How to Change Startup Drive when no Startup Screen

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by gadgetfreak98, May 5, 2019.

  1. gadgetfreak98 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    #1
    Hi. I was having an issue with my MP 4,1 -> 5,1 and used a working bootable backup to clone back to my regular startup drive to fix whatever was not quite working. But now I cannot startup and get no boot screen and can’t figure out how to be able to re-identify the working backup for booting. More specifics are:

    My main startup drive is a NVME drive. My backup is an internal SSD. I’m on Mojave 10.14.4 with a Sapphire Radeon 580 card. This set-up was working reasonably well, but I suddenly couldn’t get iStat to work properly and I noticed that a number of the excursion pref panes in System Utilities had disappeared.

    Carbon Copy Cloner creates regular startup drive backups, so I started from one of those backups fine and iStat was working fine, the pref panes were there, etc. So I backed up my regular NVMe startup drive to a third SSD for safe keeping. Then I cloned the working SSD backup to the NVMe. I re-identified the NVMe as the startup and restarted. Now nothing happens on startup and I’m not able to re-identify any other drives since I can’t get a startup screen.

    I can’t recall if I can throw my GT120 back in, since it’s non-Metal and I’m on Mojave. I have tried my typical trick of typing in my password to see if that might kick it into gear, but no luck.

    Any ideas? Basically it never seems to kick into startup mode as it’ll power right off if I hit the power button.

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #2
    Remove the RX580, and install the GT120, it will boot Mojave and display as expect, just no acceleration, which shouldn't be that important for this kind of trouble shooting.

    Or you can boot into recovery partition by holding Command + R (with ONLY the RX580 in the cMP), then select the next boot drive at there.
     
  3. gadgetfreak98 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 6, 2009
    #3
    Thanks. I will try the GT120 shortly. I cannot make the Command + R recovery mode work. I have tried multiple times and even holding for a couple of minutes, nothing ever gets moving.
    --- Post Merged, May 5, 2019 ---
    No success with the card swap. I even took the NVMe PCIe card out to, I thought, possibly force the machine to throw up an alternate drive option. Nothing... Again, it was working fine when I had identified my usual bootable backup as the startup drive, but now I get nothing. The machine turns off immediately upon pressing the power button, by the way, indicating it never really gets going (I think?).

    I have also reset the PRAM and NVRAM. what have I done? What can I do? Thanks!
     
  4. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

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    #4
    May be your cloned drive doesn't contain the recovery partition.

    Anyway, from your description, something is very wrong now. Nothing about the OS.

    GT120 should ALWAYS shows the boot screen, it works even no hardware drive inside the Mac (no OS at all).

    If not all you get is black screen, no sign of booting anything (but can hear the chime), NVRAM reset helps nothing. Then I can only assume some hardware is failing. But before that, re-seat the GT120. Make sure it's fully inserted into the slot, and the display cable is connected properly.

    You should see something after the chime regardless if there is any healthy OS.
     
  5. gadgetfreak98 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 6, 2009
    #5
    I never hear the chime, even when the GT120 is in... Seemingly nothing happens after just a bit of internal noise. And then nothing further. And again, NO chime....
     
  6. cdf macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2012
    #6
    Apart from the no-chime, I've ran into a similar issue with my PCI drive a few times. The start-up process just hangs because it doesn't find the drive. Recovery will not start, because the recovery partition is on the drive, and if you use your original EFI graphics card, you will see that the boot selection screen is empty. What I have found helps is to have a bootable installation (from CCC for example) on an external USB drive plugged in at start up. For some reason this triggers the system to see the PCI drive. Once properly booted, make sure to select the drive as the default start-up disk and it should boot on its own afterwards.
     
  7. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

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    #7
    No chime, very wrong now. That's absolutely nothing about the OS, your Mac no even try to locate the OS yet.

    But if there is no chime, how can you perform the NVRAM reset?
     
  8. gadgetfreak98 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    #8
    Yes, not sure how to do the NVRAM reset. I basically just held down the right keys for a long time, but there was no audio indicator that it was working.
    --- Post Merged, May 5, 2019 ---
    I tried to connect one of my backup drives via FW800 but to no avail either... This is not looking good.
     
  9. cdf macrumors 6502

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    Jul 27, 2012
    #9
    When turning on the machine can you get a light on your keyboard when pressing caps lock?
     
  10. gadgetfreak98 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 6, 2009
    #10
    I plugged in my old extended keyboard to the front USB (no longer my main keyboard). The caps lock key will NOT go on when I try to toggle it.
     
  11. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

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    #11
    Remove all PCIe cards (including the GPU), remove all hard drives, install only 1 DIMM per CPU (in slot 1 and 5).

    Make sure you use the wired keyboard.

    Performance a SMC reset (this should be automatically done when you remove the hardware).

    Then try NVRAM reset again.

    If still no chime, then very very high chance that you either has a dead battery (very best case), or a faulty PSU (relatively easy to fix), or a dead logic board / CPU tray (worst case).
    --- Post Merged, May 5, 2019 ---
    When you remove the cards / hard drives, you better also pull out the CPU tray and check if the Northbridge heatsink still in position.
     
  12. gadgetfreak98 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    #12
    Did all you suggested. No luck. No chime. Can I temporarily replace the BR2032 with a CR2032? I tried that but that didn’t help. Or do I definitely need the BR (which i don’t have lying around but will order).
     
  13. cdf macrumors 6502

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    Jul 27, 2012
    #13
    Yes that should be OK.
     
  14. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

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    Apr 3, 2014
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    #14
    CR2032 will work, just less heat resistance. The life span will be shorter than BR2032 in that environment.

    If you try the CR2032 already, then battery issue should be ruled out.
    --- Post Merged, May 5, 2019 ---
    So, basically either PSU, logic board, or CPU tray is faulty.
     
  15. gadgetfreak98 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 6, 2009
    #15
    So is PSU a matter of sourcing one on eBay? Is that self installable?
    --- Post Merged, May 5, 2019 ---
    Also how do I tell if the “Northbridge heatsink is still in position?” I did replace my CPUs 5 or 6 months back. But seemingly all has been ok since then.
     
  16. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

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    #16
    Yes and Yes.

    But in your case, TBH, better to buy a complete used cMP (MUST be the 2009 model). If you only buy a PSU, and the cMP still no boot, you have no idea if the "new" PSU is faulty, or the old logic board etc is faulty.

    In general, it's much easier and better to buy a complete used cMP. Find out the problem by using swap test (only one component swap at a time). Recovery your cMP (or even simply use the "new" one). Then sell the remaining parts.

    If you patient enough, you may able to make some money from it.
     
  17. gadgetfreak98 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 6, 2009
    #17
    Just want to re-elevate this last ditch question on the heat sink... maybe it could be that? Maybe?
     
  18. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

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    #18
    Both rivets still there, and the NB should be still fully attached to the chip.

    If you use lidded CPU, may be you can adjust the heatsink screw tension a bit and see if it helps. (Be careful, do NOT over tighten to heatsink. In some occasion, the user actually need to loose the screw a bit, otherwise, the cMP won't boot)
    --- Post Merged, May 5, 2019 ---
    You may also try to boot with ONLY CPU A installed (leave socket B empty).

    If OK, then swap CPU (put CPU B into socket A), and try again.

    If both CPU can boot at socket A, then both CPU are good, and the rest of the cMP are good. Just need to install CPU properly into socket B.
     
  19. MIKX macrumors 6502a

    MIKX

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Japan
    #19
    gadgetfreak98

    I feel for you.

    Suggestions.

    0. Of course you have already checked your current power connection to see if ANY
    other electrical device will work from it. eg: Desk lamp.
    ===========================================

    1. It " might " be than if you have removed CPU A to inspect the Northbridge that
    your subsequent " re-tensioning" of the CPUA heatsink bolts is either over or
    under tight.
    To check . . . remove CPU B. then experiment with re-tensioning CPU A with only
    one pair of identical RAM modules.

    1.1. Are your Northbrige heatsink rivets unbroken ?

    1.2 Have you cleaned your Northbridge & re-applied Thermal compound recently ?
    if so, check to see that none of the thermal compound has spread out onto
    surrounding electrical components

    2. Remove power cord and remove & re-insert your PCIe M.2 PCIe adapter.

    3. Correct SMC & NVRAM re-set =
    First, remove the cMP's power cord for a minute = SMC reset.
    NVRAM reset = on my 4,1>5.1 starting up cold with P+R+ Apple key + Option key
    one cycle takes around 30 ~ 35 seconds = you should hold down the NVRAM keys
    for at least 35 seconds. If no chime report here.

    4. Remove the cMP side cover and watch for any red LEDs in the CPU tray as you
    press the power button. Report results.

    5. Remove ALL PCIe cards including GPU. Try a startup - report results here.

    I realise that some of the above has already been suggested. I would add them to this list and print it out from whatever PC you are using to read this thread. This will allow you to 'tick off " which techniques you have attempted.

    Personally I went through this kind of situation last year and I'd start with #1.2 first and then #1 in the above list first.

    Don't panic :eek: work slowly methodically. Every problem has a solution.

    Best of luck to you
     
  20. gadgetfreak98 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 6, 2009
    #20
    Thanks for all the thoughtful advice everyone! Unfortunately the work week will impede progress but I will give this checklist a run through at some point in the coming days and hope for the best.

    To add one data point. I am using delidded CPUs. Also still a little confused about what Northbridge is if anyone has good guidance. Finally I ordered some replacement rivets for $4 just in case...
     
  21. gadgetfreak98 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 6, 2009
    #21
    Just thinking further on this... I will, with hope, work through the list of steps noted immediately above. But I suppose the more existential question is whether I'm being silly with investing behind this machine any more. I had hoped that I could string it out a bit further until a more compelling iMac appeared -- but the 2019 feels like a spec bump, not a modern update. And of course, the upcoming Mac Pro is interesting to consider. But probably will end up being phenomenally expensive and overkill -- except for the idea that I might keep it for a decade, like I did this now very ill Mac Pro 4,1.

    Over the last year or so, in my desire to extend the life of the Mac Pro (and frankly, for the enjoyment of the challenge), I invested in the following.

    1. New CPUs
    2. New GPU (Sapphire Radeon 580)
    3. Cheap PCIe NVMe connector
    4. NVMe SSD
    5. Backup SSD
    6. New mechanical keyboard
    7. New Trackpad
    8. New 4k screen
    9. OSXwifi bluetooth wifi card

    So the question is, should I be thinking Mac Mini + breakout box + drive enclosure. I will be able to use #2, #6, #7 and #8 with ease. I can also re-purpose everything else, other than #1, #3 and #9.

    I would only do this is I cannot resurrect the MP 4,1 with steps above. I was really enjoying my new set up and the tinkering... of which there is still some more to try. But I could get a mid-level Mac Mini, probably a not-too-fancy eGPU and have something way more powerful / reliable.

    What would you do facing the situation I'm in? And if you would be on the Mac Mini path, any spec suggestions? I'm not doing major video editing or coding... My gut is an i5 with a 256 GB (to replicate my current startup drive) would suffice. Question is whether I want to take my tinkering to the next level with self installed RAM to save a few bucks.

    Thanks again for the input and advice!
     
  22. tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    #22
    Before thinking about jumping to a mini, do the full diagnose of your Mac Pro. Even if your backplane failed and you have to replace it, a MP4,1 used backplane costs around $50 + shipping on eBay USA.
     
  23. MIKX macrumors 6502a

    MIKX

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Japan
    #23
    This is the Northbridge Chip HEATSINK, it sits under CPU A.

    Mac Pro 4,2 & 5.1 Northbridge.JPG


    EXTREMELY IMPORTANT :
    If you didn't DE_LID your CPUs you really should study up very hard because you will have to remove CPU A's heatsink which means that you will have to REALLY understand that the tension on the 4 CPU A heatsink bolts is absolutely crucial. Too tight = unusable CPU tray.

    Plenty of videos on YouTube.
     
  24. gadgetfreak98 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    #24
    Thanks both tsialex and MIKX on the advice. I really would like to bring this thing back from the dead.

    MIKX, I purchased de-lidded CPUs, which have worked fine for the last 6 months or so. I didn't have the confidence to do the replacement otherwise. But I will check again. I did clean, re-seat and re-thermal paste each of the CPUs yesterday. And then put back on each heatsink only until the point of modest tension. But hopefully with de-lidded chips, there's also a little more figurative and literal wiggle room.
     
  25. MIKX macrumors 6502a

    MIKX

    Joined:
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