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Why does my 2006 Mac Pro 1,1 crash on startup?

522 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Mar 9, 2013 8:41 AM by Grant Bennet-Alder RSS
Jacob Sager Weinstein Calculating status...
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Mar 6, 2013 4:23 AM

Hi, folks--

 

My 2006 Mac Pro is regularly crashing on startup with a kernel panic. It will chime on startup and usually show me the Apple startup screen with the spinning wheel-- but after that, I get the multi-language "You need to restart your computer. Hold down the Power button until it turns off, then press the Power button again" message. Sometimes it doesn't even get there-- the spinning wheel just freezes, and stays frozen. Every once in a while, the Mac will start up, but the mouse will be so unresponsive that it takes me several minutes to mouse over to Restart so I can try again. (I've checked the mouse on another computer and it works fine.)

 

Additional info:

 

• I have one SSD startup disk with Lion, and two HDD startup disks with Snow Leopard. Starting up with any of these three disks results in the problems described above. This suggests to me that it's a hardware problem, rather than a problem with a specific startup disk.

 

• I tried starting up from my Snow Leopard Install disk. It was able to start up successfully. All the data on my hard drives seemed to be intact, including Lion Install, so I tried re-installing Lion on my SSD. It showed the blue progress bar for a minute. Then it said it would restart my computer in 30 seconds-- at which point, I once again got the multi-language "You need to restart your computer. Hold down the Power button ETC" crash. If even the install disk is crashing, this again suggests a hardware problem.

 

• I set the Mac Pro to target mode, and used it as a startup disk for my wife's Macbook. It functioned just fine and there were no crashes. Again, confirmation that it is a hardware problem with my Mac Pro.

 

• I have zapped the PRAM. I have also run Disk Utility, repaired permissions, and verified the disk. This did not fix the issue. (Not surprising if it is a hardware problem.)

 

• HOWEVER:  I put in the install disk that came with the computer originally and was able to complete the Hardware Test. I chose the most thorough option. It did not find any problems.

 

• This started happening three days ago. I'm not aware of any recent changes to the system that could have caused this. The most recent change I made was installing a Radeon HD 5770  graphics card and an SSD drive, more than a month ago. There was no sign of trouble after I installed either of them (except for some problems putting the Mac Pro to sleep, which is apparently a known issue with the Radeon 5770 in this model Mac Pro).

 

• Weirdly, after I fiddle with the Mac Pro for an hour or so (run diagnostics, reboot it repeatedly, etc) it seems to start working. If there is indeed a hardware problem, then perhaps something works better when it's warmed up.

 

Is there anything you'd suggest I try? Or am I stuck lugging it to the Genius Bar? I don't have a car, so this is a bit of a pain…

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.5), 2006 1,1; 3GB RAM
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,600 points)

    throw out the 3GB FBDIMMs

     

    How To Install and Remove Memory Mac Pro

    https://support.apple.com/kb/HT4433

     

    2x2GB FBDIMM DDR2 667MHz @ $31

    http://www.amazon.com/BUFFERED-PC2-5300-FB-DIMM-APPLE-Memory/dp/B002ORUUAC/

    Hardware Monitor

    http://www.bresink.com/osx/HardwareMonitor.html

     

    UPS

    http://www.amazon.com/CyberPower-CP1500PFCLCD-Compatible-1500VA-Tower/dp/B00429N 19W/

     

    Metro Vacuum ED500 DataVac 500-Watt 0.75-HP Electric Duster 120-Volt

    www.amazon.com/Metro-Vacuum-ED500-500-Watt-Electric/dp/B001J4ZOAW/

     

    I  assume this is one of Apple ATI 5770s. And that is the only graphic card. That also means you can't run anything less than 10.6.5

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,180 points)

    A kernel panic is not ONE problem, it is any one of hundreds of problems. When it happens, Mac OS X writes a suicide note and stuffs it in a special area of battery-backed RAM. At Startup, that note is copied into a log and can be read out later.

     

    Do not guess about what might be wrong. Go and get one or more of those panic logs and look at them. If they are baffling, cut and paste the text of one here on the forum and readers will help you figure out what happened.

     

    Mac OS X: How to log a kernel panic

    Mac Pro (Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8), & Server, PPC, & AppleTalk Printers
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,180 points)

    The Mac Pro has error-correcting memory and memory problems give you very distinctive signatures, which your panic log does NOT show.

     

    What it does suggest is that you may have problems with your NVIDIA Graphics card.

    Mac Pro (Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8), & Server, PPC, & AppleTalk Printers
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,600 points)

    You aso have mere 3GB which  is starving anyway, and means  you are  using OEM FBDIMMs that are old, these type fail and older DIMMs run hotter.

     

    The only way to test RAM sometimes is  with a known good set, and your swapping around 2x512 and 2x1GB is not reassuring. ECC works, but not when memory is not functioning  properly. Some errors are found, but even AHT and  Memtest are not full-proof. I  had some new OWC memory, started having  parity errors, and within 2 days had enough errors - real files written to disk - that eventually I  had  to reinstall and  restore - and  buy some  memory elsewhere thank you OWC.

     

    $29 for 2x2GB seems like a no-brainer. Except I'd "splurge" and get 8GB quad symmetrical memory, which is ideal for this system.

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,180 points)

    Rather than replace the old one with the same model, many older Mac Pro users have substituted the Apple-firmware 5770 card (about US$250). It works in all models of Mac Pro, and drivers first appear in 10.6.5 and later. It is a much better card than any of the "stock" options.

     

     

    Apple only recommends the 5770 for the 2010 model, because it was issued AFTER the earlier models were discontinued. (I find it amusing Apple does not recommend the 5770 for the very similar 2012 model either, because they have not tested it there either.)

     

    If the Apple Store has ordered you a different card, your order will be subject to their standard 14-day no questions asked return policy.

    Mac Pro (Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8), & Server, PPC, & AppleTalk Printers

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