Last week we polled readers on the use of third-party FB-DIMM RAM modules in their Mac Pros. Our intent was to determine whether the use of such modules -- rather than Apple's significantly more expensive self-branded modules -- would result in greater noise or heat issues, as stated in Apple Knowledge Base article #304235.
So far we've received dozens of reports, with all readers indicating no noticeable noise difference between Apple FB-DIMMs and those supplied by a host of manufacturers who offer their memory at lower cost -- even those without the similar massive heatsinks.
In fact, most readers note acoustical disturbance from Apple-supplied hard drives and self-added drives rather than from excessively running fans.
MacFixIt reader Ulf Cronenberg writes:
"Regarding third-party DIMMs in my Mac Pro: I bought two 1 GB DIMMs from Samsung with only little heatsinks. But until now the fans of my Mac Pro do not run faster because of them -- and there's no other problem either. I only have to complain about the noisy 250 GB Western Digital hard drive that came with the Mac Pro. Besides the optical drive which is not always used the hard drive is the loudest part of the Mac Pro."
MacFixIt reader Jason adds:
"I'm sure this has been well noted by now, but Crucial is shipping 1GB kits (2x512 FBDIMMs) for $193.99 per kit. It is the best price available for Mac Pro RAM, generic or otherwise.
"The heatsinks are identical to those in the Mac Pro stock memory. In fact some Mac Pro users on the Apple discussions report their Mac Pros actually ship with Micron RAM and the only difference is the addition of a Crucial warranty sticker to the DIMMs.
"My Mac Pro shipped with Nanya branded memory. The heatsinks in the Crucial FBDIMMs which just came are, nonetheless, identical to those in my Apple supplied memory.
"I've not noticed any fan issues related to the memory. My main problem is that ever since I installed 4 drives in the system I get an annoying low vibration/buzz out of the system which seems to have a ~6 second cycle. it's really bothersome and I can't make it go away."
Finally, Neil Steinmetz writes:
"I have installed four 'generic' third party 1 GB FB-DIMMs in my Mac Pro in addition to the two 512MB FBDIMMs it came with and have noticed no increase in noise level. I obtained the FBDIMMs from MacSolutions (two separate orders of 2 FBDIMMs each time); the first two were labeled 'Legacy Electronics' and the next two (received about a week later) were labeled 'Transcend.' Both came with flat heat sinks but they lack the large fins on the Apple modules. I have considered adding additional copper heat sinks (on the surface of the existing heat sink so as to not void the lifetime warranty), but thus far have not seen the need to do so."
- Apple Knowledge Base: Optimizing your Mac Pro for acoustical performance
- Mac Pro (#10): More on forgotten audio output settings; Freezes during network transfers; more
- Mac Pro (#9): Problems caused by third-party, old Apple keyboards; Sound output issues; more
- Mac Pro (#8): Hanging with external devices: Try switching ports, other workarounds
- Mac Pro (#7): Problems running Apple Hardware test; Power supply failures
- Mac Pro (#6): More on startup issues, random freezes caused by external devices
- Mac Pro (#5): Hangs with external FireWire drives; Blu-ray drive support; Poor Aperture performance; more
- Mac Pro (#4): Boot Camp support; AirPort and Bluetooth must be installed by service provider; more
- Mac Pro (#3): RAM specifications and clarifications; Noise levels; RAM shipment delays; Take-apart pictures
- Mac Pro technical notes: Processors are upgradeable, model string identifier, more
- Mac Pro introduced (notes from Keynote): Ships today, Up to Dual dual-core 3 GHz, more