late-2012 Mac mini i5 + [email protected] (Aorus Gaming Box via Apple TB3->TB2 adapter) + macOS10.13.3 & Win10  

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Wookiestick
(@wookiestick)
Active Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 10
March 29, 2018 4:57 pm  

System specs  Mac Mini Late 2012 i5 w/ 16 GB RAM, intel HD 4000, and a WD Black 1 TB HD

 

eGPU hardware  Aorus Gigabyte Gaming Box (stripped) with a Sparkle Geforce GTX 650, an Apple TB3 to TB2 adapter, and a cable matters TB2 cable. Edit: also works with a 1060 3 GB (see below)

 Pics:


Installation steps Make sure to plug in 6 pin power to GPU.  Existing installation of dual Windows and Mac initially worked, but most games would crash or not run with a couple of exceptions.  After several weeks of off and on troubleshooting I just started over with both a clean install of Mac OS HS and Windows 10 rs3 and everything ran.  It's possible it was tied to the fact that I did a EFI/UEFI based installation of Windows.  Note that there is a bug in EFI based install of Windows where HDMI speaker output through the integrated graphics will not work correctly on this mac.  Installed drivers with a combination of Boot Camp 6.0, Snappy Driver Installer Origin, the latest (as of this typing) Geforce driver package, and Apple Thunderbolt driver 5.1.4.0 (02/23/2015).  System hibernate or sleep will cause the display to either flicker upon waking, or not work at all.  Best to turn off those in power management control panel.  Latest web drivers and this script also worked on Mac OS 10.13.3.

Benchmarks 

 

Comments I'm cleaning out my basement to slowly convert it to a workout room.  I would like to get a treadmill in there and use this mac mini as a light duty gaming machine with a controller.  I am working with an extremely limited budget so I made every purchase as low as I could.  I bought refurbished/open box cables with old gift cards I had lying around, an ITX friendly GPU off of CL for $20, and the enclosure I got from ebay used (previous buyer had stripped the 1070 out of it).  The irony of trying to make a "budget" Thunderbolt egpu has not escaped me, but I'm looking at this in the long term.  3 years from now I can pick up a 1060 for (hopefully) super cheap prices and extend out the mac mini's life a little longer.

Edit: I am really happy to say that I picked up an EVGA Geforce 1060 (03G-P4-6160-KR) for $140 off my local craigslist.  Even NOT taking in consideration the mining inflation, I feel like that was a good deal.  I popped it in the egpu enclosure and it worked after 2 reboots.  It was a black screen since the display drivers had to reinstall, however I teamviewed into the mac just to see what was going on.  I tested it and ran a few benchmarks.  I ran left 4 dead 2 and Skyrim SE and it ran with no problems on high detail.

I'm not sure how much of a bottleneck the TB1 interface would be.  I put it it my main desktop rig (i7 4790, 16 GB, Geforce 960 4 GB VRAM) and the card benchmarked faster than my existing card.  Top row is the 960 4 GB, bottom is the 1060 3 GB.  It works well in the GPU enclosure but I'm leaving it in my primary rig on a 1080p screen.

 

Middle-earth: Shadow of War                                
1.0.8114.0                                  
                                     
 Frames  Time  FPS Avg  FPS Min  FPS Max  FrameTime Avg  FrameTime Min  FrameTime Max  MainThread Avg  MainThread Min  MainThread Max  RenderThread Avg  RenderThread Min  RenderThread Max  GPU Avg  GPU Min  GPU Max  
2404 63708 38.6624 13.0991 94.0086 26.4828 10.6373 76.3411 26.5541 18.0475 34.0937 26.3342 17.1854 33.8874 1.75171 0.077709 21.2542  
4235 63505 71.558 22.3236 155.637 14.9888 6.42519 44.7956 15.3529 11.6556 30.5443 14.9144 10.8023 20.293 1.19684 0.048128 12.8954  
 
 
 
 

Soon I will add my system & eGPU details or a build link to this my signature to give context to my posts


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