Mac Pro constantly crashing. Much help needed!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Sam1487, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. Sam1487 macrumors member


    Jan 18, 2009
    Between Nottingham & Derby, UK
    Beware - long post awaits (but thanks in advance to those that have the time to get through it).

    I have a December 2006 Mac Pro with the following stats:

    Model Name: Mac Pro
    Model Identifier: MacPro1,1
    Processor Name: Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 2
    Total Number Of Cores: 4
    L2 Cache (per processor): 4 MB
    Memory: 6 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.33 GHz
    Boot ROM Version: MP11.005C.B08
    SMC Version (system): 1.7f10
    Serial Number (system): CK6470PDUPZ
    Hardware UUID: 00000000-0000-1000-8000-0017F204E3BE

    Along with the stats I think it's worth mentioning that I have 2GB of Apple Ram (that came with the mac) and a further 8GB worth of crucial RAM all paired up correctly over the 2 cards. I think it's also worth noting that the different makes of RAM was placed in the mac long before these problems started.

    Over the last year or so I've noticed it beginning to freeze more and more in a variety of different ways:

    One way which I only ever saw occasionally (although as of Sunday I saw it twice in one day), is the grey screen falling from the top telling me that I'll need to restart. Update: In between writing this out and posting this this has happened more and more frequently);

    Another is the screen (apple cinema display 23") just turns black (as if it's turned off) and I can't turn it back on again. If something is playing that continues to play (music, video in QuickTime, video in FCP, basically anything that s running continues to run). However, the keyboard shortcuts for quitting, restarting, shutting down no longer work;

    The third is similar to the last in that the keyboard no longer works, however the screen remains on and whatever is playing continues to play although in this case the audio does continue to work but the video doesn't. I can move the mouse across the screen but cannot click on anything.

    This happens in a variety of situations and there doesn't seem to be a constant way of invoking it other than opening another application too quickly (although this doesn't happen all the time I do this a and can occur when I'm doing other things). For example, just working in final cut can cause some of these things to happen, but it can ask happen in less power sensitive tasks such as working in Pages.

    The only time the black screen crash happened with any certainty was when I tried running the sims 3 on release (but without going through receipts I'm not sure when I bought the sims compared to when I installed the RAM. And even then I did nothing specific in the game it occurred seemingly randomly.

    In addition, I keep getting graphical errors on the screen - garbled lines of colour appearing, and windows taking sharp diagonal dives (for example, the left half of a window will be fine, the rest will be all flattened at the bottom of the screen).

    I know this is a lot of information in one post but I'd rather people that can help have as much as they can from the off.

    Additional notes: hard drives have been changed from the original that came with it and now sports four hard drives. All of these have been tested as much as I can and seem to be working fine. I have a fire 800 time machine attached.

    The front ports on the mac don't appear to be working too well, with some devices the 400 port won't work while that same device will work if I plug it in to the back (via the monitor). Other devices will work with this port. I've had it a couple of times now where if I have a few USB ports in use and I eject and pull my iPhone from the dock (which is plugged directly in to the back) it ejects all the other devices. Not sure if that has anything to do with the freezing issue, but I figured I'd mention as much as I could here.

    I think that's about it as far as odd behavior goes. Looking over what I've written my gut says "graphic card issue", but I would have thought this would cause one particular problem rather than a range of them (and if its been happening for some time I would expect it to have a big "final" crash by now). I'm hoping it's not the logic board, but I wouldn't know what issues with that look like.

    Any ideas? Any more information needed? Any tests I can do to try and narrow down the problem?

    Thanks in advance for reading (if you got this far) and any help you can offer.
  2. fehhkk macrumors 6502a


    Jun 11, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Have you tried removing the Crucial RAM or the apple ram to determine if that's the problem? Sounds like faulty memory to me.
  3. Sam1487 thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 18, 2009
    Between Nottingham & Derby, UK
    Yeah I thought that, but I've already been through the RAM and sorted that out. I've ran it until a crash with just the Crucial RAM and just the Apple RAM and it still crashes.

    I have however, identified one of the RAM sticks as faulty and removed it (and it's pair).

    Apologies, the post was written before I did the RAM test but I just posted as is owing to the problems still being there.
  4. Sam1487 thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 18, 2009
    Between Nottingham & Derby, UK

    I've attempted to run the Mac with just the Apple RAM and just the Crucial RAM for extended periods and I get the same crashing issue whatever RAM I use.

    Any more ideas floating around out there?
  5. interslicer macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2010
    sounds like a graphics card problem to me. what kind of graphics card do you use?

    can you post a kernel panic log (from when the gray restart screen comes down) located in HD/library/logs/PanicReporter?
  6. handheldgames, Jun 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011

    handheldgames macrumors 65816


    Apr 4, 2009
    Pacific NW, USA
    Definitely sounds like something is overheating.

    Initially Check:
    CPU tower coolers. They could be built up with a dust sock by this time.
    GPU cooling vents. Cooling could also be compromised with dust build up.

    There are a bunch of hardware monitors you can also install to check the system temps. That would also be a good starting point.

    You can google how to take apart the 1,1.

    If neither of those, are the issue, then it does sound like a failing graphic card.

    Good luck!!
  7. zephonic macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2011
    greater L.A. area
  8. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Follow interslicer and get us the panic log. Could be all kinds of stuff.
  9. Sam1487 thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 18, 2009
    Between Nottingham & Derby, UK
    Thanks folks,

    I'm away for the weekend but I'll make sure to get the panic log as soon as I get back.

    What should I put in to Google to get hard ware monitors (I mean, are there any specific ones that people rate above the rest?)

    I'm running Snow Leopard.

  10. DeeEss macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2011
    had a similar thing happeing to me.

    It turned out the graphics card plug was loose. It just intermitantly had a black screen and screen graphic mess. Problem solved by pushing the plug all the way in.

    It was a highly frustrating process which had a very satisfying solution.
  11. Sam1487 thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 18, 2009
    Between Nottingham & Derby, UK
    Apologies for the delay, I've had a look following the route that you suggested and there doesn't appear to be a panic reporter folder. I did however find a DiagnosticReports folder and within that there were the following two things:



  12. Sam1487 thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 18, 2009
    Between Nottingham & Derby, UK
    Are there any hard ware monitors you recommend?
  13. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2010
    I googled one of your errors and it definitely seems to be a hardware related error. The post I came across suggested running hardware tests, here is the post from that thread:

    "You should boot to your hardware test, and come back with the results of that.
    The hardware test is on your original grey restore DVD, and you reboot with that disk in the drive, while holding the letter D (for Diagnostics, eh?). Run both the simple test, and the extended test"

    Lets see what results you get from running those tests.

    I have the same model Mac Pro as you and I use iStats Pro, its a great little program and monitors temps and fan speeds.

    You can find it here:
  14. Cynicalone macrumors 68040


    Jul 9, 2008
    Okie land
    I use iStat Menus from Bjango for hardware monitoring.


    With everything you have posted and a look at the logs it looks like one of two things. The graphics card or power supply is dying.

    Power Supplies can do weird **** when they die. And they sometimes take a while to go.

    Run the full extended hardware test with the Apple DVD and see what happens. You may want to run it overnight it will take hours.
  15. spidey3, Jul 11, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011

    spidey3 macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2010
    Please note that there is a bug in iStat for MacPro1,1 [and some other Mac Pro models] which causes the CPU temps to be inverted. See

  16. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2011
    The first KP report indicates that the KP was caused by memory. The second report indicates that the KP was caused by the third-party kernel extension (see the lines below the loaded kexts). Do check if anything is loose inside!
  17. Sam1487 thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 18, 2009
    Between Nottingham & Derby, UK
    I ran the hardware test of the original grey (Tiger) DVD - the discs that came with the Mac Pro when I bought it, and both the simple and extended task completed in less than a hour and both came back with no problems.

    I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I myself am leaning towards graphics card issue as I keep getting those horrible distorted lines over my screen (they aren't on at the minute, but they were when I first loaded the page).

    I have absolutely no idea how you are able to read that stuff. I found (I think) the part you were talking about, but couldn't see where it told me (granted, I was looking for simple terms) "I crashed here".

    Other than getting a new power supply, is there any way to test if that's the problem?
  18. Sam1487 thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 18, 2009
    Between Nottingham & Derby, UK
    Wow. Well... Um... this is embarrassing.

    After deciding to take another look at the graphics card I started watching more tutorials on other parts of the mac that you can remove and replace. Which I didn't know you could do, and I've owned this mac since December 2006.

    The amount of dust in parts of that machine was insane. Like, huge.

    I've since cleared all that and made sure everything has been put back correctly. Some of the memory sticks had died (but I knew that before I started on this little adventure), and while I haven't had chance to fully stress test it, the funny graphical lines haven't appeared in the small windows I've been using my mac over the last few days.

    Hopefully it won't crash in the future but I'll be straight back here with any more findings.

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