How much RAM can I chuck in my Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by wabbitwabbit, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. wabbitwabbit macrumors newbie


    Aug 7, 2015
    Hi Guys :)

    I love my Mac Pro, and used to be pretty well-informed too. But that was a while ago, and rather than brave the BS I see on the interwebs, I thought I'd ask a pretty simply (but fairly important) few questions to people I think will actually know!

    1. How much RAM can I put in my Mac Pro 2008 3,1 ?
      SMC Version (system): 1.25f4
      Boot ROM Version: MP31.006C.B05
    2. Any real advantage of using Apple RAM?
    3. I have 10GB RAM at the moment, but sometimes the system either freezes or just resets completely, coming back with only 6GB of RAM. If I do a hard reset it always comes back at 10GB. I cleaned the contacts of the RAM and vacuumed it out a bit, and didn't seem to make a difference. Ideas?
    4. While I'm here: Standard drive is 500GB and I'm using all 4 drive bays, others for data and one for backup. Best idea for an SSD, does it need to be the full 500GB of the startup drive?
    Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. rawweb, Aug 7, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015

    rawweb macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2015
    The 2008 Mac Pro can handle up to 64gb of DDR2 800MHZ ram. Impressive, aye? Personally, I don't believe there's an advantage to using what you call 'Apple' ram. However, I'm a huge proponent of using ECC ram in these old beasts, it's what they're built for. But, I have seen folks get away with traditional non ECC ram...I honestly can't speak to that though. Other World Computing is a great resource for this kind of stuff, and they usually have pretty good prices. I've used them for over 10 years. Here's a link for 24gb ECC for your 08 classic beast: World Computing/64FB4MPK24GB/.

    Regarding the freezes, it really could be anything. Could be a bad ram stick, bad video card or something that went hairy in OSX. You might try a clean install (don't migrate or restore from Time Machine backup until you can verify the problem is gone or if it persists). But even before that, it's wise to run an extended memory check overnight with Apple Hardware Test if you feel you've got an issue:

    If you want to keep the drive bays booked, why not use the super fast PCIe bus just waiting for something awesome to occupy it? I'm running the Sonnet Tempo Pro dual PCIe SSD in my 5,1 raided for speed (beating my trash can at work). The good news; they have a pretty affordable version these days.... Technologies/TSATA6SSDE/. This will boast some pretty impressive speeds and at least harness the bus speed of a modern SATA III SSD. Worth shopping around for, and you can add 2 more drives. If you had a 4,1 or 5,1 the second DVD bay could house another drive since it features SATA upstairs.
  3. wabbitwabbit thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 7, 2015
    Thanks rawweb :)

    RAM: I was under the impression it was only 32GB, max! Anyone else think that?

    Testing memory: anyone know if this is safe: ??

    Drive: Yes that's the type of info I'm looking for! CAn you explain the 5,1 bit a little more? I have a superdrive optical drive and an ostensibly unused drive bay under it (I think) in addition to the 4 HD bays used up.

    Thanks again!
  4. rawweb macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2015
    "When released, Apple stated it can hold 32gb of ram. However, more recently, though, Other World Computing certified that the "Early 2008" Mac Pro models actually can use as much as 64 GB of RAM using eight high-density 8 GB memory modules." I think 24gb would be a sweet spot though, that particular style of ram was and still is very expensive, I'm not sure more than 24 or 32 is really worth it except for bragging rights..

    I still advise using Apple's test...give this support article a read:

    Sorry for the confusion... 4,1 and 5,1 are Mac Pro models 2009 and 2010/12. In 2009 Apple updated the internal structure of the Pro tower. They streamlined the CPU/Memory tray more daughter cards. Also, the disk drive area was updated from IDE to SATA allowing for modern components up there.
  5. Gwendolini macrumors 6502


    Feb 5, 2015
    No. My two Hacks get by with a 128 GB and 256 GB SSD.
    The biggest data on them are the applications, 21 GB and 70 GB on the other.

    Look what you currently use on your Macintosh HD and what could be stored elsewhere, as you probably can get by with 256 GB or less, though 512 GB or 480 GB SSD are quite "cheap" now.
  6. IowaLynn macrumors 65816


    Feb 22, 2015
    You could skip SATA III and go to PCIe-SSD 4x on Lycom adapter and XP941 or SM951. Cost more but faster by far. Larger SSDs do have more channels and higher performance - use to be more of a difference. The difference in price of 128GB and 256GB is so small today ($68 vs $98).

    What you pay for SATA III controller could go into a better SSD blade.

    FBDIMMs - pick up a set of 667MHz and look at threads posted here recently.

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