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Model A1312 / Mid 2010 / 3.2 GHz Core i3 or 2.8 & 3.6 GHz Core i5 or 2.93 GHz Core i7, ID iMac11,3

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Changing the graphics card to an alternative

Ive already changed 2 GPUs (all Apple official ATI Radeon HD 5750 1024 MB) for my iMac but the late one is starting to create issues that show that it will soon stop working.
So i was thinking to get a new GPU and a non Apple official one.
Can you please guide me on what GPU to get and what needs to be done in order to install it?
Its a shame to throw away my good old mid 2010 iMac that has served me so well and still is working strong, apart from the GPU issue.

Plz somebody help :-)

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Sadly your options are limited ;-{

Your system uses a MXM based GPU card. So first you would need one that works in your give systems slot there are quite a few different versions so you need to use the correct Mobile PCI Express Module (MXM)

The next issue is the heatsink needs to fit some boards won’t work with Apples heat sink. Then the boards firmware needs to be re-burn’t with the proper Apple version or patched as you just can’t use any MXM board.

Then that leaves us with the last issue! The graphics driver. You are limited to what Apple offered within the OS. In some cases some boards will respond to the driver but will be running in compatibility mode so you won’t get the full ability of the board. So if you where hoping for something better you may not get what you expected.

So this is a lot to consider, and as you may know the GPU makers are not producing MXM boards any more, so your options are limited to what you can find used.

Many of these boards sold are questionable! As you have discovered running the system hard can cause the board to fail as Apple didn’t design this series for what apps we can run on it today.

Lets get into the way-back machine to 2008 which is about when this system was being designed. What type of apps did we have back then? Most games were still using the ASCII extended graphics elements as an example early versions of DOOM The most current version is too stressful for your system. To add to it Steve’s obsession of a quiet system also plays a part here as he didn’t want the roar of the fan at the high RPM to distract. So while the system could do more it was hampered by its cooling. To overcome this you need a good thermal monitoring and fan control app like TG Pro to help you keep an eye on your thermal load and to ramp up the fans. Even still over time your systems fan’s and heat sink fins get clogged up with dust and other junk reducing their effective cooling and then we still have the thermal paste and pads that overtime breakdown.

I think you need to start off with the basics cleaning and refreshing the thermal paste and pads and install TG Pro to push the fans a bit harder. Hopefully this buys you some time to save up your pennies to get a newer system which offers a bit more graphics performance.

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Dan thanks so much for the reply!

So u mean that out of the limited available options there is not even one that could help me?


@genik - The rub is finding the proper board. Here's the boards that came in your system:

ATI Radeon HD 5670 512MB, Apple P/N 661-5579

ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB, Apple P/N 661-5578

Sadly the more powerful GPU's didn't do well as they were too good for the limits of the systems cooling! For reference look at this listing 2011 iMac GPU's: AMD Radeon HD 6770M & AMD Radeon HD 6970M They just are hard to find and often are burnt out! Beyond that you're just out of luck.


Do you think placing a Quadro k1100m or a Quadro M4000m would work fine, without issues in my mid2010 27" iMac?


@genik - I know of people doing it with the 2011 27" iMac its a lot of work and puts not going to get you the full ability of the board as the mac graphics driver will be in compatibility mode as Apple never offered a proper driver.

I wouldn't do it I would put in the original expected board.


@danj thanks for the reply, but what exactly do u mean by "its a lot of work" and "not going to get you the full ability of the board". Can u plz describe in more detail what kind of work and what will i not have as abilities if i install it?


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You won’t be able to get the very latest GPUs, and will be heavily limited by the performance of the CPU in these machines. I believe RX 580 is the newest you can get on an MXM card, and you’ll be almost entirely limited to AMD cards unless you’ll be running Windows on the machine. It will need to be flashed with modified firmware to see the boot options menu. Much better off spending your money on a newer machine. If you’re dead set on keeping it, there’s a wealth of info here on what to do.

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At the moment im using ATI Radeon HD 5750 1024 MB, so i guess ill be ok if i will not be using the latest GPU available. Im not a gamer, the main use of my iMac is to work with AdobeCC applications, anything that will work for those apps is fine by me i guess.


guy's , i have this 2010 27 , broken gpu , same as above 5750 dead ,

my alienware laptop gave me one of his gpu's and it work's with an external gpu atached to the imac , but internal display will not work , is it a chance that i could fix it or not a chance.


@Ovidiu Keresztesi - Once the GPU goes, you really don’t have many choices. Time to replace it if you want the internal display to work.


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