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

Why won't my Mac Pro boot?


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qw1ks1lv3r

 
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Hi all, this is my first post on these forums so have mercy on me and any of my mistakes I might make, please.

So, I recently obtained (for free from a friend) a 2008-model Mac Pro (Model No. A1168) with a decent video card and 2 blank 1TB SATA HDDs. Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Well there's more to the story. When I plugged it in all the things started up; the HDDs spin up, the fan on the video card starts spinning, the little LEDs on the RAM decks light up. Of course, I didn't expect the system to have OS X on it, so I got a Snow Leopard disc ready and a Lion USB key. So I put the Snow Leopard disc in my external drive (it didn't come with any installed CD/DVD drives.) I pressed down the power button and held down C to boot from a disc. No display on the monitor. Checked and made sure the monitor worked with my laptop and it works perfectly. So what could be wrong with the computer? The video card? No, I tried a different Mac-friendly card and the card started up just fine. But still no output on the screen. Could it be the external disc drive not being recognized? Well, maybe; I tried installing an extra IDE drive in and couldn't get it to start up. So probably not the disc drive.

So what does the Mac Forums community think? What could be wrong with my computer?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qw1ks1lv3r View Post

So, I recently obtained (for free from a friend) a 2008-model Mac Pro (Model No. A1168) with a decent video card and 2 blank 1TB SATA HDDs.
Why did your friend get rid of this Mac Pro? These things are worth some good money...so most folks don't just give them away if they're still working. Was this Mac Pro supposed to be 100% working when you got it?

- 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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qw1ks1lv3r

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
Why did your friend get rid of this Mac Pro? These things are worth some good money...so most folks don't just give them away if they're still working. Was this Mac Pro supposed to be 100% working when you got it?

- Nick
No, it was not necessarily supposed to be 100% functional. Working yes, but not without some money and work from my end. He took his own HDDs out and put new blanks ones in. He also took the disc drive out for whatever reason.

See, my friend is a successful photographer in my town and he has probably 15 of these computers used in his office. He buys a new set of Macs for his employees every other year or so. Yes, I understand it's wasteful, but when you're making as much money as he does it really doesn't matter. That's how we came to get this computer simply because it was gathering dust in his back room and we're good friends.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qw1ks1lv3r View Post
No, it was not necessarily supposed to be 100% functional. Working yes, but not without some money and work from my end. He took his own HDDs out and put new blanks ones in. He also took the disc drive out for whatever reason.
Can you verify what is & isn't installed in this computer...so we know for sure?

Does it have:

- a hard drive in it?
- an optical drive in it?
- ram?
- video card?
- Does it have an OS installed on the HD?

Also...did your friend know what this computer was or wasn't doing before it began gathering dust in the back room? This may help us to focus on the proper area.

- Nick

p.s. By the way you mentioned an IDE hard drive above...Mac Pro's use SATA HD's.

- 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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qw1ks1lv3r

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
Can you verify what is & isn't installed in this computer...so we know for sure?

Does it have:

- a hard drive in it?
- an optical drive in it?
- ram?
- video card?
- Does it have an OS installed on the HD?

Also...did your friend know what this computer was or wasn't doing before it began gathering dust in the back room? This may help us to focus on the proper area.

- Nick

p.s. By the way you mentioned an IDE hard drive above...Mac Pro's use SATA HD's.
#1. Yes, it has two 1TB SATA HDDs installed in it.
#2. No, it does not have an optical drive in it. I use an external optical drive.
#3. Yes, it has 12GB of the stock RAM in it.
#4. Yes, it has an ATI Radeon HD4870 installed.
#5. No, it does not have an OS installed. That is what I am trying to do.
#6. I'm not sure if he did or didn't know before he gave it to me. He didn't give any specifics, that's for sure.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qw1ks1lv3r View Post
#1. Yes, it has two 1TB SATA HDDs installed in it.
#2. No, it does not have an optical drive in it. I use an external optical drive.
#3. Yes, it has 12GB of the stock RAM in it.
#4. Yes, it has an ATI Radeon HD4870 installed.
#5. No, it does not have an OS installed. That is what I am trying to do.
#6. I'm not sure if he did or didn't know before he gave it to me. He didn't give any specifics, that's for sure.
Thanks for the info.

Looking at post #1...where you mentioned that you get no video on your monitor (and the monitor is confirmed working when used with your laptop)...it would seem to be the video card.

But then you mentioned this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by qw1ks1lv3r View Post
The video card? No, I tried a different Mac-friendly card and the card started up just fine. But still no output on the screen. Could it be the external disc drive not being recognized?
...which is very confusing:

You mentioned that you tried a "Mac-friendly" card...and the card started up just fine. What does this mean..."the card started up just fine". Unless you're getting something displayed on the monitor...the card isn't starting up just fine.

I'm also a bit unsure how many video cards you've tested. Are we talking video card #1 (the one that came with the computer)...and video card #2 (this "Mac-Friendly" video card)? It would probably be good to know the details on card #2...because maybe it is not "Mac-Friendly"...or Mac Pro friendly.

The bottom line is...you should get some sort of output on your display...even if it's just a grey screen (I'm assuming from what is written that you're getting absolutely nothing...blank/black display). Absolutely nothing on the display usually would mean a video card issue...and a more worst case scenario...a bad logic board.

- 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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dtravis7

 
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Does it make the Apple Startup sound when powered up? On the Mac Pro not sure about an Internal speaker but every Mac I have tried makes that sound. If it does it's at least passing it's self diag.
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
Does it make the Apple Startup sound when powered up? On the Mac Pro not sure about an Internal speaker but every Mac I have tried makes that sound. If it does it's at least passing it's self diag.
Great question man!

- 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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harryb2448

 
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Think you paid what the Mac Pro is worth! We do need to know about the chime and gfx card.

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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qw1ks1lv3r

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
Thanks for the info.

Looking at post #1...where you mentioned that you get no video on your monitor (and the monitor is confirmed working when used with your laptop)...it would seem to be the video card.

But then you mentioned this:



...which is very confusing:

You mentioned that you tried a "Mac-friendly" card...and the card started up just fine. What does this mean..."the card started up just fine". Unless you're getting something displayed on the monitor...the card isn't starting up just fine.

I'm also a bit unsure how many video cards you've tested. Are we talking video card #1 (the one that came with the computer)...and video card #2 (this "Mac-Friendly" video card)? It would probably be good to know the details on card #2...because maybe it is not "Mac-Friendly"...or Mac Pro friendly.

The bottom line is...you should get some sort of output on your display...even if it's just a grey screen (I'm assuming from what is written that you're getting absolutely nothing...blank/black display). Absolutely nothing on the display usually would mean a video card issue...and a more worst case scenario...a bad logic board.

- Nick

Ok, when I said the card "started up just fine" I meant that the fan started up and the little red LED lit up and stayed lit up. Sorry for any confusion.

At the moment I've only tested two different cards, one of them is an ATI Radeon HD 4870. The other one is also an ATI but I'm not sure which model it is. I think it's the stock model that came with it, though.

Also I'm getting no output whatsoever. The screen remains blank regardless of any key combination I press upon startup.

To answer the dtravis7's question, there is no startup chime. I was worried about the lack of a startup chime, but I thought the lack of a display output was more pressing than the startup chime. I guess they're both quite significant after thinking about it some more.

There is a development, too: I tried plugging in a different IDE optical drive and found that one of the 4-pin Molex power cords was missing its connector adaptor. There were two on the same cord (I don't know how I missed it before) so I decided to go ahead and plug the drive in and start the machine up and see if it would work. As soon as I pressed the power button sparks were flying and I quickly unplugged the machine. The end of the damaged Molex connector was in contact with the metal chassis and making sparks. After a quick glance it seems as though got damaged (although it may or may nto be obvious of course), and nobody got hurt, but it was quite scary nonetheless. I don't think that the power cord missing a connector would have a whole lot to do with the machine not working unless it fried the CPU somehow.

I also have one question: would it matter that the HDDs are formatted or not?

Thanks for all your guy's help by the way!
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If you hear no chime it's not passing startup diagnostics. That is very important. Are you sure the RAM is correct for that machine? The Mac Pro uses special FB RAM Dimms. They should be in matched pairs. You might try taking some out and just leaving the first pair of Dimms installed. See if you get a startup sound.

The sparks came from the 4-Pin power connector that plugs into the Optical drive?
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qw1ks1lv3r

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
If you hear no chime it's not passing startup diagnostics. That is very important. Are you sure the RAM is correct for that machine? The Mac Pro uses special FB RAM Dimms. They should be in matched pairs. You might try taking some out and just leaving the first pair of Dimms installed. See if you get a startup sound.

The sparks came from the 4-Pin power connector that plugs into the Optical drive?
Thanks for reminding me! I forgot to mention that I had played around with the RAM and its configuration. I looked on the Apple website what kind of RAM was needed and what kind of configuration it needed to be. I found out I do, in fact, have the right kind of RAM. They are 2GB sticks, fully-buffered, and 667MHz frequency(I think? I know it's 667 something). I inserted all 6 sticks of the RAM in the right spots according to the Apple website and the directions on the inside of the chassis cover. I inserted the first two sticks into slots #1 and #2 on Deck A (top) and then the next two sticks into slots #1 and #2 on Deck B (bottom). I then inserted the other two into the remaining slots in Deck A.

And yes, the sparks came from the spot where the 4-pin power connector would be. The connector uses only one cord and has two 4-pin connectors on it. The connector on the end was missing everything; it was basically stripped down like someone had ripped the end off of it. I plugged the remaining connector into the drive and then the sparks happened.
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Go to this link and look at picture 5:-

http://manuals.info.apple.com/en/mac...ldrive_diy.pdf

The two connections to the optical drive are the Molex four pin connector and boy are they tight, and the multi pin ribbon from the motherboard. From your description someone has operated on this Mac Pro with very limited knowledge.

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 qw1ks1lv3r View Post
Ok, when I said the card "started up just fine" I meant that the fan started up and the little red LED lit up and stayed lit up. Sorry for any confusion.
The video cards fan starting up & the red LED coming on really means nothing. Any one or more of the circuits on the video card could be bad...thus making it a "bad" card. The important part is what comes out of the video port.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qw1ks1lv3r View Post
The other one is also an ATI but I'm not sure which model it is. I think it's the stock model that came with it, though.
It would be good to know what model this 2nd video card is...but I know many times it's difficult to know just looking at it. Being "Macintosh Friendly" is very important though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qw1ks1lv3r View Post
To answer the dtravis7's question, there is no startup chime. I was worried about the lack of a startup chime, but I thought the lack of a display output was more pressing than the startup chime.
The startup chime is VERY VERY important. No startup chime is your FIRST indication that something is wrong! The startup chime exists for a reason...it's not there just for fun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qw1ks1lv3r View Post
There is a development, too: I tried plugging in a different IDE optical drive and found that one of the 4-pin Molex power cords was missing its connector adaptor. There were two on the same cord (I don't know how I missed it before) so I decided to go ahead and plug the drive in and start the machine up and see if it would work. As soon as I pressed the power button sparks were flying and I quickly unplugged the machine. The end of the damaged Molex connector was in contact with the metal chassis and making sparks. After a quick glance it seems as though got damaged (although it may or may nto be obvious of course), and nobody got hurt, but it was quite scary nonetheless. I don't think that the power cord missing a connector would have a whole lot to do with the machine not working unless it fried the CPU somehow.
I sure hope this didn't happen due to you "poking" around. I would hate to hear that additional issues are created due to the user.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qw1ks1lv3r View Post
I also have one question: would it matter that the HDDs are formatted or not?
This EVENTUALLY is most definitely important...but it wouldn't be causing no startup chime or display issues at this point.

- 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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Quote:
Originally Posted by qw1ks1lv3r View Post
So, I recently obtained (for free from a friend) a 2008-model Mac Pro (Model No. A1168)
I wanted to mention that the "Model No. A1168" is wrong. It's actually A1186. GIGO (garbage in - garbage out)! Please be careful with these sort of details.

It would be good to know EXACTLY what Mac Pro model we are dealing with. The model # A1186 designation was actually used across a number of Mac Pro models...so we need more info.

There is an "EMC" number printed somewhere that would be more helpful. It's usually located on the back near the ports...or after removing the side panel to access the inside of the computer...on the bottom ledge area...there should be a small gray label that lists the original shipping configuration of the computer and the EMC number. Having all this info would help.

- 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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