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I recently got a 2010 27" iMac for free! Some further research concluded that the MXM slot in the iMac has been proven to work with a GTX 880m, including Mac OS! I used to play with a 7970 ghz edition, but ended up selling it for some more projects. I've been lagging along on a 5870 2gb and thought that with my switch to the free iMac, I might as well update my gpu. Heres the problem I was faced with: the 880m is a little underpowered on stock clocks. So, after even more research I discovered that the 980m was around the same as a 7970 performance wise. I ended up grabbing a deal on an 880m for only 160$, but I did want to share my findings with you guys.

 

*WARNING* ONLY 2009, 2010, AND 2011 IMACS HAVE THE MXM SLOT!!!! IF YOU ARE USING A 2012+ YOU CANNOT UPGRADE YOUR GPU

 

So the 980m used to work all the way up to mac os sierra. It's now high sierra, but the fix is still pretty simple.

 

What you will need:

-thermal pads

-copper ram heatsinks/ one of the specialized backplates that cools MXM memory modules.

-Your graphics card

-YOU NEED an imac 2011 gpu heatsink

-GOOD thermal paste (Preferably liquid metal if youre comfortable with that)

-IMAC 2010 power supply

*As far as i know the power supply's between these 3 imac's are interchangeable, but the largest one is the 2010 variant, at the 310 watts, and the others are much lower.

*Just from tdp we know that the 980m is 115w and the cpu's on these guys are most commonly 95w, thats allready 200 with out hdd, all the other components etc.

-nvidia web drivers

 

READ THE FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY

 

Step 1: You must have all your mac os/ windows partitions set up with bootcamp, and MAKE SURE it boots into Mac OS and wont boot into anything else when you start it up AFTER the upgrade.

*Remember nvidia web drivers must be installed before you upgrae

Step 2: dremel/ cnc/ remove a couple parts of the VRM section of the imac 2011 heatsink, (You want your card IN HAND so you are able to make sure it fits correctly.

step 3: Assemble the gpu assembly

step 4: Re assemble the imac, with the new gpu.

*This is where is gets slightly harder*

step 5: You want to reset your iMac's System Management Controller, otherwise known as SMC.

*DO NOT FLASH NVRAM OR PRAM, or you will have to redo the whole process, after you put your old gpu in to fix all the bootcamp problems and such

*You can do this by plugging the power cord into your imac, waiting 30 seconds and NOT turning it on, unplug your power cord, wait 30 seconds, then plug it back in. Wait another 30 seconds, then turn it on. (But not before reading the following to be prepared:)

step 6: You need to force Mac OS to work with an unsupported card. this is a pretty simple process if you are comfortable with terminal.

* I couldn't have found this without this page: 

https://www.ifixit.com/Story/18646/Successful_iMac_Upgrade_to_GTX_880M

"

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.

LOOK FOR YOUR BOARD ID…

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

AND

sudo kextcache -system-caches

Have Fun!

 

Theoretically this should work, and I would love for somebody to try as I got an 880m instead. Just keep in mind this is all from research and has not been proven to work. Be sure to research this subject before you try it.

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Thanks for your post, I’ll do it in one or two month, I just bought the 980m and I hope it works...

 

PD: didn't work, as everyone says display not respond...

Edited by Toni97pp
update

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