Windows 2004 Bootcamp on Mac Mini + RX5700XT
On today's episode of the show, we talk about trying out the pci.sys file replacement method on Windows 2004. (The very AMD Navi eGPU-unfriendly Windows 2004).
Does it work?
And, if so - for how long?
Well, you can try it yourself by following a few simple steps:
Pause updates in Windows. Then run Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc), and Configure Automatic Updates to Enable Option 2 - to Notify you before downloading and installing Windows updates.
Download and install the 7-Zip utility freeware, and use "Open Inside" and "Extract" on a Windows 1903v1 ISO (downloaded from https://tb.rg-adguard.net/public.php )
Locate and create an accessible copy of the pci.sys file found in \1\Windows\System32\Drivers.
Take that pci.sys file copy with you back to Mac OS.
Download and install NTFS for Mac ( https://www.paragon-software.com/us/home/ntfs-mac/ ) and in Catalina Security & Privacy give it Disk Access, and also un-block the NTFS system extension. (As typical when installing new software in Catalina).
Run NTFS, and make sure the Bootcamp disk is successfully mounted.
Open a Mac OS Finder window and navigate to Bootcamp/Windows/System32/Drivers.
Move your copy of the pci.sys file (dated March 2019) from Windows 1903 into this folder, and hit "Replace" when Catalina prompts you that a newer file (dated Dec 2019) already exists in that location.
Make sure your eGPU is connected, powered on, and attached to your display.
Set Bootcamp as the Startup Disk in NTFS, and set System Preferences to Re-Start in Bootcamp.
Voila! Watch as the Windows 2004 desktop picture appears on your screen 🙌🏻
For two freaking seconds...
Boom! There goes Windows 2004 replacing your 1903v1 pci.sys file. Turning your screen to darkness, and yellow badging your AMD card.
Code 12. Again.
After many weeks of tricks, workarounds, and voodoo, I am of the view that Windows 10, thunderbolt 3, and our much loved RX 5700 XT, simply do not get along together, and short of Microsoft addressing this issue, probably never will. I have tried each and every release on Windows 10 aside from 1903 which did work for a short while, without success. This TB3 resource limitation issue is our achilles heel. Currently either you go Nvidia on Win 10 in bootcamp only, or downgrade to the RX 580 that does work on both platforms.
Okay, welcome back. As always, eGPUs are very good.
On tonight's episode we talk about that final steps needed to run my Navi eGPU in a Bootcamp Windows 2004 installation on my Mac Mini's internal drive.
Let's get right to it.
In Windows 2004, I navigated to the Windows\System32\Drivers folder, right-clicked and selected "Properties", and then the "Security" tab.
From there, I changed the name of the "Owner" of the Drivers folder to my user name.
Then I assigned my user name "Full Control" in Basic Permissions.
And that's really it.
So I made those changes to the properties setting of the Windows 2004 Drivers folder.
And back in Mac OS, I once again replaced the pci.sys file located in Windows\System32\Drivers with the one that works - extracted from a Windows 1903v1 Iso - following the steps above.
And as I had already run the DDU utility and installed the AMD Adrenalin software Driver 20.4.2 in Windows, my Mini was ready to go.
I re-started my Mini with the Bootcamp disk selected, the Windows desktop picture appeared after a minute or so, I signed-in to 2004, and now everything works.
No more Error Code 12.
Here are Direct X and Open GL benchmark results from Unigine Superposition running Windows 2004 and AMD driver 20.4.2
And here are Open CL demo file renderings using the Cycles renderer in Blender 2.83.
With the Cycles de-noiser enabled, I was able to optimize the render settings for speed, and still get the kind of results I was looking for in a quick render.
BMW scene: 11 seconds
Classroom scene: 34 seconds
Here are DirectX 12, Vulkan 1.0, and Open GL 4.5 benchmark results from Basemark GPU.
4K resolution and quality set to High.
Here is the DX12 performance score for the 5700XT and AMD 20.4.2 driver as measured in Time Spy.
My setup has been running fast and stable for a week now. No issues.
My 5700 XT with the AMD 20.4.2 driver scored highly in the 3D Mark Fire Strike benchmark for DX11.
Geekbench for Windows has been updated to version 5.2.
I ran the OpenCL compute test on the RX 5700 XT with my display plugged into my eGPU.
This score, being a measure of compute only, would likely be higher if my display were plugged directly into the Mini.