Third Party Memory Modules

As we noted in our initial Mac Pro article, Apple's memory upgrades are pretty expensive and other than a fancy heatsink, they are standard DDR2 FB-DIMMs. We wondered if we could buy third party memory from companies like Crucial or Kinston, with much better prices, and use it in the Mac Pro. We got 512MB, 1GB and 2GB FB-DIMM modules from Crucial with standard heatspreaders and tried them in the Mac Pro. Thankfully the memory worked just fine, however we did have concerns about cooling. Apple clearly outfitted its FB-DIMM modules with a very large heatsink for a reason and it wasn't for bragging rights.

We had no problems running all of our benchmarks with the standard Crucial FB-DIMMs; however, if we ran a memory stress test for even just a short period of time the modules quickly reported correctable ECC errors. Apple's original modules did not generate any ECC errors, so it looks like the additional cooling is necessary under the most extreme situations.

In response to the issues, companies like Crucial have released revised FB-DIMMs that meet Apple's thermal specifications. We have yet to receive any for review but we're assuming that they will work fine given that Crucial guarantees proper operation in a Mac Pro. So although regular FB-DIMMs that work in other Intel 5000X based motherboards will work in the Mac Pro, we would suggest selecting modules that meet Apple's thermal specifications in order to be on the safe side.

Index Upgrading the Mac Pro's CPU
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  • Corlissmedia - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    I've been reading through a lot of these sites that discuss upgrading a 2006 Mac Pro with dual dual-core 2.66's to dual quad-core x5355's. I'm thinking of doing this upgrade also, but in researching the cpus, I've found that none of them support ECC memory, and all Mac Pros, as far as I know, have ECC memory. So how does that work?????
  • Spawn4ever - Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - link

    I realize this is a very old post but i'm hopping someone, somewhere will still be willing to help me out. I own a great MacPro 2.1 2007 with the following specs

    Model Name: Mac Pro
    Model Identifier: MacPro2,1
    Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    Processor Speed: 3 GHz
    Number of Processors: 2
    Total Number of Cores: 8
    Memory: 32 GB RAM
    ATI Radeon HD 5780

    I need to change the motherboard in order to install OS X 10.10 or change the system all together. The processors in this system are still quite fast to just get rid of them. Two questions:

    1) Can i find motherboards today that will take these CPUs and work as a Hackintosh
    2) Would you say that an Intel i7 series be faster than these almost 8 year old Xeons?

    I primarily use this system for video editing and i'm starting to edit 4K footage which cannot be played back in real-time on this configuration.

    Hope this post doesn't get lost in digital land and i hear back from someone at Anandtech or the internet world.

    Thank you

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