Advice on RAM for old Mac from sketchy suppliers

Discussion in 'Computers, Electronics, IT & Gaming' started by russmuller, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. russmuller

    russmuller Cramblin' Contributor

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    I've got a 2008 Mac Pro (3,1) that I bought used from a buddy of mine about 5 years ago. I'm moderately savvy with computer hardware, so I've made some upgrades to keep it alive and boost performance (like upgrading it from a quad core to an 8-core, using SSD drives on the PCI-E bus, etc...) and it still holds its own.

    Recently it died unexpectedly- the fan would turn on and the power light would blink at a steady pace, but no "bong" noise and no video output. I read that issues like this were usually RAM-related, I scoped out the daughterboards that the RAM seats in. When I powered on, all of the LED warning indicators for the RAM slots would flash once and then remain dead; this seemed like what they normally do. So I started removing sticks 1 at a time and found that one of my 2GB sticks was causing the problem.

    Since I have to have the RAM installed in matched pairs on this machine, I don't want to drop down to 8GB of RAM when my kit in Superior Drummer takes up 5 of them. So I'm shopping around for RAM to add in another 16GB.

    It looks like I can get the right stuff across a range of prices... everything from $76 to $360 for 16GB. All from manufacturers I've never head of: Dataram, Nemix Ram, Komputerbay, Pfetcher, Memgate, etc... And naturally, there's a shortage of reviews on many of these sources. It's probably a long shot, but do you guys have any advice on shopping in this wilderness of unknown manufacturers?
     
  2. Xaios

    Xaios Foolish Mortal Contributor

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    For a Mac from 2008, it's entirely likely that the computer will accept regular old PC RAM, which means you shouldn't have to deal with unknown quantities like no-name manufacturers. Good old Kingston or Crucial should fit just fine. Of course, given that a computer of that vintage likely uses DDR2, availability might be an issue.

    What's the specs on the RAM the computer has? (number of pins, clockspeed, ECC or non-ECC).
     
  3. russmuller

    russmuller Cramblin' Contributor

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    It needs DDR2 PC6400 800MHz Buffered ECC 240-pin FBDIMMs. By spec, they should have large (1") heat spreaders and they need to be installed in matched pairs. I've read that it'll work with PC5300 667MHz RAM (all other specs being equal).
     
  4. Ultimodr

    Ultimodr SS.org Regular

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    I recently upgraded my 09 MBP and used Crucial with no issues, Good thing about them or even OWC is they will replace or refund the RAM if it fails no questions asked for an absurd amount of time.
     
  5. Xaios

    Xaios Foolish Mortal Contributor

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    Oh God, FBDIMMs. Those are a pain in the ass to find.
     
  6. Pav

    Pav ???

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    Would it be possible to upgrade the motherboard to something that will take modern types of RAM? That may be the most convenient route in the longrun.
     
  7. madwham

    madwham SS.org Regular

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    Hello,

    I have the same model and bought extra RAM years ago. I checked on several Mac-oriented sites that I knew to be serious (FB-DIMM is the same on Mac or PC, it was just a starting point) and noticed the brand Nuimpact that was sold on several of those sites and had good reviews.

    I purchased eight RAM modules and they've been working fine on this heavily-used computer ever since, so I feel that I can recommend them. :) I just checked, and they are still sold in several sites in my country. I hope you can find them too.

    When you change the RAM, don't forget to check on the manual, you have to follow a specific layout when dispatching the pairs on both memory boards.
     
  8. russmuller

    russmuller Cramblin' Contributor

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    Thanks for the advice, guys.

    After doing some more troubleshooting, I've come to suspect that it's actually the memory riser/daughterboard that is the issue. I've found quite a few on eBay for very reasonable prices, so I'm going to see what happens when I swap that out.
     

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