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Author Topic: Ultimate 12 core/Apple prpmotion  (Read 9568 times)
Dick Roadnight
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« on: November 23, 2010, 05:10:58 AM »
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There is an Apple promotion on Friday, and I had been thinking about the spec. for a 12 core:

I will be using 60 and or 48Mpx cameras, combining images for focus merge, pan-and-stitch, shift-and-stitch and painting with flash light, batch processing many 60Mpx pics in phocus, so I think I can justify getting a serious machine!

Configuration

    * Two 2.93GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon “Westmere” (12 cores)
    * 32 GB (8 x 4 GB)
    * 2TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive
    * 2TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive
    * 512GB solid-state drive
    * Two ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB

    * One 18x SuperDrive
    * Magic Mouse
    * Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (British) & User's Guide (English)
    * Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter
    * Country Kit

Can you suggest any improvements on this? anything better or more cost-effective?

Would this be better than a raid machine?

Would it be worth getting server for use with my mac book pro?

I would be using 30" and 21" Eizos with it (I already have the 21).

Every computer I have had so far has been about £2k, so this is a big jump!

I would hope to make do with this machine for ever (I am 61).

I might use a forth drive (internal or external) as a PC drive.

...and what about back-up?

The quoted price is nearly £10k, but they give not details of what discounts will be available on Friday.
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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2010, 05:42:12 AM »
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Not all SSDs are created equal. Make sure to get a fast one with performance that doesn't degrade over time.
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Murray Fredericks
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2010, 05:52:59 AM »
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Hi Dick,

I think you can do much better than that for that money by working with a RAID setup rather than the pure processing grunt and at the same time get loads of extra storage space (which you definately will need) to boot.

I would highly recommend reading through this (if you have not already)

http://macperformanceguide.com/index_topics.html#ChoosingConfiguring

and determining if the (often) marginally extra performance is worth the exponential rise in cost.

You need to determine whether the extra speed you want will come from the raid or the processors (or both) and where the money should be spent and where it's to be cost effective.

Also, there are much cheaper ways of going about all that than ordering this proposed setup from the factory -  and they don't require you to be a technician to make them happen...

Cheers

M
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gazwas
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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2010, 06:04:26 AM »
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The quoted price is nearly £10k, but they give not details of what discounts will be available on Friday.

£10K on a PC...... for photography!  Shocked
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ChristopherBarrett
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2010, 07:19:20 AM »
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For SSD's I'd skip the OEM units and go with OWC's.  They've proven not to degrade with use and have excellent speed.  I have a pair in my 12 core in Raid 0 and get 500mb/sec out of them!  12 cores is really hard to justify over 6, especially for Photoshop which doesn't allocate well.  I wanted 8 memory slots though and have installed 6 - 8gb chips.  You only get 4 slots on the 6 core.  I'd also recommend getting the least amount of Ram installed and buying it from OWC, or any trusted vendor and installing that yourself.  I got my 48gb for $1600 US.

I also went for the faster video card.  Probably not necessary, but hey, I might want to play games SOME day.

I do find that Capture 1 Pro takes full advantage of my 12 cores so my batch outputs go by pretty quick and image rendering (on screen) is very quick.  I 've got about 400GB of Video to edit over the next two weeks, so I'm pretty happy I made the major investment in the tower... mine clocked in around 10k too.


Cheers, computing is about to get much more fun.
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Dustbak
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2010, 08:13:58 AM »
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What is the purpose of 2 ATI5770? You are better off getting the ATI5870. The 5870 is virtually unavailable but can be had when buying a new MacPro. I would also skip the Apple SSD and get an OWC.

Figuring you will be putting the SSD in the bay below the superdrive you can put 4 2TB 7200rpm drives in and configure them in RAID0. I would suggest using the caviar blacks for this.

Phocus uses all cores and allocates its resources very well over them!
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2010, 08:16:06 AM »
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I do find that Capture 1 Pro takes full advantage of my 12 cores so my batch outputs go by pretty quick and image rendering (on screen) is very quick.  I 've got about 400GB of Video to edit over the next two weeks, so I'm pretty happy I made the major investment in the tower... mine clocked in around 10k too.

Capture One may take advantage of 12 cores, but it's always been ahead of the general curve on taking advantage of multiple cores. Many programs, even pro apps like Photoshop (currently) actually run slower on 12 cores than 6 cores. As a Hassy shooter it might help if a 12-core Hassy owner could run some tests to see whether Phocus is able to saturate all 12 cores during import/tethering, adjustments, processing. (I don't have any idea either way)

Long term most professional programs will increase their emphasis on coding to take advantage of multiple cores, but it may be a while before Photoshop does. Only time will tell.

More info
http://www.captureintegration.com/2010/09/03/new-12-core-mac-pros/


Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2010, 08:17:01 AM »
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Phocus uses all cores and allocates its resources very well over them!

Great news for you!
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Christopher
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« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2010, 09:14:42 AM »
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I'm just a little shocked, you are already over 10.000POUNDS Huh I'm just really happy I can built my own PCs and save thousand of dollars and get something that is even faster. Smiley

First I wouldn't get two graphic cards but one better. It doesn't make sense to have two. As many said before don't get a OEM SSD, mostly we don't really know what apple is selling you.




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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2010, 01:55:20 PM »
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...I'm just really happy I can built my own PCs and save thousand of dollars and get something that is even faster.

First I wouldn't get two graphic cards but one better. It doesn't make sense to have two. As many said before don't get a OEM SSD, mostly we don't really know what apple is selling you.
I was hoping that some of you could give me some useful advice on cost-effectively putting a system together, thank you... can you run two Eizos of one graphics card?
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2010, 02:21:52 PM »
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Many programs, even pro apps like Photoshop (currently) actually run slower on 12 cores than 6 cores.

I think the difference is you can purchase a 6 core machine running at 3.3ghz which will outperform a 12 core machine which maxes at 2.93ghz - so it's about the processor speed and not the number of cores.  Since  the current version of PS doesn't leverage mulitple cores very well you get more bang out of faster processor speeds.. Actually I tried to confirm Digiloyd's finding with my 12 core mac using the apple processor utility.  12 cores does not run slower in any of his photoshop tests than 6 on my setup, and is marginally faster.   I was unable to duplicate many of his reported findings and still am not sure how he was able to test a 12 core 3.33ghz machine, since apple doesn't make one.

True photoshop does not scale well ( as do many other programs) as you add cores.  But multiple cores also are advantageous in other ways, such as Lightroom rendering 1:1 previews while other tasks are going on - I see virtually no photoshop speed hit when doing this in LR in the background.  I'm frequently ripping DVD's while doing photo work, and only see about a 5% speed hit in LR and photoshop, despite the intensive ripping of Handbrake.  Additionally an investment now can be looked at as a fairly long term one, probably good for perhaps 2 more versions of PS.  I would assume adobe is working on tweaking code to get more leverage out of multi core machines.

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gazwas
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2010, 03:38:50 PM »
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Additionally an investment now can be looked at as a fairly long term one, probably good for perhaps 2 more versions of PS.  I would assume adobe is working on tweaking code to get more leverage out of multi core machines.

I just don't think your statement holds true with such technology. Never will a £10K spend on a PC ever be a good long term/future proof investment. If Intel's processor upgrades follow as thy have done since Apple went Intel then history shows, this years top end model will be virtually matched in speed by next years low end model.

Photography software puts such a low drain on the resources of modern multi core machines that you'd be much better of buying the lower spec MacPro's on a more regular basis, than spending on the highest spec model and keeping it for 10 years. People who demand the latest and fastest from their computers (video, 3D, animation etc, etc) then fine but for photographers.  Huh
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Christopher
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2010, 04:01:03 PM »
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I was hoping that some of you could give me some useful advice on cost-effectively putting a system together, thank you... can you run two Eizos of one graphics card?

Yes you can and you even can have one profile each. As far as I know it only works with AMD/ATI Cards and even there not all of them. However the newer generation should be alright.
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EricWHiss
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2010, 05:10:10 PM »
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How much of that £10k is RAM?    Buying RAM and extra Hard drives from the Apple store is a good way to throw away a ton of money.  Save money by going with one of the aftermarket vendors.  I usually go with Crucial.com myself but there are plenty of other vendors.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2010, 05:29:57 PM »
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I just don't think your statement holds true with such technology. Never will a £10K spend on a PC ever be a good long term/future proof investment. If Intel's processor upgrades follow as thy have done since Apple went Intel then history shows, this years top end model will be virtually matched in speed by next years low end model.

Photography software puts such a low drain on the resources of modern multi core machines that you'd be much better of buying the lower spec MacPro's on a more regular basis, than spending on the highest spec model and keeping it for 10 years. People who demand the latest and fastest from their computers (video, 3D, animation etc, etc) then fine but for photographers.  Huh
While certainly technology will continue to move ahead, I know my previous 8 core MacPro was from 3 generations ago, and was still very serviceable after 3 years (and in fact is in daily use still today, just not by me). I'm not talking about 10 years here, but maybe around 3.

So even though technology will continue to improve, those improvements are incremental, and upgrading every iteration of MacPro really doesn't do what it used to. Since PS is traditionally on about an 18 month upgrade cycle, it's conceivable to me that the current 6 and 12 core will still be quite useful for a couple of versions.  True maybe not the fastest MacPro out there, but still serviceable enough. 

I guess my main thought is regarding buying a 6 vs 12 core machine now ... if CS6 can actually leverage the cores even marginally better than now, the 12 core may prove the better machine for the next version of PS which is certainly within the life expectancy of the machine.  I'm not even sure adobe can answer that question so maybe it isn't a factor in deciding.

So as a photographer if the only concern is max PS speed and no real taxing multi-tasking, the 3.33.ghz 6 core is the way to go.  In my case, I spend less than 15% of time in PS, the remainder in C1 and LR, so the extra cores are proving quite valuable.

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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2010, 06:18:20 PM »
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I don't think now is a good time to invest in a machine supposed to last long. The current Mac Pro lacks support for USB3 and lightpeak, it will have a hard time connecting to most interesting peripherals in one to two years from now.

If you really need to buy something, I second the advice on the high end OWC Raid ready SSD. I have been using a 200GB version and this thing currently flies without showing any sign of slowing down. I wish I could say the same of my Intel SSD 25M on Win7 on the work laptop.

Generally speaking though, it is IMHO questionable to bet on Apple's intention to keep serving the high end market well. They have shown less and less interest for that segment.

Cheers,
Bernard
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jduncan
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« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2010, 06:55:35 PM »
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I don't think now is a good time to invest in a machine supposed to last long. The current Mac Pro lacks support for USB3 and lightpeak, it will have a hard time connecting to most interesting peripherals in one to two years from now.
Just to clarify:
1. USB-3 is compatible with USB-2.
2. Mac Pros have expansion. We already have working USB-3 cards for the mac Pro. (http://barefeats.com/hard136.html)
3. I don't see a lot of peripherals that cary lightpeak only any time soon. But who knows? Still we have slots. But only 3.
4. Current mac pros have firewire, not sure the lightpeak generation will have.
5. Add Pcie-3 to the list of new stuff for the next year.
6. What about Sandybridge EX and Lion ? Will the difference in performance / features  be worthy of waiting?
 
None of the about invalidate your points just make the consideration more nuanced. Apple update of the mac pro was late and little. No more PCIe lines by example. I understand that they are stuck with intel.  But I am still not happy. The next generation machines could be a big step forward. But, if that's the case, maybe that will be a good reason to buy the machine today. Let the people that is not using the machine for earning a living debug the new technologies.

Only my few cents Smiley
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Frank Doorhof
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« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2010, 01:49:43 AM »
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I skipped the 12 core because my 8 Core 2008 model still runs fast enough.
I did upgrade the videocard to the 5770.

My advise.

1x 5770, it's fast enough and I don't think photo or video software will benefit really that much from the 5870.
SKIP the ram, get it with as little ram as possible and buy the ram from Kingston, they have the same modules but a LOT cheaper.

SSD is nice but also skip that.
Get one SSD drive from another brand and use hybrid drives for the rest if needed.
For storage however normal 7200/10.000 rpm drives are more than enough of course.

SSD is nice as boot drive and swap drive but not for everything.

RAM I should keep at 12-16GB max, 32GB is way too much, even for 60MP/80MP files.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2010, 09:03:16 AM »
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Just to clarify:
1. USB-3 is compatible with USB-2.
2. Mac Pros have expansion. We already have working USB-3 cards for the mac Pro. (http://barefeats.com/hard136.html)
3. I don't see a lot of peripherals that cary lightpeak only any time soon. But who knows? Still we have slots. But only 3.
4. Current mac pros have firewire, not sure the lightpeak generation will have.
5. Add Pcie-3 to the list of new stuff for the next year.
6. What about Sandybridge EX and Lion ? Will the difference in performance / features  be worthy of waiting?

True, a lot of things are unclear as of now, but that is precisely my point. Unless you really need a new WS quickly, waiting one more generation seems reasonnable.

It is indeed possible to buy a USB 3 expansion card, but do you have visibility on the achievable performance when several devices are connected,...? You end up being stuck with ports behind the machine that are pretty unconvenient,...

Cheers,
Bernard
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ChristopherBarrett
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« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2010, 10:06:06 AM »
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with technology, though, it always seems prudent to wait just one more generation to get that one new feature or advancement.  I had been waiting over a year for Apple to introduce new towers and I expect the new beast to last me at least a few years.  My God, I was retouching on a laptop before they came out...

As with all gear, you just need to really subjectively appraise if the benefit outweighs the cost.  As I type this I have Capture 1 Pro batch processing 900 images for a timelapse sequence while Red Cine-X is rendering about 300gb worth of footage and the Tower is just purring right along as I drink my coffee. 

Really though,  if I hadn't known that I was going to be doing more video work, I probably would of gone for the 6 core.

Good Mornin' LuLa,
CB
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