I wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen: Nvidia is bringing compatibility for Pascal-generation graphics cards to the macOS, starting with the just-announced Titan Xp. The rest of the Pascal series cards will follow later this month.
It’s a pretty big deal for Mac enthusiasts. Apple has favored AMD’s GPUs for several years now, but enterprising users sometimes install Nvidia cards onto their Macs for greater graphics performance.
Though most of what Apple makes doesn’t allow for internal upgrades, the pre-2013 Mac Pro has room for an upgraded graphics card, and you can add an external GPU enclosure – like the Razer Core – to the newest MacBook Pros by using the Thunderbolt 3 port.
And then, of course, are those who have built a hackintosh, unencumbered by Apple’s silly limitations.
With support for Pascal-series cards, Mac users now have access to the most powerful graphics cards currently available (by a huge margin). Not just a boon for gamers (macOS is hardly the most gaming-friendly OS, after all), it’s a welcome upgrade for anyone who works with complex 3D graphics, as well as high-end video production, where GPU acceleration leads to faster renders and smoother previews.
The timing is likely no coincidence. Apple just announced a spec boost for its current Mac Pro (before redesigning the computer altogether next year), which includes updated AMD graphics. Meanwhile, Microsoft just announced the specs for its upcoming Project Scorpio Xbox. That uses AMD graphics, so maybe Nvidia is trying to stick it to Microsoft a little as well.
Of course, the fact that it took so long to get Pascal to work on the Mac in the first place is worth acknowledging – if you want support for the latest and greatest graphics, macOS probably isn’t for you. But considering Apple is promising its next Mac Pro will be much more upgradeable than the current generation, there might be some hope after all.
Either way, AMD better hurry up with Vega.