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View Full Version : PowerMac G5 RAM Upgrade brand guidelines?




drj434343
May 30, 2008, 05:45 PM
This topic has been touched on from time to time here, but I wanted to somehow establish a more definitive consensus about what type of brands are capable of being used in the PowerMac G5, specifically the last dual core models.

I know most people suggest brands like Crucial, Kingston, and OWC because they'll guaranty compatibility, but you'll always pay a premium for that guaranty. I can go with generic (read: PC) memory of the same type for significant savings, but I'm not sure how well it will work. Back in the day, with my PowerMac G4, I threw in any generic brand I wanted, and never had any issues.

Does anyone have experience buying generic brand RAM usually reserved for PC's and using it successfully in their PowerMac G5?



voyagerd
May 30, 2008, 05:55 PM
I have both Crucial, Geil, and some random brand stuff I got from Fry's for really cheap. You can use just about anything, like you said in your G4.

CanadaRAM
May 30, 2008, 06:02 PM
I can go with generic (read: PC) memory of the same type for significant savings, but I'm not sure how well it will work.
That's just the point -- generic RAM - even if it is the same brand and model number - is liable to change its configuration without notice. This was one reason that a range of Kingston ValueRAM modules stopped working with Macs, their build was changed.

Mac compatibility hinges on the configuration of the module, and the correct programming of the Serial Presence Detect chip on the module. Different models of Macs have different sensitivity to out of spec RAM. The iMac G5's were horrendously finicky with generic RAM for example. The Core2Duo intel Macs are quite tolerant (but not 100% so, as witness the Penryn MacBook Pros crashing on 'standard' 800 MHz SODIMMs)

Unless the RAM is sold with a Mac compatibility guarantee, then there isn't a good way of knowing that the configuration and SPD settings of a particular module will be compatible - its down to trial and error.

drj434343
May 30, 2008, 11:13 PM
Mac compatibility hinges on the configuration of the module, and the correct programming of the Serial Presence Detect chip on the module. Different models of Macs have different sensitivity to out of spec RAM. The iMac G5's were horrendously finicky with generic RAM for example. The Core2Duo intel Macs are quite tolerant (but not 100% so, as witness the Penryn MacBook Pros crashing on 'standard' 800 MHz SODIMMs)

That's excellent information, and pretty much what I expected to be the case. Example, my PowerBook G4 was very finicky, I went through several brands before I found one that wouldn't cause hard kernal panics. The PowerMac G4, as mentioned, would take almost anything.

What I was hoping to learn, in addition, was people's first hand experience with trying brands in the PowerMac G5. I wanted to get a sense of how "finicky" this particular system would be. It will help me gauge whether or not it's worth it to risk lower priced RAM.

vga4life
May 31, 2008, 01:35 AM
Does anyone have experience buying generic brand RAM usually reserved for PC's and using it successfully in their PowerMac G5?

I don't by the cheapest RAM, I just buy the basic range of RAM from reputable enthusiast brands in matched pairs. For example, my current G5 is maxed out with 4 matched pairs of G.SKILL value RAM:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231039

Works like a champ. DDR isn't changing much these days (being outdated by DDR2 and DDR3) so if you have an older G5 this is a safe way to go.

Edit: since you have a newer (PCIe/DDR2) G5, I'd play it safer. Fewer people bought those and consequently there are fewer reviews out there addressing G5 compatibility. I'd go with a reputable Mac-focused vendor in that case like OWC or transintl.

sash
May 31, 2008, 05:22 AM
Hi,

I believe, the OWC RAM is not that expensive -- and it has pretty good reputation here. I've bought their RAM for MP, and am still happy. For the rest, I've always has been a bit anxious about buying generic RAM (maybe ungrounded), so -- Kingston and Samsung. But are they (big brands) really better? Maybe they just have more money for convincing the buyer they are. I don't know.

sash

drj434343
May 31, 2008, 12:04 PM
My quick price outs showed that of the "Mac approved" RAM, OWC appeared to be the cheapest, $99 for a 4 GB kit (2x2GB). If I go with a generic flavor on newegg, I can get it down to $70 or so for the same kit.

I'm thinking it may be worth it to try. I can return the kit if it doesn't work. Any other opinions?

CanadaRAM
Jun 1, 2008, 03:59 PM
Compare Data Memory Systems (http://www.datamemorysystems.com/_apple_info/Apple_MacBook_Pro_Intel_Core_2_Duo_17_2.4GHz_Memory_1463.asp), another well respected Mac RAM vendor.