2nd Mac Pro bricked by an Apple update

Plutonius

macrumors 604
Original poster
Feb 22, 2003
7,846
5,949
New Hampshire, USA
A year ago, my Mac Pro 4,1 stopped working after I attempted a High Sierra upgrade (I know it wasn't officially supported). The fans started and the power switch light came on but I had no activity and the keyboard cap light wasn't coming on.

Rather then putting more money into it, I decided to replace it with a Mac Pro 5,1 . This machine worked great until I tried today to run the latest Safari security update. The 5,1 is running the latest version of High Sierra and is a stock machine except for a Samsung SSD and a Sapphire 7950 Mac edition. During the update, the 5,1 downloaded the update and then did a restart. The computer then loaded in the update before restarting again. After this restart, I had a black screen and I left the computer alone for almost 1/2 hour in case it was still doing something in the background. After the wait, the computer was still unresponsive and it's behaving just like my 4,1.

I checked the internal battery (ok) and switched the video card with an older one but had no success at all.

Has anyone else experienced any issues like mine and what can you suggest to troubleshoot ?
 

tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,344
6,049
Brazil
A year ago, my Mac Pro 4,1 stopped working after I attempted a High Sierra upgrade (I know it wasn't officially supported). The fans started and the power switch light came on but I had no activity and the keyboard cap light wasn't coming on.

Rather then putting more money into it, I decided to replace it with a Mac Pro 5,1 . This machine worked great until I tried today to run the latest Safari security update. The 5,1 is running the latest version of High Sierra and is a stock machine except for a Samsung SSD and a Sapphire 7950 Mac edition. During the update, the 5,1 downloaded the update and then did a restart. The computer then loaded in the update before restarting again. After this restart, I had a black screen and I left the computer alone for almost 1/2 hour in case it was still doing something in the background. After the wait, the computer was still unresponsive and it's behaving just like my 4,1.

I checked the internal battery (ok) and switched the video card with an older one but had no success at all.

Has anyone else experienced any issues like mine and what can you suggest to troubleshoot ?
Did you checked if the EFI diag led keeps off when you press the diag button? Download the Service Manual for 2010 Mac Pro, you will find everything to diagnose your Mac Pro.

If so you have a brick and these are your options:
  • you can desolder the SPI flash, reprogram it externally, solder it back (start from this post #929),
  • replace the backplane,
  • buy a Mac Pro MATT card.
 
Last edited:

MarkC426

macrumors 6502a
May 14, 2008
626
136
UK
A year ago, my Mac Pro 4,1 stopped working after I attempted a High Sierra upgrade (I know it wasn't officially supported). The fans started and the power switch light came on but I had no activity and the keyboard cap light wasn't coming on.

Rather then putting more money into it, I decided to replace it with a Mac Pro 5,1 . This machine worked great until I tried today to run the latest Safari security update. The 5,1 is running the latest version of High Sierra and is a stock machine except for a Samsung SSD and a Sapphire 7950 Mac edition. During the update, the 5,1 downloaded the update and then did a restart. The computer then loaded in the update before restarting again. After this restart, I had a black screen and I left the computer alone for almost 1/2 hour in case it was still doing something in the background. After the wait, the computer was still unresponsive and it's behaving just like my 4,1.

I checked the internal battery (ok) and switched the video card with an older one but had no success at all.

Has anyone else experienced any issues like mine and what can you suggest to troubleshoot ?
Do you mean the 2018-002 or 003 10.13.6 update.
I don’t think the safari update needs a restart.

A lot of people have had issues with the 002 update.
 

Plutonius

macrumors 604
Original poster
Feb 22, 2003
7,846
5,949
New Hampshire, USA
Did you checked if the EFI diag led keeps off when you press the diag button?

If so you have a brick and these are your options:
  • you can desolder the SPI flash, reprogram it externally, solder it back (start from this post #929),
  • replace the backplane,
  • buy a Mac Pro MATT card.
Thank you for the info.

do you know of a good reference site so I can figure out which LEDs should be lit and where their location is ?
[doublepost=1544727613][/doublepost]
Do you mean the 2018-002 or 003 10.13.6 update.
I don’t think the safari update needs a restart.

A lot of people have had issues with the 002 update.
I just saw a safari security update in automatic updates and ran it. It notified me earlier in the week but I ran ii today.
 

tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,344
6,049
Brazil
Thank you for the info.

do you know of a good reference site so I can figure out which LEDs should be lit and where their location is ?
[doublepost=1544727613][/doublepost]

I just saw a safari security update in automatic updates and ran it. It notified me earlier in the week but I ran ii today.
Download the Service Manual for 2010 Mac Pro, there you will find everything to diagnose your Mac Pro.
 

Plutonius

macrumors 604
Original poster
Feb 22, 2003
7,846
5,949
New Hampshire, USA
Download the Service Manual for 2010 Mac Pro, there you will find everything to diagnose your Mac Pro.
On the LEDs to the upper left of the diag button, the PSU LED (3rd LED) is always on and the 5V STBY LED (4th LED) comes on when the power is turned on. No other LED comes on.

On the LEDs next to the diag button, the SYS LED (1st LED) comes on when the power is turned on. Both the EFI Done (4th LED) and the (5th LED) (can't read the name - might be GPU) flash before turning off. No other LED is on.
[doublepost=1544731218][/doublepost]
Boot from your bootable backup and try again.
I tried multiple startup disk with no success. I see a black screen and no keyboard.
 

tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,344
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Brazil
On the LEDs to the upper left of the diag button, the PSU LED (3rd LED) is always on and the 5V STBY LED (4th LED) comes on when the power is turned on. No other LED comes on.

On the LEDs next to the diag button, the SYS LED (1st LED) comes on when the power is turned on. Both the EFI Done (4th LED) and the (5th LED) (can't read the name - might be GPU) flash before turning off. No other LED is on.
[doublepost=1544731218][/doublepost]

I tried multiple startup disk with no success. I see a black screen and no keyboard.
I'll check my Mac Pro tonight to be 100% sure what keeps on/off with a working Mac Pro 5,1, but if the EFI is off, you have a corrupted SPI flash.
 

Plutonius

macrumors 604
Original poster
Feb 22, 2003
7,846
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New Hampshire, USA
I'll check my Mac Pro tonight to be 100% sure what keeps on/off with a working Mac Pro 5,1, but if the EFI is off, you have a corrupted SPI flash.
Thank you again. What are the usual causes of SPI flash corruption ?

Can it occur while installing an Apple update ?

Have you used the Mac Pro Matt Card that you recommended and will there be any conflicts with future Apple updates ?
 
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tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,344
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Thank you again. What are the usual causes of SPI flash corruption ?

Can it occur while installing an Apple update ?
Could be checksum errors, bad RAM causing bogus data when writing the NVRAM, cell exhaustion etc. There is not a big smoking gun, most of the dumps from bricked Mac Pros have more than just one problem.
 

rjtiedeman

macrumors 6502
Nov 29, 2010
278
45
Stamford, CT
My 5,1 MP had issues with the last security update. When it restarted a white screen with text relating to errors appeared. I just restarted with the “P’_R” pram reset and it updated itself again.?? Running normally now. BUT WHEN THEY SAY THIS UPDATE IS RECOMENDED FOR ALL USERS. they don’t mean users with old macs. It’s a honey trap.
 
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tomscott1988

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2009
617
482
UK
I had the same issue with my 5,1 I did manage to get it going again, it failed updating the firmware for HS and corrupted it. I had no time to fix it and ended up using a dell workstation I had lying around. Took about 3 months to get through my backlog of work to finally get to it. No idea how I fixed it but it wasn't responding to any of the usual fixes like SMC, PRAM etc etc took it all back to stock still wouldn't work, wouldnt boot off any drives, from snow leopard all the way to sierra, keyboard was unresponsive, black screen etc etc

After a combination of trying different things in random orders it finally booted.
 

Plutonius

macrumors 604
Original poster
Feb 22, 2003
7,846
5,949
New Hampshire, USA
If so you have a brick and these are your options:
  • you can desolder the SPI flash, reprogram it externally, solder it back (start from this post #929),
  • replace the backplane,
  • buy a Mac Pro MATT card.
Thank you fo the advice you gave me regarding my Mac Pro 5,1.

I received a Matt card today and installed it with the following results.

Without Matt card:
No EFI LED
None of my drives work.

With Matt card:
EFI LED
Windos 10 bootcamp drive (spinner) works normally
High Sierra SSD formatted as APFS was not recognized.
High Sierra spinner (time machine) formatted as HFS+ was recognized but it wanted me to restore / install the OS.
Sierra spinner formatted as HFS+ worked normally.

From the results, it looks like High Sierra / APFS isn't supported by the Matt card and that the SPI flash is corrupted.

You wrote a very good tutorial on recovering the SPI flash program so is that where I should proceed now in order to get my Mac Pro running again on High Sierra without the Matt card ? Will the procedure work under Sierra with the Mac Pro booting off of the Matt Card ?
 

tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,344
6,049
Brazil
Thank you fo the advice you gave me regarding my Mac Pro 5,1.

I received a Matt card today and installed it with the following results.

Without Matt card:
No EFI LED
None of my drives work.

With Matt card:
EFI LED
Windos 10 bootcamp drive (spinner) works normally
High Sierra SSD formatted as APFS was not recognized.
High Sierra spinner (time machine) formatted as HFS+ was recognized but it wanted me to restore / install the OS.
Sierra spinner formatted as HFS+ worked normally.

From the results, it looks like High Sierra / APFS isn't supported by the Matt card and that the SPI flash is corrupted.

You wrote a very good tutorial on recovering the SPI flash program so is that where I should proceed now in order to get my Mac Pro running again on High Sierra without the Matt card ? Will the procedure work under Sierra with the Mac Pro booting off of the Matt Card ?
If you need macOS now, get an empty drive and install ElCapitan into it. You will need it for flashing a reconstructed BootROM anyway. Sierra will probably work but ElCap is the safest bet.

Don’t do any macOS install newer than ElCapitan.

I’ll sent you a PM when I get home.

MATT card is a nice hardware solution, but the BootROM flashed into it, oh god…
 
Last edited:

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
12,783
5,592
Hong Kong
tsialex, do you think OP’s problem is similar to Window EFI problem?

E.g. MacOS update installed a certificate (and may be the associated plist file) into the cMP’s BootROM. Under normal circumstances, the cert and XML will be deleted after update is done. But if for whatever reason the MacOS installation / update stuck, the cert will also stuck, end up the BootROM may be corrupted to a level that can’t boot anymore.
 
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startergo

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2018
1,129
418
Thank you fo the advice you gave me regarding my Mac Pro 5,1.

I received a Matt card today and installed it with the following results.

Without Matt card:
No EFI LED
None of my drives work.

With Matt card:
EFI LED
Windos 10 bootcamp drive (spinner) works normally
High Sierra SSD formatted as APFS was not recognized.
High Sierra spinner (time machine) formatted as HFS+ was recognized but it wanted me to restore / install the OS.
Sierra spinner formatted as HFS+ worked normally.

From the results, it looks like High Sierra / APFS isn't supported by the Matt card and that the SPI flash is corrupted.

You wrote a very good tutorial on recovering the SPI flash program so is that where I should proceed now in order to get my Mac Pro running again on High Sierra without the Matt card ? Will the procedure work under Sierra with the Mac Pro booting off of the Matt Card ?
All OS's should work on a MATT card. It is nothing more than an external ROM Chip replacing the backplane chip for booting. If you installed corrupted firmware on it it will not work as designed. It works fine for me on Mojave and HS.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
12,783
5,592
Hong Kong
All OS's should work on a MATT card. It is nothing more than an external ROM Chip replacing the backplane chip for booting. If you installed corrupted firmware on it it will not work as designed. It works fine for me on Mojave and HS.
But unless the MATT card comes with ROM 0084.B00 or later, it can't boot APFS.

May be OP's MATT card still with the 007F.B03 firmware.
 
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startergo

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2018
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But unless the MATT card comes with ROM 0084.B00 or later, it can't boot APFS.

May be OP's MATT card still with the 007F.B03 firmware.
I doubt it. Mine came with the latest 140 bootrom a month ago. The problem was that he shipped all cards with the same serial number. It has to be reprogrammed before installing anyway. Erase and flash with the proper ROM
 

tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,344
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Brazil
But unless the MATT card comes with ROM 0084.B00 or later, it can't boot APFS.

May be OP's MATT card still with the 007F.B03 firmware.
Screen Shot 2018-12-25 at 00.17.54.png
Screen Shot 2018-12-25 at 00.20.12.png

[doublepost=1545708053][/doublepost]
I doubt it. Mine came with the latest 140 bootrom a month ago. The problem was that he shipped all cards with the same serial number. It has to be reprogrammed before installing anyway. Erase and flash with the proper ROM
I just checked your mattorig.bin that you did PM me, 10/28, when you got the MATT card. It's not 140.0.0.0.0, it's MP51.007F.B00 and it's exactly the same one as @Plutonius and @campodoro74.

So, cmizapper send the same BootROM to everyone, with exactly same hardwareIDs. :(
 
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startergo

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2018
1,129
418
View attachment 812537 View attachment 812539
[doublepost=1545708053][/doublepost]
I just checked your mattorig.bin that you did PM me, 10/28, when you got the MATT card. It's not 140.0.0.0.0, it's MP51.007F.B00 and it's exactly the same one as @Plutonius and @campodoro74.

So, cmizapper send the same BootROM to everyone, with exactly same hardwareIDs. :(
My mistake. I remained with the impression it was 140. The point is I never used that ROM as I burned mine onto it
 

tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,344
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Brazil
A year ago, my Mac Pro 4,1 stopped working after I attempted a High Sierra upgrade (I know it wasn't officially supported). The fans started and the power switch light came on but I had no activity and the keyboard cap light wasn't coming on.

Rather then putting more money into it, I decided to replace it with a Mac Pro 5,1 .
Do you still have the 2009? Did you tried the MATT card into it?
[doublepost=1545709211][/doublepost]
tsialex, do you think OP’s problem is similar to Window EFI problem?

E.g. MacOS update installed a certificate (and may be the associated plist file) into the cMP’s BootROM. Under normal circumstances, the cert and XML will be deleted after update is done. But if for whatever reason the MacOS installation / update stuck, the cert will also stuck, end up the BootROM may be corrupted to a level that can’t boot anymore.
I got some bricked dumps, from people that have the capability of desoldering and reading the bricked SPI with a SPI programmer.

Usually, it's more than just one thing, some had checksum problems + SecureBoot, some had SecureBoot and corrupted areas and one had the 1st stream of the NVRAM replaced by a binary and the 2nd stream wiped clean - this one I'm sure was Clover wrongdoing.

One user is sending me two bricked backplanes, I'm looking forward to receiving and investigating them.
 

startergo

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2018
1,129
418
Do you still have the 2009? Did you tried the MATT card into it?
[doublepost=1545709211][/doublepost]
I got some bricked dumps, from people that have the capability of desoldering and reading the bricked SPI with a SPI programmer.

Usually, it's more than just one thing, some had checksum problems + SecureBoot, some had SecureBoot and corrupted areas and one had the 1st stream of the NVRAM replaced by a binary and the 2nd stream wiped clean - this one I'm sure was Clover wrongdoing.

One user is sending me two bricked backplanes, I'm looking forward to receiving and investigating them.
So is MP51.007F.B00 rom the one that corrupts with Windows EFI mode, or was it 084? In theory everyone using it out of the box with Windows EFI and booting Windows should get NVRAM corruption right?
 

tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,344
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So is 087 rom the one that corrupts with Windows EFI mode, or was it 084?
MP51.0087.B00, the one without microcodes.

In theory everyone using it out of the box with Windows EFI and booting Windows should get NVRAM corruption right?
Not exactly, it depends if your Xeon can run Windows 10 without microcodes or not. Some Xeons can, some not. The ones that can't, seems to write the SecureBootCertificate in a loop, writing/crashing/rebooting. Maybe it's the crashing that causes the bricking.

I'm working into a board that connects into the LPC+SPI connector and can access the SPI at any time, it will be very useful to track the extreme cases like the W10 boot loop that bricked all those Mac Pros. If I can unbrick one of the boards that people are sending to me, maybe I can test what exactly causes this.
[doublepost=1545715729][/doublepost]BTW, some days ago I bought a non-working 2010 Mac Pro with corroded CPU tray/backplane locally and a working 2012 tray from eBay. @crjackson2134 kindly donated a working 2012 backplane with just one ethernet working.

So, maybe at end of January or early February I'll have a Mac Pro to do all this needed tests without risking damaging my main one again.
 

Plutonius

macrumors 604
Original poster
Feb 22, 2003
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New Hampshire, USA
Do you still have the 2009? Did you tried the MATT card into it?
I still have it stored away and I was going to try that next.

The makers of the Matt card say that it will work in the Mac Pro 5,1 and Mac Pro 4,1. My Mac Pro 4,1 died while doing a firmware update for a High Sierra install so I'm pretty confident that the Matt card will allow me to boot the Mac Pro 4,1 when I try it.
 

Macschrauber

macrumors 6502
Dec 27, 2015
489
212
Germany
Just for understanding the matt card: one can plug it in, start the mac, pull it and flash the firmware chip on the backplane board ?