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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 10:04 AM   #1
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Having issues with my MacPro 3.1, Need Help

Hi Guys,

I'm having issues with my MacPro 3.1, I need help.

System Description,
MacPro 3.1
Quad Core Intel Xeon
2.8 Ghz
OS 10.6.8 Snow Leopard
4 mg Ram
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT (512 VRAM)
Edit: using a Acer G235H LCD monitor (23 inch)

I will describe the issue I have had, you guys can tell me if there is something I can do on my end, or if I needs to bring it into the shop.

While playing an online video game last night (yes I enjoy gaming on occasion), the image on my screen broke up in very large pixels (odd lines included), then everything froze, I turned off the MacPro, then restarted it again after a while, I got the usual shime, grey Appple logo plus the normal progress wheel below, the image broke up and it froze again on the grey start up Apple Logo splash screen.

Here is what I have done so far
- Zapped the PRAM. same issues on restart.
- Tried to start the computer with my Snow Leopard Disk, same issues.
I left it alone until this morning then turned it back on again, this time it started up, I got a message to report the issue to Apple, did not have time to do anything the image broke up again (large Pixels, odd lines) and it froze, turn everything off, plugged in my older G5 to see of it's the monitor, all is well with the monitor.

I would like to hear opinions from the savy and Techy ones on the possible issues and fixes,

Questions,
- Can I do anything on my end to fix this (keyboard bypass maybe) ?

If I can't fix it on my own, who in Ottawa can I take this to (reputable place that won't gouge) ?
- What will I be expecting in cost for an estimate for repairs ?

Side Note, The Rideau Apple Store is not the best option, parking is so awfull, it's not well located for walk in repairs with a MacPro, this is not an iPad or laptop that I can put in a pack sac and just walk in with.

Thanks in advance for your help

PS: I was saving up for upgrades, not repairs
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Last edited by speckledmind; Sep 27th, 2012 at 10:29 AM.
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 10:45 AM   #2
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sounds (looks) like a video card issue ... that would be my first guess. Remove and replace your current video card with a known working one. If you were saving for upgrades, this is a good upgrade to do anyways.
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 10:53 AM   #3
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Have you moved the MacPro recently? I wonder if the video card is loose or maybe the Ram? Maybe try pulling it out and re-seating it to ensure a snug connection (if you are comfortable removing video card and ram).


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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 11:25 AM   #4
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try starting the machine in safe mode. hold shift while it boots. you should see a long status bar..

if it boots ok in safe mode its most likely a vid card thing as suggested. you can pick up the 5770 for the current mac pro and it will work in your machine
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 11:47 AM   #5
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Thanks guys for the follow up,

simon, the Video Card was the first thing that came to mind, I don't have any spare parts to swap, other then what is in my G5 currently (Geoforce FX 5200, and I don't know if this would even work with the MacPro 3.1.

BReligion, I have not moved the Mac recently, but you have a good idea, I pulled out the Ram board one at a time, made sure the Ram is well seated, then replaced it, also pulled out the video card and reseated that as well, plugged everything in, started up the Mac again, it booted up, then I got the same issues, large Pixels, lines and freezing.

broad, I will try booting in safe mode as suggested, will let you know once I have.

I only have one monitor to work with, limited desk space, so I'm doing the monitor and keyboard musical chair, while I plug everything back on a separate work space.

broad, you mention the 5770, I'm looking at Apple's store in case I have do have to replace my video card, they show the following card as an upgrade ATI Radeon HD 5770 Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro (Mid 2010) - Apple Store (U.S.)

It has 1GB of GDDR5 memory, better than my current card, reading the Questions and answers it looks like if fits my MacPro 3.1, looked on a few YouTube Video for the install, from the looks if it it's not an easy fit, very tight space, even less to hook it up to power, not sure I'm comfortable doing this.

I will follow your Post, try out the proposed solutions.
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 12:05 PM   #6
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Here is what I get booting in safe mode,

Powers up, Grey Apple logo is partly broken up in pixels, progress wheel under started to spin, progress bar showed up below then disappeared half way though, Apple logo remained with spinning wheel, then is froze ?

I have never booted in safe mode before, I don't know what I am suppose to see or get.
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 12:27 PM   #7
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if you have already enabled screen-sharing on the computer, you could try booting it w/o a videocard at all, and ethernet into it to see if it's working?
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 12:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simon View Post
sounds (looks) like a video card issue ... that would be my first guess. .
+1

as a temporary fix i'd recommend removing the card, and taking a vacuum to the cards fans. often time dust will accumulate on the fans and eventually becomes thick enough to create trouble.
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 01:08 PM   #9
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i would just go buy a 5770 from apple retail. if that fixes it great, if not take it in somewhere and you can return the card.

also re: the card its fine lol. there is no more or less room in your mac pro than there is in the current ones which ship with that card.
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Old Sep 28th, 2012, 05:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i-rui View Post
+1

as a temporary fix i'd recommend removing the card, and taking a vacuum to the cards fans. often time dust will accumulate on the fans and eventually becomes thick enough to create trouble.
This should definitely be the first step, just in case the card is overheating due to dust accumulation.
There are a whole bunch of reports of 8800 video card failures in Apple Discussions, so it's entirely possible the card is toast.
I removed my 8800GT from my Mac Pro 3,1, just recently, and replaced it with a 5770 from the Apple Store. Couldn't be happier, games really look great now. Max Payne 3 is amazing on the 5770.
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