Guide to using unflashed Nvidia GTX 9XX GPUs in a classic Mac Pro.
In this guide we will show you how to save money, time, and keep your workflow rock solid by installing one of Nvidia’s latest GPU’s in your classic 2009/2010/2012 Mac Pro 5,1 or 4,1.
Following this guide you will be able to install a GPU purchased from anywhere, not just us or another Mac Pro GPU reseller.
The following method will provide you with a fully working Nvidia GPU in OS X, with GPGPU acceleration and all. The only omission will be the Apple logo on bootup, this will not be visible due to the fact that the Nvidia driver needs to load up before the display will enable (post boot). This shouldn’t be a problem for any user as long as you have a spare native Apple GPU for the rare situations in which you may need a boot screen (we supply a native Apple GT120 GPU with every Nvidia card purchased from us). You will not need this extra card for day to day use, however. You may need the boot screen functionality in rare situations requiring safe mode or verbose mode, for example.
Before you install your shiny new Nvidia GTX 9XX GPU, you just need to follow these 10 simple steps using your native Apple GPU:
- You will need to be running either OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or OS X 10.11 (El Capitan).
- Make sure you have updated your OS X edition of choice to the latest version using Apple Software Update. This includes all security updates.
- Go to http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx and search for the drivers >Quadro>Quadro Series>Quadro K5000 for Mac>YOUR OS X Version>Search (As shown in the image below).
- Download and install the driver, follow the instructions including restarting the Mac Pro.
- Go to System Preferences and check the Nvidia driver manager pane, on the third tab (updates) click update to ensure your on the latest version. (Repeat this for the CUDA for Mac driver if you also installed this, CUDA driver can be found here). (As shown in image below).
- Shutdown your Mac Pro.
- Remove the native Apple GPU (such as GT120, ATI 5770 or 5870).
- Connect the power cables for your new Nvidia GTX 9XX series GPU if needed. (Most GTX GPUs use 1x 6 pin and 1x 8 pin, we always include the correct cables for Mac Pro installation with GPUs purchased from us).
- Once the new GPU is installed, connect your display and turn on the Mac Pro.
- You will see a black screen until the Mac Pro has booted and the Nvidia driver has been loaded into OS X. (Shown in image below).
After following the steps above, you should now be back into OS X and able to use your super-powerful Nvidia GTX TITAN X, 980 Ti, 980, 970 or 960 GPU.
Please see the images below for visual explanations of steps 3, 5 and 10: