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2011 iMac Graphics Card Upgrade

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The first post of this thread is a WikiPost and can be edited by anyone with the appropiate permissions. Your edits will be public.

Ausdauersportler

macrumors 68020
Nov 25, 2019
2,005
1,841
Just bought a 27" mid-2011 iMac (my first time owning an apple computer) and have already upgraded RAM/SSD. I'm wanting to upgrade the CPU and GPU next. Apologies if this is obvious but is there any way to get an ASUS branded 780M or 860M working? Only ask as they are a lot cheaper on eBay than the Dell/Alienware cards.

Or would something like this Dell K2100M be my cheapest bet? I'm wanting to upgrade to the latest macOS with the patcher and improve performance a little also. Thanks for any help!
780M, 860m and K2100M will work, if you’d read through the first post of this thread you would get every information you need. Go with the K2100M - sufficient for normal use.
 
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FlorisVN

macrumors 6502a
Nov 8, 2013
875
335
Seems there's been a LOT of action on here since I last checked in. Just here to report that I've been running my 980M for almost a year now with almost no issues. I'm using UEFI Windows 10 (so that I can use my eGPU - Vega 56) with DSDT patches for audio, Dell 980M with my custom tuned vBIOS (have to use nvidiaInspector to set the clocks of P5 at boot or I get stuck at 500 mhz), and a DyingLight module to control the screen brightness (no backlight without it). I've got my 980M undervolted and overclocked to 1224 Mhz with a thermal throttle at 80 C. Long sessions of gaming normally pull the clocks down to 1100, which I hope to fix with a liquid cooling mod ?

under MacOS I presume no internal iMac display support, only external.. ?
And Maxwell still only works with Nvidia web drivers, and since web drivers are dead no more metel support on Mojave/Catalina.. ?

But indeed for a bootcamp only user a newer nvidia card could be a solution.
Or perhaps a newer comaptibe AMD card like RX560/580...
 
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max86

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2018
13
9
I ordered k2100m for my 3rd imac 27 mid 2011 project.Also this imac now had problem with gpu amd 6970.I also heated it with heating gun.It is working but no metal support is kind a crap if you like to use mac os at work and cad programs like Solibri and Autocad.Right now my gaming rig is mac pro 5.1 with double Xeons x5670 and rx580.It is enough for me for 1080p gaming.But i decided to order quardo card this time because to install Mojave on it or even Catalina.Previousliy i had gtx 765m.It was good to gaming or some of it.I played Battlefield 4 on it in windows 10.And gtx 765m i had it with nicks bios.Good card was that.
But if my order arrives ill let you all know how is quardo k2100m in my imac 27.
 
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overshoot

macrumors member
Oct 11, 2018
69
17
Seems there's been a LOT of action on here since I last checked in. Just here to report that I've been running my 980M for almost a year now with almost no issues. I'm using UEFI Windows 10 (so that I can use my eGPU - Vega 56) with DSDT patches for audio, Dell 980M with my custom tuned vBIOS (have to use nvidiaInspector to set the clocks of P5 at boot or I get stuck at 500 mhz), and a DyingLight module to control the screen brightness (no backlight without it). I've got my 980M undervolted and overclocked to 1224 Mhz with a thermal throttle at 80 C. Long sessions of gaming normally pull the clocks down to 1100, which I hope to fix with a liquid cooling mod ?

I think you should create a post on how to do your mod cause it sounds pretty interesting.
However a 980M will only run High Sierra isn't it?
 
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jmilan0302

macrumors regular
Feb 8, 2019
155
42
Seems there's been a LOT of action on here since I last checked in. Just here to report that I've been running my 980M for almost a year now with almost no issues. I'm using UEFI Windows 10 (so that I can use my eGPU - Vega 56) with DSDT patches for audio, Dell 980M with my custom tuned vBIOS (have to use nvidiaInspector to set the clocks of P5 at boot or I get stuck at 500 mhz), and a DyingLight module to control the screen brightness (no backlight without it). I've got my 980M undervolted and overclocked to 1224 Mhz with a thermal throttle at 80 C. Long sessions of gaming normally pull the clocks down to 1100, which I hope to fix with a liquid cooling mod ?
How will you do liquid cooling in an iMac?
 
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nikey22

Contributor
Dec 3, 2019
118
469
Canada
The 560X/580X don't run as hot, and they will receive full support very soon for backlight/brightness/code43/TDM etc etc... They are our future for these machines. But, they are expensive cards.

So my question is, has anybody been able to patch a personality for the framebuffer from the AMD kexts that are part of Mojave/Catalina? So far I haven't been able to find a mobile RX 560/580X rom to play with. I'm currently reviewing all the kexts and personalities available in the other forums that match these cards for the macpro people. I've downloaded a few tester ROMs from TechPowerUp. There's a lot to learn there wow, AMD does things very differently than Nvidia.
 
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Nikolai Strimban

macrumors newbie
Jan 22, 2020
5
0
Hi everyone, I need some help from you.
I tried to install the K1100M to my 21,5 2010 iMac, but it broke my iMac: control LED 1 is on, after pressing power button LED 1 goes off.
After I reinstalled the original GPU nothing changed, it is still not working.
What could it be and what are the reasons?
Thanks for answers!
 
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passatgt

macrumors 6502
Jun 16, 2011
390
229
Hi everyone, I need some help from you.
I tried to install the K1100M to my 21,5 2010 iMac, but it broke my iMac: control LED 1 is on, after pressing power button LED 1 goes off.
After I reinstalled the original GPU nothing changed, it is still not working.
What could it be and what are the reasons?
Thanks for answers!

At that point, you just need to try debugging the issue. Remove everything, battery too from the motherboard, leave only a single memory in, disconnect speakers, wifi, screen, anything you can find and see if you have a second led when you turn it on. If still nothing, i'm guessing its a motherboard issue. Also try re-seating the cpu, who knows...
 
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FlorisVN

macrumors 6502a
Nov 8, 2013
875
335
The 560X/580X don't run as hot, and they will receive full support very soon for backlight/brightness/code43/TDM etc etc... They are our future for these machines. But, they are expensive cards.

So my question is, has anybody been able to patch a personality for the framebuffer from the AMD kexts that are part of Mojave/Catalina? So far I haven't been able to find a mobile RX 560/580X rom to play with. I'm currently reviewing all the kexts and personalities available in the other forums that match these cards for the macpro people. I've downloaded a few tester ROMs from TechPowerUp. There's a lot to learn there wow, AMD does things very differently than Nvidia.

have you played with nicks custom vbios roms, posted here.. ?
 
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Nick [D]vB

macrumors regular
Jun 1, 2018
180
314
Just a quick update on OpenCore and the AMD cards. After lots of testing I finally worked out what was causing the driver error 43 in windows, it had nothing to do with signatures / checksums but was actually a problem with the display configuration, and fixing that got us TDM and native brightness control, no back-light mods required!

AMD Beta 4 roms are attached, they now all work with Windows installed in legacy MBR mode, but UEFI mode only works using a GOP vBIOS with the latest version of OpenCore. The higher wattage versions are faster but might not be stable on all systems. I included a 50W 560X version which might also work on WX 4130 / 4150 MXM-A cards, but probably only in the 2010 iMacs? (these cards are NOT detected in a 2011 27" iMac).

Remember there is more than one type of WX 4170 card, unfortunately I've now discovered that you can't just solder an EEPROM onto either of these cards, they are also missing a resistor network and other tiny components, so they won't work. But FlorisVN has found some of the working type on AliExpress which are ready for flashing.

AMD cards are complicated because in MacOS the frame-buffer "personality" is not just used to configure the display outputs but also tied to other things like brightness control / performance / power-management, which makes finding the right combination difficult. OpenCore & WhatEverGreen make life easier by giving us more control, as well as enabling features like HEVC (normally locked to specific models through SMBIOS / BoardID).

Although the Beta4 roms enable native brightness control, there is a catch:

[1] To enable brightness control and keep full performance in MacOS we use the generic "Radeon frame-buffer", but this seems to break High Sierra, causing a black screen during boot that is fixable using OpenCore / WEG or by connecting an external display. High Sierra users could just stick with Beta 3, which used the Salado framebuffer to restore performance but doesn't allow native brightness control. Beta 1 & 2 used the Longavi / Berbice frame-buffer which can work with native brightness control but also applied mobile power-gating that cripples performance in MacOS.

[2] Without help from OpenCore we can either have native brightness control OR the boot-screen, but not both. The back-light only turns on after a display driver has loaded, so to actually see the Apple boot-picker you would still need a back-light mod - which would obviously disconnect native brightness control. You could just use the boot-picker blindly, or wire a switch to the PWM line just to see it at boot time, but that is far from ideal...

However, thanks to great work by Startergo & Vit9696 we can now use OpenCore's GOP boot-picker instead, which also saves us having to do the boot-rom mod! These recent changes to OpenCore have delayed the release of the USB tool. Originally it was only intended to enable HEVC / SideCar for AMD and TDM & Native brightness control on some of the Nvidia cards, but now integrates several other fixes. Thanks to a lot of hard work by Highvoltage12v (and others) we are making good progress with it and should have something ready soon...



Edited, again, for clarity..?

:cool:
 

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frankthecat

macrumors newbie
Sep 4, 2019
4
4
Glad to hear native brightness control is going to come to the Nvidia cards soon! I just resurrected two dead 27" 2010 iMacs I rescued from getting chucked in a dumpster, with a GTX765m in one, and a K2100m in the other. Very easy to flash Nick's modded BIOS ROMs before putting the cards in the iMacs using flashrom, a CH431a programmer, and a chip clip. The 765m machine runs a little hot under heavy load, but the K2100m machine is rock solid.

Also, I might've missed this somewhere, but is there a possibility the Nvidia cards will get Target Display Mode too?
 
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MMFC378

macrumors newbie
Feb 13, 2020
7
1
Holup... So does this mean the WX4150 is a possiblity? Im seeing these pretty cheap on the bay...
 
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webdepp

macrumors newbie
Sep 23, 2019
7
5
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ZenSurfeur

macrumors 6502
Feb 25, 2020
251
97
Hi
I'm French :)
I got an iMac 27 i7 3,4Ghz mid 2011 which works fine, i would like to upgrade the graphik card (actually a Radeon HD6970M 2Go).
I may buy a Quadro KxxxxM, it seems the best compromise :) but

1- Which card would have the same perfs as the HD6970M (or upper)?
2- All Quadro KxxxM graphik card will work? A Quadro K3000M for example?
3- Do I must buy a Dell card?
4- Do I need to flash the card?
5- Is this possible to flash the card using the iMac with a Linux or windows os?

Thx for all
 
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passatgt

macrumors 6502
Jun 16, 2011
390
229
Hi
I'm French :)
I got an iMac 27 i7 3,4Ghz mid 2011 which works fine, i would like to upgrade the graphik card (actually a Radeon HD6970M 2Go).
I may buy a Quadro KxxxxM, it seems the best compromise :) but

1- Which card would have the same perfs as the HD6970M (or upper)?
2- All Quadro KxxxM graphik card will work? A Quadro K3000M for example?
3- Do I must buy a Dell card?
4- Do I need to flash the card?
5- Is this possible to flash the card using the iMac with a Linux or windows os?

Thx for all

The 6970m is pretty much the same as a k2100m for example. So unless you want to upgrade to Catalina, i would suggest keeping your 6970m and replace it once it dies.
 
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max86

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2018
13
9
My upgrade to quardo K2100m is done.Lucky i was to get Dell version of k2100m card.Simply installed win 10 before and changed the card.
I used heat gun to get quardos x clamp off to card and pushed out these screw holes with small screw driver and mini hammer.I put heat pads to every memory chip and also power chips.It was plug and play.I didnt have to grind anything. 20200225_181302.jpg 20200225_185530.jpg 20200225_192417.jpg 20200225_193242.jpg 20200225_201213.jpg 20200225_201203.jpg 20200225_214856.jpg In Windows i used Nvflash and cmd to flash card.But after flash my screen remains dark.So i waited 15mins.And turned off imac.After switching on and pressed alt key all worked.Now i can run Mojave.
Thank you Nick(D)vB!
Nick(D)vB can you make bios to Mac Pro Videocard also in future?Rx 580 4gbs?
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20200225_201213.jpg
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20200225_214856.jpg
 
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ZenSurfeur

macrumors 6502
Feb 25, 2020
251
97
max86 > Does the Quadro K2100M card must be from Dell ? Thx

Can you do a benchmark in full screen mode (defaults) both with Unigine Valley and Heaven? Thx
 
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NOTNlCE

macrumors 65816
Oct 11, 2013
1,070
412
Baltimore, MD
Just a quick update...

Edited, for clarity..? :cool:

From your language here, it seems these cards no longer need the hardwired backlight mod. Is this correct?

Also: I've edited the first post a bit and reorganized the language to flow better. I feel it's best to assume everyone will use the custom VBIOS - instructions have been reworked slightly around that expectation. Unfortunately, I don't think we can include every oddity people have experienced on the front page. Seems like we are doing something right with so many success stories.
 
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Ludacrisvp

macrumors 6502a
May 14, 2008
749
319
From your language here, it seems these cards no longer need the hardwired backlight mod. Is this correct?

Also: I've edited the first post a bit and reorganized the language to flow better. I feel it's best to assume everyone will use the custom VBIOS - instructions have been reworked slightly around that expectation. Unfortunately, I don't think we can include every oddity people have experienced on the front page. Seems like we are doing something right with so many success stories.
One thing you could do is like a FAQ section with the common issues and Perhaps link to specific post numbers for the odd issues that are seen.
 
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NOTNlCE

macrumors 65816
Oct 11, 2013
1,070
412
Baltimore, MD
One thing you could do is like a FAQ section with the common issues and Perhaps link to specific post numbers for the odd issues that are seen.

Good call - I will comb through and try to link some of the more common ones.

I think we came to the conclusion earlier in the thread that the K2100M from HP can be used as well.

HP cards should be fine with Nick's VBIOS. I've removed the "Dell / Alienware" verbage from the first post (except where applicable) to prevent future confusion.
 
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max86

macrumors newbie
Dec 30, 2018
13
9
No it can be Hp vbios also.But i did not have to use clip flasher usb tool.Dell vbios is booting to windows(shows picture).Hp vbios wont.I think it was like this way.
 
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