money and give you more options, im not sure about the Graphic card, as you usually have to get a card that works with OSX, however if you wanted to use linux or windows on the machine you could even get a Qaudro or perhaps a high end ATI card (blender works fine with ATI cards now and, i think, beats the latest Nvidia chips).

You shouldn’t try to go for a “future-proof” computer. Just look to see what has the most value for the amount of use, type of use, and lifetime of the computer.

i have a lap top and i can render things in a few seconds mac’s suck from my experiences all there good for is photoshop cs4 etc .

Is anything future-proof?

It is not correct to simply multiply the number of cores by the speed of each core. And I don’t really get why photoshop would “use 2 cores max” ?? On Windows Vista, just starting PS CS3 it has 17 threads, iirc if they are kernel threads it’s up to the operating system to decide which core they execute on.

I’m using a dell inspiron M1530 laptop. It has core2 whatever, 3GB of ram and cost me £700(roughly $1000). It’s been the best computer I’ve ever had and works wonders with blender and rendering. Compared to what I’m used to anyway.

I find with the highest end models, unless you’re a professional who absolutely needs the top specs to get their work done then it’s not really worth it and you end up wasting money. You should check out a new iMac rather than looking for an old mac pro. Seriously. You’d be better off, especially with apple’s warranty and support.

This seems like a good deal, I didnt see the Cache specifications on quick glance though (compared to Apple´s MacPro)


oh, something wrong with the link… maybe not as many drivebays too and maybe not as many ports(MacPro has lots of ports 2 different kind firewire, optical sound i think, usb ports on back and front, 2 flat screens possible graphics card for those and the cool thing is that the harddrive bays are “quick installable” 4 Hard Drives Max…

In my office, I’ve got one (several…) of each: PCs, Linux boxes, Macs.

No, this is not the place for a flame war. (Yawn…) No need for one.

Make sure that you get a fast, solid computer with plenty of RAM. If you have a really big rendering job to do, heck, you can sling-together every old computer you’ve got lying-about and make them all work together on your task. Choose a system that you prefer. My Mac is definitely my main work-horse.

Edit: Disregard this post, I’m an idiot.

And forget about the price issue when talking 8-core. 8-core PCs will cost the same as the Mac if not more… (with the same specs)


Will 8 Gb be enough for a decade when using 3D Apps?

no computer or component will last a decade. And when using Blender on Mac remember that it’s far from perfect still. The biggest concern is that it’s 32-bit only, but it seems as if this is about to change though =) Which is nice.