2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + Radeon VII @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.14.6 & Win10 [ttamnogard]
System specs (model inc screen size, CPU, iGPU, dGPU, operating system)
2018 Mac Mini – i7-8700B/UHD Graphics 630 iGPU/64GB RAM/2TB SSD
Included a SPEED mini fan stand...
eGPU hardware (eGPU enclosure, video card, any third-party TB3 cable, any custom mods)
Installation steps (what did you do to get it all going?)
This took a little bit to get running.. I started with connecting an HDMI from the mac mini to the monitor to get everything set up and downloaded. I found that the TB3 connection closest to the USB A connections worked all the time (for some reason the right 2 didn't work as well as the left 2). Running 1903 fully updated but NOT the .329 update (it's listed as optional, do not install it!) Downloaded the AMD Adrenalin August. You will NEED to have your eGPU plugged in or the driver software will NOT detect the card and will not install it... did the install but left the HDMI cable connected so I could see what I was doing... when it went to reboot, I unplugged the HDMI and let it boot up with only the eGPU connected... and windows displays... since this is supported in both OS (I am not running 10.15 as of this posting), I was able to reboot into MacOS (using the bootcamp system tray) and it works, reboot back into windows no problem...
Forthcoming, I've never used these as I am more about getting it working as a measure of success... I'll check up on how to use this stuff
Comments (eg: how has the eGPU improved your workflow or gaming)
Well, it improves everything because I can now maintain a good experience using FreeSync when in Windows. The SPEED cooling fan helps quite a bit in being able to game longer.... I would recommend capping your FPS at 240 to keep temps lower (yeah, it's cool to see 300-400 FPS on the display but your monitor can't handle it anyways). I would like to, when I can afford it, try to run a second eGPU but with an NVIDIA card (I've seen a @itsage posting trying different setups). Just need to track down a 2080 Ti to see if my FPS change or if I am hitting the TB3 bottleneck.
@ttamnogard Thank you for sharing this nice build! We’re looking forward to seeing the hardware photos. Regarding the behavior of the four Thunderbolt 3 ports, I believe all four should work with an eGPU. Detection of an active Thunderbolt connection is typically a challenge. When I first got the 2018 Mac mini I found the TB3 port #4 next to HDMI most friendly with Thunderbolt detection too. I didn’t really know why that was until I started using an USB-C monitor. The Mac mini firmware handles monitor output depending on which devices it finds during pre-boot. When the USB-C monitor was connected, I found the TB3 port next to it (shares same Thunderbolt 3 controller) always active and can be used through hot-plug. Here’s the Thunderbolt 3 Controllers and Port # arrangement in the 2018 Mac mini for reference.
@itsage for me, port 4 works 100% of the time... port 3 i have a tb3 hub which routes everything... I use one of the usb-a to power the SPEED fan. I tried connected my hub to 1 or 2 (based on your sketch) and they did not work even on reboot.... I don't know if it is my hardware (this is a refurb 2018) or just the nature of the addressing from the home page build tutorial. I played around with what was in there but nothing changed. It may also be my new'ness to this process.
The FreeSync alienware 25" supports HDMI 2 and DP 1.4. I will be curious to see what systems can handle HDMI 2.1 when it hits... 4k120... though that dell OLED is pricey but looks.... nice.
I have a line on a second Core X. I haven't tried running 2 eGPU with 2 different GPU cards. I'll check your 2018 build, I thought you were running a mixed scenario.
moved to a new spot/dedicated desk
heres it running, no led and requiring a cycle
and after it cycles the lights are on and it is working... had to do this EVERY TIME
did you want me to do a separate post for the 5700? It was a pain in the butt. The vii is still the most bad a$$. The new drivers have kept it rock solid at the .295 build
This sapphire was a trade for someone who had a bit of buyers remorse... since I'm on mac mini now, Team Green was just not part of the long term fun... so, while the 2080 is a bit old in the tooth and cost me more back in the day, the sapphire seems to be a fun test... the reference card Radeon VII still beats it time and time again...
The only issue I still have is having to rebuild the machine each and every time.... I'm sourcing a second core x to drive a second monitor (the alienware 240hz 1080p which is now second to the bad a$$ 1440p 165hz curved free sync from gigabyte).
I did run valley but I need to figure out how to screen capture the results (since my windows build is super stock)n
Look forward to seeing that.. I ignored everyones advice and bought a 5700XT, look forward to testing it against my Vega 56... Holding out for a Mini update before changing host machine.
What is interesting is that because Fan speed is controlled/recorded in the SMC... I always boot into OS X Mojave, then reboot into Boot Camp. This ensures the mini fans are on full blast by default. I also modified my Mini fan rig with a bigger 5v fan (still running off of USB power). I'm sure I could go 12v and double the fan RPM, but the antenna plate on the bottom of the mac mini will limit your ability to push air in any faster than the holes support...
I did try adding a radiator to the top... didn't help the CPU hitting throttle temps but was able to hit 4.4GHz for a bit before getting throttled down to 3.6/3.8 GHz... I just started recently started using superposition... scores are what they should be when I run custom 1440p. Rad VII is not really a 1080p card... it's why I am on the fence with the 5700 XT... do I want to FPS at 1080p or fun game at 1440p 165Hz or 4k120... 4k120 is the sweet spot I am thinking for the Rad VII and eGPU
Thoughts on the Acer XV273K? seems to be the only FreeSync 4k monitor that supports more than 60Hz