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Will my Nvidia Graphics Card work with macOS ? List of Desktop Cards with Native Support

trs96

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If you are considering using an Nvidia graphics card read through this post carefully.

Q: Since 2015, Apple has stopped using Nvidia graphics chips in Macs. They started using AMD dedicated graphics exclusively. Why discuss Nvidia here in 2021 ? Shouldn't I just buy an AMD card ?

A: Some people will still want to and may even need to use Nvidia graphics for whatever reason. They may already have one of these cards or just want a lower cost alternative to a more expensive AMD card that has macOS support.

As of early 2021, the prices of AMD Polaris and Navi based cards have gone extremely high. Many are simply not available for purchase. For some, an older Nvidia card will be the only option that works for them right now.

This is why I've posted this list of supported Nvidia cards and the question/answer section for your reference. It is a rather complex topic and you'll need to learn this information to make good choices.

Nvidia Cards that don't work with Mojave, Catalina or Big Sur.

Avoid all of these cards.
  • RTX 3090
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • Titan RTX
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2070 Super
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2060 Super
  • RTX 2060
  • GTX 1660 Ti
  • GTX 1660 Super
  • GTX 1650
  • GTX 1080/Ti
  • GTX 1070/Ti
  • GTX 1060
  • GTX 1050/Ti
  • GT 1030
  • GTX Titan X (GM200 Maxwell core)
  • GTX 980/Ti
  • GTX 970
  • GTX 960
  • GTX 950
  • GTX 750/Ti
  • GTX 745
  • GT 645
  • Quadro 600
  • Quadro K620
  • Quadro K1200
  • Quadro K220
  • Quadro M (all models)
  • Quadro P (all models)
  • Fermi cards (GF) (all models)

Many of the 600/700 Series Kepler Graphics Cards are still supported in macOS Mojave, Catalina and Big Sur.
The Nvidia Chip Codes for these are: GK104, GK107 and GK110. More about how to determine which chips are installed in specific graphics cards later in this article.

The best cards from the 600 series are the GTX 670 and 680. Both have the Kepler GK104 GPU inside.

From the 700 series you can use the GT 710, 720, 730 (not the Fermi versions) and GT 740, GTX 760, 770 and 780 plus the Ti versions. Ten Kepler based Quadro cards and three Titan cards will work as well. The GTX 750 and 750 Ti cards are all Maxwell based with one exception, the 750 Ti OEM. Avoid the OEM 750 Ti as well.

See the list below: Currently Supported Nvidia Cards

High Sierra
10.13.6 will give you the option to use Pascal cards if you install the Nvidia Web drivers.

These include: GT 1030, GTX 1050, 1060, 1070, 1080 and the related Ti versions.
These Maxwell based cards can also benefit from the web drivers: GTX 750, 970, 980 and Ti versions.


Nvidia Graphics Cards that still work with macOS

This question gets asked over and over here in Desktop Compatibility and in Buying Advice.

Q: Can I use a (fill in the blank) Nvidia graphics card with macOS Mojave, Catalina or Big Sur ?

A:
That depends on which generation and series it is from.

If it is Kepler first or second gen based, manufactured from approximately 2012 to 2014, it's likely to work with Mojave, Catalina and Big Sur. The drivers are included in macOS.

Nvidia Chip Codes for successive Graphics Microarchitectures:

GF
= Fermi - 2010
GK = Kepler -2012
GM = Maxwell - 2014
GP = Pascal - 2016

The microarchitecture defines a GPU's building blocks, how they're connected, and how they work. For easy reference, Nvidia names them after famous scientists such as Enrico Fermi and Johannes Kepler.

1617058234118.png

Johannes Kepler Astronomer and Mathematician

The GK107 core is commonly used in the supported Quadro cards like the NVS 510. See full list below.

Screen Shot 4.jpg

Source: www.techpowerup.com

Q: How can I determine whether my Nvidia card is Kepler based and not Fermi or something else ?

A: You can look up the specs on the
techpowerup.com website

http://www.gpuzoo.com/ is also a great place to research specific cards.

Apple used similar dedicated Nvidia graphics processors in many of the iMacs and Macbook Pros produced in the 2012/13 model years. Some of those iMacs and MBPs still have support in Mojave and Catalina. For some unknown reason, Apple didn't give the 14,1 14,2 and 14,3 iMacs from 2013, Big Sur support. They are perfectly capable of running Big Sur. If you are using a Haswell i3, i5 or i7 CPU in your hackintosh and want to install Big Sur, then use the iMac 15,1 SMBIOS. That has retained support in Big Sur.

If any Mac is still supported then the GPU in that Mac has to retain support as well. A prime example is the Late 2013 MacBook Pro which has a GK107 based GPU. The GT 750M. Support was maintained in Big Sur for that laptop.

Screen Shot 3.jpg


Nvidia Mobile GPUs in 2013 iMacs -- Kepler based Graphics Processors

NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M graphics processor with 1GB of GDDR5 memory
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M graphics processor with 2GB of GDDR5 memory
Configurable to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M with 4GB of GDDR5 memory.

iMac back view.jpg

DisplayPort should be your first choice for an output on your Nvidia card. Second best choice is HDMI.
Do not use the VGA port as it's not supported. Apple quit supporting VGA/analog video over ten years ago.

Kepler cards like the GT 710, 740, GTX 760, 770 etc. work best and have fewer issues than the 6 series cards such as the GTX 650/660. When searching for used/refurbished Nvidia cards, go with the 7 series if possible. Some 6 series cards will produce graphics glitches. The GT 710 should be the DDR3 memory version if you will be installing Mojave, Catalina or Big Sur. Many report problems with the GDDR5 GT 710 cards. Those require the Web Drivers to work with High Sierra. They won't provide QE/CI with Mojave, Catalina or Big Sur.

If the Nvidia card is Maxwell (745/750/Ti or second gen Maxwell 900 series), Pascal, Turing or Ampere based, there are no Mojave or Catalina drivers that you can use to make it work. For example, the newest RTX cards from Nvidia are unsupported in Mojave. The RTX 2060/70 and all related 16 series GTX cards will not work in any version of macOS as there are no web drivers. I have included the Maxwell Quadro workstation cards in the unsupported list. There are also newer Pascal Quadro cards that are not listed. If it is not a Kepler based Quadro card it won't have native support.

Apple no longer uses any Nvidia graphics hardware in any of the new Macs it produces, even the 2019 Mac Pro. Currently it looks as if they have no plans of ever working with Nvidia again.

Q: How long will these older Kepler based cards still be supported by macOS ?

A:
Big Sur does officially support 1st gen (700 series) Kepler cards but not the 600 series. There are no Macs with Nvidia 600 series Kepler mobile GPUs that still have support. 600 series Nvidia Kepler cards may still work with Big Sur but are not recommended for long term use. Many report frequent graphics glitching. These are the GT 630, 640, 650, 660.. cards with GK106. Better to use 2nd gen Kepler 700 series cards or upgrade to a newer supported AMD card. The GT 750M mobile graphics GK107, in the 2013 MBP are still supported in Big Sur. Good news for those that use 1st and 2nd generation Kepler cards such as the Nvidia GT 710/730/740 and Quadro NVS 510.

Q: Some cards in the supported list have Fermi variants. How do I determine whether my Nvidia card is Kepler based (GK) and not an unsupported Fermi (GF) card ? (GT 630, 640 and 730 cards can be from either series)

A: It's really important to determine that your graphics card from Nvidia is not Fermi based

Starting back in 2011, the Fermi series of cards caused major problems in hackintoshes. They suffered from regular freeze ups due to faulty drivers. Apple support ended with High Sierra. So if you are buying a GT 630/640 or GT 730 Check to make sure it's not Fermi based. Read about all of the issues with Fermi cards and hackintoshes here.

Go to this website http://www.gpuzoo.com/ and enter the make and model of your card. Make sure it is GK104, GK107, GK110 or GK208 and not GF which means it's an unsupported Fermi card.

Important Note:
You may want to avoid purchasing any of the GK106 Core variants of the following cards. They may still work but do have VRAM memory leakage issues. This can lead to instability when using models with that GPU. The GT 740, GTX 660, GTX 650/Ti and GTX 645 can all potentially have the GK106 core.
For a list of all GK106 core Nvidia cards click on the following link.

Nvidia Kepler Cards that are Natively Supported: (GT 630 - GTX 660 specific models may have issues)
  • GTX Titan (GK110)
  • GTX Titan Black (GK110)
  • GTX Titan Z
  • GTX 780/Ti
  • GTX 770
  • GTX 760/Ti
  • GT 740 (Avoid OEM versions)
  • GT 730 (GK208 core)
  • GT 720
  • GT 710 (GK208 core versions)
  • GTX 690
  • GTX 680
  • GTX 670
  • GTX 660/Ti (Avoid GK106 models)
  • GTX 650/Ti (Avoid GK106 models)
  • GT 640 (Kepler edition, GK107/208 core)
  • GT 630 (Kepler edition, GK208 core)
  • Quadro 410
  • Quadro K420
  • Quadro K600
  • Quadro K2000/D
  • Quadro K4200
  • Quadro K5000
  • Quadro K5200
  • Quadro K6000
  • Quadro NVS510

Nvidia Ampere, Turing, Pascal and Maxwell Cards

These are Not Supported in Mojave, Catalina or Big Sur

  • RTX 3090
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • Titan RTX
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2070 Super
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2060 Super
  • RTX 2060
  • GTX 1660 Ti
  • GTX 1660 Super
  • GTX 1650
  • GTX 1080/Ti
  • GTX 1070/Ti
  • GTX 1060
  • GTX 1050/Ti
  • GT 1030
  • GTX Titan X (GM200 Maxwell core)
  • GTX 980/Ti
  • GTX 970
  • GTX 960
  • GTX 950
  • GTX 750/Ti
  • GTX 745
  • Quadro 600
  • Quadro K620
  • Quadro K1200
  • Quadro K220
  • Quadro M (all models)
  • Quadro P (all models)
  • Fermi cards (GF) (all models)
There are still Nvidia Web drivers available that work in High Sierra if you have a Maxwell GTX 745 through Pascal 1080 Ti card. There will likely never be any Mojave or Catalina web drivers released for these cards.
 
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trs96

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This Thread is Open for General Comments only

Not a support thread - Post in the Graphics Forum for Help/Support


Apple has chosen AMD as their Dedicated Graphics Chip Manufacturer

The primary advice for new CustoMac builders is to use AMD cards that are natively supported by macOS. Graphics cards like the RX 570/580 or RX Vega 56/64 by AMD. Newer AMD 5000 series cards such as the RX 5700 XT only have support in Catalina or Big Sur and not Mojave. It appears that Apple will not add Nvidia support in the forseeable future.

AMD Polaris 20/21 cards should have continued support many years into the 2020s. Those are your safest bet. Full Metal 2 API Support, Vulkan and DX12.

For a more detailed exploration of Mojave/Catalina compatible AMD graphics cards please see:
Q: I would like to run an older version of OS X/macOS. How far back does support go for Kepler cards ?

A: Initial Support for Nvidia Kepler cards began with the release of Mac OS X Mountain Lion in 2012.

Q: I can't afford an Nvidia or AMD card now. Can I use just my Intel CPU's integrated graphics ?

A: Maybe.
If you want to install Mojave/Catalina this depends on how new your Intel CPU is. For Big Sur you must also use a supported SMBIOS. Mac Pro 6,1 iMac 14,4 or 15,1 are a few of the oldest ones that work with Big Sur.

If your CPU is from 2011 or older (HD3000/Sandy Bridge), the iGPU will not have metal 2 support and not work with full QE/CI acceleration in Mojave/Catalina.

Ivy Bridge CPUs that have HD4000 are the cutoff point for the oldest supported Intel integrated graphics. The i7-3770 and i5-3570K are two examples of HD4000 CPUs. HD2500 CPUs (such as the i5-3470) do not have fully supported graphics.

Q. Which integrated graphics from Intel will still work in macOS Big Sur ?

A.
Haswell CPUs with HD4600 graphics will work with iMac 15,1 SMBIOS and the correct ig-platform-ID. Surprisingly, HD4000 still works in Big Sur as well. Most newer desktop CPUs will have supported Intel graphics. Examples are HD5000, HD530, HD630, UHD630 etc.


Here's a compilation of a few online articles about Nvidia support in Macs. It explains why Apple and Nvidia have parted ways for the foreseeable future.

The Nvidia/Apple relationship has been crumbling for over a decade

There was a bit of confusion when Apple announced the latest 2019 Mac Pro, as it eschewed super powerful Nvidia GPUs with hardware-accelerated ray tracing support to embrace AMD’s hardware.

The Nvidia/Apple relationship has been crumbling for over a decade. A little more than ten years ago Apple and Nvidia lost a whole lot of money due to a series of failed GPUs in the MacBook Pro line up. It went so poorly that Apple started to rely on AMD for its GPUs despite Nvidia’s popularity and typically better performance.

In 2008, Apple's MacBook Pro shipped with Nvidia graphics chips that revolutionized the MacBook by taking over the functions of the Northbridge and Southbridge controllers alongside actual graphics rendering. Because of it, Intel filed a lawsuit against Nvidia, making things a bit complicated for Apple.

In 2016, Apple said no to putting Nvidia processors in the 15-inch MacBook Pro and instead went with AMD, Apple publicly stated they did so because of performance per watt issues.

But despite the reliance on AMD hardware macOS still included support for Nvidia GPUs. If you wanted to cram a Nvidia card into your older Mac Pro or rely on it for your hackintosh, then Apple and Nvidia had you covered. Until last year, when Apple stopped supporting CUDA with the release of macOS 10.14 Mojave. That forced apps that relied on CUDA for hardware acceleration, like Adobe’s suite of software, to issue warnings and reminders to customers.

Nvidia ending support after CUDA 10.2 is really more tit for tat than any kind of major statement. Yet it does leave some people, like the aforementioned hackintosh users, in the lurch. It also means that it’s now going to make Apple devices a lot less appealing to some high-end developers and animation professionals.
 
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trs96

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Research the Specs of any Supported Graphics Card
If you want to know the detailed specs of any Kepler based Nvidia card you should visit techpowerup.com/gpuz to determine if it will meet your needs. Search for the specific card you want to buy and determine whether it will work well in your hackintosh build. You can also reserch any AMD card that is macOS compatible for comparison purposes.

Techpowerup.jpg




Here's an example page with all of the specs for a GTX 780. Apple used a GTX 780M in some 27" 2013 iMacs.
 
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trs96

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Here is an iMac from 2013 with a GTX 780M MXM type graphics card. Has 4GB of Vram. Sells for $617 on Ebay. The 780M is still a very capable graphics card. Especially if you need Cuda cores. These iMacs have mini-DP outputs.

 
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Nvidia GT 640 is full compatible in Mojave and Sta Catalina
 

trs96

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Nvidia GT 640 is full compatible in Mojave and Sta Catalina
Yes, but it must have the GK 107 or GK 208 core. GPU Zoo calls it the "Die name." Check the card brand and model/part number at www.gpuzoo.com to find out.

Here is an example of a MSI GT 640 with a GK 107 core.

Screen Shot 4.jpg
 
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People should also beware... many 730/630/720/620/710/610 sold on eBay are fake cards sold from China. The BIOS is also faked to make it seem to be the real deal but comparing GPU-Z shaders etc is a good way to check. Do NOT trust those Chinese sellers!!
 

trs96

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People should also beware... many 730/630/720/620/710/610 sold on eBay are fake cards sold from China. The BIOS is also faked to make it seem to be the real deal but comparing GPU-Z shaders etc is a good way to check. Do NOT trust those Chinese sellers!!
Not all of them are from China. It's possible to buy fake cards from US sellers. One out of every five 1050 Ti cards sold on Ebay are fake. It's pretty easy to spot them if you look closely. The key to avoid scams is to not click "buy now" on the lowest priced card of the specific model you want. Take some time to really check out the card and the seller. The fake ones will usually have the lowest price you can find on Ebay. The shroud of the card will also look very generic.

The following video goes in depth on how to spot a fake card to avoid falling for these scams. You can be 100% sure by buying from Newegg/Amazon as they normally won't even show up for sale on those sites.

 
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trs96

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Here's an example of a potentially fake GT 730 card. It's likely some older Nvidia card that no one wants and is worthless so they try to make buyer's believe it's real. They flash a GT 730 BIOS to it and pack it up.

Screen Shot 3.jpg



Here's an example of a real MSI GT 730. The description tells you it has the older Fermi Architecture so avoid it.


Screen Shot 4.jpg
 
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