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  

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Mini i5
(@mini-i5)
Prominent Member
Joined: 2 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

 Display

LG 27" 4K HDR connected via Display Port cable

 

Comments

Desk

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

Side

 

Top

 

7548927F 905E 421D A82D 02DBB37257BB

 

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

 

Benchmarks

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

Basemark

Vega 56: 50 FPS

5500 XT: 38 FPS

 

Geekbench Metal Vega 56

Geekbench

Vega 56: 56,759 Metal Score

5500 XT: 39,480 Metal Score

 

CL!ing Metal Vega 56

CL!ing

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:

image

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

Geekbench

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 + AMD RX 5500 XT (Sonnet Breakaway Box 650) Big Sur 11.5 + Windows 21H1

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


cnon297 and itsage liked
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nando4
(@nando4)
Noble Member Admin
Joined: 5 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]  


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