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Mp 4,1 Firmware Lock Issue

absente

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
53
4
Hi,

while browsing to buy a dual cpu mp5,1 I came across a single cpu 4,1 (MB871) where the seller explicitly states that the "drive is unbootable" and that the machine has a firmware lock. He attached photos of a boot-screen that shows a lock and a password field below it.

I did some research, and it seems that switching out ram-sticks and resetting pram will solve the issue, however it seems it's not always the case. Since I don't want to buy 'a cat in a bag' I thought I ask here.

Since this is the Early 2009 MP, can I be rest assured that I will be able to fix that? The price he is selling it is just too good to pass on (120USD).

Cheers,
George
 

tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
8,344
8,858
Hi,

while browsing to buy a dual cpu mp5,1 I came across a single cpu 4,1 (MB871) where the seller explicitly states that the "drive is unbootable" and that the machine has a firmware lock. He attached photos of a boot-screen that shows a lock and a password field below it.

I did some research, and it seems that switching out ram-sticks and resetting pram will solve the issue, however it seems it's not always the case. Since I don't want to buy 'a cat in a bag' I thought I ask here.

Since this is the Early 2009 MP, can I be rest assured that I will be able to fix that? The price he is selling it is just too good to pass on (120USD).

Cheers,
George

Firmware locked Macs are trouble, or it's a Mac that had the password for security purposes and the owner forgot or is a stolen Mac. I wouldn't buy it.

If you can't remove the password, you can buy a replacement 2009 backplane.
 
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absente

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
53
4
Firmware locked Macs are trouble, or it's a Mac that had the password for security purposes and the owner forgot or is a stolen Mac. I wouldn't buy it.

If you can't remove the password, you can buy a replacement 2009 backplane.

Yeah, I know its trouble. I am just looking for people who had this done and might know. Exchanging the logic board is possible, but the ones I find are 150-180USD which would make the whole operation useless ; )
 
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tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
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Yeah, I know its trouble. I am just looking for people who had this done and might know. Exchanging the logic board is possible, but the ones I find are 150-180USD which would make the whole operation useless ; )
Early Intel Macs until 2008, you just install a different DIMM and reset the NVRAM.

This don't work anymore with Macs after 2009, Apple closed this loophole.
 
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absente

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
53
4
Early Intel Macs until 2008, you just install a different DIMM and reset the NVRAM.

This don't work anymore with Macs after 2009, Apple closed this loophole.

Yeha, that's the point - this mp is 2009 and google shows different results - It seems that MP's made in 2009 can be fixed using the ram switching method, after 2010 they can't. I don't really wanna spend over 100 bucks on decoration.
 
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pl1984

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Oct 31, 2017
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Yeha, that's the point - this mp is 2009 and google shows different results - It seems that MP's made in 2009 can be fixed using the ram switching method, after 2010 they can't. I don't really wanna spend over 100 bucks on decoration.
I can't speak to Apple officially closing this loophole but since it relies on removing memory in order to work it can't be used on anything where the memory is soldered to the motherboard.

Regarding the loophole it worked fine on a 2006 Mac Pro I acquired. My only reservation is whether the system was stolen or not. While this could be used to work around the issue if it is stolen then I wouldn't want it. Having said that chances are good that it was discarded and the person who did so didn't care about the boot lock because they were discarding it.

I'd buy it for $120. If it doesn't work you could turn around and sell the processor tray for three times that amount (if Ebay prices are any indication).
 
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tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
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I can't speak to Apple officially closing this loophole but since it relies on removing memory in order to work it can't be used on anything where the memory is soldered to the motherboard.

Regarding the loophole it worked fine on a 2006 Mac Pro I acquired. My only reservation is whether the system was stolen or not. While this could be used to work around the issue if it is stolen then I wouldn't want it. Having said that chances are good that it was discarded and the person who did so didn't care about the boot lock because they were discarding it.

I'd buy it for $120. If it doesn't work you could turn around and sell the processor tray for three times that amount (if Ebay prices are any indication).
It’s a single CPU, you can find 2009 single trays for $50 plus shipping.
 
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pl1984

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It’s a single CPU, you can find 2009 single trays for $50 plus shipping.
Oops, misunderstood what he was buying given he opened with "...browsing to buy a dual cpu mp5,1..." so I thought he was buying a 4,1 dual CPU system. Given that it's still low risk as the parts likely could be sold off for at least $120.
 
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w1z

macrumors 6502a
Aug 20, 2013
617
432
Removing/changing the ram configuration worked just fine to disable the firmware password on my 2010.
 
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tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
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I just checked, Mac Pro 5,1 is still vulnerable to the RAM loophole.

Didn’t checked if iCloud lock works or not.
 
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absente

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
53
4
tsialex is correct, reselling the included parts wouldn't make sense.
Removing/changing the ram configuration worked just fine to disable the firmware password on my 2010.

Thanks a lot, let's see if we can find more members. Then at least other people having the same issue can find this thread. In the meanwhile I gotta order the mp and post updates once i receive it.
 
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tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
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tsialex is correct, reselling the included parts wouldn't make sense.


Thanks a lot, let's see if we can find more members. Then at least other people having the same issue can find this thread. In the meanwhile I gotta order the mp and post updates once i receive it.
If it’s not the iCloud lock, the screen where you input the digits separated, you are safe.

Selling just the CPU tray and the PSU on eBay will probably get you more than $120.
 
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bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
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Won't do much to check against a database, but at least ask seller for photos of serial number on back of case as well. If they're scratched off or will not provide, likely a sign not to purchase.

Should be able to part out and break even (assuming everything "works") or even make a small profit if you do run into an uncrackable iCloud lock issue. If you're buying a similar 4,1 for yourself anyway, it may be equally valuable to keep around as spare parts for yourself.
 
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absente

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
53
4
Won't do much to check against a database, but at least ask seller for photos of serial number on back of case as well. If they're scratched off or will not provide, likely a sign not to purchase.

Should be able to part out and break even (assuming everything "works") or even make a small profit if you do run into an uncrackable iCloud lock issue. If you're buying a similar 4,1 for yourself anyway, it may be equally valuable to keep around as spare parts for yourself.

Serial number can clearly be seen on the photos he provided. There is even a sticker with the name and address of the company the mp was used, so my simple guess is that seller just bought up their entire line and someone really forgot their pw, the sys-admin got fired or whatever.

Btw, since we are talking about this machine - I am thinking of replacing the current cpu with a X5690 - is there actually anything better out there as of now? I checked the cpu-thread but the X5690 seems to be the best option or am I wrong?
 
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tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
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Serial number can clearly be seen on the photos he provided. There is even a sticker with the name and address of the company the mp was used, so my simple guess is that seller just bought up their entire line and someone really forgot their pw, the sys-admin got fired or whatever.

Btw, since we are talking about this machine - I am thinking of replacing the current cpu with a X5690 - is there actually anything better out there as of now? I checked the cpu-thread but the X5690 seems to be the best option or am I wrong?
Fastest Xeon that work with a dual MP5,1 is X5690, for single tray you can also use a W3690.
 
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absente

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
53
4
Just wanted to do a quick update - changing the ram and resetting the PRAM/NVRAM worked, the mP has no firmware lock anymore. Now the fun starts, glad to join the mP family! :)

@tsialex I saw you mentioned somewhere that the netkas method is not the best option anymore to upgrade from 4,1 to 5,1 - however I can't find the thread anymore. I'd appreciate if you elaborate on your preferred way to update to 5,1.

PS: My goal is a 5,1 running on Sierra (not later) but with 140 bootrom (or later?) (in order to use a nvme/m.2 boot drive). Processor is still the stock 2.66 but I'll put in a X5690 as you recommended. Also ordered 3 sticks of 16G DDR3 1333 ECC REG 2RX4 PC3L-10600R in order to achieve max speed.
 
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Zeke D

macrumors 65816
Nov 18, 2011
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Arizona
Just wanted to do a quick update - changing the ram and resetting the PRAM/NVRAM worked, the mP has no firmware lock anymore. Now the fun starts, glad to join the mP family! :)

@tsialex I saw you mentioned somewhere that the netkas method is not the best option anymore to upgrade from 4,1 to 5,1 - however I can't find the thread anymore. I'd appreciate if you elaborate on your preferred way to update to 5,1.

PS: My goal is a 5,1 running on Sierra (not later) but with 140 bootrom (or later?) (in order to use a nvme/m.2 boot drive). Processor is still the stock 2.66 but I'll put in a X5690 as you recommended. Also ordered 3 sticks of 16G DDR3 1333 ECC REG 2RX4 PC3L-10600R in order to achieve max speed.
You'll need High Sierra to run NVME as a boot drive natively. Otherwise, Sierra works on an AHCI PCIe drive.
 
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absente

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
53
4
I believe it was the firmware that was adding NVME support, not the OS. If I am not mistaken, by upgrading to the Mojave firmware I should be able to run native NVME boot with Sierra? Or maybe I got something wrong. So many threads and information that changes rapidly.
 
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bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
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Two threads, first post in each thread:
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/blade-ssds-nvme-ahci.2146725/
https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...-142-0-0-0-0-bricks-with-w3xxx-xeons.2132317/

----

140.0.0.0.0 and previous macOS releases note:

Since a lot of people ask this question: firmware 140.0.0.0.0 can boot even 10.6.8, but only if your GPU has drivers for it. With RX-4xx/RX-5xx, you are limited to 10.12.6/10.13/10.14, per example.

----

macOS NVMe Support:
  • Only Sierra, High Sierra, and Mojave support NVMe drives. Previous versions of macOS don't recognize the drive.
  • macOS Sierra supports 4KB / sector drives like Apple OEM and some uncommon Intel and Toshiba blades.
  • macOS High Sierra and Mojave supports both 4KB / sector and 512 bytes / sector NVMe drives.
  • All Samsung consumer blades are 512 bytes / sector and can not be changed to 4 Kbytes / sector.
  • To boot from a NVMe drive you need to install firmware version 140.0.0.0.0, supplied with the Mojave 10.14.2 full installer.
  • High Sierra works perfectly with BootROM 140.0.0.0.0 and all types of NVMe drives.
  • If you install 140.0.0.0.0, Sierra can boot from a 4KB / sector NVMe M.2 blade.
  • You can read about it on the first posts of these two threads:
    1. MP5,1: What you have to do to upgrade to Mojave
    2. MP5,1: BootROM thread
 
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absente

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
53
4

Thanks a lot, you saved me from a lot of trouble. I had to check the difference between 4K and 512 bytes sector drives and it appears that 4K is a newer technology. Is there actually any real world difference?

Basically after reading through this - If i want to use a Samsung 970 PRO as a boot-drive on Sierra I cannot. Any alternative that would still give me the same speed/reliability?
 
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pl1984

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bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
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According to the part you quoted he will not be able to use macOS Sierra with a 970 Pro as, I assume from the OPs post, the 970 Pro is not a 4KB sector SSD.

@absente is the OP and acknowledged not being able to use 970 PRO and looking for solutions...

Options are extremely limited for Sierra, especially now that nearly all have moved to 512 (or need software utility/tool to change). Update to High Sierra for more options or else need to stick with the Apple OEM, uncommon Intel/Toshiba. (Some report OCZ RD400 can be changed.)
 
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Zeke D

macrumors 65816
Nov 18, 2011
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161
Arizona
Although they have janky TRIM support, the Samsung SM951 AHCI (in 128GB, 256GB & 512GB) is the way to go for a fast boot drive. I have to run Sierra for software compatibility, so I've encountered many of these issues. The Samsung AHCI drives will conflict with some add-in PCIe SATA controllers, and don't play well with Windows 7 & 10 installations, unless those installations are installed in one of the SATAII bays.
 
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absente

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
53
4
Although they have janky TRIM support, the Samsung SM951 AHCI (in 128GB, 256GB & 512GB) is the way to go for a fast boot drive. I have to run Sierra for software compatibility, so I've encountered many of these issues. The Samsung AHCI drives will conflict with some add-in PCIe SATA controllers, and don't play well with Windows 7 & 10 installations, unless those installations are installed in one of the SATAII bays.

I am in the same boat as you, I need Sierra for stable Nvidia CUDA drivers and I never want to have the 'screen burn' issue again. May I ask you what speeds you are looking at when using the SM951? To be honest, I got used to 50MB/sec on my other Mac, so even a tenfold would be a significant improvement for me which I can live with for a couple of years.

PS: a big thanks to @tsialex, he fixed my rom and send me a new one. Now running 5,1 flawlessly :)
 
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