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


Mini i5
Prominent Member
Joined: 3 years ago

System specs 

2018 Mac Mini, 3.0 GHz Hex-Core Intel i5, 32 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, iGPU : Intel UHD 630

Mac OS Big Sur 11.1 and Windows 2004 20H1

 eGPU hardware

Sonnet Breakaway Box 650 + PowerColor Red Dragon RX Vega 56


LG 27" 4K HDR connected via Display Port cable




Picked up a new 650 watt Breakaway Box from Sonnet for $279 a couple weeks ago. It’s been good. Not a noisy beast. 

The Breakaway Box housed an RX 5500 XT temporarily (as AMD’s Big Navi 6800 / 6900 card designs have proven to be nearly unbuildable). 🤨

After some waiting, a more powerful card at a lower price showed up at Man's Best Friend (the local Micro Center retail store's refurbished inventory). 

PowerColor‘s Red Dragon Vega 56 has a full 8GB of High Bandwidth Memory, 3584 shaders, and those 56 Compute Units. I grabbed the last card in stock, along with the store's 2-year warranty for a full refund or replacement. For $190 total.

(Every city needs a Micro Center retailer. Seriously. This is the way).


Hardware Pictures





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Installation steps 

Mac OS (Plug and Play)

Last month, upgrading directly from Catalina 10.15.6 to Big Sur 11.1 was quick and painless.

Loving Big Sur a great deal. Better file management, better graphics performance, better eGPU integration. 

We're honeymooning. 

Big Sur


Hey! Where you been?! 😉

Boot disk selection



Unlike the 5500 XT, the Vega 56 is a gaming card. 

D4 start

Dirt 4 (Mac OS) High settings at 4K

Vega 56: 55-60 FPS

5500 XT: 30-35 FPS


T2 start

Total War: Troy (Mac OS) High settings at 4K

(No frame counter in this game)

Vega 56: (feels like) 45-50 FPS 

5500 XT: (feels like) 25-30 FPS 


Here are results from Metal API benchmarking software at 4K resolution:

Basemark Metal Vega 56


Vega 56: 50 FPS

5500 XT: 38 FPS


Geekbench Metal Vega 56


Vega 56: 56,759 Metal Score

5500 XT: 39,480 Metal Score


CL!ing Metal Vega 56


Vega 56: 1975 and 2066 GFLOPs Memory Bandwidth

5500 XT: 1900 and 1933 GFLOPs Memory Bandwidth


T Rex GFX Bench onscreen
GFXBench Metal Vega 56

GFXBench Metal

Vega 56: 60 FPS (limited to my 4K display's 60Hz refresh rate)

5500 XT: 59.8 FPS

(T-Rex Onscreen > Aztec Ruins Offscreen. Not gonna lie).


Here's a Blender + AMD RPR Metal GPU rendering benchmark:

Blender RPR 3.0 Vega 56

Blender Mac 2.91 Metal GPU render using AMD Radeon Pro Render 3.0 plug-in

(64 Samples with the RPR Denoiser set to Machine Learning preset) 

Vega 56: BMW demo scene - 21 seconds


And the Indigo Renderer based OpenCL GPU rendering benchmark:

Indigo Render Bench OpenCL Vega 56

Indigo Bench - OpenCL GPU Render scores

Vega 56: Bedroom scene - 5.324

Vega 56: Supercar scene - 12.454


Bootcamp Windows

I previously installed Windows 2004 20H1 and AMD Adrenelin 20.4.2 drivers in May 2020. I swapped in the Windows v1903 pic.sys file at that time.

(Edit: Apple has since fixed eGPU support in Bootcamp. So you’ll want to install the current Windows version 2004 20H2. Follow the steps here:

https://egpu.io/forums/bootcamp/easy-windows-2004-20h2-egpu-easy-setup-in-apple-bootcamp-with-amd-navi-cards-2018-mac-mini-easy-easy/ )

Everything continues to work the way I need it. Same as in Mac OS.

Windows Games at 4K + Ultra/Epic settings:


Star Wars Squadrons

Vega 56: 60-70 FPS 

5500 XT: 50-70 FPS 


FN start

Fortnite Battle Royale

Vega 56: 27 FPS 

5500 XT: 21 FPS 


Here are some Windows benchmarks at 4K:

Superposition Vega 56

Unigine Superposition DirectX at 4K Optimized  

Vega 56: 4600 Score / 34 FPS Average

5500 XT: 3602 Score / 27 FPS Average


Geekbench Windows Open CL


Vega 56: 71,520 OpenCL Score

5500 XT: 41,024 OpenCL Score


Blender Cycles GPU Render Vega 56

Blender Windows 2.91 OpenCL GPU render using Cycles

(96 Samples with the Denoiser set to NLM preset) 

Vega 56:  - Nahita Sky demo scene - 1 minute 11 seconds

5500 XT:  - Nahita Sky demo scene - 1 minute 48 seconds


Shadow of the Tomb Raider Vega  56

Shadow of the Tomb Raider demo benchmark - High settings at 4K

Vega 56: 32 FPS 

5500 XT: 25 FPS 


Good times 😎

2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 6600 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Sonnet Breakaway 650) + macOS 12.1 & Win10 21H1 [build link]  

cnon297 and itsage liked
Noble Member Admin
Joined: 6 years ago

Thank you for your build. Would you mind formatting it like the build template for consistency?

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table

2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 (Q M1000M) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @32Gbps-M.2 (ADT-Link R43SG) + Win10 1803 // compares M.2 vs TB3 performance inc unoptimized H-CPU BIOS [build link]