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Can you put a GTX 1080 in a Mac?

Last Updated on June 18, 2021 by paularo

Nvidia, a company known for producing graphics cards, released the GeForce GTX 1080 in 2016. This graphics card is a high-end graphics card, making it suitable for new games. Mac is a shortened form that refers to Apple’s desktop and laptop.

Can you put a GTX 1080 in a Mac? Yes, you can, not internally but externally and through an eGPU. Initially, the MacBook restricted its external graphics cards to only AMD cards. In 2017, it began to accommodate the Nvidia 10 series through a driver package; Quadro & GeForce Mac OS X Driver, once you install the software and activate it through your PC settings, you are good to go.

The gaming community was excited about this development as Nvidia has produced some really amazing graphics card.  This two-spin power port is a good boost for the macOS, as it has a gaming performance gap that does not rival that of its Windows counterpart, making windows a preferable option for gaming.

Whether you need to run 4K and/or use motion graphics software, play games, or just general use, upgrading your GPU is definitely the step to take as long as you have a solid-state drive (SSD) to match. This is preferrable to purchasing a new laptop, this upgrade will make your Mac feel almost brand new (in performance).

Attaching an eGPU to a Mac (2012 models and above) can make it perform better than a higher model so not only can you attach a GTX 1080 to your Mac, you should. When the 1080 was released, the Thunderbolt 3 was an option and the most common for connecting eGPUs to the Mac.

It was a great product, but users noted that there was still much room for improvement. I guess it’s safe to say the producers listened because there has been an upgrade; Thunderbolt 4.

Thunderbolt is an Intel technology cable connection interface; it makes the connection to high-speed devices easy with high-speed ports. Also, it is designed in a way that connecting eGPUs and computers via its cable is essential to ensuring reliable performance. Various accessories make it easy to extend your PC’s capabilities through docking and external devices.

Let us look at a few features of the Thunderbolt;

Its ports can perform a few impressive functions; there are several ports that enable your devices to be powered, there are some others that distribute video signals from your PC to an external monitor. Besides providing fast data transfer, TB can also deliver video-based power to compatible devices, this includes charging a lightweight laptop.

With the Thunderbolt 4, There has never been a better connection standard as it supports including Thunderbolt 3, USB, DisplayPort, and PCle. The speed for TB3 and 4 is 40Gbps, with the former has a minimum PCIe requirement of 16Gbps while the latter has 32Gbps. USB-C is compatible with the ports.

To use Thunderbolt devices older than the TB3, you will need to purchase an adapter to connect to the TB4. Asides that the TB4 allows you to use 4K 60hz DisplayPort or HDMI through a dock that makes connection easy. You can also connect USB devices; keyboards, gaming headsets and so on.

What are the features of GeForce GTX 1080?

1080 has a speed of 10Gbps with an 8GB GDDR5X memory. Its base clock is 1607 and it can be boosted to 1733. With a memory interface width of 256-bit and 320 bandwidth, this is definitely an upgrade from the 980.

It supports multi-projection, virtual reality and works with Microsoft DirectX 12. The recommended system power is 500W, it has a graphics card power of 180W. It is designed to run without producing so much heat.

Mac, Thunderbolt and GTX 1080

The Mac (especially newer models) has a standard thunderbolt connector, purchasing the GTX 1080 and using it to improve the graphics performance of your laptop is an upgrade worth considering.

Remember, to pre-install the Nvidia drivers, especially if you do not have a Mac EFI card. To set it up, ensure you use the right cables, search for tutorials online to help you achieve a smooth installation process.

The external graphics card is designed to boost and not create graphics performance without any foundation, ensure that your mac is compatible with it before you purchase it. This also applies to the enclosure; ensure it is compatible with your external graphics card and laptop.

It is important to point out that there are users that have not been satisfied with the performance of the GTX 1080, and the GTX 1080 Ti has been described as a gaming powerhouse providing 4X more power than its predecessor.

Related Questions

Is GTX 1080 the best for Mac? No, it is not. Despite being a decent graphics card, the 1080 Ti is a better option. It has 11Gbps, a memory of 11GB GDDR5X, memory interface width of 352-bit. Bandwidth of 484, it also has a virtual reality feature. The graphics card power of 250W, the recommended system power is 600W.

How much is GTX 1080? The 1080 is a high-end graphics card so we are talking above $1,000 for new ones and a little under $1,000 for the renewed option.

Can the GTX  1080 be used for iMac? Yes, it can, it meets all the requirements necessary for the 1080.

When I purchase the GTX 1080, what else do I need? The GTX 1080 is just a graphics card and using it like that is not safe as it leaves it exposed and prone to a lot of accidents. So, after purchasing the 1080, you need to get a swappable enclosure i.e., a casing that provides you the option of changing the graphics card and other features that no longer fit your needs.

How long can I use the GTX 1080? With a good enclosure, it will last you for 5 years or more. You are more likely to get tired of using it than damaging it.

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