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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Switcher Here - got Ea mac pro... a few questions

Switcher Here - got Ea mac pro... a few questions
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Aug 7, 2006, 10:40 PM
 
Hello.

I was a hardcore PC user for the last 20 years or so. Hardware, software, servers, whatever.

My girlfriend wanted a white macbook about a month ago, so I figured, what the hell. Then, at the apple store in Mission Viejo, I played around on a G5 last june. Was pretty awesome. In fact...

I now am the proud owner of a yet-to-arrive Mac Pro, ala-
dual 2.66
2 gigs ram
250 gig hd
nvideo 7300 gt

and the rest of the standard fixins. My first mac. Wow.

So great! I have a pair of brand new Samsung Syncmaster 214t 21" LCD's that I love, a Wacom 9x12, and a Logitech Nulooq on order. I am ready to be a full mac addict.

But I have some questions that I've search for, and can't get a real answer. I apologize if these have been asked, but I looked here, other forums, and google, but nothing. They might seem pretty basic, but I am coming from a world of clunky PC bullcrap, so I am assuming nothing.


1 - Expose on multiple displays: what happens? I got windows scattered all over both screens, what happens when I hit the expose? what about dashboard?

2 - hard drive bays - with the mac pro coming with the 250, I have 3 bays open. Can I take my PC's old SATA 80gb drives and put them in 2 free bays? And if so, can I make them a 160gb raid?

3 - the 7300 GT card - will it run my monitors at 1600x1200 through the DVI? Does OSX allow that resolution for 2 displays?

4 - Expansion PCI slots - so if I buy another 7300 gt, I get 2 more DVI hookups for 4 displays? Is it that easy? Does nvidia make special mac cards?

5 - RAM - do I have to buy the same apple ram that comes with it? I got 2 gigs, hoping thats enough. If I want more, is there a certain type I have to buy, or will crucial be able to tell me?

Thats all for now. Thanks for helping a nervous switcher.
     
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Aug 7, 2006, 11:06 PM
 
1 - I have no idea. Fishsticks shoot out of the second optical drive bay.

2 - Yes and yes.

3 - Yes and yes.

4 - Yes. Yes. No, nVidia doesn't make any cards, other companies make cards based on nVidia chipsets; it remains to be seen if you can toss any PCIe graphics card in a Mac Pro (I give it 50:50 odds).

5 - No. Yes, you need 667Mhz FB(fully buffered)-DIMMs. Crucial sells them, but doesn't have the Mac Pro in their recommendation system yet.

edit: Much to my dismay, there will be no fishsticks shooting from the second optical drive bay. Expose treats both monitors seperately, so each will have its windows scaled and displayed on it. Dashboard will span both monitors, so you can arrange some widgets on each.
     
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Aug 7, 2006, 11:07 PM
 
Welcome to MacNN and the Macintosh platform. That's going to be one heck of a nice machine, I'm going to upgrade to one myself.

1. It probably keeps the windows on their own screens. Edit: I just tried this out myself and that's how it works.

2. Don't see why not as long as the hardware is compatible.

3. The 7300 GT can drive TWO 23" Cinema Displays which run at 1900x1200, or both a 23" AND a 30" display at the same time, so I'd say yes.

4. Yes. You can have up to 8 (!!) displays with 4 cards.

5. You can buy whatever compatible 3rd party RAM you want, but I'm not sure if the RAM Apple uses is special in any way. Edit: From Apple's product page: "To help dissipate heat, every Apple DIMM you purchase for your Mac Pro comes with its own preinstalled heat sink. This unique heat sink lets fans run slower — and quieter — yet keeps the memory cool enough to run at full speed."
Mac OS X 10.5.0, Mac Pro 2.66GHz/2 GB RAM/X1900 XT, 23" ACD
esdesign
     
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Aug 7, 2006, 11:14 PM
 
Awesome responses!

Here's a few more questions regarding Rosetta:

So with the new Mac Pro, its intel, meaning rosetta is installed. That being said, I will be installing Adobe CS2, as well as Macromedia Studio 8. I use photshop and flash, dreamweaver for my work.

These programs, I am assuming still need rosetta to run. My question, I suppose, is will I be facing significant slowdown until adobe and macromedia release universal versions of each suite?

Is there anyone here who uses CS2 or Flash on a intel mac that can speak to this? I am a little worried I'll be crippled until the software is released as universal.

Any ideas?
     
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Aug 7, 2006, 11:20 PM
 
Yes there is a performance penalty due to the emuation, and the magnitude of the slow down depends on exactly what you do. Having gobs of RAM (up to 4GB, can't use more than that until CS3 is released) will help to mitigate the slowdown. It's not horrible like "OMG 10% speed", but it is about 50% native performance.

I note that you ordered 2GB RAM, which Apple unfortunately ships as 4x512MB rather than 2x512MB. If at all possible, I encourage you to call Apple and change your order back to the stock RAM configuration and purchase the rest from Crucial. For what you paid for a 1GB upgrade from Apple ($300), you can get nearly 2GB from Crucial ($360).

Originally Posted by Apfhex
5. You can buy whatever compatible 3rd party RAM you want, but I'm not sure if the RAM Apple uses is special in any way. Edit: From Apple's product page: "To help dissipate heat, every Apple DIMM you purchase for your Mac Pro comes with its own preinstalled heat sink. This unique heat sink lets fans run slower — and quieter — yet keeps the memory cool enough to run at full speed."
This is not special. Every FB-DIMM I've seen, including Crucial's, comes with a heatsink.
     
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Aug 7, 2006, 11:21 PM
 
A lot of us are hoping large apps become native on the intels, because with rosetta, they don't run as smoothly as they do natively on PowerPcs.

I'm not one of those people..long live the PowerPc.

Ahh, mduell beat me to it..
     
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Aug 8, 2006, 07:03 AM
 
I went ahead and purchased a MacPro the moment I could. I was considering upgrading the GPU but didn't particularly care to pay the apple premium upgrade price or set my ship time back 5 weeks. In fact, just adding an airport card was adding 4 weeks ship time, so I left everything stock.

Upon finding X1900 prices are tanking no more than a day later (http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=3688) I am gladder than ever that I left things stock. One thing I'm wondering is, if I buy an X1900 XT and put it in this thing, shouldn't it just work? Apple presumably has the drivers for it since they are selling the X1900 XT as an upgrade option so I would be inclined to think it would just work. But haven't there been instances in the past where such thinking has failed (because of some small difference in the chipset or firmware or somewhere else)?

Like others though, I would prefer to bypass ATI altogether. Lack of ATI on Intel after this year leaves me with a bad feeling. I'd prefer to just wait until the end of the year and get something that supports HDCP and other good stuff, but the vid card upgrade stuff could hold those plans back.
Genius. You know who.
     
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Aug 8, 2006, 07:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by Sean Dempsey
1 - Expose on multiple displays: what happens? I got windows scattered all over both screens, what happens when I hit the expose? what about dashboard?
Each window will stay on the screen it belongs to, so Exposé will let you see all windows on screen 1 side-by-side and ditto for the second screen.
Originally Posted by Sean Dempsey
2 - hard drive bays - with the mac pro coming with the 250, I have 3 bays open. Can I take my PC's old SATA 80gb drives and put them in 2 free bays? And if so, can I make them a 160gb raid?
Yes, you can. You can also use a software RAID0 (like on Windows) to combine the two drives to one volume. However, you probably want to reformat the drives as HFS+ volumes.
Originally Posted by Sean Dempsey
3 - the 7300 GT card - will it run my monitors at 1600x1200 through the DVI? Does OSX allow that resolution for 2 displays?
Yes, OS X can drive up to eight displays. Two displays à 1600x1200 are a piece of cake
Originally Posted by Sean Dempsey
4 - Expansion PCI slots - so if I buy another 7300 gt, I get 2 more DVI hookups for 4 displays? Is it that easy? Does nvidia make special mac cards?
There are special Mac graphics cards (the firmware is different). You can then use four displays -- well, if your eyes can keep up that is
Originally Posted by Sean Dempsey
5 - RAM - do I have to buy the same apple ram that comes with it? I got 2 gigs, hoping thats enough. If I want more, is there a certain type I have to buy, or will crucial be able to tell me?
No, it uses regular DDR2 ECC FB-DIMMs. You have to get ECC RAM as you cannot mix ECC RAM with non-ECC RAM.
( Last edited by OreoCookie; Aug 8, 2006 at 07:27 AM. )
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Aug 8, 2006, 08:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie
No, it uses regular DDR2 ECC FB-DIMMs. You have to get ECC RAM as you cannot mix ECC RAM with non-ECC RAM.
Have you seen any non-ECC FB-DIMMs? I think all FB-DIMMs are ECC.

edit: At the manufacturers site. I've found a few resellers who mark memory as non-ECC when the manuf says it is ECC.

Originally Posted by nforcer
Upon finding X1900 prices are tanking no more than a day later (http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=3688) I am gladder than ever that I left things stock. One thing I'm wondering is, if I buy an X1900 XT and put it in this thing, shouldn't it just work? Apple presumably has the drivers for it since they are selling the X1900 XT as an upgrade option so I would be inclined to think it would just work. But haven't there been instances in the past where such thinking has failed (because of some small difference in the chipset or firmware or somewhere else)?
I don't know that a $60 drop ($370 to $310) is really tanking, but I did laugh to see that the price dropped the day after Apple released an X1900 XT card at a competitive price.
Previosly Macs needed special video cards that supported OpenFirmware; now that OpenFirmware has gone the way of the do-do, it may be possible to drop in any OTS card. However there is still a possibility that EFI or some other reason will require nonstandard cards.
( Last edited by mduell; Aug 8, 2006 at 08:33 AM. )
     
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Aug 8, 2006, 12:58 PM
 
Crucial.com do have a Mac Pro compatibility page. I don't think it is referenced on the front page or indexes yet. You can find it at

http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/list...?model=Mac+Pro
http://www.crucial.com/store/listpar...?model=Mac+Pro

A 2GB kit (2 x 1GB) is £189 or $344
Apple charges £470 or $700 for 2x1GB

I'm planning to go with Crucial for this item. Please shout out if there is something I am missing.
     
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Aug 8, 2006, 03:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by beancurd
Crucial.com do have a Mac Pro compatibility page. I don't think it is referenced on the front page or indexes yet. You can find it at

http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/list...?model=Mac+Pro
http://www.crucial.com/store/listpar...?model=Mac+Pro

A 2GB kit (2 x 1GB) is £189 or $344
Apple charges £470 or $700 for 2x1GB

I'm planning to go with Crucial for this item. Please shout out if there is something I am missing.
Neat.

Odd that page has a naked DIMM (no heatsinks). If you click any of the links for a specific module/kit, it still shows the picture with heatsinks. I guess they just want to show off the chips.
     
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Aug 9, 2006, 01:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Sean Dempsey
Hello.
5 - RAM - do I have to buy the same apple ram that comes with it? I got 2 gigs, hoping thats enough. If I want more, is there a certain type I have to buy, or will crucial be able to tell me?
This is the one "gotcha" I think. It's my belief that you'll have to use the Apple FB-DIMMs because of the heat-sinks they have on there. FB-DIMMs run much hotter than regular DIMMs and, currently, no other memory manufacturer is making these kooky things.

You may be able to use another FB-DIMM but if they run too hot, the DIMMs' performance may suffer. Also, the fans may run faster (louder) to keep the system cool.
( Last edited by Hobeaux; Aug 9, 2006 at 01:45 PM. )
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Aug 9, 2006, 01:49 PM
 
You are incorrect. You will be able to use any other FB-DIMM which meets the specs. In particular, Mac resellers sell RAM that is known to work with the corresponding Mac. There are some third party RAM modules with heat sinks as well, although they are not mandatory yet (otherwise they would be part of the JEDEC specs).

For years now, Macs have been using only industry-standard components, so using `Apple' RAM only (as if Apple makes RAM) is by no means required. If Crucial sells the modules as compatible with the Mac Pro, then they are.
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Aug 9, 2006, 05:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by Hobeaux
This is the one "gotcha" I think. It's my belief that you'll have to use the Apple FB-DIMMs because of the heat-sinks they have on there. FB-DIMMs run much hotter than regular DIMMs and, currently, no other memory manufacturer is making these kooky things.

You may be able to use another FB-DIMM but if they run too hot, the DIMMs' performance may suffer. Also, the fans may run faster (louder) to keep the system cool.
Have you actually seen an FB-DIMM for sale without a heatsink?

Crucial's site clearly shows heatsinks on their FB-DIMMs:

     
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Aug 9, 2006, 08:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by beancurd
Crucial.com do have a Mac Pro compatibility page. I don't think it is referenced on the front page or indexes yet. You can find it at

http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/list...?model=Mac+Pro
http://www.crucial.com/store/listpar...?model=Mac+Pro
Hmm. I received a 'packaged and ready to ship' notice from Crucial today, but now their site lists no products via the above links. I smell an RMA coming along.
     
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Aug 9, 2006, 09:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by beancurd
Hmm. I received a 'packaged and ready to ship' notice from Crucial today, but now their site lists no products via the above links. I smell an RMA coming along.
First they had it at the non-standard URL (above), then they had it at a standard URL (through the selector), and now there's nothing. I'm sure it's just a website issue.
     
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Aug 10, 2006, 11:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell
First they had it at the non-standard URL (above), then they had it at a standard URL (through the selector), and now there's nothing. I'm sure it's just a website issue.
My memory arrived. Concerned, I used Live Chat on crucial.com. Crucial advised that I do not install it and return it until it is relisted on their website. They "only made the decision this morning" to pull it. They are waiting to perform some quality assurance.

If anyone HAS installed the RAM successfully, it would be interesting to hear from you.
     
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Aug 10, 2006, 12:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by beancurd
My memory arrived. Concerned, I used Live Chat on crucial.com. Crucial advised that I do not install it and return it until it is relisted on their website. They "only made the decision this morning" to pull it. They are waiting to perform some quality assurance.

If anyone HAS installed the RAM successfully, it would be interesting to hear from you.
Odd. Several Crucial modules have already passed Intel's 667Mhz FB-DIMM validation.
     
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Aug 10, 2006, 01:24 PM
 
Thanks - in that case rather than send back immediately I will hang on to the chips for a few days and watch for other people guinea pigging various modules. Crucial are probably just waiting to try it out on a real box, bluffed by Apple's heat sink claims.

Another new owner called Crucial and received the same advice.
( Last edited by beancurd; Aug 10, 2006 at 01:36 PM. )
     
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Aug 10, 2006, 01:44 PM
 
The pictures at Crucial.com have heatsinks on them. I've never seen an FB-DIMM without heatsinks. With the AMB running at 4Ghz (for "667 Mhz" parts), I can't imagine anyone would sell them without.

Do the modules you bought have heatsinks on them?
Why not pop them in and try it out? You're not going to damage anything. Remember, put them on the unused memory card for maximum performance.
     
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Aug 10, 2006, 02:53 PM
 
All the third party memory I've seen (including Crucial) use standard heat spreaders and not the beefier heat sinks that Apple's memory appears to use.
     
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Aug 10, 2006, 03:12 PM
 
Yes the crucial boards only have heat spreaders. The apple ones are far beefier indeed.

But what I don't understand is, if the heat spreaders are adequate in any other circumstance, how can the new mac pro box, in essence, overwhelm and create more heat on the boards than any other box would.
     
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Aug 10, 2006, 03:59 PM
 
Well Apple seems to rely more on passive heat sinks to cut down on the number of fans needed.

Servers usually have highspeed, noisy fans installed so perhaps this is why heat spreaders are the default. Most PCs also tend to have more fans. There are exceptions of course.
     
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Aug 12, 2006, 12:24 AM
 
I read today that OWC is now making an FB-DIMM for the Mac Pros that has their own heat sinks on them. It's a tad less than Apple RAM: ordering 16GB from OWC will save $800 than ordering Apple RAM. (at least that's what a friend of mine mentioned).

OWC RAM article:
http://www.macnn.com/articles/06/08/...ory.kits.ship/
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Aug 12, 2006, 02:01 AM
 
Someone reported to www.xlr8yourmac.com that he used Crucial memory in his Mac Pro. He even stuck on some VRAM heatsinks to the built-in heat spreaders that came with the Crucial memory and Apple System Profiler reported 2 ECC Correctable Errors when the modules were put on the bottom riser board. He later tried the same modules on the upper riser board and they worked fine, but I would still be a little worried...
     
   
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