Late 2018 Mac mini + [email protected] (AKiTiO Node Duo) + macOS 10.14.1 & Win10 1803 [theitsage]  

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theitsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 3232
November 12, 2018 3:03 pm  

In my previous build using the Breakaway Puck 560 eGPU, the 2018 Mac mini booted into Windows with no error 12 but Intel iGPU was deactivated.  I wanted to test different configurations as well as keeping the iGPU activated while there's an eGPU connected. It's possible to do so with the use of eGPU EFI Boot Manager.

 

System specs:

Late 2018 Mac mini – i5-8500B/UHD Graphics 630 iGPU/16GB RAM/256GB SSD

 

eGPU hardware:

AKiTiO Node Duo + 2x Radeon RX 580s + .5m Thunderbolt 3 cable
Enermax Revolution SFX 650W PSU + 2x Y splitter PCIe power adapters

 

Hardware pictures:

 

Installation steps:

The AKiTiO Node Duo comes with a 150W external power adapter. It cannot run two graphics cards. I used a 650W SFX PSU and two Y splitter PCIe power cables to run this dual eGPU setup. It was plug-and-play in macOS 10.14.1.

Windows Boot Camp needed @goalque's eGPU EFI Boot Manager and disabling of a few PCIe components at boot. These are the basic steps I took to get this setup going:

  • Install Windows 10 ISO through Bootcamp Assistant [in macOS].
  • Download and copy @goalque's automate-eGPU EFI to USB thumb drive [in macOS].
  • Hold OPTION at boot to select EFI drive and hit Q to access automate-eGPU EFI [boot selection].
  • Select View by Connection in Device Manager then locate and disable PCIe Root Port #1 - A338 and PCIe Root Port #2 - A339 [in Windows].
  • Shut Mac mini down then connect eGPU to Thunderbolt 3 port closest to the HDMI port.
  • Boot into Windows using automate-eGPU EFI [boot selection].
  • Confirm two Microsoft Basic Display Adapters in Device Manager then install Radeon drivers [in Windows].

Most likely one of the two AMD eGPUs would work. The other one would encounter error 12. I tried booting into Windows about a dozen times but only one occasion when both were working. The Intel iGPU should remain activated. This setup procedure is beneficial for those who need monitor output from the Mac mini's Intel iGPU.

 

Benchmarks:

This dual RX 580 eGPU setup is ideal for people that use their Mac for work in macOS and occasionally game in Windows. The two AMD cards runs through x2 PCIe slots but they can scale very well in computing tasks. Here we see Luxmark scores with the Intel iGPU, single RX 580, and dual RX 580s. I tried BruceX in FCPX 10.4.3 and it took the Intel iGPU more than 90 seconds to complete. The AKiTiO Node DUO + 2x RX 580s did it in sub 20s.

Below are Unigine benchmark numbers through the LG 4K monitor (connected to eGPU's DisplayPort).

Intel 630 iGPU FHD RX 580 eGPU FHD RX 580 eGPU QHD RX 580 eGPU 4K

Comments:

The 2x PCIe slot doesn't cut performance in half when the monitor output is through the eGPU directly. In the case of the RX 580, its performance is very close to other pairings I ran. It's nice to see there's just enough room for the Mac mini on top of the Node Duo. This looks like a mini Mac Pro tower, doesn't it? The second slot can host other cards rather than a GPU. Due to how much Apple wants for the Mac mini's internal storage upgrade ($200/256GB), it's not a bad idea to add a large capacity M.2 drive inside the Node Duo.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


mac_editor and goalque liked
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steve500
(@steve500)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 35
November 12, 2018 9:18 pm  

Excellent post ! Great info.

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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theitsage
(@itsage)
Famed Member Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 3232
November 30, 2018 3:34 am  

I changed the 2nd RX 580 eGPU out for a SSD. The drive is HP EX920 NVMe 1TB mounted on an M.2 PCIe adapter. Total cost of the 1TB drive and adapter is $172. This is a significant saving when compared to $800 Apple wants for an upgrade to 1TB internal drive.

Each PCIe slot in the Node Duo is x2 so they limit the drive to roughly 1,5xxMB/s. This is not bad at all for an external hard drive. Here's the Mac mini's internal flash drive vs. external SSD.

The RX 480 4GB eGPU didn't suffer much in this dual-slot configuration. I ran FCPX BruceX to write onto the external drive and the eGPU completed this task in 32 seconds. The iGPU took more than 90 seconds for reference.

Last but not least are Unigine benchmarks through both loop-back mode via the Mac mini's HDMI port and directly through the eGPU.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1133
November 30, 2018 9:18 am  

Interesting results with loop back, which align with my brief experience of connecting a normal display to my egpu. 
While the FPS “high” is a lot higher the actual average isn’t much higher. I found the loop backed FPS lower but less variable.

Edit: For typos, My typing on mobile is awful and auto correct is way too keen sometimes.

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touchbar + [email protected] (AKiTiO Thunder3) + Win10
2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + [email protected] (Sonnet Breakaway Box) + Win10

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + GTX1070 (debating 2070 upgrade) @32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core V1) + Win10

2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar + Vega 56 @32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core V1) + Win10 & macOS 10.14+

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LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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theitsage
(@itsage)
Famed Member Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 3232
December 3, 2018 2:11 pm  

I was testing the AKiTiO Node Duo with a Dell DA-2 220W power brick and they worked together with the current RX 580 GPU + 1TB NVMe SSD configuration. I left the Mac mini asleep in Windows 10 while connected to the Node Duo this past weekend. It was able to wake up and everything resumed working.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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