2018 Mac Mini [8th,4C,B] + RX Vega 56 Nano @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Gigabyte Gaming Box) + ...
 
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2018 Mac Mini [8th,4C,B] + RX Vega 56 Nano @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Gigabyte Gaming Box) + macOS 12.0 & Win11 [itsage]  

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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 5 years ago
 

If you live life on the edge, this eGPU build is for you. Both macOS 12 and Windows 11 are in their early beta releases and have plenty of glitches. Reading reports about TPM 2.0 as a requirement on Windows 11 made me curious about getting my Macs to run Win11 through Boot Camp. It turned out that wasn't much of a challenge at all. In fact, for many getting an AMD eGPU working in Windows Boot Camp is a lot more work. 

I have been using this 2018 Mac mini with an ITX-sized RX Vega 56 (Nano) inside a first generation Gigabyte Gaming Box for the past couple years. The setup works very well and reliable in both macOS and Windows 10. Through different testings, the modified apple_set_os.efi v0.5 boot loader works best in keeping the Intel iGPU activated for cold-boot with the eGPU connected. Using an ASUS USB-C monitor through the Mac mini's allows me to see the boot screen when there's a need to troubleshoot or changes in equipment.

 

System specs:

Late 2018 Mac mini – i5-8500B/UHD Graphics 630 iGPU/32GB RAM/256GB SSD

 

eGPU hardware:

Gigabyte Gaming Box + RX Vega 56 Nano ITX + .5m Thunderbolt 3 cable + ASUS 15" MB16C USB-C, Samsung 34" C34J79x DP, and LG 27" 27UD69P-W DP

 

Hardware pictures:

 

Installation steps:

In macOS 12 Beta [21A5268h], this eGPU setup worked plug-and-play. Intel UHD Graphics 630 iGPU powers the ASUS USB-C display while RX Vega 56 Nano eGPU powers the Samsung 34" and LG 27" monitors through DisplayPort. The Samsung monitor has two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C monitor inputs (85W & 15W PD). I currently use one DisplayPort to USB-C connection for the R9 Nano in the TB3 test PC (Gigabyte Z490 Vision D motherboard).

In order to install Windows 11, we first need a current version of Windows 10 and enrolled into Windows Insider Progrogram. Second step is to bypass the Win11 Installer system check for Secure Boot and TPM 2.0. Read the article, how to install Windows 11 on Mac in Boot Camp for step by step instructions. If you already have an eGPU set up and working, it will likely remains working after upgrading to Windows 11 Insider Preview 22000.51. Otherwise, you can review the instructions below for a clean setup of an AMD eGPU in Boot Camp.

  • Boot into Recovery mode to disable SIP through Terminal. Open Startup Security Utility to set Secure Boot to No Security and External Boot to Allow booting from external media [in Recovery]
  • Download and install Windows 10 ISO through Bootcamp Assistant/upgrade to Windows 11 [in macOS & Windows]
  • Run DDU with Admin privileges to disable Windows auto-installation of drivers [in Windows]
  • Hot-plug eGPU to Thunderbolt 3 port #1 closest to the Ethernet port [in Windows]
  • Confirm a new Microsoft Basic Display Adapter in Device Manager then install Radeon drivers [in Windows]
  • Download and run HackFlags 0x600 .REG file if counter error 12 [in Windows]

 

Benchmarks:

I installed the latest Adrenalin Software and drivers, version 21.6.2. The eGPU performance with these newer Radeon drivers is stable. I only have some Unigine screen captures from my previous build with these components a year ago to compare.

 

Windows 10 Windows 11

 

Comments:

There are visual glitches with Windows 11 in general so comparing eGPU performance between Win10 vs Win11 is not too useful at this stage. There are minor improvements in Graphics settings in that Windows 11 can auto detect the eGPU as High Performance device over dGPU. We can also assign GPU per application as before.

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2018 Mac Mini [8th,4C,B] + RX Vega 56 Nano @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Gigabyte Gaming Box) + macOS 12.0 & Win11 [build link]  


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