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.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
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November 26, 2018 8:04 am  

Cracking write up as ever... almost feels like it was written with answers that preempt expected questions... 😉

Any chance of testing out some games with this set up?

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
---
LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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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.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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Eightarmedpet
(@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
---
LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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theitsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 3208
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

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
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Posts: 1099
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
---
LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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JDX
 JDX
(@jdx)
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Posts: 1
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.

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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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
---
LG 5K Ultrafine flickering issue fix


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