Does the Mac Pro have to be in pairs?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by EHUnlucky7x9@ao, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. EHUnlucky7x9@ao macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2006
    New Jersey
    I'm looking to add another gig of ram into my mac pro. I've seen companies sell single sticks of DDR667 FB-DIMM RAM.

    I've read that its good for performance to have it in pairs, but no one specifically says you can't install just one RAM module. Is it possible? 3 sticks on a riser? or 2 + 1?
  2. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
  3. jer2eydevil88 macrumors regular


    Feb 6, 2004
    I am not 100% sure because these new Macs use EFI instead of a traditional bios, EFI can be configured by Apple to lock out certain configurations.

    If this was a traditional setup, or Apple was kind enough to setup EFI to take single stick and convert down to single channel, then you could purchase single dimms not in pairs for your machine.

    I will be purchasing a Mac Pro for a small company next week and I also have found little to no documentation about its support for single DIMMS that are added without being in pairs.
  4. pianoman macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2006
    i agree. and i especially like the "sunshine" comment.
  5. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California
    "Does the Mac Pro have to be in pairs?"

    No, but you sure would have a fast setup with two Mac Pros operating together. ;)
  6. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Yes ... installation instructions here

    Mac Pro Memory (FB-DIMM) DIY Replacement Instructions (pdf)

    The machine is capable of Quad channel memory utilizing 2 pairs of matched memory (aka, 4 matched DIMMs) ... but 4 matched DIMMs aren't needed, just 1 pair at a time.


    If you can understand the picture, there are two dual channel memory controllers on the machine. You should also see the need to alternate pair installations from Riser A to B, to make best use of the bandwidth -- because only two DIMMS can be accessed on the riser at a time.

    Edit: That should confuse somebody. :D
  7. phantasm10 macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Even if it did work, it would probably be like having 3 tires on a 4 wheel drive vehicle.
  8. eodp3 macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2006
    the diagram on the inside of the side panel of the MP's case shows to install 2 at a time.
  9. Spaceman Spiff macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2003
    Ah, you beat me to it.

    I think a nice 2 for 1 deal from Apple would be lovely, actually.

    I'm still curious whether match pairs of pairs on the same riser make any difference.
  10. richpjr macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2006
    I have a spinoff question on this - if I get a Mac Pro with the standard 1 meg of ram and want to add another more memory, does the next set of RAM modules need to be the same size to take advantage of the dual memory increase? Or could I add 2 1-meg modules to it (total of 3 meg) and still get the performance increase?

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