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The Mac Pro First Generation is an Intel Xeon-based workstation computer manufactured by Apple Inc. The first generation model includes the machines from 2006 through 2008.

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Mac Pro 5,1 won't boot. No power, no noise at all, only a couple LEDs.

HI there,

I have a customer's Mac Pro, mid 2012 machine which won't boot at all. When I press the power button, nothing happens at all, except a light odor of the magic smoke (from electronics, that is). The only time something noticeable happens is when you are looking at the logic board while plugging in the power cord. What I see are the top two LEDs that blink red momentarily in the upper left corner, below the #1 HDD. Those lights go out almost immediately and do not illuminate again when pressing the power button. I can get the lights to stay on if I depress the power button while plugging the machine in and hold the button in for about 7-10 seconds. They will stay on permanently after that.

When I press the Diag button near the LEDs, the 4th LED lights up amber, but nothing else notable happens. This also happens if I have the red lights switched on as I mentioned above. I tried the SMC button, but that didn't do anything either. Nothing at all in either case.

The customer already replaced the power supply, so I am wondering if the logic board is bad. I am going to get another power supply to be sure, but what else could it be??? Is there some other board I don't know about? Can someone help me interpret the LEDs?

Thanks!

Bodhi

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Thanks for the help, but after I posted that I did a little more digging. Turns out that the video card tries to power up when the machine gets plugged in, and every time I plugged it in, I let a little more of the magic smoke out. I used my eyes to trace where the smoke was coming from, and sure enough I found some blown ICs on the graphics card. Put another card in and viola! IT WORKS!!!! Something in the short circuit on the GPU card must have been dragging the power supply down or something…

Thanks for the help, but it was not the power supply! What an odd one!

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Failed video cards are the #1 issue I've seen on the 2008-2012 MacPros. I've lost two myself.

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I had this issue very recently and figured out how to fix this after lots and lots of reading, trial, error, and re-reading. I’ll walk you through what I did in the hope that someone else finds this useful.


For background, I am on a 2009 Mac Pro 4,1 flashed to 5,1. Single tray 6 Core, 32 GB RAM, RX580 GPU running 10.13 High Sierra.


Ok, so I had noticed that my computer had been randomly shutting itself off. The frequency of which was impossible to predict, so I began the google search to see if I could dig up an easy fix. Hint: Nothing is ever as easy as you think, I’ve found. After an entire afternoon of reading through what other folks did to fix this happening to them, I set out to try it and each test/fix failed. I then deduced that it must be the power supply, as the random shut downs seemed to indicate that it needed to be replaced.

I ordered a new PSU, which came in a couple of days and installed it. Tried to power on, no luck. No clicks, no lights, no nothing. I was a little disappointed as everything I had read to that point had shown me that this would fix it. I then hit google again in an effort to better define my search terms and see if I had missed something. One site said to change PRAM batter, another said to switch the RAM around in their sockets. None of this worked for me. Finally, I got ahold of the Apple Diagnostic PDF which the techs at Apple use to figure out problems. I suggest anyone having this issue download a copy and keep it on file both on your mobile device and on your computer. There is a bit of nuance with it in that the guide won’t tell you what to do should something fail a specific test, at least not obviously. That being said, with a little abstract thought, reasoning, and google, anyone should be able to diagnose what’s wrong.

I followed the guide and when I found that my computer WOULD NOT turn on after jumping the solder spots, as instructed by the guide, I knew it had to be the logic board/backplane. If the power supply and LED test (on the upper left of the logic board as you look at it with the side cover removed) showed that the board was receiving standby power yet wouldn’t turn on, all indications pointed to a bad logic board. I promptly ordered one that was correct for my Mac Pro (remember, it’s a 4,1 flashed to 5,1 so I needed to be sure that I bought the right one, ensure you double check with sellers/stores before you haphazardly click buy so you don’t have to go through a return process or deal with fans that run at full blast 24/7). When it arrived, I installed it and then re-installed all the other components. I plugged in the power cord and, there it was. It started right up as if nothing had happened.


Following the guide will get you to this exact conclusion point I reached after trying two other methods that failed to fix the problem. Usually, motherboards either work or they don’t. The fact that mine would work sometimes had me leaning more towards a PSU, but this one turned out to be a backplane. If you are experiencing these same symptoms of random power offs, no clicks when you push the power button, and eventually no reaction whatsoever when you do push the power button, I’d bet my money on the backplane.


I hope this helps anyone experiencing this issue. My intent is for this to be a fast-track to help others so they don’t have to go through multiple levels of trial and error before fixing the issue, but I do know the value of finding the simple fixes when they exist. I’d always recommend you take the time to investigate and troubleshoot all avenues that could be causing your power issues, but this particular one was solved with a logic board.

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I would just like to say that your post is a lifesaver. My Mac Pro had the exact same problems that you were describing. I couldn't find any post that had the same issues my 4,1 was having, so I was about to make the same mistake of buying another PSU until I saw your comment. I just got the new logic board installed into my machine and it works perfectly again. Thank you so much!

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It sounds like you need a power supply. I doubt jumping the solder pads on the board will make a difference for you because it's doing the same job as the power button, but in a different spot on the board.

It may also be the Backplane board, but I can't see a way to figure it out without test parts.

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I’ve repaired several 2010-2012 Mac Pros that have had this issue where the computer won’t power on but the LEDs blink. In some cases the graphics card has been the issue. Simply replace the graphics card and viola!

In most cases however I’ve found the problem to be the Backplane / Logic Board. In none of my experiences has the problem been related to the power supply.

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Hey there I’m having this exact same issue on a 2012 Mac Pro 3.2ghz Xeon 16gb of ram and the original and graphics card, the system worked fine two days ago but now it boots up half way then shuts itself right off and then I have to leave it unplugged for about a half hour to turn it back on

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Hi Thomas.

I have purchased an old Macpro 2010 for 3 months it worked properly one fine days it the screen showed no video output message tried checking Ram every thing seemed correct as it produced chime latter took the video card ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB to repairer found DVI socket was not working hence got the Mini DP to VGA connector to connect my monitor it worked again after 2 months the dp to VGA connector stopped working during night time around 3 am , next day tried using the second DP socket on the video card it worked one day due to power failure the Macpro was shutoff when electricity resumed my monitor showed no video output message fan was working it seems everything on video card is working but dont get videos after 2 months of slumber purchased a old Nvidia 710 gb card I installed it and successfully got the video signals I was able to upgrade my High sierra to Mojave while re starting due to power failure it kept re starting and never produced video signals

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Hi Thomas

tried using all the output sockets i.e VGA , HDMI and DVI sockets none of them produced video output but the Fans on card are running what may be the reason my Videocards are failing is macro so delicate it can t handle sudden power failures .

Before posting this message I tried removing the Nvidia checkd with technician he inform card was bad and he has repaired it it was workin on windows but when I chckd on MACPRO it is not tried check ram one of the 8 gb ram was showing red led removed it from board have 1 stick with 8 gb only still it is not producing any video IM thinking of removing Powersupply and take it to technician to repair is there any led that will let me know if power supply is healthy or unhealthy please let me know.

Regards,

KRishna

What you all suggest .

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Hey Thomas,

I need some help. I have a couple of Mac Pro 5,1 that won't show video. I know the graphics card works I believe it is the backboard. How do I tell if that is the problem? What is the fix?

Thank you.

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