Despite the fact that Apple hasn’t sold a Mac Pro that can officially accept a PCIe video card in almost half a decade, NVIDIA has announced that it will be releasing macOS drivers for its Pascal architecture GPUs. According to AnandTech, the official reason why NVIDIA is releasing a Mac driver to a market that is pretty much dead, is to make the new TITAN Xp open to the Mac community with new Pascal drivers.
Although NVIDIA owns the bulk of the discrete video card market, Apple hasn’t integrated an NVIDIA GPU in some time now. The last NVIDIA-equipped Mac was the 2014 MacBook Pro. As a result, NVIDIA has been locked out of the Mac video card market entirely for the last couple of years, which consequently makes NVIDIA’s announcement so surprising.
The source notes that it’s basically “the off-label use that makes this announcement interesting”, and gives NVIDIA a more solid reason to release a macOS Pascal driver.
Within the Mac community there are small but none the less vocal user groups based around both unsupported external GPUs and not-even-Apple-hardware Hackintoshes. In the case of the former, while macOS doesn’t support external GPUs (and isn’t certified as eGFX complaint by Intel), it’s possible to use Macs with Thunderbolt eGFX chassis with a bit of OS patching. Meanwhile with a bit more hacking, it’s entirely possible to get macOS running on a custom-built PC, leading to the now long-running Hackintosh space.
NVIDIA also needs to keep its Mac driver development alive for new architectures, so that it can compete for future GPU contracts.