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20th March 2017

Nvidia Graphics Card for Mac: Frequently Asked Questions

For the Mac User who wants to or are using a Nvidia GPU, we understand that you have a lot of questions. This post is for you. We have collated as many of the most common questions we got about the Nvidia graphics cards and brought them together in a single post. If you do have an issue that isn’t answered below, please feel free to get in touch with us.
I just installed my new Nvidia XXXX graphics card, and the screen just stays black?
The first thing to check is to see if you have installed the drivers for the card.
Do you have them installed?
No – Install the drivers
Yes – Ensure you have correct drivers, full power and no hardware faults.
I went to the Nvidia Website, found my graphics cards, but there is no OSX driver?
All the drivers for the Nvidia cards come under the Nvidia Quadro K5000.
The drivers are not card specific but OSX version specific.
Where can I find the drivers for my Nvidia Card?
All the drivers for each version of OSX / MacOS can be found at the link below.
Click here

How do I know what driver is the one for me?
The driver is specific to the build number of the operating system you are running. Just looking for a driver for version 10.10.5 might not get you what you need.
How to reveal your OS X build number:

  1. Click the Apple logo to the far left of the menu bar.
  2. Click ‘About this Mac.’
  3. Click ‘Version XX.XX.X’ to reveal build number

Once you have your build number, you can see exactly what driver you need.
If you visit the link above you can see each version and build split with the driver available.
I have installed my Nvidia card, connected all the cables and installed the drivers but it won’t boot?
Firstly, check you have installed the correct version of the driver. A common mistake is to install the latest driver and not the correct one for your build of OSX.
If that doesn’t work check your card is supported in the version of OSX you are running, double check you are getting enough power to the card, and then last resort is check for faulty hardware.
GTX 780Ti & GTX Titan Black require 10.9.2 or later
GTX 750Ti, GTX 950, GTX 960, GTX 970, GTX 980, GTX 980Ti, and Titan X (Maxwell) Require 10.10 or later
I’m trying to use Nvidia XXXX in my Mac Pro and only have one power cable connected. My machine chimes/doesn’t boot?
You will need to fully power the graphics card for it to function. Plug both auxiliary power connections into the graphics card.
I have installed the CUDA drivers without any issues, but I get an error saying that the web driver is incompatible with my operating system?
The driver you have downloaded is not the correct version for your build.
Please see above guide on selecting the correct driver.
I have purchased a overclocked/super clocked (or other more powerful version) of Nvidia 9XX series graphics card, and my machine crashes/no longer boots?
The crashes are most likely the machine shutting itself down as the card is drawing too much power. If your system no longer boots you may have damaged something.
I recommend testing the graphics card in another system to ensure that it isn’t just faulty hardware. Also, check the manufacturer specification of the card to see the TDP. We recommend no more than a 250W TDP for Nvidia Graphics cards to be stable and fully functional.
Will the Nvidia XXXX work in my Mac Pro 3,1 / 4,1 / 5,1?
Most Nvidia cards will work in all three models it’s the version of OSX you are running which will make the difference.
GTX 780Ti & GTX Titan Black require 10.9.2 or later
GTX 750Ti, GTX 950, GTX 960, GTX 970, GTX 980, GTX 980Ti, and Titan X (Maxwell) Require 10.10 or later
Will the Nvidia XXXX get enough power in my Mac Pro 3,1 / 4,1 / 5,1?
Check the manufacturer specification of the card to see the TDP. We recommend no more than a 250W TDP for Nvidia Graphics cards.

Can I install a Nvidia graphics card in my Mac Pro 1,1 / 2,1?
Any of the newer cards will not work as they require 10.9.2 or newer. The older systems are also 32bit not 64bit so require a GPU with a 32bit BIOS.
I’m running a Mac Pro X,X with the following CPU will I need to upgrade my CPU to fit a new graphics card?
No, you do not, the only thing that matters is that your system is a 3,1 or newer and running the correct operating system for your choice of GPU.
How is the power draw from the card handled?
We select specific cards which draw within the power limit of the Mac Pro. Certain graphics cards will draw too much and can only be run with an additional GPU.
So when you install the Nvidia GPU how do you update the drivers when a new version of OSX comes out?
You will need to swap back to the Apple GPU, update OS X, update drivers and then swap to the Nvidia GTX GPU.
I have a modified Nvidia card do I still need the drivers?
Yes, you still need the drivers. The Mac EFI just gives you a boot screen.
I’m not getting audio over HDMI / Display Port in my Mac Pro with the Nvidia card?
Nvidia doesn’t support audio over HDMI or Display Port you will need to output via digital or 3.5mm.
I have one Nvidia XXXX graphics card installed in my system I want to add another one?
If you would like to install another GPU you MUST go one of these two routes:
Route 1 – Get an external power supply unit to power the card
Route 2 – Get an external PCI-e chassis such as the Xpander Elite from Cubix.
There is not enough power inside the Mac Pro to power GPUs, and you are just asking for trouble. We recommend the Cubix route purely as it is a much more reliable solution.
List of supported Nvidia GPU for the Mac Pro 5,1
GTX Titan X 12GB (Maxwell)
GTX 980 4GB
GTX 970 4GB
GTX 960 2GB/4GB
GTX 780 3GB/6GB
GTX 770 2GB/4GB
GTX 760 2GB
GTX 750Ti 2GB
GTX 680 2GB/4GB
GTX 780Ti & GTX Titan Black require 10.9.2 or later
GTX 750Ti, GTX 950, GTX 960, GTX 970, GTX 980, GTX 980Ti, and Titan X (Maxwell) Require 10.10 or later
*Please note not all variations from all manufacturers work.
Are you running a model, not on this list? Let us know!
We have tried our best to answer as many of the most common questions above. If we have not answered your questions above comment below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Comments on this article (9)

  • Hi CreatePro,
    Thank you so very much for making this idiot proof guide for installing GTX cards in cMP’s! Unfortunately I am the kind of idiot that breaks idiot proof guides! If you will take the time to hear my story and provide any suggestions/support I would be eternally grateful:
    I recently had an opportunity that netted me a free mac pro 5,1 (Mid-2010) and decided to upgrade the !@#$ out of it. I upgraded the CPUs to the 5960s, upgraded the RAM to 32gb, installed USB 3.0 card and (2) PCIe SSDs. Then my last hurdle was the GPU; and I have fallen and can’t get up.
    I first bought a GTX 980ti off ebay, just a stock PC version. I did my research and this showed to be the card for me. I work in 3D modeling apps like Maya/Zbrush, and I was planning on dual booting into windows so i could game. So I order the mini 6pin to 8pin cable, download latest drivers for my specific version of MacOS Sierra, install both drivers and latest CUDA, while the original Radeon is in the machine. I also set up screen sharing with my mbp just in case, because i notice that the Nvidia web drivers keeps defaulting to OSX default driver. Despite changing it in preferences/locking it. There is seemingly enough power as the lights come on and the fans spin. I know that no boot screen will show, but after 10 mins of looking at a blank/black monitor screen i decide its not working. So i attempt to screen share in from my laptop, and it just hangs on “connecting”. After another 10 mins I assume its a no go. Do some web research and see that the GPUs like this especially the 980ti edition, may need more power. So i order more cables: 2x Mini6 to 8pin, and a Sata to 6pin. Just to see if its because the GTX card isn’t getting enough power. Still same result.
    So i think maybe the card is bad and i am about to contact the seller and cry, but before i do that, let me put it in a Win 10 PC i have. 980ti loads up no issue. Looks/works great!
    I had an MSI GTX 970 in the PC, and figure well this must be a lower rated card let me try this in my cMP instead. Using either the low power/extra power set up, i get the same blank/black screen.
    So if you have stayed thru my story this long, Thank you! If you see anywhere I might have gone wrong or have any suggestions on what to do next, besides send it to MacVidCards or contact them, cause my piggy bank is empty and I can live without a boot screen.
    I am using the latest version of macOS Sierra and downloaded the latest nvidia/cuda drivers for:
    10.12.4 (16E195) 367.15.10.45f01
    Should I try installing El Capitan?
    Should I trade the GTX 970 for an ATI RX 480?
    Any words of wisdom, support, troubleshooting ideas, etc. would be more than appreciated!
    Thanks for reading!!

      • Hello,
        in fact I have exactly the same issue as Alhazred823,
        George, the PRAM ( in fact NVRAM on MacPro 2010-12) reset didn’t work in my case.
        I think the main problem is the MacOS Sierra, does not allow to use Terminal command sudo nvram boot-args=”nvda_drv=1″ which would allow to boot using the proper drivers.
        Still looking for solution.

  • Hi George. I’d like to buy a 5,1 Mac Pro and put my GTX 1080 in it, but I’m nervous because it doesn’t work in my eGPU (Razer Core X on a 2018 Macbook Pro i7). I’m running High Sierra 10.13.6 17G66. I didn’t see that on your list. Only 17G65. Furthermore, I went to the nVidia website and looked for Quadro K5000, but when I selected the drop down High Sierra OS, it gave me no results.

    As it stands, I used some bash script in terminal that installed web drives, though I have no idea if they’re correct, and when I run the eGPU script, it says:

    A system file (wrangler), has been replaced and does not fit to the system.

    I don’t know how to change my High Sierra version to one that is supported. Ideally, I’d use the GTX card in my Razer Core X. If that doesn’t work, I want to buy a 5,1 Mac Pro. However….I’m nervous that I won’t get my card to work.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks for the website and resource, by the way!

  • Hello
    Despite your site being idiot proof, i’m still having trouble after wiped my hard drive and restored it but upgraded to OSX high Sierra 10.13.6. I have Mac Pro 5.1 mid 2010 & My NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 is from 2015 and has been working fine till now. I didn’t used to get a boot screen but i do now oddly which is the first clue that something is wrong. And upon getting the graphical window or log in view the colors are all off! its like the screen is set to super high contrast but its not. I’ve upgraded to the designated driver for nvidia. however Cuda says no GPU detected. That too is running the latest most recent cuda driver.

    Do I need to reset my PRAM? too? I see someone has said the pram reset didn’t work with sierra so i wonder if i should not do that for high sierra.

    Note I’m still running on the original CPU. My only other upgrades are to a solidstate drive and 20gigs of ram on the motherboard.

    Greatful for your solutions and tips,
    Joshua Turner

  • Currently, I am using MSI Radeon RX 570. I love the thing, especially for the price. But know I want to upgrade now and shift to Nvidia graphic cards as they are more reliable. so which one’s you recommend me for

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