SQL Server 2005 has a startup check that fails on some of the newer CPU socket designs (triple core, tri core, 12 core, …) as outlined in the knowledge base article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/954835
Continued testing shows that the NUMPROCS workaround documented in the article does not work for all combinations. Today I submitted a change request to add an alternate workaround.
1. Copy the RTM setup to a local drive. (This includes the Server and Tools or install will fail.)
2. Download the SP2 or SP3 package and expand it on the local drive using the /X parameter.
3. Determine the full path to the expanded SP sqlrun_sql.msp patch package.
4. Execute the following command with the proper paths to involve the .MSP in the setup. This will use the patch package to update the SQL Engine components to the service pack level and allow install.
NOTE: You are in a configuration that is UNSUPPORTTED
5. Apply the service pack package by executing the hotfix.exe in the expanded location. This applies all service pack components and returns the system to a supported state.
Bob Dorr – Principle SQL Server Escalation Engineer