2011 iMac Graphics Card Upgrade

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

  1. lexR macrumors regular


    Dec 12, 2013
    Am I right in thinking you need to change a kext file if using nvidia card on sierra? if you use yos or elcap its ok so I read?

    To make a non-apple provided Nvidia graphics card work in macOS Sierra you need to do the following…
    Start the computer in safe mode by holding shift.
    Get your BoardID by running this command in terminal
    echo "<result>$(ioreg -rd1 -c IOPlatformExpertDevice | awk -F'["|"]' '/board-id/{print $4}')</result>"
    Open the AppleGraphicsControl Kext using this command
    sudo nano /System/Library/Extensions/AppleGraphicsControl.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleGraphicsDevicePolicy.kext/Contents/Info.plist
    Use the arrow keys to go down until you see <key>ConfigMap</key> followed by a bunch of keys and strings.
    IF IT IS LISTED: Change the string to <string>none</string>
    IF IT IS NOT LISTED: Add it in the same format as the ones listed.
    Save the file by pressing Ctrl+O, then enter.
    Exit by pressing Ctrl+X
    Rebuild the kernel cache using the following two commands:
    sudo kextcache -system-prelinked-kernel
    sudo kextcache -system-caches

  2. Alexiukas macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2017

    Struggling with the same. Just on mine i cant get it working on external display either... Have the same imac, same gpu.
    Did you try to do this safe mode thing, change the kext file?
  3. Alexiukas macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2017

    Well, i hope someone can help me out... cause the imac is now just resting in peace... would like it to be alive, really alive, with the gtx980..
  4. guillepunx macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2017
    I only wanted to post my success upgrading my iMac 27 late 2009 with a non apple 6970m 2GB from a dell laptop and having also boot screen.

    All I had to do was download the rom from the original apple's videocard bios and flash it on the pc's videocard on CMD from Windows 7 via Bootcam on the own iMac.

    It's simple and good way to save lot of money on a videocard and don't have to worry about lose your boot screen.
    I know that it's still and old card, but for a 2009 iMac it's a great way to improve it from a 512mb card to a 2gb one, and for use it with photoshop and this kind of software, it's a great way to improve performance.

    Only cons, it don't recognize the GPU diode for temperature monitoring, so I'm using the heatsink sensor to control the ODD fan with Macs Fan Control app.

    At first didn't expect that it would work to flash it via windows on bootcamp and was little scared to destroy the videocard. But it works perfect, so maybe people that are self confident modifying videocard's bios can make nvidia pc cards, capable of have boots creen. But on the VGA bios collection of PowerTechUp, there is no roms from this cards for apple, because those chips are soldered on the mainboard, but maybe there is a way to take the bios from them, I don't know... just leaving that idea. As they are physically different pretty sure that it's not going to work the same method that I used to get the boot screen.
  5. guillepunx macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2017
  6. unca macrumors newbie


    Sep 19, 2017
    notebook with MXM gpu slot...
  7. jamaicapepe macrumors newbie


    Nov 3, 2017
    I have a 2011 iMac (i7 with 6970 2gb) with the usual graphics card problem. It first happened in 2015 but it was 20 days later after the 4 year guarantee replacement so APPLE refused to change it. The only cheap alternative solution was to send it to a local repair shop for "reballing" which cost me 80 euros and the iMac was working again. Unfortunately after 6 months i had the same problem and the guys at the repair shop told me that they can't do it again cause it probably wouldn't work and that would be a waste of money.

    My next try was the heat gun solution which worked for almost another year. So we end up in Spring 2017 when it happened again and i tried the heat gun solution once more and luckily it worked again until yesterday where i got a "beautiful" white screen...

    I read here in the subject about the screen sharing solution so i had it set to ON from before just in case i need it. I tried to connect from another computer and ...yes i had access on my iMac again but as the original screen resolution was set to 2560x1440 the letters were too small to read in the other computer's 19'' screen so i changed the resolution to something like 1600x900 and guess what??? The white screen was gone and the iMac monitor was working again!

    I don't know how long it will last or if someone else has tried it before but for now it is a working solution so i would asked from everyone else with the same problem to try this fix and report back if it is working or not!

    I hope this helps some people...

    Best Regards,
  8. jamaicapepe macrumors newbie


    Nov 3, 2017
    Hello again,

    It is Sunday and i am here to confirm that everything still works fine except i have lost my 2560 x 1440 resolution. Currently working at 1920 x 1080. I would suggestr you try it and report back. Maybe this is a "life saver" for all disabled iMacs out there....
  9. macowski macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2017
    hello together, I have an imac 27 "from mid-2011.
    My GPU breaks every three months. Then she has to go to the oven.

    I want to buy and install a new GPU.

    Does it make sense to convert the original imac 27" as Hackintosh?

    (I built a Hackintosh and it works perfectly)

    greats from germany
  10. swimllamaswim macrumors newbie


    Apr 10, 2017
    Just picked up a 2011 27" for a hell of a deal with a bad GPU and looking into replacements for it. I found a Dell Precision M6600 with a FirePro M8900 gpu for dirt cheap locally and from what I'm reading this is exactly the same as the 6970m. I've been reading up on this, I dont care about boot screen or brightness control, but even then theoretically I could flash the Apple vBIOS to this card and it would work, right?
  11. xxbeefydjxx macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2017
    From what I have read, so long as you have the Exact Apple VBIOS for your GPU, then yes you can flash it to the card and it will work, similar to those who upgraded their radeons using pc ones reflashed.

    I am also very intrigued into VBIOS modding to get EFI on a Geforce card......

    I just wish more people got involved to solve the mystery...
  12. swimllamaswim macrumors newbie


    Apr 10, 2017
    So my deal with the Precision fell through so I'm looking at an 860m to drop in. I saw people saying the 765m worked but I'd much prefer the 860m for things like game streaming and such. Anyone tried that?
  13. xxbeefydjxx macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2017
    It't just a matter of trial and error my friend, Check it's supported with Sierra/HS first, then make sure your card is UEFI compliant!
  14. swimllamaswim macrumors newbie


    Apr 10, 2017
    Card is definitely UEFI compliant, but I can't find anyone using it on macOS. Although, it should be the same chip as a 750 or 750ti which is definitely compliant. I think I'm gonna order an 860m from a seller that accepts returns and just chance it. I'd rather take a risk and get better performance with much lower temps. The 765m is the same price anyways.
  15. xxbeefydjxx macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2017
    It's all about taking the plunge with the cards mate and reporting back what does what and what was successful.

    Imo, from personal experience with an 860m 4gb in a HP Omen 15, I would go for the 700 series version, because they perform worse in many applications, albeit lower temps, which is good considering the full size B cards don't fit the stock iMac heatsink very well. (Use some copper pads to aid in cooling the Vram chips!)
  16. swimllamaswim macrumors newbie


    Apr 10, 2017
    What version of the 860m do you have though? There's the kepler and maxwell variants, most use the maxwell which is a bit different.
  17. ksales, Nov 26, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017

    ksales macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2017
    thank you for all your contribution and please never give up! here is my trial to live :)
    last status:
    as didn't know any thing about mac os but i bought an old imac mid 2010 21.5" mountain lion 7.0 with dead 4670m 512M, damage converter board.
    I had to use a dvi-hdmi connect to sony led for all tasks.
    Some trials but fail by times:
    - grill/ reball the dead efi 4670 and replace with another 4670m mxm from acer 8935g (but no succeed as it also dead when i bought)
    - after months reading all info i found that imac hd5750 is identical with hd6870 (from dell alienware)

    And then my road:
    1. buy a gt120 256MB card pull from xserver, buy a hd6870m pull from alienware, upgrade ssd to get more space, upgrade 8gb memory
    2. boot with Cmd + S and nvram boot-args "nv_disable=1" reboot with Option + R and fresh install El Capitan 10.11.6 with no problems.
    3. disable SIP by csrutil disable, enable sharing, remote, and also install teamviewer
    4. fail to get gt120m flawlessly work with any nvidia web kext or hackintosh solutions

    remove gt120 and plugin 6870m:
    5. extract AMD5000Controller.kext and AMDRadeonX3000.kext to desktop, show package content
    6. edit plist of 2 files: any value "0x68a1" (hd5750) modify to "0x68a8" (hd6870), save and install kexts by Kext Utility

    tah dahh, work like a charm, and vga temp is cooler (as 6870 core now reduce from 675mhz to 5750 628mhz)
    --- Post Merged, Nov 26, 2017 ---
    dvi to hdmi work perfectly for both video and audio

    i also tried to flash bios but final conclusion is impossible to edit and flash efi bios to pc mxm card, for sure we have to bypass booting screen and accept with right graphics replacement as we could

    Attached Files:

  18. xxbeefydjxx macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2017
    I had the maxwell variant which is known to be slower because it has around 400 or so less cores afaik. Kepler one is clocked higher with more cores so might give off more heat, which you don't want on that cooler in the iMac...
  19. Calbretto macrumors member


    Mar 1, 2011
    After a year and a half of problems with my 2011 iMac, the thing finally broke down on me for good. I took it to the Apple Store yesterday and they told me the motherboard and graphics card will have to be replaced, which will run me close to $900 Canadian. I don't want to spend the extra cash to get the same defective graphics card, so I'll likely shell out the money and get myself a MacBook Pro.

    I am really bummed that my iMac didn't last longer. For the amount I paid, I expected to get another couple years out of the thing.
  20. Zeitkind macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2017
    Apple guarantees spare parts for 5 years, and that's it. Problem here is also, that there is no real alternative source, because MXM-cards are often special dedicated parts. So: Don't buy an all-in-one machine like iMacs or get used to soldering and hacking firmware..
  21. svaningelgem macrumors newbie


    Nov 27, 2017
    Very interesting topic here!

    So let me immediately dig in :)

    I have an iMac 27" (mid 2011) series, with a HD6970M 2G in it. [Already upgraded RAM & SSD]
    Based on some pictures I found online, I saw some guy on iFixit upgrading to a GTX 880M, and his heatsink didn't cover the chips at the top. When I compare pictures of my card, it seems to be able to accomodate for a MXM-B series.
    Now, I was looking all over the place and finally found my ultimate match! The GTX 1060M. But during discussions with a very helpful Eurocom tech support guy (yes, you Kevin :)), it turns out that the advertised 80W TDP is not real. It's more around 125W.
    Plus, it would require physically modifying the heat-sink to accommodate for the different chips.

    My current TDP seems to be 75W (not confirmed, but lots of sites online tell me that number).
    The GTX 1060M is reported as 80W, but Kevin told me it's more like 125W.
    Other options are the 780M, 880M and 980M, which all have around 105W TDP. [And need minor or major surgeries to the heatsink].
    A 970M seems to be running at 75W.
    The guy with the 880M upgrade had a TDP of 122W, and had it running fine.

    So to give a second life to my iMac, I would like to get the 1060...

    Could anyone give me some input if the heat dissipation would be fine enough?

  22. xxbeefydjxx macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2017
    Like many on here are doing, get yourself some copper heat pads and then install heatsink, use some good thermal paste for the main chip and heat pads on all the ram, if it's getting hot use a shroud pointing around the hard drive
  23. svaningelgem macrumors newbie


    Nov 27, 2017
    I don't understand your "heatsink" remark? I have already a heatsink which should be able to cover the MXM-B type.
    Check on the paste & pads of course :).

    Also very likely I will need to "adjust" the heatsink (read: dremel/drill) to accomodate for the different height in chips.

    But what I don't understand is the "shroud"? The harddrive at the moment isn't used. I added an SSD behind the DVD drive, so that space can be completely empty (I once removed the HDD, but for some reason the iMac started to make noises, so I re-added it... No noise now.

    But how can I get more cooling in there (preferably passive?)
  24. xxbeefydjxx macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2017
    Replace the paste, whenever you remove the heatsink...

    Pads on cards that the Vram chips stick out from the heatsink, from what I have read.

    You may need to adjust, indeed.

    Your noise issue when removing the HDD is because the HDD in 2011+ macs has the thermal sensor built in, the noise is your HDD fan going full pelt lol, you can buy the "Upgrade" kit that has the thermal sensor in or bridge the extra pins on the power connector.

    When I say shroud, Some people have made an extra vent for the graphics card using the HDD fan as the secondary fan, you simply cut a piece of plastic bottle down to size then fit accordingly so the airflow is pulled from the vram through the hdd fan exit. I think it's somewhere in this forum post someone did it...

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