When we opened up our Video Production Studio last year, we opted for a hybrid Mac Pro/MacBook Pro and Intel’s V8 and Skulltrail platforms. While finding 8-16GB FB-DIMM for a PC was a breeze (at low cost – Kingston modules were selected), situation for Mac Pro was a bit difficult, since spending 7000 USD on 16GB of memory was not an option. We opted for a 16GB kit from OWC and so far, we’re happy with it.
When the Nehalem-EP based Mac Pro debuted, we put the purchase of several machines in our plan for 2009, and well – it looks like the memory will be OWC once more. The company released DDR3 kits for the new Mac Pro and the prices are looking quite tempting.
The default option would be the 8/16/32 GB combination, but we would recommend that you avoid them. The new Nehalem architecture brings a Triple-Channel memory controller, so you have a 384-bit memory interface in these shiny new dual Mac Pros, not the 256-bit one of yesteryears. Thus, the ideal way to go is with a six DIMM combination of 12 or 24GB of memory. There is a trick, though. The difference in price between a 2GB and 4GB ECC memory is quite large, so don’t be surprised when you see 12GB (6×2 GB) kits for $219 and 24GB (6x4GB) kits for $1400.
Given the Apple’s decision to go with only four DIMM slots per CPU, you can upgrade to 16GB of memory for $350 (8x2GB), but then you’re out of options to upgrade the memory as all eight DIMMs will be taken. If you still decide to go the 16/32GB route, know that the performance will suffer as Triple-Channel will dial-down to a Dual-Channel mode – going from 51.2 GB/s all the way down to 34.1 GB/s.