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2008 Mac Pro Owner Feedback (early reports page 1)

For Later Reports from 2008 Mac Pro owners see this page - this is Jan 28th, 2008 and earlier reports. (separated due to single page getting too large (over 100KB text size)


(added 1/28/2008 - later updated w/more notes)
"Hi Xlr8ers, I bought the 8-core 2.8GHz right away, intending to spend a few weeks tuning it up with Final Cut 5.1, and putting my Dual G4 on the back table. Reading that FCP wants 4, 8, or 16 GB RAM for smoothest performance, I pulled the original 2MB and placed in 4 ea. 2MB OEM Samsung from MacRAM Direct, for 8 total. I am not impressed with the instability and sluggishness. (Has Spotlight finished indexing the drive(s)? (and I set it to not index ext. drives, etc.). I've also gotten in the habit of doing a force prebinding also after every software update in OS X.-Mike)

FCP seems to run most functions ok, but Sends to Soundtrack Pro are very slow, create bogus files, or hang up. Compressor works generally, and Activity Monitor shows all 8 cores working at about 65% when encoding HDV to mpeg-2. (Is FCP using all 8 cores? (just curious) I linked to an Apple doc last fall on Shake 4: Tip for best performance on Mac Pro (8-core) with OS X 10.5 Leopard that says under OS X Leopard Shake performs best using 4 cores - it used all 8 on an 8-Core Mac Pro in Tiger.)-Mike) All these apps updated via software update, repeatedly until exhausted. Quick Time 7.4 might be a home-wrecker.

BUT, the thing is not very quick, in fact disappointingly slothful. It's only about 5x faster in encoding (same sample movie) than my 6-year-old G4 2x1GHz, and not even 2x faster than my little MacBook Core 1 Duo 2x2GHz. I understand that 10.5.2 will help in distributing processes from multiple apps, but can I expect any improvement with Final Cut?

Cinebench numbers I just ran are exciting, but I get the impression that encoding speed is really based on processor speed, maybe RAM speed, and not much in the way of bus speed or number of cores. I've been plowing the forums for two weeks looking for useful data on what I should expect in performance relative to older Final Cut hardware installs. If I could go back to Tiger, I'd be there and be working! Thanks for your posts and monitoring. Lots to learn.
(he later wrote)
(Has Spotlight finished indexing the drive(s)? (and I set it to not index ext. drives, etc.).-Mike)
I've got Spotlight off, just to be sure. I have little on the drives so far, except the OS and Final Cut Studio (1) and a small sample HDV video project, so indexing was done anyway.

(I've also gotten in the habit of doing a force prebinding also after every software update in OS X. (force prebinding run from the terminal, then a reboot done - I mentioned this again on the 10.5.1 troubleshooting tips), but also do it for every update.-Mike)
Thanks for that tip. This is not an OS update, though, because it's the Jan 08 8-core with 10.5.1 preinstalled. But I will prebind anyway, now and in the future. (Again I do this for any update - and based on reports, there were some updates available for the 2008 Mac Pros, unless later shipping models have drive images that are completely updated-Mike)

(Is FCP using all 8 cores? (just curious) I linked to an Apple doc last fall onShake 4: Tip for best performance on Mac Pro (8-core) with OS X 10.5 Leopard that says under OS X Leopard Shake performs best using 4 cores - it used all 8 on an 8-Core Mac Pro in Tiger apparently.))
FCP 5.1.4 seems to use all 8 cores, but at a very light CPU%, but uses only ONE upon Send...To Soundtrack Pro Multitrack Project. This is a slow drag, and runs about as fast as on my G4 Dual 1.0, since I make a needed reference movie at this point also. LiveType renders are not instant, but ok fast, about 1 sec on the LT timeline takes 1.8 secs to render and view within LT. Although I have worked with FCP 1, 2, 3 and now 5.1.4, I am just now digging into the old-style geek Shake interface, but it seems to run all 8 cores ok. When I have a real-life Shake sequence tuned up, I will switch it down to 4 instances in a virtual cluster and see if that bumps things up at all.

Compressor, which I really need daily for encoding my projects for DVD distribution, is grindingly slow; one minute of simple HDV (1 video track, 4 audio tracks) takes 2.75 minutes to encode as Single Pass, 16:9, 90-minute quality. My G4 2x1GHz with 2GB takes "only" 15 minutes. Running Compressor, I see all 8 processors cranking evenly at 65 - 70%, so I'd expect more like 1 minute of video coming out in 1 minute, maybe even better.

So, maybe my big question is why Handbrake in the benchmarks and in practice seems so blazingly fast, even when compared to later G5's. Orders of magnitude. I can't believe that software for piracy (ok, not every user) is so much more efficient than software for legitimate video content creators. I fully expect FCP 7 in Suite 3 to tune things up better, especially as Leopard matures (I love 9.2.2, 10.3.9, 10.4.9 which run for months at a time without trouble), but I'd like to migrate some projects to the new 8-core and start benefitting from the space it takes up on my rack. I appreciate your feedback, and your continuing work on the site.
-David W."

Apple has some FCP benchmarks on their Mac Pro product/performance pages using the high-end 3.2GHz model, but as I mentioned the day they released them, many comparisons used a Quad G5 tower (all the Final Cut Pro/Studio, After Effects and Pshop CS3 tests). Some other tests used the previous Mac Pro model (base 2.66GHz typically).

(added 1/28/2008)
"I bought a new Mac Pro a few days ago (stock dual quad-core 2.8, same version of OS X it came with, no UPS) and have just encountered the restart on wake from sleep and the graphics corruption freeze problem within 10 minutes of each other. Before that it was running for about a day and a half fine with sleep working as intended.
Will try SMC and PRAM reset. (Also disable Sleep in Energy Saver (system and drive))
Hopefully that fixes it but otherwise I'm exchanging it for another one. (I hope I don't have to as I've already put a lot of time into installing all my apps on this...)
-Frederick A."

Some that got replacement systems said they're still seeing the same problems.

(added 1/28/2008)
"Yep, I'm having the lame graphics freeze issue also. I've just had this machine for 4 days and have had 8 - that's right - 8 lockups. It's a single cpu 2.8. It did it with the base setup and also after I installed the extra 4 gigs of OWC memory. I've tried reseating the video card, switching the DVI port, different monitors, and still the same crap. I'm a little upset and I'm really hoping that there's a fix in the works (10.5.2 maybe?). I want to contact Apple, but I've read on a few other forums that people are getting new machines in exchange and the new one is doing it now too. HELLO!
-Dave "

A reader last week mentioned he got a replacement system and that he's seen the same issues with it also. (But I'd still urge everyone with problems to report them to Apple asap, as the more owner's reporting this to them the better to make it a priority IMHO.)

(added 1/28/2008)
"I just bought my stock 2.8GHz Mac Pro Dual processor machine. Additional RAM is on the way.
It restarts on wake from sleep, just like the others (all of them, I suspect). It's not plugged into a UPS, just in a power-strip with a couple of other peripherals. I have not had the screen corruption/lock-up issue yet, but I am sure it's coming. The SMC reset fix seems to be temporary, so I am not even going to bother with it. I will just disable sleep for the time being and wait for the fix from Apple.
I really think that these problems are not that serious. Apple is sure to eliminate them either via software patch or machine-specific firmware patch. In all other respects the computer is great; fast and quiet.
Cheers, Gene S."

(added 1/28/2008 - updated w/note a reinstall fixed it)
"Here's a new one (maybe). I use an ImagePrint RIP to run my Epson 7800 printer. It allows quick switches from Photo Black to Matte Black inks and many other user-friendly printing features. I use version 7.0. It worked well on my G-5 in 10.5.1. It works well on my MacBookPro laptop, 2.4 in 10.5.1. HOWEVER, IT WON'T ALLOW USE OF AN "OPTIONS" SELECTION ON THE MAC PRO(2008). The "options" choice affects paper thickness and cutting methods.
Colorbyte, makers of ImagePrint have been very helpful in trying to fix the glitch but so far, no luck.
If you use that RIP, tread lightly before getting a new MacPro. I'm sure a fix will come.
(he later wrote a reinstall helped)
Footnote and another MacPro issue. I decided for no intelligent reason to re-jiggle the hard drives in my MacPro(2008). When I restarted after the re-jiggle, the machine was confused and, to make a long story short, completely crashed, with two identical startup drives (courtesy of Carbon Copy Cloner) totally unusable, un-recognizable... I mean dead.
Long story short, I had to re-install the OS, find all my data on other backups and spend a nice weekend hunched over the computer. HOWEVER, and this is the point of the report: The freshly installed ImagePrint RIP works fine!!! My hunch is that something in the invisible files of the Intel had a conflict. It is now gone.... problem accidentally solved!
-Marc H "

Sometimes a clean reinstall solves problems (although often it's a last resort people try - I too hate to resort to that unless I have to.) I had an issue of some printing/ink/paper options not appearing in dialogs originally with my ($99 store demo) HP C7180 - I removed (using HP util) the software/driver and did a reinstall again - that fixed it. (Not exactly the same problem but just a FYI... turns out there is an HP injet update that mentions an issue with the original 9.7/Leopard software if you update to 10.5.1 or repair permissions. See today's (Jan 28th) news page post for more info.)

(added 1/28/2008)
"Just a quick note regarding my new 2.8GHz MacPro. No problems at all so far but I'm somewhat disappointed by the fact that this machine is as noisy as the G5 Quad I had previously. It emits a very audible low requency hum (stock config). Funny since everybody seems so pleased with the quietness of these machines. I hope I didn't get a faulty power supply. I'll look into it, maybe the Radeon need a quieter fan?
(I mentioned that as a test try using a finger to (carefully) stop the fan for just a second to see if the noise goes away - that rules out the Graphics card fan)-Mike)
OK, it's not the graphics card fan, but I'm fairly sure it's the "main" fan blowing into the PCI compartment. Would be nice if there was some way to slow it down, as I suspect that it provides more airflow than really needed as long as you have only the standard Radeon installed. OK, i I can live with it...

I also seem to be plagued by the wake from sleep issue even without a screen saver. (Several others noted a reboot on wake from sleep.-Mike) I put it to sleep overnight and in the morning I could move the mouse, it would give me the beachball cursor when I tried to do something, but I had to restart. Seems to occur only after a prolonged sleep period, not if I put it to sleep and come back after a short while.

Also, I've had one instance where I unplugged a USB peripheral while the machine was asleep, which would normally just wake it up but caused a restart.
Regards, Konrad "

(added 1/28/2008)
"I recently upgraded my trust 4x2.5 Ghz G5 for an 8-core 2.8GHz Mac Pro (the stock configuration). I installed two 500 GB drives, formatted them for RAID-1 operation via SoftRAID 3.6.6 (the latest), installed Leopard and restored my data. Everything worked fine except for the machine crashing whenever it went into processor sleep and this was cured with an SMC reset.

Since thing were running so well I install VMware Fusion and created a virtual machine. Wow! Since I need to occasionally run graphical programs (like my training flight simulator) that are not yet virtual machine compatible I decide to create a Boot Camp partition on the now idle 320 GB drive that came with the machine. I fire up Boot Camp and it tells me to reboot with an internal disk drive. I only have internal disk drives! (try booting from a non-RAID/non-softraid drive and then try bootcamp setup-Mike)

The Boot Camp documentation seem to indicate that it is OK to have the Boot Camp partition on a drive other than the boot drive. In my case the boot volume is a RAID and perhaps that's my problem. Does anyone know how I can install and use Boot Camp on the 320 GB drive?
-Mark "

Do you have a bootable OS still on the 320GB drive? (if so try booting from that drive)

More on running from OS X Tiger Drive: (previous posts mentioned issues with the ATI 2600 XT graphics card for instance - note his ASP info when booted from OS X 10.4.x shows no Quartz Extreme support and Core Image in "Software")

(added 1/28/2008)
"You might remember I wrote (Sept. 17th, 2007 news page) about "Migrating PPC to Intel - connecting two Macs via External HD". Well, I finally took the plunge and received my 8-core 2.8GHz Mac Pro 2008. In anticipation of its arrival, I had preserved the external HD with the system from the white 24" iMac 2.33GHz mentioned in the link above. I connected this to the Mac Pro and started up from 10.4.11 without a hitch. I deliberately ran the 10.4.11 Combo Update again, which went well, the machine started up and is running 10.4.11 as I type this.

Details from System Profiler (incl screenshots) appear below. As you can see, it says that Quartz Extreme is Not Supported (And Core Image as "Software", not "hardware accelerated"-Mike) which means that I cannot run iMovie 08, and a 1080p movie is somewhat slow in Quicktime 7.4, certainly not as smooth as when I ran it on the iMac (I have yet to start up in 10.5).

I am not really sure what tests I can run, but once I migrate all my stuff from the external HD to the internal one, (I'd watch out for problems after migrating from a PPC mac install at least), install another HD and some extra RAM, I will have some time to do some real world tests (but not gaming as I rarely play any these days -- certainly not since I clocked Doom on my Quadra 700!!).
Best Wishes, SIP

(Apple System Profiler info (trimmed at bit to save space) - he also sent screenshots of the "About this Mac" dialog box showing OS X 10.4.11 boot)
Hardware Overview:
  Model Identifier: MacPro3,1
  Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
  Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz
  Total Number Of Cores: 8
  Memory: 2 GB
  Bus Speed: 1.6 GHz
  Boot ROM Version: MP31.006C.B02
  SMC Version: 1.25f4

System Software Overview:
  System Version: Mac OS X 10.4.11 (8S2167)
  Kernel Version: Darwin 8.11.1
  Boot Volume: EXT STARTUP

ATI Radeon HD 2600:
  Chipset Model: ATI Radeon HD 2600
  Type: Display
  Bus: PCIe
  Slot: Slot-1
  PCIe Lane Width: x16
  VRAM (Total): 256 MB
  Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
  Device ID: 0x9588
  Revision ID: 0x0000
  ROM Revision: 113-B1480A-236
  EFI Driver Version: 01.00.236
  Resolution: 1920 x 1200
  Depth: 32-bit Color
  Core Image: Software
  Main Display: Yes
  Mirror: Off
  Online: Yes
  Quartz Extreme: Not Supported

(he later wrote)
After messing about in 10.4.11 and getting fed-up of choppy video and slow screen draws (even moving a window in Finder was like wading through mud) I simply migrated my PPC HD to the Mac Pro and it worked OK until I decided to delete some PPC apps that I hadn't used for some time -- to cut a long story short, the Mac Pro still listed the apps as being present in the Applications folder but they also appeared in the Trash!! I then re-started and got stuck for about 30-minutes on the grey startup screen, no spinning clock.

I then decided to migrate my PPC HD (installed in a 2nd firewire box) to my (GUID formatted) external drive running 10.4.11 and once this was done successfully (ended up with some duplicates in the Applications and Utilities folders), I updated the external HD to Leopard. Don't wish to tempt fate, but everything is running so smoothly I will now clone the external HD to the internal one.

I have been running the Mac Pro almost constantly since midnight (GMT) Friday 25 Jan 2008 and I have not had any freezes or lock-ups except Mail unexpectedly quitting once, and the problem with the original migration from MDD to MP.

I never put my Mac to sleep since I had a problem with my MDD and a USB card (I know, not very energy conscious) but use the Save Hollywood screen saver instead (I deleted the Intro.mov file so when the screen saver kicks in the screen goes to black).

BTW, I went out on Saturday and bought two extra Western Digital 320GB WD3200AAJS to match the Apple supplied drive -- next up is a 4GB RAM upgrade, possibly in a couple of weeks time (through OWC, about two-thirds the price I would pay in the UK, even after taxes) and maybe a fourth WD3200AAJS. If anything unexpected or untoward happens, I'll do some feedback.
Just a bit of history: having read all about other people's problems, I had set my mind on acquiring either a 2nd user or Apple refurbed 2.66GHz Mac Pro, but I got such a good deal on the 2.88 Octo (even cheaper than Apple's refurbed 2.66!) I thought "what the heck" and just bought it. (I mentioned last week in the news page that Apple had 'refurb' 2.66GHz Mac Pros for $1999 US (and 8-Core 3GHz for $2499) but were sold out by the afternoon.-Mike)

Obviously, compared to the 1GHz MDD, this Mac Pro is an absolutely screamer, it's like I just replaced my ten-year old family station wagon with a Ferrari."

(added 1/25/2008 - updated 1/28/2008)
"My luck ran out. The computer has locked-up 4 times today with a weird display pattern.

(earlier mail from Jan 25th follows)
You might be curious to know...
I ran an encoding test with the new 2.8GHz (8-core) MacPro, a MacBook 2GHz (Core2 Duo, 1GB RAM), and a Dual 1 ghz G4. A 10 minute movie clip from my Canon pocket camera was exported from Motion jpeg to H.264. The original file was 663MB. H.264 high quality size is 52 MB.

  • 47 minutes (Dual 1GHz G4 Tower)
  • 11 minutes (MacBook 2GHz C2D)
  • 4min 40sec (MacPro 2.8GHz/8-core - better than 2x realtime)

I've since added 2GB more ram and an Hitachi 1TB drive. The Apple designers sure made it easy. No problems experienced with the computer or Quicktime 7.4 (9.2). I have not put it to sleep. It is so cool and quiet. It has run steadily for almost a week now with only a few short breaks to install ram, the HD, and some software upgrades. The G4 keeps the room warm and circulates the heat with it's noisy fans. I use a 26" HDTV as the monitor. The image quality is unbelievably better with this new system than what was produced by the G4. I was going to get a new monitor but not now.
-Bob T."

(added 1/25/2008)
"I am also having many freezes on my new Mac Pro. I get the l graphic freeze mentioned here a few times a day, very annoying. Sometimes there are screen artifacts and sometimes not.

I also get the restart from sleep. I have it hooked up to a APC Backup UPS 1500 with USB connection. I just disconnected the USB cable that goes to the UPS and will reset the SMC after sending in this email.
(he later wrote)
I removed the USB cable to the UPS and the USB cable to the Apple Modem and TV Max+. I also reset the SMC. This morning the computer is up to its old tricks: restart on wake from sleep and crashes a lot. If it crashes one more time I calling Apple to send it back... dang, another crash. Time for this to go back and for me to use my very old, but stable G4 till this gets ironed out.
2.8GHz MacPro 8 core, OS X 10.5.1.
AP Extreme, Apple modem
3 additional Seagate 1TB drives
4 extra GB of OWC memory
30" Apple Cinema Display"

(added 1/25/2008)
"I received last week my new MacPro 8-core with 3.2GHz. It was a stock config. except the processor speed. I am still waiting for 4 additional 2 GB RAM modules I already ordered separately. I am very surprised about the overall speed. Especially Cinema 4D renders quite fast.

There are minor issues. Motion as a part of Final Cut Studio 2 refuses to work on that machine. Also I suffer under the annoing reboot after sleep. Nearly every time the mac goes to sleep mode it reboots after wakeup. Unfortunately I lost open documents. I tried to find out which app. could be responsible for that behaviour. But actually no results. So I deactivate the energy saver. This is not a problem because the machine is so silent compared to my old G5 2.5 GHz Dual.
Hope there is an update soon to fix that particular problem.

(I asked Niko if he'd tried a SMC reset and if he was using an UPS.-Mike)
I reset the PRAM and SMC. Helped! Now happy.

He later wrote he -was not- using an UPS. (BTW: just for the record as I request (in red text above) - please include a note if you're using a UPS with your Mac Pro (and if so the rating/info on it). Thanks. Saves repeated mails asking about this from those that have reported problems and repeated updates to posts to note if the did or not.)

(added 1/25/2008)
"So a new issue has seemed to developed yesterday. My monitors have randomly started flashing to blue like they are switching resolutions but come back fine very quickly. It seems to always be both at the same time.
(BTW - You're not still using that 500VA UPS right?-Mike)
I am using it for my firewire drives (the surge part) but switched the computer over to just a surge strip. It seems to be running fine off that with no sleep issues.
My graphics/monitors issue might have been that the monitors were plugged in, but they were not screwed into the ports on the computer. I must have not screwed them in when I last reset the SMC. We'll see if that changes anything (I think it will.)

(added 1/25/2008)
"After about a week of usage, I've had 5 or 6 freezes with screen corruption (total or not), almost all scrolling firefox pages, just the last one hiding aMule (cmd-H) with a black screen and blinking power light of my cinema display 20".
It's a MacPro "default" (dual 2.8Ghz 2GB Ram and ATI 2600 video card), just with a second hard drive (Seagate 320 GB).
Regards Antonio"

(added 1/25/2008)
"I'm a MacPro "early 2008" user. I too have had issues. I'm just so happy to know about this group & that I'm not alone...
All kidding aside, I got mine around the 10th. I think it was. Mine is a "stock" 3.0GHz. (ATI 2600 card I assume) I also got a brand new Dell 3008WFP monitor that is a POS for critical color work and I thought that it may have been the cause of my "issues".

My "issues" were that screen text and icons would become pixelated and unreadable, machine would crash, would lock up on reboot, screen resolution would change spontaneously upon any sort of video intensive operation or even after a freeze.

Then a couple or few times I got 1/16" vertical yellow lines obscuring the screen starting very dense on one side then grading out across the 30 inches. FWIW In all actuality it may have re-booted, but the monitor, though coming out of " energy saving mode" (as evidenced by the front LED changing color at the appropriate time) failed to illuminate.

Alas, after calling Apple and being unable to boot off the CD or even holding down the option key; they decided it was the video card. I decided to get a replacement computer.

The "new" replacement came yesterday and I installed an additional 8 gig of OWC "Approved" Apple ram and actually still had 1 episode of the text and icon corruption but that's all.
I worked all day in Photoshop & I've have had no issues since that 1st one-- and tonight it slept for about 3hrs, with two 650MB Photoshop CS3 files and the bridge open and it awoke ready to go with no grief.

I had used both DVI ports as well as the VGA adapter on the 1st machine to try and figure out why the monitor looked so $h!tty and calibrated with the I one Match system and all the ports worked just fine.
I'll keep yall posted.

(added 1/25/2008 from 1/23 mail)
"I mentioned yesterday (I think) that I had spotted an Apple page stating that the early-2008 model Mac Pro had OS X 10.4 server as an accessory. Well, I found it again:
No idea which version, though. Presumably 10.4.9 or later, since the first Intel XServes (the dual 2.0s) shipped with a build of 10.4.8 according to everymac's xserve intel xeon 2.0 quad specs

(added 1/25/2008)
"I recently purchased a Mac Pro 2008. (2 X 2.8 Ghz Quad Intel Xeon)
After d/l the latest driver for my Epson 3200 PHOTO scanner, I cannot get it to work.
Photoshop CS3 does not recognize the TWAIN driver. And the stand alone Epson Scan program does not work as well. (there's a separate page here with Scanner feedback/tips from Leopard users)
What puzzles me is the fact that Epson has a page of drivers for Leopard that are dated 8-06. These are the same drivers I was using with Tiger on my old G5. I sent an e-mail to Epson tech support, but have not heard back from them.
Over all I am very pleased with new Mac Pro.
I have 6 gigs of ram. It is MUCH faster than my old 1.8GHz G5.

(added 1/23/2008)
"Just a note that I have not seen any of the freezes others are reporting with my "standard" early 2008 Mac pro 2.8 dual quad w/10GB of RAM (8GB OWC) and the ATI HD 2600 XT card. I am running the 10.5.1 build that came with the machine.
I did have all kinds of weirdness with just transferring my 10.5.1 drive from my early 07 dual quad 3.0 machine of old, though lockups wasn't one of them. Reinstalling 10.5.1 from the provided discs solved the issue.
I am looking forward to 10.5.2 like everyone else for its enhancements, but I am not seeing problems like others besides the reboot on sleep issue which the PRAM reset definitely fixed.

(added 1/23/2008)
"Here's some interesting info on my parent's 2008 Mac Pro. Got it on Saturday, crashed several hours after booting it up for the first time. System crashed while in middle of iChat video session. Desktop was unresponsive, forced reboot via power switch on the tower. The other party from iChat session could still see me in action during the "system freeze."
After leaving the system on overnight in sleep mode, unable to wake up in the morning. Had to do a forced reboot again via power switch. Checked the console and came across some interesting info:

Jan 19 23:44:47 Mac-Pro kernel[0]: Finder[109] Unable to clear quarantine 'The Weather Channel.saver': 30

and multiple entries of
Jan 19 23:46:06 Mac-Pro System Preferences[1314]: *** Message from <QCJavaScript = 0x1B198E60 "JavaScript_2">:\nExecution failed at time 0.000
Jan 19 23:46:06 Mac-Pro System Preferences[1314]: *** Message from <QCPatch = 0x1B16C2B0 "Patch_8"gt;:\nExecution failed at time 0.000
Jan 19 23:46:06 Mac-Pro System Preferences[1314]: *** Message from <QCPatch = 0x1AFB5970 "(null)"gt;:\nExecution failed at time 0.000
Jan 19 23:46:06 Mac-Pro System Preferences[1314]: *** <QCView: 0x16c75cb0>: Render failed at time 0.000000s

which went on for about 30 minutes until the first crash during iChat session.

Took a look at the screen saver that was supplied by the weather channel. Ran it both in test mode and activated via hot corner with the console window open. It had spit out the same error message above every time the screen saver was activated. Removed that screen saver and everything is running normally again. No system freezes nor any unresponsiveness after waking up from sleep for 3 days now since removing that screen saver on Sunday. No issues at all with other screen savers that came shipped with Leopard.

I can safely conclude that the screen saver is the culprit and there must be some nasty bug in Leopard unable to handle the error condition. Note : the same screen saver is running w/o issues on iMac running Tiger.

System specs - Stock Mac Pro, 2.8 ghz w/ 8 core. 2gb of ram, ATI 2600. Hooked up with UPS (APC Backup UPS XS 1000 with USB connection)
Hopefully you will find this info useful for your readers.

(added 1/23/2008)
"Hi Mike, Bought a new 2.8GHz Mac Pro three days ago, and I've had the video freeze thing happen three times... once each day. First time I was scrolling through a document in InDesign. Second time I was in Quark not doing much of anything. And the third time I was back in InDesign.

The first time I had weird screen artifacts here and there, but the other two times I didn't see them. My mouse didn't freeze, but I wasn't able to do anything with it. Had to hold down power button and restart. I sure hope it's a driver thing that gets fixed with 10.5.2... any chance of that?
I also had the same restart thing happen when I tried to wake the machine from sleep.
No UPS on my system. Please let me know if you want any other info. Please let me know if a fix is found!
Thanks, Joe B.
2.8GHz MacPro 8 core, OS X 10.5.1,
30" Apple Cinema Display
CS3, Quark, Suitcase Fusion, MS Office"

I hope this is addressed in 10.5.2... (many have seen the freezes/screen corruption, etc. although not all users. Since everyone to date has the ATI 2600XT that's a suspect). A few have noted reboots on wake from sleep (SMC reset may help, may not - and although one user had a (only 500VA) UPS, at least one reader without any UPS saw the same thing.)

(added 1/23/2008)
"I have had a new Mac Pro stock configuration for about a week now. I was frequently experiencing the reboot on wake from sleep. After reading some suggestions to do a safe boot or PRAM reset, I did both. It's been two days now, and the problem has not recurred.
despite a request above IN RED TEXT to note if you're using an UPS, he forgot to mention it, although at least he's using a decent one...
No, I did not do the SMC reset, though I will try that if the problem happens again. (Three days so far, still no repeat.)
I do have a large UPS, 1400VA and 910W. There is no data cable for automatic shutdown support.
-Lowell S."

Another user trying to run Tiger on new Mac Pro: (see below for Oliver's update from late yesterday also)

(added 1/23/2008)
"Sorry, been a mental week... Well, we tried a new video card, that wouldn't even switch on the screen so the NVidia 7300GT 256Mb was usless. Ended up in Leopard, nothing else worked with the Radeon 2600XT. The combo update didn't work, and the iMac drivers from the last ever 10.4.11 wouldn't install (from the iMac with the 2600 option). All Tiger's were "clones" until we got to trying installing drivers. Yeah, we used an '07 (Mac Pro) 10.4.11 cloned drive, but unfortunately the video card issue, and the 7300 GT being incompatible with the new MacPro 8 core, we were left with no choice, Leopard only! Sigh...
Now I'm dreading mine arriving!! (3.2GHz with the NVidia GeForce 8800 GT 512MB optional video card. etc..)
We'll let you know how it goes and what works later this week.
Leopard and Logic Pro 8 plugins report so to speak. We do know that both Waves and Native Instruments aren't releasing any updates until April!!
Regards, Bobbi"

More notes on OS X Tiger on 2008 Mac Pro: (update from Oliver, who last week had noted using his OS X 10.4.11 drive from a previous Mac Pro with a new model running an X1900 card)

(added 1/22/2008)
"Hi Mike, Managed to do a quick test with the Radeon HD 2600 XT in the new Mac Pro, when booted off Tiger. Experiences:
- Only one DVI Port worked (Number 1, closer to the Mobo)
- No acceleration (choppy window resize)
No such Problems with the Radeon X 1900 XT.
In hindsight I should have checked System Profiler.
Cheers, Oliver"

The AL iMacs had ATI 2600 HD graphics (mobile?) and ran OS X Tiger but my concern/question originally regarding OS X Tiger on a 2008 Mac Pro was driver support (for the new motherboard/chipset, any new code for the latest Xeons, etc.). Tiger and retail/public release Leopard also had Nvidia 8600M (Mobile) drivers but support for the new 8800GT (PCIe 2.0 card) was another question I had. (For those trying that card despite Apple's requirement notes in a previous Mac Pro using std retail/public Leopard builds to date.)

(added 1/22/2008)
"I bought a dual-quad 2.8GHz last week. Except for the hard-drives everything is still stock (waiting for 16GB of memory to be delivered). I'm also having the problem that the machine reboots when waking from sleep. (No UPS used.) (I asked if he tried a SMC reset, which helped for one reader but he later wrote the problem reappeared the next day and mentioned he was using an (only 500VA/300W) UPS also - I wrote to ask if he'd tested w/o it.-Mike) Also bluetooth disappeared a few times, don't know what the cause could be. Re-seated the BT-module. not sure yet if this solved the problem.

The cooling of the north-bridge is massively improved on these 2008 mac pros. in the 2006/2007 machines the northbridge got quite hot. Now it's fitted with a big heatsink with heatpipes attached. this helps a lot.

Also the drive-sleds are much improved. As oliver already wrote, there are rubber-dampers located between the sled and the drive. Also the rails in the mac pro case where the sleds go in feature some kind of springs so the sled can't vibrate any more. it always annoyed me on the old model that i had to hand-pick disks that don't produce any vibration in order to have a machine that doesn't produce a humming noise from the disks.
(in my 2003 G5 Tower, I used felt pads as a homemade workaround on one drive that was noisy during head seeks to help dampen vibrations.-Mike)

Apart from the wake-from-sleep/reboot issue i'm very happy with this new mac pro. it's almost impossible to bring the machine to its knees, no matter what you throw at it... incredible fast computer for the money! re-encoding of a DVD using DVD2ONE took 150 seconds (source files and output on two different harddrives)!

I did not experience any lockups/freezes or graphics issues. i hope it stays like this.

(he later wrote)
I didn't try to sleep/wake the computer again since i don't like my operating system to be restarted "the hard way". While i was re-seating the bluetooth-module the smc for sure has been re-initialized. (AC power disconnected)
Now i tried to sleep/wake the machine and it worked as expected.
regards, Michael B. (switzerland)"

(added 1/22/2008)
"I have had my MP 2008 2.8 8 core for almost 2 weeks. I am running the stock system 10.5.1 and I have a bootcamp WXP running. I have not had any abnormal events. I did nothing unusual to the drives. I have the stock WD 320 GB drive, and added a 750 GB Seagate. I am running standard apps that are all native except for MS Office 2004. I also have Office 2008 on the unit. I have the stock 2 GB of RAM. I run no special hardware utilities.

The unit has an Optiarc DVD burner, and although I have heard bad things about Optiarc, the drive has yet to burn a coaster. As for the video card, I am fairly pleased with the Radeon 2600 XT. I do video editing and it has not been an issue. If I wind up using Motion more this year, then perhaps I will upgrade the card, but not until then.

The new keyboard is a delight to use.

The only thing that I routinely do on all of my Macs is to turn off the energy saver choices. If I am doing video I do not want anything to mess with the process, so unit never goes to sleep or spins down the harddrives unless I put it t sleep manually. (I do the same, always have also. And Jamie noted last week this seemed to help with the freezes he had with his new 2008 Mac Pro out of the box, although hasn't been a fix for everyone.-Mike) No crashes since I bought the unit. I am going to add new OWC RAM either later tonight, or tomorrow. I will follow up to let you know if I get a crash.

This has to be the best implementation of an aluminum tower that Apple has produced. I have had the 2.0 G5, the 2.7 G5, a Mac Pro 2.66, and now this unit. My only irritations are that for a "pro" level machine and the 45 bucks, they could have just produced the unit with built-in airport instead of making it an add-in later.
Sincerely, Bill"

Agreed - I'd rather have the airport standard rather than the BT.

(added 1/22/2008)
"Hi Mike, Just got my standard Mac Pro last Friday, and I've been experiencing the same issues reported on your site - the screen freezes, usually with some kind of graphical corruption on screen, but all processes and everything in the background still run fine. I was able to SSH into the box, but trying to force a shutdown remotely doesn't appear to work. It's done this several times over the weekend, as well.

Everything's pretty much stock. It's running the custom build of OS X it came with. Interesting thing of note is that I'm dual booting into Vista, via Boot Camp and the graphic card drivers hung under that as well - only Vista has the ability to recover from video card crashes. I've ran into this issue twice on different PC's in the past with Vista, and it's almost always been the graphics card at fault.

I've got a proper 10.5.1 install DVD, and I also own an Aluminium iMac with the 256MB Radeon 2600HD (which has never suffered from the lockup issues that other Al iMac owners have reported in the past), so I'll try some experimentations with those, and see how we go.

(added 1/22/2008)
"I've got an 8-core 2.8GHz (2 GB RAM, 320 GB disk, ATI 2600) Mac Pro configuration yesterday. I installed two 500 GB disks, made a RAID-1 out of them and installed Leopard on the RAID. If the machine goes to sleep it reboots when I hit a key to wake it - the bong and normal boot sequence occurs. Apple RAID or SoftRAID (3.6.6) doesn't matter. (I asked if he tried an SMC reset, which an earlier report yesterday said helped. And for the record I asked if he's using an UPS, one reader with this problem later said he's using only a 500VA/300W rated one.-Mike) I have not added any 3rd party RAM although I do have another 2 GB on order from RAMJET.

I saw exactly the same problem on my 4x2.5Ghz G5 machine when I upgraded to Leopard there (from Tiger). Sleep - display and/or processor/machine on Leopard leads to a crash/reboot. (I've never had that problem with my Dual 2GHz G5 tower, running Leopard.-Mike) An SMC reset about the only thing I can think of doing other than disabling sleep. I'll try machine/processor sleep disabling first.

The machine will run without a problem - even run the screen savers - for hours (10+) with no problems. Go into sleep and kaboom! I'm fairly convinced that the problem is in Leopard itself. MacBook Pro users are screaming about sleep crashes as well.

Reboots on wake from Sleep (try resetting SMC, UPS used?) (I suggested resetting the SMC, which solved this for one reader (Matt), who later said the problem came back the next day. However he later wrote he's using an UPS - 500VA/300W model. I'd want one with at least twice that rating personally.)

(added 1/21/2008)
"New Mac Pro reboots on sleep
Hey Mike, A couple of updates regarding the new 2.8GHz 8-core Mac Pro that I have. (he had written originally on Jan 10th, below)
Yesterday I received 8GB of OWC 800Mhz RAM, installed it, and it is working perfectly. I have a total of 10GB installed, and System Profiler shows 800MHz for all. I still have two slots left.

The 2600XT card is slower than my original MBP when it comes to bringing up a stack of icons; it is choppier. That said, I haven't really noticed any other slowdowns in Mac OS compared to the X1900, even Second Life runs the same as before (now that I have it working.)

The 2600 is much slower under Windows for games, however, as expected. I look forward to the 8800GT for that as well hopefully some speedup in Motion. I have the card on order.

I am running into one problem with the new system that I haven't seen before. If I put it to sleep, and come back after some time (hours), and try to wake it, it reboots. There are no errors in the logs, so I have no idea why this is happening. It happens every time.

(on Jan 23rd he send an update)
Just a note that I have not seen any of the freezes others are reporting with my "standard" early 2008 Mac pro 2.8 dual quad w/10GB of RAM (8GB OWC) and the 2600 HD card. I am running the 10.5.1 build that came with the machine.
I did have all kinds of weirdness with just transferring my 10.5.1 drive from my early 07 dual quad 3.0 machine of old, though lockups wasn't one of them. Reinstalling 10.5.1 from the provided discs solved the issue.
I am looking forward to 10.5.2 like everyone else for its enhancements, but I am not seeing problems like others besides the reboot on sleep issue which the PRAM reset definitely fixed.

Another new Mac Pro owner said he's seen the same thing:

"So reading other MacPro 08' reports I was pretty surprised at all the issues others were having. However, I just tried putting the MacPro to sleep and suddenly when I woke it up it restarted! I suspect that it's the third party ram (from 18004memory.com) that's causing it. I know that I had put it to sleep at least twice before I got the ram with no issues. (Others have noted they'd seen this without any addon/3rd party RAM. Normally I'd expect suspect ram to cause KP's, freezes, or at least ECC errors.-Mike) I will try tonight to see if it's the ram or other hardware/software is the issue.

The other issues I've had are...when I first plugged in either my first or second monitor (I can't remember) I had some flicking crap on the monitor. After a slight jiggling the issue disappeared and haven't seen any issues since.

After I installed the extra ram, booted up, and restarted again, I had some crazy app crashing until I restarted again. Since then no issues until this morning. After pulling up a new window in Firefox this morning none of my bookmarks were there. Restarting Firefox fixed that. I am also getting a slight pause/suttering in VLC with AVI files. It may be because the files are playing off a 160 GB HD I transfered from my old G5 and the partition system needs to be updated to GUID...is that possible? (I'd not migrate any user settings/prefs, etc. over from a PPC Mac, as others have seen problems with that in the past (going way back). But if it's just being used for storage it should be more than fast enough for video playback. But check Energy saver settings to make sure drive sleep is disabled - if not drives can go to sleep and take a few seconds to spinup.)
I was hoping there wouldn't be as many bugs since this is the second MacPro, but it doesn't seem to be that way for many people :(
forgot to add my machine specs:
MacPro 2.8 GHz 8 core
6 GB ram (2 GB factory + 4 GB 3rd party)
ATI 2600
Pioneer DVR-106 in 2d optical bay
160 GB HD drive in 2d HD bay.

(I asked if he had tried resetting the SMC, resetting nvram/pram, etc.)
Good news, the SMC reset fixed the sleep issue. BTW, I don't have auto sleep enabled or disk sleep enabled.
-Matthew "

Unfortunately Matt wrote the next day the problem reappeared and that he forgot to mention he's using an UPS. (I asked for details on the UPS and if he'd tested without it):

(from 1/22/2008 mail)
"So, I just tried putting my MacPro to sleep again after I had reset the SMC and had successfully put to sleep/woken the computer with no restart. This time I got the restart issue to happen again. I had turned the computer off this morning because I knew our power was going to be off for a little while they fixed a power line...
(Although he had never mentioned it, I asked if he used an UPS)
I have it connected to a UPS, but I don't have the communication cable connected...
(I asked for the Specs on the UPS)
This is what I have it plugged into:
APC ES 500 Battery Backup. (500VA/300w rated)
I haven't tried tried running it without the APC, but will try that later.

I'd want a lot higher rated UPS than that for a Mac Pro personally (not something to skimp on). Although I don't know the power usage specs on the new models, as a test I tried APC's product selector choosing these options: Tower/Quad-core 5300 Xeon/4 HDs/22-24in LCD/no printer/20% extra power/10min runtime, - the results included 750VA (budget) to 1200VA models.
The intel-Macs FAQ here has a link to a 2006 Doc from Apple (not updated for newer models) on 2.66GHz (dual core CPU) Mac Pro: Power consumption and thermal output (BTU) information. I'll try to see if they've posted a later doc on the new models. Apple's mac pro specs page lists max current of 12A (120V) IIRC. (I used an 1100VA UPS on my 2003 G5 tower (660W PS in that model) but per Apple's specs that model had a max power consumption of 604W. That's why I wanted at least the 1100VA.) And quality varies (ratings alone are not a guarantee of trouble-free use). Name-brand UPS with high ratings are not expensive. (I paid $110 for an APC 1100VA at Sam's club years ago. 1500VA models now are around that price here locally.) The AC line can also be a potential source of problems (overloaded circuits, sags, dropouts, etc.).

More reports of Lockups/Freezes:

(added 1/21/2008)
"Bought a brand new dual 2.8 Quad two days ago...numerous lockups. Going back to the store tomorrow. Sad that I replaced my "old" Dual 2.5ghz single core G5's that never gave me a problem...
-Blake B."

Several (most so far) new Mac Pro owners reported some system freezes (from day 1). Although Jamie said disabling sleep in Energy Saver helped with his new Mac Pro, that wasn't a fix for everyone that's still seeing this problem.

(added 1/21/2008)
"I've got my own report on the system freeze issue.
I bought my new Mac Pro a few days ago, and the first graphics card lockup I found was within minutes of booting it up for the first time. By now it's probably happened 5 or 6 times, sometimes with as little as a few minutes in between, sometimes with as much as a day in between. My experience has been similar as the previous reader, in that while frozen, everything non-gui related still works in the background and I can still ssh in over the network. This definitely sounds like a graphics card problem to me, but I can't seem to find any common trigger. All of my freezes were during relatively low-impact actions like scrolling a page in Safari or moving the mouse through the dock.

I did a little bit of experimenting too: Once while frozen, I hit the power button followed by 's' to put the system to sleep (to see if there was any way to 'back out' of the problem). The system went to sleep just fine, but when it woke up, the graphics glitches were even worse, and completely different. I was seeing random UI elements, text, and (even stranger) randomly colored shapes, like the kind you see in GPU benchmarking applications. After about 30 seconds of this behavior, I got a complete kernel panic. This was the only kernel panic associated with the freezes (so far).

I suppose this could be either hardware (heat/bad vram), or software (bad driver) related. The biggest clue would be how widespread the issue is. If almost everyone with a brand new 8-core 2.8ghz Mac Pro is having the problem, then it's (hopefully), a driver issue that can be fixed. Otherwise there might be a manufacturing problem with a batch of the Radeon 2600 cards.

Also of note, my setup through all of this has been completely standard (8-core 2.8ghz, no upgrades), with the only non-Apple hardware involved being an external firewire 800 drive, and a Kensington trackball.
Hope this helps somebody out, and that this all gets resolved pretty quickly.
(I asked Ben if he'd disabled energy saver sleep (Jamie said that helped with his day 1 freezes, although it's not been a fix for everyone. Regardless, anyone seeing freezes should report it to Apple (the more that do the better to make this a priority for them)-Mike.)
Thanks for the reply. Yeah I tried disabling the sleep mode to no avail. I didn't make it to the apple store but have an appointment this afternoon to swap out machines. Personally I think it's video card related. This is what the screen looks like when it locks up. (screenshot peppered with artifacts/dots, lines, etc. - similar to what another reader had sent)
Whats odd is that if I'am downloading something and reboot after a lockup its there. So it seems, at least for me to be a video card issue. I wonder if this problem occurs more often with the standard Radeon 2600 cards?

So far everyone's only had that card (8800GTs haven't shipped yet) so the ATI card/drivers are a suspect.

(added 1/21/2008)
"Mac Pro 2008 Freeze with X1900 XT
This morning my new Mac Pro also had a complete GUI freeze, I didn't try logging in via SSH (no time, might try next time). Did a force shutdown by keeping the power button pressed.
Another abnormality I had this weekend was on a shutdown, where just before the machine powered down - that is after display signal is lost, but before the final (power supply?) "click", hard drive shutdown etc - it hanged and the fans started revving up (often a sign of a kernel panic IME). (if OS thermal monitoring/fan control freezes, fans default to 'fail safe' mode - wide open. G5 tower is same way-Mike)
Caveat: As I wrote earlier, I'm not running the custom (newer) Mac OS X build of 10.5.1 for this machine, but the older general 10.5.1 release. This might well be the reason for my problems I'd think. Earlier I dismissed doing an update install from the supplied DVDs, as I'd rather just do the combo update of 10.5.2 once it comes out. If more untoward stuff happens I might do the update install anyway.
Cheers, Oliver"

2008 Mac Pro notes on booting OS X 10.4.11, PCIe Card Compatibilty, More:
NOTE: Oliver used his OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger) install from his 2007 Mac Pro - not an OS X 10.4 DVD install. (i.e. Clone a previous Mac Pro 10.4.x drive via FW target disk mode or drive swap.) I don't know if anyone tried a 10.4 DVD install + "Combo" 10.4.11 updater install.

(added 1/18/2008)
"Hi Mike, Got a new Mac Pro today to replace my previous one. It's an 8-core 2.8 GHz Model with a Radeon HD 2600 XT (I ordered a GeForce 8800 GT separately; its expected shipping date just increased from today to March, 7th). (My CTO 3GHz w/8800GT card option should arrive by mid-Feb.-Mike)
Here are some tidbits you might find interesting:

  • RocketRAID 2314 works fine for me (unlike previous 2008 Mac Pro owner reported earlier below, but that reader now thinks the card may have been bad.)
  • Radeon HD 2600 XT works in both old and new Mac Pro
    (FYI: The 2600XT is NOT a faster/better card than the previous X1900XT card for Mac Pros, it doesn't even support some OpenGL features in OS X that the old X800 card did. If you have an X1900, don't bother with a 2600XT card.
    Another 2007 Mac Pro owner said although his new 2600XT card "benchmarked" (openmark/xbench) and lower than his original Nvidia 7300GT card, with his 30in Cinema display it ran Apple's "Shell" and "Arabesque" screen savers more smoothly than the 7300 GT.
  • Radeon X1900 XT works in both old and new Mac Pro
  • (PC) VGA GeForce 8800 GT SC works in both old and new Mac Pro in Windows
  • The new Mac Pro can boot Tiger v10.4.11 (!) - I only tried that with the X1900 XT inside, it was by accident actually (I keep a Tiger on a separate partition for emergencies and maintenance like running Diskwarrior and iDefrag) (FYI: Oliver used the Tiger install from his previous model Mac Pro, not a 10.4 Disc Install. I also asked if he'd actually used OS X Tiger on it for some time (not just a simple boot). A reader with a new 2008 Mac Pro w/2600 XT card is trying to get a (retail disc) Tiger install to work but hasn't yet.-Mike)
  • Mac Pro can use 667 MHz FB-DIMMs (but any 800 MHz FB-DIMMs still in the Mac Pro will also run at 667 MHz)
  • The new Mac Pro has two rubber rings on the drive sleds' screws do dampen vibrations
  • There are some specialties about my setup though, as I simply swapped the hard drives between the old and new Mac Pro, the new Mac Pro now runs the regular 9B18 build of Mac OS X 10.5.1, whereas the old Mac Pro runs the newer 9C16 Build.
    Hope this info is useful to anybody
    Cheers, Oliver"

    I wrote Oliver to ask if he'd actually used OS X Tiger on the 2008 Mac Pro to see if there were any problems seen in use. (I wasn't sure if he'd done more than boot Tiger on it.) And as a FYI also remember when having Tiger and Leopard boot drives with the same Mac to disable Spotlight indexing (Privacy option) for each other (old note posted shortly after Leopard was released last fall.)
    Several readers had asked about running OS X Tiger on a 2008 Mac Pro as their Pro Audio software wasn't compatible with Leopard yet. (I wondered if there was some new motherboard chipset driver required that was not present in public OS X 10.4.x release.) I also wondered if OS X Tiger's graphics card drivers would work with the new cards. (ATI HD 2600 GPU was in AL iMacs which ran OS X Tiger and the later MacBook Pros had an Nvidia 8600M (Mobile) GPU, but wasn't sure if those Tiger drivers would support new newer PCIe 2.0 cards.)

    (added 1/18/2008)
    "Hi Mike, I just acquired my Mac Pro (2.8GHz) last week. Nothing special except included wireless N card, mouse, and iLife. I bought an extra 500GB (for Boot Camp) and 1TB (for Time Machine).
    No lockups, freezes, graphic anomalies, and I've been on this thing for at least 30-40 hours. I haven't yet left it on all night, but I'm used to turning off my old machine every night.
    Upgrading from my ancient Beige G3 desktop machine. It was a great 7 years.
    -Joey K."

    That's a huge upgrade - and testament to how long old macs are kept around. (I still have dozens of old macs since the 80's here, although site work/mails for help keep me from using them very often.)

    Follow-up from 2008 Mac Pro owner w/repeated system freezes: (a combination of several mails from him since he first reported lockups on day 1.)

    (added 1/18/2008 - from Jan 16th mails)
    "I had just downloaded the pic below (fullscreen screenshot showing video corruption/lines in display) into iPhoto and hit the e-mail button to send it to you when I had my first lockup in about 48 hours. I had been getting ready to say it seemed to be fixed. But what's interesting is I got the little "boop" sound from Mail AFTER the lockup happened and my screen froze, which means to me this is the exact same problem that people were having with the ATI card on the Alum iMacs; folks who were listening to iTunes reported that music kept on playing after their screen locked up tighter than a drum. In other words the computer and OS isn't frozen, just the I/O (video to the screen, mouse, and keyboard input).

    But there's more to the story: the pic below shows the screen I had after it locked up 5 minutes after adding the memory I got from OWC. As you can see the whole screen is corrupted as well as frozen, not the little postage stamp sized corrupt area around the still-moveable mouse cursor of my original (and latest) lockup. Oh, no, thought I. I rebooted and within 2 minutes the same thing happened again. I figured the memory was bad as it had obviously made the problem much worse, but remembering a technique from many years of fighting with PCs I decided to take all the cards - including the video - out and re-seat them. (don't forget to disconnect AC power cord when adding ram, removing/adding cards, etc.)

    This I did and the result was 48 hours of freeze-free computing. I will report the continuing problem to Apple (oh, joy, I can just imagine the result: Mac World still going on, phones jammed with pre-orders for the Air, and somebody is really going to be eager to help me with a problem that happens once every two days or so). But you are right, it needs to be done.

    So this pic reveals (I hope) nothing but a memory, my original issue has NOT been fixed but neither has it been compounded, and I've wasted far too much of your time. Thanks for listening,

    (I asked if he had migrated anything over from a previous system (which has been a cause of problems at times in the past - especially if from a PPC mac) and if he had any 3rd party addons/login/startup items, etc.-Mike)
    I did not migrate from my old system; I've had far too many issues with that in the past so I started fresh.

    (Although usually problems are software related, sometimes it's the actual graphics card (can also be some other hardware issue, although hdw issues are much more rare than software ones). I doubt AHT would show anything useful, but if you're bored one day might be worth running just to see what it shows. I'd also report the repeated freezes to Apple to get this on record asap. It would be nice if you had another 2600XT card to try just to rule that out. (Since you seem to have many more freezes than some others with the same system config/same card)-Mike)
    I thought of this too but like you I've found the AHT to be next to useless in most cases; the memory test is a joke, and even MEMTEST has given me false results over the years.

    (I asked if he had tried a clean OS install/restore to a spare drive-Mike)
    I did this very thing with the new 500GB drive; no joy.

    I'm pretty confident this freeze issue is a remnant of the same issue people were having with the ATI 2600 cards when the Alum iMacs first came out. The firmware fixed that card but this one is slightly faster and they might have to go back to the drawing board. I think it's time I post a message on Apple Discussions and see if there are others in the same boat. But as I said I've got an nVidia 8800 on order from Apple, and I usually keep my tower Macs long enough to make getting AppleCare worthwhile. Did you know Amazon sells them at a discount? In fact I have a $50 coupon from Amazon from my X-mas shopping that I might just spend on that very thing.

    RocketRAID 2314MS Card Compatibility? (See above for Jan 18th post noting a 2314 card worked OK in a 2008 Mac Pro.)

    (added 1/14/2008 - Updated 1/18/2008)
    (I wrote with a note about the above RR 2314 card working in a 2008 Mac Pro - he replied)
    That's good news Mike! I think the card I got was DOA. I will send in an update after the replacement shows up. Also I should be able to provide some benchmark comparison between the Apple raid card and the 2314 once it shows up.

    (original mail from Jan 14th follows)
    "I just purchased one of the new 2008 Mac Pro systems and a Rocket Raid 2314MS card. The RAID controller/Driver seem to be incompatible with the new Mac Pro systems. I'm waiting to hear back from High Point support currently. I'm wondering if any of your readers have successfully used any High Point cards with the new model Mac Pro's yet?

    (I asked what driver version he was using, as after OS X leopard was released many readers had problems with their RR cards (at least PPC Mac owners) and there were several driver "updates" although they kept the same driver version number.)
    I installed the driver that's currently posted on the hptmac.com site. rr231x_0x-Mac-v220-103007

    I have followed the other (earlier reader/RR problem) posts. I think this is a new issue specific to the new mac pro. Even installed the windows vista driver on my boot camp partition and had no luck.
    Tested quite a few configurations, Tried all 3 slots... Drives connected or disconnected
    .kext shows loaded in system profiler, shows up as scsi adapter in system profiler under pci cards
    No KP or hangs, the web ui just fails to load. When I run the web server process from the command line directly it complains about no driver detected.

    BTW: No system freezes, but only really spent one day in front of this box so far.

    If anyone else is using a RocketRaid 2314 (or other RR model) with a 2008 Mac Pro, let me know the details. Thanks.

    NVidia 8800 GT Upgrade Kit: (clip from Jan 10th news page)
    (Note: as of Jan 15th the Apple 8800 Kit page now says "PCI Express 2.0 Mac Pro required" and readers that ordered the kit for their previous Mac Pros were contacted by Apple offering to cancel the orders (also for the ATI 2600 XT card, although that card is -not- a performance upgrade for X1900 owners.) Update- The ATI 2600XT card does work per two readers that ordered it for their 2007 Mac Pros.

    (What follows was the original post/debate from Jan 10th news page.)
    The Apple store lists the 8800 GT card kit for $349, with a 5-7 week est. delivery time (not surprising as systems with that option are 3-5 weeks). (BTW - A UK reader said it's showing as 8 Days there.) The link I posted to the Apple store NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro expired, so just search the Apple store for "Nvidia 8800 GT" to find the item.
    A common question is if these PCI Express 2.0 cards work in previous Mac Pros. (Per the PCI Express 2.0 Spec/FAQ, 2.0 cards are supposed to be designed for backward compatibility (running at PCIe 1.0 speeds of course) although there's been some PC motherboard/Card combos that had problems. But like that old saying "one experiment is worth a thousand theories" - maybe someone getting a new system w/8800 GT has access to a previous model to test. Once the Mac 8800 GT cards ship, I wonder how long it will be before you see flashed PC models showing up at fleabay...)
    Apple's 8800GT card kit page didn't specifically mention backward compatibility (on Jan 10th), but this reader mail today says he was told the card isn't compatible with pre-2008 Mac Pro, although another reply below has conflicting info. (BTW: There's now an Online Petition for an 8800GT for pre-2008 Mac Pros.)

    (Added 1/10/2008)
    "Hey Mike, I received a nice call from Travis from Apple today informing me that the new 8800GT card is NOT compatible with the older Mac Pros, only the new model. He offered to cancel the order for me.
    (Another concern is the 8800's EFI64 rom vs EFI32 used w/previous Mac Pro cards - Alistair wrote the original source of that info is Blizzard, who said they were told by Apple for that reason the 8800GT wouldn't work in a pre-2008 Mac Pro. But it gets better/more confusing - there's even rumors post Sept. 2007 Mac Pros used EFI64 and that (PCIe 2.0) ATI 2600XT works in older Mac Pros. What a confusing mess.-Mike)

    Incidentally, I picked up a new 2.8 Ghz 8-core model (I plan to sell my 8-core older Clovertown model and pocket the difference). I put in my drive from my Clovertown MP and my Time Machine stopped working, and Second Life crashes every time.

    I know there's a newer build that came with the machine, I may install that or just wait for 10.5.2 which I know is imminent.

    I purchased 8GB of 800MHz RAM from OWC; it is supposed to ship tomorrow so we'll see how it goes. The only other thing to note is the new unit is significantly quieter than the old.

    Speed wise, it is hard to tell because I only have 2GB at the moment, but it seems identical to the 3.0GHz Clovertown. The graphics are slower however, with the stock 2600 XT card vs my old X1900. I will of course keep the 8800GT on order and update you when it comes in.

    I have run the computer for a while last night - a few hours, and had no lockups.

    This later mail from another reader said he was told by an Apple "expert" that the 8800GT -was- compatible with previous Mac Pros. (Again I think an actual test is needed to prove this.)

    (1/10/2008 8PM)
    "Hi Mike, this is my first time writing but have loved your site for the past couple years. I too have Mac Pro and was interested in the new NVidia 8800 card. I did an online chat with Cassandre C via the Apple store and this is how it went. (Apple rep. comments in red)

      You are chatting with Cassandre C, an Apple Expert
      my name is Cassandre C. Welcome to Apple!
      How may I help you today?

      is the NVidia 8800 card compatible with the previous mac pro?
      I'm happy to assist with that.
      One moment while I research that for you.
      Thank you for your patience.
      Yes, it is compatible with the previous generation Mac Pro.

      excellent. Thank you very much.
      That was all I needed.
      You're welcome.
      Thank you for visiting the Apple Store. We appreciate your business.
      If you would like more help, please chat with us again.

    Don't know if this helps much, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
    -Paul D."

    BTW - Although I still think an actual test would be better proof, Apple recently updated a previous doc that was originally posted when the Mac Pro first shipped (to note PCIe video cards from G5 PowerMacs were not Mac Pro compatible - the Mac Pro used EFI based cards). Here's the Apple doc (updated Jan 8th, 2008) Mac Pro: Video cards from Power Mac G5 computers are not supported which has been updated to include the Early 2008 Mac Pro cards and has a note "All of these cards are only compatible with the family of computers with which they shipped." Of course Apple 'requirements' are not always 100% correct (for example the 802.11n MiniPCIe cards, several cases of Pro Apps "requirements", etc...) but maybe someone getting a new 8800GT card has access to a previous Mac Pro model to test. (As they say "one experiment is worth a thousand theories".)
    8800 card drivers would also be needed for previous systems (even my old Mac 6800 Ultra card Kernel Panics at boot if used with an older OS X version w/o drivers for it). Retail 10.5 includes GeForce 8600 drivers (8600M used in later Macbook Pros), but will it also work with the 8800. Hopefully an OS X 10.5.2 (Combo) update would include them.

    (Jan. 9, 2008) Jamie at OWC replied he's also seen some system freezes with a new Mac Pro, but said disabling Sleep in Energy Saver seems to have helped:

    " 2 lockups here too
    Got the new machine about an hour and a half ago, 2 lockups already, both when the machine went to sleep - would not come back on. Turned energy saver off, working like a champ now.

    Software update had a security update and quicktime, which it did a-ok without a problem, rebooted, left it sit, first lockup happened, let it sit again, it did the same thing.
    Quad 2.8, stock base model 8CX/2X1GB RAM/320GB HD/ATI 2600XT/16x SuperDrive/Bluetooth

    (I asked Jamie what OS X build ships on the new Mac Pros. (The 10.5.1 public update is build 9B18.)-Mike)
    It's 9B2117....that's a far cry from my 17" 2.6GHz MacBook Pro's 9B18.
    (he later wrote)

    Still going strong on a mild stress test here - but with energy saver off. That's got to have been it here.
    (BTW - Greg wrote asking if anyone had checked for loose dimms or other 'in shipping' gremlins. I suspect this is software related however IMHO. Also asked about UPS use-Mike) No UPS, yes I took the ram out first thing when I got it all was tight. Had not even booted the machine yet. And it's running like a champ still.
    (the next morning he wrote)
    Ran all night perfect.
    Jamie Dresser
    Product Manager & New Product Development
    Other World Computing, Inc. "

    Good news, hope it stays thay way. Those 45nm Xeons have new energy saving features too IIRC (maybe a factor with some ES settings and the new OS X build). I remember some early Mac Pros also had an issue with one specific (of several) very early shipping builds. (If nothing seems to help, although rarely done, an Archive and Install might help - but hopefully that won't be needed, or Apple posts an update in the next few weeks.)

    (Jan. 9, 2008) The first 2008 Mac Pro owner that wrote also noted several system freezes seen so far. (Comments updated several times with later notes, replies to suggestions- he's written several times since noting he's still seeing occasional lockups):

    " Hi Mike, Just set up a new Mac Pro (2.8Ghz 8-core basic model) and have had two unexplained lockups so far, the first during Software Update (the updates succeeded but the machine never restarted; had to hit the power button as it would not respond to any mouse or keyboard input) and the second during a routine reading of Mail - same thing, total lockup, but the mouse would still move and had some sort of graphic artifacts around it about the size of a postage stamp. (Around the mouse cursor? I saw that many times with an old iMac G4 running OS 9.x (nvidia graphics based) - I suspected a vram/driver or perhaps overtemp problem with that system. Sometimes switching to other apps windows cleared it, but often it occurred just before a total freeze.
    I wrote him to ask what the software updates were. (I prefer to use downloaded updaters when possible vs using Software Update.) I also asked if he'd check the system log to see if there were any related messages of interest. Also check ASP memory section for any ECC errors. I'd be tempted also to force a prebinding (in terminal) after that update experience. (The final "Optimizing" phase is prebinding, and if that fails to complete it can cause problems from minor to major.) See below for his later reply. I'd also check the boot disk (at least a verify) after a freeze. Might also be worth checking for corrupted prefs - freeware Preferential Treatment can check user and system prefs as can other OS X utils (Cocktail, etc.). Might also be worth doing the usual voodoo like resetting the SMC, clear caches, etc.) but it could be bugs in the new drivers/later OS X build that ships with them.-Mike

    On the plus side the machine replaces a water-cooled dual G5 Power Mac which I nicknamed, NOT so affectionately here in the Florida Keys, the space heater. Compared to the old G5 the new Pro is absolutely silent, and seems to generate very little heat. This is an unbelievably nice change, like somebody switched off the noisy hot vacuum cleaner that's been running by my feet for the past 2-1/2 years...
    All the best, Tim L.

    (Update: Here's his reply to my previous notes/questions, etc.-Mike)
    Hi again. Last things first: just ordered the 500GB Hitachi "Enterprise" drive and 2GBs more RAM for the new Mac Pro from OWC... I looked at my log files; in the Error log there was nothing relevant, and the System log is all Greek to me, so I'm afraid I didn't see anything that stuck out.

    I did have another freeze up while installing World of Warcraft, and the log entries there were full of things like disk space running out (it isn't) and anomalies like that.

    I will force the prebinds as you suggest just as soon as the Warcraft Updater is finished. The Software Update log showed that both the Security update and the Quicktime update had completed; there were no error messages.

    I think you may be on to something about the video driver perhaps being the issue; the last freeze also had the artifacts (they look like little hyphens shimmering around the mouse cursor). One reason I ordered this machine the day of release rather than waiting as I usually do is I figured the bugs had been worked out of the ATI driver on the iMac, which has the ATI HD 2600 Pro; I didn't figure the XT version would be different enough to raise issues, but maybe it is.

    Eventually, like you I want to get the nVidea 8800 card, but I didn't want to wait the 3-5 weeks for it. Plus the 2600XT benchmarks fast enough for my uses, and may be good enough in the long run once the drivers are optimized (and stabilized?).

    (In yesterday's news listing of Apple kbase docs was one on 2008 Mac Pro Firewire problems with 64-bit Vista (windows) that some readers wrote with concerns over the last sentence ("Use of FireWire on a MacPro (Early 2008) is not recommended at this time") - I replied that sentence likely was just missing "with 64bit Vista", but to quell concerns I asked Tim if he had a FW drive to test with the new Mac Pro. BTW - Greg wrote the prev. Mac Pros also had the same issue with Vista.-Mike)
    I do have a Firewire drive; right now it's a clone of the system on my old PowerMac, and I'd like not to disturb it. While connected it is powered off - I would assume that means it can't be the source of my problems, right? (Had you migrated over anything from the PPC OS X install? A source of problems in the past and I'd avoid it. See below for his reply that he didn't do that.-Mike)
    You may be happy to have that wait if there's a gremlin in the system with the new motherboards and Intel chips... you have that time for Apple to find and fix it.
    I'll let you know as things progress. At least my system is MOSTLY stable (so far).
    (his 6PM mail follows)
    No, no Migration for me; have had way too many issues with it in the recent past. But things, seat of the pants as you put it, seem quite a bit faster since forcing the pre-binding (thanks for that!) (the terminal command was included in the tips on 10.5.1 update issues/on the 10.5 feedback page.) and running the new version of Cocktail on the machine.

    I tried WoW (on a 30 inch Cinema Display with most settings turned up full) which is a pretty good stress test for a video card and had no problems in about 20 minutes of play; I'll get back to it tonight.

    (I mentioned Jamie's comment on disabling ES sleep also)
    Thanks, I had changed to that a bit earlier today too - can't remember if I've had a freeze since or not (could be not).

    Things really do seem a lot snappier since the pre-bindings/Cocktail routine, maybe whatever bug I have has been squashed. Hope springs eternal, in any case.

    (I had asked earlier tonight if he'd seen any issues with the ATI graphics and 30in display (as some G5 tower owners had w/X800 or X850 cards, although not everyone did) and also if he'd checked WoW FPS rates with the new machine (use CTRL-r for FPS rate display).-Mike)
    No, had not seen any problems with the big screen and Leopard. I've just been mousing over the status bar and have gotten 47-52 FPS while running, which is just about the same as on the Al iMac 24 inch. But as that machine is pushing far fewer pixels it seems to be about right to me that here on the 30" display the FPS is about the same with the faster XT card.

    (his last mail from 11PM tonight follows, noting he's seen another system freeze)
    Had my fourth lockup about an hour ago. I was loading a bunch of tabs (65 or so) (65?!?-Mike) in Safari and the lockup occurred as I switched from one tab to another that had not completely loaded. First everything just stopped working except I could still move the cursor, then after a few seconds the spinning beach ball showed up and the tiny little artifacts around it became sometimes visible, sometimes not. I was wrong earlier when I said the area was about that of a postage stamp, it's actually much smaller, probably a quarter inch wide by a half inch long. Again nothing I could do except hit the power switch; I checked the logs on reboot but didn't see anything obviously untoward.

    Now that I've had time to think about it this situation is eerily similar to the lockups people - including myself - were experiencing with the Alum iMac when it first came out. My machine was not badly affected; I probably had about 3 or 4 lockups total in the 90+ days it took Apple to release the firmware fix. However now I'm VERY suspicious that they did not think about that situation and we have the same problem with the 2600XT as first showed up on the 2600 Pro in the iMac.

    I suggested he contact Apple support about the freezes, as should everyone that sees this problem. I suspect most of these issues are software related, not hardware but at this point I'd be tempted to run AHT. (Apple hardware test, although I've seen it miss flaky ram in the past. And unless they've changed that, it doesn't fully exercise many interfaces.) I've mentioned rember/memtest on the original Mac Pro ram page here, although it can't test all ram. ASP's memory section will list any ECC errors in use at least until a reboot.

    If you've bought a new Mac Pro, let me know what you think of it (performance, features, etc.) and if you see any issues.

    2008 Mac Pro related Apple Support/Troubleshooting Docs:

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