2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.15....
 
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2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.15.3 & Win10 1903 [itsage]  

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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Due to many reported issues with the RX 5700/XT eGPU in Boot Camp, I decided to pair my 2018 Mac mini with the Mantiz Venus + PowerColor Red Devil RX 5700 XT. The good news is the eGPU setup can work. The bad news is there are more steps to get it working compared to other Radeon cards. Thanks to @aa15032261 who shared his modified apple_set_os.efi loader to work better on Apple T2 Security Chip Macs, I could boot into Windows with the iGPU force-enabled very consistently. Recently I built a cooler stand for 2018 Mac mini using a 200mm fan and acrylic panels. It has worked well in helping the Mac mini running cooler while adding no noise.

 

System specs:

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

 

eGPU hardware:

Mantiz Venus + RX RX 5700 XT + .5m Thunderbolt 3 cable + ASUS MB16C USB-C FHD Monitor

 

Hardware pictures:

 

Installation steps:

I always use the 2018 Mac mini with this ASUS portable USB-C monitor. It provides boot screen support directly off the Intel iGPU through a USB-C port. In macOS 10.15 Catalina eGPU overview, I mentioned Apple introduced eGPU boot screen support for the 2018 Mac mini. This feature has been very buggy and it causes issues on Polaris cards. Unfortunately there's no fix in sight so I don't count on using it just yet.

In macOS 10.15.3 Beta [19D49f], this eGPU setup worked plug-and-play. Intel UHD Graphics 630 iGPU powers the ASUS USB-C display while RX 5700 XT eGPU powers the LG 27" 4K monitor through (DisplayPort). This PowerColor Red Devil operates very quietly with Mantiz Venus. During idle, the cooling fans stay at rest. 

In Windows 10, there are a couple of options to get the RX 5700 XT eGPU going. Try the simple method first which is to hot-plug the eGPU then install Radeon drivers. Once this step is done, shut the system down and switch the monitor connection from the Mac mini to the eGPU. Using this simple method, the eGPU disables the iGPU during boot with this method.

I wanted to keep the iGPU activated so I'm using apple_set_os.efi. We currently have multiple loaders for this option. I've found automate-eGPU EFI to work great with 2017 and older Macs. Macs with the Apple T2 Security chip running the latest firmware would interfere with apple_set_os.efi. Therefore the modified apple_set_os.efi loader by @aa15032261 works better for these Macs because it keeps trying until apple_set_os-efi loads successfully before proceeding with Windows boot up. These are the basic steps I took to get this setup going:

  • 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 Option Boot]
  • Download and install Windows 10 1903 V1 ISO (version 18362.30) through Bootcamp Assistant [in macOS]
  • Run DDU with Admin privileges to disable Windows auto-installation of drivers [in Windows]
  • Download apple_set_os.efi v0.5 then mount and copy to EFI partition per install instructions [in macOS]
  • Shut Mac mini down then connect eGPU to Thunderbolt 3 port #1 closest to the Ethernet port [System OFF]
  • Boot into Windows via apple_set_os.efi loader v0.5 / no user interaction required [boot screen]
  • Confirm a new Microsoft Basic Display Adapter in Device Manager then install Radeon drivers [in Windows]

It is very crucial to keep Windows 10 between version 18362.30 to 18362.295 [discussion on disabling Windows Updates]. These versions have great eGPU support as well as reliable hot-plug. I can actually boot into Windows without the eGPU connected (no workaround used) then hot-plug the RX5700 XT eGPU and it would work. Having everything connected all the time is nicer especially for those who switch between macOS and Windows often.

 

Benchmarks:

I installed the latest Adrenalin Software and drivers 20.1.2. When Navi cards first released, internal display eGPU performance was very bad compared to older Radeon cards. On the Mac mini, I could test loopback mode by disconnecting the LG 4K monitor from the RX 5700 XT eGPU's DisplayPort connection. This would engage AMD XConnect to provide eGPU loopback acceleration to the Intel iGPU that runs ASUS USB-C monitor.

 

Loopback Mode External Monitor

 

Comments:

The latest Radeon drivers haven't improved loopback/internal display mode for eGPU users at all. Given the amount of issues and troubles getting RX 5700/XT to work in Boot Camp, I'd recommend going with Vega cards. They have much better drivers in both macOS and Windows. Prices should be more reasonable too with not much demand.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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@Os
 @Os
(@os)
Active Member
Joined: 9 months ago
 

@itsage

Thanks for this detailed explanation. I wonder if you could try (have tried) the same method with windows installed on an external SSD in one of your experiments. The problem is I have the basic mac mini with 128GB storage (updated the processor only) so it will be hard for me to run windows on the internal drive. 

Last night I finally got my eGPU to work after restoring my Catalina to the 10.15.1 beta version (bootcamp version 6.1 7139). I am running windows 10 on my internal drive (50GB partition) but I know this is not sustainable long-term. The windows 10 version I installed is the 1903 .295. 

After working on it for a week, I realized that the main problem lies with Catalina not with windows or AMD driver setup. 

Mac mini + Razer Core x + PowerColor RX 5700XT + Catalina 10.15.2


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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@os I've tried Windows on external drive for eGPU setup. It's not something I would recommend due to extra complications and updates/maintenance can break the eGPU very easily.

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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@Os
 @Os
(@os)
Active Member
Joined: 9 months ago
 

@itsage

Yeah, but did external SSD work out in any of your tests? I am just trying to explore alternative, knowing that at some point in the future the 128GB is not going to suffice MacOs and windows installed together on the same drive. 

I still have the possibility of returning my mac mini and get one with larger storage but I want to avoid that due to financial reasons. Unless if there’s no way it will work out. 

Mac mini + Razer Core x + PowerColor RX 5700XT + Catalina 10.15.2


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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@os It did but that was with a 2016 15" MacBook Pro with the dGPU disabled. I would recommend exchanging your Mac mini for the i5 configuration with 256GB drive. If you're in the US, look on Best Buy website for open box units which can be great savings.

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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Chillicillin
(@chillicillin)
Active Member
Joined: 8 months ago
 

@itsage

Hey man. Not directly related to this post, but I made an account to thank you. I followed one of your guides for setting up my Mac Mini w/ Razer Core X AMD RX 580 and your advice about the hdmi configurations for the monitor and egpu worked perfectly. I would have dm'd you but I don't think I can do that with a new account. When I have time, I'll post in the eGPU builds. Thanks again.

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@chillicillin I'm glad to hear you got your 2018 Mac mini + eGPU going!

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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sdedalus1
(@sdedalus1)
Eminent Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@os

Posted by: @os

@itsage

Yeah, but did external SSD work out in any of your tests? I am just trying to explore alternative, knowing that at some point in the future the 128GB is not going to suffice MacOs and windows installed together on the same drive. 

I still have the possibility of returning my mac mini and get one with larger storage but I want to avoid that due to financial reasons. Unless if there’s no way it will work out. 

See my build using Windows To Go installed on an external SSD:

https://egpu.io/forums/builds/2018-mac-mini-rx-580-16gbps-tb2-akitio-thunder2-macos-10-14-6-win10-1903-external-ssd-sdedalus1/

This post was modified 8 months ago

2018 Mac Mini (8th,4C,B) + RX 580 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.14.6 & Win10 1903 // Win10 on external SSD (build link)

 
2014 13" MacBook Pro [4th,2C,U] + RX 580 @ 16Gbps-TB2 (AKiTiO Thunder2) + macOS 10.13.6 & Win10 1903 [build link]  


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james211
(@james211)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

@itsage , Windows aside, how hard is this to get up and running with Mac OS?  Are you happy with the performance?

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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jangoloti
(@jangoloti_1)
Estimable Member
Joined: 12 months ago
 
Posted by: @james211

@itsage , Windows aside, how hard is this to get up and running with Mac OS?  Are you happy with the performance?

It does not work on mine, Mac Mini 2018 with 10.15.3 and RX 5700 XT on Sonnet Breakaway 550. Worked for a while on 10.15.1 then stopped working. Enclosure and card are fine, I tested them with a HP Elite.

I was advised in this forum to open a ticket with Apple, do not really know how or I think I am too tired of this whole eGPU on Mac thing to try.

This post was modified 8 months ago

Mac Mini 2018 i7 16 GB 512 GB SSD, Mac Book Pro 2016, HP Z31x, Sonnet Breakaway Box 550 W, Nitro+ RX5700 XT, KFA2 SNPR 1060 6GB eGPU,...


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