HELP! Mac Pro Freezing | Can't install any OS

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by s.m.t., Oct 18, 2011.

  1. s.m.t. macrumors regular


    Mar 7, 2010
    I have a 4,1 Mac Pro that has been getting kernel panics in Lion, so I figured I needed to perform a clean install. I blew away my hard drive and proceeded perform a clean install from a USB key. But it kept locking up/freezing during the initial copy stage.

    I thought maybe the USB stick was bad, so broke out the Snow Leopard install discs and proceeded to try and install that, same thing... The installer freezes during the initial install stage.

    I have also tried installing Windows 7, but it also freezes and blue screens.

    At this point I was starting to get seriously worried. I tried installed each OS onto a different hard drive. I tried different hard drives in different bays. I have tried different sticks of RAM and even ran the Apple Hardware Test. That came back clean.

    Thinking I could safely rule out the hard drives, the CD-ROM, and the RAM. I got on DVwarehouse and bought a replacement back plane board. I thought the issue might be the SATA controller. Since the Windows blue screen error referenced the SATA.dll

    I got the replacement board today and swapped it out. But to my horror, I am getting the same symptoms when trying to install Lion or Snow Leopard. (I haven't tried Windows again).

    My question is, what else could cause this? About 2 months ago I upgrading the CPU from the 2.66 (W3520) to a 3.2 (W3565). I have never seen a CPU cause this or even after 2 months of using it... Could it be that or the CPU daughter board?

    HELP, I am trying to avoid taking it Apple and paying top dollar to have them fix this...:(
  2. TinHead88 macrumors regular


    Oct 30, 2008
    Best to try the original configuration with base ram and most importantly the original CPU! See how that goes. It's a lot of work but unfortunately you'll have to eliminate all the options. Since you have already tried different HDDs memory or cpu are the last factors left before it would point to some other hardware failure that will be very difficult to diagnose.
  3. s.m.t., Oct 18, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011

    s.m.t. thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 7, 2010
    Unfortunately, I don't have the original CPU anymore... :(

    I am going to put the original RAM back in as well as pull my 5870 (the GT120 is what I have been using on the LCD), but I will pull it to be safe...

    Also decided to reseat the CPU... Found that the heat sink is not making full contact with the CPU...

  4. K15 macrumors member

    Oct 5, 2011
    Eagle River, Alaska
  5. cebritt, Oct 19, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011

    cebritt macrumors member

    May 1, 2003
    Austin, TX
    Things to check

    I have a black MacBook and a while back I had the same trouble, couldn't install the OS. It looked like a bad hard drive to me. I took it to the Apple Store, the genius hooked up a FireWire drive with all of the OS installers and he had the same problem of hanging during OS install.

    He said it might be the motherboard so he took the computer to the back room, came out a few minutes later and much to my surprise, exclaimed that I had bad RAM. My company had cheaped out and installed generic third party RAM that failed after working for two years.

    My advice to you would be to take your Mac to the Apple store because they have test equipment and software that will diagnose your problem quickly. I'm not sure if they charge for diagnosing but it would be money well spent. What's your time worth?
  6. Detrius macrumors 68000

    Sep 10, 2008
    Asheville, NC
    Um, where's the thermal paste? You DID repaste it after replacing the CPU, right? RIGHT??
  7. s.m.t. thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 7, 2010
    Yes, that is AS5 that I put on, it looks like it only made contact with the outside. I have was expecting the tool marks from my application of it to not be visable like that... Never seen that in my PC over clocking days...

    I double checked and all the screws were all the way down. Not sure if the AS5 is too thin or if the heat spreader on this CPU is warped... Going to try and check that next.

    I am also trying to come up with another processor to try...


    That is reassuring that they were able to run a diag on it. But my the nearest Apple Store is over 2 hours away from me, so I am trying to narrow it down as best I can before I go down that route...

    So far I have tried multiple hard drives, various sets of RAM, different install media, a new back plane board (which I am returning). Really the only thing left is the CPU or the CPU daughter board...
  8. s.m.t. thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 7, 2010
    Well I just swapped out the CPU with an i7 that I was able to borrow, and I was able to successfully install Lion. Ordered another w3565.
  9. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    LOAD iStat widget and look at your cpu temps

    it is free

    that cpu must have been over 110 c!
  10. s.m.t. thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 7, 2010
    I bought it used. I thought maybe it was just a weak chip. But when I put the i7 in, I mated the CPU to the heats sink first and compressed the thermal compound, then separated it and installed it normally.

    I am thinking the AS5 was just to thin to apply it the way I did on my pc's when overlocking.

    I have istat menus, I was getting about 30c/95f on the i7, so I think matting them up first helped, and not leaving it so thin.

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