Mac Pro 3,1 Max RAM, GPU, Etc.

shanovan

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 19, 2013
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Under NSA Surveillance
Hi, this is my first post on these forums. I recently bought a 2008 Mac Pro 3.2ghz model. I know it's a bit old, but I just like to tinker around with hardware, and Mac hardware in particular. I actually have the entire thing disassembled currently. It has 10GB of ram, which I would like to upgrade to 32GB, and replace all the modules. I have sort of just given myself the task of maxing out this computer for the lowest cost I can. I'm not too sure about my limitations as far as the GPU. For the RAM, I was looking at Netlist NMD517A21207FD53I5SQ. I'm wondering if this is actually compatible and if no one knows, should I give it a try?

I have other questions regarding the wireless cards and the Logic Board. The unit I purchased had no Airport card, but it did have a Bluetooth one. I thought it might be possible to take out the Bluetooth card and put a BCM94331CD of a 2012 iMac into it, to provide Bluetooth 4.0. Also, I've been informed that the 3.2ghz Logic Board differs from that of the other 2008 models. Is this true?

Thanks. Sorry if I am asking too many questions.
 

pastrychef

macrumors 601
Sep 15, 2006
4,520
1,020
New York City, NY
The RAM you mentioned is DDR2-667. Your model of Mac Pro can work with them but, ideally, you want DDR2-800. Here is an example of what will work. Also, if you notice, that RAM has huge heatsinks on it. The heatsinks are recommended by Apple but there are people who use RAM without the heatsinks without problems.

I don't know if a bluetooth module from an iMac will work in your computer, but I see no point in trying. The bluetooth in your computer can handle keyboard and mouse fine. Personally, I've never used the bluetooth for anything else.
 

666sheep

macrumors 68040
Dec 7, 2009
3,623
211
Poland
Netlist NMD517A21207FD53I5SQ is quad rank. You need dual rank modules.
667 is fine for 3,1, performance difference is marginal. Get these, which you'll be able to obtain cheaper. Flat heatsinks are fine as well.
3.2 board has different part number but specs-wise it's that same as 2.8-3.0 one. 3.2 CPUs will work on 2.8-3.0 logic boards and heatsinks. Check reports on xlr8yourmac for instance.
 

MacVidCards

Suspended
Nov 17, 2008
6,096
1,029
Hollywood, CA
I did the 3.2 update on our 2008 testing machine.

Was about 150% easier than putting 5680s in 2009.

One tricky part is there is 1 additional screw that wasn't in 2006/7 machines holding front fan in.

I think the Xlr8 article mentions it.

Anyhow, the fact that Apple DIDN'T use top CPU option means that PC folk bid up the highest one and leave the 3.2s to go for cheap.

I tried to get 800Mhz memory but as 666 mentions, it's much harder to find and much more $$ so I have some 667 in there, which means they are all clocked down.

In a perfect world I would find 800 Mhz sticks in 16GB size, but that isn't going to happen.
 

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sailmac

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2008
315
72
BT antenna mod while you're at it

I have an MP 3,1.

I don't know whether the BT module you're considering will work.

But either way, I suggest doing a simple modification to disconnect the internal BT antenna and connect the module to an external one.

There are posts in this forum discussing how some of these older MPs had their WiFi and BT antenna cables mixed up during manufacture, and how to correct that problem. In my case (pun intended) swapping the antenna connections made little difference -- signals just couldn't effectively pass through it.

I connected an external antenna and all is well.

Here is a good reference with useful comments (e.g. see input by "toxless").

Have fun beefing up your MP!