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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

ATI Radeon 5770, Mac Pro 1,1, pre-boot initialization failure


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jabroni5

 
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Hi, Ive been experiencing some fan spin-up issues on my Mac Pro 1,1 (late 2006 1st gen. Intel model). After posting at discussions.apple.com, I was encouraged to run Apple Hardware Test to test for any hardware faults. Unfortunately, ever since I replaced my old graphics card with a new one (The nVidia GeForce GT 8800 for Mac, which had worked great for years, "burnt out", and Apple Corp. recommended the ATI Radeon HD 5770 as the best/only replacement option available for the Mac Pro 1,1), I've been having graphics card issues which prevent me from running (or more accurately, viewing) pre-boot processes, such as Apple Hardware Test.

The Mac Pro is fully updated, running OS X Snow Leopard, 10.6.7. It has 6 GB of RAM -- plenty for my purposes -- and I run system maintenance routines weekly to correct permissions, etc. In preparation to diagnose my fan issue, I went ahead and "flashed" the PRAM, and reset the System Management Controller (SMC) for good measure.

I first noticed a change in the boot process after installing the 5770 graphics card. As everyone knows, after pressing the Mac's power button, a chime is heard. After a moment or two of darkness, the grey screen & Apple logo appear, followed eventually by Finder. Ever since I installed the 5770 however, the screen remains blank until JUST before OS X has fully loaded (sometime AFTER the grey Apple logo would ordinarily appear on-screen, but before Finder opens up).

At first, I didn't think much about it. Everything else seems to work just fine...until I tried booting (while pressing the "d" key) from my system disc, to run Apple Hardware Test. As best as I can tell, everything loads up normally, except that I can't see it. After hitting power, and pressing "d", the optical drive spins up, and I can hear that the system disk is being read, and then everything quiets down, and there I am sitting in front of a blank screen. I'm fairly sure the computer is not frozen because it responds to key combinations like "control-command-option-eject", the keyboard shortcut for "fast shutdown".

I have experimented with various other start-up key combinations (like "c", or "command-option-p-r" to flash the PRAM, etc.), and have confirmed (just by listening to the sounds that the Mac Pro makes while it's booting, for lack of any visual confirmation) that those "low-level" boot processes are in fact working properly.

My suspicion is that the new 5770 graphics card isn't being initialized early enough in the boot process, maybe as a result of the boot ROM upgrade that took place when I installed it. System Profiler identifies my current boot ROM version to be "MP11.005C.B08". A quick Google search confirms that this version is associated with Mac Pros which have been upgraded with the ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card.

So now I'm now stuck without the ability to run ANY kind of pre-boot diagnostics, etc. at ALL anymore. Additionally, I can't enable/disable my firmware password, because I can't see the EFI password prompt when I boot holding down the "Option" key (After the brief "Option"-boot period, it was clear that my system was doing one of two things; 1. Stalling/Crashing somehow 2. Booting to the EFI password entry prompt as it was supposed to, but failing to route that low-level process to the video card -- all I could see is the blank screen).

So, dear reader, thank you for having the patience to read about my problem. Not being a qualified technician, I understand that many of my assumptions may be speculative, but I believe that I've been thorough so far.

Fortunately, this problem is not debilitating for me right now, but I can foresee having troubles in the future (like when it comes time to upgrade the OS to Lion). If the ATI/Apple engineers haven't written a firmware/boot ROM fix (assuming that is what's needed) by then, Perhaps it will finally be time to buy a new computer :/

Please do not hesitate to re-post this on any other forum where you believe it might be relevant. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

-jabroni5
Mac Pro 1,1, 6 GB RAM, OS X 10.6.7, ATI Radeon HD 5770 GPU
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabroni5 View Post

I first noticed a change in the boot process after installing the 5770 graphics card. As everyone knows, after pressing the Mac's power button, a chime is heard. After a moment or two of darkness, the grey screen & Apple logo appear, followed eventually by Finder. Ever since I installed the 5770 however, the screen remains blank until JUST before OS X has fully loaded (sometime AFTER the grey Apple logo would ordinarily appear on-screen, but before Finder opens up).

My suspicion is that the new 5770 graphics card isn't being initialized early enough in the boot process, maybe as a result of the boot ROM upgrade that took place when I installed it. System Profiler identifies my current boot ROM version to be "MP11.005C.B08". A quick Google search confirms that this version is associated with Mac Pros which have been upgraded with the ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card.

So now I'm now stuck without the ability to run ANY kind of pre-boot diagnostics, etc. at ALL anymore. Additionally, I can't enable/disable my firmware password, because I can't see the EFI password prompt when I boot holding down the "Option" key (After the brief "Option"-boot period, it was clear that my system was doing one of two things; 1. Stalling/Crashing somehow 2. Booting to the EFI password entry prompt as it was supposed to, but failing to route that low-level process to the video card -- all I could see is the blank screen).
The short answer is this...you bought a lower-cost "flashed" 5770 for your Mac Pro 1,1. The problems you're facing or confused by are mentioned by many good e-bay sellers of "flashed" 5770 video cards for Mac Pros.

If you don't know what I mean by "flashed"...it's what is done with the Windows version of the 5770 (which costs a lot less $$$) so that it will work on a Macintosh...but this is never 100% effective. The issues you describe don't exist with the genuine $250 card sold by Apple.

HTH,

- Nick

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jabroni5

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
The issues you describe don't exist with the genuine $250 card sold by Apple.
Thank you for your concern, Nick, but I bought this card for $250, directly from Apple, and I have the box to prove it. Any other thoughts?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabroni5 View Post
Thank you for your concern, Nick, but I bought this card for $250, directly from Apple, and I have the box to prove it. Any other thoughts?
If this is true...and you bought the card from Apple...return it. Then either get another 5770...or get another 8800 to replace the 8800 you had previously.

According to OWC...the 5770 is compatible with Mac Pro 1,1's:

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Apple/6615718/

The OWC info says that the 5770 is confirmed to work with OS 10.6.4 on the Mac Pro 1,1. Technically speaking...other OS versions have not been tested (such as 10.6.7 you have on your Mac Pro).

Also remember (technically speaking) Apple mentions that the 5770 is compatible with 2010 Mac Pro's:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC...co=MTg2OTU0NzM

- Nick

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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jabroni5

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
If this is true...and you bought the card from Apple...return it.

Then either get another 5770...or get another 8800 to replace the 8800 you had previously.

The OWC info says that the 5770 is confirmed to work with OS 10.6.4 on the Mac Pro 1,1. Technically speaking...other OS versions have not been tested (such as 10.6.7 you have on your Mac Pro).

Also remember (technically speaking) Apple mentions that the 5770 is compatible with 2010 Mac Pro's
Sorry, struggling with the multi-quote feature here. I'll answer your points in order.

1. Good idea! Lol. I would, but I'm not too sure they have a better option. I slaved over my decision to shell out $250 for an unsupported card in the first place.

2. Unfortunately production of the 8800 has been discontinued >.<

3. That is interesting, and news to me. Perhaps I'll downgrade if I really find myself up a creek! Thanks for the info.

4. All too true. If I can't find a solution then back to the Apple Store for me.

Your help is great, thanks!
-jabroni5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabroni5 View Post

2. Unfortunately production of the 8800 has been discontinued >.<
Yes I know this...but a "resourceful" person can find a way to acquire almost anything.

i.e....e-Bay!

- Nick

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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jabroni5

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
Yes I know this...but a "resourceful" person can find a way to acquire almost anything.

i.e....e-bay!
Heh, perhaps I will. It's funny, my broken 8800 still has an itty bitty little bit of life left in it -- I can boot in "safe mode"... sometimes. A risky choice, but maybe I'll just stick it in the closet, and cross my fingers. The realist in me says, let the e-bay proceedings begin...

Frankly, the darned thing (aka the 2006 "junker") still works great, for just about everything I throw at it, and the 5770 is a huge performance upgrade, and ENTIRELY flawless separate from the present failure. I'm just a little bit weepy about having to give this thing up when Lion finally rears its ugly head, is all.

Thanks Nick, you're a real pal to confirm all that junk.

-jabroni5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabroni5 View Post
Heh, perhaps I will. It's funny, my broken 8800 still has an itty bitty little bit of life left in it -- I can boot in "safe mode"... sometimes. A risky choice, but maybe I'll just stick it in the closet, and cross my fingers. The realist in me says, let the e-bay proceedings begin...

Thanks Nick, you're a real pal to confirm all that junk.

-jabroni5
Another thought. Even though you didn't purchase your 5770 from OWC...you could try contacting them...and see if they can come up with any solutions.

Or if OWC is not very supportive (since you didn't buy the 5770 from them). Return the 5770 you have to Apple, and buy a 5770 from OWC. Then you can see if a 2nd 5770 solves the problems...and if not...then you can contact OWC for "official help" (since you bought it from them)!

- Nick

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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Thank you for your advice, sir. I have always had good experiences from OWC as well. Your testimonial offers greater credibility, still.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabroni5 View Post
Thank you for your advice, sir. I have always had good experiences from OWC as well. Your testimonial offers greater credibility, still.
If you sort the problem out...please post the solution so other folks can learn from the experience...even if all it takes is a 2nd card.

Good luck!,

- Nick

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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The problem with this card is that you are unable to boot from Apple Hardware Test on our Mac Pros because it was on the original install discs version OS X.4.7 and the 5770 will only boot from an OS X.6.4 original system install disc from a much later Mac Pro.

Investigated this in the last week or two and decided to go with a HD4870 card which is capable of booting Apple Hardware Test from the original discs. Losing boot screen and AHT, DiskWarrior, Tech Tool etc capability were important to me.

Perhaps the ideal answer is to install a GeForce 7300 card in slot 4. They do not require connection to the PCI-E connectors on the mother board. You could boot from that card no problem.

In addition OWC reported the card as compatible with Mac Pro 1.1 but Apple did not. Believe Apple's option is for us to upgrade the Mac Pros, of course. Apple's specs called for a 2010 model Mac Pro:-


http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC742ZM/A

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post
The problem with this card is that you are unable to boot from Apple Hardware Test on our Mac Pros because it was on the original install discs version OS X.4.7 and the 5770 will only boot from an OS X.6.4 original system install disc from a much later Mac Pro.

Investigated this in the last week or two and decided to go with a HD4870 card which is capable of booting Apple Hardware Test from the original discs. Losing boot screen and AHT, DiskWarrior, Tech Tool etc capability were important to me.

Perhaps the ideal answer is to install a GeForce 7300 card in slot 4. They do not require connection to the PCI-E connectors on the mother board. You could boot from that card no problem.

In addition OWC reported the card as compatible with Mac Pro 1.1 but Apple did not. Believe Apple's option is for us to upgrade the Mac Pros, of course. Apple's specs called for a 2010 model Mac Pro:-


ATI Radeon HD 5770 Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro (Mid 2010) - Apple Store (U.S.)
Harry, I think all your points are spot on! How unfortunate that I didn't discover the advantages of the HD4870 before I bought the HD5770. I am absolutely going the GeForce 7300 card route. Also, it was the stock card for Mac Pro 1,1, so it's definitely a good choice. I'm curious about your suggestion to install it in slot 4. I'm not too familiar with using multiple graphics cards. How does that work when you have two graphics cards installed at once? Does the computer recognize and use them both simultaneously...everything being displayed by one card is also being displayed by the other? Does the fact that one card is AMD/ATI and the other is nVidia cause any conflicts?
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This explains it much better than I ever could:-


How does the original Mac Pro allocate lanes for the PCIe bus? What configurations are possible? @ EveryMac.com


As suggested in the EveryMac article, set up with option 3 to get 16x1x1x8 making slot 4 the ideal solution to your problem. As the article states, after putting the 7300 in slot 4 and rebooting, you will get the option to choose.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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Rep bumps to both of you for this. I've got a Mac Pro 1.1 with a 7200 card that is having problems. Finding reliable info on replacement cards has been interesting. I had even seen conflicting reports about whether the 5770 would work at all. This helps.

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

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Well Sly it will work but you cannot access the original system discs OSX.4.7, access Apple Hardware Test etc. At the end of the day guess what is important determines what to purchase. The solution of the 5770/7300 seems to be the obvious answer.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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