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MP 1,1-5,1 MAC PRO MID-2012 SHUTS DOWN UNEXPECTEDLY

bigusmacus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2019
24
5
Here are the basic specs:

Mid-2012 Mac Pro 6-core 3.46GHz 32GB RAM Nvidia GTX680 4GB Sierra, High Sierra or Mojave
3 PCIe cards aside from the Nvidia—all have been removed to no effect.

The problem began while stacking 30 photos in Photoshop, something I've done previously without any issue. The Mac simply shut off. I have tested it and it will do it every time. I tried performing the same function in safe mode and Photoshop simply froze up.

Since then, my Mac Pro has been crashing on me continuously the past few weeks. It now shuts down unexpectedly within a few seconds to a few minutes or so after booting, and sometimes during boot! It doesn't happen in safe boot mode. I haven't been able to isolate what's causing it. It's been working perfectly for the past two years until now. I've run TechTool Pro a few times and it also found no hardware issues, all passed. Useless. I reset the SMC quite a few times after crashing which didn't seem to help, and I reset the PRAM as many times, also to no avail.

Here's the most significant aspect as far as I can see: it does not shut down in safe mode when booting from any drive with any OS. I've been running for the past 36 hours or so without a crash in safe mode with High Sierra. I've reloaded some of the start-up items (which by the way I disabled for normal booting, and I have disabled extensions as well—no difference when booting normally. However, one thing that keeps happening in safe boot mode is the screen sometimes flashes when performing certain tasks, like writing in Word. Not sure if it's just because the Nvidia drivers aren't installed or what. I tried to install Mojave when in safe boot mode and it told me there wasn't a video card that would work. Booting normally allowed me to install it, although the Mac crashed 4-5 times during installation! I updated the Nvidia to the latest web drivers, still not difference. Everything works well in safe boot mode and that leads me to think it's not a hardware issue, unless it's the Nvidia display card.

I am running a fan-control utility and all the temps are normal or below, nothing over 114°F . I have checked the heatsink without removing it and it seems to be solid and doing it's job as is the Northbridge.

Now, I created a new volume on a fresh SSD and installed Mojave (the computer shut down numerous times during the install), and I didn't migrate any settings or apps, and no Adobe apps. I thought that fixed it but it was up for about 10 minutes and then crashed again.

If it was the logic board I would think that it would crash in safe mode, same for the power supply. I've tried bypassing a UPS and plugging it directly in the wall, no difference. I've also changed the internal CR2032 battery with a brand new one. I have tried a brand-new Mac keyboard and a new mouse (back in the day I had a Performa that kept crashing due to a bad Mac keyboard). Nothing fixes it! I will install a new Radeon display card in a few days and see if that makes a difference but at this point I'm pretty discouraged. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
8,341
8,851
Here are the basic specs:

Mid-2012 Mac Pro 6-core 3.46GHz 32GB RAM Nvidia GTX680 4GB Sierra, High Sierra or Mojave
3 PCIe cards aside from the Nvidia—all have been removed to no effect.

The problem began while stacking 30 photos in Photoshop, something I've done previously without any issue. The Mac simply shut off. I have tested it and it will do it every time. I tried performing the same function in safe mode and Photoshop simply froze up.

Since then, my Mac Pro has been crashing on me continuously the past few weeks. It now shuts down unexpectedly within a few seconds to a few minutes or so after booting, and sometimes during boot! It doesn't happen in safe boot mode. I haven't been able to isolate what's causing it. It's been working perfectly for the past two years until now. I've run TechTool Pro a few times and it also found no hardware issues, all passed. Useless. I reset the SMC quite a few times after crashing which didn't seem to help, and I reset the PRAM as many times, also to no avail.

Here's the most significant aspect as far as I can see: it does not shut down in safe mode when booting from any drive with any OS. I've been running for the past 36 hours or so without a crash in safe mode with High Sierra. I've reloaded some of the start-up items (which by the way I disabled for normal booting, and I have disabled extensions as well—no difference when booting normally. However, one thing that keeps happening in safe boot mode is the screen sometimes flashes when performing certain tasks, like writing in Word. Not sure if it's just because the Nvidia drivers aren't installed or what. I tried to install Mojave when in safe boot mode and it told me there wasn't a video card that would work. Booting normally allowed me to install it, although the Mac crashed 4-5 times during installation! I updated the Nvidia to the latest web drivers, still not difference. Everything works well in safe boot mode and that leads me to think it's not a hardware issue, unless it's the Nvidia display card.

I am running a fan-control utility and all the temps are normal or below, nothing over 114°F . I have checked the heatsink without removing it and it seems to be solid and doing it's job as is the Northbridge.

Now, I created a new volume on a fresh SSD and installed Mojave (the computer shut down numerous times during the install), and I didn't migrate any settings or apps, and no Adobe apps. I thought that fixed it but it was up for about 10 minutes and then crashed again.

If it was the logic board I would think that it would crash in safe mode, same for the power supply. I've tried bypassing a UPS and plugging it directly in the wall, no difference. I've also changed the internal CR2032 battery with a brand new one. I have tried a brand-new Mac keyboard and a new mouse (back in the day I had a Performa that kept crashing due to a bad Mac keyboard). Nothing fixes it! I will install a new Radeon display card in a few days and see if that makes a difference but at this point I'm pretty discouraged. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.
Did you run AHT or ASD and checked for errors? You can use this instructions to create an USB key with AHT: Apple Hardware Test (AHT).

First step is to run AHT and check for any errors, then you test with another GPU and if you still have problems, another PSU.
 
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bigusmacus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2019
24
5
Thanks for the suggestion. Is AHT still a stripped down version of TechTool Pro? I have TechTool Pro and have run it a few times since the problem began and all hardware passes. EtreCheck also finds no major problems (except for not using Time Machine backups). I will check out the link you provided though. I can't see it being a PSU if it will run for an indefinite period in safe mode.
 
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tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
8,341
8,851
Thanks for the suggestion. Is AHT still a stripped down version of TechTool Pro? I have TechTool Pro and have run it a few times since the problem began and all hardware passes. EtreCheck also finds no major problems (except for not using Time Machine backups). I will check out the link you provided though. I can't see it being a PSU if it will run for an indefinite period in safe mode.

AHT is an Apple test tool for end users, ASD is internal Apple tool for Apple technicians do the diagnostics. You can find ASD with some searching, you will need ASD 3S159.

Safe mode don't load all drivers/apps and won't fully use your hardware. If you have problems even making a clean install you surely have hardware problems. Start with the GPU, then go for the PSU.

PSUs are a very common point of failure nowadays, I had one failed recently and if you search here, a lot of people too.
 
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bigusmacus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2019
24
5
Well, my very first thought was the PSU, but since it starts and runs in safe mode I was hoping that wasn't the case. I should probably buy a PSU for future repair anyhow as I have two nearly identical Mac Pros.

The link to AHT for my Mac didn't work—disk image corrupt. I'll look for ASD. I really appreciate your help.
 
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tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
8,341
8,851
Well, my very first thought was the PSU, but since it starts and runs in safe mode I was hoping that wasn't the case. I should probably buy a PSU for future repair anyhow as I have two nearly identical Mac Pros.

The link to AHT for my Mac didn't work—disk image corrupt. I'll look for ASD. I really appreciate your help.
You probably did something wrong, follow the instructions to the letter.

If you have two Mac Pros, use the good one to reinstall macOS on a empty disk then install it in the problematic Mac Pro. Start exchanging parts to test, first move the GPU and then the PSU.
[doublepost=1563717226][/doublepost]I just checked AHT links and it's working.
Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 10.52.52.png
 
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bigusmacus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2019
24
5
I figured it out and am now testing. The short test found no issues, so I am running the extended test but it seems to be hung up after 1 min 55 secs. It's been 10 mins, but I'll leave it and see if it ever moves.
I plan to do some swapping between the two Macs as you suggest, but I don't have the second one here at home until next week some time. It has a stock ATI display card. I noticed that AHT doesn't recognize the GTX 680 card, no doubt because it is not EFI.
 
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orph

macrumors 68000
Dec 12, 2005
1,884
392
UK
the long test can take a long time checking the ram, i did it over night.
 
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bigusmacus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2019
24
5
Ha! I thought as much, well I'm not using the Mac Pro today anyhow.

was it worth it? did it find anything?

Thanks.
 
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orph

macrumors 68000
Dec 12, 2005
1,884
392
UK
it's worth doing, my problem was not being able to boot windows and ended up being fixed with the updated bootrom.
one of the simple but boring tests is to chage what it's pluged in to (the mains socket).

tsialex will give the best advice he knows far more than me
 
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netkas

macrumors 65816
Oct 2, 2007
1,146
322
PSU just need to be cleaned of dust, inside, helped to fix PSU issues on my mp3,1
 
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bigusmacus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2019
24
5
Thanks. Yes, I hope to do that tomorrow once I receive the proper cable for a new Sapphire RX580. Very similar to your Mac, but my Sonnet isn't the pro version and less RAM that I just may upgrade once I get it running again.
 
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bigusmacus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2019
24
5
AHT completed in 2 hrs. 58 min. Found no problems. I let it reboot normally and it shut down within 5 seconds of being up. As clean as I keep it, it may be a dust issue. Next I am going to remove the processor tray, the hard drives, the DVD drives, and the PCIe cards and take it outside (when the temp outside gets way below 95°) and blow it out. I don't think it's overheating at all, but maybe it does when I'm not looking. I'm going to reset the fans to ambient/auto temps as I don't trust constant fan speeds once all is working properly again, i.e., using Photoshop. As it is it's running pretty cool.

mac_fans_control-190721.jpeg
 
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netkas

macrumors 65816
Oct 2, 2007
1,146
322
get the psu out of macpro, remove the case and clean its components out of dust.
 
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Macschrauber

macrumors 6502a
Dec 27, 2015
993
366
Germany
When blowing out block the fans from spinning, don forget prozessor and psu fan. Those fans become generators when driven with external air and could damage the board.
 
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bigusmacus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2019
24
5
Update: I couldn't get the PSU out as my T driver is too long. However, the amount of dust inside was minimal. Fans were pretty clean with no built-up dust caked on them I have a really good blower designed for computer components so I know it did a thorough job. The entire case and the components that went back in are now looking like new. So, I fired it up with only one boot drive, the vid card and kb/mouse. It got about half-way through the Apple boot screen and shut right off. I booted into safe boot mode and everything that can work is working. If it was the PSU wouldn't it crash even in safe mode? I'm convinced it's the display card, although I cleaned it quite well and there wasn't that much dust in it. Just going bad is my theory.
 
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bigusmacus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2019
24
5
Update: I installed a new Radeon RX580. With all unnecessary components removed, booted from freshly installed High Sierra OS with only Apple apps. No change. Started normally and after 4-5 minutes, it crashed. No apps were open. I managed to start in safe mode, not easy with a black screen, and booting took an inordinate amount of time. While in safe mode I began installing Mojave. Interestingly it didn't crash during installation (again the black screen due to no EFI) and eventually restarted normally into Mojave. I almost thought it might be okay, but after about 15 minutes it crashed again. I restarted in safe mode again and it's been up and running for a couple hours. I've ordered a used PSU and whenever that arrives I'll replace it and take it from there.

I find it quite baffling that it will run in safe mode without any issues, but not when booted normally; what is loading in normal boot mode that is making it shut down? What could possibly do that? It is not overheating.
 
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Macschrauber

macrumors 6502a
Dec 27, 2015
993
366
Germany
It lacks some drivers and so it needs less Power from the PSU. If you have Hard Drives what you dont really need for a test run you can try to pull them also to reduce power load.
 
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tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
8,341
8,851
Update: I installed a new Radeon RX580. With all unnecessary components removed, booted from freshly installed High Sierra OS with only Apple apps. No change. Started normally and after 4-5 minutes, it crashed. No apps were open. I managed to start in safe mode, not easy with a black screen, and booting took an inordinate amount of time. While in safe mode I began installing Mojave. Interestingly it didn't crash during installation (again the black screen due to no EFI) and eventually restarted normally into Mojave. I almost thought it might be okay, but after about 15 minutes it crashed again. I restarted in safe mode again and it's been up and running for a couple hours. I've ordered a used PSU and whenever that arrives I'll replace it and take it from there.

I find it quite baffling that it will run in safe mode without any issues, but not when booted normally; what is loading in normal boot mode that is making it shut down? What could possibly do that? It is not overheating.
Enable verbose boot, maybe it will give clues where/why is crashing.

Code:
sudo nvram boot-args="-v debug=0x14e"
 
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bigusmacus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2019
24
5
Thanks, I will try that in the morning. Your help is really appreciated.
 
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NorCalLights

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2006
594
79
I'd still bet on a PSU. Booting in safe mode disables all kinds of stuff, including hardware acceleration of the UI, so the GPU is pulling waaay less power when you're in safe mode. Also, this problem started with Photoshop, and has since started to happen more frequently (including during boot). That's classic failing PSU symptoms, and I'd bet it'll only get worse.
 
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bigusmacus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2019
24
5
I'm betting you're right. I have a used PSU ordered. Hopefully that will solve the issue as it is driving me nuts! Thanks for your reply.
 
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AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,663
4,658
The Peninsula
PSUs are a very common point of failure nowadays, I had one failed recently and if you search here, a lot of people too.
There does seem to be quite an increase in PSU problems lately.... I wonder if it's just chance, or if some production runs of cMP PSUs had some components with an "expire date" of summer 2019. (And that's a worry, because the used power supply from eBay might have the same "summer 2019" expiration date.)

I'm happy that I have dual or quad power supplies in all of my servers. I was surprised that the new MP7,1 doesn't have a dual power supply option - that would have been a nice differentiator. (Dell/HP top workstations don't offer dual PSU, but they do have pluggable supplies that can be quickly swapped.)

 
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