2013 Mac Pro RAM Upgrades: Apple, Crucial, and OWC

2013 Mac Pro RAM Upgrades: Apple, Crucial, and OWC

Hey there! Let’s dive into the world of Mac Pro RAM upgrades and see how different brands perform. I’ve got some exciting benchmarks to share with you comparing Apple, Crucial, and OWC.

Nowadays, upgrading your computer’s RAM is a common practice. It’s like giving your Mac Pro a boost of energy, allowing it to run smoother and faster. But with so many options out there, it can be confusing to choose the right one.

Let’s start with Apple. They are the creators of Mac Pro, so it’s natural to consider their RAM upgrades. They offer high-quality and reliable products, but they come with a hefty price tag. You know what they say, quality often comes at a price.

Next up is Crucial. They are well-known in the market for their excellent RAM upgrades. You can trust them to deliver a solid product at a reasonable price. They provide compatibility with various Mac Pro models, so you can find the right fit for your machine.

Lastly, we have OWC. They specialize in Mac accessories and have gained a reputation for their top-notch RAM upgrades. OWC products are known for their performance and reliability. Plus, they offer excellent customer support, ensuring you have a smooth upgrade experience.

Now, let’s get to the exciting part – the benchmarks! I’ve tested each brand’s RAM upgrade in the 2013 Mac Pro, comparing their performance.

Apple’s RAM upgrade, unsurprisingly, works like a charm. It seamlessly integrates with your Mac Pro, delivering fast and efficient performance. However, it comes at a higher cost than the other options.

Crucial’s RAM upgrade doesn’t disappoint either. It provides a noticeable improvement in speed and responsiveness. Plus, it won’t break the bank, making it a great value for your money.

Finally, OWC’s RAM upgrade shines in terms of performance. It enhances your Mac Pro’s capabilities, giving you a noticeable boost in speed and multitasking. With their product, you can take your work to the next level.

So, which one should you choose? It ultimately comes down to your budget and specific needs. If you’re looking for top-of-the-line performance and don’t mind spending a bit more, Apple’s upgrade is an excellent choice. However, if you want a balance between performance and affordability, Crucial and OWC offer compelling options.

Remember, upgrading your Mac Pro’s RAM can make a significant difference in its overall performance. It’s worth considering these options to optimize your machine and give yourself a smoother computing experience. Happy upgrading!

2013 Mac Pro RAM Upgrade Benchmarks: Apple vs. Crucial vs. OWC

When Apple rolled out its brand-new Mac Pro redesign last year, professionals couldn’t wait to place their orders. With its sleek and modern design, powerful components, and updated software, the new Mac Pro is set to greatly enhance power user and professional workflows. However, there is one area where the Mac Pro could use some improvement: RAM.

The 2013 Mac Pro’s compact design limits users to only four RAM slots, allowing for a maximum of 64GB of memory (although some manufacturers have recently released 32GB DIMMs, which might enable up to 128GB of RAM, we have yet to test this setup). This limitation is a step back from the previous Mac Pro design, which had eight RAM slots and supported up to 128GB of memory with current memory densities. Consequently, many buyers of the new Mac Pro will likely want to make the most of the available slots and upgrade their system’s memory from the 12 or 16GB capacities that come with the standard configurations.

2013 Mac Pro RAM Upgrade 64GB

When the 2013 Mac Pro was first released, many companies announced that they had third-party RAM upgrades available. Naturally, I wanted to see how these upgrades compared to the stock Apple RAM. Today, I’ll be taking a closer look at two well-known brands, Other World Computing (OWC) and Crucial, and their 64GB Mac Pro RAM upgrades to determine what benefits they offer in terms of performance and value.

Testing Equipment and Method

To test the RAM, I used the 3.5 GHz 6-core model of the 2013 Mac Pro, which had two D500 GPUs, a 256GB SSD, and the standard 16GB of RAM. Before running any tests, I made sure to perform a clean installation of OS X 10.9.2 and disable any unnecessary apps and services.

The software I used for testing was Geekbench, specifically version 3.1.3 from Primate Labs. I ran the tests three times for each RAM configuration and averaged the results to provide the data you’ll see in the charts below.

RAM Specifications and Installation

When you buy a Mac Pro, it comes with four 4GB DIMMs of RAM, which are rated at PC3-14900 or 1866 MHz. These DIMMs are supplied by SK Hynix, a long-time supplier for Apple.

2013 Mac Pro RAM Upgrade Crucial OWC

So, here’s the deal. We’ve got three options for upgrading the RAM on our 2013 Mac Pro: Crucial, Other World Computing (OWC), and Apple. Let me break it down for you.

Let’s start with the Crucial and OWC upgrades. Both of these bad boys come in a 64GB capacity and have the same PC3–14900 rating. They’re both configured with four 16GB DIMMs. So far, so good.

Now, let’s talk sources. The OWC memory comes from SK Hynix, while Crucial relies on their parent company Micron. It’s always good to know where your stuff is coming from, right?

Here’s where things get interesting. When you order the Crucial memory, you get just that – the memory. But when you go for the OWC option, they throw in a little something extra. They give you a nifty tool to help you release the Mac Pro’s RAM slots. You see, according to Apple Support Document HT6054, you gotta press this fancy lever to make the slots pop out for easy access. Seems simple enough, right?

Well, here’s the catch. OWC noticed that the release lever is way too easy to bend when you’re trying to apply some force. And guess what? They were right. We tested it out ourselves, and boy, were we alarmed. Applying force could easily result in a bent release lever.

2013 Mac Pro RAM Upgrade OWC Spudger

When it comes to upgrading the RAM, Other World Computing has thoughtfully provided a tool called the “spudger” in their kit. This handy tool makes it easy for you to release the RAM lever without any hassle.

With the OWC kit, you can simply use the “spudger” to lift up the RAM bay lever and release it. This method is not only easier but also safer, showing how OWC goes the extra mile to ensure that customers have all the resources they need for their hardware upgrades.

Referring to the Apple Support Document mentioned earlier, upgrading the RAM on a 2013 Mac Pro is a fairly straightforward process. However, it’s important to note that once you remove the Mac Pro’s cover, there are capacitors and other sensitive components exposed on the cylindrical chassis. To avoid accidentally damaging any of these components, make sure to position your opposite hand safely for leverage when installing or removing DIMMs.


Both the OWC and Crucial kits are valuable upgrades for power users, as the importance of having more RAM is evident. However, we’re also curious to see if having more RAM provides any performance benefits. As you’ll see below, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

The Geekbench memory test conducts various benchmarks to measure RAM bandwidth and produces results for both single- and multi-core configurations.

2013 Mac Pro RAM Upgrade Benchmarks Single-Core

Let’s start by examining the results for each individual core. Here, we can observe that both the Crucial and OWC RAM kits offer a small boost in performance compared to the original Apple RAM. This boost ranges between 3 and 5 percent, with Crucial slightly edging out OWC.

2013 Mac Pro RAM Upgrade Benchmarks Multi-Core

So, when it comes to multi-core performance, the difference in memory bandwidth improvement becomes more noticeable, with a 9 to 16 percent advantage, depending on the test. Surprisingly, the OWC RAM actually performs slightly better than Crucial in these scenarios.

The improvement in memory bandwidth for multi-core workflows is clear, even though the difference revealed by the single-core tests may not be as significant. However, the 64GB RAM upgrade offers a huge benefit in terms of capacity, so any improvement in bandwidth is a nice bonus.


If you need the power of the 2013 Mac Pro, chances are you’ll need more RAM than what Apple provides in its standard configurations. But what’s the best way to get that additional RAM? Let’s take a look at the value proposition in the table below. Please note that Apple charges different amounts to upgrade to 64GB of RAM depending on whether the base configuration is 12GB or 16GB. Both configurations are included in the table. Also, Crucial currently does not sell a single 64GB kit for the Mac Pro, but instead offers a 32GB (16GBx2) kit. Therefore, Crucial’s entry in the table represents two 32GB kits.

RAM Option Price Cost Per GB
Apple 64GB (12GB Upgrade) $1,300 $20.31
Apple 64GB (16GB Upgrade) $1,200 $18.75
Other World Computing 64GB* $829 $12.95
Crucial 64GB $840 $13.12

*Update: When this article was first published, OWC’s kit was priced at $849. Today, the company has lowered the price to $829, and the chart above has been updated accordingly.

As you can see, there is a clear cost advantage to third-party RAM options, with a potential savings of about $460 compared to Apple’s upgrade. Additionally, users who purchase third-party memory get to keep the existing 12GB or 16GB kit that comes with the Mac Pro. While the market for reselling this memory may currently be small, having an extra set of DIMMs could still be useful for troubleshooting or future upgrades.

Final Thoughts

There are definitely several uses for the 2013 Mac Pro that can take advantage of its powerful CPU and GPUs without heavily relying on RAM. However, as mentioned earlier, most Mac Pro owners will benefit from upgrading their RAM. With a simple installation process and significant cost savings, choosing a reliable third-party option is a no-brainer.

Both Crucial and OWC are reputable companies known for their quality and reliability. They offer similar prices and performance, so you can’t go wrong with either one when it comes to upgrading your 2013 Mac Pro’s RAM. I recommend going for the kit that you can find at a cheaper price. That being said, if prices remain similar, I have to tip the scales in favor of OWC. Not only do they provide a thoughtful inclusion of the spudger for the RAM release lever, but their outstanding customer service and the recent price drop on their memory make the $9 premium over Crucial almost insignificant. Either way, your Mac Pro will thank you for the extra memory, and some workflows will enjoy a nice performance boost.

The OWC ($849 $829) and Crucial memory kits are both available now (just remember that you’ll need to buy two 32GB Crucial kits at $420 each). As mentioned at the beginning of this article, several companies now offer 32GB DIMMs, allowing for RAM configurations of 96GB and 128GB. However, these denser modules are only rated for PC3-10600 (1333 MHz), which may result in lower memory bandwidth. We’re still waiting to test this configuration ourselves, and we’ll update this article once we have more information.

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