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Feedback on 2008 Mac Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.3
Reports last Updated: 4/2/2008 (9AM)

This page has (early 2008) Mac Pro owner reports on the EFI firmware update 1.3 released March 27th, 2008. Here's a clip with apple notes on the update:

"This update fixes several issues to improve the stability of Mac Pro (Early 2008) computers.
After the firmware is successfully applied to your computer, your Boot ROM Version will be:
You can confirm the version of the Boot ROM installed on your computer using System Profiler."

Here's the links from the 3/27 news page on the update and firmware restore CD v1.5:

Reader Feedback: (later reports first)
For those 2008 Mac Pro owners that have seen problems in the past if this update helps (or not) let me know.

(added 4/2/2008)
" It seems that a number of little quirks are gone from my machine. Everything is working great after the firmware update and there have been no wake from sleep issues.
-N Goodman."

(added 3/31/2008)
"The EFI firmware update appears to have fixed my reboot on wake from sleep problem. Since installing the update, my system has properly woken from sleep every time, even after reconnecting it to my UPS. The room lights still dim briefly when it wakes up, but it now wakes instead of rebooting. It remains to be seen if it will still trip the arc fault interrupter, but it hasn't yet.

(added 3/31/2008 - updated)
"this may be just me or a coincidence. But ever since I updated the firmware, my boot to "usable" time (that is, when everything is loaded, including all the icons in the menu bar) has dramatically increased.
Programs are also loading significantly faster. I wonder if something was tweaked in the SATA portion of the firmware? I'm speculating.
(I wondered if they had changed the init/power up routine (as many noted restart on wake was fixed, although not all) but one RAID user (below - Sam W.) said his RAID boot drive startup seems faster... Have you rebooted/restarted a few times since the update?-Mike)
(he later wrote)
Yeah, And unfortunately I have to report it went back to normal. Sometimes the machine boots up real quickly, sometime it takes twice as long. I never could figure out why.

(added 3/31/2008)
"My Mac Pro now seems to sleep properly with the new firmware, at least for the last 6 or so opportunities it has had. I have not noticed any other problems, such as with my PCIe Sonnet SATA card or any drives connected through it. My eSATA card has always been in Slot 4.
-Patrick W."

Some earlier reports noted PCIe SATA card problems after the update (at least cards in slot 2, moving it to another slot got it recognized/working again). But the latest problem report below noted some issues even in slot 4. (Anyone try clearing the kext caches to see if that helps?)

(added 3/31/2008)
"My MacPro (2008) 3.2 Ghz had no problems on wake from sleep before the update of EFI. Now (after update) on wake from sleep my mac freezes.
(Have you shut down/restarted a few times? Cleared caches? Tried resetting the SMC/zap the pram? Any addons? (PCI cards, external devices attached, startup/3rd party login/startup items installed?)-Mike)
I think I fixed the problem by disconnetting all cables from macpro, waiting five minutes and connecting all again. (Disconnecting AC power for awhile resets SMC)
I hope it's going to be alright.
-Francesco M."

Another report on PCIe SATA Card Problems:

(added 3/31/2008 - from 3 mails sent yesterday)
"I own a new Mac pro 8-Core 2.8GHz, 4 Drives, 3 in Software raid and boot OS X with Sil3132 PCIe Card.
Before Firmware update. My Card was in slot 4. Then when I update firmware successfully, it seems like I can't see any NTFS drive that connect to my Mac via Sil3132 and also wth Vista drive in Bay 4.
Then I go to disk utility. I saw (the) drive connected but it says it cannot mount. Then I uninstall Paragon NTFS then Reinstall it again. So this solved the problem with cannot mount a NTFS drive after new Firmware.

Anyway I found a new problem - all drives that connect to sil3132 not working properly in both OS X and Vista bootcamp. It can read well but when I try to copy anything to the drive that connects via Sil3132, it becomes slow and stops responding till OS X is hung. I tried this many times, never successful in copy anything back to the drive.

At first I thought reinstall driver might help. but after trying reinstall driver this wont help. Then Shutdown and I go boot into Vista. The same problem occur, it reads well but fails in writing anything back. 600MB file will (read) fast as 80MB/Sec for a 100MB then writing speed was half down for every second till speed became like 2MB/s and lower, and stopping. Then Vista hangs it shows 2 hours for copying 600MB file to drive that connects via Sil3132.
Then I once again change Sil3132 to Slot-3, the same result slow write and hang but can read well.
(a later mail said)
A new Error found.
Now reads also slow, make it unable to watch a movie from Sil3132 Connected drive. And after few minutes, Finder stop responding.
is there any method to revert Firmware back to previous firmware? Please solve this asap.
(I linked (top of page here and in the news page the day it was released) to the new Firmware Restoration CD 1.5.-Mike)
(his 3rd mail follows:)
I Think I found the real problem with Sil3132 Card with Hard disk attached. It seems like after firmware update, Slot 2 doesn't work with sil3132 PCIe Card. (A Tip noted in an earlier report below was to move the card from slot 2 to slot 4. Anyone try clearing the kext cache before doing that though? (just curious).-Mike)
Slot 3 & 4 work well with normal Single Hard disk but with my Stardom they have 5 Hdd's and use a port multiplier, seems unable to work at all. It become slow reading and writing. it also not work in both OSX and Vista bootcamp. I think Apple has to correct this Firmware asap.
And I found that my FireWire Panasonic NV-GS200 Camcorder also hangs iMovie 08 and OSX leopard too.
I have work with this camcorder all the time in my Macbook Pro and found no problem. Now My Mac pro with new Firmware do me a lot of headache. Apple Fix it now!!
-Pinet C."

PCIe SATA Card Problems After Firmware Update: (updated 3/29 with another report/tip)

(added 3/29/2008)
"Mike, After updating the Mac Pro 2008 with the EFI Firmware 1.3 my SiI-3132 based PCIe card stopped being recognized in slot 2 by system profiler. Restarting and reinstalling drivers did not help. Moving the card to slot 4 allowed the card to work again. I am not sure how many users will be impacted by this issue but it appears that the EFI 1.3 update may cause some SATA host adapters to no longer work in slot 2.

If the user is not having sleep problems with the Mac Pro, I do not believe I would recommend this update. Apple Mac Pro firmware updates are causing additional unadvertised issues between the video card firmware update and EFI this week. Apple replaced my 2600XT based on firmware update issues (they also did for some other readers noted on the earlier page of Feedback on Mac ATI 2600XT Firmware Update-Mike),
now we have to figure out how EFI has been modified :-)
Regards, Michael"

An earlier report on PCIe SATA card problems after the update follows (I wrote him to ask if he had the card in slot 2 and if moving it to slot 4 worked for him also)

(added 3/28/2008)
" I installed the update this morning. Now my e-sata external drive used for Time Machine won't mount.

(Have you restarted again since the initial update (maybe even a cold start))
Yes, complete power-down of system and drive

(Is the ext. SATA drive connected via a spare motherboard port or a PCIe eSATA card?)
eSATA card (Brand/Model?) Using a Lycom 2-port PCIe card with the SI 3132 chipset.

(Does Disk Utility see it? if so can DU mount it?)
No, doesn't show it at all. System profile doesn't even show the PCI card anymore.
(I sent Cliff a note about the later reports above (i.e. if card in slot 2 move to slot 4 for instance)
Finally got around to trying this, it worked fine. Moved it from slot 2 to 4 and it reappeared.

Reminder on running Firmware Updates from RAID Drives:

(added 3/28/2008)
"Just tried to apply the just-released firmware update on a new Mac Pro, would not install and gave me a cryptic error (attached).
    (Screenshot of dialog box showing)
    "An unexpected error occurred (28 : 3).
    Your firmware can not be updated

    See www.apple.com/support for more information."

This is on a 10.5.2 machine about one month old. Another Pro we have here updated with no problems. I will send more info if/when I figure out what makes this guy so special.

(Questions on your problematic Mac boot drive:

  • Was the firmware update run from a RAID boot volume? (use a non-RAID boot drive to update)
  • Is the boot drive in GUID partition format? (if you've replaced the HD verify it has correct scheme)

  • Using RAID boot volumes has been noted in the past as being the cause of firmware updates not applying (mentioned in an Apple kbase doc also) and there was an Apple doc also noting GUID scheme was required. (sometimes readers that had upgraded HDs didn't format them to GUID, instead had APM format, and didn't realize it until later.)-Mike
    You nailed it, this Mac boots off a two-drive RAID. Didn't think of that right away. I'll try from an external later. Thanks for the tip. Great site, BTW, check on it every day.

    FYI - in the past firmware updates for intel-based macs had problems if run from a RAID boot drive - but one reader here said he updated OK from his RAID boot drive. Apple still suggests using a Non-RAID drive (and GUID formatted drive) in their doc About firmware updates for Intel-based Macs (last revised Oct. 2007):

    (clip from that doc)
    "If there is an installation issue....
    Important: An Intel-based Mac's hard disk must be formatted with the GUID partition scheme to apply a firmware update. Intel-based Macs are shipped this way from the factory. If you have reformatted your hard drive, you should check which scheme your hard disk is currently using before applying a firmware update.

    Note: Firmware updates requires the computer to be started from a non-RAID volume. (emphasis mine-Mike) If you are starting up from a RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) subsystem, you must start up from a non-RAID storage device to apply this update. Some USB and FireWire devices may prevent firmware updates from installing correctly. If you are having trouble installing an update try disconnecting non-essential devices and use only an Apple keyboard, mouse, and display. "

    I wonder if things have changed for the new Macs (or under Leopard) as far as using RAID boot drives to install firmware updates, although Apple still links to that doc (last updated Oct. 2007) w/notes above even in the D/L page for the 2008 Mac Pro EFI firmware update. (One problem report lately - one saying it worked with 2008 Mac Pros...)

    (added 3/28/2008)
    "As you may remember, we've exchanged a few e-mails recently concerning my Mac Pro 2008. I ordered a BTO Mac Pro with the NVidia video card, so I've never experienced any of the video problems reported by others, but I do have the restart-after-sleep problem common to this machine. In fact, since the beginning, I've never been able to allow my Mac to sleep under any conditions. Almost without exception, if I allowed it to sleep, it would restart when I tried to wake it (or simply panic). As I mentioned in an earlier e-mail, I suspected the problem was related to waking the firewire bus, but I could never prove it. So, I just left my Mac Pro stay awake constantly.

    Today I applied the Mac Pro firmware update, and I'm pleased to report that I can now sleep and wake my Mac Pro repeatedly without any issues! Since applying the update, I've completed multiple sleep-wake cycles using various methods: pressing the button on the front of the Mac, using the keyboard shortcut (Option-Command Eject) and using the menu Sleep command. I've tested with multiple external firewire drives running and with no drives attached. I've tried it every way I can, and so far the Mac Pro has awoken successfully from sleep every time (and much faster than my previous Dual 2.0 GHz G5 used to, by the way). Hoorah!

    Looks like the new firmware did the trick, though only time will tell for sure. One thing is sure: My Mac Pro has already spent more time sleeping during the past half day than in the entire time I've owned it!
    (he later wrote)
    Follow up to last night's e-mail. Sadly, I found a way to prompt my Mac Pro restart after sleep even after updating with the new firmware. I pressed the front button to begin sleep, then I cycled power on an attached USB printer (which causes Mac to wake), then I watched in dismay as the Mac experienced a kernel panic. Bummer. I guess my Mac will continue to run 24/7 without sleeping. What a waste of electricity.
    Thanks, Steve"

    (added 3/28/2008)
    "Hey Mike, Did the update, completed without problem. Didn't notice any improvement, wake from sleep issue not resolved. Are other users stil experiencing this? (see reports here - many said it was fixed - although at least one said it reappeared. Like the old zapping the pram tip, maybe nothing is a permanent fix... and still wondering about the root cause of this.-Mike)
    I think my Raid startup volume is at fault after all (2xRaptor 150 GB). I'll get a Samsung F1 and see if this cures it. I'll let you know.
    Regards, Konrad"

    (added 3/28/2008)
    " Upgraded to the latest firmware - no problems with the update - but then again, I wasn't experiencing the wake-from-sleep/reboot issue that others already have. I skipped the Leopard Graphics update, for what its worth. Running a 2.8GHz 2008 Mac Pro with 6GB of RAM. The Mac Pro wakes from sleep each and every time.

    (added 3/28/2008)
    " I've done the update, and I've noticed no changes. The issues with Nvidia GPUs causing Leopard to completely crash are still there - if you run the Folding@Home beta it still causes OS X to instantly hang, and the only option is to do a hard-reset. (I have the 8800GT)
    There's a thread on Apple Discussion Forums about the Nvidia crashing issue:
    (I asked if he'd ever had the restart on wake issue)
    I've never had that issue, before or since the EFI update. The only instabilities I've had have been the Nvidia driver making the GUI hang - that's happened probably 6-7 times in the 3-4 weeks I've had the system. Everything other than the GUI is fine - iTunes continues to play, and you can login via SSH or AFP or whatever other network services you have running.
    -Nick F."

    (added 3/28/2008)
    " My mac would freeze/restart EVERY time I put it to sleep.
    It no longer does this with the new firmware! yay!
    -Bryan P."

    (added 3/28/2008)
    " As you may recall, I was one that went through not only this wake from sleep issue, but also I had a bad ATI HD2600 video card, dead fan.. That is fine, and now with this Firmware Update it appears the wake from sleep is indeed fixed... One workaround was to deselect the Startup HD, right now I have one selected, have come back from sleep several times.. I have to give this a big cheer! I think we have a winner!! Thanks Apple!

    (added 3/28/2008 - updated 3/31)
    " I've had all the problems ever mentioned with the new Mac Pro 2008 that I got in January.
    Apple sent me a new video card that helped with the crashing but I could never get it to wake from sleep or start up without 3 or 4 hard resets. (in the past many said zapping the pram helped with the reboot on wake from sleep - but it was not a fix/permanent fix for everyone.-Mike)
    I applied the new firmware update the moment it came out and things are working as excepted the first time since I got the machine.
    Finally, I can really enjoy my new machine!
    So, there you go... this firmware update solved all the problems I've continually had with my Mac Pro 2008.
    (On Mar. 30th he wrote with a follow-up)
    This has fixed my problems for good; no more restart on wake. It's funny, I had zapped the PRAM the day before the firmware update came out, but with no effect (as before)

    I'm booting off and using as my mine main drive a 2 drive RAID array using Apple's software RAID with two Seagate 1TB hard drives. It used to take forever for me to restart each morning (since it would never just wake from sleep) but that problem is also gone. I've restarted a few times just to check and it is blazingly fast to start up. Fantastic! (One more 1TB drive is a nightly Super Duper clone and the original 500 GB drive is used for Time Machine backups of most crucial things I wanted hourly backups of. Works great, now)
    I'm finally happy about my new MacPro purchase
    Regards, Sam W."

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