24GB and the Mac Pro - a theraputic rant

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Gonk42, May 6, 2009.

  1. Gonk42 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    near Cambridge
    #1
    I've just about persuaded myself that the mac pro (with student discount) is perhaps justifiable over a Dell (which costs about the same and has more expansion slots for both RAM and cards but is a bit on the ugly side) and the DIY option (which, even with buying the best of everything comes to £500 less but I argue to myself that Applecare, OS-X iLife probably are worth a few £100)

    BUT I really want 24GB ram to run multiple programs at once in batch mode (it would only be 1.5GB per thread). And this is where frustration sets in.

    With the DIY option and 12 ram slots I can buy 24GB of unbuffered EEC ram (12x2GB) for about £400 from Crucial. I could do this with the Dell as well.

    I can buy 24GB of Registered ram that would fit in 6 slots (6x4) for £800 to £900 (depending on the speed) But Apple only approve unbuffered ram.

    Apple approved ram would cost £2200 for 24GB from Crucial and even from OWC it is around £1000 by the time I've imported it and paid the VAT etc.
    (From Apple it would be even more ie approx £2400 with student discount!)

    I know prices will come down, but why tie money up in the computer now which I can't fully use? And Why does Apple not allow registered ram in the same way as Dell and Supermicro and Intel and everyone else? (And why didn't they fit 6 ram slots per processor?)

    End of rant - sorry everyone!
     
  2. Macpropro80 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    #2


    Do You like that your mac runs relatively well?

    That only happens because apple controls the hardware, so there are far less conflicts with drivers and hardware.
     
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #3
    Memory is pretty simple though. The hardware either supports it or it doesn't. In the i7/Nehalem Xeon 55xx series, the CPU identifier deactivates/activates the ECC functions in the chipset.

    Since the MP's are using Xeons, if RDIMM compatibility is disabled, it's something Apple did, as the control is capable of being activated/deactivated in BIOS, or EFI in the case of an MP.
     
  4. MadisonTate macrumors member

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    Jun 8, 2008
    #4
    Memory is pretty simple. *snarf* Ah, that's a good one...
     
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #5
    Considering there's no drivers to track down. ;) :p

    Besides, pay close attention to the specs, and you should be able to select the correct type. :) So far, I've never had bad memory from a vendor, or just had it go for some unknown reason <//knocks on wood>. :eek: And that's over a span of 25 years. :) Boards, HDD's, graphics cards, PSU's,... are another story. ;) :p
     
  6. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #6
    Same here. Though I've bought bulk lots of suspected bad ram. I used to get 1st sort NG SIMMs for a $1 a piece and have my kids test them and sell the good ones for pocket money. They paid for a brand new car in about a year or so. :D
     
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #7
    I've met a few people who used to buy up "Dead" telecom switches just for the memory, when it was made with whopping 8KB chips & DIP sockets. :eek: Far cheaper than buying new ($500 per chip at the time), and used it to increase the memory capacity of other units. :) The tricks the older guys came up with... ;) Rather brilliant. :D
     
  8. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
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    Japan
    #8
    DIPs hehhe, the old CPM & XT days. Mmmm.. ;)
     
  9. nick9191 macrumors 68040

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    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Britain
    #9
    By a clearance model from the last gen. The RAM is a lot cheaper.
     
  10. Gonk42 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    near Cambridge
    #10
    The problem is that I may never find out how well a Mac runs as I have delayed getting one because Apple have applied such tight restrictions. I don't even know if the restrictions are real or just on paper - the memory is controlled by the Xeon chips themselves there are no drivers etc required (as nanofrog pointed out).

    For Apple's core market who will only run a few programs at once and don't require more than 12 or perhaps 16GB of RAM and don't know or care how
    computers operate internally, Apple's design makes sense - it is just frustrating for those who want to do something different, know the hardware is quite capable of it and are prevented by Apple decreeing that such uses are not requirements.
     
  11. 10THzMac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    #11
    I bought cheap 3rd party RAM for my personal 08 Pro to take it to 16G (The Pro was bought with the minimum) in order to run multiple threads of Mathematica 6 and then 7. Now running 8 kernels with just under 2G/kernel, without any bother at all - no errors. The third party market for that class of RAM is now mature and affordable. Maybe I was lucky (it was either Crucial/Kingston kit) but it does not crash except when I am messing with kexts.
     
  12. Gonk42 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    near Cambridge
    #12
    Crucial ram is now very reasonable for the 08 Mac Pro and the 2GB modules for the 09 are also reasonable (though the Apple student prices are about the same) so for up to 16GB, or 12GB if maintaining 3 channel operation the ram is good value.

    When the 08 came out Crucial ram was expensive and I didn't want to import (eg from OWC) so I waited - then when the ram came down in price the Nehalem processors were nearly out so I waited again now it looks like I'm waiting again.:rolleyes:

    As an engineer by training (though I'm now studying computer science) Apple using 4 ram slots for a three path system is painful even though it perhaps could be argued that it matches the number of cores. Everything else about the design is so beautifully done it just seems to jar.

    The diy route is looking more tempting but none of the parts are in stock at scan at present (nor anywhere else in the UK that I can find). The cheapest option would be to wait for Dell outlet to have Nehalem machines but that might be many months and besides which I do like the Mac Pro.
     
  13. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #13
    The Mac Pros, at least the older models, use ECC ram because of the massive heat generated by these. Think of it, when our rams run above 60 deg C on average, the chances of errors increase considerably especially since ram is designed to be running at under 55 deg C on normal. Therefore, we have 72-bit ECC ram to correct those errors should they occur.
     
  14. Hmac macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    #14
    Clearly, Apple is not for you. They prize stability over all. Perhaps the trade-off is more restrictions on hardware implementation. I'm OK with that and scrapped all my Dells 2 years ago. If you're not OK with that, you should skip Apple and go right to the Dell. The wonky foibles of Windows/PC's are part of your skill set and something you apparently find as worth the trade-off, particularly if the main reason you consider a Mac is because it's not as ugly as the Dell.
     
  15. Gonk42 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    near Cambridge
    #15
    Apple's policy of limiting the number of hardware options to give a more stable environment is one that I think is sensible, and is one of the attractions of the Mac Pro.

    What I was have a bit of a moan about are the design decisions that have been made by Apple for their own commercial reasons, not to help the user. The choice of 4 instead of 6 ram slots was presumably to avoid the expense of retooling for a slightly wider case it certainly doesn't increase stability, in fact it decreases it (symmetric systems are generally more stable than asymmetric ones).

    Likewise, the setting of one ram type is not more stable, registered memory is more stable than unbuffered because it is less of a load. It was done presumably to simplify production and possibly service and support.

    I'm certainly not a great fan of Dell's, and until Apple's recent hike in
    prices Dell was much more expensive. But Dell do provide good support
    in my experience (on-site engineer whilst I get the impression that Apple
    often require you to lug the machine into an Apple shop) and with Dell
    outlet they can offer bargains.

    Apple's student discount is generous but the 09 prices are so high that it only brings it down to were Dell is without student discount and is still about £500 to £600 above the cost of a diy build.

    But I think you're right, I am not a typical Apple target customer in that
    I like Apple designs but I'm not particularly keen to pay a premium for simplicity (systems that just work) as I find that Windows and Linux work fine for what I do most of the time.
     
  16. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #16
    I don't like it. It removes my power as a consumer and places it in Apple's hands. In these days we vote for social, political, and quality/performance issues with our wallet. Apple's way takes away our rights to vote.

    Not to mention it's about 1/2 as robust and twice as expensive as it should be.

    .
     

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