iMac Pro Do iMac Pro really work - nightmare with support

Boesewicht

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 27, 2018
16
11
In early October I bought an iMac Pro. I used to own a Mac back in the days but spent the last eight years with Windows.

The first few hours with the Mac were excellent, great screen, absolutely quiet and at the same time a bit faster than my last Windows-based workstation.

Overnight, I kept Ableton Live running, the computer crashed, and I was like “okay, it can happen.”

It got nasty when trying to play a game (old school; Starcraft II, or Diablo III), as it keeps on crashing.
Here is a typical error message:

{"caused_by":"macos","macos_system_state":"running","bug_type":"210","os_version":"Bridge OS 3.2 (16P2542)","timestamp":"2018-12-17 15:48:27.32 +0000","incident_id":"8C963768-F56B-4890-8EC9-80D2406AAC5C"}
{"build" : "Bridge OS 3.2 (16P2542)","product" : "iBridge2,1","kernel" : "Darwin Kernel Version 18.2.0: Mon Nov 12 20:24:14 PST 2018; root:xnu-4903.231.4~3\/RELEASE_ARM64_T8010","incident" : "8C963768-F56B-4890-8EC9-80D2406AAC5C","crashReporterKey" : "c0dec0dec0dec0dec0dec0dec0dec0dec0de0001",
"date" : "2018-12-17 15:48:27.25 +0000","panicString" : "panic(cpu 1 caller 0xfffffff00d61ab14): x86 CPU CATERR detected\nDebugger message: panic\nMemory ID: 0x6\nOS version: 16P2542\nKernel version: Darwin Kernel Version 18.2.0:

I’ve also seen some crashes with a message like “bad magic” – Apple is really creative.

So, playing SC2 or Diablo is a 100% chance of crash, sometimes it works for a minute, sometimes up to ten.
Using Ableton Live results in occasional crashes, which I cannot reproduce upon request, and sometimes the computer restarts while no application is running.

I started discussing the behavior with Apple support in late October, and the advisors asked me to create another user profile, run safe mode, reset NVR and something else (no idea what that was), re-setup MacOs from scratch, re-setup again without restoring a single app from backup, and of course loads of simple measures like running Firstaid on the disk, unplugging all external devices, and the same questions over and over and over again for the duration of more than two months.

During this timeframe, I sent probably 50 crash reports, but the support guys told me they could not see them.

At some point, they asked me to bring in the Mac for repair to an authorized dealer. That shop was extremely unprofessional, more like a garage in the back of an industrial area. I didn’t hear anything back from them, opened another ticket with Apple who said they are not aware of status updates and I need to ring the shop, which I did.

The shop said that the computer would have been ready for ten days and just forgot to reach out to me. Anyway, the result was that they did run a stress test, no crash, return to the customer.

So I picked it up, and after turning it on again, MacOs asked me to update to 10.14.2. I let the update run, and as I returned later, I saw a new crash, without any app running again.

I contacted Apple again who escalated internally, and a lady told me that she would be able to see the crash reports, but isn’t able to identify them, so she asked me to generate more crashes and to take note of the time sent, and promised a call back next afternoon.
A week later they told me the crashes would be a result of the Vega GPU not being on the compatibility list of Blizzard for SC2. I asked what about the other crashes and Support said they didn’t see the other logs and asked again for more crashes. I am still waiting on a response.

Mainly, I am looking at a very expensive 27inch doorstop and based on Apple support delaying everything and me travelling a lot; I am obviously past the timeframe for returning the computer which is what I would prefer as of now.

I am massively disappointed as I expected to buy into superior hardware and service, but I lost all my trust in Apple as a company based on this experience.

I have seen similar stories all over the internet and am wondering if these machines are supposed to work at all?
 

SecuritySteve

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2017
745
860
California
As a gamer and a user of an iMac Pro, your experience is not typical. My iMac Pro games without a hitch. I've played Diablo III, World of Warcraft, Ark (with file tweaks to support high resolutions), and so on. My machine has not had a panic since I updated to Mojave.*

Perhaps you have a hardware issue?

*Exception was a panic caused by a Razer peripheral. Maybe you have one of those too as a gamer?
 

joema2

macrumors 68000
Sep 3, 2013
1,579
787
...A week later they told me the crashes would be a result of the Vega GPU not being on the compatibility list of Blizzard for SC2...
This is dead wrong. If a user-mode app crashes the OS, it's the fault of the OS or a hardware problem. Whether the Vega GPU is on an application layer compatibility list is irrelevant. An application can't crash the OS kernel. That very statement indicates the person did not understand computer fundamentals.

I'm sorry about your bad experience. Your best course is remain polite, be persistent and keep the pressure on. Talk to the manager at your local Apple store, speak to their Business Team. Tactfully explain again the history you posted above -- make sure they are aware of the details. Ask them do they want a final chance before you escalate further. Make sure you get their business cards, names and contact information.

If they don't take action to your satisfaction, write them directly, again summarizing the history. That way it's in writing and they can't claim they weren't informed.

They key is staying calm and being persistent. If they still don't give you satisfaction, US customers can contact Apple Customer Relations in Cupertino. I don't know how that's handled in other countries.
 

Boesewicht

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 27, 2018
16
11
Thanks guys. The statements above came from Apple engineers of at least second level, one should think they know what they do.
I didn't hear anything from them in a week, which is another sign of poor service.
During the past few days I installed windows 10 via Bootcamp and the crashes still do happen, but less frequent, like once a day instead of each ten minutes. Definitely something wrong with the hardware.
But I guess Apple will come up with other excuses.
I just would like to return the computer, and will most likely need professional legal advice, we will see.

Cheers
 

joema2

macrumors 68000
Sep 3, 2013
1,579
787
Thanks guys. The statements above came from Apple engineers of at least second level, one should think they know what they do...
If a level 2 support rep thinks a user-layer app can crash the OS because the GPU isn't on the app's compatibility list, they don't deserve their job. If that was true, then anybody could write a malicious user-mode app which without kernel access could crash the macOS.

The Genius Bar at Apple stores has access to overnight and multi-day "bench" stress tests which will often find a problem that more superficial tests will not. Maybe this varies between countries but that's how it's done in the US. I tend to doubt the "authorized dealer" had access to these or actually ran them in the prescribed fashion.

Even those rigorous multi-day bench tests will not find everything, so no errors does not guarantee no hardware problems. But they are more likely to find hardware errors than superficial tests run for a few minutes.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AnonMac50

J.Gallardo

macrumors 6502
Apr 4, 2017
264
54
Spain
I agree such a expensive product should be better supported...
But it’s very strange their inability to reproduce system crash.
Of course, you cannot blame any connected device, I suppose.
Another thing to watch is AC power... A defective supply could explain in-site crashes.
Just in case... try plugging your mac in another room, or better, in a friend’s house.
(If problems go on, keep being persistent and explain your problem again, -as someone has written-. At the end, someone will understand and will be able to make decisions; sometimes reaching that person takes a while...)
 

Boesewicht

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 27, 2018
16
11
Oh I got the Mac connected to an UPS, together with another computer and some gear.

Meanwhile two things happened - Blizzard confirmed yesterday that the GPU is, in fact, compatible.
And Apple just told me 20 minutes ago that the crashes might be caused by my audio interface, Universal Audio Arrow.
They are asking to install Mojave from scratch again, to not install the audio interface, and try to reproduce the crashes again.

They declined my request to return the computer as that would only be possible within the first 14 days.

Oh my, what a nightmare.
 

joema2

macrumors 68000
Sep 3, 2013
1,579
787
...Apple just told me 20 minutes ago that the crashes might be caused by my audio interface, Universal Audio Arrow....They are asking to install Mojave from scratch again, to not install the audio interface, and try to reproduce the crashes again...
IF the Universal Audio Arrow package uses a kernel extension, it's possible it could crash the OS. You can list all 3rd-party kernel extensions with this terminal command. Anything on this list should be scrutinized.

kextstat | grep -v com.apple

If Arrow does NOT have a kernel extension, it's just a 3rd party app running in the user layer. In general it cannot crash the OS.

Apple's own documentation says this: "...a kernel panic is always the result of a bug, either in Apple's code or in the code of some third party kernel extension..."

https://developer.apple.com/library/archive/technotes/tn2004/tn2118.html

Arrow does use Thunderbolt, and it's conceivable (while rare) that a malfunctioning Thunderbolt device could somehow hang or destabilize the OS. That should never happen but it makes sense to at least try to reproduce the problem without the Universal Audio software and hardware.

Universal Audio should have support records of any customer reporting a macOS crash (not just an app crash) due to their hardware or software. If you haven't contacted them, it would be a good idea. If they have never had such a report and if their software does not install any 3rd party kernel extensions, I'd be skeptical that's the cause.
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
UA normally lags behind OS updates.

Do you have FileVault enabled? If so, do not re-enable it when you do a fresh install of the OS. If everything checks out, enable it and see what happens.

There are other audio interfaces having issues with Mojave. Some have been resolved by updating to 10.14.2 and resetting the NV RAM (often incorrectly called the PRAM)
 

Boesewicht

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 27, 2018
16
11
I created a new partition, installed Mojave, created a test user account, didnt connect to my AppleID, didnt connect any external device, and didnt install the UA interface obviously.
I did install Ableton Live and kept it open over night, and the Mac crashed again. Just saw it this morning before leaving for work.

I didnt change FileVault, I think it is default disabled. The only settings I have changed is the speed and direction of the mouse.

Will collect a few more crashes over the weekend and send them over as usual.

Thanks for responding all the time guys, it's great emotional support :)
 

joema2

macrumors 68000
Sep 3, 2013
1,579
787
I created a new partition, installed Mojave, created a test user account, didnt connect to my AppleID, didnt connect any external device, and didnt install the UA interface obviously.
I did install Ableton Live and kept it open over night, and the Mac crashed again...
Each crash is a macOS kernel panic. You should be working with an escalation support engineer who directs you in gathering debugging information. So far you have only described Apple reps who don't understand the difference between kernel mode and user mode. Don't blow away your crash logs from this recent new partition. Whenever you get in touch with a competent Apple escalation support rep they may want to see it.

They have to either fix this or replace it from a warranty standpoint. The 14-day thing is for an unconditional return, e.g. you decided you don't like the bezel color. That doesn't apply in this case. The fact that Apple even mentioned that indicates they don't understand the problem.

That said, the technical expertise for debugging this type of problem by crash analysis is rare. Typically in a tech company there are limited people outside the development team who have access to the source code, debug symbols and the expertise to interpret crash logs. E.g, if there are 500 people in a multi-tier support team, there might only be 3-5 people with that skill and experience. These are usually classified as "tier 3", "escalation support", or "sustaining engineering".

In my experience Apple escalation support doesn't do that level of work, they "send it to engineering". This may be a sustaining engineering sub-group of development, but they don't seem part of the support organization.

So you shouldn't necessarily expect that type of interaction from Apple's support organization. It is usually a better use of everyone's time for Apple to determine a reasonable (not certain) possibility of a hardware problem then replace the machine. They obviously don't want to do that prematurely since many problems are due to software or configuration. However your problem has been ongoing and you've gone "above and beyond" to provide them information.

That said, if you can do anything to further simplify the scenario it might help. Does Ableton install any kernel extensions? Does it crash without that? These are all things an Apple escalation support rep should be helping you with, not somebody on an internet forum.
 

Hanson Eigilson

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2016
214
216
I'm sorry for your trouble, I do not know if this help, but in my own experience it is just not realistic to expect software older than 2 years to run well on any Apple platform for many years now, if the stuff you need to run is simple like a tip calculator maybe add a few years. Sorry.

I am massively disappointed as I expected to buy into superior hardware and service, but I lost all my trust in Apple as a company based on this experience.

I have seen similar stories all over the internet and am wondering if these machines are supposed to work at all?
For a short duration, with a very limit subset of software products out there they are supposed to work.
 
Last edited:

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
Each crash is a macOS kernel panic. You should be working with an escalation support engineer who directs you in gathering debugging information. So far you have only described Apple reps who don't understand the difference between kernel mode and user mode.
Absolutely. You need this escalated to someone who knows what he/she is doing. The first clue is that answers will make sense.

Something that has happened a few times with me is that the support tech will identify a kernel that is not Apple causing the problem. The identifiers will be clear and you can believe that. This often means you will have to remove some beloved old utility or pay for an upgrade before you think you should.

it is just not realistic to expect software older than 2 years to run well on any Apple platform for many years now
Absolute nonsense.
 

Luis Ortega

macrumors 6502a
May 10, 2007
956
42
In early October I bought an iMac Pro. I used to own a Mac back in the days but spent the last eight years with Windows.
Macs ain't what they were 8 years ago.
Apple is now a gadget company and doesn't put much effort into its computers anymore.
 

xgman

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2007
4,781
607
Bridge OS 3.2 crash.

T2 chip madness.

Welcome to the T2 chip problems club.

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8232619?page=18

by the way, I have turned off secure boot functions in the recovery environment and turned off file vault and sleep. then updated to beta 10.14.3. This all seems to help a bit. Considerably fewer Bridge OS panics and faster boot up with the current beta. others mileage may vary. Oh, and one more thing, I did have a escalated engineer case with Apple and all they can do is tell you to wipe and start over. They don't really have a good answer for these T2 chip issues and to be fair, it is a very hard problem to diagnose and not everyone is affected for whatever reason. Plus Apple won't help you if you are on any beta line, even in an attempt to find a fix.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: mikehalloran

Hanson Eigilson

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2016
214
216
I'm sorry for your trouble, I do not know if this help, but in my own experience it is just not realistic to expect software older than 2 years to run well on any Apple platform for many years now, if the stuff you need to run is simple like a tip calculator maybe add a few years. Sorry.


For a short duration, with a very limit subset of software products out there they are supposed to work.
Absolute nonsense.
stuff like this is pervasive:
https://forums.developer.apple.com/thread/109047
expecting things to not work after a few years, or work poorly is simply a healthy measure to maintain some degree of sanity while working on Apple platforms.
In the ideal world everything would have infinite resources and get rewritten and tested to perfection weekly, but if you are not part of that nirvana and just need to get the job done watch out, and expect things to not work well after a short grace periods, and not get fixed, ever.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,216
5,558
Regarding iMac Pro owners experiencing t2 crashes...
Have you tried disabling the t2 (well, as much as it CAN BE disabled) using the Startup Security app (when booted to the recovery partition) ???
 

xgman

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2007
4,781
607
Regarding iMac Pro owners experiencing t2 crashes...
Have you tried disabling the t2 (well, as much as it CAN BE disabled) using the Startup Security app (when booted to the recovery partition) ???
I encourage anyone with issues to do this, as it has helped me as I said above, but I still get the occasional bridge panic, albeit infrequent, reboot mostly at startup or restart, but it is manageable now and a bit better on the last beta. Also sleep seems to be a trigger. I turned that off too.
 

Boesewicht

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 27, 2018
16
11
That's the secure boot stuff, isn't it? I did turn that off a few weeks back, but it didn't improve the situation.

On Sunday I have sent a few more crash logs over.
One reboot happened while playing chess in the app that come with the OS. I am curious what the Apple engineers will come up with this time. Perhaps I tried an illegal move with the white queen!
 

xgman

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2007
4,781
607
That's the secure boot stuff, isn't it? I did turn that off a few weeks back, but it didn't improve the situation.

On Sunday I have sent a few more crash logs over.
One reboot happened while playing chess in the app that come with the OS. I am curious what the Apple engineers will come up with this time. Perhaps I tried an illegal move with the white queen!
Do you have this same behavior if you unplug everything other than the mouse and keyboard and reboot and test? If so, then try a guest account with the same strategy and see if any change. I don't see how Chess can be T2 related unless your computer went to sleep in the middle of a game or maybe something to do with siri etc. You need to narrow down the triggers and take appropriate action wherever that leads you. As far as I'm concerned, failure on TB or USB drives or audio interfaces at this stage is failure of mac period. the whole purpose of getting a mac pro is for connections and stress compared to a regular imac or whatever. Otherwise a giant waste of money. Either you can control the symptoms somehow or the darn thing has to go back!
 

Boesewicht

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 27, 2018
16
11
Oh look, Apple Support asked me to format the Mac and re-setup the OS three times already, plus creating additional users and profiles a few times.
Since the last time, no external devices are connected, no additional drivers etc are installed, and it is still crashing a few times per hour while using, and usually overnight while not in use.

From my point of view the machine is physically broken since the day I bought it.

I am still waiting on them to comment on the stuff I sent over on Sunday.
 

J.Gallardo

macrumors 6502
Apr 4, 2017
264
54
Spain
Oh look, Apple Support asked me to format the Mac and re-setup the OS three times already, plus creating additional users and profiles a few times.
Since the last time, no external devices are connected, no additional drivers etc are installed, and it is still crashing a few times per hour while using, and usually overnight while not in use.

From my point of view the machine is physically broken since the day I bought it.

I am still waiting on them to comment on the stuff I sent over on Sunday.
This should be notarised, plus your lost work-time translated into money. Plus your expenses while carrying around your new & expensive defective unit.
I know this would need more money and time, but next phone call to Apple should be made by a lawyer. I feel you deserve a fairer trait.

Be brave and good luck.
 

Boesewicht

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 27, 2018
16
11
Apple rang me an hour ago and they are going to pick up the machine for further investigation.
We have been there already, but this time it is a different shop. I hope they are running more in depth tests than the last guys.

There isn't an official Apple store in the country I live in, which is quite funny considering that their EMEA headquarters are just ten minutes away from my apartment.

I Googled a bit but couldn't find an escalation point, or an email address that would deal with customer support concerns which would be my next step if the machine returns in the same condition.

But on the other hand, I will probably sell the Mac on eBay whatever the outcome now.
Will lose a grand or so, but I just don't want to deal with the stress anymore.
I better purchase a Windows workstation again as they are more reliable.
 
  • Like
Reactions: apolloa and xgman