Easy eGPU setup in Windows 2004 20H2 with Apple Bootcamp and AMD Navi cards (201...
 
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Easy eGPU setup in Windows 2004 20H2 with Apple Bootcamp and AMD Navi cards (2018 Mac Mini) easy easy  

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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
Prominent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

It was a simple process setting up my eGPU in the latest up-to-date version of Windows.

Apple’s Bootcamp utility (and a few re-starts of my Mac Mini) we’re all I needed. 

Here's the abbreviated setup guide: 

Grab a 2018 Mac Mini and MacOS Big Sur 11.2

Disconnect all your external TB3 and USB devices. Connect your external display directly to the Mini's HDMI port.

Turn off Filevault. Keep Secure Boot set to Full Security. 

Download the Win10 2004 20H2 ISO disk image from Microsoft

Great, you’re ready to begin.

Start a new Bootcamp Windows setup process.

(If you have an existing troublesome Bootcamp Windows installation - get rid of it)

Create a new 100GB Bootcamp Windows Partition.

Run Apple's Bootcamp installer. Let Windows boot, re-start, and finish all its updates and re-starts.

InkedWinVer

 

OK, on to the eGPU part.

With Windows booted and signed in to your desktop, turn your eGPU's power switch ON (while connected via TB3 cable).

Let Windows spend a few minutes setting up your enclosure and graphics card. Windows Notifications Manager tells you when they are ready.

Shut down and attach your external display to your eGPU. 

Restart.

You'll see the Windows desktop picture for 2 seconds, followed by a black screen.

Restart using the Mac Mini power button.

You'll see a black screen.

Restart again using the Mac Mini power button.

You'll see a black screen.

Restart again using the Mac Mini power button.

You'll see the Windows desktop picture, sign in to your user account, and be on your way.

That’s it!  Enjoy some Windows gaming.

 

InkedDevice Manager

 

AMD driver

(Pro tip for 5000 series and older AMD cards: at some point download the DDU utility, remove the old drivers, and install AMD Adrenelin 20.4.2 drivers from May 2020 for best performance)  

Technical Benchmarks.

Here's a Geekbench 5 OpenCL run on the (little Navi) RX 5500 XT:

Geekbench 39046 score

This score is within 5% of a previous 5500 XT card's score using the optimal 20.4.2 drivers.

2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX Vega 56 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Sonnet Breakaway 650) + macOS 11.1 & Win10 [build link]  

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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
Prominent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Coachella has been cancelled the past couple years - but that doesn't mean Microsoft hasn't been raging through a festival of updates to Windows 2004 20H2.

I count (5) different sets in the past week alone.

(5) Windows updates installed automatically by Microsoft. 

None have affected my Bootcamp eGPU installation. 

Intel Mac Mini eGPU-ing is easier than ever. 👍🏻

 

 

2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX Vega 56 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Sonnet Breakaway 650) + macOS 11.1 & Win10 [build link]  

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cthulian
(@cthulian)
New Member
Joined: 4 weeks ago
 

I made an account to come here and say THANK YOU! I had tried many things found on these forums to get my 2018 Mac mini working with a new 6700 xt in windows, and all I needed was the confidence to restart 3 times thanks to your post! Now it's working like a charm and no code 12 in sight!

 

Thanks so much!

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
Prominent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@cthulian

Nice! Be sure to let us know how the 6700 XT performs in your games. 😎

 

2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX Vega 56 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Sonnet Breakaway 650) + macOS 11.1 & Win10 [build link]  

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cthulian
(@cthulian)
New Member
Joined: 4 weeks ago
 

@mini-i5, will do! I'll likely post a build with some benchmarks once i've got some games up and running!

 

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@mini-i5, do you think I can remove macOS from my Mac mini 2018's tiny (128 GB) internal drive and install Windows from USB? Windows doesn't work well on external drives like macOS and Linux does (Windows To Go has limitations/issues).

I have Catalina and Big Sur working from a Thunderbolt drive.

 

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
Prominent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@joevt

Yeah, the last couple posts in the thread below sound reasonable. 

https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/306558/remove-macos-and-install-windows-10-only

You can create a new “Windowstosh” thread for this topic on eGPU.io 👨‍💻

 

2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX Vega 56 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Sonnet Breakaway 650) + macOS 11.1 & Win10 [build link]  

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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
Prominent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

I spent a few minutes upgrading my Windows AMD driver. In my experience, AMD's Adrenalin version 20.4.2 software from Spring of 2020 performs best with 5000 series Navi cards like the 5500 XT. (Edit - you now have a choice as you can also download AMD's March 2021 Adrenalin driver version 21.3.1 for improved performance!)

With the 20.4.2 AMD driver, DX 11/12 game performance scores are much higher in the Superposition benchmark.

Below, you can see the performance difference between the better 20.4.2 version and the default AMD 20.10.35 driver included in Windows 2004 20H2.

 

20.4.2 😎

AMD 20.4.2 Driver

20.10.35 😬

AMD 20.10.35 driver

 

You can download and run the free DDU utility to insure  complete removal of the 20.10.35 driver prior to installing 20.4.2.

 

However, I found that checking the "Factory Reset" option in AMD's installer software for 20.4.2 and following the steps below works as well. 👍🏻 

 

Shut down. Temporarily switch your display cable to the Mini's HDMI port. Leave your eGPU attached and powered on. 

Boot up Windows, then download and run AMD's installer software for Adrenelin 20.4.2 with the "Factory Reset" option checked.

The installer will tell you a re-start is needed to finish the installation. Shut down instead, as you'll need a minute to power off your eGPU before re-starting. 

Power OFF your eGPU, then restart. Once you've signed into the Windows desktop, power ON your eGPU again.

AMD's 20.4.2 installer will finish up.

Shut down again. Reconnect your display cable to your eGPU. Leave your eGPU powered ON.

Restart and you are good to go.

 

By the way, I found the performance of the two AMD driver versions don't differ as much in OpenCL compute performance.

But you only care about gaming 😄

 

20.4.2 😎

AMD 20.4.2 Driver Geekbench 5

20.10.35 🤨

AMD 20.10.35 Driver Geekbench 5

 

2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX Vega 56 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Sonnet Breakaway 650) + macOS 11.1 & Win10 [build link]  

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nedzalife
(@nedzalife)
New Member
Joined: 3 weeks ago
 

For those that may have been sticking with 1903 in order to hot plug and not deal with pci.sys, it's worth a try to upgrade in place if you have a 2018/2020 mac mini set up. In my case, doing in place upgrades from 1903 to 20H2 using Windows updates worked fine. I had held off until I saw this post, so thanks Mini i5! I can now cold start & reboot (using Option boot menu in both cases) to get into Windows without issue, with the epgu plugged in. 

My set up for comparison:

This post was modified 3 weeks ago

2020 Mac Mini, Core i7 6-core, 32 GB RAM, Aorus Gaming Box RX580


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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
Prominent Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@nedzalife

Good to hear. 👍

So far, members have reported success with the RX580, Vega 56, and RX 5000-series cards.

 

2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX Vega 56 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Sonnet Breakaway 650) + macOS 11.1 & Win10 [build link]  

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