2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15....
 
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2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5  

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Leovinus
(@leovinus)
Eminent Member
Joined: 4 months ago
 

beautyshot

I've been waiting for a month now, but it's finally here. My Mac mini 2018/2020 arrived!

Complete setup:

  1. Computer: Mac mini 2018/2020, 8GB ram, 512GB SSD
  2. Replacement ram: 2x Kingston HyperX 2666MHz CL15 16GB, HX426S15IB2K2/32
  3. External GPU enclosure: Razer Core X
  4. GPU: PowerColor Red Dragon 5700 XT
Step 1

Before I even booted it I had a mission. Two 4Gb sticks had to be exchanged for two 16Gb sticks. Getting the connections loose for the fan and led light without breaking them, and sliding the computer out of it's enclosure, was nerve-wracking. With this new experience under my belt I feel I can probably do it again without much hassle though. It's fiddly more than it is directly difficult.

One needs the proper tools, and luckily I came prepared with an iFixit toolkit. Their guide was with me on the iPad every step of the way. My greatest takeaway from the comment field: counter the force on the pull tabs with a spudger or something to lessen the risk of pulling the socket from the motherboard and you're golden. Pry gently and wiggle the power connector loose, I pushed it back in with a spudger.

Step 3

Shoving it all together I left the baseplate off, only leaving the bottom shield. Thence I added some padding to lift it up a tad for airflow and set it upon a Satechi aluminium hub for a base. After which I hooked it all up. It. Looks. Glorious.

Desk 3

The Razer Core X and PowerColor Red Dragon 5700 XT had arrived earlier and was truly plug and play. My little computer nook is now fully operational! Thanks to long HDMI cables I connected both the Mac and the eGPU to the 4K Philips display. It works nearly flawlessly. I can't get it to boot through the eGPU, but in a way I don't mind not having the eGPU suck power doing basically nothing. This way I can turn it on for games and video editing.

Desk 1

With wireless everything else it's quite a nice setup. If I do say so myself.

Desk 2

An update to MacOS 10.15.5 later and everything was running just fine. Memory was registered properly as 32GB, and the eGPU runs as expected (though I've only tried it in Firewatch so far). I've installed Macs fan control to set a custom fan curve and set the ramp-up to start from 65c. Turbo Boost Switcher is also used for ordinary desktop stuff like web browsing. The stock speed is perfectly adequate for those uses.

Ambient temps in my apartment are quite high, it being summer in Sweden and our apartment buildings rarely if ever come with AC, at 25-27c. Still the temps only hover around 40c in non-demanding use with the occasional spike to 60c when doing some GIMP work. Heck, Firewatch didn't trigger the fans much at all. Though I didn't keep an eagle eye on the temps while gaming, mostly going by ear. Admittedly it's a rather non-demanding game CPU wise and non-scientific.

The only thing left for me to do is to replace the padding I use for the Satechi Hub. I'll get some rubber grommets of some kind to reduce slippage risk and increase the clearance a tad more. But that's for a later day.

Rocking a Mac mini 2018/2020 i7-8700B 6C/12T with 32Gb RAM, and a PowerColor 5700 XT humming along in its Razer Core X.

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 [build link]  


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

@leovinus, Thank you for sharing this nice build. Looks great with all components sitting on the shelf. The first time opening a small computer like the Mac mini is always nerve-wracking. Once you do it, it's much easier. I must opened my 2018 Mac mini half a dozen times testing things. It's a well-built machine and should last many years with good ventilation.

 

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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Leovinus
(@leovinus)
Eminent Member
Joined: 4 months ago
 

@itsage, Thanks! Hopefully it doesn't have to come apart again any time soon. But it did give me enough confidence to open up and re-paste my old trooper, a MacBook Air 2011 with an i7. The operation was a success. I honestly like it. I kind of want to get my hands on more Apple gear to pry apart now!

The only thing I've noticed that I'm not 100% satisfied with on the Mac mini build is the intermittent flicker when using the eGPU as the primary display (over HDMI). Just a random white flash now and again. It doesn't occur when routing the signal back across the TB3 and out through the mini's own HDMI port. I'm assuming it's a flaw in the OS. There seems to be many different kinds of flicker due to many different things, I just hope the next OS update fixes it.

Any suggestions on how to solve it are welcome though. Resetting the SMC/PRAM? Displayport cable instead of HDMI from the eGPU? A script that forces the eGPU to be the boot device without crashing? Again, any and all suggestions welcome.

Edit1: My apologies for posting this initially in the wrong thread, thanks for fixing it @itsage!

Edit2: After some experimenting, the flashing occurs mainly when both the mini and the eGPU are hooked up simultaneously. Booting and then disconnecting the HDMI on the mini lessens it dramatically. While gaming it flashed only once or twice over the course of more than an hour. It seems to occur mostly when in the OS as well, as it is somewhat more recurring on the desktop than in-game. Still to a lesser degree. Looking in activity monitor it's obvious that MacOS still prefers the iGPU for some tasks even if the eGPU is the only output connected. I wonder if - if it's possible - turning off the iGPU entirely would solve the issue.

Rocking a Mac mini 2018/2020 i7-8700B 6C/12T with 32Gb RAM, and a PowerColor 5700 XT humming along in its Razer Core X.

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 [build link]  


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

I don't have much love for HDMI in macOS. DisplayPort connection is way better if your monitor can accept it. In one of my setup, I experience a similar flickering symptom you described. Unfortunately the computer (NUC7i5) only has HDMI-output so I have no other choice. Once I switched to using an eGPU with it and connected the monitor through DisplayPort, no issues since.

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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Leovinus
(@leovinus)
Eminent Member
Joined: 4 months ago
 

@itsage, A DisplayPort cable of sufficient length has been ordered. Thank you for the info! I'll report back if the cable solves it as it did for you.

 EDIT: I'm glad to report that the Displaycable solved all of my issues. I now run the system with both inputs plugged in, HDMI on the Mac and DP on the eGPU. I just mirror the displays and switch input on it. (Both cables attach to the same display as previously stated)

Rocking a Mac mini 2018/2020 i7-8700B 6C/12T with 32Gb RAM, and a PowerColor 5700 XT humming along in its Razer Core X.

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 [build link]  


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

How did I miss this post? Beautiful pics and great to hear it works great for you too.

Not a chance im going to try and open up my Mini when I order one again, hats off to those brave enough to do it. I actually asked a local Mac place if the cost of upgrading the ram on the Mini and their quote was higher than Apples!

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

 
2017 13" MacBook Pro [7th,2C,U] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.15.4 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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bushwacked
(@bushwacked)
Active Member
Joined: 4 weeks ago
 
Posted by: @eightarmedpet

How did I miss this post? Beautiful pics and great to hear it works great for you too.

Not a chance im going to try and open up my Mini when I order one again, hats off to those brave enough to do it. I actually asked a local Mac place if the cost of upgrading the ram on the Mini and their quote was higher than Apples!

that is highway robbery for them to ask more than apple. I have built PC's since I was in middle school. Opening up anything isnt too big of a worry though, for me at least. Just takes some practice, they are not hard once you do it a few times.

@leo

How does the Satechi Aluminum base work? They say it has vents to move air ... does that actually work? Is it loud?

Screen Shot 2020 08 31 at 5.18.46 PM

 

 I will be going this almost exact build, but I will be picking up a 2020 6 core most likely ... then upgrade the ram to 16 or 32gb myself, not sure yet. 

2012 iMac - 2.9 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 - 240GB Kingston SSD - 20GB Ram - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M 512 MB
** In the works ** 2020 Mac Mini - 3.0GHz 6‑core 8th-Gen i5 - 32GB Ram - Razer Core X + RX 5700XT
Monitor: LG 34WN80C-B 34 inch 21:9 Curved UltraWide WQHD IPS **


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Leovinus
(@leovinus)
Eminent Member
Joined: 4 months ago
 

Hey @bushwacked ! Sorry about the late reply. Short answer is that the Satechi base does work, and work silently, if you mod the setup a little. But if you use it as intended, then no.

The Mac minis cooling is very, very, limited due to aesthetic considerations. Apple hid the air intake in the lip between the mini's plastic foot and aluminium chassis to make it invisible. So it already has a tiny area to suck fresh air through. And right behind the foot is a faraday cage/antenna shield to obstruct airflow even more.

Now the Satechi base, as designed, is meant to hermetically seal the Mac against it. Forcing it to take air from the limited vents provided. To circumvent this I bought four black rubber sealing rings of about 4-5mm thickness and placed one in each corner of the base to raise the mini. Meaning air can reach it through the resulting gap, as well as through the vents in the base.

With the rubber rings supporting the Mac, its plastic foot became unnecessary. So I also removed that while leaving the faraday shield. This increased airflow even more. And as an added bonus it increased my bluetooth reception. As you can see from the pictures it doesn't detract at all from the look of the setup.

In the future I'm going to see if I can add a fan somehow. We shall see.

 

Rocking a Mac mini 2018/2020 i7-8700B 6C/12T with 32Gb RAM, and a PowerColor 5700 XT humming along in its Razer Core X.

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 [build link]  


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bushwacked
(@bushwacked)
Active Member
Joined: 4 weeks ago
 
Posted by: @leovinus

Hey @bushwacked ! Sorry about the late reply. Short answer is that the Satechi base does work, and work silently, if you mod the setup a little. But if you use it as intended, then no.

The Mac minis cooling is very, very, limited due to aesthetic considerations. Apple hid the air intake in the lip between the mini's plastic foot and aluminium chassis to make it invisible. So it already has a tiny area to suck fresh air through. And right behind the foot is a faraday cage/antenna shield to obstruct airflow even more.

Now the Satechi base, as designed, is meant to hermetically seal the Mac against it. Forcing it to take air from the limited vents provided. To circumvent this I bought four black rubber sealing rings of about 4-5mm thickness and placed one in each corner of the base to raise the mini. Meaning air can reach it through the resulting gap, as well as through the vents in the base.

With the rubber rings supporting the Mac, its plastic foot became unnecessary. So I also removed that while leaving the faraday shield. This increased airflow even more. And as an added bonus it increased my bluetooth reception. As you can see from the pictures it doesn't detract at all from the look of the setup.

In the future I'm going to see if I can add a fan somehow. We shall see.

 

are you saying after putting the rubber rings on, you took this black piece off?

mac mini 2018 hero bottom

Have you measured the before and after temps?

2012 iMac - 2.9 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 - 240GB Kingston SSD - 20GB Ram - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M 512 MB
** In the works ** 2020 Mac Mini - 3.0GHz 6‑core 8th-Gen i5 - 32GB Ram - Razer Core X + RX 5700XT
Monitor: LG 34WN80C-B 34 inch 21:9 Curved UltraWide WQHD IPS **


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Leovinus
(@leovinus)
Eminent Member
Joined: 4 months ago
 

@bushwacked, Exactly, thats the foot I removed. I didn't do a scientific before and after sadly. That was my intent, but I haven't gotten to it yet. I know there are others who have done extensive testing on the foot being on or off though. But I can't find them at the moment...

I wish I could be more help, I'm truly sorry. But I know it's a couple of degrees difference at least, which is more than nothing. And with a mini every little bit helps. You could also post in this thread and see if they have more info?

 

Rocking a Mac mini 2018/2020 i7-8700B 6C/12T with 32Gb RAM, and a PowerColor 5700 XT humming along in its Razer Core X.

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 [build link]  


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