We published a piece of speculation on the now-available Mac Pro last week. Specifically, we conjectured it would be possible to upgrade Mac Pro RAM ourselves and save a lot of money in the process, like other Apple desktop machines.
We tested that theory today and had positive results. We’ll show you how easy it is to upgrade Mac Pro RAM on your own in this post and hands-on video. See the details of our video walkthrough.
Save a lot of money with an upgrade to DIY Mac Pro RAM
As always, Apple charges for memory a ridiculous amount of money compared to third parties. Apple often publications the memory from the same manufacturer as these third parties, which means that there is no real difference in memory performance.
Here are a few examples:
Example 1: Apple charges $1,000 for upgrading to 96 GB during the build-to-order process. Through going the third-party route and buying 64 GB to connect to the current 32 GB, you can save around $800.
Example 2: Apple will charge $6000 for its 256 GB memory upgrade kit after purchase. Alternatively, you can save almost $5,000 by purchasing the 256 GB upgrade kit from Nemix from Amazon. Granted, Apple’s kit offers added flexibility by including 128 GB super-high density modules, allowing you to install more DIMM modules, but there is still a wide price difference between these two identical configurations.
These are only two examples. In other words, by not updating your Mac Pro memory during the build-to-order phase of Apple, instead buying the memory from a third party and upgrading yourself, you can save a significant amount of money. The good news is that in terms of RAM the Mac Pro is probably the easiest Mac to upgrade. Really, as you will see in our video walkthrough, it’s dead-simple.
Requirements for RAM
For the Mac Pro 2019, Apple says you’re going to want to use memory modules that follow the specifications below:
- 2933MHz DDR4 full-length DIMM. Mixing memory speeds is not recommended.
- Error-correcting code (ECC)
- 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB DIMMs
- Registered (R-DIMM) or Load-Reduced DIMM (LR-DIMM). Do not mix R-DIMMs and LR-DIMMs.
- Use the same size memory modules across all slots to maximize performance.
- DIMMs with heatsinks are not supported and may damage the DIMM mechanism.
The 32 GB and higher density DIMM modules are R-DIMM modules. The 64 GB and higher density DIMM modules are LR-DIMM modules. To determine the type of DIMM modules inside your Mac Pro, you can look at the build-to-order page.
Nemix offers various Amazon memory configurations that meet the criteria of Apple. We include, among others, a R-DIMM configuration of 64 GB (2×32 GB) and a LR-DIMM configuration of 256 GB (4×64 GB). You don’t have to use Nemix RAM necessarily, but I’ve personally checked that it works, and Nemix offers a lifetime memory guarantee.
Note: The 2933 RAM will be automatically downclocked to 2666MHz if you upgrade a Mac Pro with the8-core Xeon-W CPU, as the8-core CPU does not allow faster memory speeds.
Supported memory configurations
The Mac Pro supports six pairs of memory channels with up to 12 DIMM modules. You will want to make sure that your memory is installed in the correct channel-based configuration for the best memory performance. To show you supported configurations Apple provides useful illustrations inside the DIMM covers.
If your DIMM modules are not the same overall capacity you will want to follow the guidelines of Apple to install memory for mixed performance.
You will want to start installing the smallest memory pair in the first channel in the case of a mixed configuration and work your way up to the larger memory pair. Be sure to read Apple’s guide for more information.
How to upgrade your Mac Pro RAM step by step
Step 1: Unplug the power cable and remove the aluminum housing to expose the internal components of the machine.
Step 2: To discharge some static electricity, touch the metal housing on the outside of the Mac Pro.
Step 3: Locate the area of the memory module on the opposite side of the slots to extend the PCIe. Slide the covers of DIMM to the left and remove the covers of DIMM.
Step 4: Use the DIMM ejectors on each side of the module to eject the DIMM if you need to remove DIMMs to support your desired configuration. Remove it directly from the slot and through the module in a protective bag for electrostatic discharge.
Step 5: Locate an empty DIMM slot and align the DIMM with the slot to match the connectors and notch position. Insert the DIMM module gently until the bottom edge meets the gold contacts and then apply additional force to insert the DIMM module full, which will also click on the tabs of the ejector.
Step 6: Click on each cover of the DIMM back in place.
RStep 7:einstall the aluminum housing and lock the lock on top of the housing in place. Reconnect the power cable and power back on the Mac Pro.
Step 8: Verify the installation of your memory by tapping on the Apple > About This Mac menu, then selecting the Memory tab. You should have an updated memory configuration based on your installation.