RAM compatibility / pricing for 2010 4-core

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Chenier, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. Chenier macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2010
    I've ordered the 3.2ghz 2010 model, and am trying to go ahead and order a 3rd party RAM upgrade. I'm interested in a 12g (4gb x 3) upgrade, and was shopping OWC when I began noticing pricing discrepancies between their 2009 and 2010 charts.

    I chatted with a rep who first told me the ram needed for the 2009 and 2010 4-core machines was the same. When I asked about the pricing differences, I was told the ram is in fact different, and that 2010 ram would work in the 2009, but NOT the other way around. Contradicting info?

    At any rate, I was ready to order the 12gb upgrade at $457.99, but now I'm not so sure. The same upgrade on their 2010 page is $549.99 - roughly $92 more. Why? Specs all read the same from what I can tell. Even the base 4gb stick is roughly $47 more. (I've made sure to double-check that I'm only looking at 1066MHz)

    I must be missing something. Anyone know what's going on here? ...and what the heck I should order?

    OWC link to all available RAM upgrades for the 3.2 quad here
  2. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    I think the 2010 models need 1333 mhz ram and the 2009 models need 1066 mhz ram.. the 2009 will down clock 1333mhz to 1066 mhz. the 2010 may not up clock the 1066ghz ram. if your look at your page it has some 1066 ram and some 1333 ram.. why not run the machine with the oem ram for a few days before you get some new ram?
  3. Chenier thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2010
    According to Apple's tech specs the new single processor quad-cores need 1066mhz.
  4. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    At least for 4x2GB, the 2009 and 2010 links go the same product page. i know, because yesterday I ordered the 2009 kit, and the p/n is the same as the 2010 kit, which still says "for 2009 models' in its little header thingy.
  5. eponym macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2010
    I'm not sure why it's different. I betcha the 2009 kit works just fine. Or there's something different that isn't being spelled out.

    The serial numbers for the two is slightly different though:

    2010: OWC85MP3W4M12GK
    2009: OWC85MP3S4M12GK
  6. Chenier thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2010
    RAM confusion

    So it's still a mystery then? Suppose I should wait until the dust settles, then see what the story is...
  7. dknightd macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2004
    I don't know.

    I ordered the 3x4 2009 kit on Monday. It is on its way.

    I bought it for a 3.2 single quad 2010.

    The only difference I see between the 2009 4x3 kit and
    the 2010 4x3 kit (besides price) is that the 2010 kit
    does not specify that it all has to be the same RAM.

    I've asked their tech support for clarification. I have
    time to return the 2009 if needed before my 2010 arrives.
    I'll let you know what they tell me. (I asked if the memory, and
    some other stuff, would work in the 2010 - I would think it
    all would, but maybe apple changed something)
  8. Chenier thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2010
    Thanks, I look forward to hearing what you find out.
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Some of the CPU's only run at 1066, and others at 1333. Apple's likely to use the same memory in all the systems (clock speed), as 1333 will work at 1066 without any problems (gets downclocked is all).

    The reason they'd do this, is that it's cheaper for them to do it this way, as 1333GHz RAM has come down since it's initial release (allows them to buy in greater bulk too). It also keeps the parts bins simpler, so there's no mistakes in clock frequency (i.e. assembler goofs and puts 1066 in a system that should have had 1333).
  10. adjuster macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2007
    I used to sell ram testing equipment. Chance are the parts come off the same production line and are sorted to different bins depending on the actual speed they achieve. Most people think that semiconductors, being digital, work to some design spec. Not true. Their final properties are a more a function of the people and equipment that make them than anything else. There can be a huge distribution curve, especially during the beginning of a product cycle.

    For what it's worth, I called Apple and a tech told me that the 2010 memories are a bit faster and more reliable. I have no idea what significance to give that statement, but I did order the higher priced ram from OWC, just in case it is meaningful.
  11. dknightd macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2004
    I haven't heard anything back yet. Usually they respond in 1 day. I suspect we are both waiting to actually get a machine before we know. Which means I'll probably find out about the same time they do. If I had to do it over I'd buy the more expensive ram. That was not an option when I ordered. I'm guessing what I ordered will work fine. If I need more ram I'll probably replace it all so that is not an issue to me. I'm guessing in 10 days we'll all know better. If they told me the RAM I ordered will not work, I'd exchange it, and pay the extra - but I'm not going through the hassle of returning it if it will work just fine (and saves me a few bucks). My lazy and poor butt are betting it will work until I find out otherwise. If you do not hear back from me it means it worked just fine. If I find out otherwise I'll report back.
  12. dknightd macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2004
  13. ghostchild macrumors 6502


    Jun 17, 2007
    but they dont explain why? i would ask for an explanation.
  14. Chenier thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2010
    Interesting. Thanks for sharing this. I was a few clicks short of ordering the cheaper RAM myself. I may still wait this one out a bit, although I would like to hit the ground running with more than 3gb.
  15. dknightd macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2004
    I did. But my primary goal is to have a working machine when apple delivers. Even the higher price is cheaper than apple. Maybe a second enquirery would be useful? When they reply to my question about why, and how, to exchange, I'll go from there. At his point I think we are all guessing, I hate to guess wrong since I have pent up demand for a new computer. . . I hate to waste money, but I hate wasting time even more. Perhaps somebody here can explain why one should work and the other not. I think I jumped the gun, and now will pay for it. Oh well, the cost in time and money will be minimal - I hope.
  16. dknightd macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2004
    I'm starting to wish I'd ordered 6gb from apple. It would probably have worked fine for at least a few months - maybe more. and the cost is similar to
    aftermarket. I got "greedy" and decided to instead order more memory for not much more money (giving myself room to grow). 3gb would have left me swapping all the time, not really a solution. I'll probably arrange for an exchange just to minimize risk of problems. Live and learn . . .

    Edit, right now neither OWC parts 85MP3S4M12GK or 85MP3W4M12GK are listed as supporting the 2010 3.2 quad - so perhaps neither will, or maybe both will. Or maybe they just need to update their web page. . .
  17. Lava Lamp Freak macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2006
  18. dknightd macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2004
    I asked what the difference was between the two memory options.
    Here is OWC reply


    The 85MP3S4M12GK will not work with the 2010 Mac Pros"

    I'm returning the 2009 memory and buying the 2010 memory.
    I still do not understand the difference, but don't want to mess around.
    The new memory should be here before the new macpro, so all I loose is
    the money and hassle. At least this way I hopefully eliminate the aggravation of having memory that will not work. Maybe the old memory would have worked fine, and maybe not - I'm sure in 10 days or so people will be able to tell us with more certainty. . .
  19. butch10x macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2010
  20. dknightd macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2004
    Let us know what you find out. I might kick myself for returning the 2009 ram, and paying the extra for nothing, but this would not be the first time I've kicked myself! Good luck to you.
  21. butch10x macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2010
    Dont know if Im gonna try it on my machine first. Was gonna wait to see any news on this before I actually install it. sorry for the misconception there.
  22. hoosker macrumors member


    Jun 17, 2003
    I called OWC tech support and asked about this. They pointed out the warning about not mixing the 2009 4G ram with any other ram where as the new ram for 2010 did not have that stipulation. Unfortunately I came away without fully understanding the exact differences and whether the 09 ram would work or not. I spent the extra and got the new ram as they said they wound not recommend the 09 ram in the new machines. Strange.. but better safe than sorry.

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