How Much RAM Should I Buy for my MacPro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Anto38x, Aug 19, 2006.

  1. macrumors member

    To whom it may concern..
    I'm about to purchase a new MacPro Quad Core 3GHz system with 8GB of RAM (I currently have another thread running looking for advice on which display to purchase. The cost isn't the issue just the pros and cons). I'm a graphic designer who uses photoshop extensively and I'm also getting more and more into video and dvd presentations using imovie, idvd and Final Cut Pro & Motion. I currently have a Dual 2.0GHz with a 4GB of RAM (which is excellent). Can anyone tell me for sure if by buying the additional RAM it will impact significantly on the speed etc.

    I was going to purchase my 8GB's from Has anyone dealt with them before... any feedback and will their memory be easy to install in the new MacPro? I have never done this... but I don't want to fork out €2,500 for the same equivalent from Apple through their BTO system.

    Thanking you in advance...

    Irish MacUser and MacAddict
  2. Guest


    I'd start with 4GB and then see if you need more.
  3. Administrator emeritus


    IF you want to see how easy the ram is to install then check this video out You could install the ram quicker than watching that video if you were experienced, so yeah it is very easy.
  4. macrumors G3

    You will get better performance out of the FB-DIMMs when only the first bank in each channel is populated (4 slots), so you want to get your memory estimate right from the beginning.
  5. macrumors G3


    Photoshop doesn't like being on a system with more than 4GB. It will run, and Adobe offer a plugin to deal with the freezing problem, but that has potential drawbacks too. This isn't the end of the world, but you'll want to keep it in mind.

    Here's an explanation of the issue, and here's the plugin. This article explains what is going on in more detail.
  6. macrumors 68020



    4GB is "OK" for now, although you could say that a Mercedes S class is also "OK" for driving to the shops the morning paper.
  7. Guest


    Correct me if I am wrong, but the article said that the problem was with painting lag, not "Photoshop doesn't like being on a system with more than 4GB."

    I mean I don't not believe you, but isn't painting the only issue?
  8. macrumors G3


    It's any brush-like tool, so it can be a serious usability concern for people who use PS for retouching and the like. As above, it's not the end of the world.

    The pause thing is really still there for other tools (it's all tied into the scratch/undo monster), but a bit of a pause is much more tolerable if you aren't looking for real time feedback on the screen.
  9. macrumors 68030

    i'd personally start with 4 GB RAM and see how it goes. check your activity monitor and look for the page outs. i'm sure with the new machines and that much ram, things will hum very, very nicely.

    maybe use the extra to upgrade the video card as far as you can go. that might make a huge difference.

    oh..and i'm jealous :)
  10. Guest


    Oh, Ok - I was just confused! Thanks. :)
  11. macrumors regular

    The only thing that I can really contribute is that Non-Apple memory is a VERY bad thing at the moment as far as the Mac Pro goes. Crucial pulled their entire line, other manufacturers followed suite or never even posted a line yet. There are a few other places that ARE offering Mac Pro memory for sale, but then I would still be cautious. There are numerous threads about faults with non-apple memory. Here is an example:

    I'm not trying to be an Apple Fanboi.. I just lean on the side of caution. I would love to choke my computer down with memory, but I bought my Mac Pro with 1g of Ram, and forked out another $300 to Apple for their 1g memory upgrade because I want my system to be as rock solid as possible. It sounds like you are looking for stability also, so right now I would highly recommend either waiting to get a mac pro until accessory memory is reliable and affordable, or just purchasing all the RAM from Apple.
  12. macrumors Penryn


    Stop being such a cheapass and get the 16 GB!! ;)

    And if you want to know how much RAM is too much, get 4 GB of RAM for now, open up Motion, FCP, Adobe PS, and whatever else you use, and go into TERMINAL, type in "top" and hit the ENTER button. See how much free RAM there is remaining on your system. Also check how many PAGEOUTS you have.

    I really don't know about the type of work you do, and on that system, but this is generally how you'd figure out whether you need more RAM.
  13. macrumors regular

    Just a suggestion. If you could, just post one thread in one place. I have seen that you have multiple threads with the same topic in differestn sections.

    If you just ask for advice and aggregate all your questions into one post. They will get answered.
  14. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    [Moderator note: Two threads have been merged. Please do not start duplicate threads.]
  15. macrumors 68040


    Toss in the best video card you can with 4GB of RAM. You can always add more RAM later, you get diminishing returns over 4GB anyway.
  16. macrumors 68000


    If I was buying one and had the cash, 16GB would find their way in there at some point.

    I think you should always buy what you need and/or can afford. I felt 512MB was too little, so I added another 1GB. When I spot the prices have dropped enough, I'll get the other 1GB and replace the 512MB with it.

    Next, I'm buying an iMac. Because this won't be for about 12-18 months, options may be available for 4GB+, while it ships with just 1GB. Perhaps I'll leave it at 1GB until the prices are cheap enough, but you can bet 4GB, or whatever, would still find its way in there.

    My extra MBP stick was by patriot and I have been happy with it. Does anyone have any problems with this and/or can they point out how I would tell if I was having problems. When I bought it, it was guaranteed to work, or my cash back.
  17. macrumors member

    Thnak you everyone for your comments.... as I value you them alot. I don't mean to sound flippant about price and cost.. it's just that when I buy a new system that I want to work like a work horse for me over the next 3-4 years... I want the best my money can buy...the best bang for my buck. I currently have 4GB in my G5 Dual 2.0 and it's excellent. If 4GB of RAM in my new MacPro 3.0GHz Quad is more than enough for the toughest graphic design and video jobs... I will only get 4GB. But if it's a known fact that by purchasing 8GB will radically improve my productivity... I would rather buy now and swallow the price pill now rather than later.

    One issue that has arisen (throughout the course of this thread) is the whole fact of the unstable third party RAM. This was the basis for me being able to buy my new MacPro 3GHz plus 30" ACD, as I was going to put in the 8GB myself (4 sticks of 2GB from Comments in this thread have made me now wary of this method. So I have recalclated my new MacPro 3GHz config with 4 x 1GB sticks direct from Apple and a 23" ACD which comes in on budget again.

    Since starting my design business 11 years ago, I have always purchased my computers from approved Apple resellers (with as far as I am aware) Apple Approved RAM. This was going to be the first time I was going to purchase and install it myself. Has anyone out there been consistently happy going the DIY route.. and if Crucial or Kensington re-submit new MacPro RAM.... should it be trusted... or should the Apple equivalent always be purchased without question...???

    Yours sincerely,
    MacUser & MacAddict
  18. macrumors 68020


    Is there a new policy as work now?, seem to see the above statement in a few threads now.
  19. Guest


    Safe and compatible Ram will very likely become availble at much cheaper prices in the near future, and CS2 doesn't use more than 3GB, so a 4GB is all you need to run Photoshop + OSX.
    Also, Photoshop under Rosetta will not give you any speed advantage over your G5 till next year's arrival of CS3, according to the recent benchmark comparisons and other PS tests.
    Don't know about video....
  20. macrumors 68040


    Uh 8GB or RAM? that's nuts. Why not start with 2? Then upgrade if you need it. Seems like 8 is overkill? 16 is even more crazy.
  21. macrumors 6502

    Maybe for you, young padawan.
  22. Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Nope, it's the same rule we had before. I left the reminders today because there were 5 threads on 2 topics.

    Sometimes we merge duplicate threads without comment, but sometimes we post a note about the merge, particularly when there are replies in both threads, because posts from the two (or three) threads get interfiled by time of post and sometimes the flow of the conversation is affected.
  23. macrumors member

    My 2 cents...
    Why not go with the 2.66 GHz processors and spend the $800 saved on memory or a video card upgrade? I can't imagine THAT much of a difference between the two processors.
  24. macrumors newbie

    Memory to go RAM

    I bought 2 512mb DIMMs from Memory to Go because I needed it quick, had Apple RAM on order but running the 3 Adobe programs I do was painful with 1 gig of RAM. I only really need 2, I found that on my G5 2.5gig was always plenty. The RAM seems to work perectly, have had no issues with fan noise or RAM problems. Have run Tech Tools RAM test but haven't gotten around to Apple's long teat on the hardware test disk. What is the story with ECC RAM anyway, if it has problems, isn't it built to detect that? Then what does it do if it finds something wrong? The kind of hair pulling very intermittant problems that bad RAM used to cause, are they still possible or does some giant BAD RAM dialog box jump up and slap you. Awful ppart is that the Apple RAM I ordered wasn't supposed to ship until the 24th and I had a large progect due by the 22nd and the Apple RAM showed up today. My wife is already having a fit at how much extra stuff I'm throwing at this machine (apple care, more RAM, big external drive, internal drive) it all adds up. So I sit here and ponder whether to send the Apple RAM back or eat another $300. Probably should send it back because in a month $300 will buy a lot more RAM than 1GIG, it's always something!
  25. macrumors newbie

    Like another user above, I am happily running with 3rd party memory (Crucial). Many days of heavy photoshop work later, it has run perfectly. "VERY bad"? Maybe I've just been lucky.

    I don't think Crucial etc had much choice but to delay introduction. On the surface, it is a big change on Apple's part and it would be re-miss on the 3rd parties to issue formal recommendations until they'd tested the kit themselves. Now we see some 3rd parties slapping on the biggest heatsinks they can find, not because they've determined they need it, but because they see a market for it. Once they all have the 'All clear', we'll probably have an arms race where people will still think the one with the biggest heatsink is the safest, so they all have to add a custome heatsink.

    I stuck some $5 heatsinks on my heatspreaders before I tried the RAM in anger, so I can not comment as to if it would have worked as well without the $5 addition. As it stands, I feel I've saved hundreds of dollars.

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