Using NVIDIA GeForce 320M outside macOS
8th October 2023: This article has been updated to link instructions for newer Linux kernels, which don’t provide out-of-the-box support for the legacy drivers required for this hardware.
Certain Apple computers, like the mid-2010 Mac Mini, used an NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics chipset to produce graphics.
This is fine in macOS, but the experience is very bad in different operating systems. Apple’s Bootcamp drivers for this chipset will not function on anything higher than Windows XP.
NVIDIA kept producing up-to-date drivers for this chipset for a long time, but when trying to install these drivers either the installer or the entire system will crash, forcing the user to roll back to default graphics drivers that perform way worse than what the system is capable of delivering.
This seems to be caused by an irregularity in Apple’s UEFI implementation for this chipset. The NVIDIA driver expects the video card to be a PCI-E bus master, but Apple’s EFI implementation neglects to do this. This causes the driver to look for something which isn’t there, causing a lack of video output or even the complete system halting.
You may follow the instructions below to modify the EFI partition on your hard drive.
Keep in mind: make backups, and never do this on production hardware. Technology changes and things can break.
Want to use the NVIDIA GeForce 320M drivers on a Debian (e.g. Ubuntu / Linux Mint) based system?
- Follow these instructions carefully. (Mirror here)
- Follow these steps to install the legacy NVIDIA driver 340 using a PPA.
Windows (EFI only)
NVIDIA drivers can also be made to work on Windows versions 7, 8.1 and 10. The process is a little bit more involved than the Linux steps, but still fairly doable.
Follow these instructions carefully. (Mirror here)