2011 iMac Graphics Card Upgrade

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

  1. luke9511 macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2015
    thank you for this awesome post, i have been following this thread ever since i picked up a non work 2011 27inch imac for free, all i need to get it working is a video card, but my problem with this thread is everyone who replaced their video card with a non apple one went for the most exspensive one instead of a cheap one to get it going again which is what i want to do
    i dont plan on using it for gaming as i have a high end pc for that but i also dont want to spend $250+ on a apple video card, but there is no info on which cheaper non apple video cards, have you read any where about anyone replacing their dead video card with say a 6770m from a hp or something?
  2. Lost Heaven macrumors newbie

    Lost Heaven

    Jan 24, 2016
    London, UK
    Not on this thread. There was talk at some point, by a user with experience with GPUs for the Mac Pro, of writing custom roms for PC MXM cards so they would work on an iMac just as the ones pulled from Apple systems did, with a functional boot screen and native brightness control, but he was banned from the forums and I never heard from him again.

    By the way, if you do have a PC on another room that you use for gaming, you can simply use Steam's In-Home Streaming (or Nvidia's GameStream equivalent service) to stream your games to your Mac. I have a PC connected to my home-theater system in my living room where I play controller based games and my iMac in the office where I stream mouse and keyboard ones.
    The disadvantage of this setup is that you end up spending money on two systems. The advantage is that you can play on more than one room while greatly extending your Mac's lifespan since streaming almost takes no resources from the client, while the PC is upgradeable and, by nature, disposable.
  3. luke9511 macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2015
    so here is what i have done, i am signed up on netkas and i have ordered a 1gig 6770m and i will look into getting it to work with brightness and bootscreen and let this thread know if i am successful
  4. Lost Heaven macrumors newbie

    Lost Heaven

    Jan 24, 2016
    London, UK
    Where was that 6770m pulled from? Good luck and keep us posted!
  5. luke9511 macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2015
    from the ebay listing it was pulled from a working laptop and i will, these cards are pretty cheap and would make a nice cheap alternative if i am successful
  6. JPamplin macrumors 6502


    Mar 12, 2009
    Nashville, TN
    I'm still looking for an MXM nVidia card that would support Metal. That would be great!
  7. luke9511 macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2015
    what is metal?
  8. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Apples new graphics API.
  9. TheChemist macrumors regular


    Sep 25, 2006
    This would be very nice
  10. luke9511 macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2015
    okay so i have an update, my video card came in the mail today and i got it and everything hooked up and nothing but a black screen, the heat sink for the card is not even warm so the card is either dead or will not work with apple imacs, what i could do is see if a friend of mine has a external monitor adapter i can borrow so i can try that and i will also take the hard drive to work with me tomorrow and hook it up to a mac and install teamviewer on it
  11. João Victor, Jun 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017

    João Victor macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2013
    Thanks for all of you who had shared your experience here.

    I have a iMac 2011 21.5

    Is possible to use a GTX 560m on it?

    I read at NVIDIA website that it has NVIDIA optimus, I wonder if that may cause it not to be recognized by the system.

    Any ideia?
  12. loollo macrumors newbie


    Jun 27, 2017
    Hi everyone, forgive me for my bad English!
    I try to be quick in explaining my need.

    I have a mid-2011 iMac with these features:
    PROCESSOR 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 MEMORY 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB HARD DRIVE 1TB Serial ATA Drive+256GB SSD GRAPHICS AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5

    My graphics card is dead, it has stopped working ... I'm evaluating what is best to upgrade. I've read all the thread of the forum before arriving at this conclusion, i want to install on my mac the GTX980M graphics card, i hope it works because i found someone who has already done this upgrade successfully (see attached image).

    I want to know what you think? Is this upgrade possible?

    Attached Files:

  13. frets, Jun 28, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017

    frets macrumors newbie


    Jun 26, 2016
    Hi Guys

    I need some help

    So I managed to install the gtx780m into my iMac mid 2011 27".

    As of right now, I'm replying from my mac remotely connected via VNC from a pc I have setup prior to installing the graphics cards. As I can tell, everything boots up normally without any issues except for that I am unable to see anything on the screen - completely blank screen. I can hear the booting sound come up and thats pretty much it

    My iMac has registered the device as a visible graphics card (i'll share the screenshot bit later) and I have installed the necessary Nvidia graphics cards driver

    I have tried to perform the following steps below but am experiencing the following issues

    1. To disable SIP

    I cannot login to the iMac remotely when its in recovery mode. How do I alternatively login to recovery mode to disable SIP?

    2. Updating the AppleGraphicsControl Kext

    I managed to find the board-id but I am unable to modify the kext file to 'write out' from it. I get the following error -
    [ Error writing /System/Library/Extensions/AppleGraphicsControl.kext/Contents/ ]

    Can anyone share their experiences with this fix or how you've gotten around it?

    I have had a look on the web and found the following link to update kext file using Lilu and NvidiaGraphics fix kexts but that didn't work out. I also tried using the Multibeast installer with the UEFI module but that didn't fix the issue with the blank screen -

    If anyone could give me a hand that would really be much appreciated. I am almost there but literally in the dark

    Another funny thing I noticed was that the screen registered as a 23" screen instead of a 27".. does anyone know why this is happening? I assuming this is due to the drivers or kext setup?

    Some screenshots
    Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 3.48.40 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 3.43.04 PM.png Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 3.43.17 PM.png Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 3.43.58 PM.png

  14. gourryx macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2015
    What it worked to me to get into recovery mode is, at the moment I turn on the iMac, I press the next startup keys command + option + O + R
  15. Double-G, Jul 4, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017

    Double-G macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2015
    UPDATE: NO SUCCESS. I will send the iMac to hell and never ever buy Apple again.

    Okay guys, I'm going to buy a GeForce GTX 765m now and will report back to you. It costs about 150€ on eBay and should have decent performance for textwork and a few games, at least it has more power than the old 6970m had.
    The tdp is 75w, while the 6970 had 75-100w, so cooling should work fine.

    As mentioned on netkas, the bios can be edited to get the proper outputs addressed (default: internal connector to integrated display) so that one has a proper boot screen. This is more than just flashing another card's bios, it is modifying the cards settings.
    I wonder if and how the brightness can be controlled though.
  16. Jywl12 macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2017

    I am interested to upgrade my 6970 to 780m too. Anyone successfully use the 780m in boot camp? Most games are in windows.
  17. Double-G macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2015
    I have installed the GeForce GTX 765m, but the iMac does not regoznize it: only two leds up, led 3 (Communication with graphics card) and led 4 (lcd communication) stay off.

    You know what: APPLE SUCKS. I give up and gonna sell the iMac for parts.
    For 250$ one can get a ultra fast Radeon RX480 and have a lot of fun with any tower pc. A 32" TFT with FreeSync costs 350$ and will last many pc's lives.

    After this bad support from apple (did not replace broken gpu in the 6th year while warranty program lasted 5 years and i asked for a replacement in the 3rd year but they refused as the graphics card was still working; they did not even want to sell me parts) I will never ever buy apple again.
    Already replaced my iPhone with Android.
  18. loollo macrumors newbie


    Jun 27, 2017
    Hi guys, after a while waiting for me, finally arrived the new GTX 780M graphics card yesterday, I would like to start up but before I want to be sure that everything works in my iMac mid 2011 (EMC 2429) macOS Sierra.

    @Lost Heaven could you tell me what to do after the hardware installation of the graphics card?

    Thank you!
  19. Lost Heaven macrumors newbie

    Lost Heaven

    Jan 24, 2016
    London, UK
    There's really not much to do after a successful GPU installation on the macOS side: if it works, it works. I guess you can configure the Nvidia web-driver software to your liking and install one of the pseudo-brightness control apps available on the app store. That's it. Maybe install a graphical intensive game or application and do some benchmarks, letting them run for a good while while keeping an eye out for the GPU's temperatures with a monitoring app. This will let you know if you applied the thermal paste correctly.
  20. loollo macrumors newbie


    Jun 27, 2017
    @Lost Heaven I followed your advice and tried to install the gtx 780m graphics card i bought on ebay ... but when i boot my imac I just have a black screen !!

    Now I had to reassemble my AMD 6970M to find a solution and to make any changes to the system before trying to install the GTX 780M.

    The card I purchased on ebay comes from a Clevo laptop compatible with MSI and Alienware, the question is: Do not flash the board bios firmware? Did I miss or miss a few passes? Now that my iMac is working (with AMD) there are some steps I need to do before trying to install the GTX 780M again? Thank you
  21. Lost Heaven macrumors newbie

    Lost Heaven

    Jan 24, 2016
    London, UK
    @loollo I'm sorry to say that I was once informed by @mhafeez that the Clevo ones will not work. The one that I got is a Dell one which was pulled from an Alienware laptop. Its original BIOS version was 80.04.af.00.03, but it worked with another version as well.


    How much did you pay for your card, if I may ask?
  22. Lyubeto macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2017
    Dude, great work. I noticed your CPU: i7 3.4GHz...Is this the 2600? The mid 2011 TDP is supposed to be only 65W and the i7-2600 is at 95W. How did you manage that?
  23. loollo macrumors newbie


    Jun 27, 2017
    @Lost Heaven else the obvious question ... but if it is compatible with MSI and Alienware how can not i work on iMac? And why does Dell / Alienware work instead? Can not flash the graphics card bios? I found a buoyant offer, I paid the graphics card 230 € including shipping.
  24. Lost Heaven macrumors newbie

    Lost Heaven

    Jan 24, 2016
    London, UK
    I'm afraid the reason why some brands work and others won't is beyond my comprehension of these matters; I wouldn't have known about this if it wasn't for the reports other users posted in this thread of their experiences.
    I didn't try flashing another brand's GPU bios (I did flash a version customised by me while trying unsuccesfully to unlock clock speeds).

    I still have mine which I've been wanting to auction on Ebay, but haven't been able to as I've been busy relocating. I'll definitively post here once I do, in case someone is interested in it.
  25. Zeitkind macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2017
    Well, I now have 3 dead iMac 2011. All miss a suitable graphics card..
    My first try was a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX. I modded a heatsink and the iMac boots - but of course without a bootscreen. I can login via ARD, but the main screen is dead, so I guess the display routing is wrong. The 670MX was not that expensive (I bought it about a year ago for $120 for a dead 2009 - which magically recovered and works till then with its Radeon..) and at least it works via ARD.
    3GB RAM and a GK104 isn't that bad for $120, I guess it's from a Dell.

    10.9.5: Boot loop with Apple NVidia drivers crashing
    10.11.6: Boot loop again. I installed the Web drivers and it boots - even with Apple drivers enabled (which seems to be the default). It detects the NVidia with correct model and RAM size, but no display enabled (neither internal nor external with mDP to DVI adapter). With NVidia drivers enabled, I get a boot loop again until I reset the PRAM several times.. weird.

    Kernel Extensions in backtrace:

    Once up again, same as without the Web drivers, prob. I didn't need them at all and the vanilla system also needs several PRAM resets..


    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX:

    Chipset Model: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX
    Type: GPU
    Bus: PCIe
    PCIe Lane Width: x16
    VRAM (Total): 3072 MB
    Vendor: NVIDIA (0x10de)
    Device ID: 0x11a1
    Revision ID: 0x00a2
    ROM Revision: preset 1.0.0
    Resolution: 1280 x 1024 @ 60 Hz
    Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
    Main Display: Yes

    I tried to register at Netkas forum, but registration seems to be closed.

    Attached Files:

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