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Old 01-14-2018, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Oregon Coast
5,834 posts, read 2,396,089 times
Reputation: 7755

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I'm trying to troubleshoot a problem with my 2008 Mac Pro Tower, and I could use some feedback.

First about two months ago, I started getting ECC errors on DIMM Riser B DIMM 4. Installed RAM is 8 x 4GB. The problem was getting worse the last couple of days. So today I decided to open the machine up and see if I could figure out what the problem is. Everything went fine. I disconnected all the cables, opened it up and swapped the RAM stick in B-4 with B-3. I know those are matched pairs. So I wanted to see of the ECC problem would move to B-3 with the switch. I connected the cables back up and the computer booted up fine. I checked the RAM and all 32 GB was showing up.

Then I did something stupid. I have three monitors connected to two video cards, and I had hooked up two of the cables to the wrong inputs, so my screens were out of order. Rather than doing the smart thing and fixing it in the software, I decided to reconnect the cables. When doing that I noticed that the connector on one of the mini displayport cables was lose, so I fixed that and then reconnected the cables. When I booted the computer, I got the startup chime and it displayed a progress bar, then the computer shut down. Same thing happened when I tried again. I thought the problem might be with the damaged mini displayport cable. So I connected just one DVI cable to one monitor. I got the same problem. The progress bar didn't move very far, and then the computer just shuts down. Next I went back and removed both of the RAM sticks that I had swapped. Still the same problem.

So now I'm trying to figure out what to try next. I don't think the RAM is the problem. Because the computer started up just fine after the first swap, and all 32 GBs showed up. But even if it is a RAM problem, it should have been fixed when I removed both the RAM sticks that I had been working on. I'm also not getting any RAM issue beeps when starting up.

So that leaves the video cards. But I think it's weird that the video displays the progress bar, and then shuts down. I guess tomorrow, I'm going to try pulling the two ATI Radeon HD 5770 video cards, and try another card. Any other ideas as to what I should try? Thanks in advance for any ideas.
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Old 01-16-2018, 05:41 PM
 
Location: London, U.K.
3,035 posts, read 3,376,864 times
Reputation: 1721
2008. Theres the problem
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Old 01-17-2018, 05:43 PM
 
Location: HoCo, MD
4,589 posts, read 8,195,924 times
Reputation: 5138
You can try resetting the PRAM. That said - there are so may factors....

Can you also clarify what you mean by "notice one of the mini-display cables was loose..."which is followed by "fixed it and reconnected the cables"?
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Old 01-25-2018, 03:59 AM
 
Location: Oregon Coast
5,834 posts, read 2,396,089 times
Reputation: 7755
Quote:
Originally Posted by macroy View Post
You can try resetting the PRAM. That said - there are so may factors....

Can you also clarify what you mean by "notice one of the mini-display cables was loose..."which is followed by "fixed it and reconnected the cables"?
Sorry I didn't see your response sooner. I agree there are many factors. I have really bad mini-display to DVI cables. I've had problems with them ever since I bought them five years ago. I'm going to order all new longer cables anyway from a different company. Basically the problem is that when I go to disconnect the cable, the gold connecter on the end of the cable (like the one in the picture below) pulls lose and stays in the mini-displayport jack. This time it just pulled partly lose, so I pushed it back on. It seemed OK, but right after that is when I had the problem with the computer. So I can't discount that as the cause of the problem.



But that is not the main problem right now. Because I disconnected the damaged mini-display port cables entirely. I'm just using a regular DVI cable to troubleshoot the problem. I just found the original video card. Right now I'm rearranging all my hardware. Tomorrow I'm going to pull the tower out, and move it to a work space and troubleshoot everything again. Including pulling the video cards and replacing them with the original card. I'll definitely reset the PRAM. If I can't figure the problem out this time, I guess I'll have to pack it up and take it to a repair shop.

Thanks for your suggestion on the PRAM.
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Old 02-03-2018, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Oregon Coast
5,834 posts, read 2,396,089 times
Reputation: 7755
If anybody is interested in the solution, here is what I found out. After a lot of frustration, I finally got the computer to boot up and I traced the problem to the bad RAM stick. Same stick, different slot, same ECC error. So I ordered two new sticks of RAM. I wanted to order an entire new RAM kit, so I would have brand new matching sticks in all the slots, but I decided it wasn't worth the money. I might want to increase the RAM from 32GB to 64GB at a future time anyway. So I just ordered two sticks.

The video cards were fine, but I did order new mini displayport cables to replace the bad ones. Part of the startup problem seems to be that the computer would not boot up with any of the RAM slots empty. So I have to leave the bad RAM stick in the computer, until I get the replacements. I'm not sure why that is. The computer should operate with a couple of empty slots.

Anway, once I get the new RAM, it should be as good as new.
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Old 02-04-2018, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
25,158 posts, read 18,661,858 times
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Given the price of where RAM is these days, surprised you were able to replace it in a cost-effective manner. Is a Mac Pro of that age even updateable at this point?
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:02 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
16,723 posts, read 29,314,884 times
Reputation: 12539
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
Given the price of where RAM is these days, surprised you were able to replace it in a cost-effective manner. Is a Mac Pro of that age even updateable at this point?
RAM for it is relatively cheap. You can buy it at "macsales.com," "crucial", and even "newegg." Yes, one can replace the drives, and RAM modules.
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Old 02-05-2018, 03:34 AM
 
Location: Oregon Coast
5,834 posts, read 2,396,089 times
Reputation: 7755
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayinAK View Post
RAM for it is relatively cheap. You can buy it at "macsales.com," "crucial", and even "newegg." Yes, one can replace the drives, and RAM modules.
It is pretty cheap. The price is $28 for 2, $53 for 4, or $110 for 8. I don't know what the deal is with the lower price on 4 then 8. So I made a best offer of $100 for a full kit. I'm still waiting to hear back on that. I should hear from them today. I really want to have a complete new set of brand new matching modules. It's just my gut feeling that if one of the old sticks went bad, more could follow. I wish I could use this as an opportunity to upgrade to more RAM. but unfortunately a 64GB upgrade is not really an option yet. Those kits are still well over $500.
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Old 02-05-2018, 03:48 AM
 
Location: Oregon Coast
5,834 posts, read 2,396,089 times
Reputation: 7755
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
Given the price of where RAM is these days, surprised you were able to replace it in a cost-effective manner. Is a Mac Pro of that age even updateable at this point?
It is still updateable, but for the most part I'm avoiding that. Because I don't believe in updating anything unless I absolutely have to. There will be more upgrades coming coming for the machine, when I have to.
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