IMPORTANT: Can a 2008 Mac Pro handle non-ECC dimms?

dreamersofeden

macrumors member
May 26, 2011
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Spain
Hi,

As I told on another topic, I recently purchased an 8 core Mac Pro (2008 model) that comes with the default specs: 2GB RAM, 320GB HDD and Radeon HD2600 XT.

Well, If I want to upgrade to 6GB I've to spend 140€ on a s*it*y and overpriced 4GB kit of ECC dimms to match with the default kit that comes with the Pro.

So my question is, CAN I USE NON-ECC DIMMS on it?, I mean, can I put for example, a 8GB kit of "normal" DDR2 dimms? (logically, removing first the ECC ones, that probably I'll sell after on eBay)... They're INFINITELY CHEAPER, and my pocket will highly appreciate it after the 1200GBP that the Pro cost me.

Thanks in advance,
Daniel.
 

milbournosphere

macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2009
856
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San Diego, CA
I've heard conflicting reports. I considered non-ecc ram for my pro...but look at it this way: is it really the best idea to cheap out on ram for a computer you just paid a nice chunk of change for?
 

Cindori

macrumors 68040
Jan 17, 2008
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Yes, you can run non-ECC Ram, just don't mix them with ECC Ram.

However, the Ram still needs to be FB-DIMMs, and those really are not much cheaper afaik. (if there even are FB-DIMMs that are not ECC)
 

Elisha

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2006
765
484
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As far as I know all FB-DIMMs are ECC since they are meant for workstation/servers.
FB just means fully buffered as opposed to unbuffered dimms for regular motherboards.
 

gpzjock

macrumors 6502a
May 4, 2009
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nanofrog

macrumors G4
May 6, 2008
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Yes, you can run non-ECC Ram, just don't mix them with ECC Ram.

However, the Ram still needs to be FB-DIMMs, and those really are not much cheaper afaik. (if there even are FB-DIMMs that are not ECC)
FB-DIMM = ECC (similar to registered, but instead of just the control lines being buffered, the data lines are as well)

What complicates matters more with FB memory, is it's serial based, while most memory is parallel. So IIRC, JEDEC placed the PCB notch in a different location so it can't be mixed with other types (= FB DIMM can only be used with FB-DIMM).
 

juanm

macrumors 68000
May 1, 2006
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I found this on eBay:

http://cgi.ebay.es/2x-2GB-4GB-Kit-Apple-MacPro-2008-RAM-800Mhz-FB-DIMM-/360294820680?pt=DE_Technik_Computerzubehör_Arbeitsspeicher&hash=item53e33eab48

About 30€ cheaper, not "bad" price... Probably I'll buy them.
BTW, anyone from Europe that has bought RAM from OWC?, how much are the taxes?
Hi

I live in Spain (for now...) and I've bought from Macsales three or four times (although not in the past year and a half), for amounts up to $200. Each time, I used FEDEX International priority, which is marginally more expensive than USPS, yet much faster. I'm of course only speaking for myself, but they never made me pay any extra taxes or import duties. If they did, it could be up to 28-30% (18% VAT+ import duties). Hope it helped. Of course, your mileage may vary, so don't get mad at me if you get hammered at the customs.
 

shardey

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2010
624
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I purchased 6 sticks of 2gb ram from eBay for $195 shipped. Also I just purchased a dual quad core Dell workstation with 32gb ddr2 800 FB ecc dimms for $500 :D:cool:
 

dreamersofeden

macrumors member
May 26, 2011
62
0
0
Spain
Hi

I live in Spain (for now...) and I've bought from Macsales three or four times (although not in the past year and a half), for amounts up to $200. Each time, I used FEDEX International priority, which is marginally more expensive than USPS, yet much faster. I'm of course only speaking for myself, but they never made me pay any extra taxes or import duties. If they did, it could be up to 28-30% (18% VAT+ import duties). Hope it helped. Of course, your mileage may vary, so don't get mad at me if you get hammered at the customs.
Ok thanks, I'll try someday but for now I prefer eBay auctions because the other day I saw a pack of 4GB been sold for 50€...

I purchased 6 sticks of 2gb ram from eBay for $195 shipped. Also I just purchased a dual quad core Dell workstation with 32gb ddr2 800 FB ecc dimms for $500 :D:cool:
LOL, what a bargain!, which Dell workstation is?
 

gslrider

macrumors 6502
Nov 4, 2005
311
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0
Yes, you can run non-ECC Ram, just don't mix them with ECC Ram.

However, the Ram still needs to be FB-DIMMs, and those really are not much cheaper afaik. (if there even are FB-DIMMs that are not ECC)
What would happen if you mix them?
 

Umbongo

macrumors 601
Sep 14, 2006
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England
What would happen if you mix them?
You can't mix them on a 2008 model as there are no non-ECC FB-DIMMs. In the case of mixing say DDR3 non-ECC unbuffered and ECC unbuffered on a newer Mac Pro it should just disable ECC functionality.
 

gslrider

macrumors 6502
Nov 4, 2005
311
6
0
You can't mix them on a 2008 model as there are no non-ECC FB-DIMMs. In the case of mixing say DDR3 non-ECC unbuffered and ECC unbuffered on a newer Mac Pro it should just disable ECC functionality.
Makes sense. Thanks for the info.
 

zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
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Florida, USA
zorin.org
ECC is one of the BEST features of the Mac Pro! Heck, it's the ONLY Mac that currently supports ECC memory, which protects your data from corruption.

It's worth every extra penny you spend for ECC RAM. Trust me. A typical 4GB DIMM gets a couple single-bit errors a year. Most of them are either in unused memory or don't have any effect, but every once in a while, your data WILL get (subtly) corrupted!

Anytime your computer randomly crashes without explanation, or you end up with a corrupted file, there's a good chance it was due to a single bit error in RAM. Don't avoid ECC, instead be very happy you have it.