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2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RTX 2080 [email protected] (Razer Core X) + Win10 1809 [...
 

2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RTX 2080 [email protected] (Razer Core X) + Win10 1809 [imtorn]  

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ImTorn
(@imtorn)
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Joined: 7 months ago
 

System specs:

2018 Mac mini - i7-8700b/UHD Graphics 630 iGPU/64GB RAM/2TB SSD
LG UltraFine 5K - 0.5m Thunderbolt 3 cable
HP Z27 4K - 1.5m DisplayPort cable

 

eGPU hardware:

Razer Core X + RTX 2080 Ti (MSI Sea Hawk X - hybrid cooling) + 1.5m Thunderbolt 3 cable

 

Hardware pictures:

IMG 1919
IMG 1923
IMG 1920
IMG 1921
IMG 1924
IMG 1925
IMG 1927
IMG 1928

 

Installation steps:

 

I bought this setup to support machine learning work.

The hardware installation was fairly straightforward - I opened the Razer Core X and removed the fan+bracket, to make room for the MSI card's fan+radiator.  I found I had to remove the power supply (which involves removing the motherboard too) to re-arrange the cables so that the motherboard power cable could run flush to the bottom, allowing it to run underneath the MSI fan.  At the moment, I've used a velcro strip to fasten the fan+radiator to the inner carrier - it leans outward very slightly (no more than 1mm) but I've not (yet) found a way to anchor the top...  The water-pipes are flexible plastic and I'm nervous about applying too much pressure on them with cable-ties; however, even so, the inner carrier slides into the outer case without any trouble (I just had to reach in to keep the radiator straight until it was half-way in.  The radiator is recessed slightly and has a sturdy frame so it's not going to get damaged, even if the top is resting on the inside of the case.

Having finished the hardware side, I then started to follow @itsage's similar build guide (here) but, due to the fact that I'm not plugging a display into the eGPU, had to deviate a little.  I got @goalque's eGPU EFI Boot Manager working, though it obviously wasn't detecting the eGPU as I have to plug that in after Windows boots.  I've since found that I don't seem to need the EFI Boot Manager at all, as long as I hot-plug-in the eGPU after the Mac Mini has booted into Windows (if I boot into Windows with the eGPU connected, the iGPU is disabled, as expected, but then I can't see anything as I don't have a second monitor).  Hot-plugging-in and -out both work fine.

The nVidia video drivers installed without issue, as did CUDA 10.

Screenshot 1
Screenshot 2
Screenshot 3

 

Benchmarks

To follow - I'm not sure what ones I can run without a screen plugged into the eGPU…?

 

Comments

Unfortunately, the ML framework I've been using has a bug with the 2080 Ti so I'm none-the-wiser about how it improves performance until it's resolved.  Soon, hopefully...!  It does recognise that I have a suitable GPU, however, so the setup is working in principle.

I have noticed that, occasionally, after leaving it all running for some time (with eGPU plugged-in) the screen fails to "wake up".  I'm not actually sure whether the Mac Mini is asleep or not - I suspect the iGPU goes to sleep, after which it won't wake up (i.e. as if I had booted with the eGPU connected).  A hard reset works but isn't ideal(!) so I'm going to play with some settings / alternative wake-up approaches to see if I can find a solution.  I really need to determine first whether the Mac Mini is going to sleep, the iGPU is going to sleep or both... 

This topic was modified 5 months ago

- Mac Mini (2018)
- MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Sea Hawk X (hybrid cooling)
- Razer Core X
- LG Ultrafine 5K
- HP Z27 4K


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

@imtorn Thank you for sharing this build guide. Can you tell us more details on the LG UltraFine 5K monitor behavior in this setup? To which Thunderbolt 3 ports are the monitor and eGPU connected? I know the VirtualLink in RTX cards are not Thunderbolt 3 so it won't provide 5K resolution but have you tried connecting your UltraFine 5K to it? I'm thinking if it gets you 4K and functional USB controls without screen wake-up issue, that's a decent compromise. Also worth checking is the Intel Graphics settings. Make sure to set Energy-related settings to performance mode rather default or power saving mode.

This post was modified 6 months ago

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

Verrrrrrry interested in this build! Would love to see some pics too. I’d love to see the reaction of the PCmaster race if you posted this on r/battlestations.

Oh and subbing.

This post was modified 6 months 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


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joevt
(@joevt)
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Joined: 2 years ago
 
Posted by: itsage

I know the VirtualLink in RTX cards are not Thunderbolt 3 so it won't provide 5K resolution but have you tried connecting your UltraFine 5K to it? I'm thinking if it gets you 4K and functional USB controls without screen wake-up issue, that's a decent compromise. Also worth checking is the Intel Graphics settings. Make sure to set Energy-related settings to performance mode rather default or power saving mode.

The UltraFine 5K uses an Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt controller so it is unable to receive DisplayPort alt mode over USB-C from the RTX.

A display that uses a Titan Ridge Thunderbolt controller should work with either a Thunderbolt or USB-C signal. Thunderbolt allows for approximately 33% more DisplayPort bandwidth than USB-C (dual DisplayPort 1.2 for Thunderbolt vs single DisplayPort 1.4 for Thunderbolt or USB-C - ignoring Display Stream Compression DSC that DisplayPort 1.4 could allow).

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 

@joevt3 thats super interesting! So actually promising... if/when Apple unveils their pro display and it's TB3 only so long as its a newer controller it will be able to plug it directly into an RTX card or similar.

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


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ImTorn
(@imtorn)
Active Member
Joined: 7 months ago
 

Thanks @joevt - glad you posted this!  I've been trying in vain to get any sort of signal from the RTX to the 5K and now I know why (and can stop trying)  🙂 

Looks like I need to get myself another display if I want to output from the RTX - not it's intended purpose but I'm tempted anyway.

- Mac Mini (2018)
- MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Sea Hawk X (hybrid cooling)
- Razer Core X
- LG Ultrafine 5K
- HP Z27 4K


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ImTorn
(@imtorn)
Active Member
Joined: 7 months ago
 

@itsage - more details...

Booting into W10 with Core X unplugged works as usual - only the Intel graphics settings are present when I right-click on the desktop.  When I plug in the Core X, its fans whir up loudly for a second (assuming this is the PSU fan, based on volume and your review) and then it's essentially silent.  The LG display remains on throughout - it does flick off an on but we're talking milliseconds - and the NVIDIA control panel option is then present when I right-click the desktop.  Also perhaps worth mentioning that I lose connection to the bluetooth keyboard and mouse - presumably it causes the controler to reset or something - but they reconnect again in the usual way.  All things being equal, it then continues to work as normal, using the iGPU to drive the 5K (except for the screen sleep issue I mentioned above).

So far, I've been plugging the 5K into the USB-C port nearest the ethernet port and the Core X into the port next to that.  If you think it would be worth trying other ports, let me know.  On a related note, how do I tell what the connection speed to the Core X is?  Are there any benchmarks I can run in the config I have at the moment?

- Mac Mini (2018)
- MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Sea Hawk X (hybrid cooling)
- Razer Core X
- LG Ultrafine 5K
- HP Z27 4K


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joevt
(@joevt)
Reputable Member
Joined: 2 years ago
 
Posted by: ImTorn

Thanks @joevt - glad you posted this!  I've been trying in vain to get any sort of signal from the RTX to the 5K and now I know why (and can stop trying)  🙂 

Looks like I need to get myself another display if I want to output from the RTX - not it's intended purpose but I'm tempted anyway.

Did you try the method described by @itsage in the Late 2018 Mac mini + WX [email protected] (Mantiz Venus) + Thunderbolt 3 Monitor Output + macOS 10.14.1 [itsage] thread?

The LG UltraFine 5K can only be connected to a Thunderbolt port. 5K resolution requires two DisplayPort 1.2 signals to the Thunderbolt controller. Some computers only have one DisplayPort 1.2 connection to the Thunderbolt controller and therefore can only support 4K over Thunderbolt to the Thunderbolt display.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

@joevt3 Thank you for your always-valuable input. Learn something new (and limitation) on the UltraFine 5K everyday!

@imtorn For CUDA task, not having the monitor directly off the eGPU may not hinder performance that much. Please download and run CUDA-Z and post Performance tab showing max bandwidth of the eGPU the way you have it connected. Next is to try the eGPU connected the same way but the UltraFine 5K monitor connected to the port next to HDMI port on the Mac mini.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

109 external GPU build guides


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ImTorn
(@imtorn)
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Joined: 7 months ago
 

@itsage Since trying the cables in different ports, I've started to get various Windows blue screen errors (requiring hard restart).  We need a port numbering system to avoid getting too verbose so I'm going to suggest 1-4 from left to right from the perspective of the Mac Mini's front facing toward you; i.e. 1 is the port nearest the HDMI and 4 is nearest the ethernet.

[EDIT: the port numbers in this post from this point forward are revised according to @itsage's response below - the ports are reversed, so 1 is the port nearest the ethernet and 4 is nearest the HDMI.]

My original setup (5K in port 1, RTX in port 2), which was solid and repeatable, will now not work at all - I get a blue screen error (sometimes but not always KERNEL_SECURITY_CHECK_FAILURE) as soon as I hot-plug the RTX cable.

If I plug the 5K into port 4, I can't get any video output, which is very strange.

I have managed to get the following to work: 5K in port 1, RTX in port 4.  The screenshot of CUDA-Z is as follows:

CUDA Z Perf   RTX1 LG4

Any thoughts on how to avoid blue screen errors would be much appreciated...

This post was modified 5 months ago

- Mac Mini (2018)
- MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Sea Hawk X (hybrid cooling)
- Razer Core X
- LG Ultrafine 5K
- HP Z27 4K


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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

@imtorn Thank you for testing different port arrangements. Your port numbering idea is good. To make it clearer I suggest we number them from the Ethernet Port to HDMI. When I looked into the System Information, Thunderbolt Bus #0 is the two TB3 ports closest to Ethernet and Thunderbolt Bus #1 is the other two TB3 ports closest to the HDMI port. This also makes sense in Windows because x16 PCIe Root Controller 1901 is reserved for 10Gb Ethernet, x8 PCIe Root Controller 1905 connects to Thunderbolt Bus #0, and x4 PCIe Root Controller 1909 connects to Thunderbolt Bus #1.

Regarding BSOD, my guess is Windows struggled with allocating resources for the eGPU and UltraFine during boot. I was curious to see CUDA-Z readout to see whether connecting the eGPU and 5K monitor to the same Thunderbolt Bus would limit the available bandwidth to the eGPU. Your current arrangement [eGPU in TB3 #4 and 5K in TB3 #1] yields full Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth for the RTX 2080 Ti eGPU. If you'd like to try, download and run DDU to remove all AMD and Nvidia graphics drivers. Once you restart the Mac mini into Windows 10, proceed to install Nvidia drivers again. This would essentially perform a clean setup for the eGPU.

This post was modified 5 months ago

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

109 external GPU build guides


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ImTorn
(@imtorn)
Active Member
Joined: 7 months ago
 

I spotted the same thing myself late last night, when experimenting with plugging in the eGPU in MacOS (it detects the Core X, though of course not the RTX inside) and looking on the System Report.  I agree the numbering scheme should be reversed and have amended my post above with the new scheme to avoid confusion later.  Just to clarify, though, in your post you have transposed the devices in my 'current arrangement' (to which the previous screenshot relates) - it was actually 5K in port 1 and eGPU in port 4; same difference, though - they're each on a separate Thunderbolt Bus.

I still cannot get my original setup (5K in port 1, RTX in port 2; i.e. both on Bus #0) to work but have managed to get an alternative working: 5K in port 4, RTX in port 3; i.e. both on Bus #1.  Screenshot from CUDA-Z below - the numbers are similar to before so it looks like full bandwidth to the eGPU, even when both are connected to the same Thunderbolt Bus (minor drop-off in performance but less than 0.5%).

CUDA Z Perf   RTX3 LG4

Since I've got at least configurations that work, I've not bothered with DDU yet.  Or do you believe I shouldn't be getting blue screen errors with any config (in which case, I might)?

Any other configurations you'd be interested to see?

Finally, some more details about errors I'm seeing...

  • Hot-plugging the eGPU into port 2 (when LG is in port 1) causes a blue screen error;
  • Hot-unplugging the eGPU from port 3 (when LG is in port 4) causes a blue screen error;
  • I've found that restarting W10 immediately after a blue screen error (removing the eGPU first, of course), often gives rise to a black screen immediately after the W10 logo.  Unplugging the TB3 cable from the back of the LG, counting to 10, and plugging back in again often remedies this.  Other times, I have to force-off the Mac Mini (press and hold power for 5 seconds) and then wait a couple of minutes (I've not counted this precisely - it's a lot longer than a count to 10, though), which seems odd but definitely makes a difference - any ideas what this might be?  In my previous experience, once a PC is off, it's off - how long it is off makes no difference...?!?
This post was modified 5 months ago

- Mac Mini (2018)
- MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Sea Hawk X (hybrid cooling)
- Razer Core X
- LG Ultrafine 5K
- HP Z27 4K


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itsage
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Thank you for testing more configurations and updates. No need to run DDU if you can get both the RTX eGPU and 5K monitor working. It's good to see the eGPU get full TB3 bandwidth even when shared the same TBT bus with the 5K monitor. Regarding the BSOD, have you gotten the eGPU working through TB3 port #2 and #3 before? In my observation, the first time a system detects a new eGPU in Windows, it force-disables other PCIe component/s to initiate the eGPU. It's possible this is what currently takes place when you hot-plug the RTX eGPU.

I have found the booting process when there's boot issues with 2018 Macs to be confusing. The T2 chip tend to interfere but I don't know what or when this gatekeeper steps in. For example, when I have a failed boot into Windows 10 partition, often times a force shutdown to get back into macOS would prompt me to enter a password. This screen looks like login screen but it seems to be an unlock screen for the internal drive. If I attempted to enter a password if would not go through and eventually boot into recovery. It's possible this is due to my use of Boot Manager such as rEFInd and automate-eGPU EFI.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

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109 external GPU build guides


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ImTorn
(@imtorn)
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Joined: 7 months ago
 

Thanks for the response @itsage and apologies for the delay in getting back. I've had trouble logging into egpu.io - I keep getting a Recaptcha error for some reason.  Luckily, I found this session on another machine that I'd left logged in.

So, after a few days doing other stuff, I've come back to the eGPU and have found I can't get W10 to load the NVIDIA drivers when I plug the RTX into any ports.  Not sure what's happened but I'm going to go down the DDU path and reinstall.  My next challenge is getting W10 to start in Safe Mode - I follow the instructions to do so and select Option 4 but the screen then goes black and nothing I try gets it back, short of short-pressing the power button (which I think is turning it off), waiting a few seconds and then short-pressing again - but this just gets me back to the regular sign-in screen.  I wonder if some drivers have to load to get the LG 5K running.  Ideas welcome...

Also, I'm looking to get a 4K monitor to plug into the RTX - hopefully that will reduce my hassles significantly as it means I can just boot the Mac Mini with eGPU connected and still get video output.

This post was modified 5 months ago

- Mac Mini (2018)
- MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Sea Hawk X (hybrid cooling)
- Razer Core X
- LG Ultrafine 5K
- HP Z27 4K


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ImTorn
(@imtorn)
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Joined: 7 months ago
 

Update...  I now have a 4K monitor (HP Z27) that I can plug into the RTX.  Here's what I have so far...

I've tried getting both displays working in W10 initially using the following config: LG via TB3 (port 1) and Core X via TB3 (port 4) by hot-plugging the Core X after W10 has booted.  I tried using the USB-C port to connect the RTX to the Z27 but didn't get any output.  When I toggled the Z27's power button a couple of times, it woke up, but still without output; W10 then complained about the DisplayPort peripheral being incompatible (I cant recall the error message - will try again and take a picture).  I then used a DisplayPort cable to connect the RTX to the Z27 and this immediately worked fine.

Worth mentioning that I had some hassle getting the NVIDIA driver to work, following reinstallation (itself following uninstallation using DDU).  The symptoms were that, after hot-plugging the eGPU, the NVIDIA Control Panel was not available and, while the 2080Ti was shown under display adapters in Device Manager, it has a yellow exclamation mark against it. Eventually it started working after I loaded GeForce Experience - it loaded up the window, asking for my account login and. while I was trying to find the login details I used, the driver spontaneously loaded and all was good.

I now have the Z27 plugged into the Mac Mini via HDMI and into the RTX via DisplayPort, with port auto-switching enabled.  This means that I get both the LG 5K and the HP 4K when booting into Mac OS and just the 4K when I boot into W10 (assuming I keep the Core X connected to the Mac Mini all the time), which is a pretty good compromise for not having to hot-plug anything.  Weirdly, W10 still thinks there is a second display connected in Display Settings, even though the Intel driver isn't loaded.  Not a massive problem, though.

I need to do some warm- and cold-boots to see how reliable it all is but so far so good.

Now that I have an output from the 2080 Ti, I'll look to run some benchmarks...

This post was modified 5 months ago

- Mac Mini (2018)
- MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Sea Hawk X (hybrid cooling)
- Razer Core X
- LG Ultrafine 5K
- HP Z27 4K


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Borp
 Borp
(@borp)
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Joined: 8 months ago
 

Thank you for your detailed writeup. I'm working on a similar build, and wondering which macOS version you're using. I've assumed you're on 10.13 (High Sierra), as getting this setup to work under 10.14 (Mojave) is supposed to be impossible at the moment. Could you please clarify? 

Thanks!

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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

@borp This setup is only functional in Windows atm. There was never macOS web drivers for RTX series graphics cards.

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109 external GPU build guides


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