2011 iMac Graphics Card Upgrade

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MichaelDT, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. MichaelDT macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2012
    #1
    I will be attempting to upgrade the MXM card in my 2011 21.5 iMac from the factory 6770m 512mb to a NVidia 675m 2GB. I choose this card because the chipset already has support from 10.8.3 onwards and affordability for an experiment. I am hoping that it will work without flashing like many of the other non MXM modern graphics cards (UEFI support) do in 64bit EFI Mac Pros ( I may loose the initial boot screen). But if all else fails I will attempt a flash. I will report back my findings when the card arrives (from Hong Kong). Wish me luck hopefully this will give those of us with the last modular iMac a path forward.
     
  2. SpeedFleX macrumors 6502

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    Interwebz
    #2
    Good luck brave sir!
     
  3. cmanderson macrumors regular

    cmanderson

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    May 20, 2013
    #3
    Let us know how it goes, and if it works for you, what sacrifices you've had to make, if any. Also, links or contact info to your resource in HK.
     
  4. cybert macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    #4
    Yes please do keep us posted!
    I want to do the same thing.
     
  5. MichaelDT, Jun 19, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013

    MichaelDT thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 18, 2012
    #5
    Excellent news it is exactly as I suspected, you simply need an mxm a/b card that supports UEFI. I did loose my initial boot screen but once OSX loads the screen powers up. So initially I ordered the 675m but when I received that card it had BIOS only drivers...so I ordered a DELL/Alienware 680M off ebay. Only Trouble so far is it isn't recognizing my second display, but I'll tinker and we shall see if I can fix that.:)

    Edit: So looking at my console logs it senses the second display then drops it, I'm thinking it is the driver.
     

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  6. MichaelDT thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 18, 2012
    #6
    More details: If you use an MXM-B card it will be larger than the MXM-A card that the ATI is; so it will hang over the HDD. It doesn't cause any issues though, no modifications needed. During the install the heatsink from the ATI 6770M is a just a tiny bit too small, half of one of the ram chips will be uncovered. This doesn't seem to be a big deal as it is the chip positioned closest to HDD fan and I have been monitoring the heat sensors and they don't seem an higher that with the ATI card even playing graphics intensive games.
     
  7. Jonez1 macrumors newbie

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  8. MichaelDT thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 18, 2012
    #8
    No, I will take it apart tomorrow after I get home from work and take some photos to show what the install looks like vs. stock for those that are curious.
     
  9. MichaelDT thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 18, 2012
    #9
    Well I have got my second display working, the Nvidia 680M card does not like the Minidisplay to HDMI adaptor I was using, I switched to a VGA and it powered up.
     
  10. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    Mar 20, 2003
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    Bay Area
    #10
    Well done sir!! Very nice. Wish I had the guts to do this to my 2011 21.5". You'll have to give us some performance numbers when you get a chance to play around with it. :)
     
  11. MichaelDT thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 18, 2012
    #11
    Some photos, comparing the stock MXM-A card to an MXM-B card and pictures of the MXM-B card installed.
     

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  12. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    #12
    Thanks for the pics. That's outstanding. Your imac is a beast and a half now.
     
  13. kgian macrumors regular

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    Jul 17, 2011
    #13
    Congratulations!
    How can you boot to windows bootcamp if you lost the bootscreen?

    Also, can you post a link to the mxm board you baught?
     
  14. MichaelDT thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 18, 2012
    #14
    Concerning bootcamp etc see this thread The concept is just the same, only instead of standard PCI iMacs use NVidias MXM 3.0 protocol which really is just PCIe anyways.
     
  15. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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  16. goodcore macrumors newbie

    goodcore

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    Jun 24, 2013
    Location:
    Putinville
    #16
    Hello MichaelDT!
    Thank's for your research
    I also trought with replacing graphic card in my iMac 27 over my factory 6970M. But i want install 7970M. Keep in touch.

    Vasily
     
  17. StevieRay macrumors newbie

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    Jun 24, 2013
    #17
    This may be a dumb question, but can you swap the video card on a 15" MBP (non retina) like this, or is it soldered to the MB?
     
  18. goodcore macrumors newbie

    goodcore

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    #18
    It's soldered to MB. You can see here on step 12.
     
  19. mikeylam macrumors newbie

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    Jul 12, 2013
    #19
    Hi Michael, I am a bit confused by the below. What do you mean by "So initially I ordered the 675m but when I received that card it had BIOS only drivers...so I ordered a DELL/Alienware 680M off ebay."?? I would think if you install the 675M into the system, OSX should just load the driver automatically? Why would the card come with OSX drivers as they are PC cards anyway?

     
  20. Commy1 macrumors 6502a

    Commy1

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    Feb 25, 2013
    #20
    That's an impressive upgrade, I'm impressed. Are there any heat issue? or even noticeable higher temps? The 680 is a beast card, I wouldn't be comfortable putting it inside such a confined space, but if it works, why the heck not.
     
  21. omvs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #21
    Is there any way to get the boot-screen? I was excited and ordered a 680M, though now I'm wondering if this means I won't be able to boot with File Vault enabled....

    I did see some posts about updating the firmware to get EFI for win8, but it sounds like your card has the EFI firmware update and still gives no boot screen?
     
  22. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #22
    Nice job! It may be possible to get back boot screen image if someone with an iMac that came with a GTX 675MX gives you an image of the ROM.

    You mentioned that the stock heatsink is too small and leaves some of the VRAM exposed. I don't know if theres, enough room, but you can try some of these:
     

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  23. zerozoneice macrumors regular

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    Jun 26, 2013
    #23
  24. iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

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    #24
  25. jezzy macrumors member

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    Jan 12, 2012
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec
    #25
    Very brave. Thanks for sharing! I'm personally looking at upgrading my iMac mid 2010 27" 5750 1gb to a 2011 6750 card.. But can't swallow a 600$ price tag!
     

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