Mac pro nightmare - help

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by macprodog, May 9, 2015.

  1. macprodog macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2012
    Mac Pro Graphics/Boot Disaster! I need a MAC PRO VETERIAN !!!
    I will go into detail! I have read HUNDREDS of THREADS!
    I usually fix all my own Mac Pro problems, but I am really stuck here. Since 2008 I have owned my Mac Pro. I began with the GT 8800 GPU, then the ATI 570, then a PC flashed GTX 285, now I run a GTX 680 MAC EDITION. Despite being a mac edition I get no boot option screen! I put up with it. I only need boot camp windows for games, which I can’t seem to give up! I tell OSX to boot to windows when on MAC, and I tell Windows to boot to OSX from PC.
    Yesterday Windows 7 (I’m not allowed to run 8 thanks again Apple), which resides on its own hard drive had a massive fail that appeared to result from a Trojan that windows security center detected and removed. After this nothing with an .exe file would run. So for example when I started up in Windows 7 (My ONLY boot option until I’m in a working windows environment) I would only see a black screen. I would then CTRL ALT DEL into task manager and run explorer. Once opened everything I tried to run, even from task manager would not start, it would display the side by side error! I even had no internet, none of the three browsers would start, it could not find any connection etc. The problem was that the BOOT CAMP helper/ tools/ grey diamond icon program would not start, along with everything else! This meant I had no way to tell the machine to restart into windows! No windows repair disc could fix it period (it keep saying wrong disc error etc.). The only thing I could do was reformat the Windows partition (a stand alone HD as I don’t like partitioning a physical disc into multiple virtual discs – a lesson leant the hard way over time) using the Windows 7 DVD. After the clean wipe I could not install Windows 7 and it indicated I should use the BOOT CAMP Assistant.
    Every time I started up the computer it would try to boot the blank windows HD and I as mentioned above it could not and usually can not get a boot screen. I could not change out the cards like was suggested because I sold them all on during a clean up. So I pulled the Windows 7 HD and expected the Mac Pro to boot to the only boot option left – OSX, but no it persisted to try to boot from windows! I had this sort of boot problem once before just after I sold my cards. My back up strategy worked perfectly back then. I simply pulled all HD’s including the OSX boot disc (In my case that's a software RAID 0 array of two Kingston Hyper X SSD’s), then inserted my Carbon Clone Copied back up (a WD VelociRaptor backed up externally) and the Mac Pro started up perfectly. I then wiped the two SSDs and copied to them with the VelociRapter after moving it to the third bay, easy. However, on this occasion the WD VR would not boot, and the Mac Pro continued to attempt to boot from the non existent Windows HD! Talk about stubborn!
    Next I start the Mac Pro in target disc mode after pulling the VR and leaving the SSD’s in their original location, bays 1 and 2. Using my MacBook Pro and disc utility I found nothing wrong with the SSDs? I was even able to copy over all the files off my desktop that would be absent from the month old back up on the CCC VR!
    Next I tried all the resets – PRAM or VRAM, the bios SMC reset etc., nothing worked. After this the Mac Pro would not respond to ANY keyboard input PERIOD, yet the keyboard (wired) still lit up and made it’s usual start up chime (It's a Razer TRON and they do that, it was the only keyboard I could get with a left hand side number pad which I use for games). Worse still the Mac Pro would display only the grey screen with the fat apple logo (Since Yosemite, the screen first appears in a low res fat apple, then it changes to a smaller but clearly larger res apple logo and displays the start up bar indicator that only used to be displayed during firmware updated on previous OSX editions).
    Next I pulled every single thing but the keyboard and mouse from the outside of the MP and every HD from within. I started it up and it displayed the folder with a question mark. FINALLY I thought, it is looking for any boot up device but can find none! I then put back my SSDs and got the white screen apple logo, then just the CCC WD VR backup and got the same. I was so fed up!
    Next I tried to reinstall the bios firmware, thinking it must be corrupted. I downloaded the latest version from the apple site and burnt it to a cd with disc utility on my MacBook Pro. I even dug up the original DVD drive and installed that (which was not faulty but removed to make way for two more HD’s installed with the OWC kit and plugged into the two extra SATA connectors on the motherboard). No matter what I did it would not use that disc, even though the DVD drive ran and flashed. I even researched how to run windows without BOOT CAMP but this seems a very sketchy option from what I found!
    Now here we are TWO full days later and HUNDREDS of posts read.
    Presently the Mac Pro takes turns at starting up with the white fat apple logo screen, or the popular black screen with the NO BOOTABLE DEVICE – etc message. Yet even on the black screen it WILL NOT accept any keyboard input or start up from the CD/DVD. This is true even when I insert the firmware upgrade cd, the original apple install discs from 2008, or a purchased copy of Snow Leopard!
    My questions are this:
    1. How can I fix this problem.
    2. If I need an original graphics card I don’t know anyone with one. I would have to search ebay, bid, win, wait for the postage, hope the seller had tested it, and that it fixes the problem. But I need this fixed ASAP, not in two weeks time.
    3. I have been considering buying a new Mac Pro, but should I just give up on Apple, or at least on Mac Pro’s!
    Consider this:
    I loved Apple long before there were iSheep or Devotees, before ipad, iphone, ipod and Apple management MEGA greed. But they have really lost their way, maybe they will become the next NOKIA due to their arrogance and pursuit of every last dollar. 10 years ago things were great, but now the operating system is increasingly crappy, buggy, kiddy and internet dependent. They have killed install DVD’s, removed firewire from some models and made fixing problems using firewire more difficult for those that remain, killed spare laptop batteries (seriously who can get their MacBook Pro to run for 8 hours?), and now they have killed upgradable internal HD’s and Video cards in the new Mac Pro (Some argue that the cards could be upgraded but no company makes them or is likely to). When we upgraded to Yosemite we had to download 5 GB of data for 4 different Macs, due to the area I live in I could not get ANY fixed line connection and had fought with Telstra for a year trying to get a phone line! We were on a cellular 25 GB plan (The biggest on offer at that time) for $99 a month! When I went to the local apple store and demanded to know why I have to pay a hundred bucks to upgrade my computers because no usb or disc option exists they said – “bring the computers into our store and you can use our internet to upgrade” Yer right, like I’m going to take a Mac Mini, a Mac pro, a MacBook pro, a MacBook and two apple displays into the store and set them up there.
    We also have two Apple phones and two ipads which refused to even upgrade their ios over our cellular connection! These devices demand wifi, but at least it was easy to take those to a friends house and use their internet like a deadbeat! I have had so many Apple problems like this in the last 4 years its just not funny anymore, it is DEPRESSING! Even though I hate Windows perhaps I am better off at least building a standalone PC for gaming as Apple REFUSES to support raid for windows!
    Should I maybe build a Hackintosh instead?
  2. Surrat, May 9, 2015
    Last edited: May 9, 2015

    Surrat macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2014
    United States
    The probable reason your 680 mac edition has no boot screen is because it uses a 64bit efi, and your mac is 32bit. The 680 mac edition was made for the 64bit efi macs only.

    The mac is trying to boot windows even if you remove the windows hard disk because when you installed it originally, you left the mac boot drive installed, and windows put its hidden boot folder on the mac drive. Also, from what i have seen, the windows boot will have priority over os x after a pram reset.

    Its critical when installing win7 or 8 on its own drive that you remove all other drives, that will force the hidden partition to be on the correct drive. Windows does not give you an option to change the location, and will not even tell you where it put it.

    You 'should' be able to start the mac in mac os mode by holding control as you power on, hear the bong, then just wait a bit. You want to wait long enough for the drive menu to appear, even if you cant see it due to no boot screen. If you do it properly, the mac boot drive should be listed on the far left, which is the default position of the chooser when it appears. So, hold control, wait a while holding it down, when you think the menu should be available, let go of control and just press ENTER. If the boot drive was listed on the far left, that should choose it and boot os x. This is assuming your keyboard will work properly with the mac firmware at boot. You might need to track down an old mac usb keyboard if yours wont do it.

    You can use a disk utility to remove the hidden windows partition that was put on the mac boot drive. How do I know all this? it happened to me. Confused the hell out of me and nobody I knew could help. I had to figure it out. I took a chance and deleted the windows partition that was placed at the start of the mac boot drive. I wasnt sure if it would kill the mac os install, but at least on my 5,1 mac pro, it did not. That partition was only for windows. Now, a warning: my windows 8.1 is booting in EFI mode, and thus might not be exactly the same as yours. Just a warning, dont flame me if this doesnt work on your drives. It DID work fine on my mac pro.
  3. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2004
    If he has the 2008 cMP.

    Attached Files:

  4. macprodog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2012
    Still Trying...

    I was under the impression that my 2008 or 3.1 Mac Pro was the first 64bit. But even if it is or is not, the things you have said seem to make sense. I tried what you said and I'm no better off. It still appears that the Mac Pro has stopped responding to all keyboard input. The original keyboard that came with the MP was one of Apple's unreliable blue tooth ones that do not work until you boot up anyhow. Just to be sure it was not the razer at fault, I hooked up another USB key board and got the same result... nothing. In the original post I mentioned that at first I had the Mac Pro in target disc mode, this was done with the razer. I have no idea why the Mac Pro started to ignore all keyboard inputs, because if I could get it again into target mode, I would try to install onto a fresh hard drive, as my cloned back up would also contain those windows instructions you mentioned. My only concern is that my snow leopard disc does not contain the drivers for the GTX680. I wish Apple would sell DVD or USB operating systems!!!
  5. macprodog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2012
    More bad news

    I put a new hard drive in, the mac pro still started up the same! Is there a way i can reset the bios or something?
  6. mtasquared macrumors regular


    May 3, 2012
    Did you try booting into safe mode with your CCC VR drive? Like this:
    Starting up in safe mode
    Follow these steps to start up into safe mode.
    Start or restart your Mac.
    Immediately after you hear the startup sound, press and hold the Shift key.
    Release the Shift key when you see the Apple logo appear on the screen.
    After the Apple logo appears, it might take longer than usual to reach the login screen or your desktop. This is because your Mac performs a directory check of your startup disk as part of safe mode.
    To leave safe mode, restart your computer without pressing any keys during startup.
  7. Surrat macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2014
    United States
    10.6 will for sure not run the 680 card.

    Use another mac, or a friends, and using the apple store, download the 5gig installer for Yosemite. If your mac is a 3,1 you can use that installer to make a usb thumbdrive installer, and start your mac from it to access disk utility, or erase it all and install fresh.

    You seem to be stuck in that your only install media wont work with your video card, and you dont have an old video card that will work with your install media, no boot screen on top of that.

    Another option, if you have another friend with a mac pro, is put your hard disk in that one, and install osx, either one that you have, or the downloaded one on usb.

    Without a boot screen, some problems like this that should not have been much to recover from become a nightmare.


    Well, he said he had it since 2008, not that it was a 2008 model. I was assuming it was a 1,1 or a 2,1 due to no boot screen with the genuine 680 mac edition card.
  8. macprodog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2012
    Still has black screen

    Since I last wrote I have not only tried everything suggested, but plenty more, like moving the graphics card to slot 2, stripping back to only two ram modules and trying different ones etc. The thing just wont budge. It accepts no keyboard input.

    The more I read the more I seem to think the Mac Pro is just stuck on starting up in windows. I read a thread where someone explained the exact problems on his MacBook Pro, right down to the black blinking screen, which all started with some windows related problem. I try to install the correct firmware by cd and holding down the power button. The light on the front blinks, it opens up the cd tray, you can hear the cd speed up, but then it just spits out the firmware CD.
    I hope that anyone who reads this will keep their old original graphics card. I am in disbelief that I have upgraded my system with a MAC EDITION card, and I'm just as stuck as if I had a flashed PC card.
    If only I knew someone with a mac pro 2008 I would borrow their graphics card or do a fresh install of my HD in their machine.
    I am open to anyone who knows another way around this, presently I have the black screen but the text has returned that started it all off
    NO bootable device -- insert boot disk and press any key
  9. IowaLynn macrumors 65816


    Feb 22, 2015
    No to reapplying an Apple EFI firmware.

    Reset SMC with all cards and cables and devices unplugged and pulled.
    Hitting power button is a must, or the small logicboard reset button.
    Reset NVRAM more than once using a non-Apple keyboard.
    Burn and use Windows 10 TP.
    If there is a will 8.1 is probably doable. The issue was that while you have UEFI 2.0 and that it is 64-bit, it was never updated and being "1.0" version while Microsoft wants a later version of UEFI and may pertain to native UEFI mode. Apple support is to me always PUTA when it came to Windows.
    One of my rules I found was just do not move Windows drive path without a Paragon made clone. And do clone.

    Clone OS X? Keep copies of the installer .ESD packages?
    Do you have 10.8.5? 10.9.5? 10.10.x?

    While in Windows, I use WD Lifeguard to strip drives of all partitions and recertify, may take multiple attempts to wipe the OS X "stuff" off the drive(s). I am sure there are other methods, this has been my own fix for 8 years.

    Windows 8.1 is way ahead of 7 in terms of security I think, and 10TP probably safer yet. Whatever you were using and doing that corrupted the system sounds nasty attack if was Trojan/WORM or other agent.


    PS: Do you have a Windows Recovery flash drive? A Restore image? Emergency repair "kit?"

    Backups of anything you need to get back running, too.
  10. Surrat macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2014
    United States
    I know this might sound stupid, but did you try plugging your keyboard into a different USB socket?

    Dont give up, I really think this problem can be cleared up. Just have to think it thru.

    Have you done an SMC reset also? Doing that is tricky, if you hit the button twice you can cause a firmware error. There are ways to clear that up if it happened.

    If you do a pram reset, with no hard disks installed, and boot the mac, does it show the no boot device screen? edit *duh, you cant do that if the keyboard wont work*
  11. DonMega macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2007

    Sounds like you should...
  12. macprodog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2012
    Solution, thank you all so much.

    After trying all of the above I finally got it! I pulled out everything, I worked through the technicians repair manual, nothing. The Mac Pro would either boot to a white screen or the black screen with flashing white cursor. I had pulled out the two hard drives from the DVD bay and had the original DVD player connected up. Occasionally the black screen's white cursor would change to "hit any key to boot from cd, but the key board was unresponsive. So:

    1. I started the Mac Pro and waited for a black screen with flashing cursor while opening the internal DVD drive by hitting the button on the front of that DVD drive. I put the Windows 7 install disc on the tray. When the blinking started on screen, I hit the DVD drive button again and the Mac Pro started to load windows. However - I could not install it on to any hard drive because no hard drive had boot camp on it, and boot camp cannot be cloned or installed to any external drive, so I could not use another Mac!

    - Can you believe with no battery on the motherboard, the motherboard reset in the top right corner pushed, every keyboard (when it was still working) and front of machine power button reset ever heard of performed, only 2 of the 16 gig ram installed and NO HD's what so ever, the damn thing still wanted to boot ONLY to the non existent Windows partition!!!

    BUT: A big thank you to Surrat who suggested formatting and installing a HD on another Mac Pro, then inserting it into my Machine! Although I don't know anyone with a Mac Pro I remembered years ago that I moved a HD from a macbook to a macbook pro, and the HD booted and ran properly to my amazement! In the end I didn't even bother wiping it as I originally intended!

    So: as I could find no way to back up boot camp or install it externally (only carbon copying the mac drive, then the windows that is on boot camp with Winclone, requiring boot camp to be installed on the computer) I,

    2. Pulled apart my 2009 MacBook Pro, installed OSX, installed boot camp (which required insertion of the Windows 7 Disc), then pulled the power from the laptop (pulled the battery from the logic board) and removed the HD, just as it wanted to begin the Windows install.

    3. I installed the same above HD into the Mac Pro and of course it tried to boot from Windows, but this time when I inserted the Windows 7 install disc into the Mac Pro - Windows was able to install.

    4. I then installed the Apple boot camp drivers. When the Mac Pro restarted into Windows this time I was able to select the "reboot from osx" option from the start bar menu and the Mac Pro booted into OSX!

    5. I then removed the laptop SSD and put my raid ssd's back in, and the Mac Pro booted up in OSX with its own HD's. I then installed boot camp onto a new internal drive and put windows on it!

    An unbelievable situation, thank you so much to everyone, almost every bit of info helped, moving me closer to a solution!

    I really thought I was going to have to buy an original 2008 graphics card, just to use my computer again.

    I will after this, when I upgrade soon, purchase a Mac Mini for everyday computing and build a gaming only PC. I officially despise boot camp!!!

  13. benjaprud, May 16, 2015
    Last edited: May 16, 2015

    benjaprud macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2015
    Be aware that today most 680s sold as "Mac Edition" are flashed PC cards (even unflashed sometimes, it's just the magic word that helps selling it twice the price). The real 680 Mac Edition has a metal bracket that extends from the backplate and looks like a big black handle that fits into a slot close to the mac's PCI fan.

    If your card is indeed a PC card you might want to flash it yourself properly to get the boot screen.

    The boot screen might not show on all ports, it did show on the DVI port but didn't on the HDMI and DisplayPort on my flashed 680. I don't know how this works on a real Mac Edition.
  14. Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
    No, the original GTX 680 Mac Edition has no metal bracket that extends to the PCI fan. I have an original Mac Edition, and it doesn't.

    I think you mix up with the Apple ATI Radeon HD 5870:
  15. benjaprud macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2015
    Oh yes sorry I mixed up with ATIs, 4870 had the bracket too. Is there anything that helps recognize a genuine Mac Edition ? Pictures from EVGA seem to show "Mac Edition" written on the top sticker.
  16. Synchro3 macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2014
    Yes, it's written. Attached a pic from my GTX 680 Mac Edition:

    Attached Files:

  17. gpzjock macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2009
    Build a Hack? I did that.

    I have a very functional Mac Pro 3,1 running Snow Leopard with a 5870 in it.

    I wanted a decent Nvidia card but didn't want to upgrade the MP beyond Snow Leopard. I had an i7 Hack built with a GTX 770 4Gb Palit Jet stream and run it on Mountain Lion. Both play happily together. I would source a 5870 secondhand and start afresh with a single Snow Leopard build before reinstalling Bootcamp on a new drive.
    Shove the GTX680 in a Hack and run a newer OS.

    5870s are still available:

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