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View Full Version : Is My Mac Pro a Lemon?




Liystalander
Nov 1, 2008, 03:22 AM
I am pretty annoyed right now. About a month ago, I bought a Mac Pro with 2 quad core 2.8 GHz processors, 6GB of RAM, and a 1 TB drive, as well as a 320 GB drive at 15,000 RPM. Since then, I have had nothing but problems. Here is a short list of what problems I have had, and what I have done to try to solve them.

Problem #1: My Mac Pro will not wake up from sleep. I will get up to get lunch, or go to bed at night, and when I come back to my Mac Pro and try to wake it up, (type, click mouse, quickly press power button.) it will not wake from sleep. The only thing I can do is hold the power button to restart. To combat this, I have tried resetting the PRAM, and the SMC. This happened 4-6 times this month.

Problem #2: The blue screen of death. Apple would have you believe that only PC's get the BSOD. This is 100% false. While Apple's BSOD may be slightly more aesthetically pleasing, the desired effect is achieved. You know that little blue screen you see for about 5 seconds when you turn on your Mac? Well imagine that going on indefinitely. Now, imagine that god forsaken beach ball. Now, imagine the endless blue hell, but this time, with the spinning beach ball. Welcome to my workspace. Every time I boot up my Mac Pro, I am greeted with this. Hey, I have an idea. Why doesn't Apple swap the cliched beach ball with a giant middle finger? Then, they can make the screen blink endlessly. At least that would be more interesting. The first time this happened, it fixed itself after I reset the PRAM, and the SMC. Then, I ran YASU just to be safe. I thought I had dodged that bullet, but imagine my surprise today when I booted up my Mac Pro after resetting the PRAM only to find that that damn screen had returned. First, I booted into single user mode, and followed Apple's instructions by typing some commands. That did not work, so I verified and repaired disk permissions. That didn't work either. Then, I backed up my 1 TB drive, installed a fresh install of Leopard on that, and then used Migration Assistant to transfer my old files from the 320 GB HD. 3 hours later, I finally manage to get my computer to stay on for about 30 seconds, then it crashed again. Just for the hell of it, I rebooted, and am pleased to announce that I have been running pretty well now for about an hour. I'm not holding my breath, though.

Next, I have noticed that many of my applications crash immediately after opening them. So far, Mail, Chess, QuickTime, iPhoto, and more have done this to me. I have tried deleting the com.apple.blah file, as well as YASU, a PRAM reset, and a plain old reboot. This seems to be fixed as of now, but again, I'm not holding my breath.

Continuing, when I bought 4 GB of additional RAM and tried to install it, I drove myself crazy trying to figure out why it would not show up in about this mac. I finally realized that one slot on each of my memory risers was defective, and that by bumping the RAM down a slot, I could head this one off. I opted to do that, after speaking to a clueless "product specialist" for over an hour, to no avail.

Finally, boot time takes FOREVER! I am surprised that my stock configuration MacBook Air (1st Gen.) boots faster than my 8 core mac pro with 6 GB of ram. Oh, just so you know, the RAM is from Apple, so I'm sure that it is the right kind.

Thank you for putting up with my sarcastic ramblings. I am, quite frankly, tired, annoyed, and at the end of my "virtual rope" I'm going to take it to the local Apple reseller where I bought it to see if I can get it exchanged/repaired. I would prefer an exchange, but a repair would suffice. I welcome anybody's opinion/advice on what to do or how to fix this with open arms, and thank you in advance. Any comments at all related to this at all would actually be appreciated. Oh, just so you know, and before I forget, I do have Apple Care, thank god.

Regards,

Alexander Carlson :apple:
The MacTips Podcast
acarlson@mactipspodcast.com



netdog
Nov 1, 2008, 04:00 AM
Something is very wrong. Do a fresh OS X install and then do a combo-update. If it still does that, take it to Apple. These are great machines.

Chaos123x
Nov 1, 2008, 04:32 AM
Sounds like you did not install the Firmware updates, you have to install them manually after you download it through software update.

I bet they are sitting in your Uttilities folder waiting to be installed.


These were common problems and they were fixed.

At least it fixed mine.

brand
Nov 1, 2008, 06:13 AM
Did you purchase the Apple RAID card?

Apple does not offer a 320GB 10K RPM hard drive.

Lumpydog
Nov 1, 2008, 06:32 AM
Have you tried the hardware test? http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1509

Also - sounds like your memory placement may be an issue. The Mac Pro is HIGHLY sensitive to memory configuration on the riser cards. Incorrect placement and it will burn cycles trying to sort things out. http://guides.macrumors.com/Installing_RAM

This REALLY sounds like defective memory or a memory placement problem. When your Mac pro is new, the 2 GB of memory is split across the risers (1GB in riser A and 1GB in riser B). When adding more memory, you need to move (pair) them together to the same riser. Assuming you purchased Two 2 GB memory sticks, you could put those two new sticks in Riser A in slots A1 and A2. Then, put the two 1GB sticks in Riser B - in slots B1 and B2. You can't just bail on using a memory slot because you think it's defective. The Mac Pro manual is very specific about memory placement. You do it wrong and the types of things you are seeing will happen.

Finally - if I thought my memory slots was defective - it would be back at the Apple store in about 2 seconds...

AW.kennedy
Nov 1, 2008, 06:39 AM
I had something similar once, it turned out it was a faulty logic board(motherboard).

if you've only just got it - do take it in to an authorized apple repair shop. They should fix it for free if your still within your warrantee period. Apple was always good for me on this.

-AW

EDIT: they should fix it whatever the problem is. But take it in and find out.

noushy
Nov 1, 2008, 09:03 AM
There is definetly something wrong with your machine or your memory, period. I purchased a brand new 2.8 8core machine with the stock 2gb ram, and an 8800gt card with 500gb drive. When it arrived, I replaced the two 1gb dimms with 8 2gb dimms purchased from otherworldcomputing. The machine immediately booted with no problems whatsoever... I upgraded the hd to a velociraptor 300gb drive, added a second for bootcamp, and a caldigit raid with 4x1tb seagate es2 drives. It has never given me any of the problems you have. In fact, there is only a slight maybe 2-5 second delay when starting up, most likely due to the added memory and memory checking prior to bootup. Take it back to the apple store, and get it checked out. It should be under warranty.

Peace,
Noushy

Liystalander
Nov 1, 2008, 01:27 PM
Hey guys,

Thanks for the advice. Let me just answer a few of your questions.

1: No, I did not purchase the RAID card.

2: I did not run the Apple hardware test, but I did run one on TechTools deluxe. It found no problems. Later today, when I get my work done, I will try the Apple one, because I heard it takes a LONG time.

3: It could very well be that RAM placement is my problem. When I did that, I was sure to ask the Apple tech if that would cause problems, and he said that it would not. Then again, he seemed a little "slow" when it came to this stuff. I will try Lumpydog's idea as soon as I post this.

4: I checked my utilities folder for any uninstalled firmware upgrades, as per Chaos123x's suggestion. There were none.

5: I think it might be a faulty logic board also, but I want to exhaust all possible options first.

noushy
Nov 2, 2008, 01:07 AM
I checked with a friend who happens to be an apple genius, and his response was most likely the mainboard. He asked why you were still messing with it, and had not just brought it in for service. I understand it is a hassle, but you paid good money for the machine, and it is under warranty, so take it in, get it fixed, and be happy.

Peace,
Noushy

djjclark
Nov 2, 2008, 01:23 AM
Yea take it in soonest. Sounds like a logic board and/or memory risers.

Liystalander
Nov 2, 2008, 02:15 AM
Thank you to everybody for your help. I plan to take it in, as soon as my replacement MacBook Pro comes in. It seems that I have awful luck with my Macs recently. About a week ago, I ordered the new MacBook Pro, which was broken when it arrived. (Bottom corner was chipped.) I have to send this defective one back to Apple in two days to complete the DOA return process. During that time, I will be without a MacBook Pro for about 3 days. I don't want to be without my Mac Pro, too. As soon as I get my new MacBook Pro, and it is running smoothly, I will send my Mac Pro in for repair. Here is my theory on what is happening: There are a few, possibly unrelated problems, that are happening simultaneously. I think that the blue screen was caused by a combo of the improper RAM placement, coupled with a corrupted file in the OS. The application crashes and slow boot time could not be caused by that, because I reinstalled the OS on a different drive. So, now that the blue screen has been presumably solved, I am left with the above problems. I have two theories about the crashes/boot time:

1. They are caused by some system-modifying application, such as Growl. It could also be YASU, or AppleJack, but I don't think so.

2. It is a hardware failure, in which case all of my hard work will be in vain.

I am betting on hardware failure. Mainly, because everything on my Mac Pro's first drive (the one with the issue) is on the MacBook Pro, which runs just fine. The other reason is that as I started typing this, my display has begun to flicker. This is really annoying for a $5,000 plus machine! :mad:

Does anyone have any advice on weather or not I should take it to an Apple retail store, or an apple authorized service provider. The Apple store follows Apple's protocol to the letter, including replacement, etc. but is rather impersonal. From my experience, they aren't as curtious of my time, and do not try to do repairs quickly. The repairs, while long though, are usually effective, with no further problems. The other apple service provider we have a personal relationship with. We bought all our office macs from them (6 iMacs- 24" maxed out, 2 Mac Pros- same specs as mine, 8 30" displays, Xserve, etc.) so they are VERY appreciative of the business we give them ;) and will do anything to fix my problem as quickly as possible. I just don't know if they will be as effective as the Apple store. ANY ADVICE WOULD BE APPRECIATED!

Thanks again for your help,

Alex

iamcheerful
Nov 2, 2008, 04:14 AM
Thank you to everybody for your help. I plan to take it in, as soon as my replacement MacBook Pro comes in. It seems that I have awful luck with my Macs recently. About a week ago, I ordered the new MacBook Pro, which was broken when it arrived. (Bottom corner was chipped.) I have to send this defective one back to Apple in two days to complete the DOA ....

... ANY ADVICE WOULD BE APPRECIATED!

Thanks again for your help,

Alex
My suggestion is to purchase directly from :apple: or some other shops selling Apples and not Lemons.

And you are most welcome. Wish you all the best. I can empathize with you the predicament you face.

brand
Nov 2, 2008, 10:54 AM
No, I did not purchase the RAID card.

Then you do not have 320GB 15,000RPM hard drive. You have a 320GB 7,200RPM hard drive.

noushy
Nov 3, 2008, 12:19 PM
It does not really matter where you take it in. If you know your local apple store and/or the genius(es) working there, take it to them. They are the ones that fix it, right in the store. Also, they will be more sympathetic towards your situation, and if it is a new machine, might even just replace it.

Peace,
Noushy