Late 2018 Mac mini + RX Vega [email protected] (Razer Core) + macOS 10.14.1 & Win10 1803 [theitsage]  

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theitsage
(@itsage)
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November 26, 2018 3:43 am  

Here's another build using the 2018 Mac mini with an AMD eGPU. I wanted to test an USB-C monitor connected to the iGPU to simulate internal display acceleration using the eGPU. It's possible to do so in macOS and in Boot Camp mode with the use of eGPU EFI Boot Manager.

 

System specs:

Late 2018 Mac mini – i5-8500B/UHD Graphics 630 iGPU/8GB RAM/256GB SSD

 

eGPU hardware:

Razer Core + Radeon RX Vega 56 + .5m Thunderbolt 3 cable

 

Hardware pictures:

 

Installation steps:

In macOS the original Razer Core does not have native support because of the TI82 USB-C controller block. I ran @mac_editor's Purge-Wrangler to unblock this restriction. After this the Razer Core + RX Vega 56 eGPU was plug-and-play in 10.14.1.

The ASUS MB16AC portable USB-C monitor drew power directly from the Mac mini's USB-C port. The Intel UHD Graphics 630 iGPU ran the USB-C monitor while AMD RX Vega 56 eGPU ran the LG 4K monitor.

In Windows 10 I relied on @goalque's eGPU EFI Boot Manager and disablement of a couple 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 #2 - A339 and PCIe Controller (x16) - 1901 [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 a new Microsoft Basic Display Adapter in Device Manager then install Radeon drivers [in Windows].

The Intel iGPU should remain activated and power the USB-C monitor (connected to USB-C port closest Ethernet port). This setup and boot-up procedure allows me to run internal display mode through AMD XConnect. One unusual thing I noticed is the lower TB3 bandwidth in Windows as seen in AIDA64.

This same arrangement in macOS does not lower the TB3 bandwidth as seen in CL!ng.

 

Benchmarks:

I ran Final Cut Pro X to compare the difference between UHD Graphics 630 iGPU vs RX Vega 56 eGPU. The iGPU completed BruceX in a little bit over 90 seconds. The eGPU completed BruceX in 14 seconds. Here's Luxmark numbers.

Below are Unigine benchmark numbers through internal display mode vs. external monitor in macOS.

Here are Unigine numbers and 3DMark in Windows 10.

eGPU Interior FHD eGPU External FHD eGPU External QHD eGPU External 4K

 

Comments:

I flashed the RX Vega 64 vBIOS to my reference RX Vega 56 so some apps detected it incorrectly. This provides a nice performance boost but does not stress the power supply like the RX Vega 64. While I don't have a Thunderbolt 3 monitor to confirm, I would say the LG 5K UltraFine should work similarly.

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Eightarmedpet
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theitsage
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November 26, 2018 3:40 pm  

@eightarmedpet Will do. My next step is to mount the portable USB-C monitor to the backside of Razer Core. It's a neat display for boot selector.

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94 external GPU build guides


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Eightarmedpet
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December 2, 2018 9:02 pm  
Posted by: theitsage

@eightarmedpet Will do. My next step is to mount the portable USB-C monitor to the backside of Razer Core. It's a neat display for boot selector.

I’ve been trying and failing to get my Vega card working in Windows, as per usual, how it worked perfectly first time I just don’t understand, I might start my own thread and really deep dive because I lose track of suggestions across threads, anyway... I’m very very close on to just buying a new mini as it’ll also be a big performance boost I think. I'm a tiny bit confused why a dedicated boot screen would be needed - is it because the external monitor stays blank until windows is loaded? If so it wouldn’t be a problem with the 5k right? Have you tried booting sans modding with just the usb c monitor? If the igpu isn’t active would it just boot to a black screen or would the egpu kick in and take over?

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+

---
LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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December 2, 2018 11:06 pm  

@eightarmedpet Without workarounds the iGPU would be disabled when there's an eGPU connected. What the boot process would look like is the boot screen appears through the Mac mini's connected display then once Windows completes booting, this display either stays black or flickers randomly.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
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December 3, 2018 7:22 am  

Got ya... so a direct connection to a gpu is required but once established acceleration can be taken over by any gpu. 
Would using team viewer to set everything to prefer egpu be another option? (Will google os level gpu management).

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+

---
LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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JDX
 JDX
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December 3, 2018 7:39 am  

Having a whole host of issues here with my 2108 Mac Mini and the Vega 56. Tried it with 2 separate OWC Helios FX eGPU's, a Razor Core, and also tried a AMD 480. All give the same problem: intermittent then no image on my 4K LG TV. Apple Display prefs show the screen is there, but I get no image. Trying to figure out if this is a Mac Mini issue in general, or just my unit.

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


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Eightarmedpet
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December 3, 2018 10:58 am  

@jdx I'm not going to speculate what the problem is but if you have tried multiple enclosures and 2 different cards and the results are always the same then that sounds like the issue will be with the other parts of the system, either the Mac mini, the TV, the cables or the way you have it all connected.

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+

---
LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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(@megaseppl)
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December 17, 2018 9:14 pm  

Hi @theitsage
Why did you choose the Razer Core instead the cheaper but more PSU-powerful Core X
Are there any further advantages of the Core beside its 4 USB connections, the design and LED lights?

No eGPU yet... planning to buy a Razer Core X with ASUS Vega 64 for my Mac mini


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theitsage
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December 17, 2018 9:22 pm  

@megaseppl There's no advantage in term of eGPU performance. I sent the Razer Core X back to Razer (it was a PR review unit). Also I was testing the TI82 USB-C controller unblock.

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(@megaseppl)
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December 17, 2018 9:58 pm  

@theitsage What about auto turn on / off? 
Do both egpu units turn on/off automatically when Mac min is on/off?

No eGPU yet... planning to buy a Razer Core X with ASUS Vega 64 for my Mac mini


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theitsage
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December 17, 2018 11:13 pm  

@megaseppl Do you mean Sleep/Wake with the eGPU connected? Ideally the enclosure would sleep and wake up accordingly to the Thunderbolt 3 host's power state. It doesn't always behave this way. There are instances when the enclosure would wake up during TB3 host's sleep state. When the TB3 host wakes up, the enclosure would always wake up with it but the eGPU may not always resume working.

I wish I had one answer that's applicable to all. The firmware on the eGPU enclosure can kick the fan/s on during sleep if it senses certain components on the Thunderbolt 3 main board need cooling. Vendors had advised this behavior happens most often during charging of TB3 laptop via Power Delivery from the enclosure.

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gzstranger
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December 19, 2018 11:02 am  

Hi, first I want to thank you because I read a lot of your posts and they are very helpful.

I'm a beginner here, but after several tries and testings, i did gain some experience and I also have many questions that I don't understand. 

My setup is Mac mini 2018 + Core X + Vega 64 + LG 27' 4K USB-C display. The eGPU works perfectly in OS X Mojave, but it behaves quiet unpredictable in Win 10.  By using the automated EFI, sometimes I could get iGPU and eGPU both working, but I just could not let the system to sleep, otherwise it always unable to wake up. Sometimes I got the error 12 and sometimes the eGPU simply didn't show up and won't be detected correctly by re-plug in, as the system showed the PCIE has problem.

When I don't use the EFI, sometimes I could get the eGPU working  while iGPU not showing in devices list, sometimes I just got the black screen for both while the windows was working fine (keyboard light and PnP sounds) .

Now I will try your way to disable one PCI port to see if it will work. I have tried Gigabyte RX580 gaming box for a week, it was really trouble free. It didn't need any modification and was able to boot into Windows without any trouble. But I returned it because it is expansive compare to its performance. 

Hope I can get some good results.

@theitsage I have tried you way of disabling certain PCI port but unfortunately if didn't work. The whole thing is a sort of mystery for me at this moment...

Mac mini 2018 i5
Razer Core X
Sapphire Vega 65 with Alphacooling AIO


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theitsage
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December 19, 2018 5:59 pm  

@gzstranger Do you need the iGPU activated while using the eGPU in Windows? Is your monitor the LG UltraFine 4K? While I had done testing with a USB-C portable monitor on the 2018 Mac mini, I have not used the LG UltraFine to confirm its behavior with eGPU in Boot Camp. In my personal experience, the step "Select View by Connection in Device Manager then locate and disable PCIe Root Port #2 - A339 and PCIe Controller (x16) - 1901 [in Windows]" helps a lot with resource allocation in Windows. Sleep never worked for me in Boot Camp using an AMD eGPU. There are unfortunately limits to these workarounds. I will test an older method of using rEFInd and see whether eGPU detection in Windows is more reliable.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

94 external GPU build guides


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gzstranger
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December 20, 2018 8:44 am  

@theitsage My monitor is LG 4K UK850. I don't really need iGPU working at the same time, but I just wonder why the results are never consistent. 

I have a TB3 harddrive. I tried to disable that port, but it caused my harddrive not detectable, and eGPU was still in error 12. Now i found that without AutoEFI, I have better result to get the eGPU solely working in Win. 

For you information, when I was using RX580 gaming box, I can directly boot into Win (eGPU only) , and I use can sleep and wake function.

Mac mini 2018 i5
Razer Core X
Sapphire Vega 65 with Alphacooling AIO


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