I think I may have damaged my Mac Pro's internal components

in Genius Bar edited January 2014
Long story, but in a nutshell, Apple made me replace my defective Mac Pro video card myself (even though it's still under warranty) and I wasn't exactly qualified to do it. Throughout the attempted replacement process, I tried to force the GPU out when I didn't realize it was locked in, I might have nicked part of the circuit board with a screwdriver while attempted to unplug a cable, it took several attempts to get the GPU back into the guides (which may have scratched stuff up) and a permanent bend in the new cable has resulted in the cable pushing itself up against those little cylindrical things on the circuit board. Since I can't get the PCI bracket to fit back on, my Mac Pro is now in pieces on my floor.

Apple still kept refusing to send somebody over to help, insisting that I lug my 70-pound beast over to my local Apple store, but after I made it clear that I was ready to lose it and sue them for failing to help me out before all this crap happened in the first place, they promised to send somebody over to help analyze it and reassemble it. The customer service isn't bad, considering IT'S A $5,000 MACHINE!!!

Anyway, I know I tend to be a little paranoid about damage, but since I know so little about these things, and since I don't trust Apple's opinion, I need to ask: how likely is it that I've damaged the components of my Mac Pro? To clarify, I wasn't super-rough or anything. I'm not an idiot. But, if I thought something was merely stuck when in reality it was locked in (like the video card), I'd try to yank it out a few times, until I realized what the problem was.

Basically, I'm worried that I may have damaged the locks, the part where the card plugs into the machine, and some of the circuit board components. Maybe other stuff that I'm not aware of, too.

I realize it's hard to determine anything without seeing what's actually happened, but any help/educated guesses would be greatly appreciated.

And please, be respectful. Again, I'm not an idiot. I had absolutely no problem installing additional RAM and hard disks, but as far as I'm concerned, the GPU is in a whole different category in terms of replacement. My large hands don't help, either.


  • Reply 1 of 3
    toymakertoymaker Posts: 30member
    In this sort of situation, it's probably a case of "If it works, don't worry about it".

    The plastic lock that holds in the video card isn't critical to the machine, it basically just holds things in place a bit more sturdily, If that's broken, I wouldn't worry about it. Just make sure that the card is plugged in properly and you shouldn't have a problem there.

    If the slot that the card fits into is damaged, as in, the contacts have come disconnected from the main logic board (or similar), it's likely that you'll have no video, or some... interesting video issues. Not really any two ways about that.

    The bent cable pushing up against the "cylindrical things", which I am guessing are capacitors, again, wouldn't worry me unless one of them has come loose or broken, in which case you'll likely notice some very strange happenings when you use the machine next. Take a look at the affected capacitors and give them a slight poke with a tool made of nylon or other non conductive material. If they move easily (not like "bending wire" easily, but "solder broken" easily), or appear to be bulging/broken on the top, they should be checked out by a tech.

    As for nicking the board, remember that there is a decent amount of empty space on those circuit boards where there's no conductive tracks to break, and in my experience, unless you can see a gouge cutting one or more tracks, don't worry about it too much. I'd say the bigger worry in relation to circuit boards would be breaking the tiny solder joins while trying to force the components. Having said that, the boards you're working with are pretty chunky, so it's not as likely as it would be if you were working with a smaller computer (a laptop for example).

    Basically what I've said above is that if you are not noticing any new issues since these things happened, it's probably not worth worrying about. If you are still really worried about it, the best thing you could do yourself would be to run the diagnotsics off the install DVD's that came with the machine. If there's anything seriously wrong, that will likely reveal what it is.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    Thanks for your help! I wish I would've gotten more responses just to have a 3rd/4th/whatever opinion, but what you're saying makes a lot of sense, so I'm not going to freak out unless the machine starts malfunctioning after it's put back together.

    I tend to think of everything in the sense of, "Once it's broken, it's never the same again." Like with cars, or bones. Or HD video cameras, for that matter. I guess it could really go either way; I hope you're right though. Thanks again!
  • Reply 3 of 3
    If it works, it works! (Just so you have a 3rd/4th/whatever opinion.)

    I wouldn't worry about it if it starts up normally. Who cares if there are scratches. As long as it works, they just don't matter.

    If you haven't started it up again yet... go ahead and do it. If there is real damage, it won't spread (it won't affect other components), if there is damage, that's the only way to tell.


    With healthy bones... they tend to heal stronger (at least in that location) than they were prior to the break.

    Cars are the same way... if fixed properly, they are just as good (or perhaps better) than when they were on the show-room floor!

    Quit throwing stuff away that can be fixed!
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