Drive Options

One of the biggest complaints about the PowerMac G5s was that the chassis, despite being absolutely massive, only featured two 3.5" hard drive bays and no room for extra optical devices. The new Mac Pro chassis, although identical from the outside, has been totally revamped on the inside to accommodate a total of four 3.5" SATA hard drives and up to two optical drives.

Apple allows you to order your system with as few or as many of these bays populated as possible, but if you look closely at the pricing, you may want to avoid letting Apple upgrade your hard drive for you. Below we compared the price of Apple's drive upgrades to the best prices we were able to find for various 500GB drives on our Real Time Price Engine:

 
Drive Upgrade
Price

Apple Store: 500GB Upgrade

$200

Apple Store: Extra 500GB

$400
Hitachi Deskstar 7K500 500GB
Maxtor DiamondMax 11 500GB
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500GB
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 500GB
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KS 500GB

For $200 more Apple will swap the default 250GB SATA drive for a 500GB unit, manufacturer and model unspecified. Compared to the cost of a stand alone 500GB drive, Apple's upgrade is the cheapest you can get, however the better route is to have Apple leave the 250GB intact and simply pay $209 for another 500GB drive giving you a total of 750GB of storage for the same price that Apple would charge you for 500GB.

Populating the 2nd, 3rd and 4th drive bays with a 500GB drive costs $400 a pop at Apple, the choice here is simple: buy the drive on your own. Note that you can currently buy Seagate's 750GB drive for as little as $346, a far better bargain than Apple's $400 upgrades. Unlike video cards which require Mac specific versions, all SATA hard drives should work just fine on the Mac Pro.

Apple also moved to a two optical drive layout with the new Mac Pro; currently you have the option of upgrading to two SuperDrives, but we'd expect that in the future one of those bays may end up with a Blu-ray or HD-DVD drive in it.

Understanding FB-DIMMs (Continued) GPU Options
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  • saneproductions - Sunday, August 27, 2006 - link

    I just picked up a 2.66 MP 2GB and got some SATA-eSATA PCI plates to route the 2 hidden SATA ports to my eSATA drive and it was a no go. I tried both having the drive powered up then booting (system hung at the gray screen) and powering on the drive after the MP was up and running (nothing happened). any ideas?

    Mike
    Reply
  • blwest - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    I received my Mac Pro last Friday afternoon. It's absolutely wonderful. It's also absolutely silent.

    The 7300 card also isn't that bad either. I could play World of Warcraft at 1600x1200 at reasonably high settings. Expose worked very smoothly, overall the system's performance screams in comparision to Windows XP. Running stock setup like on Anand's review.
    Reply
  • mycatsnameis - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    I see that Crucial is shipping 4 gig FB PC5400 DIMMs. I wonder if these can be used in a Mac Pro? In the past the max memory capacity that Apple has quoted (for pro or consumer machines) has generally been conservative and related more to the size of DIMMs that are generally available than any actual h/w limit. Reply
  • nitromullet - Friday, August 11, 2006 - link

    With boot camp and a Windows XP install, is the Mac Pro Crossfire capable? I don't imagine that OS X has drivers for that, but that wouldn't be the point anyway - use the Windows install for gaming and the OS X install for everything else... Reply
  • dcalfine - Saturday, August 12, 2006 - link

    I imagine that getting crossfire to work is a matter of simple firmware flashing. With SLI, the motherboard supports it, but the Mac OS doesn't. But because crossfire depends mostly on the crossfire card, flashing the card with Mac firmware, which often works with other cards, (see Strange Dog Forums, http://strangedogs.proboards40.com/index.cgi?board...">http://strangedogs.proboards40.com/index.cgi?board... should allow it to work. I'd be interested in trying this, if I had the funding.

    Apple should be doing something to get dual- or even quad-gpu solutions on macs, since now each mac pro is a quad-processor.
    Reply
  • tshen83 - Friday, August 11, 2006 - link

    Hey anandtech, the more interesting option for GPU is actually the QUAD 7300GT powering over 8 screens. I was wondering if Apple's OSX is able to push 3D or overlay stuff on all 8 screens like Linux could. Reply
  • michael2k - Friday, August 11, 2006 - link

    As far as I know, Apple's been able to do this for far longer than Linux could :) Reply
  • tshen83 - Friday, August 11, 2006 - link

    Hey anandtech, the more interesting option for GPU is actually the QUAD 7300GT powering over 8 screens. I was wondering if Apple's OSX is able to push 3D or overlay stuff on all 8 screens like Linux could. Reply
  • OddTSi - Thursday, August 10, 2006 - link

    Are there any plans for non-ad hoc, fast serial RAM or is Rambus the only one even attempting something like that with their new XDR memory? Reply
  • kobymu - Friday, August 11, 2006 - link

    There is QDR.... Reply

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