2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 580 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + Win10 20H2
 
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2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 580 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + Win10 20H2  

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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Famed Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 

 

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Starting this build as a way of documenting all my steps, will update as I go and as hurdles are (hopefully) overcome.

5K build ref

 

System specs 

 

Mac

Mac mini 2018.

i7 8700B

16GB Ram

512 SSD.

 

Monitor

LG Ultrafine 5K 1st Gen (worst possible choice for eGPU but looks so nice)

 

eGPU hardware (eGPU enclosure, video card, any third-party TB3 cable , any custom mods)

RX 580 OEM (thanks @itsage!)

Akitio Node Lite

Dell DA-2

Kareon cables custom cables 6 pin cable.

 

Hardware pictures

It’s a terrible pic but I’m excited... turns out with daisy chaining it no longer blind boots! Madness! I have plugged the 5k into the second port of the Node Lite expecting nothing, but am pleasantly surprised...

 

 

Installation steps

I am hoping it will go as easy as this build.

I'm moving office (home office) and need an additional machine for it, I feel my 2017 MBP isn't really up to the task anymore as running Figma, Slack and Teams (the real culprit) kill it, especially on video calls. The M1 Macs are great but only the low end atm (despite performance being amazing) plus they don't support bootcamp and more importantly eGPUs so I kept bidding low on i7 minis until I won one (on Ebay).

I'm waiting on the EVE monitor to materialise (if it even does) so in the meantime I am stuck with my 5K and as a result need to keep the iGPU active so will be trying apple set os for T2 Macs or my preferred choice of the EFI Bootloader as

Step 1: Installing bootcamp.

Issue: Never gets past black screen on reboot after boot camp assistant.

Solution: I tried multiple W10 builds and started looking at downgrading too Catalina and/or installing without bootcamp where it struck me it may be, guess what, my monitor! Yep, turns out you CAN NOT install bootcamp using the Apple sold and certified LG Ultrafine 5K Gen 1 (I assume using a Dif cable with gen 2 would work) so I plugged it into my TV and we are all good. Sadly by the time I got round to that I was on an older windows build so I am now trudging through update after update until I get to the very latest build. Note: Unable to jump between builds (1909 > 20H2) using the TB3 monitor so having to plug back into TV which means tearing half my living room apart, ugh...

Status: Solved. Use HDMI.

 

Step 2: Attempt at keeping the iGPU active.

Issue: Using the 5K means iGPU needs to remain active in Windows (as default macOS firmware disables iGPU when another GPU is detected on boot).

Solution: This is where it gets complicated... neither EFI boot loader nor apple set OS are working atm which I think is due to TB3 initiation on boot. Holding down Alt isn't working and apple set os boots to black screen (if it boots at all) as per when I tried it with my MacBook. rEFInd pretty much killed the whole machine due to black screen/no monitor output.

Apple set os: Black screen, never got to login/boot

EFI Bootloader: Never able to initiate boot picker via Option key

I have since found I can not access any form of Bootloader or Bootselecter (through Option key) with ANYTHING TB3 plugged in so have resorted to testing/setting up on my TV in preparation for a new monitor.

Status:  Solved. Dont keep iGPU active, use HDMI.

 

Step 3: Windows set up.

Issue: Need to instal drivers to get card working.

Solution: With the TV connected to the Mac mini via HDMI Windows auto detected and installed drivers, but card was detected as an RX480 and the Wattman software didn't instal, so I downloaded the newer drivers and through caution to the wind and installed on top of older drivers (bad practice).

Status: Solved.

 

Step 4: First boot.

Issue: None.

Solution: I would rather have to boot blind than use a boot picker and hot plug so I game it a bash via the GUI in both OS knowing that if anything goes wrong I wouldn't be able to see what's going on. I have Windows set up to auto login (no password) as I have nothing important on that side of the disk and just use it to game. Selecting Bootcamp in "Startup Disk" gets me into Windows just fine and the Boot into macOS icon works in W10 (unlike on my MacBook).

Status: Solved.

 

Final instal steps, sans waffle:

 

Pre requisiite: HDMI monitor. 

 

Monitor connected to Mac mini.

  1. Instal latest windows with Bootcamp assistant.
  2. Set up windows to have no password to enable auto login.
  3. Instal bootcamp drivers.
  4. Run all the updates.
  5. Hotplug eGPU and instal drivers.
  6. Run hackflags 0x600
  7. Shutdown.
  8. Reboot and in macOS...

 

Monitor connected to eGPU.

  1. Connect monitor/TV to eGPU to check its working
  2. Change Start up disc to "Bootcamp".
  3. Reboot (into Windows).
  4. Profit.

 

 

Benchmarks (Include a CUDA-Z or AIDA64 bandwidth pic. Optional: Valley, 3dmark, noting if it's on internal/external LCD )

My go to test game was PUBG, which was around 60-80+ FPS wise, I now have to work out what level of GPU for my final build. Noise is also important so want to find something pretty quiet. Half tempted to hunt out a Vega 56 and mod it (even though I sold one for way less than market value a year or two ago).

 

Comments 

Pleasantly surprised at how easy this is... next steps are a new monitor and GPU, but not sure what...

It would appear its impossible to enter the boot select screen with a TB3 device attached although I am sure I did it once, unsure how to replicate.

 

---

 

Update:

I have managed to get things working with my 5k Ultrafine, it what I feel is both logical and a bit mad...

Going on the work done above, I went back and installed the modified apple_set_os expecting to have issues with the monitor.

I set the start up disk to Windows and rebooted only to be presented with a black screen... le sigh... but... unplug and replug the MONITOR and boom, it lights up, I'm in, Device manager showing my RX 580 without any errors.

Going to stress test this over the next month but it looks like the solution is blind boot into W10 and then replug monitor once I feel the desktop has loaded (I use auto login etc).

Updating PUBG to check frames.

This topic was modified 3 months ago

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 580 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  


itsage and nando4 liked
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itsage
(@itsage)
Founder Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
 

@eightarmedpet, Have you got any further with this setup? My thinking is that due to the LG UltraFine 5K, you may need to boot into Windows without any boot loader then hot-plug the RX 580 eGPU. This means staying with Win10 1903 V1 (18362.30) and disable Windows Updates.

 

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external graphics card builds
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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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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Famed Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Boom. Up and running. Just making some notes on mobile. 
can not access boot select at all with any tb3 devices connected, regardless of where the monitor is connected. 
latest build of windows. 
no bootloader or mods. 
boot into windows with hdmi monitor connected to Mac mini
connect eGPU and instal drivers with monitor connected to mini. 
power down. 
connect monitor to eGPU and boot into macos. 
select start up drive as “bootcamp”. 
restart mini. 
straight into windows. 
I am very happy about this. 
will clean up post after celebrating. 

@itsage, hi, sorry missed this somehow. Yeah you’re bang in there. Tb3 is a nightmare on these things! Roll on a new monitor...

 

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 580 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  


Mini i5 and itsage liked
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itsage
(@itsage)
Founder Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
 

@eightarmedpet, I'm glad to see progress even though it means no UltraFine 5K through loopback. There are several distinctions between a working eGPU setup in Boot Camp and a working eGPU setup in Boot Camp just the way you wanted. It's relatively easy to blind boot into Windows with eGPU connected once the drivers are installed (OS switching is through Apple utility).

Option boot is possible but more involved depends on Windows version, eGPU firmware, and enclosure firmware. The configuration that you'd like to get working is possibly one of the most challenging eGPU setups atm.

Regarding the monitor, have you looked into the UltraFine Ergo? It's a 32" 4K monitor with a very nice adjustable arm. May work out better for your new desk. It comes with 4 monitor inputs (1x USB-C, 1x DP, and 2x HDMI).

 

LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube | Instagram
 
external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

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


ReplyQuote
Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Famed Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@itsage, ha, that's a very important distinction! 

To be honest this is prob ideal for me set up wise. The 5K is going to stay downstairs for Laptop use (so single cable) with my secret gaming PC mounted underneath and I will get a new monitor (have preorders the EVE for 144 4K) to put in my new upstairs office with the Mini and eGPU.

I don't mind blind booting as such, especially as the "reboot into macOS" option works in Windows which with my MacBook it didn't for the first two years (hence needing top access bootlicker/bootloader via Option key).

I had an issue in macOS too where the screen was washed out and milky - thought it was going to be a headache but turned out to just need the auto HDR feature disabled in system preferences. 

Overall very happy, will update write up.

That monitor looks great, and nice size too, but I'm keen on a higher refresh rate for PUBG.

 

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 580 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  


itsage liked
ReplyQuote
Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Famed Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@itsage

What would be your recommended GPU to pair with this mini and my 5K? I know you have lots of experience with the Mini (and obvs other set ups).

Another SSD in my Hack has started to die which I am suspicious about and it reminds me why I hate PCs so trying to work out set ups moving forward.

Also now I have worked out some of the oddities I am wondering if apple set os will actually be a good option to keep iGPU active while using native GUI to boot between OS rather than a boot loader I can not access when using a TB3 monitor.

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 580 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
itsage
(@itsage)
Founder Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
 

@eightarmedpet, In an ideal world, RX 6800 ITX would be my first choice. We have no clue whether that would be made available or when Apple would provide drivers. My honest opinion is that if you can wait, now is not the time to buy graphics cards.

The boot screen support in the 2018 Mac mini is still broken so I don't count on it at all. I'm using the modified apple_set_os.efi v0.5 in the past year with good success and highly recommend it. You can switch OS through the Apple Utility in Boot Camp and Startup Disk in macOS.

 

LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube | Instagram
 
external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

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


ReplyQuote
Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Famed Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@itsage, cheers for the reply. Yeah was tempted/thinking about the RX6800xt but for my PC.

I was actually thinking maybe a 2070 as they have great loopback performance (or a 3060ti) and could possibly hot-plug in W10.

Looking at apple_set_os - there is talk of "pressing a key" to continue which I am not expecting to be able to do if I am blind booting.

 

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 580 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
itsage
(@itsage)
Founder Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
 

@eightarmedpet, Pressing "z" is when you'd like to skip loading apple_set_os to allow normal Mac booting behavior which is not the scenario you'd want with eGPU connected. I really never found the need of using that.

Nvidia cards and drivers have way better loopback eGPU performance. I wasn't sure if you're only looking for macOS + Windows cards. Much easier setup and more predictable booting with an Nvidia card in Boot Camp too.

 

LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube | Instagram
 
external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

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


ReplyQuote
Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Famed Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@itsage, brilliant, thanks again for the reply, I'm ok with blind boot and yeah, sorry didn't say - only really need this for W10.

Also wondering if a portable screen like yours would be worth getting as a boot picker screen. 

 

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10

---

LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 580 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AKiTiO Node Lite) + Win10 20H2 [build link]  


ReplyQuote
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