Mac Pro RAM

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by damado, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. damado macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Is there another place I can order RAM from cheaper than directly from Apple?

    I saw the pictures of the RAM sticks in there and they look pretty different from anything else I've ever seen.
     
  2. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #2
    This isn't "ordinary ram" -- it's fully-buffered (FB) RAM, which can be more expensive. Who knows whether you MUST use FB RAM or if it an option like ECC. We'll see once people start playing around with the new machines.
     
  3. spicyapple macrumors 68000

    spicyapple

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  4. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

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    #4
    No. FB-DIMM's have a controller on the memory stick that acts as a buffer (hence the name) between the system controller and the memory. The reason is that in the past, the memory controller wrote directly to the memory and had a pin on the memory stick to access each section of RAM. Using a FB-DIMM, you can keep the same pin-out on the DIMM (it's a serial interface between the system memory controller and the buffer) and still increase the RAM size. ECC is usually incorporated into FB-DIMM's because the memory buffer can implement this feature.
     
  5. damado thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Thanks for the replies. I saw this on newegg which is FB but it looks so different to the heatsink-laden ones shown in the second picture here
     
  6. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #6
    FB-DIMMS are quite new, and the places I generally look to for RAM aren't really shipping them yet--DMS doesn't sell any, Crucial doesn't either. Kingston obviously does, but even they're just getting ramped up.

    As for the heatsink, Apple does look to be using some bigass heatsinks, but I'm not sure if that's to keep fan speeds down or just overengineering. Obviously we'll see once people start getting the machines in hand and doing upgrades themselves.

    One note, though: FB-DIMMS, unlike other types, actually need the heatsink, even if you're not overclocking or whatever--the processor on the stick that makes it "FB" generates some heat. On the positive side, FB-DIMMS are supposed to significantly increase reliability and overall throughput for large amounts of RAM in a system, so it's a good direction to be heading, and one assumes all systems will be using it eventually, even if it's mostly a server/workstation thing right now.

    I like that, pretty much by default, FB-DIMMS are ECC, though.
     
  7. Rapmastac1 macrumors 65816

    Rapmastac1

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    #7
    See, this is the only reason I don't LOVE apple. They have great computers, but it would be great, if I could go out, and get a new stick of ram, and not worry, or get a new graphics card, and have no worry about upgrading it. But, there are NO stores out here that sell any apple products of the sort, the only store, The Apple Store, which is a hour away. If they could make their computers compatible, then I'm sold. Tha is wrong with the industry today. Sure, competition is great, but for buyers, compatiblity between competition is even better.
     
  8. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #8
    >Rapmastac1

    This isn't APPLE memory, it is INTEL Memory.

    It is the same memory they use with the Intel S5000XVN Server/Workstation, just use that as you machine when you look around if they have not updated their database.

    Though buy from the people that guarantee that it will work in the Mac Pro anyway, since Apple tends to play some games with firmware upgrades every now and then.
     
  9. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #9
    I'm pretty sure Apple still uses Samsung as its supplier for RAM.
     
  10. simie macrumors 6502a

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    #10
  11. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #11
    Intel doesn't make them, it is just one of the "next generation" memory specs they are pushing like they did RIMM modules before.
     
  12. khaos34 macrumors newbie

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    #12
    I'd say you're wrong on everything except the graphics card thing - that really needs some work. You can get a stick of RAM at any reasonable computer place and stick it in - I bought some Kingston RAM from Circuit City and stuck it in my mini with no problem. Everything else should plug in no problem.
     
  13. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

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    #13
    True. JEDEC publishes the spec, like a lot of other RAM specs.
     
  14. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #14
    Yeah, but that article is over two years old, so I'm not sure how meaningful those qualms are in real-world terms now.

    So far as I can tell, FB-DIMMS are a decent direction to be heading for server memory in the future, and not the rather stupid dead-end licensing mess that Rambus was. But then I could be totally wrong--time, benchmarks, and street prices will tell.

    It also seems rather silly to fault Apple for going with a totally standard RAM technology that just happens to be cuttin edge--Apple hasn't used "special" RAM in a VERY long time, even if their systems are a bit picky about standards. Same with hard drives--Apple systems use the exact same off-the-shelf hard drives as every PC in the world, and are no more picky about what they use than any other manufactuer's system. Monitors? Same, espeically now that ADC is dead. And USB peripherals, external hard drives, internal optical drives, digital cameras... pretty much everything but expansion cards, and even a number of those work out-of-box with no drivers on the MacOS (I dumped a USB2 PCI card into my G5 and it worked instantly, no questions asked, nothing installed).

    The graphics card issue you can complain about, but that's as much an issue of ATI and NVIDIA for overcharging for the privlege of some Mac-compatible firmware. That may or may not change now... we shall see.
     
  15. Cocobolo macrumors member

    Cocobolo

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    #15
    Just to clarify...

    How important is the Apple heatsink? I was just about to order some Kingston ram on eggsoft, but now I'm confused. It's been over a decade since I've bought my ram from Apple, but now I'm wondering if I should have. I'm sure this will be a confusing subject as more Mac Pro are shipped.
     
  16. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #16
    Yes, it is available...

    FB-DIMMs are just a new standard. They are a standard, though, so they will be common sooner or later. They aren't REQUIRED to have a heatsink, but in Apple's enclosure, it's probably a good idea to make sure you get ones that have one.

    And Crucial Technology, (the retail arm of memory manufacturer Micron,) does have them in stock, and the Mac Pro is even listed in their 'Memory Advisor' tool. (Yes, they are significantly cheaper than Apple, but they only have 1 GB modules, so if you want to reach the full 16 GB, you have to go somewhere else.)
     
  17. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #17
    Old Intel Development Forum news -- last paragraph ...

    http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=18358 -- but old pre-production units.

    Wish Apple would make it a little more clear on the actual why of the situation, but if it becomes a problem -- I'm sure someone will offer heatsinks for the DIMMs.

    But heatspeaders "may" be enough.

    If you can get by with stock RAM. Wait...

    Of course this is the first Mac in awhile where we are telling people to use heatspeaders/heatsinks, instead of looking for DIMMs without them (they used to block airflow).

    Now the Mac Pro has the room for DIMM heatsinks.

    I'm sure people will come up with an app to monitor the DIMMs like they did for the hot CPUs.
     
  18. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #18
    DMS has them now, too, and they're selling up to 2GB modules, so you can max it out. The 1GB sticks are actually $10 more than Crucial right now, but the 2GB sticks are $400 versus $190 for 1GB, so you're paying basiclaly no premium for the higher density, which is nice.

    The heatsinks, as I understand it, are because of the small processor on the FB-DIMM--it generates some heat of its own. I expect that the airflow to the RAM is as good in an Apple tower as any other server, so if the heatsinks on the RAM are sufficient to cool the chip in a regular server, I can't imagine it would be an issue in the Mac Pro. Apple is probably just being extra-cautious.

    I'll also add that both Crucial and DMS are selling RAM that is explicitly for the Mac Pro, and with a lifetime warranty, so if it turns out the heatsink is NOT adequate and the RAM glitches or fails, they'll replace it for free--their bad for selling it to you in the first place. But I'm reasonably confident that both makers know enough about what they're doing to sell stuff that'll work, and if for some fluke reason the first run of sticks fail prematurely, you can be certain that the replacements won't, since both companies no doubt sell plenty of RAM to Apple customers.
     
  19. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #19
    The Intel machines don't require anything more than heatspreaders, and I doubt that it'll affect DIMM life.

    Especially since the buffer CPU will downclock if the DIMM gets too hot.

    This whole mess is likely getting the sheep used to buying the heatsinks now -- since they likely may be needed soon, and this current form factor will be here awhile.

    We shall see -- we got heatsinks on everything these days.
     
  20. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

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    #20
    Yeah, the controller chip runs FAST. After all, it is pumping up to 5.4 GB/s through itself, in addition to having 'control' logic. (It has three main functions: converting the DDR2 signal of the chips onboard to the ultra-fast serial connection to the motherboard; acting as 'traffic cop' for any modules in other DIMM slots connected to the same channel; and doing error checking/compensation.)
     
  21. wdhpgx macrumors newbie

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    Aug 11, 2006
    #21
    Needs the heatsinks

    Yeah. So if you didn't catch the other thread, Crucial has pulled their MacPro dimms, because apparently they don't have sufficient heat dispersion.

    Frustrating. I just don't think the default 1gb in this machine is going to do it for me; I'm already used to the 2gb in my powerbook. I really hate to pay Apple's price for ram, too. Ugh.

    Has anyone ordered dimms from other vendors (OWC, Datamem, etc) that seems to have decent heatsinks on theirs??
     
  22. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #22
    and i'm surviving on 512 on my macbook wierd lol

    then again i have never used a mac with for than 512 so maybe it's like the first time getting glasses. you dont know how bad your vision is until you see what it could be haha
     
  23. quruli macrumors regular

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    Aug 11, 2006
    #23
    That is false. Running them without a heatspreader would be foolish.

    And to clarify this IS NOT an Apple or Intel heatspreader. This also is not Samsung memory. Here is my post from the other thread about crucial that I will share here in case some of you miss it.


    This appears to be what Apple is using. http://www.nanya.com/e-htm/D-E-HTM/e...2 FBDIMM.htm

    Based on the image from PowerMax here http://www.powermax.com/articles_rev...icle.php?id=32, Apple is using NANYA memory modules which are discussed in this PDF from Nanya's website: http://www.nanya.com/attach_file/ddr...12mb_die_a.pdf

    In the Doc it says that the heat spreaders are designed by Nanya, so they are custom to Nanya modules. However, I don't think one can get there hands on these, at least in the states.

    I am going to email someone at Nanya and see if these heat spreaders can be purchased from them for a reasonable price. Can't hurt to ask.

    From the manufactuers I have found so far that are selling FBDIMMS which include: Apacer, Nanya, Kingston, AData, Smart, Crucial, ATP. Only Nanya is using such large heatsinks.

    UPDATE:
    Some part numbers from Tyan's recommended memory page. http://www.tyan.com/support/html/memory_s5372.html
    Intels recommended manufactuers: http://www.intel.com/cd/channel/rese...ors/250634.htm
     
  24. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #24
    Ok, there was another thread with a comment from an Apple engineer that cleared this up.

    Apparently the fan controller reads the temp sensor on the RAM itself, and will crank up the fans as necessary. Therefore, buying RAM with a "small" heat spreader instead of a full-on heatsink like the Apple-supplied sticks WILL work just fine... but the fans will probably crank up higher to maintain the temperature. Given how much people complain about fan noise, it's up to you whether the tradeoff is worth it.

    In the unlikely event the chips just aren't getting enough cooling, there's some thermal protection, so you won't get any damage regardless.

    Second, OWC is selling FB-DIMMS for the Mac Pro with a big 'ol custom heatsink on it (kinda cool looking--it's red in the pictures), so you can certainly buy somthing that's going to work and keep the fan speed down RIGHT NOW. They're charging $560 for a pair of 1GB modules ($280/ea) and $1200 for a pair of 2GB sticks ($600/ea).

    DMS also has Mac Pro RAM on sale right now, but since they don't have any pictures it's quite possible they don't have an extra-large heatsink. They're much cheaper, at $189/1GB stick and $400 for a 2GB stick.

    While DMS *may* not be selling RAM with a big heatsink, I trust that they're selling stuff that will work fine--they have a good reputation for a reason. It might cause the fans to run a little faster than the OWC and Apple stuff, it might not--can't say unless somebody tries it. Either way, if it actually has a problem, I don't have the slightest doubt that they'll replace it under warranty--that, I've tested, and they back up their products.
     

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