Mac Pro no chime at startup

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ashleykaryl, Aug 6, 2016.

  1. ashleykaryl macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Last night I was doing some retouching with the TV news streaming in the background when the screen suddenly went black without warning and the computer made a crazy sound, basically repeating the last word heard on the news before it went wrong.

    After a forced restart there was no chime and just a black screen. There is definitely power and I can hear the drive starting to work. Trying to reset the PRAM doesn't work because it won't chime. I changed the PRAM battery but confirmed the old one was working and tried resetting the SMC several times. The fans are running and there are no strange noises. It just won't chime and the screen remains black. This is a mid-2010 8 Core 2.4Ghz.

    Following some advice on the Apple forums I pulled out all the peripherals, SSD and spare internal drives. I also pulled out the OWC ram and put in the original Apple ram along with a clean install drive of El Capitan. I gave it a good clean inside and let it rest overnight with everything unplugged but nothing has changed.

    Any suggestions that I can try? If this is the logic board it probably isn't worth the cost of repair.

    Thanks

    Ashley
     
  2. buster84 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    #2
    It sounds like it could be the processors, but its also a possibility that the motherboard or processor trey themselves went bad. The only way to truly know is to take it to apple. If you have another mac pro id say swap the processor trays and see if it boots.
     
  3. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #3
    Did you actually try a PRAM reset? I lose my cMacPro chime occasionally for unknown reasons, but the PRAM reset procedure usually restores the chime on the second cycle ... I usually hold the keys down for 3 cycles of reset, then let it boot.

    Good luck ...
     
  4. ashleykaryl thread starter macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #4

    I've taken out the processor tray and put it back in carefully but that hasn't worked. This actually fixed an old G5 tower once so it it was the first thing I tried. Unfortunately I don't have another Mac Pro on hand to swap out parts. What is curious is that this happened about 10 days after fitting a PCI SSD and I'm wondering now if that is a coincidence or not but it was all running perfectly until the moment it died.

    Looking at the current new Macs is not very inspiring because they seem much harder to upgrade and downright expensive for anything half decent. If you want something custom it's a 2 week wait for delivery just to have a bit more ram.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 6, 2016 ---
    I've tried the PRAM reset several times but with a black screen and no sound there is no easy way to tell what is happening and the computer never restarts.

    When I press the power button I hear a very subtle beep sound followed by the fans and drive kicking in but not much afterwards. I can keep buttons pressed for minutes but nothing more happens.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 6, 2016 ---
    A friend with a Mac Pro had something similar and discovered various sticks of Ram had gone wrong but having taken out all the OWC Ram and put in the original Apple Ram that seems unlikely here.
     
  5. buster84 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    #5
    At this point id suggest taking it to apple, i doubt the pci-e card caused that I have one in mine as well with an sm951. If your tech savy, you can check to see if one of the processors went bad by removing them both and install one in the processor B slot, at least i think thats the one. Its the processor slot left that will boot without the other processor installed. The fan will run on full if just one is installed but this will at least let you test to see if the processors themselves went bad. I'd start by removing the right processor (processor a) first then try to boot it, if it fails swap them.

    If you've never touched the processors before and it looks like its alot of work, just have apple diagnose it and if they say that the processors are bad, this would be the perfect time to swap them out for some xeon 5690's to upgrade it to a 3.46 12 core setup. Since your already a 2010 model you dont need any firmware changes and the upgrade should me easier than a 2009 model (what i have)
     
  6. ashleykaryl thread starter macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    I've been studying it all closely and think I would risk some serious damage if I try to take out that processor myself. There are a few local Mac repair guys I can try on Monday but from past experience none of them are that great, including one who is an authorised Apple repairer.

    Like most Mac Pro users I use my computer for work and I can't afford to be without a machine for a week or more. Looking at the current lineup of new Macs they all seem to be crazy expensive with limited default specs, but it's no longer easy to fit your own Ram etc. Try ordering a computer with more Ram or a larger drive and it adds a week to the delivery time. Apple seem to have missed the irony that you can order a custom hackintosh and have it delivered the next day.

    I suspect tomorrow will be spent scouring for deals on a new or refurbished machine that I can have running by Tuesday. Then I'll decide what to do with the Mac Pro once I know what is really wrong. I mainly need a machine for photography and web design plus occasional video work but want something that will last at least 5 years. I would really like to be able to use the SM951 with a new machine if the Mac Pro cannot be saved for a reasonable price.
     
  7. buster84 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    #7
    Im not sure if the new mac pros can have the sm951 fitted, but you could possibly get an adapter to use it in there. There are alot of tech savy people on these forums that could help you out if one of them happens to live near you. I was going to ask where do you live in the usa and offer to , but i just noticed that your in the UK.

    also Id suggest going to apple first, ive been there before even out of warranty and they have not only been cheaper to fix the problem, but they do diagnose it for free. The problem with yours is that it could be the tray but also the cpus, so unless apple has a test mac pro behind the counter it i might be hard to test. Maybe someone who works for them, or has taken there computer in similar to this situation can chime in and help.
     
  8. ashleykaryl thread starter macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    A new Mac Pro is not really an option. If I was rendering files in Maya all day long I'd think about it but they cost too much and it's overkill for most of the work I do these days.

    I do quite a bit of colour work and the iMac is not a good option for that, which leaves me with the Mac Mini, but I just wonder how one would perform in practice running Photoshop and other graphics apps. Perhaps things have leaped ahead and the I'd e pleasantly surprised by the performance but it seems hard to believe it would be a better all round machine than the old silver box.

    On the repair side I'll call the Apple guy who is 20 miles from here and try to understand the options.
     
  9. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #9
    Take it to Apple ASAP, 2010 Mac Pro is the next Mac go into the vintage list. Once it's in the list, Apple may not provide any service to you (not matter you willing to pay or not). So, don't wait. The "7 years" is coming up.

    I had roughly the same thing about 2 years ago, took it to Apple, they tested everything for free. End up find that the CPU tray is faulty. And the GPU (only the 3D part) is faulty.

    They actually recommend me only get a new CPU tray for $300, and then buy a PC graphic card to replace the 4870.

    End up just $300, they do all tests, completely clean the Mac. Replace the CPU tray, and gaves me 3 months warranty. For me, it's a very reasonable price.
     
  10. ashleykaryl thread starter macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    I'll hopefully know more on Monday or Tuesday but I suspect it will be a good deal more expensive in the UK. I just checked out one Apple authorised centre that wanted about $80 just to give a quote plus a minimum labour charge of around $130, even if they only end up changing a battery.
     
  11. buster84 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    #11
    Take it to an apple store, not a authorized service center. Service centers are for profit but trained in apple products. Apple stores service the computers directly as well and wont charge to look at it.
     
  12. jbarley, Aug 6, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2016

    jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

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    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    #12
    Sometimes this may not be possible, like here in Canada with 28 Apple Stores to cover 3.855 million mi² (9.985 million km²)
     
  13. ashleykaryl, Aug 7, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016

    ashleykaryl thread starter macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    The nearest Apple Store is 35 miles from here but I know they don't do repairs, which are handled in another store that is further away. Basically I'd be looking at 300 miles of driving to deliver the machine and pick it up, assuming they couldn't fix it on the spot.

    I've been looking at this closer and seen there is no video input signal reaching the displays on any port and verified this with two displays. When switched on the fan for the video card is working but I am wondering if the card could cause this or if a faulty logic board is blocking the video card from working. I think I can rule out faulty ram at this point.

    I've noticed a slightly strange smell inside the computer near the top of the tower but that could be anything and not necessarily a problem. Yesterday I pulled out the DVD writer and the amount of dust in there after 5 years was insane.

    Looking closer at the current Mac line up I am surprised how uninspiring the choice is and I hate the way nothing can be easily upgraded with the new machines. At the moment I am reduced to using a Windows laptop and it's horrible!
    --- Post Merged, Aug 7, 2016 ---
    Update: If I remove all the ram it starts with no chime but the light on the front of the tower flashes indicating there is not enough ram. I just wonder if this indicates that the logic board is OK. If I add in 2 gigs of ram the flashing light disappears.
     
  14. ashleykaryl thread starter macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    Update 2: OK this is curious. I removed the video card completely and had no chime but significant drive noise indicating activity as though starting up. This as not been present before.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 7, 2016 ---
    Update 3: I managed to reset the PRAM and got a chime!!!

    Now the computer appears to be starting normally but I can't see anything because there is no video card installed. I'm going to give it a few minutes then try reinstalling the video card. One way or another that should tell me if it's the card or if this is fixed.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 7, 2016 ---
    Update 4: OK If I replace the video card it now chimes repeatedly but goes no further with the boot process. I strongly suggest it's a faulty video card and that the rest of the machine is OK. Any other opinions would be of interest though.
     
  15. buster84 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    #15
    If you have the chime back then it can't be the processors or the processor board, so that's good.

    As for the no video, you could try moving the card to other pci express slots to see if it boots. Is this the original video card? If so then it's possible that it just died on you.

    Since it's now a no video issue, double check that your monitor is working as well by plugging in something else to it. If it works the next step is to buy a video card, install it and see if you get video.

    You don't need a Mac card, but you might want to pick one that people on here have said to work fine. If you don't use a Mac card you'll loose your initial boot screen but that's about it, for most it's not a big deal.
     
  16. ashleykaryl thread starter macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    OK done some more testing with curious results. The display itself is fine, which was tested by hooking it up to this Windows laptop.

    If you look at the video card it effectively takes up two PCI slots at the rear of the computer. On the bottom you have the connection for the display and on the top is a ventilation grill when viewed from the external side. In practice this means the card can either be fitted to the bottom x16 slot or the 3rd x4 (second from top) slot. It's physically impossible to choose the other slots.

    The card is typically fitted to the very bottom PCI slot but I tried it in the other x4 available slot. In this instance it chimes once but no video appears and there seems to be little in the way of drive noise like I heard when there was no card installed. I wonder if this card requires a x16 slot.

    EDIT: Forgot to add yes this is the original card that came with the computer.
     
  17. ITguy2016, Aug 7, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016

    ITguy2016 Suspended

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    #17
    It sounds a lot like a failed video card. My recommendation, since you rely on this system to earn a living, is to buy a supported video card.

    Having said that I think this situation should alert you to an issue you have relying on this Mac for your living. It appears you have no reliable support options in the area where you live. As such you should be taking steps to ensure you have a means to continue working should this Mac Pro fail again (assuming you get it working). The easiest solution would appear to be the purchase of a second unit to have available in a pinch. I see a 2010 eight core 2.4GHz system available on Ebay for $850 OBO.
     
  18. ashleykaryl thread starter macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    I have to agree. This machine has been rock solid for 5 years until now but I remember being concerned it might go wrong towards the end of a recent big project. Once that was over I sort of forgot about it. Previously I had an iMac as a backup but ended up giving it to my daughter when she went to university. I'll definitely give this some thought now but may just grab a recent Mac Mini with an SSD because they require so little space.
     
  19. buster84 macrumors 6502

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    #19
    another option is to build a cheap hackintosh as a backup.
     
  20. ITguy2016 Suspended

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    May 25, 2016
    #20
    IMO one should consider moving to a different platform before going hackintosh.
     
  21. ashleykaryl thread starter macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

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    Jul 22, 2011
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    UK
    #21
    I saw a couple machines on eBay with crazy specs for well under half the price of a similar spec Mac. I've read conflicting opinions on the legal side, but leaving that aside for one moment I just wonder how stable and reliable these machines are in practice, especially with a view to future upgrades.

    I have to say though that the current Apple lineup is pretty uninspiring when I look at the cost/performance ratio. The highest spec Mac Mini for example is from 2014 and slower than the model it replaced from 2012. Not everybody needs the fastest possible performance but with premium prices I'd like to see a bit more from Apple.

    On the video card side I've been looking at this and a non Mac card tricky because I have one internal drive running Windows, though I could probably sacrifice that and use this laptop if needed. It might also cause problems with updates going forward and I'm not sure how it would work accessing recovery mode.

    The default card that comes with this computer is obscenely expensive for such old technology and for a bit more money I can pick up a Mac edition AMD R9 280X 3GB. Somebody more knowledgeable would probably be able to flash a PC card but I gather there is also the 6pin/8pin issue and relevant power requirements to deal with. One way or another I want to be up and running again by tomorrow afternoon.
     
  22. ashleykaryl thread starter macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

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    Jul 22, 2011
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    UK
    #22
    Update: I decided to go for the standard 5770 card, since that will be the most trouble free in theory and it should be here tomorrow.
     
  23. ashleykaryl thread starter macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
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    UK
    #23
    I've just been looking at the multi-core performance for these old Mac Pros and realised they are still pretty capable compared to newer machines. They may not be as fast on some tasks but for anything like Photoshop they take some beating due to the number of cores. It seems to be more about the software. https://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks
     
  24. ITguy2016 Suspended

    Joined:
    May 25, 2016
    #24
    What legal concerns do you have regarding the resale of Macintosh systems? The only concern I would have is the inclusion of software with the system which may not be licensed. When I was browsing Ebay yesterday I noticed some sellers were including, even highlighting, included software (to increase the value of the system). I suspect the software was installed but not properly licensed (I see this a lot in resale Mac advertisements on CL).

    As for the stability and reliability no one can answer that with any certainty. You'd be buying a used system and it's unlikely to have any Apple warranty left. Some places offer their own warranty (basic included in the sale and extended) which means they have some level of confidence in the products they sell. I'd look at the condition of the system. Difficult to do without seeing it in person but you can ask the seller for a better description / pictures. The condition could indicate how hard a life the system has had (I am surprised at what some people put their systems through).

    Look at the sellers feedback. Not only for how they handle issues but how many issues they've had (they may handle them well but the idea is not to have to go through the process at all). What is their defect policy? What is their return policy? Do either require you to pay return shipping?

    In the end it's a gamble but one for which I think the odds are in our favor. I've purchased a lot of stuff from Ebay and CL and rarely have I had an issue (just bought a PowerMac G5 that failed the following day...but that didn't surprise me as I only paid $10 for itl)
    --- Post Merged, Aug 8, 2016 ---
    Wise choice. While a failed component is a time to consider upgrading unless you're savvy in this area my recommendation is to stick to what you know works. This is a business system so the goal is to return it to operation as quickly and as trouble free as possible.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 8, 2016 ---
    For applications which utilize many cores these systems can be competitive against newer systems due to the sheer number of cores which can be configured. Per core performance isn't as good as newer systems so they're likely to fall short to a newer system when core counts are the same. If the applications one uses can utilize a lot of cores these systems can outperform newer, lower core count systems. If the applications one uses cannot utilize a lot of cores then a newer systems might be a better choice.
     
  25. ashleykaryl, Aug 8, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016

    ashleykaryl thread starter macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #25
    Sorry, I wasn't clear enough with what I wrote and omitted the word Hackintosh in reference to earlier comments. On paper they deliver much better performance for the same money, however there are clearly some caveats both legal and practical to purchasing one.

    I have never actually sold a Mac, since they are invariably passed on to family members and used until the die, but if I was selling one I would never dream of including any software beyond the basic OS. Nowadays, I even wonder about that, since it's tied to your Apple ID.

    Looking at backup options it's now clear that I would have to spend a great deal of money to buy something new that beats this Mac Pro on heavy multi-core tasks. From passed experience, backup machines tend to remain unused unless the main one dies.

    If I were to buy a new machine, the 15" MacBook Pro, though massively expensive, would offer decent performance and I would be likely to use it, so it wouldn't just sit there gathering dust and a lot of the data could be synched. The other option is to by a cheap secondhand Mac Mini that can be used as a temporary measure when the Mac Pro is no longer viable.
     

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