Nvidia promises a macOS driver for Pascal graphics cards


— 1:00 PM on April 7, 2017

The big hardware news this week was the surprise release of Nvidia's newest new top-of-the-line desktop graphics card, the 2017 Titan Xp. Along with the graphics card itself, Nvidia tersely announced that it'd be making a driver available for the card on macOS. Nvidia's press release doesn't mention any cards other than the Titan Xp by name, but Jeff Benjamin at 9to5 Mac got word from the company indicating that all Pascal cards will be supported. 

The promised Pascal support is available to only a small share of Mac users. The last Apple desktops with user-accessible PCIe slots were the 2010 Mac Pros with Intel Westmere Xeons. Adventurous owners of MacBook Pros can enable external GPU support in modern macOS releases by meddling with the operating systems' internals. However, this limits access to external graphics solutions to only the most tech-savvy owners. The last Apple computers to sport an Nvidia graphics chip from the factory were 2014 MacBook Pros purchased with the optional graphics cards based on the Kepler architecture.

The larger target audience for this driver release seems to be those who have chosen to build their own "Hackintosh" macOS machines from commodity PC hardware. The applicability of Pascal cards in this segment is a little questionable, given the lack of game support on the macOS platform and all the uncertainty springing from the use of a hacked operating system on unsupported hardware for any type of professional use. A good number of macOS applications rely on OpenCL, though, so it's possible that some users will be willing to work around the limitations.

Nvidia did not include a release date in its announcement, but 9to5 Mac says that beta drivers are coming next week.

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