I’ve got this new Mac Pro, and the 2G it came with just isn’t going to do the trick. Last week, both Lauren and I were in the Valley, at different Sun meetings. So one lunchtime, we snuck away to geek-shop. I picked up 4G of high-performance RAM at S.A. Technologies, a little memory specialist that I totally recommend, their prices are pretty hard to beat. It cost about $360 including tax. On the way back, we stopped at a big tech emporium for some other odds and ends, and at the checkout they were advertising high-capacity USB disks for not much; Lauren picked up 8G for $29.99. That’s quite a pricing spread.


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From: James (Apr 12 2008, at 04:25)

Yeah, that's because the Mac Pro takes FB-DIMMs, like servers, including the T5240 - slightly better performance, increased power usage, horrible pricing. Had you bought the mythical Missing Mac (aka xMac[1]) that takes standard DDR2 you'd be out $50.

Some of my friends who are lifelong Mac users have built Hackintoshes (with the EFI emulator it's pretty easy these days) because the Pro is so overpriced and the iMac unupgradeable.

[1] http://arstechnica.com/staff/fatbits.ars/2005/10/30/1676


From: Ed Isnignihton (Apr 12 2008, at 07:00)

The Wild-West-styled Fry's in Palo Alto is the closest to Menlo Park. Do the employees still wear western clothing?

I remember many years ago getting help from some poor Indian guy wearing a vest and sheriff's badge with a "Pilavullakandi" nametag.


From: Brent Rockwood (Apr 12 2008, at 07:51)

That being said, those little USB disks have a big spread in performance as well. Plenty of the cheap ones are as slow as cold molasses, or have only a few Kb of fast cache. Performance numbers between these can easily vary by an order of magnitude or more.

Short of doing a bunch of research, you can't go wrong looking for one marked "Readyboost compatible." Even if you don't care for Windows, it's a quick guarantee that the drive meets some reasonable performance specs across the whole drive.


From: Danny (Apr 12 2008, at 08:34)

How does the speed ratio compare with the price ratio?


From: Drew (Apr 12 2008, at 10:44)

I've noticed that 4gb seems to be the magic "more ram than you'll ever need" number these days. I'm sure it won't last long, but my wife's MacBook went from a nice speed bump to ridiculous when we updated from the stock 1gb to 4gb. It's my main concern with the MacBookAir--I could live with only some of my data going everywhere with me and 1.8ghz/4200rpmdrive/gmagraphics are minimally acceptable specs, but I can fill 2gb of ram with the apps I tend to run all the time and that 4200rpm drive suddenly becomes a real problme at the point where the machine starts swapping.


From: Joe Cheng [MSFT] (Apr 13 2008, at 00:50)

According to AnandTech benchmarks, FB-DIMMs generally have worse overall performance than unbuffered DIMMs due to increased latency.



Too bad there's not a non-Xeon quad-core Mac Pro that takes unbuffered memory. This is clearly a sweet spot in the Windows PC market right now.


From: mike (Apr 14 2008, at 11:58)

I've got an "early 2008" Mac Pro. I installed 8GB of memory, for a total of 10.

Yes, it sounds like a lot, but between running XP under VMWare Fusion, Lightroom, plus a ton of other apps, it's not too much.

What I found surprising is that apparently the place you bought the memory overcharges, or prices have gone waaaay up since January; I paid 400$ for the 8GB.


From: James (Apr 14 2008, at 15:12)

Speaking of Hackintoshes: http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2008/04/14/company-claims-to-sell-mac-clone-for-399

Oh, and for gaming (I don't use twitter ... yet), Parallels supports gaming, or there's Crossover Games if you'd prefer a Wine-based product.


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