- Jul 31, 2012
- HD4600 / RX 570
- Mobile Phone
If you are considering using an Nvidia graphics card read through this post carefully. It will save you from possibly wasting your time and money on the wrong card from Nvidia that will not work with macOS.
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 cards such as the RX 5700 XT only have support in Catalina and not Mojave.
We know that some people will still want to and may even need to use Nvidia graphics for whatever reason. Maybe because they already have one or they just want a lower cost alternative to a more expensive AMD Polaris or Vega card. This is why I've posted this list of supported cards and the question/answer section for your reference.
Nvidia Graphics Cards that Work with the latest macOS Catalina
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 or Catalina ?
A: That depends on which generation and series it is from.
If it is Kepler 6th or 7th Gen based, manufactured in approximately 2012 through 2014, it's likely to work with Mojave and Catalina. The drivers are included in macOS. The specific Kepler models are listed below.
Apple used similar dedicated Nvidia graphics cards in many of the iMacs and Macbook Pros produced in the 2012/13 model years. Those iMacs and MBPs still have support in Mojave and Catalina and they also have Mini-DP/TH1 or TH2 outputs.
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.
Gen 2 Kepler cards like the GT 710, GTX 760, 770 etc. work best and have fewer issues than the 6 series cards such as the GTX 660/670. When searching for used/refurbished Nvidia cards, go with the 7 series if possible. Some 6 series cards will produce graphics glitches.
If the Nvidia card is Maxwell (745/750/Ti or second gen Maxwell 900 series), Pascal or Turing 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. Sad but true.
Q: How long will these older Kepler based cards still be supported by macOS ?
A: It is not currently known whether macOS 11.0 in latter 2020 will still support these 6th and 7th Gen Kepler cards. It depends completely on what Apple decides to do. It is possible that they might stop supporting 6th gen and keep support for 7th gen. AMD Polaris 20/21 cards such as the RX 560/570/580 as well as the Vega 10 RX Vega 56/64 should have continued support many years into the 2020s. Those are your safest bet longer term. The Newest RX5700 (XT) cards from AMD will work with Catalina and macOS 11.0 Big Sur.
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 quite easy. Go to this website http://www.gpuzoo.com/ and enter the make and model of your card.
GK107 Graphics Core
For a list of all GK106 core Nvidia cards click on the following link.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.
Nvidia Chip Codes:
GF = Fermi
GK = Kepler
GM = Maxwell
Nvidia Kepler Cards that are Natively Supported:
- GTX Titan (GK110)
- GTX Titan Black (GK110)
- GTX Titan Z
- GTX 780/Ti
- GTX 770
- GTX 760/Ti
- GT 740
- GT 730
- GT 720
- GT 710
- GTX 690
- GTX 680
- GTX 670
- GTX 660/Ti
- GTX 650/Ti
- GTX 645 (GT 645 is Fermi)
- GT 640 (Kepler edition, GK107/208 core)
- GT 630 (Kepler edition, GK208 core)
- Quadro 410
- Quadro K420
- Quadro K600
- Quadro K2000/D
- Quadro K4000/D
- Quadro K4200
- Quadro K5000
- Quadro K5200
- Quadro K6000
- Quadro NVS510
Nvidia Turing, Pascal and Maxwell Cards
These are Not Supported in Mojave or Catalina
- 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 K620
- Quadro K1200
- Quadro K220
- Quadro M (all models)
- Quadro P (all models)
For a more detailed exploration of Mojave compatible AMD graphics cards please see:
Radeon Compatibility Guide ATI/AMD Graphics Cards Last Change: December 2nd, 2017 The "boot to black screen" issue as well as the broken sleep/wake have been fixed! Read below for details. 0. Introduction Most of you might have noticed that the Buyer's Guide doesn't list a single...
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.
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.
Haswell CPUs with HD4600 graphics will also work. Many newer desktop CPUs will likely 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.
Not only that, but Apple had to admit that some 2008 MacBook Pros had faulty Nvidia processors, which led to a class-action lawsuit for Nvidia and lost profits for Apple due to MacBook Pro repairs.
Around the same time, the iPhone transformed the mobile computing market and that meant phones now needed GPUs, and Apple decided to go with Samsung instead. At this time, Nvidia believed that its own patents also applied to mobile GPUs, so they filed patent infringement suits against Qualcomm and Samsung, trying to get them and possibly Apple to pay license fees.
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. Currently, Nvidia is the only company making GPU hardware capable of hardware-accelerated ray tracing, a welcome tool used by animators and developers.