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Model A1311 / Mid 2010 / 3.06 & 3.2 GHz Core i3 or 3.6 GHz Core i5 Processor

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GPU Upgrade for 2010 21.5” iMac

I have a mid 2010 iMac 21.5” with 12gb of ram, I am very happy with CPU performance but the GPU performance is extremely lackluster (It currently has a ATI Radeon HD 4670 with 256mb of vram).

As it is a 2010 model it has no thunderbolt port so an eGPU isn’t an option and finding upgrade cards that will fit in it is extremely hard and expensive and they are very underpowered.

So I had a crazy idea to take my iMac apart, put an extension of the slot in place of my current GPU, cut a hole in the back of my iMac, run the extension through the hole and plug a powerful standard desktop GPU into it with an adapter (if one exists), the “external” GPU would be powered with a different PSU as the slot cannot provide that kind of power.

Could this actually work or would there be some firmware issues?


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mmm… Interesting idea!

Sadly, the MXM connector is not compatible with current PCI desktop cards. But you could go the other way around! PCI-E to MXM 3.0 Graphics Expansion Card. Keep in mind your system is based on an older MXM standard MXM 2.0

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So if I could find a MXM 2.0 extension and a more powerful MXM 2.0 GPU that doesn’t fit in the iMac it could theoretically work or does apple limit what GPU you can add to your iMac with their firmware?


I don't think you'll find the a way to even get it going from the hardware side of things.

MacOS is limited to the GPU boards Apple has used so you would be limited to these boards (MXM or PCI) unless someone offers the needed drivers for your macOS you are using.


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