2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RTX 2070 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core) + Win10 1803 [its...
 
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2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RTX 2070 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core) + Win10 1803 [itsage]  

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

Similar to other iGPU-only Macs, the 2018 Mac mini can use an Nvidia eGPU in Windows without much trouble. Once graphics drivers are installed, the eGPU will take over as the primary and only graphics card. This means the monitor connection is through the eGPU because the Intel UHD Graphics 630 is deactivated and has no monitor output. There are instances when having the iGPU activated alongside eGPU is beneficial. One scenario is LG UltraFine 5K use with an eGPU that's not Blackmagic. This build guide is for those who need iGPU for Nvidia Optimus loop-back mode.

 

System specs:

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

 

eGPU hardware:

Razer Core + RTX 2070 + .5m Thunderbolt 3 cable

 

Hardware pictures:

 

Installation steps:

I started the Razer Core + RTX 2070 setup process by hot-plugging in Windows Desktop. The Mac mini could detect the eGPU and start the driver installation automatically. I proceeded to shut it down and switch the HDMI cable from the back of the Mac mini to the RTX 2070 eGPU. The system booted into Windows with RTX 2070 eGPU working fully. This is the conventional setup for best performance.

In order to activate the Intel iGPU while booting up with an Nvidia eGPU connected, I used @goalque's eGPU EFI Boot Manager. This boot manager detected the RTX 2070 as an external GPU and utilized apple_set_os.efi to keep the iGPU activated. Once Windows fully loaded both Intel iGPU and Nvidia eGPU were working with monitor outputs. I also tested hot-plugging in Windows Desktop and timed hot-plugging at Windows logo & spinning circle without EFI Boot Manager. All three methods were succesful.

 

Benchmarks:

Before running benchmarks in Nvidia Optimus, I opened Intel Graphics settings and changed Power section to best performance. I connected the LG 4K monitor through the HDMI port of the Mac mini. RTX 2070 eGPU had no monitor attached and connected to the Thunderbolt 3 port closest to the Mac mini's HDMI. Once loop-back mode testing finished, I switched the LG 4K monitor over to the RTX 2070's HDMI port.

FHD Loop-back FHD Direct QHD Loop-back QHD Direct UHD Loop-back UHD Direct

 

Comments:

There's a clear performance advantage in using the monitor through an eGPU. Apple's routing of TB3 ports directly to the CPU in this 2018 Mac mini provides the lowest latency possible through Thunderbolt 3 interface. It's a shame the dispute between Apple and Nvidia causes indefinite delay to macOS 10.14 web drivers. It's the only missing piece for Nvidia eGPU in macOS because our current Nvidia eGPU solutions are working well. I used GTX 780 to test with 2018 Mac mini.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


Juan C. Yunis, bluetech, Eightarmedpet and 3 people liked
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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

God this is a beautiful set up, 3 beautiful pieces of hardware. Thanks for testing connecting displays differently because that was at the top of my to ask list.

This post was modified 1 month 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

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

@eightarmedpet I tested AMD eGPU + Intel iGPU in Windows with the Mac mini too. I'm putting together the build guide today.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

@itsage look forward to seeing it! I'm almost hoping my wife MacBook dies so I can pass my one over to her and grab a mini for myself (now I dont need a laptop). Struggling to decide what AMD card to get as the 56 I bought didnt fit and I hear Ref cards are super hot and loud...

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

@eightarmedpet Sorry to hear about your Vega 56 not fitting. Which particular model is it? The original Core doesn't have much room for non-reference cooler design. See if you can find an AIO liquid cooler for it. Would make for a fun project customizing the Razer Core + Vega 56 Liquid.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
Famed Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: Eightarmedpet

@itsage look forward to seeing it! I'm almost hoping my wife MacBook dies so I can pass my one over to her and grab a mini for myself (now I dont need a laptop). Struggling to decide what AMD card to get as the 56 I bought didnt fit and I hear Ref cards are super hot and loud...

Yes, the reference card is definitely loud. If sound level matters even a little I would avoid reference designs for AMD.

purge-wranglertbt-flashpurge-nvdaset-eGPU
Insights Into macOS Video Editing Performance

Master Threads:
2014 15-inch MacBook Pro 750M
2018 15-inch MacBook Pro

 
2019 13" MacBook Pro [8th,4C,U] + RX Vega 64 @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + macOS 10.14.6 & Win10 [build link]  


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Argh. Cheers for the replies guys. Looks like I’m stuck again... noise levels do matter, I’ve never had a ref card but if they are anything like my old single fan 1060 they’ll be too loud. Not sure where that leaves me? I want AMD but I want quiet and powerful, would the ref design be louder than my Core? (I can prob go hunt the numbers out... edit: they both appear to be around 45 DB). I wonder if the RX 590 would suffice?

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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Marc B
(@marc_b)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

I was hoping for a similar easy result with a 1070 and the Sonnet Breakaway enclosure but all I get is being stuck at a flickering Windows logo when rebooting to finish driver installation. Any idea?

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago

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Parker85
(@parker85)
Active Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@itsage Thanks for all the generous time and info you've given to this site, it's been a big help! Especially with this post -- it's great to see there are some workarounds (with a slight performance hit) for those stubborn few of us that are committed to the lg ultrafine monitors, despite all the compatibility problems.

I've got a Mac Mini (2018), the 4k Ultrafine, and a Vega 56 inside the Asus XG Station Pro --- I was wondering if you had a chance to duplicate this workaround with the amd vega cards? Would it be the same process? Also, is this loop back solution also possible in MacOS (mojave)?

Thanks in advance for any updates on this. 

 

-Mac Mini (2018)
-MSI Vega 56 (Air Boost)
-Asus XG Station Pro
-*4k LG Ultrafine


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