Mac Pro crashes on startup - Graphics card?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Sumimasen, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. Sumimasen macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2009
    Hi guys and gals,

    I have a Mac Pro 3.0ghz 8 core with a Nvidia 8800GT graphics card (hooked up to 2 20" Dell monitors), but this evening it crashed in a big way - the screen had locked up with plenty of green stripes flickering all over the second monitor (the first just went dark). I tried restarting the mac, but on the grey apple screen, there were jagged vertical green stripes across the first screen, and then I just got the startup tone again until it just locked up.

    I waited 10 minutes, and then tried restart the machine. It actually started up ok this time, but as soon as I logged in it crashed again, with the same visual garbage as the first crash.

    Now it won't get any further than the grey apple screen, even with everything but one monitor and the keyboard and mouse connected.

    I'm not sure if this could be a graphics card related issue (I'm kinda hoping it is, considering the alternatives), but I was just wondering if anyone had experienced a similar issue, and if so, what it turned out to be.

    I'm kinda stuck without my Mac as I do 3D for a living, so if anyone could give me some advice, I'd really appreciate it!

    Thanks in advance,

  2. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    did it come with another video card, or can you borrow one from somebody?

    It was working fine, then you turned it off or put it to sleep, and then it never worked right again?

    basic all-purpose tips include remove and re-seat the ram and the video card...
  3. Sumimasen thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2009
    Hi, thanks for replying.

    The mac actually came with an ATI 1900XT, and I bought the 8800GT a while back. Unfortunately, I don't have a second card to test with.

    I have just tried removing and replacing the ram and graphics card, but it made no difference. The mac got to the grey apple screen and froze, but it had the green flickering vertical bars again right from when the screen powered up.

    The thing that makes me think that it's the graphics card is that when the mac appears to lock up, the hard drive is still running as if the mac is running through the rest of the start up procedure. Could be clutching at straws, but I can hope.

    To clarify, the mac was ok when I started it up this evening, but it locked up with the screen saver running. It hasn't started up properly since.

    So, does it sound like a graphics card failure do you think?

    I have heard of a few 8800GT's failing since installing 10.5.7... (based on someone's post on the Apple forums).
  4. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Jul 14, 2008
    It sounds like it. You say it get's stuck on the grey Apple screen? You know it's possible to boot OS X showing the console instead of that? Hold the Cmd and V keys on startup, you might be able to see what it gets stuck on.
  5. Griffter macrumors member


    May 28, 2008
    Exeter, UK
    I have exactly the same problem, if you google around it seems to be some kind of phenomenon relating to using multiple dell monitors with a mac pro. I use the ATI, and I still have a problem. My trick is to boot up with one screen, and then plug in the second, hoping that I won't get a kernel panic
  6. Sumimasen thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2009
    Ok, I just started up holding Cmd + V, and I got a lot of messages like:

    UHCI Root Hub Simulation: family specific matching fails

    and a lot more similar to this.

    Then at the bottom of the list I get:

    ACPI_SMC_PlatformPlugin: :getCPU_PSSData - _PSS evaluation failed

    this is shown 8 times... (once per core I imagine).

    I dunno, I still think it could be graphics card related, as the crash is not like the time my motherboard was DOA.
  7. fpar macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2008
    ^^That is seriously weird, has applecare give you any sort of advise?
  8. Sumimasen thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2009
    I stupidly let my applecare expire... I guess there is a lesson here...

    I have just spoken to my IT guy from work and he has run through a few things with me to rule out obvious things.

    I tried to start up with one bank of ram removed, then the other - Same issue both times.

    I tried the reset button in the mac - no difference.

    I have now started up the mac as a target disk on my iBook, and that has worked fine.

    I tried starting up with the leopard DVD, and it crashed with a kernel panic.

    So, as I'm getting a normal startup chime (not the long continuous chime associated with a major hardware failure), I'm back to thinking that this is yet another Nvidia 8800GT gone pop.

    Sound about right?
  9. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    reset SMC?

  10. Sumimasen thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2009
    Yeah, tried that too... No joy.

    Think a 70 mile round trip to my nearest Genius Bar is in order in the morning... Do you reckon they'll be able to check it out there? (Bear in mind I'm in the UK...)

    I may have to get an ATI 2600 to keep me going if quoting the 'Sale of Goods Act' doesn't get me a replacement. Assuming it IS the graphics card, of course.
  11. Griffter macrumors member


    May 28, 2008
    Exeter, UK
    Genius bar might be a good shout. Could you let me know what they say/do and I'll try and sort mine out too. I'm not too keen on investing in another graphics card unless I absolutely have to. :rolleyes:
  12. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
  13. Sumimasen thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2009
    Thanks for all the help guys - it WAS the graphics card. Another 8800GT bites the dust... :(

    Going to get an ATI 2600 to keep me going until I can sort out what I need to get a 4890 installed.

    Thanks again!
  14. crag macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2009
    God.. I just ran across this exact problem. Also a 8080GT card. On my Macpro Xeon.

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