Mac Pro Upgrades

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by fotomiami, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. fotomiami macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2006
    I intend to purchase a 2x2.66Ghz mac pro with 1GB (2x512MB) and 160GB from Apple and then upgrading it myself.

    Thru these forums and then checking prices on Crucial, MacSales, DataMem, Newegg I think I found the correct parts for the lowest price. Since I didn't see this posted anywhere as a single thread I thought I'd combine all this into one post.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong! Many thanks.


    RAM: 2x512MB at Datamem for $244. 2x1GB for $378. Giving a total system memory of 4GB.

    RAM Requirements:
    Mac Pro's are very picky.
    FB-DIMM is a MUST.

    ECC is NOT required, but you can not mix-n-match, so either all memory must be ECC or all memory must not be ECC. Since it ships with Apple ECC memory, you must swap it out if you move to non-ECC.

    Heat sinks on the memory chips are not required but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Without heat sinks you risk not being able to use RAM at its fullest and the Mac Pro's fans will have to work harder to cool the units.

    Memory MUST come in pairs, but they don't all have to be the same pairs. So, for example, you can have 2x512 + 2x1G + 2x2G + 2x2G. Or any combination of the sort.

    Since it has 8 slots, you can put 8x512MB for a configuration of 4GB.
    However 2x1GB is cheaper than 4x512MB.

    There is something called quad channel (*-which I don't understand at all..) that is said to increase performance if you use match the same type of memory on 4 slots, for example 2x512 and 2x512 on the same card.


    HD: Maxtor 500GB SATA 3GB/s for $149 at Newegg

    HD Requirements:
    4 HD slots, 1st can be 150/250/500/750 GB that ships with the machine. I went with 150GB to save some cash and upgrade myself.

    2, 3, 4th slots can be 500GB or 750GB.
  2. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    One thing to remember is the I think the Maxtors have a jumper on the back that limit them to the slower speed of SATA. So you will need to remove the jumper to make the drive run at SATA 2.
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    AFAIK ECC FB-DIMMs are a must. I have never heard of replacing them with non-ECC FB-DIMMs.

    Your primary goal is to populate Slot 1 and 2 of both risers first. Access to Slots 3 and 4 is marginally slower.

    All FB-DIMMs I have seen have heatsinks. Its the design of the heatsink that is the controversy. OWC attempted to market their "W" shaped heatsink by implying that all smaller heatsinks would fail, slow the machine down, or cause high fan speeds. That is not true. A properly designed flat heatsink meets Apple's thermal guidelines amd matches the Apple stock RAM ( independent test) whereas a shoddily put together larger "finned" heatsink can easily fail. Look for a guarantee from the seller that the RAM meets Apple's thermal specs and a lifetime warranty.
  4. dpaanlka macrumors 601


    Nov 16, 2004
    I put a 320gb hard drive into my second drive bay and it works fine.
  5. fotomiami thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2006
    I saw this on Crucial for the Mac Pro

    So with the configuration I proposed above, I would have:
    Riser 1
    Slot 1: 512
    Slot 2: 512
    Slot 3: 1G
    Slot 4: 1G

    Riser 2
    Slot 1: 512
    Slot 2: 512
    Slot 3: -
    Slot 4: -

    Because if I understand correctly, for this 'quad channel' to work, Slots 1 and 2 and Risers 1 and 2 must match. :confused:
  6. fotomiami thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2006
    Good to know, the Apple Mac Pro Specs page is more restrictive, although I guess not necessarily the case
  7. theblotted macrumors regular


    Nov 10, 2006
    Los Angeles
    not only matching, but if you put RAM in other slots, it may affect performance also.

    for example, i own 5GB RAM for my MP (4 x 1GB, 2 x 512MB). i only put in 4GB in quad formation, and leave the 512's out; cuz i actually get better performance with 4GB than 5GB.. at least with Benchmark tests.
  8. fotomiami thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2006
    Wow... :eek: thanks for that info.
    Good to know.

    Do you think this is something that can be fixed with a bios or firmware upgrade, or is it just a system architecture limitation?
  9. atari1356 macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2004
    Really? If that's the case, I need to shift the RAM around in the Mac Pro I use at work.
  10. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2006

    Not neccessarily.

    Did test with the Maxline Pro 500s with and without jumpers (with XBench,wich means nothing...) and got practically same results.

    So, based on those tests,and that tests only, jumppers didnt affect the performance.

    I decided to remove them,just to be on the safe side..
  11. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2003
    Well yeah, SATA is so fast its almost impossible to saturate it. But if you have sata 2 anyway.......
  12. dkoralek macrumors 6502


    Sep 12, 2006
    The options that Apple lists are simply the options that they sell. You can use any SATA hard drives you can find. The reason that there are more options for Bay 1 is simply the fact that they don't see any reason that someone would by extra storage drives that were on the smaller side (and they can get a bigger profit on larger drives, I'm sure).

  13. theblotted macrumors regular


    Nov 10, 2006
    Los Angeles
    it's system architecture limitation.

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