Resolved Early 2008 Mac Pro won't boot. Probably not the HDD.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Tempesttossed, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. Tempesttossed, Mar 23, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012

    Tempesttossed macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2012
    #1
    I have an early 2008 Mac pro, with a 2.8 ghz quad core, 2 gb ram and a GeForce 8800 (basically factory spec)

    The computer has three hard drives. HDD A has Lion installed, HDD B has two partitions, Snow Leopard and Vista (don't laugh). HDD C is a time machine backup. I have been running with this configuration since Lion was released.

    Yesterday my computer froze, no spinning ball, but everything was non responsive. Strangely, I'm pretty sure that I could move the mouse. However I couldn't click on anything.

    Now when I try to boot up I get to the gray screen with the apple logo then the gear stops turning and the computer reboots. This is true for all of the partitions as well as the Lion recovery mode and booting from install disks (both the original disk and the Snow Leopard disk) and Mac safe mode.

    The only exception is that I have been able to successfully boot into Vista safe mode, but that isn't very useful to me.

    I have tried resetting the SMC and PRAM. Apple Hardware Test doesn't see any problems.

    I hadn't noticed any other problems leading up to this other than the fact that my RAM was never fully utilized, always about half a gig was sitting unused, even when I was editing massive files in photoshop.

    I don't think that this is a problem with the hard drives as I don't think that they would have both gone on the fritz at once and I am able to boot up Vista into safe mode.

    So... Is this the video card? The memory? Something else?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #2
    Have you ran Disk Utility to see what it says?

    I don't understand the 3 hard drives statement/ reference either, as getting 3 hard drives in the system is physically impossible, not to mention that it doesn't support that many channels on the hard drive controller.

    How many "physical" hard drives do you have in the machine? If you actually have 3 "physical" hard drives then how are they being used (i.e. 1 in HDD bay, 1 in ODD bay, and one running through Firewire, USB, etc)? If you only have 1 hard drive but it is partitioned to be three separate drives, then you still only have 1 physical hard drive, and if the boot sector goes bad on it, that could easily take out the other partitions of the drive.
     
  3. Velin macrumors 65816

    Velin

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Location:
    Hearst Castle
    #3
    When RAM goes bad, the Mac Pro power light will pulse on and off. This is the little LED above the power button on the front of the machine. Look for that, I've twice had after-market memory go bad on me.

    Could also be a video card issue. I've had those blow as well, though when my Nvidia cards went bad (twice) the machine failed to boot. I also have a 2008 Mac Pro. Only way to know definitively is to replace either the card, or the RAM.

    RAM is cheaper, but no matter what, if you have some spare parts, it will really help you troubleshoot the problem.

    ----------

    Um, OP has a Mac Pro. The desktop machine. Mac Pro supports up to four physical harddrives inside the tower, they are slide-out drive bays but not hot-swappable. I have four physical hard drives in my machine, along with 16 Gig of RAM. All the hard drives are available when using a Mac Pro.

    ----------

    Also, I'd consider posting this in the Mac Pro forum. Lots of experts hang out in that forum, hopefully some will be on to see your post the next couple of days.

    I find that most of the Pro users don't visit the newbie forums too much, so that's why I'd post there. I just sometimes pop in here to see if I can lend a quick hand to some peeps.
     
  4. squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #4
    :eek::mad: Disregard my comments as they are moot at this point. I really did read this as Mac Book Pro. Now I have egg on my face!!
     
  5. Velin macrumors 65816

    Velin

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Location:
    Hearst Castle
    #5
    Nah. It's early. Plus we Mac Pro owners are dying out, apparently.
     
  6. Tempesttossed thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2012
    #6
    No pulsing LED.

    Could also be a video card issue. I've had those blow as well, though when my Nvidia cards went bad (twice) the machine failed to boot. I also have a 2008 Mac Pro. Only way to know definitively is to replace either the card, or the RAM.

    This is sort of what I thought it might be, but I don't have a spare video card lying around and wanted to check before going out and buying one. Any recommendations? I don't need top of the line performance, just a solid graphics card.

    Thanks for the quick reply, I'll try posting in the Mac pro forum too. I wasn't sure where the best place to post this was.
     
  7. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #7
    There are also diagnostic LED lights inside, on the logic board. I don't know the codes, but I'm sure they're easy to find via Google. I have the 2008 MP as well, and it had issues. They used (and showed me) the LEDs to diagnose the problem. Luckily for me my issue happened within the AppleCare period.

    It doesn't sound like a HDD problem at all. This means you can take one of bootable HDDs out and pop it into external drive case. If you have a 2nd system (like a laptop) you should be able to boot off the external and keep working at least while the MP goes in for servicing. I used a cloned backup of my system drive hooked up to my MBP while my MP was in for servicing.

    If you have a good authorized Apple repair shop nearby, they may be able to help. Apple Stores have less flexibility repairing Apple systems. An Authorized Repair shop can access non-Apple solutions and parts. If they are good.

    Good Luck.
     
  8. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #8
    Most likely that 8800 if it isn't memory and Win boots to safe mode not regular mode.
     
  9. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    Here
    #9
    It's the video card..

    I'd bet real money on it
     
  10. Tempesttossed thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2012
    #10
    I'm headed out to pick up a replacement video card. Let's see if that fixes the issue.

    If not, I'll be back for more advice!
     
  11. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    #11
    Bit late but I would say its the 8800GT as well. I could boot into Windows 7 with a half-dead 8800GT but I got an error code 43 when I went into the system info bit and it ran with limited graphics.
     
  12. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #12
    In case it is the video card, be careful on your replacement. Issues have been reported with the 2008 and some of the default go to graphics cards. If I recall correctly the 5770 works, but only under Lion or something of that sort. I know there are threads on it. I'm merely suggesting you do a bit of research before replacement if this turns out to be the problem component. It does seem to be a common complaint. Why is it that mac pros always seem to end up with dead graphics cards?

    You wouldn't be the first one to make this mistake on here.

    I think it's refresh cycle and really what you spend for what you get. I mean that I used to see quite a lot of people buy whatever was offered at the $2500-3k range. That price point has inched upward and the refresh cycles have become much longer. It's getting a little ridiculous. At this point consumer Haswell is due before Ivy Bridge E.
     
  13. Tempesttossed thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2012
    #13
    Video card was the culprit

    Swapped out the 8800 with an ATI 5770 and that did the trick.

    Thanks for the advice!
     
  14. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #14
    Good News! Thanks for the update....
     
  15. kevink2 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #16
    Second post today I saw mentioning 8800 problems.

    Which of course is what is in my MP, since it was the mid range card when I bought the computer. A 2600(?) was available on the low end, and some very expensive card at the top end.
     
  16. Tempesttossed thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2012
    #17
    I have also noticed that my computer no longer sounds like a jet engine taking off when I turn it on... You'd think that would be a good clue, but I had just gotten used to it. :rolleyes:
     
  17. vohdoun macrumors 65816

    vohdoun

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Location:
    Far away from Earth.
    #18
    It's because the fan is so small and hasn't POSTed yet. A lot of cards with the blower fans are quite similar. You hear that loud vrooom swoosh as you push the button.
     
  18. adt100 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    #19
    I wonder how many 2008 Mac Pros still have their original 8800 card. I went through 2 of these cards before switching to a 5770.
     
  19. vohdoun macrumors 65816

    vohdoun

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Location:
    Far away from Earth.
  20. canyonlight macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2011
    Location:
    Arizona
    #21
    Thanks for the Info

    Thanks to all in this thread. I just installed an ATI 5770 in my early 2008 Mac Pro. It's now running like new with no restart problems.

    You (GermanyChris) saved me trips to the Apple Store - and the nearest one is 260 miles!

    Thanks again,

    Stan
     
  21. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    Here
    #22
    Your welcome!
     
  22. G4DP macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    #23
    I bought mine a year after the machine in Jan 09. It decided to split it's pants 13 months later, and wasn't covered by Apple care as purchased at a later date. On the 5th 2600, going to start looking around at a 5770 to keep it going for a few more years.
     
  23. 1ArtDude macrumors newbie

    1ArtDude

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2016
    #25
    --- Post Merged, Mar 9, 2016 ---
    Until I read your thread, I thought my boot up drive was going bad. I had purchased both more RAM and an SSD Hybrid. Now it looks like I only need to replace the RAM, though I'll probably install the SSD Hybrid drive as well for my boot drive. Thanks for the tip.
     

Share This Page