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I do lot of video editing work, mostly on FCP & Avid and I feel Quadro card is way to go. Do you think I can get it changed from Apple?


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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I don't even think the hardware would be compatible. Quite frankly, while you can open up the system and tinker with it, you have to worry about two things:

  1. Form factor - The card is probably a different shape. Apple partners with other companies when designing a system and the fact that they put an ATI in there says something about the engineering of the machine.
  2. Power & bus interface - These are likely less of an issue, but something to be aware of.

The iMac is a turnkey system, not an upgradable machine, like the Mac Pro (or, gasp, a PC). I'm sorry that this is not the answer you want to hear, but I don't think that Apple will do it. That said, it can't hurt to ask.

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They will say no. That is all. – user479 Jun 23 '11 at 2:23
My instinct says Apple would not respond to my questions as they have no option for graphic cards other than 2 AMD models. Guess I should stick to stock cards. Thanks anyway Mosche. – Alexander Jun 23 '11 at 2:23

Some cards can be made to work in OS X with custom ROM, however, OS X extensions do not support the card's hardwired device ID, so it would result in a Kernel Panic at boot. If the card is close to another officially supported card in OS X or use the same GPU, there's an easy hack which will allow it to operate in OS X.

NVIDIA Quadro 4

This card is very close to GeForce 4 Ti series, using same GPU and PCB layout. Some even have dual DVI outputs.

Custom GeForce 4 Ti ROM will make the card work as a Mac Card, but a Kernel Panic will happen every time you try to boot with original NVIDIA extensions.

To begin you'll need to:

  • find the hardware Device ID of your card
  • have your card flashed and working with a Mac ROM, you can test your card in OS 9 (currently available ROM for Quadro 4 700 XGL)
  • have an editor capable of modifying plist files.

For the Quadro 4 700 XGL

  • Device ID of the card is 025B (Quadro 4 700 XGL) 10DE (NVIDIA)
  • ROM is available online
  • Quadro 4 / GeForce 4 Ti series will use 2 OS X extensions to operate. First is NVDAResman.kext (used by every NVIDIA card), second is NVDANV20Hal.kext (specific kernel extension for GeForce 4 series / NV2x GPUs)

Before physically installing your Mac flashed card, let's proceed with the Extensions hack.

  1. Go to your root disk (OS X installation) and go to folder /System/Library/Extensions
  2. Back up the extensions you're going to modify (here NVDAResman.kext and NVDANV20Hal.kext). Keep one copy of each in a safe place, and one copy of each in your desktop. Last 2 copies are going to be edited.
  3. Right-Click on the first extension you copied on your desktop and use "show package content" option. The extension will open as a classic folder.
  4. Open the "Contents" folder and Open the file Info.plist with your editor.
  5. Search for string IOPCIMatch and add your card's device ID. Save the file and proceed to do the same with the second extension.

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  1. Copy the edited extensions packages to /System/Library/Extensions
  2. Open the Disk Utility application and run the repair permissions utility on your drive.
  3. Now install the card, and reboot your computer.

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