Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How to fix a psycho Mac Pro


I'll just act like there hasn't been a huge gap in posting...

I have a Mac Pro. It's been acting... well... completely broken.
On startup, the two DVI screens take it in turns to flick off and on for three minutes before i can log in, my SaffireLE starts up desynchronised from the firewire bus, and my USB-MIDI devices literally crash out after a half-hour of use.

Today I fixed it.
If you have any symptoms like this, the following information may just save you a metric ton of grief.
Bit of a disappointing fix, but here it goes:
- Connect your DVIs through VGA adapters.
Rubbish, I know, but there -seems- to be some weird timing issue whereby the DVIs -spank- the data clock from the graphics card, which is messing with the bus clocks for the USB+FW. Ouch.
I genuinely can't believe that this could happen, but it certainly does look this way.

Now all my devices work fine (although my macpro still takes a full minute to boot, somehow... i'm just spoiled I guess). The Saffire works perfectly, and the system is rock solid. Awesome.