Does your Mac Pro tower really need 12-cores?

“Do you need a 12-core Mac Pro tower to run Pro Apps faster or will a 6-core do as well?” rob-ART morgan reports for Bare Feats. “Thanks to Other World Computing’s Turnkey Processor Tray Upgrade, we were able to compare them running at the same core frequency: 3.33GHz.”

“Some pro apps benefit from more CPU cores and some don’t. And when the render time is reduced, it’s not always by half even if you have twice as many CPU cores because certain pro apps use less than all available real and/or virtual cores for rendering,” morgan reports. “Sometimes the render time remains the same because the GPUs are doing all the work.”

“When you ask me for advice on how to speed up your Mac, I usually respond by saying, ‘It depends on what software you’re running,'” morgan reports. “One extra benefit of the 12-core processor tray is that it has two memory banks that accept up to four sticks of ECC RAM each — thereby doubling the amount of RAM compared to the 6-core. That can be very useful in RAM hungry apps like Photoshop.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Photoshop eats RAM for breakfast.


    1. It never ceases to amaze me when non-Pro users suggest that Pro’s don’t need every bit of performance they can get.

      I have computing tasks that take several hours to run on the best PC hardware. Unfortunately on a Mac Pro there is no option for the best GPU cards or for four of them, so the same task would take days on the poorly named Mac “Pro”.

      The Mac “Pro” is a great Mac. A really really great Mac. As in big brother to a Mini. But its not a pro machine which by definition means someone who has a productive use for every clock tick a machine can give.

      (In the context of equipment the phrase “Pro” does not mean professional. Lots of professional people don’t need a fast computer. It means super user, or most demanding user.)

      Someone needs to explain this to Apple. Keep selling the trash can for those who it serves well, but please, revive the real Mac Pro.

  1. While I love my mid-2010 Mac Pro, I sometimes wonder whether Apple will ever make a machine worthy of upgrading to. And no, I already have a display, so iMac’s have no value to me. And the 2013 Mac Pro (snicker) would require me to pay a large sum of money for a computer that may not be as fast for many tasks, as well as to purchase a bunch of build-out boxes (and cables) to accommodate my current setup.

      1. I am not sure you are making the point you think you are making.

        The fact is Apple has chosen to make it impossible to have a trash can Mac that can operate anywhere near the speed of a top of the line PC filled with top of the line GPUs.

        And your pointing out that a Mac Pro may be underpowered for Oculus isn’t surprising given that state of things.

        I don’t know if it is that underpowered, but it is certainly very underpowered compared to a maxed out PC. I develop run of the mill engineering software on Macs but actually have to run my own software on Windows PCs because the most “powerful” Mac’s case is “incompatible” (too small) for industry standard GPUs, which of course the most powerful cards are.

  2. I’d call that a big yes (to 12-core, though I’m ready to buy a 2012 Mac Pro 3.46Ghz 12 proc that with PCIe SSD drives and Titan-X card that is faster than a 2013 Mac Pro).

    Surprise us Apple with a well-thought out 2016 MP (tower preferably).

    1. It’s safe to say that Apple isn’t going to backtrack to the user-upgradeable model for their products. Can anyone tell me what the weak link is for buying 2012 or earlier Mac Pros and upgrading them? Will the processors simply be obsolete in a few years?

      1. I’m still on a 2008 Mac Pro and it’s running fine. The issue is when Apple stops supporting the model for OS X. My model is still supported…but not sure for how long…

      2. Moore’s Law is progressing so slowly now it’ll probably be another normal life cycle before the Mac Pro 2012 would need replacing. The video card is certainly an important factor these days in offloading processing off the CPU which is what makes the 2012 Mac Pro still compelling.

      3. I get the feeling that CPU lifespan for most users, even some pros, is at least three years. There will always be a number of users who are at the bleeding edge and upgrade at every Intel design cycle.

        However, I see a bigger issue with other components. There have been enormous strides in solid state drives, RAM, PCI cards, and GPUs. Updating them in any Mac has become practically impossible. That’s definitely hurting Apple’s reputation and sales. We see lots of studios going back to Windows. It’s a travesty!!!!!!!!!!!

      4. One problem I see in sticking with old Xeon processors is that you don’t get the new enhanced instructions for the newer Intel processors (e.g. AVX AVX2, AVX-512). These are very powerful instructions for performing vector math.

  3. When you’re in the multimedia business, and time is money, anything you can do to save time is a good thing. Multiple cores is a blessing; the more the merrier.

  4. I’ve been using towers since the arrival of the 8100 (including the Daystar Genesis MP800 . The expansion is really worth it and, once the multi-processor / multi-core options appeared it really made a difference (once the apps caught up with the hardware – which sometimes took a while). I’m currently running a MacPro 5,1 with 16 core, tons of RAM, and a higher-end video card (a Quatro would certainly be kind’a nice, but I’d have to sell a car or something). I’ve also added USB3 and esata cards and an external drive dock for bank vault archives on top of a couple of RAIDs. Along with just about everything else, I also produce videos (supported by just about every RedGiant and Boris plug-in around) and 3-D product models. With apps that make use of all the processing power and the tech on the video card, things tick right along. With apps that don’t things can be like molasses. The only thing that makes that bearable is that I have more than enough to do with other apps while an old chugger labors along through things.
    If I could upgrade anything, it would be to a top of the line graphics card (or maybe two) and perhaps an expansion chassis. The current MacPro has got some good things going for it, but I would rather have a tower. If I were a peripheral designer, I would create a unit that would mate up directly with the machine, effectively turning it into a tower. Not a new idea. I remember when one outfit created a unit that would swap out with the lid of an LC, adding several inches to the height while adding PCI, drive space and other enhancements.

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