Mac Mini 2018 + Razer Core X C + Vega 56 + BootCamp / Error 12, Stuck on Ready, Install Issues
So I'm just gonna write this up as a log of what Iv done for anyone else who find slimier issues, Iv found most of the tutorials messy, technical and not very helpful, Ill try to make things more clear for others as I describe what Iv learned.
Iv been taking this page as the bible: https://egpu.io/boot-camp-egpu-setup-guide/
So most of the guides seem to be from 2017-2018 with a few updates, I think a lost happened in the eGPU official support space since they were written.
MacOSX: As of now, 10.5.2 on this generation of macs, eGPU support is mostly flawless, you don't need anything to make it work any topics related to automate-eGPU and OSX are irrelevant, ignore them, it should all work out of the box.
Firstly, don't bother with windows on an external drive, its not worth it. Its not well supported and it will be slow.
Next, Im using a Mac Mini with a DisplayPort only monitor, I have no HDMI, my only way to get an image on the screen is using the eGPU, Apple has added boot screen display support in 10.5, so this is fine. With that in mind there are 2 ways to access windows without a display. 1. Start bootcamp in OSX using Parallels (You wont be able to directly work on drivers this way), 2. Use remote desktop to connect to bootcamp.
How did I install bootcamp: You need some sort of supported display to install, you cant install using a VM and you cant using an eGPU, I borrowed a Thunderbolt to DisplayPort cable for the install process. There does not seem to be any way around this.
Windows is running whatever the latest version of this is as of writing, I have no idea how to downgrade it as some articles suggest, and I'm not really happy with that being a real solution since the support or lack of support seems to vary wildly between versions and they get out of date so fast.
Once installed I'm able to plug in the eGPU, it will do some driver crap and eventually it shows on Device Manager with a little yellow triangle on it, if you right click it and go to properties you'll see this is error 12. This is basically where the whole thing is stuck. So far Iv not found anyway to fix it.
If windows attempts to startup with the eGPU connected, it will just hang on a black screen, you cant connect with remote desktop. The egpu must be disconnected, windows started up, then you connect with remote desktop, then you connect the eGPU, and your back at error 12.
Attempts and observations:
There is highly conflicting information about what to do with the Mac Minis internal graphics (iGPU). Some people say that it should be disabled, others say it should be force enabled (Even if your not using it.)
Some people say to fix error 12 you need to use a boot program called automate-eGPU EFI whitch will force something called the apple_set_os.efi to do something which will force the iGPU to stay active (As far as I gather) But other tutorials will tell you to remove the apple_set_os.efi from automate-eGPU EFI on a Mac Mini because its not needed. Which seems to make the use of automate-eGPU EFI rather pointless?
Iv tried many approaches with automate-eGPU EFI, with and without the apple_set, with and without the Catalina fix, with and without MuxSetting (Don't think it applies to mac Mini). Iv tried using the installer provided and doing it manually. As far as I can tell, it has no effect.
As far as I can tell booting with automate-eGPU EFI makes no difference. It will frequently stick on "Ready" when you try and load an OS (Though loading Mac with it serves no purpose anyway as eGPUs work fully with mac), I suspect its freezing on windows due to the eGPU being attached, same as a normal windows boot freezes, if you unplug the eGPU and hit enter to blind boot windows from EFI, it starts up normaly. So enabling or disabling the iGPU seems to have no effect what so ever.
You can try uninstalling drivers ether yourself or with the DDU tool mentioned in many tutorials. This will make the graphics card show up as a Microsoft generic driver in device manager with an error saying the driver is unknown. The latest versions of AMDs drivers (2020) don't seem to detect the eGPU at all and so wont install, if you get one from a few months ago (I got one from October) it will install just fine, but device manager will now show the Vega 56 gpu with error 12 again. Doing this appears to have no effect.
You can select the eGPU in device manager and "View by connection" then uninstall the top level PCIe driver, or re enable each PCIe Bridge manually to sort of reorder the PCIe stack as some users suggest. Then try restarting. This appears to have no effect.
Iv tried unplugging everything and only having the eGPU connected, it appears to equally have no effect, plus its a bad solution if you have a lot of drives etc.
Some fixes talk about something called a DSDT override, as far as I can tell this does not apply to Mac Minis.
Some users even claim that everything works right away without doing anything, perhaps this is the case on older windows versions, but as I said above, I don't think that's a good solution. Also a lot of the topics out there have slimier issues to described above, not no real clear solution provided even when they are marked as solved.
I think for now I have to call this a lost cause. If your thinking of buying this setup for use with BootCamp, don't. Ether use Parallels with its very limited graphics abilities or do windows work on a streaming desktop or a second PC.
For me I wanted to see if I could get an Oculus Rift headset working using this approach. Given the complications I don't think that's going to be practical. Which is a little disappointing given the $2500 price tag on this whole setup!
If you think Iv missed anything obvious please commend below, I'm happy to try new approaches. If I find a solution, or apple or Microsoft do some sort of update that fixes things in the future Ill note it here.
I have a similar setup (except that I have a RX 5700). It's not complicated to get it to work (no need for DDU nor boot loaders nor any of that) but it is essential to have the right version of Windows 10, i.e. 1903 Build 18362.295 (any newer version will leave you with an unfixable error 12). There is also no need to mess with Virtual Machines, if you don't have HDMI in your monitor, you can just get a USB-C to DisplayPort cable.
Anyway, here's what to do:
1) Install Windows 10 1903 v1 in BootCamp (you'll have to find this ISO somewhere in the internet, it contains Build 18362.30)
2) Boot in Windows using with a USB-C to DP cable. Update to Build 18362.295 ( https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4512508 )
3) Hot plug the eGPU (you may need to try 2 or 3 times with different ports). Once the eGPU is recognized by Windows you'll get an error 12, but you can now install AMD drivers. Go with version 19.9.2, as the newest version, 19.12, has shown problematic for eGPUs.
4) Turn off the computer, connect your monitor to the eGPU and boot up. That should do it. Turn off Windows updates.
PD: Some users have commented on issues with Catalina 10.15.2. I've stayed with 10.15.1 so I can't comment on that, but you might want to downgrade.
Thanks for the reply, as I said I don't think using old windows is a real solution. As side from the fact MS removed all the download links so it would have to be some sketchy 3rd party iso (And the fact I'm using Education edition, forgot to mention that), its more like a time bomb fix. You've no idea if newer builds will ever work, there is the constant risk that MS will force some update that will break everything and make your setup unusable. Even if you do keep the old version running, its getting older and older, that means less security and potentially less compatibility.
As for 10.5.2, when I installed it the screen went black after the first restart and leaving it for a few hours made no difference. It was just locked up. Eventually after about 5-10 restarts and moving cables around the screen came back on with the OSX update loading bar, it updated, since then its had no issues at all. So I cant recommend updating, but at the same time, its not an issue if you do 😛
@melonking so you are on 10.15.2 and you have eGPU boot working? I've tried like crazy to get it to work but no luck so far, restarted many times and nothing, do you mind sharing some details, like which port are you using for the eGPU, what hardware you have connected, what version is your boot room (you can find this on system report, i have 1037.80.21.0.0 (iBridge: 17.16.13025.5.1,0)), do you have file vault enabled? secure boot, sip? thanks.
You caught me just before going away for a few days!
Yep, gpu boot working on 10.5.2.
- Left most port (by Ethernet)
- Hardware: Ethernet port populated,
- TB1 - Razer Core X C, with Atari joystick adapter in USB
- TB2 - Empty
- TB3 - Unused TB to USB cable
- TB4 - USB3 SSD
- HDMI - Empty
- USB1 - USB3 Hub with mouse, keyboard, wacom tablet, dvd drive, floppy drive, hdd connected
- USB2 - Oppo DAC
- Boot ROM Version: 1037.60.58.0.0 (iBridge: 17.16.12551.0.0,0)
- No File Vault
- Secure boot is now disabled, but it was working when it was enabled.
- SIP is disabled
Sorry I cant help more, but it was mostly by chance that it started working. My actual steps were: Unplug the Mac Mini, carry it across the room, plug it into another wall plug with nothing connected - It started working.
Have a good Christmas!
@melonking thank you so much, I just disabled file vault and egpu boot works, however Im not able to see or select what to boot but it goes to Apple login screen, before it works I see some purple lines and then it works.
I have not been able to make it work with latest windows after i disabled all pci controllers except for the one with the egpu. Could you explain what devices you disable in windows to make it work? Also are you able to select what to boot with the egpu?
Thanks and merry Christmas.
Yes the purple lines of success. I do have eGPU boot, holding down the alt key as soon as the usb devices light up/ Apple logo appears on screen bring it up.
Windows is not working for me, that’s the issue I described in the first post 😛 I suspect unless someone makes a clever fix, we will need to wait for apple drivers (not gonna happen) or MS fixes to get it working on the latest versions.
Update regarding the pci.sys fix by mentioned here https://egpu.io/forums/pc-setup/egpu-fail-after-update-to-windows-19-03/
Initially after applying the fix error 12 was fixed and the AMD drivers detected an external GPU (Driver version 19.10.2). They also detected the display connected to the GPU, however the display remained a black screen. After restarting with the GPU connected, the screen remained black. Interestingly remote desktop connection was not possible, suggesting startup was failing as before.
I attempted uninstalling the AMD drivers, after this device manager reported error 35 (Bios does not know how to setup this device). After 2-3 re-hot plugs of the egpu, error 12 had returned. Attempting to reinstall AMD drivers at there the error 35 or error 12 point resulted in the AMD drivers saying no hardware was detected.
So Iv not lost the driver install, and cant get it back. This could be unique to the fact I'm using Windows Education Edition or not. However I have to conclude the pci.sys fix does partly work, but not fully in my case.
I just ordered a new Mac mini and will be trying to set it up with a Vega 56, fingers crossed I’m able to get it going.
I’ll be reading successful builds and following true guides, using an older version of Windows and probably the EFI bootloader.
2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
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GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10