iMac Pro Woes

FINAL UPDATE: Thursday December 27th 8:14am: Until Apple sorts a weird issue with Mojave and the iMac Pro out this is my set up. 2 x LG UltraFine 4K Display as seen below. David enjoys the 2 x LG UltraFine 5K Display on his computer.

The vertical display let’s us display our websites almost full-content for the most part. But the 4K one does show them at a strange breakpoint which it seems not many websites accommodate well.

Oh and something I left out of the earlier update. Tommy at the Highpoint Apple Store told us they do indeed now have the people in place to make repairs to iMac Pros in-store and authorised 3rd-party repairers; so fear not iMac Pro owners.

iMac Pro with two 4K Screens

UPDATE: 7:20pm: We did a test, we haven’t been able to do because of the placement of our machines, but with them fresh out of the box we could move them around more easily. We connected both of the 5K monitors to the iMac Pro running Mojave, and it worked fine. Connected both the 4K monitors to the iMac Pro running Mojave, and it worked fine. Connected the combination of 1x 4K and 1x 5K and it crashed immediately.

So for now, one of us will have 2x 5K monitors, the other, likely me, will be stuck with 2x 4K screens. Hopefully Apple, now knowing about the issue, will do something about it, hopefully there will be a fix in the future.

The case is remaining open with Apple, it’s being pushed up to engineering, so a fix may come… fingers crossed. I don’t want to be the poor bugger left with 4K monitors forever… while David has two 5Ks.

UPDATE: 6:45pm: Argh… we know the problem now, it’s Mojave.

We got home about an hour and a half ago. Plugged in the new iMac Pros. I set mine up while David was putting his screens back on their VESA mounts. Everything was working fine. All three monitors were working perfectly.

Then I upgraded to Mojave and everything went to s**t. The problem returned. David who is still on High Sierra still has all three screens working fine.

David is back on the phone with Apple Support… I’ll likely have to downgrade my iMac Pro to High Sierra, though they will probably want some diagnostics from my machine before I do so.

UPDATE: 4:39pm: After returning while our hard drives were wiped we finally have left the store with two new IMac Pros fresh in box… when we get home we’ll check if these ones work as expected.

We have to say a huge thanks to the staff at Apple Highpoint who are head and shoulders above the AppleCare phone support. Claire, Tommy, and whichever manager approved the swap have helped rectify a problem (pending testing when we get home) that the phone folks couldn’t come close to solving in three weeks. Will do a final update when we’ve gotten them home.

UPDATE: 2:30pm. We were seen, and handed off to another genius. Seems the instruction was to run the diagnostics as required and go through with a replacement of the units. We’ll be very happy for this if it resolves the issue, but wish it had happened a couple of weeks ago.

Will post a final update once we’re home and have all our monitors set up and running, ready to catch up on the work I didn’t do on Christmas Eve, on Christmas Day.

While my last update said we were being “fobbed off” on someone else, Tommy, the guy who helped us was awesome. And Claire, the business manager on for the day, came out to see us and apologies for the treatment from AppleCare phone support and to acknowlege our frustration, which as a customer is really what we want all along right?

UPDATE: 2:15pm: We’re waiting at the Apple Store, apparently Nathan can’t help us as he is the only manager on and “needs to be free” so he is assigning us another genius. Our appointment was at 2pm, we were here at 1:30 and they wanted to “check-in” our computers if we wanted to go somewhere for the half an hour they wouldn’t see us.

The check-in included a full cosmetic inspection of the machine, which seemed like it was going to take a while. So we decided to wait rather than do that as the lady assigned to do so wasn’t available until 1:45. So it seems like we’re being fobbed off to someone else even though we were assured that Nathan would be available to see us at 2pm.

UPDATE: 11:48am: have had a call from the lovely Claire from the Apple Business Team at the Highpoint store. Claire has moved our appointment up from 4:30pm (they close at 5 today) to 2pm so we can get this sorted out. Hopefully parking isn’t too hellish, it being Christmas eve and all.

Apologising for the lack and kind of support we’ve received thus far, Claire was definitely there to help which is how one expects Apple to do their thing. If only we’d had a Claire on Apple Phone Support

Whether the units are replaced is up to the Head Genius and I’m sure once they connect them up to the monitors and see them not crashing that will be the course of action, after all, there are a lot of public holidays around this time of year so it will likely be a long delay if we wait for a tech to come out and fix them, not to mention the time we’re already been waiting.

My MacBook Pro running two monitors, something my iMacPro can’t seem to do!

My sad and temporary set up for my desk. See that little MacBook Pro there, and the two additional screens? That MacBook Pro is doing something my iMac Pro can’t do… run both the external monitors.

The iMac Pro is supposed to be able to do this, as you can see in the attached screenshot, it should be able to run two 5K monitors without a problem, so a 5K and 4K should be no problem… but nope, neither mine, nor David’s do this. Plugging in the two monitors together causes the entire computer to crash.

Screenshot of Apple iMac Pro page showing it should be able to run dual RAID systems AND two 5K monitors… ours can’t even run one 5K and a 4K with no other peripherals attached.
What my desk has looked like for 3 weeks… a blacked out 5K because the iMac Pro won’t run both monitors.

So for over 3 weeks now, since we bought the 4K monitors, David has been dealing with both the business manager at our local Apple store and Apple support to get the issue resolved.

We’ve had to download and run proprietary Apple support software on our computers that run diagnostics and produce a massive file that gets uploaded to Apple, who knows what’s in there.

David has done this twice on his machine, and once on mine… and Apple have said they still can’t confirm if it is a software or hardware problem.

The kicker is, we paid for AppleCare as a business customer, we’re supposed to have on-site support… but in three weeks, no one has been booked to come out, even after repeated requests.

My iMac Pro showing it has coverage until 2021
Our AppleCare page showing Onsite service
Showing footnote 3 less there be confusion that it showed something that would make us ineligible for AppleCare “Onsite” service.

Apple says it can’t send someone out until they figure out if it is hardware of software. So they want us to run more diagnositics. They want us to send photos of our set up, and video showing how the monitors are plugged in, ie showing the cable going from the monitor to the iMac Pro for both monitors. This is to show them that we have connected them in accordance to their instructions, like we’re idiots and can’t read instructions… which don’t come with the computer or the monitors I might add. We looked for them before connecting the monitors.

The trick apparently is that on the iMac, you need to connect the 5K monitor in a specific port, and the 4K monitor (or second 5K) into another port furthest away from the 5K port. We did this. It has something to do with the USB-C BUS on the device. Weirdly no instructions for the MacBook Pro exists, I have them both plugged into the one side of the MacBook.

Some of our own investigation (Dr Google) shows that others who have this problem have had their iMac Pros replaced. The GPU seems to be messed up on a batch of iMac Pros as the couple of cases we’ve found reference that the GPU fails… and the diagnostics we sent to Apple apparently also show the trigger for the restart of our computers is the GPUs on our iMacPros. And our iMac Pros have sequential serial numbers which likely shows they are from the same batch.

So in a two pronged attack: David spoke further with a new person on the Apple support line yesterday, our other guy has stopped responding, they have agreed to organise someone to come out, but will have to get back to us as to when this will be, but it won’t be before next Monday at the earliest, taking us beyond 4-weeks of following this up.

The second approach is we have a Genius Bar appointment booked for today at 4:30. We’re taking everything in with us… two iMac Pros, 4 monitors and our MacBook Pros. Just let them deal with it.

Here’s our biggest issue: This shouldn’t be our problem. We’re business customers, with over $30,000 in Apple equipment sitting on our desks at any one time. We paid for on-site support. We shouldn’t be the ones running these diagnostics, nor should we have to be without our business machines for extended periods of time if Apple wants to take our computers for investigation into the issue.

David was right when he said to the guy yesterday… after being frustrated with his inane questioning… Apple should take these computers back, give us new ones, and then they can do all the investigation on these units they want to. We wouldn’t be without our machines, we’d be happier customers and Apple would have two devices they can do everything they want to.

But, stupidly, Apple have these machines on the market and they have no one who is certified to work on them in their stores. When David raised this with the support guy on the phone yesterday, he was told if they take the computers away, they’ll likely have to go to Sydney as there may be a tech there who is authorised to work on them.

There are a few YouTube videos showing other iMac Pro owners who’ve run into the issue of no one being authorised to work on the machines. In once case, someone bought a VESA mount for their machine, the screws broke when he was trying to attach the device, he took the machine back to the Apple Store who mangled his machine and returned it to him, when he got it home and saw what they did to it, they denied they ever worked on the machine, because they apparently weren’t supposed to. I think he ended up getting a replacement machine after garnering millions of views on YouTube.

Shows that others are having issues getting support for iMac Pro
Another video showing lack of support at a store level for the iMac Pro. Even for people who are willing to pay (because they didn’t get AppleCare)

Hopefully we see a good outcome from our trip today, though I’m not holding my breath on Christmas Eve of getting a resolution. The treatment we’ve seen from the Apple support has been severely lacking and his kicking the arse out of the goodwill Apple has enjoyed with us over the many, many, years we’ve been Apple users.

For now, I’m running my two screens attached to a machine with a fraction of the computing power of the iMac Pro, and it’s working smoothly.

Thankfully I don’t have any big photo or video work right now, that’s why we bought the iMac Pros and well, it’s sitting on the coffee table like a very expensive paperweight, waiting to go back to the Apple Store today.

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