What is the max amount of RAM I can use on a 2009 Mac Pro running Mavericks?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Mac Pro 2009, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. Mac Pro 2009 macrumors member

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    Jan 3, 2014
    #1
    Hey everyone!
    What is the max amount of RAM I can use on a 2009 Mac Pro running Mavericks? I just have 4GB RAM right now and I want to max out the RAM. By the way is it better to use all RAM slots and use multiple RAM units or just buy one or two high capacity RAM units?
    Thanks!
     
  2. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Delaware
    #2
    The maximum will depend on the processor that you have.
    If you have a quad-core (4 slots) - OWC says the max is 48 GB. (3 x 16GB - $670.)
    If you have an 8-core (8 slots) - again, OWC shows the max is 128 GB. (8 x 16GB) A little pricey at over $1700. You must be using Mavericks to get all that RAM to be recognized.
    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/Mac-Pro-Memory#1066-memory
    I would likely go with 16 in the 4 slot, or 32 in the 8 slot. Much less cost, and will give you a great performance for that.
     
  3. Mac Pro 2009 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 3, 2014
    #3
    I have a Quad Core. So if I use less than 48GB RAM can I use all four slots? Or can only three slots be used at a time on a Mac Pro Quad Core? (Sorry if my questions sounds foolish, I just got the machine and I never really "fixed" or "upgraded" stuff myself before.)

    I'm a Professional retoucher working mainly in the beauty and fashion industry. I might take a shot at film editing in the future but that will never be my main occupation.

    How much RAM does one need for permanent smooth cruisin' in Photoshop CS6 all while listening to music/watching a video, surfing the web, keeping mail open, having antivirus running as well as one or two other apps?

    48GB sounds kinda overkill I guess.
     
  4. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601

    OrangeSVTguy

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    Location:
    Northeastern Ohio
    #4
    You could probably get away with a stick of 16gb. Check eBay for ddr3 8500 ecc memory. You can get new/used 16gb DIMM for under $100-$150 each.

    You could also buy 10600 1333mhz too in case you ever want to upgrade the CPU, you're memory will run fine at 1066mhz too.
     
  5. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #5
    I have 32gb and as long as I'm not doing layered raw stuff in CS it's fine for me for doing pretty much what you are doing. But Photoshop loves ram, I would look for 3x16gb used sticks off eBay with a return option so you can stress test them out to check for errors. Will save a heck of a lot than buying new and that's what I would do if I had your Mac Pro.
     
  6. Mac Pro 2009 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 3, 2014
    #6
    Thanks guys! Is it worth getting 1333mhz over 1066mhz in a real world situation? I'd rather not hack my mac. (Because, what happens if you do hack, your serial number still identifies it as a Mac Pro 4.1 when you take it in for service, right?
     
  7. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #7
    If you aren't going to upgrade your CPU to take advantage of the higher FSB speeds stick with the 1066. Used they will be a lot cheaper than 1333.
     
  8. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601

    OrangeSVTguy

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    #8
    It's just better for future reasons. It won't hurt anything. I have 3x 16gb but one is 1066 so it forces the other 2x 1333 to downclock at 1066.

    1333mhz is only for certain CPUs and on the 5,1 firmware.
     
  9. Mac Pro 2009 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 3, 2014
    #9
    Why does Apple say the max RAM on my machine is 16GB? Is that because of the OS limitations back then or what? I will be running Mavericks. Is there any risk to using 32GB of RAM? Will Apple refuse to service my machine should I have more than 16GB installed?
     
  10. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    Dec 17, 2009
    #10
    Probably because that was all Apple sold in the Mac Pro in 2009. That's generally why Apple lists a computer with X of RAM and they never update the specs even after it has been proven to use more. And no. Apple sees Memory as user replaceable, so it will not cause any problems with servicing. They may ask you to take out the "new" RAM when trying to assess what the issue is and I should also point out that a 2009 is no longer under warranty so any servicing will definitely cost you....
     
  11. Mac Pro 2009 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 3, 2014
    #11
    Okay, so in conclusion having 32GB of RAM would present no risk to my machine, right?

    Can the system even really take advantage of that much RAM or is it overkill for a retoucher and casual gamer like me?
     
  12. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

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    Location:
    Canada
    #12
    Overkill 24 would more than do you probably 12 or 16 would be fine even. Ram slots are there to be used if wanted there is no problem filling them all up except losing the 1 or 2 % of speed when it drops back to dual channel ram using four from triple channel if you use only three.
     
  13. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #13
    You have 4 GB now, which may be 2 x 2 GB installed. So you have two empty slots, and adding another pair of 2 GB, or even 2 x 4 GB to give you a total of 12 GB installed would give you the extra performance that the basic system can give you, plus some memory 'cushion' for your own typical use.
    So, with an example from OWC, you can upgrade to 12GB for about $70. Going the big step to 32GB, would set you back nearly $400 (or $450 for a pair of 16GB sticks !) Lots of combinations, and sets using the smaller sticks are cheaper. The 4GB sticks are currently best value, I think.
     
  14. firedownunder, Jan 4, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014

    firedownunder macrumors regular

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    May 5, 2011
    #14
    www.everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_pro/specs/mac-pro-quad-core-2.66-early-2009-nehalem-specs.html

    Read this link, will answer your capacity question. Might also read up on triple channel memory configs. Others here with more knowledge/experience than me can help you there.
     
  15. Mac Pro 2009 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 3, 2014
    #15
    Thanks! Might get 32GB, I hope the quad 2.66 can utilize all of this RAM.
     
  16. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

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    #16
    It will see and initialize it all now whether you have any work case that will actually max it out is another story.
     
  17. HHarm macrumors regular

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    Mar 4, 2009
    #17
    If you'd worked with 4GB until now it's unlikely that you'll use even half of the planned 32GB.

    Do you have an SSD drive? If not, spend half of the money on that.
     
  18. Mac Pro 2009 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 3, 2014
    #18
    I have never used the Mac Pro, it came with 4GB. On my Mac Mini I have 8GB and things get tough when I work on gigantic TIFF files...

    Next month I will buy some new hard drives, might get one SSD but is there a tray for an SSD in the Mac Pro? I saw some ugly blue ones but I prefer aluminum.
     
  19. spoonie1972 macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 17, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto
    #19
    i do a fair amount of cs6 photoshop work, and once your files get big, and you keep your history settings high etc, 16gb is the bare minimum. i'd go with 32 and never look back. 48 might be overkill.

    if you have more than photoshop open, then 100% more than 16gb.

    the less you're hitting page-outs, the faster your machine will be.
     
  20. Mac Pro 2009 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 3, 2014
    #20
    Thanks Spoonie, I think you're right, I'm gonna get 32GB from OWC then!
     
  21. calaverasgrande macrumors 65816

    calaverasgrande

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    Oct 18, 2010
    Location:
    Brooklyn, New York.
    #21
    I would also emphasize getting an SSD. It shouldn't cost too much to get you up to 32gb of ram at ddr1066 prices.
    But the real bottleneck is the Spinning disk hard drive.
    It seriously increases the apparent speed of a computer by a lot. Such that a 2009 Mac Pro with an SSD will seem much faster than a 2012 Mac Pro with a regular hard disk.
     
  22. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #22
    I have one of them in my spare machine they work well and you never see it unless you have the side off. As far as that goes in my main machine until I got pci-e card to put the SSD on I just had it connected to the spare SATA port under the DVD drive it will just hang there perfectly fine as they are so light.
     

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