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News Archive for Tuesday, Oct. 30th, 2012

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Mac Pro OS X 10.8 Upgrade problems due to (old) Atheros WiFi card conflict w/SATA
(Strange conflict but 2nd person to note this issue at apple forums recently)

"Subject: (Atheros) WiFi card in 2009 Mac Pro borks SATA (for 10.8 update)
Hi. "the hatter" recommended that I let you know about this. In the thread, I am "mkush".
One of the oddest, least obvious things I've ever run into. Were it not for this thread, I would have had no choice but to dump my Mac Pro. I think this could help others. Forum Thread:
(2009 Mac Pro) Issue upgrading to OS X Mountain Lion, not seeing primary sata

(I wrote Mark to confirm he had the same (or similar) Atheros card (Apple branded Atheros AR5BXB6) as the thread starter mentioned. BTW: A search shows this is an 802.11a/b/g card/AR5006. Typical Mac Pro N card upgrade is Broadcom model.)
   Unfortunately the last few characters on the model number of the card are worn off. I can see AR5BX I think (card is not in front of me at the moment). So I guess that means it is Atheros, but we don't know for sure which one.
(If it was still installed you could check ASP info on the card.-Mike)
I bought the Mac used, so the card was already installed.
-Mark K."

In the past (going back to 2007), Atheros N mini-PCIe cards (originally AR5008 IIRC, some w/3 ant inputs) were used in some early N intel-cpu mac notebooks and minis, although Mac Pros usually had Broadcom cards. (BCM4321 or 4322 IIRC, but that may have changed over time. That card was sold as Apple kit/PN MB988Z/A or /B IIRC going back to 2007, referenced in DIY/upgrade articles here is still being sold. I think most upgraders (esp. w/Mac Pros) used this card.)
  For used buyers that want to check, Apple system profiler will report the WiFi card model. (Which reminded me about past notes on wifi card firmware/updates being loaded via OS X files at boot and not flashed into the card, so the version could vary depending on the OS version you had installed.) The 2009-2010 Mac Pro's wifi card is mounted behind the (removable) CPU tray as shown in my article on 2009 Mac Pros info, reviews and benchmarks.

If anyone else has seen this issue with any other model WiFi card in a Mac Pro, let me know.
The usual upgrade is the N Broadcom card (still sold), which should have no problems.
(The question of 64bit driver support came up w/some cards, although from the thread starter's ASP info it appeared he used Lion OK before the attempt to upgrade to 10.8.)

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