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I have a 2012 Mac mini running Mac OS X 10.8 that doesn't boot properly. Sometimes the USB ports don't work after boot and/or the Mac mini crashes after bootup. Graphics are not crisp when output from HDMI; instead resembling an old CRT TV.

Before I did a clean install of 10.8 via Internet Recovery, it had a kernel panic/boot loop.

So far I've:

  • Reset both NVRAM and SMC
  • Run AHT extended tests (without problems).
  • Found and ran the correct ASD, which consistently shows these seven errors:

FireWire Controller (test #20) - Reset PCIe Link Error Registers... ERROR--12114 [Cannot find the PCIe capabilities register] -- TEST FAILED

FireWire Controller (test #21) - Read PCIe Link Error Registers... ERROR--12114 [Cannot find the PCIe capabilities register] -- TEST FAILED

AirPort (test #8) - Hardware Register Check Test... ERROR--12100 [IOConnect error reading from PCI address space] -- TEST FAILED

AirPort (test #9) - Wireless Module PCIe Root Port Hardware Register Test... ERROR--12100 [IOConnect error reading from PCI address space] -- TEST FAILED

SATA:SATA PCI Register Test (test #1) - SATA PCI Register Test... ERROR--12105 [PCI driver IOService open error] -- TEST FAILED

Thunderbolt (test #30) - Thunderbolt PCIe Gen2 Link Width Verification Test... ERROR-- 11 [Can not get PCI Link Width] -- TEST FAILED

Thunderbolt (test #31) - Thunderbolt PCIe Gen2 Link Speed Verification Test... ERROR-- 13 [Can not get PCI Link Speed] -- TEST FAILED

Despite FireWire and Airport showing up in failures, the Mac mini works great in Target Mode and Wi-Fi seems to work fine too. Don't know what PCI errors mean practically, though I did some research about PCIe.

ASD for the EFI passed with no problems.

Do those errors mean this logic board is fried and I should sell this Mac mini for parts, as I assume?

The logic board is rather dusty and dirty, but doesn't appear to be a liquid spill. No idea if that could realistically cause a short.

Background:

I tried to upgrade my problematic 2009 Mac mini on the cheap by getting one on eBay. It was listed as powering on but not booting, but I thought I had a decent chance of making it work with a good HD, good RAM, and clean install.

  • Before I gave up on this Mac, I wanted to do a few things for peace of mind. I cleaned the dirty logic board with spray contact cleaner, let it dry overnight, then replaced the PRAM battery. Oddly, the mini boots fine now, seems stable, doesn't crash. Rerun of ASD shows all the same errors. Still has the weird low-res display output through HDMI. – ScotttDC Nov 7 '17 at 3:03
  • Watched a youtube video in full-screen mode and the display output was much improved, nearly HD. Ran GeekBench 3 benchmark test, a little low compared to standard given for GeekBench 4 (Standard Benchmarks: 2922 for single core/ 5615 for multi core; Mine: 2505/5001). New thing: After boot I get an alert that "Because a USB device was drawing too much from your computer, one or more of your USB devices have been disabled." At the time, the only USB device plugged in was the flash drive with ASD. Aside from the display issue, basically usable. Anyone know what the PCI and PCIe errors mean? – ScotttDC Nov 7 '17 at 3:14
  • Guy on Reddit recommended I run ASD and then immediately remove all unnecessary peripherals. That resulted in the same 7 errors, plus 18 more related to "Video controller" tests. Those errors don't appear if the mini is has an HDMI plugged in. Weird. Anyway, it's screwed. Selling it for parts. Thanks MM and ID. – ScotttDC Nov 9 '17 at 17:16
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This machine is toast. Short of putting it on a test bench, it’ll be hard for you to figure out what’s wrong with it, and from where I sit somewhere on the planet, even harder. This computer deserves a final resting place in an electronics recycling bin.

  • Thanks, ID. So basically, any error that shows up in ASD means a mac's board requires component level repair (unless it's an easily replaceable part like a fan or RAM, etc.)? – ScotttDC Nov 1 '17 at 13:34
  • There is only one logic board inside this Mini, and a much smaller Wi-Fi board. I'm not sure the logic board is repairable at the component level, though. Apple just swaps out bad boards for good. There could also be a wonky power supply gumming up the works. – IconDaemon Nov 1 '17 at 14:20

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