Question about a 2008 MacPro having problems

tomdkat

Registered
So, a friend of mine asked me to look at her friend's MacPro. It's a 2008 MacPro 3,1:

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_pro/stats/mac-pro-eight-core-2.8-2008-specs.html

Anyway, according to the system owner, the problem started where he would be using the system (it's running Leopard, 10.5.8) and some flickering vertical lines would appear along with a message indicating he needed to press and hold the power button to restart his system, due to some kind of crash. He would do that and be able to boot the system and after a while, the vertical lines would appear along with the message about pressing and holding the power button to restart the system.

I took a look at it and wanted to make sure his 30" monitor was ok. So, we used his DVI to VGA converter and connected a 15" Dell LCD monitor I had to see if the system would boot, etc. When I first powered up the system, with the Dell monitor connected, "colored static" appeared on the monitor. I turned off the system and tried a different VGA cable and this time, horizontal black and white bars filled the screen.

So, I disconnected the VGA monitor and reconnected his 30" Apple monitor (using the native DVI connection) and the black and white bars re-appeared.

I tried reseating the nVidia GeForce video card (I'm not sure of the exact model) to no avail. At one point, we did get the system to boot and display the gray screen with the gray Apple logo, but then the flickering vertical lines appeared along with the message about pressing and holding the power button to restart the system because of a crash. After doing this, the black and white bars appeared.

Any ideas on what could be wrong?

Thanks!

Peace...
 

Satcomer

In Geostationary Orbit
I would say the video card. To be sure see if your Mac can boot the display. This would be the final test to see if the video card in his Mac has dumped.
 

tomdkat

Registered
Thanks. So, I bought an EVGA GeForce 8400 GS PCI-E 2.0 1GB DDR3 video card and put it in the system. I connected it to a test LCD monitor I have and got no video signal at all. :(

So, I'm going to try on of these cards:
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600
Since I'm getting the black and white bars when I boot with the original video card installed, I'm assuming I should be able to remove the current card, put in the new card, boot the system and at least get to the point where I can login, correct?

Thanks!

Peace...
 

tomdkat

Registered
You might have better luck with NVIDIA cards designed for the Mac.
I actually got the two nVidia cards I listed above from the "Every Mac" page I posted the link to above. :)

By default, an ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT with 256 MB of GDDR3 memory is installed in a PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot. It has two dual-link DVI ports. Other graphics card options included the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT with 512 MB of GDDR3 memory or a NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 with 1.5 GB of GDDR3 memory. All of the video cards offered have two dual-link DVI ports, and the Quadro FX 5600 has a stereo 3D port as well.
As it turns out, the system owner has decided to take the system to the Genius Bar and let them figure out what's going on.

Still, assuming either of those two nVidia cards I listed above were compatible, I should have been able to replace the current video card with one of those and have some kind of display on the screen before installing any drivers. Otherwise, how would I get the drivers installed if the existing video card isn't functioning properly?

Thanks!

Peace...
 

MisterMe

Registered
I actually got the two nVidia cards I listed above from the "Every Mac" page I posted the link to above. :)


As it turns out, the system owner has decided to take the system to the Genius Bar and let them figure out what's going on.

Still, assuming either of those two nVidia cards I listed above were compatible, I should have been able to replace the current video card with one of those and have some kind of display on the screen before installing any drivers. Otherwise, how would I get the drivers installed if the existing video card isn't functioning properly?

Thanks!

Peace...
I suggested that you should look for Mac-compatible graphics cards when I found that your cards were nowhere to be seen on NVIDIA's website. It turns out that the GeForce 8800 GT for Mac is still listed, but can only be found by a search. NVIDIA actively promotes only the Quadro FX 4800 for Mac and the new Quadro 4000 for Mac as its Mac-compatible offerings. The Quadro FX 5600 can only be found via a search and only the non-Mac version. This card appears to be available for sale through Amazon.com.

You need to pay closer attention to what you read. Your cards were available as options back in 2008-2009 when that configuration of Mac Pro was current. As for EveryMac.com, it appears to be nothing more than a cataloging site for other vendors. If you want a particular model new, then EveryMac.com sends you to PowerMax, a fantastic company. If you want to upgrade your Mac, then EveryMac.com sends you to OWC, another fantastic company. Neither of your cards are listed on OWC's website or on PowerMax's website.
 

ElDiabloConCaca

U.S.D.A. Prime
Thanks. So, I bought an EVGA GeForce 8400 GS PCI-E 2.0 1GB DDR3 video card and put it in the system. I connected it to a test LCD monitor I have and got no video signal at all. :(

So, I'm going to try on of these cards:
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600
Since I'm getting the black and white bars when I boot with the original video card installed, I'm assuming I should be able to remove the current card, put in the new card, boot the system and at least get to the point where I can login, correct?

Thanks!

Peace...
I'm not sure if it's been mentioned yet or not, but you can't just slap any old graphics card into a Mac and expect it to work.

Most graphics cards on the market from manufacturers like eVGA, Promise, MSi, etc. are not Mac-compatible. In a Mac, you must use a graphics card that is specifically Mac-compatible, as the Mac uses a different on-board ROM on the video card than its PC counterparts.

More than likely, the graphics cards you've picked up are not Mac-compatible, and that's why you're experiencing problems with them.

If you wanna get real creative, there are a few PC-specific cards that can be "flashed" to work in a Mac, albeit not 100% most of the time. Here are some sample webpages on people's experience with "flashing" PC graphics cards to work in Macs:

http://web.me.com/jacobcroft/4870Flash/4870Flash.html
http://hintsforums.macworld.com/archive/index.php/t-64098.html

...more can be found with Google searches for strings like "flash PC graphics card to work in Mac", etc.

For best results, you'll need to obtain a graphics card that is explicitly Mac-compatible; more specifically, Mac-compatible with the exact model of Mac Pro you're trying to use it in.
 

tomdkat

Registered
Sorry for the late response but I wanted to thank everyone who responded for the help you provided!

The system owner got the video card replaced and the Mac Pro is back in operation once again. I don't know which video card was used as the replacement.

Peace...
 

Satcomer

In Geostationary Orbit
Just tell him to open /Applications/Utilities/System Information (or have him/her hold down the 'option (alt)key& click on the top left Finder apple symbol and select "System Information", In System Information select the sideboard words "Graphics/Displays". This will show all the information about the video card.
 
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