Mac Pro memory and video upgrade...

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
I am heading to the local Apple store in a few hours to buy my very first Mac. I'll be getting a Mac Pro with a single Quad core, and the rest is just the standards. I intend to upgrade the memory, and I'm wondering exactly what I need to buy. My intention is to get a 4GB kit if 6GB of memory is a valid configuration on the Mac Pro. From reading, I think I need to get DDR2 PC-6400 ECC RAM, but this is very difficult to locate on pricewatch.com. My plan is to go get the system at the Apple store and then cruise up to Fry's to nab the memory.



Additionally, while at Fry's my thought is to nab a GeForce 8800 GT video card. This is an option available only via the Apple website and I really don't want to wait 3 weeks for shipping. Beyond the wait, I honestly intend to end up with at least 2 monitors and possibly 3 on this system so a second video card is in my future anyway. The question here is, which video card do I buy? Any GeForce 8800 GT 512MB card? Since this is an Intel system I don't think there should be a "special" Mac version of this card, but this being my first Mac, I could be dead wrong.



Thanks in advance for the feedback. Oh... One last upgrade. I'm planning on putting my WD 10k RPM Raptor hard drive in as a second drive for the Boot Camp install of Winblows for gaming. Is this a problem?



Scott

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    cyloncylon Posts: 126member
    When I bought my Mac Pro about 1 1/2 yrs ago, I upgraded the video card to the ATI. They were actually able to do that upgrade right in the Apple store. So you might ask at the Apple store to see if they have the card you want on hand. I was glad I had Apple do the upgrade, because it was still covered under warranty when I had problems with it after about a yr. Apple replaced it with no problem.
  • Reply 2 of 8
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by svnipp View Post


    I am heading to the local Apple store in a few hours to buy my very first Mac. I'll be getting a Mac Pro with a single Quad core, and the rest is just the standards. I intend to upgrade the memory, and I'm wondering exactly what I need to buy. My intention is to get a 4GB kit if 6GB of memory is a valid configuration on the Mac Pro. From reading, I think I need to get DDR2 PC-6400 ECC RAM, but this is very difficult to locate on pricewatch.com. My plan is to go get the system at the Apple store and then cruise up to Fry's to nab the memory.



    Additionally, while at Fry's my thought is to nab a GeForce 8800 GT video card. This is an option available only via the Apple website and I really don't want to wait 3 weeks for shipping. Beyond the wait, I honestly intend to end up with at least 2 monitors and possibly 3 on this system so a second video card is in my future anyway. The question here is, which video card do I buy? Any GeForce 8800 GT 512MB card? Since this is an Intel system I don't think there should be a "special" Mac version of this card, but this being my first Mac, I could be dead wrong.



    Thanks in advance for the feedback. Oh... One last upgrade. I'm planning on putting my WD 10k RPM Raptor hard drive in as a second drive for the Boot Camp install of Winblows for gaming. Is this a problem?



    Scott



    Frys wont have an Apple video card. They'll have plenty of 8800GT's but none will work in your Mac. You need an EFI based 8800GT with the Apple EFI ROM on it for it to work. Only available from Apple.



    As for memory you can either go with regular SDRAM, or FB-DIMM. Apple, and intel only recommend FB-DIMM's with this motherboard. The only advantage I can think of in FB-DIMM's is that it can use 74bit "*pathways" or "*something like that" while ECC SDRAM will only allow for 64bit. Basically anything but FB-DIMM's will be like that. FB-DIMMS will also last longer. So if you want full use of your Mac Pro's memory you'll need FB-DIMM's
  • Reply 3 of 8
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onlooker View Post


    Frys wont have an Apple video card. They'll have plenty of 8800GT's but none will work in your Mac. You need an EFI based 8800GT with the Apple EFI ROM on it for it to work. Only available from Apple.



    As for memory you can either go with regular SDRAM, or FB-DIMM. Apple, and intel only recommend FB-DIMM's with this motherboard. The only advantage I can think of in FB-DIMM's is that it can use 74bit "*pathways" or "*something like that" while ECC SDRAM will only allow for 64bit. Basically anything but FB-DIMM's will be like that. FB-DIMMS will also last longer. So if you want full use of your Mac Pro's memory you'll need FB-DIMM's



    The chipset on this motherboard only works with FB-Dimms so the 'or' is wrong. The board will work with 667 Mhz Fb-dimms per Barefeat. The 800 Mhz Fb-dimms are starting to show up in more places and will eventually be available everywhere as Dell and HP put out there servers with the new Intel 5400 chipset.



    However, since this chipset is essentially a server or 'business' chipset the memory won't be as available or cheap as plain DDR2 memory. A number of the Mac specific sites already have 800 Mhz Fb-dimms. I just ordered 2 GB from Other World Computing, one of many locations selling the memory.



    Newegg isn't carrying this memory yet and I haven't checked Fry's. When Newegg finally carries the Intel 5400 chipset motherboards the prices may start to come down.
  • Reply 4 of 8
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Fully Buffered DIMM's is also SDRAM. Its just Fully Buffered. There is no reason that it has to be buffered for it to work. If It's not FB (fully Buffered) server style DIMMS it's not the recommended RAM. If you can prove otherwise I will believe that any set of 240-Pin DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) SDRAM should be compatible. Because that is what is in the Mac Pro, but it is fully buffered ram. But to my knowledge there is no reason why RAM has to be Fully Buffered SDRAM to work.



    If your concerned about it wait on your RAM purchase until my Mac Pro arrives to find out. I did not order FB DIMM's.



    BTW, it should accept 800MHz, 667MHz, & 533MHz Memory. I believe it has 8 x 240-pin DIMM sockets.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    svnippsvnipp Posts: 430member
    Well... I have returned rather empty handed. Unfortunately, I was informed at the Apple store that the single processor Mac Pro is also a special order item and they do not have them in the stores. This means that my only option is to order online or over the phone from Apple directly.



    I'm a bit disappointed, but that's the way it goes. Anyway, I picked up "The Missing Manual" as something to maybe keep me busy while I way for my shiny new Mac Pro to arrive. I'm about to order it online later this afternoon.



    Having never owned a Mac, the guy at the Apple store was able to really blow me away. The application integration with iPhoto, mail, and iCal were enough to leave me drooling. I'm really anxious now, and I think the wife is going to go nuts once she starts playing around with iPhoto.



    Thanks again for the great feedback so far from what seems a really great community.



    Scott
  • Reply 6 of 8
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    I am wrong. After some discussion with various memory professionals Fully Buffered-DIMM is the only memory that will work. I could tell you all the details, but it's long, and complicated, and I already forgot half of it. But multiple professionals from different manufacturers, even ones that don't make FB-DIMM's, said that it just doesn't work.



    Again - My Bad, and - I was wrong.
  • Reply 7 of 8
    royboyroyboy Posts: 446member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onlooker View Post


    I am wrong. After some discussion with various memory professionals Fully Buffered-DIMM is the only memory that will work. I could tell you all the details, but it's long, and complicated, and I already forgot half of it. But multiple professionals from different manufacturers, even ones that don't make FB-DIMM's, said that it just doesn't work.



    Again - My Bad, and - I was wrong.





    To step up and admit when you've made a mistake and make no excuses..... My hats off to you man.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Royboy View Post


    To step up and admit when you've made a mistake and make no excuses..... My hats off to you man.



    Well I didn't want anyone to read what I said and buy a bunch of RAM that's not going to work. Right now I'm sitting on 8GB's of high performance RAM that I can't use. So I had to order another 8 GB's of FB-DIMM's last night. I'm an idiot!
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