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Author Topic: Dead MacPro 2013  (Read 7501 times)
Chris Sanderson
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« on: May 29, 2014, 01:50:23 PM »
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Just as I was about to put my 2009 MacPro up for sale - the new two month old MacPro 2013 Black Coffee Can died yesterday - actually while on the phone with Apple support.  Shocked

OS 10.9.3; 3gHz 8 core; 32 GB ram; 2 x AMD FirePro d700

Problems were first noticed when the machine would suddenly and unexpectedly go to sleep in mid-process.

I removed all peripherals except keyboard & monitor. I checked the Computer Sleep settings in SystemPreferences and found that mysteriously there were no controls - only display sleep controls. I checked AboutThis Mac/System Information / System Sleep and it was set to 1...odd

After several wake-ups and then re-boots, I also noticed the body of the machine becoming very hot and that the fans did not cycle to full power on startup. Clearly overheating was triggering a hardware level fail-safe sleep command.

I spent an hour or so with a concerned and helpful Apple tech and we finally tried a full system reinstall from the cloud (impressive). Alas, about three minutes into the install, the computer went into terminal 'sleep' and is now in the shop.

I will update.
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2014, 02:03:36 PM »
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Chris,

Sorry to hear, but I hope for a rapid solution.

Best regards
Erik

Just as I was about to put my 2009 MacPro up for sale - the new two month old MacPro 2013 Black Coffee Can died yesterday - actually while on the phone with Apple support.  Shocked

OS 10.9.3; 3gHz 8 core; 32 GB ram; 2 x AMD FirePro d700

Problems were first noticed when the machine would suddenly and unexpectedly go to sleep in mid-process.

I removed all peripherals except keyboard & monitor. I checked the Computer Sleep settings in SystemPreferences and found that mysteriously there were no controls - only display sleep controls. I checked AboutThis Mac/System Information / System Sleep and it was set to 1...odd

After several wake-ups and then re-boots, I also noticed the body of the machine becoming very hot and that the fans did not cycle to full power on startup. Clearly overheating was triggering a hardware level fail-safe sleep command.

I spent an hour or so with a concerned and helpful Apple tech and we finally tried a full system reinstall from the cloud (impressive). Alas, about three minutes into the install, the computer went into terminal 'sleep' and is now in the shop.

I will update.
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2014, 04:48:47 PM »
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Well, it took the Apple service centre 2.5 working days to tell me that the fan was non functional...

hmmm - could have told them that

- in fact I did.

They say they should have a replacement in two days.
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2014, 04:49:48 PM »
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They say they should have a replacement in two days.
Fan or totally new box?
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Andrew Rodney
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2014, 06:58:21 PM »
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Fan or totally new box?

New fan...
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2014, 08:19:58 PM »
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New fan...

If I were you, I'd be inclined to request a two-month extension to the standard warranty—i.e, so you would have a full year's coverage following the fan replacement.  My guess is the thermal shutdown trigger adequately protected the electronic components, but you never know.  I'd be surprised if Apple refused a warranty extension.  My understanding is that the company's retail outlets have a procedure for communicating with corporate management on issues such as this.   Or you could contact the company's central customer support.  (If you do make the request, please report back on the response.)

My 2013 Mac Pro (6 CPU, 1 TB flash, 64 GB primary memory) runs quite cool, even under high CPU and GPU load, but it's obvious from the way Apple designed the box that the single fan motor needs to be working up to spec to provide circulation around the thermal core to avoid rapid overheating; there's no way simple convection could offer more than a few minutes' margin.  That's one aspect of the new form-factor that has made me uneasy from the start.
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2014, 09:56:31 AM »
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Good advice - thank-you! I will post the response once I have a functioning computer back.

FWIW this MacPro breakdown has obviously cost me time. However, since most everything is outboard of the machine, I just plugged my MacBook Pro into the thunderbolt chain and have been able to keep working - albeit at a slower pace.

With the old MacPro tower, this could never have happened

Chris
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2014, 10:01:39 AM »
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Glad to hear it's easy to swap and you can still keep going. For the price however, I think Apple should have just sent you a new machine.
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Andrew Rodney
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2014, 10:26:36 AM »
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Let's hope it was only the fan - that remains to be seen.

If the complications persist beyond the replacement of a faulty fan, that is exactly what I will be asking for.
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2014, 08:59:38 AM »
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Dratted fan is 'back-ordered'...

ETA is now next week - at least another five days.

Clearly this is happening to more than just me - or does Apple not stock spares Huh
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2014, 06:27:01 PM »
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Dratted fan is 'back-ordered'...

ETA is now next week - at least another five days.

Clearly this is happening to more than just me - or does Apple not stock spares Huh
Each fan is hand made! Grin
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2014, 08:18:15 PM »
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Each fan is hand made! Grin

Yes, that likely accounts for the price...
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2014, 10:21:57 AM »
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The installation of a new fan did not fix the problem.

Dealer now tells me that a new mother board is on order.

I find this unacceptable and have asked Apple to replace the machine.
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2014, 10:47:26 AM »
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The simple answer to that suggestion from a 'senior' Apple tech was 'No, we will not replace the machine. Wait until the logic board is replaced'
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Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2014, 10:53:07 AM »
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The simple answer to that suggestion from a 'senior' Apple tech was 'No, we will not replace the machine. Wait until the logic board is replaced'

And you can be pretty sure that they'll put the old fan back in your Mac Pro.  Angry
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« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2014, 10:58:08 AM »
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The installation of a new fan did not fix the problem.

Dealer now tells me that a new mother board is on order.

When I was designing electronics, we used to call this "swap parts 'til it works" style of troubleshooting "Easter-egging", and, when we'd find techs doing it -- we'd know because of the perfectly good parts they sent back for repair -- we'd suggest some additional training.

Jim
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« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2014, 03:03:30 PM »
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The simple answer to that suggestion from a 'senior' Apple tech was 'No, we will not replace the machine. Wait until the logic board is replaced'

Bad bad bad customer service. You should push this up the chain of responsibility 'til you get to someone with a clue.

-Dave-
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lhodaniel
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« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2014, 03:27:56 PM »
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Chris,

I don't know if you have or will name-drop your lu-la affiliation and your better-than-average ability to cause Apple some bad press on this. FWIW, after over 20 years on the Windows side, I have been ready to pull the trigger on a switch back to Mac. (I was Mac in the real early days from '86-'92 but had to switch for work, and was tired of the ransom.) This would mean probably 2 Macs, not a small investment. Your experience has given me pause, along with what I've gathered that Apples' policy is to not stock ANY parts at repair centers requiring them to order piecemeal after a machine is submitted for repair. I've heard of this even with MacBook batteries which we all know will fail at some point in time. This, IMO, creates an unnecessary delay in turnaround. I'm not happy about the fact that a Mac user is effectively an Apple hostage when it comes to repairing a machine.

So, feel free to tell them that the eminent sale of 2 machines has been put in jeopardy because of this as well as a lifetime of future business.

Lloyd
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Chris Kern
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« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2014, 03:47:22 PM »
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The simple answer to that suggestion from a 'senior' Apple tech was 'No, we will not replace the machine. Wait until the logic board is replaced'

Where is the repair being done?  Locally (e.g., at one of the Apple Stores in Toronto), at the Flextronics factory in Austin, or in some other manufacturer's repair center?

If it's being performed by Flextronics, I'll offer a contrarian option: as long as Apple agrees to reinitialize your warranty term, you might wind up with a better computer after the repair than you would with a new one.  When a manufacturer's service facility repairs a product, it often is subjected to pre-shipping tests that are more rigorous than the standard factory QA process.

I certainly was pleased with how well Nikon-USA repaired my D800E, which exhibited the infamous left-focus problem.  I wasn't at all happy with how long it took the company to figure out how to perform the repair—several European and Asian Nikon repair centers reportedly were dealing competently with the left-focus problem months earlier—but at the suggestion of Thom Hogan I waited until Nikon-USA got its act together and, when I got the camera back, not only was the left-focus problem resolved but the phase-detect autofocus was generally improved no matter which focus points were used.  Similarly, I've been delighted with the two factory-refurbished Nikon lenses I purchased, while on at least one occasion I had to send a bad sample of a new lens back to the retail seller.

I agree that Apple ought to honor your request for a replacement, given that you only had the product two months.  But if I were in your position, I think I would at least wonder whether that was the best approach.

One other thought: I've been very pleased with my Mac Pro (so far . . . ), but unless your experience was the result of a unique combination of simultaneous problems, it strikes me that what happened may reflect an engineering failure.  A computer that crams so many components into such a small form-factor needs to have a really foolproof thermal shutdown mechanism.  If a fan problem precipitated the meltdown of your motherboard, that raises questions about the robustness of the design.  (Guess it's time for me to pop for that "Applecare" post-warranty maintenance contract.)
« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 04:30:50 PM by Chris Kern » Logged
Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2014, 06:42:06 PM »
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When I was designing electronics, we used to call this "swap parts 'til it works" style of troubleshooting "Easter-egging", and, when we'd find techs doing it -- we'd know because of the perfectly good parts they sent back for repair -- we'd suggest some additional training.

In conversation with the Apple dealer's Mac tech, I gently suggested that this might be the case - he freely admitted that this was the case. Angry
« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 06:44:32 PM by Chris Sanderson » Logged

Christopher Sanderson
The Luminous-Landscape
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