2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5600 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 & Win10 1903 [weir_doh]
Mac mini 2020 6c i7 3.2 GHz, 16 GB 2667 MHz DDR4/500 gb SSD
macOS Catalina 10.15.5
Bootcamp Windows 10 Home 1903-19H1 build 18362.30-partitioned on HD
Display: AOC 32V1W 31.5-inch 1920 x 1080 - HDMI cable
1tb external SSD G-Drive used for storage only (TB3 bus1 slot1)
USB wired keyboard and mouse
Speakers are BT and require no cables.
Sapphire Pulse RX 5600 XT
TB3 is in bus 2 slot 1
My goal was to work remotely in Windows for work and have the reliability, stability and speed for music recording in MacOS along with some occasional gaming (mainly for my kids).
I did a lot of reading, research and video watching before I attempted installation. The biggest issue I had to overcome was with the HDMI switch to the eGPU but have now worked those issues out and have a successful build.
After learning of the driver issues once in Windows through Bootcamp I downloaded the 1903 v iso. Before powering on the eGPU or connecting I made sure the start up between both MacOS and Windows via bootcamp worked seamlessly. I then restarted into Windows and confirmed that updates were turned off.
I left the display connected through the MacMini, connected the TB3 from the eGPU and powered it on. Windows recognized the hardware but not as AMD or the card itself. I then opened Chrome in Windows and went to the AMD website to download the drivers for the 5600 xt. Once the AMD driver download completed I restarted in Windows (display still connected to MacMini).
After restart the AMD hardware was detected through the eGPU when viewing through device manager in Windows.
I then unplugged the HDMI to connect to the eGPU and got a black screen. That's is frustrating when only 1 display is available. I shut down the MacMini and held option to restart to Windows and everything worked as it should. The 5600 xt was the only GPU showing in device manager in Windows.
I then connected the external SSD drive (while in Windows) and formatted there. That drive will only be used for Windows storage or downloads.
I ran benchmarks to verify the 5600 xt was functional and working in both operating systems and I was pleasantly surprised with the results. My kids played a game (Apex Legends) and they said it was better than playing on Xbox. To be honest, I’m just a single mother and don’t know about all that benchmark data but did run them to verify the eGPU and 5600 xt card were doing what they were purchased to do.
I am so happy I decided to research and succeed at setting this up. Thank you to everyone who shares and provides details and information to make this work for people like me. I have such a better experience with work tasks done through Windows and this can handle the heavy processing required for music recording software and DAW’s.
@weir_doh, Welcome aboard and thank you for sharing this build! Good to hear it's functional for you to do work and for your kids to play games.
Great set up, would love to see some pics, I'm considering the same Mac mini and GPU (but the single fan version)...
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Thank you both! It has really been a great setup and working well for the different needs in the household. My kids just may convince me to game on it as well.
I will do my best to upload some images of the setup and some benchmark reports as well this evening. I realized my desk did not have enough real estate to optimize and keep it as clean as I would like, but a desk upgrade is simple and something I'll do in the near future.
So I ran into some problems yesterday and forgot to pause the Windows updates after the original pause ended and Windows updated to the 2004 current version and I lost the working build on this.
Is there a better way to completely disable or turn off windows automatic updates? I've been pausing them but as I learned yesterday that was not the best way to prevent losing this and having to start over.
I then downloaded the 1903 Win 10 iso again, removed the old partition of bootcamp in Disk Utility and started over again. I also decided to reformat the external SSD drive within Mac to exFAT so I could utilize on both systems if I needed to.
Some notes I took that I didn't include in my first build post above:
- The first power on of the eGPU in Windows gives the hardware found notification but there are no AMD drivers to recognize the AMD card. So this time I had the driver download ready to go. AMD provides a note that the driver downloads will not work in Apple Boot Camp, I found this to be untrue and they do work. For this card do not select the Auto Detect Driver option. It will give an error when you try to install the drivers with this eGPU and card.
- Select your specific card from the device drop down on the AMD drivers download page and select the Adrenalin 2020 edition 20.4.2 recommended driver 5/26/2020 release download (for the 5600 xt card specifically).
This was a step I had not paid attention to the first time around and made sure to pay better attention this time.
I also found that my display monitor would not update and work without the black screen or losing display until after the AMD drivers updated and installed to work with the eGPU.
I still find the HDMI display switching causes the most problems and errors during the setup. But once it's working and setup it stays reliable and works through both systems. Holding option to restart into either MacOS or Boot Camp is needed to avoid the display or black screen issues.
I can confirm that I left it in Windows Boot Camp and let it all sleep overnight. It woke up and I had no issues today and everything is working as it should.
Because I had to setup the whole build again I took some screenshots from Mac and ran benchmarks again.
Here are some screenshots of benchmark and images of setup - sorry for quality, I don't have enough posts to upload images.
I didn't grab any images or saves of the MacOS benchmarks but they were similar to the Windows above, just a bit less. I'll update next I'm logged in through MacOS.
@weir_doh, thanks for this! I have the same set up, and I followed your instructions, and they worked well.
I got it working in Windows the first time per your instructions, but when I tried to go into Mac OS and then back to Windows, Windows doesn't seem to recognize it at all. It doesn't even show up at all under devices.
When you go back into Windows, do you do a hot plug once Windows is already up and running, or do you cold plug it? Trying to figure out what's wrong...
Hi @jjjnagy I am happy this worked for you as well. I usually don't have any trouble starting back into MacOS from Windows. MacOS to Windows is usually where I run into hangups and it's usually monitor/display giving me an 'input not detected' error. Because of the setup on my desk making it difficult to hot plug or or change any of the display connections or connections to or from the MacMini to eGPU I don't change those often and try to avoid those.
I find that restarting to Windows and holding the option key then selecting the boot camp/Windows drive works most often without any problems.
I am currently experimenting with the monitor display issues to find a more permanent solution that will work every time. Currently, I've been using a T3 cable to DP from MacMini to monitor along with the HDMI from monitor to eGPU - once in Windows just disconnect the T3 that goes to DP in monitor from MacMini leaving the DP in the monitor - so I guess I am hot plugging monitor display but I never change or disrupt the T3 to eGPU or the HDMI monitor to HDMI eGPU.
I apologize, I'm not the most tech savvy or tech knowledgeable so don't have all of the right terminology to share.
Definitely holding option during restart into either system works consistently for me though.
I will try to share and take some small video clips or more pictures after work today if that will help also.
@weir_doh, thank you for your help!
Maybe it's that you have two sets of cables going to the monitor that makes it a bit different (I could try this as well).
I'll try what you've been doing: using option to manually select during start-up and see if that helps.
@weir_doh, Hoping you see this reply as it's been a couple months since you made this post. I am about to get your exact set-up up and running this week. I was curious as I did not see it stated, do you have to mess with EFI's to keep everything working? Based on my limited understanding, this is not necessary because the mac mini has integrated graphics. Just let me know!
I got a mac mini for my work as an audio engineer and absolutely love it for that. Can't wait to get back to PC gaming after having to make the switch to apple for work.
@derek_brannon, I am still around reading and learning what I can. A couple months ago one of my kids ran a windows update on me and I had to start again and setup back to the beginning.
I also used a guide here on permanent turn off of windows updates. That’s what breaks this for me every time is windows updates. I wish I could find the link to that guide it’s very detailed and I was able to get that turned off permanently.
I do not mess with any EFI because I know it works without me having to do those steps. And I’m not Tech savvy enough to feel confident doing it.
I only have to use one HDMI for display routing now as well, the problem with the display going black only occurs when restarting between windows and MacOS - every time be sure to hold alt+R keys during restart (if using windows keyboard) or the option key on Mac keyboard. Sometimes you may have to shut down at the black screen and restart with alt+R or option and then you’ll have display again and the system you want to run.
Again I am not very versed technically but I have succeeded at this setup 3 times now and hoping it continues to work this well for many years to come.