The Mac Pro First Generation is an Intel Xeon-based workstation computer manufactured by Apple Inc. The first generation model includes the machines from 2006 through 2008.

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Mac Pro 3.1 boot problem


Im trying too fix a mac pro 2008 3,1 3.0 8core. When its starts up it gives a kernel panic.

My first thoughts where that it had a bad hdd. I plugged it in another mac as a slave disk en got all sort of damage reports when using disk utility.

Internet recovery mode

Also when i tried internet recovery it wil not instal en fresh osx.

I got out the old hdd and plugged a new (old) one in. Which was completely erased and format journaled extended.


So ive tried to boot it with a dvd system disk os x lion (command +c) but its eventually gets a hickup and unfortunately shows a round sign with a stipe. Swap out the dvd drive with another one. same thing. new disk, same thing.


next thing i've tried was to make it boot with a instal usb el captain. But when i startup with alt/option pressed it doesn't recognize the usb. and that sucks big time.

Ive cleaned the whole system which was pretty dusty and dirty.

I'm not a mac specialist and little bit out of options. I just cant get this sucker to run which i really want!!

Help/advise please!

In other comments i found a guy named Dan (@danj) and hope you can help me out.

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Update (07/22/2017)

Dear @danj and @mayer, big thanx for trying to help me out, you are great sports!

History Mac Pro:

A while ago I was meeting a old friend of my how is a video editor and I told that a love to fix and collect old macs. Mostly I have experience with PPC Macs but wanted to add a Mac Pro to my collection. He said well that's a coincidence I've got to broken Mac Pro 2008. He nows using new Mac Pro 2013.

The 3.1 was his original machine and back in 2012 the mac began to have power problems he said. Mac doesn't start and he said it could spontaneously fail. A bit unreliable for a working machine :-)

He bought the other Mac Pro from a colleague /friend because he thought it was also a 3.1 and could swap the power supply. The machine turn out to be a 2.1 3.0 8 core. (Not getting any screen but thats for another time)

The 3,1 didn't run very good and you could here the fans are having a heavy job while not having much to do. I've cleaned the machine completely. It was extremely dirty you wont believe it. Now its runs a lot smoother and the power supply is much more stable. no current problem anymore

Current configuration:

  • Clean 7200 HDD 320 GB (I've removed the old 2 TB HD which is not working properly a gave me the kernel panic when it's trying to boot.
  • 2 ATI Radeon HD 5770 1 GB (removed one)
  • 20 GB RAM - 667 MHz

He was not trying to fix it up to 5.1.

I’m not familiar with EFI flash update also.

He didn't have any old documentation dvd and hardware anymore. So bringing it back to the original status could be a challenge. On market places I could find the original 3.1 disks if necessary i think.

@mayer you asked me what (intel) mac I have:

  • iMac 2.66 MHz Core Duo 2008 running El Captain
  • Macbook Pro 17" 2,4 i7 2011 running Sierra
  • MacBook 2009 running Snow Leopard
  • MacBook Pro 2008 running Lion (unfortunately unstable hdd)

I've thought I gave you guys the best insight and information a have.

I will remove the most hardware I can do. Video card en strip it back to the original amount RAM.


Answer this question I have this problem too

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Het Vincent, sorry you are having issues. I do have one of these I use as my bench test machine so I'm familiar with it. I'm having time problems right now so I'll have to get back to you. Meanwhile take it back to the original configuration, disconnect all peripherals, have one hard drive we can erase and pull all the others. Tell me what other Mac you have and if you have a universal adapter or enclose so we can wipe the drive and put a system on it with out using the Pro.

Pre-Installed MacOS: X 10.5.1 (9B2117) Maximum MacOS: X 10.11.x*

Please give me a history on the machine. Have you attempted an EFI flash update trying to get it to a 5,1? I'm am not recommending attempting this, just asking. The boot lion disk you tried, was it a grey system specific disk for another machine? Do you have the original system installation disks? Right now we are trying to determine if the kernel panic is software or hardware related.

Take it back to the standard RAM

Standard RAM: 2 GB Maximum RAM: 64 GB*

Details: 2 GB of RAM installed as two 1 GB modules. 6 slots free. RAM must be installed in pairs, and for "best acoustic performance" contain an "Apple-approved heat sink".

Some of these 2008 machines had slower RAM than what Everymac is recommending. Yours may be mixed if you have upgraded.

RAM Type: PC6400 DDR2 ECC Min. RAM Speed: 800 MHz

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I've posted a very long response in the comment section below :-)

additional question:

Is it possible to use slave drive modus (firewire 800 cable) and use the imac 2008 (el capitain) to make a disk copy on the mac pro drive? Will this work?



I used my MacBook pro and treated the hdd of the mac pro as a extern drive and connect it with a firewire cable 800 (slave disk). Used the USB El Captain installer as startup drive and installed the OSX on the Mac Pro drive. After the installation turned on the Mac Pro en finally it booted a works like a charm. Now I can check out wat this baby can do!

Thans @mayer for the instal tip. With bypassing the Mac Pro I could still get a OS running on the new disk. Never thought of that.


That's great that it's now running! A couple of tips and notes. The first thing that fails on this model is generally the video card, later the power supply. Run away fan issues are caused my by major component replacement. To fix this, there is a Fan Syncing program on the original system installation disks. Sounds like your machine may need it. CPU chip upgrades are easy and cheap. (I've done mine). Dramatic performance increase can be obtained by adding an 256-500GB SSD. Here's the carrier:


Thanks for the tips mayer. I will definitely see into that. First stop is the SSD. Will dive in the CPU upgrade as well. Didn't know that that was possible :-)


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It sounds like your EFI firmware needs to be updated. @mayer is more knowledgeable than I, in doing this.

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Vincent Limburg will be eternally grateful.
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