2011 iMac Graphics Card Upgrade

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

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  1. AmazingRobie macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2009
    Reading this thread about brings tears to my eyes. I am so proud of everyone who has been able to take the initiative to do this kind of fix rather than shelling out more money to Apple and succumbing to their planned obsolescence. Hopefully all of these old computers run for many more years having been upgraded with newer parts. Best of luck to all of you.
  2. Mr-Mur macrumors newbie


    Jul 4, 2018
    Yep, that was an 1 mm thick cooper peace

    The genuine 3M adhesive will surely be better than Chinese unknown 2-sided tape, mate ;) I'd also prefer to have original thing, but they are not so populated in my place
  3. liquidtwitch macrumors member


    Dec 7, 2011
    Brisbane Australia
    Not yet - I'm weary of having to do much if I have to remove them when posting the card to rominator to flash.
  4. dblack965 macrumors newbie


    Oct 8, 2018
    I've been following this thread for awhile now. I have a 2011 27 inch with a dead card. I ordered a 980m to give it a shot, but the seller sent a 970m instead. Are there are tests anyone here would like me to do with it before I send it back? I've tried it in the mac, and it boots, but the third LED doesn't come on, and I don't get anything on internal or external lcd. It's an MSI card from what I can tell, if I could manage to flash it with another vbios would that maybe help?
  5. FlorisVN macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2013
    Thats great, I think you are the first one here to test GTX970M graphics card.
    If you can test it that would be great for all of us..

    if current vbios does not work, try it with an dell alienware bios.
    These usally have the best succes..

    I cannot find an alienware bios here :

    But you can also try the other bios versions over there.. ?

    Maybay somebody else knows here to find one..
  6. dblack965, Oct 9, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018

    dblack965 macrumors newbie


    Oct 8, 2018

    That's from dell. It's for a 970m SLI configuration though. I extracted the .exe and inside there are 2 rom files. The 2 files are 188kb compared to the clevo bios being 181kb. Think it's okay to flash?

    EDIT:Comparing the SLI BIOS to the Clevo bios, all frequency tables and power tables etc. are the same. I'll try flashing it when I get home.
  7. Polydactyl macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2009
    I just received an Alienware GTX765 for my 2010 iMac. I’ve pulled the old card out, and it appears that the back plate and heatsink from the old Radeon are already a perfect fit. Not cutting or dremel required. For the record I am replacing a ATI 5750 in 27” iMac. Have to wait for thermal tape to arrive before I complete the upgrade.
  8. FlorisVN, Oct 10, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018

    FlorisVN macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2013
    Good to hear, this means that the HD5750 x-bracket and heatsink already fit.
    my 6970m x-bracket and heatsink did not fit, and had contact with some capacitors, thats why we made some cuts in the x-bracket..
    And to be safe I taped the whole x-bracket... ;)

    I think the heatsink and x-bracket are the same for 2009-2010 iMac's, but are different for 2011 iMac's...
    So the older versions are better compatible then..
    At least 27" models I guess...

    --- Post Merged, Oct 10, 2018 ---
    Ok I see.
    As far as I know best bios versions are Alienware models..
    let's hope other available bios versions do work for the 970m

    If you take a look at this rom here :

    its made for : Dell, Alienware 17 R2, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M ,
    Have you tried that one also already.. ???
  9. dblack965 macrumors newbie


    Oct 8, 2018
    I flashed a clevo bios last night. I was just using team viewer in windows to control the mac. Not a good idea. After I flashed it with the clevo bios it broke my connection. The graphics in teamviewer were completely unusable. I set up remote desktop connection through windows itself and will try flashing this Dell bios tonight. I didn't see that one before. I didn't check the unverified bios files. Will update when I'm able to flash it.
  10. FlorisVN macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2013
    Ok, Let's hope the Dell bios will work..
    Good luck flashing..

    Keep us posted.. ;)
  11. dblack965 macrumors newbie


    Oct 8, 2018
    So I flashed a few different bios last night, the dell bios linked here broke the card completely. GPU-z was not able to detect it at all. Fortunately I was still able to reflash. The Dell SLI bios that I found actually seemed to work the best, but there was still no display on the internal lcd, or either of the thunderbolt outputs. My return window on the card is over, so I have to send it back. I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help.

    So to recap, on the 970m I tried the clevo bios, the msi bios, alenware/dell sli bios, and a dell bios. None of them were able to display anything, but the dell sli bios showed the best performance at least under the remote connection. Information was most complete in GPU-z with the dell sli bios as well. When I get whatever other card I decide on, I'm not opposed to ROM hacking, but I would need someone to point me in the right direction. I don't know what tools to use. From what I've seen the DCB tables are what needs to be modified for the card to recognize the internal displayport connection of the iMac.
  12. FlorisVN macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2013
    Thx for all the testing !
    Ad far as i have researched the highest card reporting to work is an Nvidia GTX880m and GTX780m

    And the dell alienware bios.
    As far as DCB tables go, I advice you maybay to take a look at netkas forums.
    Rominator there (macvidcards) and of others like netkas over there have experiencr with DCB tables..
    Maybay start a topic there and ask for some help...

    It looks for now it’s best I think to stay away from nvidia 900m series and higher.
    Highest succes rate i think is gtx700m series with dell alienware bios..

    It also looks like the gtx980m does not have a dell/alienware bios at all...
  13. Mostxclent macrumors newbie

    Oct 11, 2018
  14. Polydactyl macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2009
    Turns out I was wrong about the card fitting the heatsink on my 2010 iMac, and I have to grind down in the same places, a process that is going slowly since I don’t have great tools for the job.....
  15. dblack965 macrumors newbie


    Oct 8, 2018
    This is what I was going off of with ordering the 980m.


    Apparently this person got it to work, but after going over his posts again, it doesn't look like he ever got the internal LCD to actually work.
  16. nathansz macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2017
    hello everyone,

    i’m going to take out my 6790 and bake it to get me through until i get a new card and also as a practice run

    i’ve done plenty of tinkering in imacs, minis and macbooks but never anything involving thermal paste

    i’ve got arctic silver to replace the paste and the k5 ceramic-y stuff to replace the pads

    just wondering if this is the right approach

  17. Polydactyl, Oct 12, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018

    Polydactyl macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2009
    Another success! I just installed an Alienware GTX675 in my 2010 27” iMac. Had to do the same heatsink mods as FlorisVN and others, but as I mentioned previously, the backplate from the ATI 5750 fit perfectly on the NVidia card.

    As expected, there is no boot screen, but everything else works perfectly. Next up is the upgrade to Mohave...

    Edit: Without a boot screen how do you install Mojave? Dosdude’s instructions call for booting target disk mode. What’s the best way to do this while flying blind? I’ll be installing from a thumb drive.
  18. lamerz78, Oct 13, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018

    lamerz78 macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2018
    Hi !
    I'm in the same condition. I Think the best way to do the trick in "blind mode" is this one (assuming you have only 1 boot partition on the Macintosh HD)

    First detach all the usb/fw hard drive except the USB stick with the Mojave installer

    Second, switch off the Mac

    Third, restart yor mac pressing the ALT button on the Keyboard.

    After a reasonable time (30-50 secs) look at the status Led of your usbstick, if is all ok the Led stop blinking. Now is time to switch the boot disk from the internal Macintosh HD to the external usb stick, to do this you have to press ONLY one time the RIGHT ARROW on your keyboard and then the RETURN key.
    If is all ok the stick Led begins to blink, the installer is now loading and in 10/20 secs it will show you the Mojave installer.

    I've tried the trick WITH THE BOOT SCREEN (I've not already switch the graphic card) but is the best way instead trying to switch the boot disk from the Operating System.

    Please give us some feedback!

    p.s. sorry for my poor English!!!






  19. FlorisVN macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2013
    target disk mode does not work..

    Just use startup disk within macos control pannel, and change disk to your bootable usb stick.
    that works fine !
    --- Post Merged, Oct 13, 2018 ---
    Indeed, it looks like it works only on external monitor.
    as seen from his pictures, internal iMac LCD does not work !
    I would not advise to buy and use an GTX980m for your iMac at this time, but stick to known working cards...

    I recommend you buy an Nvidia GTX780m or GTX765M, Dell Alienware version.
    These all seem to work the best, and Macvidcards is also working on an GTX780m rom...

    more info here : http://forum.netkas.org/index.php/topic,13815.0.html
    --- Post Merged, Oct 13, 2018 ---
    I'm still wondering how you have managed to get the display recognize again as iMac interal display, instead of external display ??

    Have you modified Apple's displayconfig.plist ?
    And if so how and what did you do ??

    I'm sorry if you maybay have already explained in this topic here, but I cannot find info anymore.. :S
  20. Polydactyl macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2009
    Thank you! Worked like a charm. I wasn’t sure if the installer loaded video drivers or not, and didn’t want to get stuck in black screen limbo. I guess more people would be commenting if that was a problem.
  21. MarshallH macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2018
    Would you be able to share your GPU VBios Version, and attach a copy of it if possible? I have a 2011 27" with K3000M, but i do not have Metal support and would be very interested in what VBios will support Metal.

  22. Polydactyl macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2009
    I spoke too soon. Something happened with the install process (I was away from the computer at the time) and the computer shut down. Now I can’t get it to boot to save my life. I only get a black screen and the the computer shuts off after about 30 seconds. If I hold down option at boot (for startup manager) it won’t shut down, but it won’t boot either. I try to use the arrow keys like I’m selecting a drive, but no luck.

    I’ve tried accessing through screen sharing, in case it was booting without the screen, but nope.

    Any ideas?
  23. oscarodas macrumors regular

    May 7, 2013
    Sydney Australia
    Hi, I found this card on eBay: Nvidia Quadro M1000M w/2GB GDDR5, before I buy it I would like to know If it is possible to use it on an iMac 27 2011, I'm already running Mojave 10.14.1(18B57c), just to get hardware acceleration, the system runs ok, only I find some glitches when watching movies, is it worth the trouble? Thank you.
  24. FlorisVN macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2013
    when you do a pram/nvram reset, your iMac should always bootup MacOS again if its installed on the internal hdd.
  25. vkd, Oct 14, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018

    vkd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2012
    What I am posting here is the text from the Technician Guide for the mid-2011 27" iMac that was posted on this forum earlier, in case that file is taken down. Here is the Diagnostic LED Startup Sequence:

    LED #1 = Power available.

    If no LED is visible:

    • First disconnect the power cord from computer, then reconnect it to reset the LED

      status, in case computer was correctly shutdown and AC was kept connected since

    • Verify AC source

    • Verify known-good power cord is connected

    • Verify cable connection between AC inlet and power supply

    • Verify cable connection between power supply and logic board

    • Verify power supply

      LED #1 + LED #2 = Power available, and system is powered on.

      If second LED is not visible when power button is pressed:
    • Verify power button connection to logic board

    • Verify power button functionality

    • Verify cable connection between power supply and logic board

    • Verify power supply

    • Verify logic board
      LED #1 + LED #2 + LED #3 = Power available, system is powered on, and video card found.

      If third LED is not visible after power on:
    • Verify that the MXM video card is seated properly

    • Verify if boot chime is present and fans are running when powered ON (reset SMC and

      PRAM, reseat or check backup battery if necessary for proper boot up):
      If POST boot chime is not heard, go to No Startup symptom flow, If POST boot chime is heard, go to No Video symptom flow.

      LED #1 + LED #2 + LED #3 + LED #4 = Power available, system is powered on, video card found, and internal LCD found.

      If fourth LED is not visible after power on:
    • Verify internal DisplayPort cable connections between LCD panel and logic board

    • Inspect LCD display cables for cable damage

    • Verify external video functionality, and according to result check the following items:

      If external display works then verify/replace the LED backlight board If external display works then verify/replace the LCD panel
      If external display does not work verify/replace the logic board

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