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Author Topic: Issues with Mac Pro  (Read 1721 times)

David Mantripp

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Issues with Mac Pro
« on: December 24, 2016, 04:39:46 AM »

Hi,

I'm getting a couple of problems with my 2008 Mac Pro, which I can't find anything about anywhere else, so I thought I'd try here.  Please note, I am a very seasoned Mac user (since 1989) so the usual PRAM, permissions, kneel down and pray in the direction of Cupertino type solutions I know :-)

Issues:

1. Sudden Death:  I click somewhere on the screen (I have a suspicion it might be Safari) and the Mac suddenly and soundlessly dies.  Black screen, no signal.  Power light stays on.  After 10 secs or so the fans start going nuts.  No warning lights visible on any boards (with the side panel off).   This has started happening about a month ago, happens randomly, infrequently (e.g once a week).   Restarts normally. but without "your Mac restarted because of a problem" dialog, and no smoking gun I can find in the logs.

2. Reluctant startup:  I press the power button, the chime sounds, and then "half-sounds", like a stutter, 3 or 4 times until startup resumes.  Again, I've noticed this only since about 1 month ago (and after Sudden Death started happening), and it is fairly infrequent.

I've run memory and disk diagnostics (Scannerz and associated utilities, also Techtool Pro, fwiw).  All give clean bill of health (but since the RAM in this Mac is ECC, maybe that doesn't mean much)

Does this sound familiar to anyone ?

Regards,
David

Does any of this sound familiar to anybody ?
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graeme

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2016, 05:19:14 AM »

That's quite an old mac Dave.

My 2007 Mac Pro ran well for 7 years & then started misbehaving ( freezing on startup, not working if more than one HD was installed etc ). I spent far too much time & effort trying to sort it out & would urge you to cut your losses if you can't get it sorted quickly.

Sorry I can't offer you any tech advice.

Good luck.

Graeme
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kers

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2016, 06:49:55 AM »

What i would do:

1 software problem
startup from a clean system.
check


hardware problem- use the clean system and
2
Remove all attached hardware
check

3
( remove the dust a bit inside)
remove all the ram-
put some ram back and see if it solves the problem
check
-
if nothing helps a second hand costs 300-500€



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Pieter Kers
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degrub

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2016, 08:11:39 AM »

https://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/95940/Random+Mac+Pro+restart-shutdown

Also, while in there, change the motherboard battery and re-seat all of the boards. If you have a pink pearl eraser, you can gently clean the oxide off the contact strips. Usually a re-insert will  help. Verify all of the fans work, including ps fan. If you have a way to check, verify the power supply voltages under load.
It does sound like a memory connection issue though.

Frank
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kers

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2016, 09:04:17 AM »

https://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/95940/Random+Mac+Pro+restart-shutdown

Also, while in there, change the motherboard battery and re-seat all of the boards. If you have a pink pearl eraser, you can gently clean the oxide off the contact strips. Usually a re-insert will  help. Verify all of the fans work, including ps fan. If you have a way to check, verify the power supply voltages under load.
It does sound like a memory connection issue though.

Frank

correct- i have a 2008 Macpro and already had to put a fresh battery in some years ago...

good luck!
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langier

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2016, 10:02:53 AM »

A couple of years ago, I had issues even getting my MP 2009 to start up. Sometimes it took several tries... I think there were issues of fans and hanging up without explanation, too. First, I thought it was the switch in the front, a cheap and easy part to replace, but that didn't make much sense. I finally figured out it was the power supply, got a used one and swapped it out. Problem was solved and it keeps working today.
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David Mantripp

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2016, 10:26:11 AM »

Thanks everybody, I'll certainly try changing the battery.   Yes, it is old, but it still works pretty well.   Totally over-engineered, those old Mac Pros :-)
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Chris Sanderson

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2016, 10:29:25 AM »

I had very similar problems with that machine several years ago. Dealer replaced the power supply and all was good for another year or two before I sold it.

Good luck!
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Christopher Sanderson
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David Mantripp

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2016, 11:11:28 AM »

I had very similar problems with that machine several years ago. Dealer replaced the power supply and all was good for another year or two before I sold it.

Good luck!

Thanks Chris -  now for the challenge of finding a 2008 Mac Pro power supply in southern Switzerland.....   Thank god for the internet.
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E.J. Peiker

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2016, 08:21:07 AM »

It does sound like a power supply but before changing it, insure all of the connections, cables, etc to and from the power supply inside the machine are secure.
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Conner999

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2016, 08:15:06 AM »

Just had your Issue #1 with one of our 2011 MBP's (15", 2.2GHZ, 16GB, SSD). Sudden black screen then fans ramping to insane speeds - hinting at some heavy unseen processing going on. It would need a hard restart (holding down power button) to solve, sometimes multiple hard starts .  Did all the PRAM et al resets, nada, so headed to local Apple Store.

After passing ALL the tests, including the well known VST or Video Systems Test at the Apple Store, one tech, still feeling it was a video issue given the rising interior temps with sudden death screen, suggested stressing the video card.

They started opening multiple windows running fractal graphics - and bang, problem hit within 30 secs.  After letting fans ramp for far longer than I ever did, the MBP then sounded 'unable to access RAM' audible alarm (3 beeps, pause, repeat). The screen came back 30 secs later with video a mess.

A quick online chat with engineers and the engineer agreed to put the computer through for a free video card swap as part of the well known 'recall', even though it passed the VST test - the failure of which is the typical trigger for the card program. 

In short - Problem #1 may be your video card or connections to same.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 08:21:33 AM by Conner999 »
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David Mantripp

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2017, 03:04:19 PM »

Well, I've tried all sorts of stuff and while for a short period it seemed things were more stable - replacing the PRAM battery has made the "stutter" startup go away, I still get random sudden crashes.  The PSU looks ok visually, it seems not to be overheating or drawing excessive current.  I've cleaned it, but it wasn't significantly dusty, neither were any other components. As the first symptom is actually sudden loss of video signal, and running iStat menus appears to show strange spikes in GPU usage instants before, I'm tending to look at the video card.  It is an Apple-supplied ATi HD7550 upgrade card, which is actually not "supposed" to be supported on this early 2008 Mac Pro (but it has been working fine for several years, and a friend of mine has one in a 2007 Mac Pro).  It is a very tight squeeze and possible it is not thermally fully compatible.  However there is no correlation between heat and crash - it can easily happen minutes after boot - and anyway I'm not seeing anything approaching high temperatures.  Lightroom really doesn't tax this system much.

However, it is getting to me concerned, these forced reboots are not necessarily good for other components such as disk drives.  So, I'm now looking at options.

Within my budget, there seem to be too poor choices - either a fully maxed out Mac Mini (with 1Tb SSD, i7, 16Gb) or the lowest config Mac Pro.  The Mac Pro is currently being sold here in Switzerland at some retailers at CHF 3000 (so pretty much $ 3000).  Apple wants CHF 3400 for it.  The Mac Mini, from Apple, is CHF 2199.

My main use is Lightroom and similar applications (Iridient mainly), and diminishing amounts of Photoshop.  Also some InDesign. And of course general home/office stuff.  I don't do video and never will.  My largest image files are MF film scans which can easily reach 1GB, but mainly I process 16 Mpix ORFs and Sigma Merrill/Quattro.  I currently have an internal 4TB SoftRaid volume (2 WD Black 4TB) backed up to a Drobo 5Dt (on a USB3 PCI card). Oh, and a Eizo 270Cs and Quatto 240LE, which are the two good reasons I am not considering an iMac.  Not a fan of glossy screens.

I'm tending to think that the Mac Mini is the better bet.  Apart from anything else I'd be immune from temptation to upgrade it.  But 16Gb may be a little low. But from what I can see, Lightroom makes very little use of the GPU, so I doubt that the graphics cards in the Mac Pro would be of any benefit.

So yeah, two bad choices - thanks SO much, Apple.  Any opinions on which is the least bad ?
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Craig Lamson

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2017, 07:24:01 PM »

Well, I've tried all sorts of stuff and while for a short period it seemed things were more stable - replacing the PRAM battery has made the "stutter" startup go away, I still get random sudden crashes.  The PSU looks ok visually, it seems not to be overheating or drawing excessive current.  I've cleaned it, but it wasn't significantly dusty, neither were any other components. As the first symptom is actually sudden loss of video signal, and running iStat menus appears to show strange spikes in GPU usage instants before, I'm tending to look at the video card.  It is an Apple-supplied ATi HD7550 upgrade card, which is actually not "supposed" to be supported on this early 2008 Mac Pro (but it has been working fine for several years, and a friend of mine has one in a 2007 Mac Pro).  It is a very tight squeeze and possible it is not thermally fully compatible.  However there is no correlation between heat and crash - it can easily happen minutes after boot - and anyway I'm not seeing anything approaching high temperatures.  Lightroom really doesn't tax this system much.

However, it is getting to me concerned, these forced reboots are not necessarily good for other components such as disk drives.  So, I'm now looking at options.

Within my budget, there seem to be too poor choices - either a fully maxed out Mac Mini (with 1Tb SSD, i7, 16Gb) or the lowest config Mac Pro.  The Mac Pro is currently being sold here in Switzerland at some retailers at CHF 3000 (so pretty much $ 3000).  Apple wants CHF 3400 for it.  The Mac Mini, from Apple, is CHF 2199.

My main use is Lightroom and similar applications (Iridient mainly), and diminishing amounts of Photoshop.  Also some InDesign. And of course general home/office stuff.  I don't do video and never will.  My largest image files are MF film scans which can easily reach 1GB, but mainly I process 16 Mpix ORFs and Sigma Merrill/Quattro.  I currently have an internal 4TB SoftRaid volume (2 WD Black 4TB) backed up to a Drobo 5Dt (on a USB3 PCI card). Oh, and a Eizo 270Cs and Quatto 240LE, which are the two good reasons I am not considering an iMac.  Not a fan of glossy screens.

I'm tending to think that the Mac Mini is the better bet.  Apart from anything else I'd be immune from temptation to upgrade it.  But 16Gb may be a little low. But from what I can see, Lightroom makes very little use of the GPU, so I doubt that the graphics cards in the Mac Pro would be of any benefit.

So yeah, two bad choices - thanks SO much, Apple.  Any opinions on which is the least bad ?

Look for a low mileage 2012 mini if you choose to go that route.  I have two of them hot rodded.  That year was the last I think for the quad core I7 and you can add a second drive.  It's an easy upgrade to a second sad and 16 gb of ram and they run quite nicely.
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francois

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2017, 09:40:00 AM »

ůSo yeah, two bad choices - thanks SO much, Apple.  Any opinions on which is the least bad ?

I'd vote for a Mac Mini. Since you're in Switzerland, you may find some 2012 models on Ricardo or Anibis.
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Francois

David Mantripp

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2017, 03:33:05 AM »

I know I won't help you much. But I just wanted to throw it in there. For that kind of money you could get a really really fast windows desktop.


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I know. But the secondary costs of switching platform are quite considerable, and Apple's lock-in is very effective. Also the fact that a 9 year old Mac, ignoring these recent glitches, is still perfectly capable of running this year's software efficiently. A 9 year old Windows desktop probably would be less happy. Then again, Apple in 2017 is not a shadow of the company it was 9 years ago.

Believe me, I've considered it.
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Christopher

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Re: Issues with Mac Pro
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2017, 06:05:26 PM »

Yes I get it. Don't worry. I use both. (Mac book pro and windows workstation)

Just a quick a note my old windows workstation, which I retired this December. Was built in 2008 and was still running blazing fast. Even with the rest OS. Why change it ? Simple my new one is even faster. And for me saving processing time is always welcome.




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