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168 Posts

12-10-2008

United States of America

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Thinkstation P910 dead after adding 10GBE network card

2021-08-09, 17:36 PM

I somehow killed my P910 (30B8-X00500) by installing a new 10GBE network card (Mellanox MCX311A) in the top PCIE slot right under to the PSU. The machine has two Xeon E5-2687W v4 CPUs, 16 x 16GB RDIMMs and a Quadro M5000 (all original Lenovo parts) installed. For storage there's a M.2 Flex adapter with two SSDs (Win 10 & Ubuntu boot drives) and 2 x 4TB SATA HDDs installed.

 

I followed safety precautions and unplugged the power cable, and also removed the PSU for more handling space before installing the Mellanox card into the top PCIE slot. This seemed to be a routine maintenance, but after putting everything back together, the machine wouldn't post anymore.

 

In detail, after either plugging in the power cable or pushing the front power button:

- no beep

- no code in the diagnostic display at the front

- all four SATA back-plate LEDs are off

- no video output, monitor stays dark

+ green LED on the back, and the internal power LED on the side of the PSU are on

+ case, PSU, CPU, and GPU fans are running (all fans are spinning at low RPM)

+ HDDs connected to the SATA back-plate spin up

+ SATA ODD gets power and tray can be opened

+ green power LED and headphone LED at the front panel are on

 

I've meanwhile removed everything except CPUs and RAM, but still no POST error. Also removed the battery for ~ 12h and set the clear/CMOS jumper as described in the HMM, but no change.

 

Anything else I could try to revive the machine? I have a second P910, but am reluctant to use it for excessive parts swapping / testing.

 

Thanks

 

 

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5269 Posts

02-22-2010

United States of America

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Re:Thinkstation P910 dead after adding 10GBE network card

2021-08-09, 21:21 PM

Have you tried pulling AC power and then full reseating the PSU?  Or checking to see if there is any sort of obvious damage to the edge connector that mates the PSU to the motherboard?

 

Another suggestion would be to pull the PSU, and carefully rub an isopropyl alcohol pad along the gold fingers on that edge connector of the PSU.  Let that dry completely and then try reinstalling the PSU.  Might not help in this particular situation, but it should help to ensure that there's a clean connection with that edge connector.

 

It sounds like you're able to get the system to power on to some extent, so another debug step could be to pull all memory and see if the system produces the no memory error beep sequence (3 short + 1 long beep) as expected.  This would hopefully tell you whether or not the system is at least trying to execute POST properly.

 

Obviously that Mellanox card is not supported, but I'm thinking it's more of an unfortunate coincidence that the system stopped booting after installation as opposed to the card actually bricking the system/board in any way.




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168 Posts

12-10-2008

United States of America

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13318 Page Views

  • Posts: 168
  • Registered: ‎12-10-2008
  • Location: United States of America
  • Views: 13318
  • Message 3 of 5

Re:Thinkstation P910 dead after adding 10GBE network card

2021-08-10, 0:53 AM

Yes, I repeatedly pulled AC power and reseated the PSU, but no improvement. Cleaning the PSU connector contacts with isoprop also brought no change, and there are no visible damages on the system board or PSU connectors. It seams that all power sources on the system board, including PCIE bus power, are still working. Just the SATA back-plate LEDs and the USB LEDs at the front stay off. There's also no USB power at the front connectors, while the same USB HDD will spin up when connected to one of the rear plugs.

 

Pulling all the RAM did not trigger any POST message (display or beeps). I powered up the machine this way with or without GPU installed.

 

Lastly, I've tested the Mellanox card in my Thinkstation D20, where it works just fine.

 

My second P910 is currently running calculations, but once finished I'll check if its PSU can revive the defective machine.

 

Edit:

I've meanwhile swapped PSUs between both machines. No changes with the defective P910, while the second machine works fine with the other PSU. So it now all points to the system board.

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168 Posts

12-10-2008

United States of America

2302 Signins

13318 Page Views

  • Posts: 168
  • Registered: ‎12-10-2008
  • Location: United States of America
  • Views: 13318
  • Message 4 of 5

Re:Thinkstation P910 dead after adding 10GBE network card

2021-08-11, 22:40 PM

Well, it looks like the system board is indeed the culprit. During further testing I had disconnected the non essential SATA power cables (those three 4-pin cables for the 5 1/2 drive bays and the two back-plates.  Upon reconnecting them I mixed up ODD and SATA power at the two connectors in the upper right corner. I assumed that shouldn't matter, but could this have done any additional damage perhaps?

 

Anyway, I've then replaced the system board with an old P900 board, which I still had laying around, and everything works fine again. My second P910 has two Haswells installed, so I guess I'll have to swap CPUs now, or has there been an BIOS update supporting v4 CPUs for P900 meanwhile?

 

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5269 Posts

02-22-2010

United States of America

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  • Message 5 of 5

Re:Thinkstation P910 dead after adding 10GBE network card

2021-08-12, 18:40 PM

Hmm....I don't think mixing up the SATA power connection for the upper backplane and the ODD power connection at the board side would have caused any major issues.  From what I recall, the power pinouts for those connectors should be the same, but I'd have to confirm that.  Sounds like you've isolated the issue to the board, but I'm not convinced that SATA power mixup is what actually caused the problem to occur based on what I'm reading here.  Though that could also be dependent on what you had connected to those power drops on the component side.

 

Unfortunately you won't be able to run v4 (Broadwell) CPUs on a P900 board.  That platform is limited to Haswell based CPUs only.




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