3rd Part Mac Pro RAM Upgrades

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by SPUY767, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. SPUY767 macrumors 68000


    Jun 22, 2003
    Installing After-Market RAM in your MacPro. Apple Charges too much for memory, this we all know, but what's an apple lover to do? I have a solution that takes nothing but your time, and 15$. Well, it also takes the cost of some kingston value-ram but that's only $164 a skick compared to apple's $300 price, and OWC's $250.

    First thing first, get the ram. Kingston 1 Gig Stick Remember, you must buy this in pairs! Second, add this puppy to your cart. Thermal Paste This stuff is a must. This is not the cheapest, but it's the best bang for buck. Finally, get yourself some of this. Thermal Cleaner What we're really interested in is the thermal compound remover, the purifier is nice, but only if you have a surface bigger than a ram ship to work with.

    When all this stuff gets to your door, power down your mac pro and remove the 2 512 MB sticks that came with it. Let these cool for fifteen minutes or so. Once cool, carefully remove the heatsinks, they are held on by Four large, and two small metal clips each. A Small slotted screwdriver will be necessary to get the small clips off, but a fingernail will suffice for the larget clips. If you have extremely brittle fingernails, just use the screwdriver or a tiny pair of pliers to get at the clips, but BE CAREFUL, at the top if the stick, the clip will come very clise to scraching vital electronic pieces on your FB DIMM and you don't want to screw it up. Once all the clips are removed, place them in a container off to the side. Gently grasp the DIMM on the top and bottom edges, and pull the heatsink off, pulling until one side comes loose, then switching and getting the other side loose. While the memory chips themselves are connected to the sink via cheapo thermal tape, the DIMM's little microprocessor uses thermal paste, and will come loose with no effort. Remove the heatsink from both sides in this manner.

    The kingston chips have head spreaders, these increase the surface area, but nothing like a heat sink. They are sufficient for a 512 chip, and even 1 and 2 gig chips in a noisy server, but in the whisper quiet mac pro, they are not enough, partly because the fan that blows across the memory first blows across the CPUs, and the air is already quite warm if the chips are under heavy load. At any rate, the heatsinks come off of the Kingston chips in much the same fashion, except that there are only two clips holding them on. now, Kingston used more expensive, but also messier thermal tape, so a good portion of it will stick to the DIMM when you remove the spreader.

    After you have removed both sets of heatsinks and spreaders, preparte to look like the tin man. The Apple thermal tape comes of relatively easily, just roll it gently from one end to another until it's off, it has a good self-adhesion, so it whould come off in one piece. The kingston thermal tape is another story entirely. You're just gonig to have to get your finger's filthy with this stuff, it will readily come off of the spreaders, just scrape and pile. Try not to use any foreign objects to remove the tape, but if you must, that is to say, if you are a dainty sissy boy (or girl) who doesn't want to get dirty, try to use something very soft and very clean, like a siliicone kitchen spatula, but never a metal object as this could scratch and lower the efficiency of the cooling surface. As for getting the paste off of the silicon RAM chips, use a soft lint fre cloth and rub once or twice. Being a porous surface, a decent amount of silver color will remain. Do not be alarmed, that is what we bought the tubes of liquid for. The thermal tape used on the apple supplied ram doesnt's stick, so no preliminary cleaning is needed.

    With four sticks of semi clean ram, it's time to apply the Thermal Compound Cleaner. Apply one drop to each of the RAM Chips on each DIMM, as well as a single drop to the Processor on the chips and let sit on one side for five to ten minutes. When the time has elapsed, come in with a clean, lint-free cloth, and dab each of the chips dry. Do any additional Wiping as necessary, but don't over do it. Vigorous cleaning should ahve no adverse effects, but let's no tempt fate. Once on side of each ram chip is clean, Do the other side just like the first. If you've already Applied cleaner to your heatsinks, Wipe them off until clean, if not, do so now, and let sit. When time has elapsed, clean up your heatsinks, and your Ram in the aforementioned manner, you can be a little firmer with the heatsinks as you'd have a hard time damaging the metal without a brillo pad. Do be careful however not to bend the kingston heat spreader as you want to have good contact.

    The Heatsinks will get an application of the surface purifier, just drip on, and wipe up per the instructions on the bottle, and you are ready to go. No comes the fun part, applying the thermal compound to the ram chips. The heat sinks are specific to a side, but it is crazy obvious which side is which. I suggest starting with the back side, i.e. the side without the Processor, as it is geometrically less complex, and will more easily sit flat. Start with the Apple-supplied ram chips.

    On Each silicon chip, apply a very tiny dallop of compound. To get an idea of how small the drop of compound should be, press opt-8 in a 12 point font. There should be five silicon chips on the back of the apple chips. Once you've finished, carefully align the heat spreader and press it gently onto the back of the Apple ram. Flip the chip over and do the same again, this time, being careful to apply a slightly smaller bit of compound to the exposed chip at the very center of the Processor. Apply the front of the heat spreader and be sure to align the interlocking bits properly with the topmost notch in the ram chip. When both siodes are applied, hold the ram firmly, but carefully at the very center, and prepare to re-apply the clips. The kingston clips should go on fairly easily, and you will see and hear them click into place.

    For the apple heatsinks, and the kingston ram, go though the same process listed above, but be careful, the larger, heavier, and more complex heat sink is harder to hold steady for clipping, and you have to minimize slippage to keep the thermal compund from being spread to thin. Apply the small clips first, and make sure that they align with the topmiost notch in the DIMM. Once those are in place, grasp the heatsink as before, and apply the clips. These clips are made from a heavier guage metal and are slightly harder to apply, I suggest applying the outermost clips first, then the innermost pair of clips.

    Tada! Your heatsinks have ben switched, and your 1 Gig chips have more adequate cooling. On your ram risers, be sure to install the 1 Gig chips in the uppermost riser, and the 512s in the bottom. I don't know why this should make a difference, but when i had the opposite configuration, my page outs were low, about .5% of of my page ins. When I reconfigured the RAM, page Outs has been at 0 for days. Go figure.

    That's it, your Mac Pro now has 3 GB of DDR2 667 FB RAM in the fastest memory configuration possible, most applications that can utilize any noticible portion of this computer's power will run appreciably faster. WoW framerates are up 30%, Motion Renders take 17% less time, and windows runs noticable faster. Yipee.
  2. arn macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    thanks for taking the time to write that up. some people might be interested in doing it themselves.


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