How I killed the new Mac Pro

by Michael Kammes

Us tech folk over at Key Code Media got a shiny new Mac Pro. 12 core, 32GB RAM, dual D700s with a a 512 stick of flash memory. My first 2 cars combined cost less than this beast.

We got the system current via Software Update, and installed all the apps we needed, and began benchmarking and demoing the system. It was smooth sailing for the next week and a half. We then noticed that the unit began locking up. The cursor would become a beachball, and all functionality (short of mouse movements) was lost. No keyboard commands worked, and even the menu bar, which showed realtime statistics on a number of processes, froze. And thus, I began basic troubleshooting:

  1. Check and/or replace cables. Try different Thunderbolt and USB ports.
  2. Remove all peripherals, except keyboard and mouse.
  3. Swap out monitors and Thunderbolt to DVI adapters.
  4. Verify all apps installed are Mavericks compliant.
  5. Remove any apps which may be borderline in terms of Mavericks compatibility or basic stability (i.e shareware and freeware)
  6. Repair permissions and examine hardware via Disk Utility.
  7. Use Onyx.

No dice. Mac Pro still locked up within 10 seconds of boot.

Many times, I had to do a forceful cold boot: Power down while the CPU is running (but frozen), via the physical power button. Unplug the CPU, and again press the power button to drain the trickle charge of the unit. Why? Often, a force shutdown via the power button would bring up an error on reboot telling me that the machine had been shutdown incorrectly. I would then get a beachball, and I’d be unable to continue. Draining the trickle power seems to remedy the error message on boot. read more...

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