Single graphics card Mac Pro Quad Core RAM question.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by omegalbagel, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. omegalbagel macrumors newbie

    omegalbagel

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    #1
    I just ordered a Mac Pro Quad Core with a single Nvidia graphics card with 3 gigs of RAM, and I was wondering how I would go about upgrading the RAM in the future.

    Does a single graphics card only allow a certain amount of RAM? Could I upgrade to 4 gigs of RAM by purchasing one more 1 gig stick, or would I have to buy 2 sticks of 2 gig RAM and just replace my 3 1 gig sticks?

    Sorry for the newbie questions, this is my first Mac Pro, and just want to get a grasp of how I can go about upgrading it when I get the cash.
     
  2. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #2
    The graphics card won't affect how much RAM you can place in the system.

    That's dictated by the quantity of DIMM slots in the machine, and your wallet, as the larger sticks are coming (8 & 16GB sticks), so the 4GB sticks should be dropping soon. So the possibility of say 12 or 16GB will become more practical cost wise if you need it.

    Otherwise, you can fill all 4 DIMM's with either 1 or 2GB sticks (4/8GB respectively). That's the affordable limit ATM for the '09 Quads.
     
  3. omegalbagel thread starter macrumors newbie

    omegalbagel

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    #3
    Awesome, thanks a lot for the help! Looks like for now I'll be ordering another 1 gig stick when I get the chance.
     
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #4
    Keep in mind, adding that 4th stick will pull the memory bandwidth back down to dual channel operation (current 3GB config is triple channel). That said, it's very unlikely you'll be using software that will be affected, as what I'm aware of are server apps.

    Just a note for the future, if software ever catches up. :eek: :p
     
  5. omegalbagel thread starter macrumors newbie

    omegalbagel

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    #5
    Oh, okay, thanks! So I should probably just wait until I can save up for 3 sticks of 2 gig RAM then?
     
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #6
    Not really, unless you:
    1. Actually use software that can utilize the memory in a triple channel configuration, but you've not indicated this is the case at all.
    2. Need more than 4GB (gets detailed though, assuming you're interested in mixing DIMM capacities).

    Otherwise, dual channel is fine for speed for most applications, so let the capacity requirement take precedence. If 4GB will suffice for your software useage, then so be it. Get the 4th stick, and be done with it. If you need more than 4GB, you'd need to go to the 2GB versions, and get as many as needed (potentially requiring you to pull a 1GB stick or two). Assuming you do this, keep it stored, just in case you ever have to send the system in. 3rd party upgrades have a tendancy to diasappear, particularly when a replacement system is involved (they don't swap out add-on parts, only give you a duplicate/equivalent of what you ordered).
     
  7. omegalbagel thread starter macrumors newbie

    omegalbagel

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    #7
    Okay, good to know. I'm not computer illiterate, but do you know if 3D rendering programs such as Maya, or even just 2D animation programs like Flash are more suitable for triple channel or dual channel?
     
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #8
    Dual channel works just fine.

    As I mentioned, software that can use the memory bandwidth past dual channel operation is extremely rare right now, and will likely be the case for some time to come. Code developement is always behind the hardware. :rolleyes: ;)
     
  9. omegalbagel thread starter macrumors newbie

    omegalbagel

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    #9
    Sweet, thanks a bunch for the help! I'll be picking up another stick of RAM as soon as I get my Mac Pro in the mail. :)
     
  10. forester54 macrumors member

    forester54

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Location:
    Washington
    #10
    I would probably wait to get 4GB chips unless you think 4 total will be enough. The MP loves RAM. I thought 9 would be enough in my MP1.1 but as I found out it is not so I would think about that. Maybe 3x4gb would be good
     

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