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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Hardware Hacking > Building a Core i5 Mac Pro-equivalent Hackintosh, from start to finish

Building a Core i5 Mac Pro-equivalent Hackintosh, from start to finish
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spiky_dog
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Oct 12, 2010, 01:55 PM
 
[Mods: I'm not sure if this is the correct forum for this. My apologies if it is misplaced. Please move to where it is appropriate.]

Apple simply doesn't offer anything in a desktop form factor between the Mac mini (underpowered, poor graphics cards) and Mac Pro (awesome but $texas). Now, after about 48 hours of hand-wringing and head-banging, I have what appears to be a fully functional Mac Pro equivalent Hackintosh. Here's what I got, what I found out, and what I did to make it work. Many thanks to tonymacx86's blog as well as countless Google searches turning up random bits of information on forums here and there.

Hardware needed to for the Hackintosh Mac Pro that I built, see spreadsheet for product links and prices (total price ~$850 all said and done):

- Antec LifeStyle Solo case
- SeaSonic S12II 430B 430W power supply
- Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD3 motherboard (rev 2.0 is current)
- Intel Core i5-760 processor
- ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card
- Corsair 4 GB DDR3 memory kit
- Samsung 1 TB Spinpoint SATA HDD
- Lite-On SATA DVD burner
- Masscool G751 Shin-Etsu thermal interface material
- Apple USB Ethernet adaptor (I never got the drivers for the motherboard's built-in Ethernet to work but this works out of the box)

Build this computer carefully! Making sure the pins on the CPU's underside line up with those on the motherboard's LGA1156 connector is nerve-wracking, at least until the fans spin up and it boots to the POST screen for the first time. Building the computer is mostly an exercise in hooking things that are labeled as "XYZ" to the "XYZ" plug on the motherboard. It's also a bit of a challenge in figuring out which screws fit in which screwholes: big ones with post things for mounting the motherboard, for instance.

Specific things about hardware setup, again assuming you bought exactly what I list above:

- The front case panel audio cable says "HDAudio" on one connector (use this one) and "AC' 97" on the other (don't use this one)
- Use the red SATA cable that comes with the DVD burner, and use one of the blue SATA cables that came with the motherboard to hook up the HDD. When using the blue cable put the 90 degree end on the HDD side, not the motherboard side where it'd block other ports
- Make sure to hook up both the 2 x 12 pin ATX power connector and the ATX 12V power connector. The second one is a bit confusing: the motherboard has a 2 x 4 connector and the power supply has a 2 x 2 connector. The solution is to plug it in such that pins 1, 2, 7, and 8 mate up with the 2 x 2 connector (this is illustrated in the motherboard manual)
- I didn't hook anything up to SYS_FAN or SYS_FAN2 on the motherboard, and the front panel 1394 (Firewire) connector didn't seem to have a mate on the motherboard
- Install your two RAM sticks in slots 1 and 3, not 1 and 2. 1 and 3 both are white, whereas 2 and 4 are blue. Installing them in 1 and 3 allows them to be run as a dual channel setup
- The expansion slot knockout panels that you'll need to remove for the graphics card are the 2nd and 3rd from the top, not the 1st and 2nd as you might first assume
- The knockout back I/O panel cutout that came with the case pops out without any screws or connectors, and the one provided with the motherboard pops in similarly
- I highly recommend that you mount your HDD with the included suspension system rather than rigidly on drive rails--I did so and my system is nice and quiet

IMPORTANT HARDWARE NOTE: The GA-P55A-UD3 motherboard apparently has a hardware bug in its USB implementation such that resetting the computer using the reset or power buttons doesn't properly reset the USB controller. Thus on the subsequent bootups the USB controller won't initialize and thus one's USB keyboard and mouse won't work! This is a problem, and one that caused me quite a bit of frustration until I realized that powering down completely, removing the power cord for 5-10 seconds before re-plugging it, and then powering the system back up gets the USB chip to work properly. I actually went as far as to buy a PS/2 keyboard before I discovered the above fix, only to find out that this wouldn't ultimately help since OS X doesn't recognize PS/2 hardware, unsurprisingly



Now that things are physically put together go ahead and power your system up just to make sure that nothing's fried, etc. Plug in a monitor, a USB keyboard and a mouse before you do this. You should hear things spin up and then should see the colorful POST screen for the Gigabyte motherboard advertising its 2x copper PCBs, etc. It also tells you at the bottom how to get into the BIOS setting editor (del key) and how to choose the boot volume (F12). Hit del this time while you see the screen to get into the BIOS editor.

BIOS settings:

- Main Screen -> Load Optimized Defaults first, then modify as below after doing so:
- Advanced BIOS Features -> First Boot Device: CDROM, Second: Hard Disk, Third: disabled
- Advanced BIOS Features -> Init Display First: PEX (might have this misspelled, not PCI but the first PCI Express option)
- Integrated Peripherals -> PCI SATA Control Mode: AHCI
- Integrated Peripherals -> Onboard H/W LAN: disabled <-- we won't need this since we'll be using the Apple USB Ethernet adaptor instead and this saves a bit of boot time
- Integrated Peripherals -> Onboard SATA/IDE Ctrl Mode: AHCI
- Power Management Setup -> HPET Mode: 64-bit mode

After you make the above changes hit F10 to save and then the computer will continue to try to boot. It won't work since nothing's loaded yet, but this is a necessary first step. Now go back to a working computer and download and prepare the following:

- Mac OS X Snow Leopard retail install DVD
- iBoot ATI 5xxx-3 (burn this ISO onto a blank CD-R with Disk Utility)
- An external USB drive (flash drive, HDD, doesn't matter) or a DVD-R burnt with the following contents:
-- The DSDT from tonymacx86's DSDT Database for this motherboard (DSDT-GA-P55A-UD3-2.0-F11.aml). I used the F11 DSDT even though my BIOS as shipped from amazon.com was F10
-- MultiBeast
-- Mac OS X 10.6.4 Combo Update
-- Snow Leopard Graphics Update

Now that we have the computer built, a SL install DVD handy, a CD-R (not DVD-R!) burnt with the ISO of iBoot ATI 5xxx-3, and the USB drive with the DSDT, MultiBeast, the 10.6.4 combo update, and SL Graphics Update, we are finally ready to start installing Mac OS X. Here are the steps to take:

- Power on the computer and hit F12 at the POST screen to select boot-up volume
- Insert your iBoot CD
- Use the down arrows to change the boot-up volume selection from HDD to CD-ROM. Hit enter to select
- iBoot should now load. Once presented with a screen with a CD icon with "iBoot ATI 5xxx-3" underneath it eject the iBoot CD
- Insert the SL retail install DVD. After waiting 10 seconds for the drive to spin up hit F5 to refresh. Now use the right arrow to select the install DVD and hit enter to boot
- After selecting the language go to the Utilities menu and launch Disk Utility
Partition your SATA internal HDD as 1 partition, HFS Extended (Journaled), named Snow Leopard hereon for reference purposes, then quit Disk Utility to return to the Installer
- Install OS X as you normally would, restarting afterwards
- When the computer restarts hit F12 again and swap out the CDs, inserting iBoot again. Select and then boot off the CDROM again, which should bring you back to iBoot
- This time select your Snow Leopard internal HDD and boot from that

You should now be booted in 10.6.0. Audio and extended graphics support won't be working (no audio and 1024x768 unaccelerated graphics is all you'll get at this point). Don't worry: we'll fix these soon. Network access over wired Ethernet should be working, however, assuming you plugged in your Apple USB Ethernet adaptor and added the interface in the Network pane, hitting Apply afterwards. Now mount/insert your external USB drive and perform the following:

- Copy the DSDT-GA-P55A-UD3-2.0-F11.aml file to your desktop, renaming it as DSDT.aml
- Run the Mac OS X 10.6.4 Combo Update installer, letting it finish but NOT restarting at the end of it. You can ignore it and leave it open or you can force quit the Installer, doesn't matter
- Run the Snow Leopard Graphics Update installer, again letting it finish but NOT restarting at the end of it
- Manually delete /System/Library/Extensions/AppleHDA.kext, copying it somewhere else for safekeeping first

Now run MultiBeast and select the following options:

- UserDSDT
- System Utilities
- Kexts -> Audio -> VoodooHDA -> Experimental -> VoodooHDA 0.2.56 (don't use .61 or .70, they have a hissing problem)
- Kexts -> Disk -> IOAHCIBlockStorageInjector
- Kexts -> Disk -> JMicron 36x -> JMicron36xSATA
- Kexts -> Graphics -> Enablers -> ATY_Init Vervet
- com.apple.boot.plist -> 32-bit GraphicsEnabler=No

Restart after this and you should have a Hackintosh Mac Pro running Snow Leopard 10.6.4 with functioning wired Ethernet, Quartz Extreme acceleration and full resolution support from your ATI 5770 graphics card, and front panel audio without hissing from the built-in motherboard hardware. Although all of this information is available from disparate sources out there I hope having it in one place for one particular hardware configuration is helpful.
     
spiky_dog  (op)
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Oct 12, 2010, 02:02 PM
 
Moving up from my old Mac mini Intel Core (non-2) Duo to this box was quite a step! It does 266 on the XBench routine and hums along nicely. Sleep doesn't work so I disabled it. Otherwise things seem to be working just as they should!

My hardware history, just for the curious/bored:

Macintosh LC, with its rip-roaring 16 MHz Motorola 68020, no FPU, a mind-boggling 10 MB of RAM, and 512 kB VRAM so that we could run Corel Draw at 640x480
Power Macintosh 6100/60, overclocked to 72 MHz back in those heady days
PowerBook G3/333 Lombard, which saw me faithfully through most of my computer science undergrad
Power Macintosh G4/733 Quicksilver, later upgraded with a dual 800 card iirc
(MacBook Pro right after the Intel switch, very briefly (< 1 month), exchanged for the mini below: )
Mac mini/1.66 Intel Core (non-2) Duo
(MacBook Core 2 Duo/1.83 for my wife)

and now this, my "Mac Pro" Hackintosh Core i5-760.

     
reader50
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Oct 12, 2010, 03:43 PM
 
The experiment looks good here. Pity you didn't get Sleep to work. Did you check if Gigabyte has any firmware updates?

You could send them the bug reports, on USB and sleep. They might laugh, or fix them. Either way it can't hurt to try.
     
angelmb
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Oct 12, 2010, 04:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by spiky_dog View Post
- Apple USB Ethernet adaptor (I never got the drivers for the motherboard's built-in Ethernet to work but this works out of the box)
I thought the Apple USB Ethernet adaptor was a nitpicker. Kind of surprised you got it working out of the box.
     
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Oct 12, 2010, 04:18 PM
 
Nice write-up; thanks for sharing.
     
spiky_dog  (op)
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Oct 12, 2010, 04:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
The experiment looks good here. Pity you didn't get Sleep to work. Did you check if Gigabyte has any firmware updates?

You could send them the bug reports, on USB and sleep. They might laugh, or fix them. Either way it can't hurt to try.
They do have one BIOS update available but since things are working now save for that I don't want to touch it and potentially break it all!
     
olePigeon
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Oct 12, 2010, 08:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by spiky_dog View Post
They do have one BIOS update available but since things are working now save for that I don't want to touch it and potentially break it all!
That's one of the main reasons I haven't attempted a Hackintosh.

I'm waiting for some Chinese company that makes Apple hardware to sell them after the plant "officially" stop making products for Apple, like they do with Cisco. Counterfeit Cisco equipment is really popular. It is Cisco equipment, it's just 1/10th the price.
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Oct 13, 2010, 04:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by spiky_dog View Post
[Mods: I'm not sure if this is the correct forum for this. My apologies if it is misplaced. Please move to where it is appropriate.]
We don't have a forum that fits better, I think. I'll leave it here.

Originally Posted by spiky_dog View Post
- I didn't hook anything up to SYS_FAN or SYS_FAN2 on the motherboard, and the front panel 1394 (Firewire) connector didn't seem to have a mate on the motherboard
You don't mention cooling at all. That case has one fan included (that runs directly off the PSU? Apparently it can be set at three speeds, but doesn't seem to be motherboard controlled), and there is presumably one on the GPU and one on the CPU. Is it quiet enough? That case has space for two more fans, presumably intended for intake fans. You could put two 92mm fans there, and connect them to the motherboard fan headers. This would keep components in the case cooler (especially the HD) and let your CPU and GPU fans slow down. It may or may not be quieter. If it's OK now, don't bother, but please make sure to clean out the case every now and then. You have a negative-pressure case that is likely standing on the floor - those things eat dust.

Other than that, I think you've set up a quite nice box. It's essentially the same as the top iMac performance-wise, except for the HD which is slower, but then you could add an SSD at any point.

Have you set sleep to be S3 (suspend to RAM) in the BIOS? Sleep will NOT work otherwise. It probably won't work anyway, but it's worth a try.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
spiky_dog  (op)
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Oct 13, 2010, 10:26 AM
 
I didn't try setting sleep up that way. Since I tend to leave the computer on anyway so as to always be accessible to my wife's computer for file sharing (her iPhoto Library lives on an external RAID array hooked up to this machine since her hard drive is so small) and iTunes home sharing it's not a huge deal that it doesn't work.

You are correct about the case: I have the 120 mm rear case fan that runs independently of the motherboard's direction set to "medium" speed and there are two 92 mm fan slots but not fans in the front of the case. The CPU and the GPU both have their own small coolers with fans that are indeed spinning away.

I'm going to wait probably another year for the SSD to allow them to cheapen up and grow in capacity even more, and then I'll set them up as a striped RAID array and go to town.
     
Big Mac
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Oct 13, 2010, 10:42 AM
 
I didn't know it was okay to discuss this topic on the Forums. Good to know. Congrats on your success, spiky_dog.

I'm currently mulling Hackintoshing my Core i7 box. I've heard that iBoot isn't as well tailored for Gigabyte boards, but some people have success going that route. I've been reading about the Kakewalk installer for a long time, which is specific to Gigabyte boards.

As for sleep, some extra work has to be done to get it enabled but it's supposedly not a difficult thing to get done.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Oct 15, 2010 at 02:39 AM. )

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Oct 13, 2010, 12:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
We don't have a forum that fits better, I think. I'll leave it here.
Eh, Mac Modification is probably a more suitable fit. Technically. But I found out the hard way that efforts to revive said forum are in vain; moving a thread there serves more as a death sentence for the topic, rather than a way to direct new traffic toward Mac Mod through its wake.

And I like this thread.
( Last edited by Lateralus; Oct 13, 2010 at 12:40 PM. )
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spiky_dog  (op)
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Oct 13, 2010, 12:34 PM
 
This thread apparently only attracts posters who joined before the end of 2001… (nevermind my multi-year absence in the interval.)
     
reader50
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Oct 13, 2010, 02:14 PM
 
before 2001: we are showing solidarity with you. Good thing you didn't limit it to 1999'ers.
     
Laminar
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Oct 13, 2010, 06:24 PM
 
Combo breaker?
     
Nivag
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Oct 13, 2010, 07:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by spiky_dog View Post
This thread apparently only attracts posters who joined before the end of 2001… (nevermind my multi-year absence in the interval.)
I'll buck that trend then cheers for posting this, was thinking of doing a hackintosh box myself.
     
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Oct 14, 2010, 12:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by spiky_dog View Post
They do have one BIOS update available but since things are working now save for that I don't want to touch it and potentially break it all!
Personally, I've never had a BIOS update wreck an install of OSX. (Built and used dozens of these things, from the old Core2/775, to newer i5/i7's). Mostly used Gigabyte boards.

I highly recommend you do yourself a huge favor: partition your hard drive and install/clone OSX on it at least twice. (OSX only needs about 12GB for a minimum of basic install + basic apps).

The OS doesn't care how many times it's installed on the same system, even on multiple partitions of the same hard drive.

If you're using Chameleon as a bootloader, you can choose from any partition that's bootable; it'll detect them automatically, and boot any instance of OSX.

Do any experimenting/questionable updates first while booted to a backup partition, not a partition you actually use and rely on.

I've been using Hackintoshes for several years now, and following this has ensured me no downtime. And even if I somehow did screw up a main partition, I always leave myself a way back in from a backup partition; from there you can always restore/retrieve/repair anything on the main partition(s), and be back in business in a matter of a minutes.

I'd wager a majority of the people on OSx86 forums saying they 'broke' their machines, could have saved themselves the hassle completely with just a single backup partition. The 'cost' is only a few gigs of disc space.
     
Laminar
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Oct 14, 2010, 08:41 AM
 
That's a great idea, CRASH. When I replace my C2D Mini, that might be something I go for.
     
Maflynn
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Oct 15, 2010, 10:44 AM
 
Nice build, I created a thread here mostly because I didn't know where to put it as well :/

Here's my component list
Case......Silverstone FT02 case...........200
PSU.......Antec Earthwatts 650.............90
CPU.......Core i7-930........................200
MB.........Asus P6T.............................200
Ram.......OCZTech 6GB DDr3-1600...180
GPU.......Nvidia GTX260.....................200
HD.........WD Cavilar Black 500GB........70
Optical...LG Optical Drive....................20

Anyways check out the forums at insanelymac.com and also this lifehacker guide Either one may be helpful.

Not that it helps but my Asus P6T has no problems sleeping, I think you need an updated dsdt kext file to ensure it sleeps properly.
~Mike
     
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Oct 17, 2010, 04:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by spiky_dog View Post
IMPORTANT HARDWARE NOTE: The GA-P55A-UD3 motherboard apparently has a hardware bug in its USB implementation such that resetting the computer using the reset or power buttons doesn't properly reset the USB controller. Thus on the subsequent bootups the USB controller won't initialize and thus one's USB keyboard and mouse won't work! This is a problem, and one that caused me quite a bit of frustration until I realized that powering down completely, removing the power cord for 5-10 seconds before re-plugging it, and then powering the system back up gets the USB chip to work properly. I actually went as far as to buy a PS/2 keyboard before I discovered the above fix, only to find out that this wouldn't ultimately help since OS X doesn't recognize PS/2 hardware, unsurprisingly
Hi.

I think I hitted this issue, since after the first boot after the installation I was asked to connect a keyboard. And before this I had to hard shutdown the system several times dued to lockups and errors.

Disconnecting the cable removed that issue, but now I'm stuck at the gray screen with the metal apple in the center, nothing happens. If you have any suggestion I could try, I'd appreciate. My system is:

GA-P55A-UD4
intel i5
4GB ram
ATI 5870
Microsoft (...) wired keyboard 600 USB
Mouse Logitech g9x

I used iATKoS S3 V2 to install. busratio=20. AHCI. HPET 64bit.
     
spiky_dog  (op)
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Oct 17, 2010, 08:24 PM
 
You should post on the tonymacx86 forums for a better response. What is crashing when you boot with the -v flag? (Hit any key when Chameleon loads, then type -v and then hit enter with your Snow Leopard drive selected.)
     
DrLightman
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Oct 18, 2010, 03:40 AM
 
( I tried with a PS/2, same behaviour by the way )

It doesn't seem to crash, it reports, near the end:

***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED ******
systemShutdown false
Waiting for DMOS... (and here it stays for about 20 seconds)
Previous Shutdown Cause: 0
DSMOS has arrived

At this point the screen goes dark gray, and then a white window appears with an Apple keyboard as seen from a side with a message that says me to connect a keyboard, and from here on I can't do anything.

The strange thing is during install it worked normally, I used it to input the name of the volume.
     
spiky_dog  (op)
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Oct 18, 2010, 09:24 AM
 
Very strange. I have no sage advice other than to reformat and try again. It _should_ work--little consolation when it doesn't, I know.
     
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Oct 22, 2010, 02:15 AM
 
I couldn't agree more that there's a hole in Apple's desktop lineup. I'm not interested in messing around with hackintosh. But it is tempting. I'd go with a quad core desktop i7. Like the top of the line $2200 iMac. only minus the horrible glossy screen and $1000 or so (the resolution is amazing, its only the gloss that's horrible, and the fact that I have to keep buying a new screen every time i upgrade my desktop). Apple really should come out with a mini mac pro. There's been so many discussions about this already. They usually break down into two camps, people who think it's a good idea, and people who think the other people are dumb. Actually back in the day of G4 towers and G3/G4 iMacs, there was even then, a call for a "headless iMac". I guess they got that in the Mac mini. But iMacs aren't low end any more. And I'd argue that Mac Pro's aren't high end any more, they're super high end.
     
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Oct 22, 2010, 06:12 AM
 
Please do not derail this into another xMac discussion. We have that debate about once a month, and nothing new ever surfaces.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
kishan82
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Oct 26, 2010, 08:36 PM
 
Thanks for the awesome guide, it helped a lot when I was building my own i5 mac pro off the same GA-p55a-ud3 motherboard.

Have you had any issues with kernel panics? My hackintosh was running really well for the first 2 weeks or so then I suddenly started getting a lot of kernel panics, often when I left the computer on overnight when I woke up it would be frozen.
     
spiky_dog  (op)
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Oct 26, 2010, 10:39 PM
 
I haven't had a significant problem with stability. I had some crashes upon shutdown and the rare "Please restart this computer"/multilingual true kernel panic on startup, but nothing that persisted for a second time. I leave this computer on all the time and it hasn't had a problem with extended uptime.
     
kishan82
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Oct 26, 2010, 11:01 PM
 
yeah I had the odd kernel panic on startup at first as well, but now the computer can't make it overnight without locking up.

been trying to search and read up as much as possible to fix this but can't seem to find a solution. Really sucks because its a great machine otherwise!
     
reader50
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Oct 26, 2010, 11:07 PM
 
Have you checked the kernel panic log, for clues to the lockup cause?
     
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Oct 27, 2010, 12:36 AM
 
kishan82, are you using any ATA drives in your system? Those can be the kiss of death- virtually no ATA controllers are still supported in OSX.

Also, are your hard drives plugged into only the blue SATA ports on that board? The two white ports I'm guessing (based on other Gigabyte boards) are probably for a secondary RAID or eSATA controller that may not be compatible.

It's been my experience that random KPs on otherwise compatible hardware are often drive-controller related.

Other than that, (if you haven't already) I recommend downloading memtest bootable CD image. Burn to disc, boot your system with it, and let it test your memory for at least a few hours. If it reports ANY errors, you might have a memory compatibility issue that could easily be causing random KPs.
     
kishan82
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Oct 27, 2010, 01:34 AM
 
CRASH, nope they're all SATA and wired to the proper ports. This has been really driving me nuts, I've re-installed SL 4 times today haha Could it be something in the BIOS? I've followed spiky_dog's guide exactly word for word though

I've been taking pics of the panic logs since there doesn't seem to be any other way to access it after the fact. I get either Error code: 0x00000000 or 0x00000009 and usually it says "BSD process name corresponding to current thread: kernel_task" but doesn't specify a specific kext that may be the issue. it did once and it was related to IOUSBHIDDRIVER

Thanks for all the help everyone, attached links to pics, hope they're legible.

IMG_0666.jpg picture by b6one2 - Photobucket
IMG_0668.jpg picture by b6one2 - Photobucket
IMG_0669.jpg picture by b6one2 - Photobucket
     
spiky_dog  (op)
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Plainview, NY
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Oct 27, 2010, 12:01 PM
 
Hmm... you could try the 10.6.2 USB kext rollback. I think that's one of the options in Multibeast.
     
kishan82
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Join Date: Oct 2010
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Oct 27, 2010, 01:36 PM
 
Thanks for the memtest suggestion, I feel like a noob for not trying it out first myself. Found errors in one of my 2gb pieces of ram. RMA'ing it and have started up the system to see if this fixes it. I'll keep you guys posted, I'd say 24hrs of runtime without a kernel panic should be enough proof for me.

I'll take a look at the USB kext rollback as well!

Cheers
     
kishan82
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Oct 29, 2010, 12:11 AM
 
looks like it was the RAM, at almost 33 hours of non-stop operation with no crashes! *knock on wood* thanks again
     
CRASH HARDDRIVE
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Oct 29, 2010, 01:13 AM
 
Cool, hopefully that's all it was.
     
   
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