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iMac 27 mid 2011 GPU upgrade

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Hi guys. I'm not sure if it is right forum to post this thread. If it is not - please remove/delete my thread.

So a month ago i understood that my 27" mid 2011 imac is not a beast-machine any more. The lack of RAM, very-very-very-very slow HDD (which is painfully dying) and of course 6970m 1gb which is a good, but not a high-end GPU for the end of 2013.

Firstly, i thought about building eGPU because I read somewhere that upgrading imacs GPU is possible only with a higher model from the same series (e.g i have 6970m 1 gb and it is possible to upgrade it ONLY with a 6970m 2gb). But after reading some threads on macrumors i understood that it is not true. With the latest drivers from 10.8 - 10.9 it is possible to launch brand-new out-of-the-box mobile Nvidia. The only problem is the "EFI|" thing, so i will not have a boot screen any more...

Here are the links to the macrumors forums.

Frequently Asked Questions About NVIDIA PC (non-EFI) Graphics Cards - MacRumors Forums

2011 iMac Graphics Card Upgrade - MacRumors Forums

So... the question is. How do you think, techinfernos, will it work? Did i miss something?)

Thanks)

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Apple is special. Their devices are not meant to be upgraded, so it's really hard to tell what will work. I don't have any experience with iMacs, but I somehow doubt that Apple completely adheres to the MXM specifications... if you find a copy of a 680MX vbios of an Apple device I might be able to check some things, e.g. whether it behaves like a normal MXM card or not.

The pics shown in the linked thread indicate that it is possible to install a MXM type B card, even though it appears that it is a tough fit.

About EFI and vbios... almost all AMD card from the 7000m series should come with an uefi capable vbios (GOP), that's not necessarily the case with the NVidia 600m series, and it definitely is not the case with the 500m series. I didn't read through the linked threads, but it seems that one guy installed a 500m series card, so chances are that it will even work with only a legacy vbios...

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i'm afraid i will not be able to find Apple vbios... i don't even know how to goolgle it)))

concerning AMD... OS X does not support latest AMD cards. So i will have my bootscreen but i will not have proper driver-support, or am i mistaken?

So hard to make a decision if this upgrade is worth doing...

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This is just my two cents, and I realize it'd be almost easier to buy a new machine. However, if the issue is upgrading the AMD dedicated graphics, and you wanted something newer - could a new logic board from a similar iMac of a newer setup be used to replace the current one, allowing for a better dedicated graphics option? A new logic board added to the price is a lot, I get that - but it's certainly cheaper than an new unit, and if the design doesn't change too much, and the power requirements are within a safe range I imagine it could work. I used to refurbish mac minis, and iMacs from near dead boards to working units. Apple parts can be a pain to get ahold of some times, but it seems more feasible than attempting a configuration on a mac that apple didn't make available as an upgrade at the time of purchase (not intended by apple anyways).

I have a Mac mini I used for gaming that was the late 2011 before they pulled out the dedicated graphics option. Lol, still runs quite a bit better on benchmarks, but the OS etc is all on SSD, with a 2nd hd for larger storage etc. On a side note, have you considered an SSD to boot performance? I know it's a bit more costly, but it could be an option.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Newer imac have chips glued to the motherboard... Only 2011 imac have dedicated videocard...

as for ssd - surely I will do it. As well as memory upgrade.

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Guys, the question is about power supply and boot screen. I'm gonna make an attempt of upgrading, moreover im ready to write a full report wether it will be success or not, but i need to know 2 things.

The first one: power supply. AMD Radeon HD 6970M - NotebookCheck.net Tech here i read, that it has similar to 480m power consuption (75-100w), where can it be checked?

The second: is it possible to install windows WITHOUT a bootscreen (which i'm probably lose). If it is possible - how it can be done)

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I thought bootcamp automatically restarts the mac ? I wonder how well the hackintosh tricks apply to real macs ......read somewhere about someone who got a 7970m working on a p370em using an alternate personality and patching it to make the internal screen work (doubt if its needed though since output connectors is standard mac config but then no imac came with a 7xxx series card and how well the imac takes the uefi) then so its a safer bet with the NVidia I guess.

P.S. read that non uefi cards would only work in the mac pro not on the imacs

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the boot screen only stops showing the apple startup one windows /osx takes over you have a display ....osx does support and cards i have a 7950 in my mac pro and i have a boot screen (flashed bios) i have yet to find a recent pc card from nvidia that you can just flash a bios onto tho

windows is installable without a bootscreen as is osx if you need to ......you can start the iMac in windows using sys prefs / start up disc without the need for a boot screen and use bootcamp in windows to restart in osx

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What are you trying to do and whats slow about it? Gaming? just bootcamp the thing it will run 4x as fast, upgrade the ram to atleast 8gb and get a SSD.

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I think you're better off upgrading the HDD to an SSD and upgrading the RAM. The 6970M is still a decent card. But if you're able to do all upgrades, why not? ;)

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dude sorry but is a really hard thing to do, because it's soldered to motherboard

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I am looking to do this on a 2011 21" iMac. I am going to attempt to install either a 770m or 780m in place of a 6750. This will be more difficult than your project as the 21" has a mxm a and I want to fit an mxm b.

I plan to loose the 3.5" and DVD and just install a SSD to allow room.

I will let you know how I get on and take photo's along the way.

I would also love to do this to a 27" but haven't yet managed to source a cheap 27" to test. I am lucky enough to run an IT business so have plenty of different mxm type b I can test.

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yeah GPU upgrades are almost impossible when the components are soldered down in the manner common to all imac computers.

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As far as i know the 27" 2011 did have an MXM B card installed. Mine had an 6970m in it and as i remember, it was possible to upgrade but not with any card (must be an uefi?!). What you will loose is the bootscreen.

RAM and a SSD is absolutly a must have!!

Greets, d.

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I upgraded my iMac 27" twice. First from the stock Radeon HD 5750 Mobility to the Radeon HD 6970m from the newer 2011 Model and a month ago to a Geforce GTX 780M. As expected i lost my initial boot screen with the upgrade to the Geforce GTX 780M because the card doesn't have UEFI Bios.

So, any card until the Geforce GTX 700 Series should work on an iMac which support MXM cards (2011 is the last model, graphics card in the 2012 and newer iMacs are soldered to the logic bord).

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I upgraded my iMac 27" twice. First from the stock Radeon HD 5750 Mobility to the Radeon HD 6970m from the newer 2011 Model and a month ago to a Geforce GTX 780M. As expected i lost my initial boot screen with the upgrade to the Geforce GTX 780M because the card doesn't have UEFI Bios.

So, any card until the Geforce GTX 700 Series should work on an iMac which support MXM cards (2011 is the last model, graphics card in the 2012 and newer iMacs are soldered to the logic bord).

I'm going to put the m15x 780m into a 2011 iMac 27, I have Svl7 firmware installed on that card, do I need to do something else or just move it ? There's no way to put the 780m new iMac firmware into this card ?

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On 26.8.2014 at 10:56 AM, DriveSlow said:

I upgraded my iMac 27" twice. First from the stock Radeon HD 5750 Mobility to the Radeon HD 6970m from the newer 2011 Model and a month ago to a Geforce GTX 780M. As expected i lost my initial boot screen with the upgrade to the Geforce GTX 780M because the card doesn't have UEFI Bios.

So, any card until the Geforce GTX 700 Series should work on an iMac which support MXM cards (2011 is the last model, graphics card in the 2012 and newer iMacs are soldered to the logic bord).

 

What's the situation after the latest OS updates? Do you still have no boot screen with the GTX 780M?

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Posted (edited)

A lot of progress have been made since this post.

the GTX 765M, 770M, and 780M GPUs and Quadro K1000M, K1100M, K2000M, K21000M can now display boot screens using a VBIOS mod. The EFI boot screen is still not reliably enabled (apple/progress bar/gray screen at beginning). However, once the Kepler drivers load up, the display returns just before the login screen.

 

 

 

 

Edited by nikey22

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