2009 Mac Pro Random Freezing and Booting Issues

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by -VoiceOfReason-, May 10, 2019.

  1. -VoiceOfReason-, May 10, 2019
    Last edited: May 11, 2019

    -VoiceOfReason- macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    #1
    Hi all. I have a 2009 4,1 -> 5,1 Mac Pro that has suddenly started to freeze randomly on me. Just after its 10th birthday, no less. This is driving me crazy because it is my main work machine which is normally running 24/7. Any help greatly appreciated.

    Symptoms, any of these can happen randomly but are guaranteed:
    • No dong/chime/startup sound
    • Freezes during startup
    • Freezes during normal use (usually in <15 min. of boot)
    • Sometimes after a freeze the machine will hard reset itself after some seconds, but only if it has fully booted
    • SMC seems to still be active during freezes since holding the power button will eventually turn the machine off
    Relevant hardware specs:
    • MacOS Mojave 10.14.4, so all the latest firmware updates and APFS support, etc.
    • Dual x5680 CPUs that I delidded
    • 64GB RAM (8GB x 8 1333MHz ECC Hynix Modules), all slots filled
    • MSI Radeon RX 580 Gaming X 4GB
    Troubleshooting attempted:
    • Swapped RX 580 for HD 5870 for boot screens, nothing unusual
    • Pulled all drives and accessories
    • Reseated all RAM modules and CPUs
    • Tried running with 2/4/6 RAM modules
    • Ran AHT, no problems found on quick test
    Wild guesses:
    • Power Supply?
    • Mainboard?
    I'm going to try to order a power supply and swap it out next week. But if that fails then I will likely have to dump the machine since I can't afford it to be down like this.
     
  2. kwikdeth macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    #2
    my guess would be RAM. just because it may start up fine doesnt mean it might not have a problem that shows up intermittently. i would suggest downloading and running memtest on a USB stick:
    https://www.memtest86.com/download.htm
    it can also test the ECC functions of the RAM.
     
  3. crjackson2134 macrumors 601

    crjackson2134

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #3
    I agree that RAM is a good place to start. The lack of a POST chime points the way. Don’t buy random things without attempting some diagnosis. Also, get ahold of an Apple Technical Guide. Use the diagnostic led’s on the board.
     
  4. Alex Sanders74 macrumors regular

    Alex Sanders74

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #4
    How's that Northbridge heatsink? Check for popped rivets... The Ram advice is also very sound. Any LED's lit on the backplane or cpu tray? just saw crjackson asked about the LED's on the board.

    Ever change the battery on the backplane? That's 10 years old now. Probably due.
     
  5. MriX macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    Location:
    Germany
    #5

    I have the same problems sometimes since the macOS 10.14.4 update. When I force shutdown through holding the power button, I get a warning that my Mac crashed after the next boot.
    Maybe I try a memtest the next days.
     
  6. IndioX macrumors regular

    IndioX

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2018
    Location:
    austria/europe
    #6
    if you switch off the power switch you also produce a kernelpanic - use the keyboard or the menu item

    it is a START button, NOT a shutdown button !!!
     
  7. MIKX, May 11, 2019
    Last edited: May 11, 2019

    MIKX macrumors 6502a

    MIKX

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Japan
    #7
    -VoiceOf-Reason-

    May I very politely suggest ..

    Make a Macrumors " signature " so you can show us in every future post .. your comprehensive cMP setup.

    Have you regularly ( . .. every two years or so . .) de-dusted your cMP, renewed your Northbridge chip, re-applied N/B thermal paste & checked the N.B rivets ?

    Any CPU Tray "RED " LEDs aftr booting ( .. if boot is possible )

    Which Mac OS are you running ?

    Which GPU is installed ?

    Is there only ONE GPU installed ?

    If two GPU's are installed . . how are you powering them ?

    if two GPUs are installed .. are they both AMD or both Nvidia or a mix of both ?

    Any red CPU Tray LEDs during or after booting ?
     
  8. -VoiceOfReason-, May 11, 2019
    Last edited: May 11, 2019

    -VoiceOfReason- thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    #8
    Hi all, thanks for your replies.

    RAM could be a culprit, but it is currently not starting fine. I should have maybe made it a bit more clear in my post that the machine is unusable since the problems will happen 10 times out of 10 currently. Even getting the AHT to run the quick test took a lot of reboots.

    I have also tried running with only two RAM modules in slots 1 & 2, with different combinations of modules. So far nothing to point that any one stick is bad. I'll try memtest but it will be another battle to see if the test will actually complete without a lock up.

    Also, none of the red LEDs are illuminated. If I press the DIAG LED button, I get a green PSU PWROK and orange 5V STBY.

    I found some info on the northbridge heatsink shortly after posting this thread. I pulled out the tray and the rivets themselves looked OK. Still, I pulled off the northbridge heatsink, cleared off the factory thermal paste and reapplied arctic silver to that also. I replaced the rivets with a screw + nut combo. So far no change.

    As for the battery, if I can get the system working again I'll look into replacing that...

    I am only using the power button if the system is already locked up, not much I can do at that point. Otherwise the machine stays on 24/7 and if needed to be shut down, I use the menu bar link as you suggest.

    I can do this, but some of it is not relevant since everything but the base config to make the machine boot is installed while I troubleshoot the issue. I included that base config in the original post.

    After this problem occurred I gave everything a thorough cleaning and addressed the northbridge this morning. See above for more detail.

    No RED (or otherwise unfamiliar to me LEDs to report). Also no unusual fan activity (no full speed fans, etc.)

    MacOS Mojave 10.14 18A391

    Under normal circumstances, there is an MSI Radeon RX 580 Gaming X 4GB card installed and nothing else. While I am testing, I have swapped out the RX 580 for an Apple OEM Radeon HD 5870 so I can see boot screens and run the AHT from USB.
     
  9. MIKX, May 11, 2019
    Last edited: May 11, 2019

    MIKX macrumors 6502a

    MIKX

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Japan
    #9
    Polite correction : Even Apple states that holding down the power button for 6 seconds can be used to shut down Macs.
    --- Post Merged, May 11, 2019 ---
    -VoiceOfReason-

    If you make a " signature " for your posts it may help members to help you.

    EDIT : If you have already made a signature .. apologies -hungover from a party last night :D brain needs a reboot.
     
  10. IndioX macrumors regular

    IndioX

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2018
    Location:
    austria/europe
    #10
    it is not a normal shutdown - it is a hard shutdown without saving drivedirectories or erease tmp files or vitual memory !
     
  11. MIKX macrumors 6502a

    MIKX

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Japan
    #11
    We all know that but what are you going to do if your cMP just will not shut down ?

    ?

    From Apple : https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201150

    "
    Turn off (shut down) your Mac
    The best way to shut down your Mac is to choose Shut Down from the Apple () menu.

    Just as your Mac follows a startup process after it turns on, it follows a shutdown process before it turns off. That process includes automatically quitting all open apps and logging out of your macOS user account.

    If your Mac doesn't shut down, try Force Quit to close any apps that aren't responding. If that doesn't work, press and hold the power button until the Mac turns off.

    Press and hold the power button to turn off your Mac only if it isn't responding. You'll lose unsaved changes to any documents that you have open. "
     
  12. -VoiceOfReason- thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    #12
    As an update:

    I last tinkered with the machine on Saturday morning. For a moment, things seemed stable enough so I plugged in my system drive and was able to do the update to Mojave 14.4. I was hoping that the bootrom update would possibly make a difference. Things were stable all weekend until today when some hours into working. Had a freeze, machine rebooted itself and won't boot again.

    I will try to leave memtest running today/overnight but at this point I've mostly lost faith in this as a work machine. Have no clues as to what the issue could be either.
     
  13. -VoiceOfReason- thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    #13
    Another update if anyone is curious.

    I was able to boot memtest and left it running overnight. It was able to complete two passes with 64GB RAM installed. I was hoping to quickly pull some files off the machine so I rebooted and was able to get it to the desktop. As soon as I started opening files, the machine froze, hard reset and did not dong or chime.

    Currently my plan might be to order a single CPU 2009 machine and try sticking my tray in there. However the amount of time I have to tinker with this is running low at the moment.
     
  14. EddieK420 macrumors member

    EddieK420

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    #14
    Did you update the CPUs in your Mac Pro 2009?

    I had the same freezing issue. I had upgraded the processors before. I tried everything, I undid my Pixlas mod (I have a 1080ti). I bought a new power supply I was going crazy. Then I noticed that when using MacsFansControl it wouldn’t freeze.

    I redid the thermal paste on both CPUs that I upgraded a year before and voila! No more freezes. I used the spread method before to put the thermal paste and it sucks. Now I used the “rice bean” method of applying thermal paste on both CPUs and the machine works perfect. Ended up returning the new power supply that I bought.


     
  15. -VoiceOfReason-, May 17, 2019
    Last edited: May 17, 2019

    -VoiceOfReason- thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    #15
    Update: I believe I have narrowed the problem down to a bad CPU.

    The spare single CPU 2009 Mac Pro arrived today. After spending some time upgrading Boot ROMs, I put in my dual CPU tray. It would not boot or chime. Holding down the DIAG LED button, GPU OK was flashing.

    So with at least a clue that the problem was with the CPU tray, I again tore down the entire tray, carefully cleaning and inspecting everything. When I double checked the socket and CPUs, I noticed that one CPU had a dent or scratch on one of the pads and seemed to have overall more wear/scratching than the other one.

    [​IMG]

    After finding this, I tried booting the system with only one CPU in socket A. The CPU with the scratch failed to boot every time, with GPU OK flashing on the diagnostic LEDs. The other CPU booted fine every time.

    To make sure the tray wasn't the issue, I dug out the original X5550 CPU pair that came with the machine. After installing those, the machine again booted fine several times in a row.

    Even with the scratch, I'm not exactly sure why it decided to fail now. I originally delidded these almost three years ago and haven't had an issue like this since.

    Now the question is, should I go for the X5690s...
     
  16. kwikdeth macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    #16
    probably a microfracture in the pin contact due to heat stress over time.
     
  17. EddieK420 macrumors member

    EddieK420

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    #17
    good to hear that you narrowed it down. How do you work the diagnostic leds on the 2009 mac pro? how does it go and where do you get the error codes? thanks a lot!

     
  18. Alex Sanders74 macrumors regular

    Alex Sanders74

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #18

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17 May 10, 2019