New motherboard woes

(Tina Garfield) #1

My new iMac, purchased from Apple in August, died last week - total power failure. Apple store replaced power supply and motherboard. Now software I own sees it as a new machine (but serial number did not change), and some, such as iMazing, tell me I must buy a new license because I have maxed out number of allowed machines. One or two software glitches like this I can deal with (contacting developer), but am I going to run into this issue a lot? And if so, is there a way to get around it? Booting from my SuperDuper clone had same issue.

Suggestions? Condolences? Will I run into other issues as well with new board? There are bigger problems in this world than this, but if I can save headaches, I’d like to try (and learn something in the process). Thanks!


I had this problem years ago with Adobe. After a few very annoying phone calls to their help number, I finally got someone who understood the problem and deleted the old registrations for the dead hard drives.

(Tina Garfield) #3

Thanks, but the hard drive is intact, all data, operating system untouched and unharmed. Just the guts of the machine were changed. Some software must be accessing the specs of the motherboard for verification.

I know the Adobe issue. Have been through that runaround with them a few times, but this is different. In fact, my Adobe stuff seems to be ok. (Or at least Lightroom seems to be). iCloud, however, seemed a bit wonky. I won’t get around to full test-drive until tomorrow. Am curious what all the ramifications of this repair will be. Like a new Mac, but not a new Mac…

(gastropod) #4

Most developers use the MAC (ethernet) address for licensing. The MAC is embedded in the network chip, which is on the motherboard. You’ll have to argue with the developers, and maybe send some of them a suitably redacted verification of the motherboard replacement.

I once had some software stop working on my old mac pro because I plugged the ethernet cord into the ‘wrong’ ethernet port.

(Tina Garfield) #5

Aha! I figured it had to be something like that. I will prepare properly redacted pdf. And resign myself to the chore. Thanks for the info.

(Adam Engst) #6

@gastropod is spot on. My guess is that you won’t hit too many instances of it, but there will be a few.

(frederico) #7

Whenever we swap a motherboard or move an existing clone to a new Mac this is the unfortunate result; it’s honestly not much different than a fresh system install (and in some cases reinstallation) of all your third party apps not purchased from the Mac App Store (which can also be problematic if you’re pushing MAS install limits).

Last time I had to do it personally I had well over a dozen machine-locked licenses to deal with; several were as simple as responding to a dialog to deauthorize the prior machine’s serial number and authorize the new one (e.g., Parallels for Mac); others required me to manually go to the support website and access my account to do the same autonomously (e.g., Paragon software); others had a clunky but effective support process available in the app; still others required a quick three sentence email to the developer and varied wait times.

For me, it was an extended process of not being willing to launch and test every one of the dozens and dozens of apps accumulated over three decades, and resigning myself to deal with them as I got hit over a few weeks.

Sadly, there were a few useful apps whose developers had folded and no support was available. I suspect I will still hit one of those in the future, as I have no immediate plans to venture past Mojave, and my beloved eleven years-old Mac Pro is otherwise showing no immediate signs of imminent death. Fortune forbid Apple actually builds and sells a new Mac Pro I both like and can afford.

So, yeah, condolences and commiserations.

(Seth Anderson) #8

My MacPro doesn’t support Metal, but (allegedly) if I upgrade to a Radeon RX 560 or similar, it will be able to support Mojave. I’ve never replaced a graphics card, so I’ve been hesitant. I wonder if a MacPro I want to buy will be released before I take the plunge to upgrade my current MacPro’s hardware?

(frederico) #9

Correct; several AMD cards are Metal-capable, but 2008 and unflashed 2009 Mac Pros still can’t take advantage of Metal, despite running Mojave, because the CPUs/firmware aren’t capable. If you have a 2008, you can still run Mojave; just not fully accelerated; if you have a 2009 you can flash it (trivial) to appear as a 2010.

What sucks is the nVidia fued prevents all of us from running killer CUDA cards as an alternative; nVidia has made it plain that they wrote Mojave drivers, but Apple refuses to allow them to code sign or whatever for Mojave. So you can at least go to High Sierra with a better graphics card than you might with a lesser AMD card on Mojave. Hope that makes sense.

As for swapping/adding a video card, it is extremely easy: just shutdown; remove your display connector(s); pop the side cover; release the two PCI gate-plate securing screws (usually only need your fingers); pull your existing card from Slot 1 by releasing the tumb-tab at the inside edge of the slot and gently pulling straight up (sometimes it needs a little wiggle); then either remove it, or move it to a neighbor slot.

Next guide your new card into place and firmly seat it all the way down into Slot 1 (best slot for the fastest video card), and replace the PCI gate-plate. If the card you selected requires and additional power cable, it’s pretty easy on most models to access the appropriate empty power port (the port is accessible, but “hidden” under the front fan module on the 2008; some people find it easier to also pull that module out of the way), and just plug it in (it’s keyed so you can’t get it wrong nor can you plug it into the wrong port and do damage).

Even on your first try it can be done in less than ten minutes, under five with experience, and shouldn’t require any tools (if the gate-plate is too tight, you may need a #2 Philips head).

You may keep both (or up to four total) video cards in place for multiple displays (I have six displays) if you wish.

Plenty of how-to videos on the web; e.g., 2010-2012:

The best factory “blessed” card you can get for 2010-2012 Mac Pro is the RX580, but it’s insultingly overpriced compared to more powerful nVidia cards. If you stand on eBay auctions, occasionally you can steal one for under $200 if the ad is poor enough it slides under your competition’s radar.

We are waiting at High Sierra running nVidia cards to see what, if ever, Apple offers. When that likely $10K-$20K option arrives, and we see just what “modular” and “expandable” means to Apple versus cost, we may quickly snap up the best remaining AMD cards and eek out a couple more years, or stay with HS, or start looking at other options.

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(gastropod) #10

Seth Anderson wrote: “I wonder if a MacPro I want to buy will be released before I take the plunge to upgrade my current MacPro’s hardware?”

Odds are that we’ll know the scheduling (though maybe not the prices) after the WWDC keynote, about 2.5 weeks from now. I’m expecting them to be hellishly expensive, given the prices of the iMac Pro and new Mini. I also fear that when they said ‘modular’, they meant you have to buy the ‘modules’ from Apple, not Newegg.

Swapping graphics cards is easy, though sometimes you have to fuss a bit getting the drivers installed. For 2010-2012 Mac Pros, there are actually a large variety of graphics cards that can be made to work. There are several companies that will sell you cards that have been flashed with mac compatible firmware. Or you can flash your own if you have access to a PC with Windows and a PCIe slot.

You can also upgrade the CPUs to some extent, but that’s not as easy as graphics cards.

(Tina Garfield) #11

Fortunately, my iMac is not my primary household Mac, but used mostly for photography and device backups. The only issue I have had so far,other than having to sign in again for iCloud etc, is iMazing. An email to support drew an immediate response that they reset my devices and I was good to go. No need to send them any proof. Good folks! Also, since the iMac is newish, (bought in August to replace limping ‘08 17-inch MacBook Pro)I took the opportunity weed out old and/or seldom used apps when I set it up. I shouldn’t have too much pain.

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(frederico) #12

Flashed cards are great if you can stomach the additional cost, but not strictly necessary. If you retain your current video card, and either hook up a spare display to it to act as a boot screen, or just boot “blind” (blank startup screen; no Apple logo or progress bar until shortly before Login or Desktop) unless you are doing an OS upgrade/troubleshooting, and then merely switch your only display temporarily back to the older OEM card to do what is required to also update your drivers. You can leave both cards installed and just swap the display cable as needed (even while the Mac is running if you use DisplayPort or DVi/HDMI connections).

Not sure if you want to go with an unflashed card-only if you’re not comfortable with hardware swaps, but its way easier than most make out.

We run mostly unflashed PC cards with companion cheap Apple OEM cards (e.g., nVidia GT120 or AMD 2600; both ~50 on ebay) to serve as boot/additional screen; you can move the Menubar to whatever screen you want to designate it as main screen after boot.

Since you already have a working OEM card, you don’t need to purchase another (unless your card is too wide to fit with other additional cards; the two above are single-wide models).

Paying a minimum of a $150 (often in excess of $300 or more) premium just to be flashed and have a boot screen isn’t worth it to us, but it is for those who don’t want the unpolished feeling.

(Seth Anderson) #13

yeah, that “blind boot” was what was making me hesitate to move forward with upgrading my mid-2010 Mac Pro. I don’t have a windows machine these days.

I’m unfamiliar with video cards, to be honest, so I could be making this more difficult in my brain than it will actually be.
I currently have two monitors, does that mean I currently have two video cards? Or do video cards sometimes have two ports (whatever these are officially called)? Ideally I’d be able to keep my secondary monitor attached to the card it is connected to, and just replace the card that won’t allow Mojave to be installed.

Of course, if I wasn’t lazy, I could crawl under my desk and answer this myself, eventually, but I’d like to be as prepared as possible especially since this beloved MacPro workhorse is a LAN server for four other Macs.

As an aside, seemingly once a week, the Mac App Store wants me to upgrade to Mojave, but of course, I cannot. There is no way to turn off this prompt, I have to click “Details”, which will launch the App Store to make the dialogue box go away.

(Simon) #14

This is incredibly annoying. It’s The New Apple at its very worst.

Apparently, Schiller needs people to update so he can pad his stats, users’ preferences be damned. By all means necessary. You could achieve that by making updates really enticing, but heck, nagging is so much easier and cheaper.

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(frederico) #15

That Mojave prompt can be eliminated by right-clicking on the options menu next to the ‘Get’ button in the MAS. (Or is it the Get button itself? Can’t recall). Yes, totally unintuitive.

Why don’t you start with a screenshot of ‘About This Computer’ from the Apple menu; we might want the PCIe section from ‘System Information’ as well. This will tell us what video card you have and any other installed cards.

All OEM cards supported at least two, and up to four displays on a single card. It may be that we can leave one display on your old card, and one on a newer card.

FWIW, you can grab eBay RX 580 2GB or 4GB unflashed for around or under $100 (~$160 for 4GB) and it turns out they can be flashed at no cost with public ROMs; they support up to three displays, in some cases four at lesser resolutions/refresh rates.

It’d be happy to flash and test it for you; it would just add one more small shipping cost between us.


EDIT: I meant GTX 680 nvidia cards based on Kepler which will support Metal. We can get similar prices on AMD cards.

EDIT 2: fwiw, you can buy ready-flashed versions for $180-$240. It’s just that vastly more powerful, newer nvidia cards can be had for about the same.

(Seth Anderson) #16

Thanks for the kind offer (and very helpful advice)! I have already purchased a Radeon RX 560 which is staring at me on my desk, taunting me. When Mojave first came out, I had emailed OWC to see if they sold pre-flashed cards, but they did not at that time.

I currently have installed ATI Radeon HD 5770, so I guess I’ll try to keep my secondary monitor attached to it.

(also, sorry, @ace for hijacking this thread to talk about a vaguely related topic to the original question)

(frederico) #17

The 560 is pretty anemic, compared to today’s cards, but it is absolutely better than the 5770, which will not have any acceleration under Mojave. Hopefully you got the 4GB card, but the 2GB is still way better than the disappointing 5770.

You do no explicitly state, but imply that the 560 is a PC card and thus you can just pop it in and, apart from not seeing the normal startup screen, use it as is. But, as discussed, if you retain the 5770, the Mac will simply force the boot screen to the 5770, regardless of what slot it is in; once you are booted into your Desktop, you should go into Displays prefs and designate the display on the 560 as the Main Screen by dragging the Menubar from the 5770 display to the 560 display.

After that, you will see your Startup Screen and progress bar on the 5770 display (boot/startup display), until just before Login Screen (if enabled) or Desktop, when it will “leap” to your 560 display (Main Screen). Not elegant, but fully functional.

And, again, the 5770 isn’t strictly required at all; you can opt to run both (or one or three or whatever) displays strictly from the 560, so that all displays have full acceleration and resolution options. If you don’t game or do FCP and the like or care about frame rates or resolutions or HiDPi or refresh rates on the second display, you can keep the 5770 (or other OEM Apple card) for the comfort of seeing a Startup Screen.

If you do decide you would be uncomfortable with a blank Startup Screen, whether solo or not, the 560/570/580 can be flashed at no cost using a Windows PC. Many places will do it for $150 and up; the instructions are bone simple and you can do it yourself in under ten minutes with a pal’s Windows box. For anyone reading, I will happily do it for free if you pay shipping.

Finally, just to reiterate, I recommend placing the faster 560 in Slot 1, and the 5770 in Slot 2, unless you need that 16x slot for something like a RAID or other drive accelerator (I have a RocketRaid RR840 hosting 12 of 16 available SATA channels with fast SSDs striped into a wicked fast RAID; I use a pathetic OEM GT120 in Slot 4 for a boot screen and host for two additional 1440p displays); if Slot 2 is occupied, the 5770 will have to go in Slot 3, and it will block Slot 4 due to its width.

You will find two 6-pin power ports on the motherboard side by side – one already occupied by the 5770 – use the second for your 560. If your 560 has an 8-pin power input, you will need a ~$6 6-pin to 8-pin power cable ( Do not try to just use a 6-to-6 cable; it will fit and it will boot, but when you try to push the card hard, you will get kernel panics.

I don’t think you mentioned what kind of work/apps you employ; if you are aching for power, I would still consider an nVidia card and sticking with High Sierra for more performance and GPU Compute for certain apps; but if you need Metal, not CUDA, go AMD.


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(Seth Anderson) #18

thanks for all your advice, it is most helpful to set my mind at ease.