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Latest EFI Upgrade did not break (formerly might have broken) PCIE Disk Controllers

haralds

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
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Silicon Valley, CA
My system is pretty fully loaded with two CalDigit FASTA 6-GU3 Pros connected to 2 internal SSDs internally each as well as connecting to two external docks. This configuration has been in use for 4 years and very stable.

After applying the EFI patch the system started becoming unstable. No kernel dumps. The screen just depopulated app after app and turned black. I reinstalled once and it seemed stable fro a few hours, then it started again within a few hours.

The second install crashed with disk issues. Then I booted into Sierra, only the Windows disk showed, no the three others. BootCamp also does not show the other drives.

I can move that Windows disk to other ports on both cards and it will mount. External drives mounted at run time do fine.

I swapped controller ports and the Windows 10 drive always mount - so not a controller issue. The other Windows data disk did not mount, so not a matter of file types.

I pulled the SSDs and mounted them in a USB3 housing on another machines. After First Disk aid they were all fine. Of course, the system disk will need a CarbonCopy restore, the interrupted install could not recover.

I suspect with the new EFI there are timing issues ienumerating the controllers so disks do not show or function properly. For now, I pulled one of my spinners and will mount it externally. I will use an Intel slot for the system SSD after restoration.
 

handheldgames

macrumors 68000
Apr 4, 2009
1,789
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Pacific NW, USA
My system is pretty fully loaded with two CalDigit FASTA 6-GU3 Pros connected to 2 internal SSDs internally each as well as connecting to two external docks. This configuration has been in use for 4 years and very stable.

After applying the EFI patch the system started becoming unstable. No kernel dumps. The screen just depopulated app after app and turned black. I reinstalled once and it seemed stable fro a few hours, then it started again within a few hours.

The second install crashed with disk issues. Then I booted into Sierra, only the Windows disk showed, no the three others. BootCamp also does not show the other drives.

I can move that Windows disk to other ports on both cards and it will mount. External drives mounted at run time do fine.

I swapped controller ports and the Windows 10 drive always mount - so not a controller issue. The other Windows data disk did not mount, so not a matter of file types.

I pulled the SSDs and mounted them in a USB3 housing on another machines. After First Disk aid they were all fine. Of course, the system disk will need a CarbonCopy restore, the interrupted install could not recover.

I suspect with the new EFI there are timing issues ienumerating the controllers so disks do not show or function properly. For now, I pulled one of my spinners and will mount it externally. I will use an Intel slot for the system SSD after restoration.

It sounds like you have been having an issue for some time.

My vote is CalDigit driver issues.

Since you are pulling disks out of your MacPro, clean the dust out of:
  • power supply (blowing outward through the fan in the CDRom bay
  • Video card cooler
  • Remove the CPU tray and clean the CPU FAN, blowing from left side
  • PCIe bay
  • CPU bay
 
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haralds

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
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Silicon Valley, CA
You could prove your theory by reverting to the 0085 firmware. If that gets everything working again you could simply patch 0085 with the new microcode and just use that rather than 0089.
You cannot do that with standard firmware tools, right?
[doublepost=1531609356][/doublepost]
It sounds like you have been having an issue for some time.

My vote is CalDigit driver issues.

Since you are pulling disks out of your MacPro, clean the dust out of:
  • power supply (blowing outward through the fan in the CDRom bay
  • Video card cooler
  • Remove the CPU tray and clean the CPU FAN, blowing from left side
  • PCIe bay
  • CPU bay
No, there were no issues until the firmware update.
I have had some sporadic issues for other reasons on the past that were resolved.
The original update to 10.13.6 did not cause an issue. The hell started after the firmware upgrade.
I usually clean this system every 30-60 days.
 
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bookemdano

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Jul 29, 2011
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You cannot do that with standard firmware tools, right?
[doublepost=1531609356][/doublepost]
No, there were no issues until the firmware update.
I have had some sporadic issues for other reasons on the past that were resolved.
The original update to 10.13.6 did not cause an issue. The hell started after the firmware upgrade.
I usually clean this system every 30-60 days.

By standard do you mean Apple-provided? No. You would need dosdude1's tools to perform that modification. But you don't strictly need to mod it just to test this. You do have to obtain a copy of the 0085 firmware though (which can be found in the High Sierra 10.13.4 full installer if you have that archived). Alternately, you can get it by downloading the Mojave public beta.

But to get it to install over top of the newer firmware I believe you have to trick it by renaming the 0085 firmware so it looks like a newer version--say 0090 or 0091. I know tsialex and probably others have posted about that procedure here before.

If you can get 0085 reinstalled and then your problem goes away, then you can decide if you want to hassle with modding it yourself to add the new microcode. Sounds like in the future Apple may substitute newer microcode via MacOS anyway, so if you're not comfortable with modded firmware you may not need to.
 
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handheldgames

macrumors 68000
Apr 4, 2009
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CalDigit uses macOS drivers for their chipsets. No installed drivers.
This does not rule out an EFI issue.

Agreed.

If you have a copy of your ROM from 0085, flashing it would help to rule out the cause. Excess heat and/or overdraw of voltage from a video card can also cause crashes like you are having.

What's sitting in PCIe slot 1?
Most importantly, which PCIe SSD are you using?

On a 2009 cMP, I'm running 0085 modified for NVMe without issue with NVMe and AHCI PCIe SSD, as well as traditional SATAII AHCI Hard Disks and SSD's in High Sierra and Mojave Beta.
 
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Synchro3

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Jan 12, 2014
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I have a Caldigit FASTA-6GU3 Pro installed, and no issues since the firmware upgrade MP51.0089.B00.

I suspect the issue is not the Mac Pro firmware, but maybe the APFS format?
 
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joebclash

macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2016
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114
How did you get the firmware update? I'm running 10.13.5 and my firmware is 085. Is it part of the new 10.13.6 update?
 
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bookemdano

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Jul 29, 2011
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How did you get the firmware update? I'm running 10.13.5 and my firmware is 085. Is it part of the new 10.13.6 update?
Yes it is. 10.13.5 had a firmware update too--0087, but it was missing CPU microcode so Apple released 0089 with 10.13.6 that includes the proper patched microcode to mitigate the Spectre/Meltdown vulnerabilities.

Edit: Remember, to get the firmware update you have to download the full High Sierra installer from the App Store. Using the update function from the Mac App Store won't do it, nor will the Combo Update.
 
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joebclash

macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2016
196
114
Yes it is. 10.13.5 had a firmware update too--0087, but it was missing CPU microcode so Apple released 0089 with 10.13.6 that includes the proper patched microcode to mitigate the Spectre/Meltdown vulnerabilities.

Edit: Remember, to get the firmware update you have to download the full High Sierra installer from the App Store. Using the update function from the Mac App Store won't do it, nor will the Combo Update.

I've been updating through the app store. I guess that's why I'm on 0085. Strange...
 
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bookemdano

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Jul 29, 2011
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I've been updating through the app store. I guess that's why I'm on 0085. Strange...

That's not the case with any other Mac models. The cMP just has an archaic firmware update procedure (consider that the 2009 Mac Pro originally shipped with Leopard!)
 
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tsialex

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Jun 13, 2016
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That's not the case with any other Mac models. The cMP just has an archaic firmware update procedure (consider that the 2009 Mac Pro originally shipped with Leopard!)

That's not the case with any other current Mac models.

From memory: Mac mini until 4,1 and iMac at least 10,1 had the same Mac Pro mechanism of update: turn off, press button for 20s, etc…
 
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bookemdano

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Jul 29, 2011
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That's not the case with any other current Mac models.

From memory: Mac mini until 4,1 and iMac at least 10,1 had the same Mac Pro mechanism of update: turn off, press button for 20s, etc…

:) Yeah I meant models Apple is still releasing firmware updates for.
 
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MarkC426

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May 14, 2008
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UK
On a side note.....once Mojave is officially released, if you need an RX580 (or similar) which I have, for metal support. How do you update additional FW releases if the old 5770 ‘efi’ card I have is not supported?
Or will it still boot into mojave but not have metal support.........?

There seems to be constant FW updates every other os release at the minute......o_O
 
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Synchro3

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Jan 12, 2014
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On a side note.....once Mojave is officially released, if you need an RX580 (or similar) which I have, for metal support. How do you update additional FW releases if the old 5770 ‘efi’ card I have is not supported?
Or will it still boot into mojave but not have metal support.........?

There seems to be constant FW updates every other os release at the minute......o_O

Install a small EFI card as second card apart of the RX 580.

E.g: http://www.macvidcards.com/store/p80/Nvidia_GT_630_2_GB.html
 
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MarkC426

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May 14, 2008
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So that’s a no for the 5770 once at mojave........o_O
Is there no way to update FW manually from an old OS install, so if you booted from a sierra/hs drive with the old gpu?
Just seems a bit nuts if Apple say required gpu to run 10.14 is not compatible to install future updates if there is new FW....:confused:
 
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bookemdano

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Jul 29, 2011
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So that’s a no for the 5770 once at mojave........o_O
Is there no way to update FW manually from an old OS install, so if you booted from a sierra/hs drive with the old gpu?
Just seems a bit nuts if Apple say required gpu to run 10.14 is not compatible to install future updates if there is new FW....:confused:

No, the 5770 should still work in Mojave, just with zero graphics acceleration (so UI would be slow, glitchy, etc.). So I don't think you would need to buy a new card. Yes, Apple makes you remove the card to install Mojave, but if you reinstall it later it should be OK. I believe someone tested this already (well, they tested it with the GT120 but same situation with 5770).
 
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haralds

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
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474
Silicon Valley, CA
I have a Caldigit FASTA-6GU3 Pro installed, and no issues since the firmware upgrade MP51.0089.B00.

I suspect the issue is not the Mac Pro firmware, but maybe the APFS format?
That is encouraging. I am not using APFS on High Sierra, only on the Mojave beta on another drive. There might be issues with dual cards. Still restoring the main drive after moving it to one of the standard slots.
 
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haralds

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
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Silicon Valley, CA
Got everything restored to the system from a few days ago. Odd part is that Messages sync to iCloud is missing items. Not a big issue. I will keep the system drive in the standard slot for a few days before attempting a swap back.

Maybe just an odd glitch.

My 5TB TimeMachine got hosed - that will take a few days of grinding. Always good to also have a clone.
 
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bookemdano

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Jul 29, 2011
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Got everything restored to the system from a few days ago. Odd part is that Messages sync to iCloud is missing items. Not a big issue. I will keep the system drive in the standard slot for a few days before attempting a swap back.

Maybe just an odd glitch.

My 5TB TimeMachine got hosed - that will take a few days of grinding. Always good to also have a clone.

So are you saying that your problem had nothing to do with the 0089 firmware? It would be good to state that flat-out so this thread doesn't confuse people who stumble upon it in the future.
 
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haralds

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
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Silicon Valley, CA
So are you saying that your problem had nothing to do with the 0089 firmware? It would be good to state that flat-out so this thread doesn't confuse people who stumble upon it in the future.
At this point I do not know. It will take several days to find out, whether I can get this to be stable.

If I had the choice, I would have held off on the FW upgrade. I will do so in the future unless there is a pressing issue.
 
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haralds

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 3, 2014
1,367
474
Silicon Valley, CA
At this point I am back to exactly the original configuration from a cloned backup. I migrated the drive back to the old controller spot and all seems fine for now.
I have to admit that I am little nervous. My original bullet-proof trust has been rattled.
Most of all, I now have no idea what would have caused the issue. Booting into Mojave could be a factor. On the developer boards one of the users reported complete corruption caused by it.
Keepin' my fingers crossed...
 
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