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  #1  
Old 08-28-2011, 03:29 PM
Ross H Ross H is offline
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Default 2008 Mac Pro w/ lots of ram or 2009/2010 w/ low ram?

I'm trying to decide on buying a used Mac Pro for the studio. $2,250.00 budget.

Through my research I understand that there appears to be a fairly big jump in performance between the 2008, 8 core machines, and the 2009/2010 Nehalem/Westmere 8 cores.

The 2008 models with lots of ram can easily be purchased under $1,500.00. The newer 2009/10 boxes are not so easy to get under $2,250.00.

I also understand that a nice chunk of Ram helps PT performance as well. So I'm trying to get some real world feedback on those who have been down this path before. If you were to buy today, would you buy an older 8 core with 24-32 gig of ram OR a newer 8 core with lower ram (say 4 gig)?

For reference...I currently have a 4 core custom PC for audio only. It is rock solid on XP running PT 8. I also have a newer MacBookPro quad core running PT 9. I want to purchase a MacPro because I need the extra "omph" for mixing...both machines run out of juice towards the end of a mix and I'm done with the whole transferring of files back and forth between the computers.

Typically I am tracking full bands, live, so low latency and high track count is a must. Once I start mixing, I do get pretty plug-in heavy. VI's would be drum replacement, Amp emulations, Stylus, etc.

So again the question is: MP 2008, 8 core, lots of ram or MP 2009/10, 8 core, little ram?

Thanks in advance!

Ross
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Old 08-28-2011, 03:41 PM
Dism Dism is offline
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Default Re: 2008 Mac Pro w/ lots of ram or 2009/2010 w/ low ram?

16-32GB of RAM won't make any difference for Pro Tools performance in the immediate future, since it is still a 32bit application. You're better off getting better processing now, and buying more RAM later as you need it. Unless you are using an external host for VIs (like VE Pro), you won't see much of a performance difference between 8 and 32GB of RAM at least strictly from use of Pro Tools.

Also, if you buy a Mac from Apple, ALWAYS get the lowest RAM and hard disk space possible, as they overcharge for both. Much cheaper to upgrade yourself with aftermarket components.
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Old 08-28-2011, 08:31 PM
Ross H Ross H is offline
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Default Re: 2008 Mac Pro w/ lots of ram or 2009/2010 w/ low ram?

Thanks for the feedback. I'll take your advice and go for the newer system with lower Ram.

Looks like I'll need to up my budget a bit to afford the Westmere processors. Going rate appears to be around @$2,700 for a used 8 core with Westmeres/6 gig of ram and a couple hard drives.

Ross
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:35 PM
KMcK KMcK is offline
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Default Re: 2008 Mac Pro w/ lots of ram or 2009/2010 w/ low ram?

I'd get neither. The current 8 cores are too low on clock speed for what they cost. A 4 core 2.8ghz is a better buy for my money than an 8 core 2.4ghz considering the price difference and the fact that PT doesn't take advantage of the potentially higher RAM amount you can get from the 8 core motherboard. PT doesn't use multiple cores well anyway, so generally a higher CPU speed is the better investment in my experience. The 6 Core 3.33ghz is considered the top of the line right now aside from the $5k 12-cores but they're pretty tough to find a deal on.
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:57 PM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: 2008 Mac Pro w/ lots of ram or 2009/2010 w/ low ram?

You might also look at a refurbished one from the Apple website.
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:57 PM
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JFreak JFreak is offline
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Default Re: 2008 Mac Pro w/ lots of ram or 2009/2010 w/ low ram?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dism View Post
16-32GB of RAM won't make any difference for Pro Tools performance in the immediate future, since it is still a 32bit application.
Writing's on the wall? Sure, if you need performance now you want to buy lots of processing power. It is not that clear whether future brings us more benefit from larger memory. But I guess OP wants to buy and use it now so I'd say go for better CPU (and it is cheaper to buy more RAM than to change to better processor)
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:19 PM
Ross H Ross H is offline
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Default Re: 2008 Mac Pro w/ lots of ram or 2009/2010 w/ low ram?

I ended up getting an 8 core Westmere with 6 gig of ram and a couple of TB drives for $2450 shipped.

Not the best deal, not the worst...but I feel good about it. Totally ready to leave the PC world behind and be totally in the Mac domain!

The idea of just unplugging my external audio drive from the studio machine and plugging it in to my MacBook is worth the price of admission alone.

If you know any "Mac tweak" threads or sites please share.

Thanks for all of the help and advice...

Ross
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