Mac Pro Not Recognizing Internal Drives

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by thekissofshame, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. thekissofshame macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    #1
    I'm attempting to troubleshoot or at the very least identify the issue with a Mac Pro a former employee sold to my employer. I've run down all of the obvious suspects. Did NVRAM/PRAM reset, booted in recovery mode, swapped three different drives (SSD and HD) and nothing. The computer boots to a blank, white screen. I do want to note that it does recognize the drives only when plugged in USB via eSATA connector.

    I have come to the conclusion that it's either the internal SATA cables or the logic/motherboard going bye-bye. Is there something I'm overlooking, is it perhaps something a little less crippling than a screwed motherboard? I'm just trying to see if there's anything else I can do before heading to the Apple store to be told I need to pay the heinous price tag for a nice board. Any help would be stellar!
     
  2. PowerPCMacMan macrumors 6502a

    PowerPCMacMan

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Location:
    PowerPC land
    #2
    Hi,

    Given that the drives work perfectly when in external enclosures it leads me to believe that your Logic Board's internal sata ports are shot and or a possible short within the SATA cable harness..

    Usually these signs are the signs of a dying hard drive, but it not posting at all when hooked up to the internal SATA ports show that its possible the SATA connectors are toast.

    You have THREE options: If you can find your Apple Hardware Test or even the Apple Service Diagnostic, you might be able to diagnose even further if an error shows up explaining the problem in detail.

    Options left if that does not work: Buy a new logic board and or SATA hard drive harness - Both shouldn't be that expensive at this point, but the labor to put them in might be costly.

    If you need ASD, I have it.. let me know your mac pro generation and I can get it to you.. I have 1,1 up to the latest 5,1 Mac Pro for your convenience.

     
  3. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #3
    Yeah, create a thumb drive or DVD install disk, boot off that and check them out with the DiskUtility app. If it's a buy you can just format any drives that are then recognized, so do that, and proceed with the instal.

    If they're not recognized that way then there's another problem. But there are no SATA cables. The 4 common drives plug directly into backplane headers. If there is another problem tell us what you see in the DiskUtility drive listbox.
     
  4. thekissofshame thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    #4

    Yeah, the hard drives are fine. I've tested each of them outside of the Mac Pro and they work great.

    Basically put, the computer was purchased by a former employee. Upon it acting completely nutty (only way I know how to put it) with certain apps and general functions, I opened up the chassis to see the RAM wasn't seated properly and that the drive bays were missing their aluminum docks. Apparently this kid was man handling the machine whilst inserting new drives so who knows what really happened.

    I think at this point we're just going to purchase a new machine. This unit is going to be used as the machine to run our product demos and software off of so at this point, in my eyes, its totally compromised. Be it the Logicboard or its SATA connectors, I'm going to go the safest route and just grab a new machine.
     
  5. hfg, Mar 21, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013

    hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #5
    You don't mention which model you are using ... but I think I read that some of the Mac Pro generations have a plug-in cable which connects the entire SATA 4-disk backplane and is tucked up almost out of sight on the motherboard.

    Sorry I have no links to confirm this, but my recollection was that there was a way to connect a PCIe RAID card to the 4 disk bays with this single plug-in.


    Ahhh ... here it is:
    http://blog.macsales.com/12247-upgrade-your-06-08-mac-pro’s-internal-bays-to-sata-3-0

    Upgrade Your 06-08 Mac Pro’s Internal Bays to SATA 3.0
    The backplane (where the drives in the bays are connected) consists of four pass-thru SATA connections which are, in turn, connected to the SATA controller on the logic board (located near the front of the Mac Pro) via a mini-SAS connector.


    Perhaps this mini-SAS connector has come loose (if you have one of the listed 06-08 Mac Pros).
     
  6. PowerPCMacMan macrumors 6502a

    PowerPCMacMan

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Location:
    PowerPC land
    #6
    Sounds like a plan.. By the time you get a new logic board and possibly some other stuff you might as well just get a new machine.



    ----------

    I just thought of something.. a kid got ahold of the machine and possibly didn't know what he was doing.. It is possible that some internal damage to the SATA HDD connectors has happened explaining why the OP says the drives inside the mac pro would not be recognized.

    If they are working outside the mac pro, then the problem has to be with the internal sata HDD connectors. Just a thought.. I have seen the hard drive connectors on the 1,1 2,1 and 3,1 Mac Pros - all identical and one day when I owned a 3,1 I got upset and accidently pushed my drive in by force. Guess what happened? The connector bent and broke off..

    The 4,1 and 5,1 use soldered HDD SATA connectors on the backplane, so I think the hard drive connectors have been damaged to the point where the drive simply won't plug in anymore or if it does, some of the pins might have been bent.

     
  7. Tesselator, Mar 22, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #7
    Pretty unlikely. The "kid" would have had to have used a hammer on it or something. It's more likely that the backplane connector has come loose and just needs to be reseated. The OP states: " the drive bays were missing their aluminum docks" but that only means the kid was trying to get over on them or forgot to hand over the sleds. Drives will not stay attached at all without those sleds. They will immediately fall off - Bay-1 might be able to hold in place with the fan shroud as support (maybe with a wedge to lift) but the others would just immediately fall out when he let go or as the side panel was closed.

    But that's only if the drives don't show up at all and the OP isn't saying. All the op has said is that the "drives don't show up" and no one is going to know what that means without further explanation. Don't show up where? Desktop? In DiskUtility? What?

    But I guess he's going to buy a new machine and sell this one. Maybe I can buy it as broken for $100 and just reseat the connector. :p
     
  8. llaassllaass macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2014
    Location:
    Maine
    #8
    Hi,

    I have a MacPro 3.1 with the same problem! It starts fine on a SSD connected to either of the SATA connectors on the motherboard; in fact, that is the drive I'm using presently to write this. My DVD drive works fine. I've used a USB drive to run TechTool Pro which reports no problems with any of the six SATA ports. I just cannot see any of the four slots.

    You offered the original poster the ASD and said you have my model. Please! I need my computer!!
     

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