- 2014 Mac mini
- Dual Core i7-4578U CPU @ 3.00GHz
- 16GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
- Internal 1x 250GB SSD (Mojave 10.14.2), 1x 125GB SSD (Windows 10 / Bootcamp)
- External in Akitio Storage SK2520 U3.1: 1x 1TB HDD (Data) & 1x 125GB SSD (High Sierra 10.13.6) in non raid configuration (single use)
- Dell P2415Q 3840x2160 16:9 24” Ultra HD 4K Monitor 185dpi
- Akitio Node Lite modified with Noctua fan, and 120W power supply
- EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
- Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter
- For modifying the Akitio Node Lite I followed this guideline
- I use the eGPU mainly with Windows 10 / Bootcamp.
- Although it works with OS 10.13.6 I feel there is almost no advantage using the eGPU, especially for gaming (Civilization 5 and Battle Worlds).
- My monitors` DisplayPort (DP) is attached to the most left TB2 port of the Mac Mini
- My monitors HDMI port is attached to the HDMI port of the GTX 1050Ti (inside the eGPU).
- When I use Mojave (without eGPU support, because it does not support the GTX 1050Ti graphic card), the Monitor uses the DP. This is the standard set.
- When I use Bootcamp / Windows 10, the Monitor uses the HDMI of the GTX 1050Ti.
- I have to change the use of the required port manually in the monitor menu.
- The eGPU itself is connected to the TB2 port right beside the HDMI port of the Mac Mini, via the Apple TB3 to TB2 adapter (Although it costs, take it – it works).
- The Akitio Storage SK2520 U3.1 is connected to the Mac Mini via an USB C to USB 3 cable.
Installation steps - OS X 10.13.6
- “Just” follow @mac_editors detailed purge-wrangler script documentation. It works.
Installation steps - Windows 10 / Bootcamp
- “Just” run the Bootcamp Assistant and follow the installation steps for NVIDIA from @pythonwiz
1. Windows 10 with eGPU support, 2. Windows 10 with internal graphic card. 3. OS 10.13.6 with eGPU support, 4. OS 10.13.6 with internal graphic card, 5. OS 10.14. with internal graphic card
- My monitor has the disadvantage of no automatic port detection, consequently I must change the needed port manually.
- For selecting the required operating system during start-up (⌥), the monitor must set on DP
- After choosing Bootcamp / Windows (with eGPU support) I must change to HDMI port in the monitor menu
- Actually, do I only use two configurations: OS 10.14.2 without eGPU support or Windows 10 / Bootcamp with eGPU support
- Finally I must admit it was – more or less, a one week try and error thing to make the system smoothly running. Actually, preparing a solid documentation how I did it, is in the aftermath, impossible for me. However, my impression is – if the system is not too fancy, you find all answeres to your questions in this forum. Some of the guys do really know what they are writing about.
- My respect and many thank’s to all forum members who share their knowledge and support the ones who need it
My next desired eGPU project is a Mac Mini 2018 with a VisionTek Thunderbolt™ 3 Mini eGFX Enclosure with a Razer Core V2 like @itsage introduced it here: VisionTek Unveils Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX External Graphics Enclosure at CES 2019
My Akitio Node Lite worked for about one year without any problem. However, since last December it has a loose contact in the power supply.
The Akitio support told me, to bend the pins of the power receptacle. What I did, and it helped - for four weeks. Then the loose contact occurred again. Akitio offered me to send it back for repair without any costs. Fair.
Finally, my dealer in Germany offered me to provide a refund after sending the egpu back to him. Sounded better to me. So I did that.
In the meanwhile I decided to make my old wish come true, replacing my Mac Mini 2014 with the newest model and attach a VisionTek Thunderbolt™ 3 Mini eGFX enclosure to it.
After starting some investigations about the VisionTek Mini eGFX and reviewing again @itsages’ review I came to the conclusion that this device is not really what I need and finally want. It seems to me that not many folks in this forum are using it and that the winner of the giveaway was also not that much fond of this enclosure. I could not find any comment from him about it.
I will report.
May be, on the longer run, I will try to use an AMD RX card with Mac OS.
After an intermezzo with the Razer Core X, which I liked funktional wise, I jumped back to my old wish: Utilizing the PowerColor Mini Pro 240 FU with my new Mac mini 2018. The Razer Core X worked great and the installation was easy. However, it is a huge and bulky brick, which does not really fit to the tiny little Mac mini. This is the reason why I changed my mind and gave the PowerColor Mini Pro a chance.
The installation of the PowerColor Mini Pro was as easy as @itsage described it for the VisionTek Mini eGFX. No hazzle with Catalina 10.15.3 or Boot Camp Windows 1909 Build 18363.628. However, the black screen during booting Windows (without the automate eGPU EFI) is strange.
Even knowing about the sensitivity of the fan plug - and taking serious care whilst removing it, I pulled the „bloody“ socket out of the board. It is a piece of ....
By the way, the high pitch Sound of the eGPU fan is tolerable. However, I will look for an alternativ.
I will continue reporting.
I must admit I changed from Saulus to Paulus. After using the PowerColor Mini Pro for two days, I changed my opinion - I like it. It is a perfect substitute to a Mac Mini. Small, interesting design and versatile.
After the installation of the Intel Driver & Support Assistant and other Intel drivers my EVGA GeForce GTX 1050Ti is also running under Windows - perfect. However, I will keep the RX 570 permanently "on board". This eGPU is not made for a daily change of the graphics card. Inside it is too narrow and tiny. My first experience was exactly what @itsage described in his review of the VisionTek Mini eGfx - I pulled the cream-colored socket off the board, although I was warned and prepared. Consequently, I let the fan off - and it was as the guy in the introduction video of the PowerColor RX 5700 Mini Pro, mentioned by @username, said: The fan seems to be not really needed. During my last uses of this enclosure, even the fan of the graphics card run only occasionally. It seems the games I am playing are also outdated and no challenge for the PowerColor Mini Pro 240 FU.
After using the Razer Core X for several days, I must admit, that the quality of the PowerColor Mini Pro is not that high as the one of the Razer Core X. However, I compare two different "fruits", a big and heavy one with a tiny and light one. Two different classes. In my opinion both are doing their job very well.
After this first good impression, I am surprised how few eGPU users in this Forum are utilizing this interesting eGPU. Especially the guys with the ultrabooks should consider to have a look at this enclosure.
In the next weeks I will connect the PowerColor Mini Pro to my "old" Mac Mini. I am curious how they harmonize. Unfortunately, I can not compare my Akitio Node Lite with the PowerColor Mini Pro - but again, "apples and pears".
Further updates - if there are some, can be found
on this build below.
Although the PowerColor Mini Pro F240 works fine under Windows with my Mac Mini 2018 (A-Team), I missed the B-Team (Mac Mini 2014 / Akitio Node Lite). So, I took the opportunity to purchase a used Node Lite for a reasonable price, equipped it with my “old” GTX 1050 Ti and attached it to my “old” Mac Mini 2014, rebuilding my build from January 2019. However,
this time I removed immediately the fan of the Node Lite not replacing it with the available Noctua fan. To time I am using only the main fan of the graphics card. I am curious if the power is sufficient.
Although I do not need the additional power of the build in fan, I tinkered a bit and used the original build-in fan with the anti-vibration mounts of my Noctua NF-A6x25 FLX fan - and it works. The only noise I can hear now is the constant air flow pushed from the front to the back. During gaming I don't hear it at all.
It was no challenge to connect the Node Lite / GTX 1050 Ti to the Mac Mini (Bootcamp Windows 1909 build 18363.815). No clean Windows installation was required - the Windows was already used for several weeks. It was almost a plug and play thing – except the required starting / booting procedures described below.
However, the Apple Magic Keyboard does not work reliable with Bluetooth, I must connect it to the Mac Mini via the loading cable. The same challenge happens with the Bluetooth connection of my Logitech Pebble mouse, I must connect it via the radio dongle. Seems, that the current Bluetooth drivers of Bootcamp / Windows are not as reliable as they were in former versions. An update to Mac Mini EFI firmware v1.8 was not possible.
Connection - Mac Mini to monitor - via HDMI to HDMI. Connection - Node Lite to Mac Mini - via an Apple TB3 to TB2 adapter using upper USB C port of the Node Lite and the TB2 port next to the HDMI port of the Mac Mini. The connection - Node Lite to the monitor - is via USB C (lower USB C port) to DP. There is no direct connection from the graphics card to the monitor. This is a new experience for me.
I do not change any connection at any time. However, a Windows boot with attached eGPU is not possible - no matter what monitor settings are used. I must start the eGPU after lock-in to Windows (hot plug).
Then I change the monitor settings from HDMI to DP. Both GPUs are ready for use. To avoid wear and tear of the power plug-in of the Node Lite I start the eGPU by plugging in the power supply to the electricity plug. This is a little strange. Maybe I will go for a power supply with a switch.
My first feeling using again the B-Team is that it is still good for my daily use and for playing my (old fashioned) favourite games. However, when I compare the current benchmark result, with the ones from one year ago, I am surprised that they are about half of the output of last year - although when I am using the same settings.
Another interesting observation is, that after the plug-in of the Node Lite the iGPU will be not de-activated - like it was one year ago. This even does not happen using the same connections as in the last year build.
Maybe the Mac Minis are a little cumbersome.
I do not think to make this enclosure running with MacOS High Sierra and Purge Wrangler, because I do not need this set-up. However, it could (should?) work.
This are the benchmarks compared with the GTX 1050 Ti:
Updated yesterday to Big Sur 11.0.1 and Windows 20H2 19042.630.
After an initial hick-up, the system still works fine.