MP 1,1-5,1 Mac Pro 5,1 boot screen problem

BlueMacawBird

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 28, 2019
5
0
Washington, D.C. USA
One of my Mac Pro 5,1 machines has a problem with boot screen boot drive selections via the Option key. Specifically, if the Option key is held the machine shows a gray screen, and freezes. So it never shows the bootable drives to allow one to be selected. It instantly restarts if the power button is pressed. Other startup keys seem to work OK, and it can be put in Target Disk mode, the Recovery Partition, or Safe Mode with no problem. The keyboard is known to be good.

This machine always seemed to have some issue with the Option key at startup. At first it would show some but not all of the bootable drives. Now it does not show any drive choices at all for the Option key startup. The boot screen is otherwise normal, and the machine runs fine with all the installed operating systems (10.6 ~ 10.14). I sure would like to regain the ability to select the drives from the boot screen; SL does not recognize APFS drives and to get back to 10.14 from SL requires stepping back through several intervening OSX visions to get to one that recognizes those drives. I have tried all the obvious quick fixes like SMC, NVRAM resets and nothing seems to help.

The machine received the expected firmware updates when I installed 10.13/10.14

The Boot Rom version is 138.0.0.0.0

Here are the machine specs:


Mac Pro 5,1 (2010)
3.33 Ghz Xenon single processor
32 GB RAM
ATI Radion HD 7950 Mac Edition
Multiple versions of MacOS, the primary OS is 10.14.5

Thanks,

John
 

BlueMacawBird

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 28, 2019
5
0
Washington, D.C. USA
The first thing I would do is to upgrade the firmware 138.0.0.0->144.0.0.0
I thought the 138.0.0.0.0 firmware was the most recent for a Mac Pro 5,1; how do I get the 144.0.0.0? The latest firmware update I see on the Apple website is updater 1.5 and when I try to run that it tells me the software is not supported on my system.
 

skizzo

macrumors regular
Apr 11, 2018
229
59
I thought the 138.0.0.0.0 firmware was the most recent for a Mac Pro 5,1; how do I get the 144.0.0.0? The latest firmware update I see on the Apple website is updater 1.5 and when I try to run that it tells me the software is not supported on my system.
I am assuming that is a super old firmware restoration file. that is not what you are looking for

Download the latest version of macOS Mojave (10.14.5) from the App Store and this installer has the latest 144 bootrom version. You do not need to install Mojave. It is just like the other firmware updates where upon startup of the installer it will prompt you to go through the firmware update process
 

BlueMacawBird

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 28, 2019
5
0
Washington, D.C. USA
I am assuming that is a super old firmware restoration file. that is not what you are looking for

Download the latest version of macOS Mojave (10.14.5) from the App Store and this installer has the latest 144 bootrom version. You do not need to install Mojave. It is just like the other firmware updates where upon startup of the installer it will prompt you to go through the firmware update process
OK, I downloaded the latest Mojave installer and ran the firmware updater. It did update the firmware to 144.0.0.0.0 although the installer behaved oddly (a gray screen, with no logo or firmware updater bar). I recall that when I did the update to HS in preparation for Mojave, the firmware updater presented normally. In any event I now have the current boot rom firmware.

Unfortunately the machine will still not respond to the Option key at startup. It still locks on a gray screen; a cursor appears after a bit but no presentation of bootable disks.

Any other ideas? I did a NVRAM reset just for kicks and that made no difference.
 

BlueMacawBird

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 28, 2019
5
0
Washington, D.C. USA
Good; I removed the PCIe cards and the machine now boots correctly, responding to the Option key at startup with a list of bootable volumes.

I traced the problem to a Sonnett TSATA6-SSD-E2 card. There is some conflict with this card that interferes with the boot process when selecting the Option key at startup. While I have had this card in this machine for some time, the conflict had not become evident as I was not using the Option key to select boot volumes. I've played with the card for some time and cannot get the system to behave correctly with it, so I've moved the SSD to an OWC Accelsior S card. I liked the Sonnet because it could hold two SSDs. I'll try it in another machine when I get a chance, but now this 5,1 is ready for use.

Thanks to all who commented, your suggestions helped solve my problem.

John
 

startergo

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2018
1,130
420
Any PCIe SATA card installed?
I remember you were telling me there were some Windows boot issues with Sonnet. Just found they had a firmware released in May you may try:

Tempo SSD/SSD Pro/SSD Pro Plus/SATA Pro 6Gb 4-Port Firmware Updater (Windows)
Download Now
May-08-19
File Name: tempossdfwupdater100.zip
Document Version: 1.00
File Size: 481.8 KB
Description: This installer will upgrade the firmware in a Tempo SSD, Tempo SSD Pro, Tempo SSD Pro Plus, or Tempo SATA Pro 6Gb 4 Port card to remove or add the EFI or BIOS boot ROM image. Normally this utility is not needed; however, if you are using any of these products in a Windows machine that implements EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface), we have found some of these machines are incompatible with the Mac-based EFI boot ROM that ships with the product. Typically only newer (2012+ Windows Machines) implement EFI. This utility gives you the option to:

• remove the ROM image altogether
• replace the ROM image with the original ( a combined EFI/BIOS image)
• replace the ROM image with a BIOS only image

Installation:
The included disk image file must be burned to a CD. Then, it can be booted from; it will run a DOS-type shell (actually FreeDOS). The Tempo card must be present in the system when this utility is run. Once in the DOS shell, change to the TempoSSD directory by typing

cd TempoSSD

You can do any of the following tasks:

• remove the ROM image altogether
type GONOROM

• replace the ROM image with the original
type GOROM

• replace the ROM image with a BIOS only image
type GOBIOS

It should find one or two devices, depending on your product. Type "Y" to start programming. After completing, remove the CD and reboot the computer.

New in Version 1.00
- initial release
http://www.sonnettech.com/support/kb/kb.php?cat=461&expand=_a13&action=b790#b790
 

BlueMacawBird

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 28, 2019
5
0
Washington, D.C. USA
I saw that firmware update on the Sonnet webpage, but since it said it was for Windows I did not pursue it. I'm not running any version of Windows. I did run the old Mac installer and it made no difference. I'll contact Sonnet and run the issue by them. They have been very good at tech support in the past.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
12,800
5,622
Hong Kong
I remember you were telling me there were some Windows boot issues with Sonnet. Just found they had a firmware released in May you may try:

Tempo SSD/SSD Pro/SSD Pro Plus/SATA Pro 6Gb 4-Port Firmware Updater (Windows)
Download Now
May-08-19
File Name: tempossdfwupdater100.zip
Document Version: 1.00
File Size: 481.8 KB
Description: This installer will upgrade the firmware in a Tempo SSD, Tempo SSD Pro, Tempo SSD Pro Plus, or Tempo SATA Pro 6Gb 4 Port card to remove or add the EFI or BIOS boot ROM image. Normally this utility is not needed; however, if you are using any of these products in a Windows machine that implements EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface), we have found some of these machines are incompatible with the Mac-based EFI boot ROM that ships with the product. Typically only newer (2012+ Windows Machines) implement EFI. This utility gives you the option to:

• remove the ROM image altogether
• replace the ROM image with the original ( a combined EFI/BIOS image)
• replace the ROM image with a BIOS only image

Installation:
The included disk image file must be burned to a CD. Then, it can be booted from; it will run a DOS-type shell (actually FreeDOS). The Tempo card must be present in the system when this utility is run. Once in the DOS shell, change to the TempoSSD directory by typing

cd TempoSSD

You can do any of the following tasks:

• remove the ROM image altogether
type GONOROM

• replace the ROM image with the original
type GOROM

• replace the ROM image with a BIOS only image
type GOBIOS

It should find one or two devices, depending on your product. Type "Y" to start programming. After completing, remove the CD and reboot the computer.

New in Version 1.00
- initial release
http://www.sonnettech.com/support/kb/kb.php?cat=461&expand=_a13&action=b790#b790
If I understand that correctly. That's to REMOVE the Mac EFI (which suppose build for cMP), and make the card 100% a PC card.

I am not quite sure if this card can still boot in cMP if the EFI is removed (use BIOS only image). But if OP have time, worth to try. The EFI ROM can be flashed back to the card anyway.
 

startergo

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2018
1,130
420
If I understand that correctly. That's to REMOVE the Mac EFI
This is what I don't understand:
• replace the ROM image with the original ( a combined EFI/BIOS image)
It implies both EFI/BIOS coexisting on the same card
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
12,800
5,622
Hong Kong
This is what I don't understand:
• replace the ROM image with the original ( a combined EFI/BIOS image)
It implies both EFI/BIOS coexisting on the same card
In the firmware, BIOS follow by EFI.

e.g. if that’s a graphic card with 128k ROM, can be first 64k is BIOS, and last 64k is EFI.

It is possible to remove the last 64k, and fill those space with 00, then make the card has a BIOS only ROM.

The card will still work, but if we removed the Mac EFI, the graphic card will become a PC Card, and can’t show boot screen on cMP anymore.

So, I am not sure remove the EFI part on the Sonnet card will have which kind of impact for cMP users. May be better to ask Sonnet before doing that.
 
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