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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Mac Pro - Mac Pro 2008 Buyers - I'd like to hear from you!


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snazz123

 
Member Since: Jan 31, 2008
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Hello all!

I've got my mind made up. I'll be ordering a CTO (Configure to Order) Mac Pro 2.8 GHz 8 core Mac Pro soon but I need your help as a few things are driving me crazy!

I have read at various sources that the 320 GB Seagate stock HDD is crap! Further, it can, relative to say, a Western Digital same-sized drive, one person took a 31% performance hit with the stock 320 GB Seagate drive!

I called Apple yesterday and asked what drive I would get if I upgraded my order to two 500 GB drives. They said they do not divulge this info to the public. I understand that as they may substitute one drive for another if supply issues are raised however this is frustrating not knowing what one will get!

Question one: Have any of you purchased a new Mac Pro in January 2008 with 500 GB drive or drives? I'd like to know a) what make and model HDD you got b) what you think if its performance / would you recommend?

Question two: If I bought the Mac Pro with the stock 320 GB drive and then added two more 500 GB HDDs what would be two stellar HDDs to get for performance, reliability, price, etc. I'm taking Serial ATA (SATA) drives BTW not RAID or other setups. If you added your own HDD 500 GB what did you chose and why?

Question three: I've read that for best performance one should a) use four sticks of RAM (versus two sticks) so choose 4 - 1GB of RAM vs. 2 - 2GBs of RAM for example. True that this will help performance - getting the 4 sticks?

Question four: I have read that if one uses 4 sticks of RAM they should be identical. This would mean that if I get 2 - 1 GB sticks from Apple and try to save money on another 2 - 1 GB sticks from a cheaper source like Crucial or OW, etc. I may take a performance hit. True? Should I just buy the overpriced Apple RAM and take my lumps? I don't want memory incompatibilities now or down the road.

I'm chompin' at the bit to buy that new Mac Pro but these issues give me pause. And researching "the best" HDDs is insane as everyone has such different opinions. I've always done fine with Seagate drives, for example, but I hear some of their recent stuff, like the stock 320 GB HDD is junk and unreliable. Help!

Thanks all,
SNazz123
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bryphotoguy

 
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Why don't you configure the Pro with the 320GB drive, buy a few choice HD's on newegg which lists seek times and other specs and sell the 320GB drive on eBay?
The Pro requires matching pairs. I could possibly see a benefit if all of the RAM was from exactly the same brand so all of the latencies are all the same but the way the DIMMs run in the Mac Pro, matching latencies shouldn't make any difference.
I couldn't see buying Apple supplied hardware run any better or faster than hardware you can buy on newegg or OWC.


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I would like to answer but.... I'M STILL WAITING FOR IT!!!! (ordered it 2 days after it came out with the 8800GT which is delaying it)

But I did go with the stock 320gb hard drive, and I ordered 3 1tb western digital drives from mac sales. I have those already so when the computer comes i'll pop them in.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by snazz123 View Post
Question three: I've read that for best performance one should a) use four sticks of RAM (versus two sticks) so choose 4 - 1GB of RAM vs. 2 - 2GBs of RAM for example. True that this will help performance - getting the 4 sticks?
The question how much memory do you want in the end. Then you divide that total by four. For excample if you wanted to have 2 GB, then you would get 4 512MB memory sticks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by snazz123 View Post
Question four: I have read that if one uses 4 sticks of RAM they should be identical. This would mean that if I get 2 - 1 GB sticks from Apple and try to save money on another 2 - 1 GB sticks from a cheaper source like Crucial or OW, etc. I may take a performance hit. True? Should I just buy the overpriced Apple RAM and take my lumps? I don't want memory incompatibilities now or down the road.
As for matched pairs, all you need to make sure they have the same specs. I believe that is what Apple meant. So if you have only two memory sticks, in your system. Try and get two more of the same specs.

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rman

 
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I really don't think you will tell the different or feel a performance hit. When I received mine, I had 2 GB installed. Apple placed 4 512MB memory sticks in to make 2GBs. I later added an addtional 4GBs (2 2GBS) making it a total of 6GBs. One day I may fill the remaining 2 slot with the 2GB memory sticks. As for now, I don't see any performance issues. I many run the Final Cut Studio suite of software.

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I am not sure where you read that smaller capacity DIMMs are faster than higher capacity DIMMs. Can you show us?


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rman

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryphotoguy View Post
I am not sure where you read that smaller capacity DIMMs are faster than higher capacity DIMMs. Can you show us?
Are you referring to me?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rman View Post
Are you referring to me?
No, the OP.


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And basically never buy additional RAM from Apple. At the prices you can buy RAM after market, you can throw away the base RAM that comes in the machine vs. buying any additional from Apple.

And you guys are making me want to get one now....

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobtomay View Post
.And you guys are making me want to get one now....
How hard do we have to twist your arm??


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snazz123

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryphotoguy View Post
No, the OP.
Hi bryphotoguy. I was not trying to indicate that smaller DIMMS would be faster than higher capacity DIMMs in my post. What I had read was that adding (or using) four sticks of RAM - of EQUAL size and type - allowed for some increase in speed/efficiency of the Mac Pro.

Put another way, the I/O of the RAM would be better with four individual sticks of RAM than two individual sticks of RAM. Something about having four sticks vs. two makes things faster. So, with this thinking, 2 - 2GB sticks would provide slower I/O than 4 - 1GB sticks.

I don't know if this is true, mind you, just what I read recently.

Thanks.
SNazz123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snazz123 View Post
Hi bryphotoguy. I was not trying to indicate that smaller DIMMS would be faster than higher capacity DIMMs in my post. What I had read was that adding (or using) four sticks of RAM - of EQUAL size and type - allowed for some increase in speed/efficiency of the Mac Pro.

Put another way, the I/O of the RAM would be better with four individual sticks of RAM than two individual sticks of RAM. Something about having four sticks vs. two makes things faster. So, with this thinking, 2 - 2GB sticks would provide slower I/O than 4 - 1GB sticks.

I don't know if this is true, mind you, just what I read recently.

Thanks.
SNazz123
Do you have a link??


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rman

 
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I believe that would be true. Since Apple tends to send out memory sticks in twos and fours, depending on the system.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryphotoguy View Post
Do you have a link??
A while back when the early Mac Pro came out, Anand of Anandtech did a review and mentioned that basic thing about the memory sticks and speed due to the FB Dimms that the Pro uses.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
A while back when the early Mac Pro came out, Anand of Anandtech did a review and mentioned that basic thing about the memory sticks and speed due to the FB Dimms that the Pro uses.
Thanks, I think that's why I've been spending hours looking for.
I was hoping to find a good answer for the OP. The best answer I can come up with is this...
It sounds like 4 DIMMs are needed to get full speed from the the FB-DIMMS the Mac Pro uses. I can't tell you how much speed loss there is with 2 DIMMS but I've never noticed anything. I would think the only way you'd see a difference between 2 DIMMS and 4 DIMMS would be if you compared benchmark scores. And those mean squat in the real world. A few points difference won't mean squat.


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