Mid 2011 Mac mini + [email protected] (AkiTiO Thunder2) + macOS10.12.2 [theitsage]^  

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theitsage
(@itsage)
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March 3, 2017 4:42 am  

Last summer there were rumors Apple was working on a Thunderbolt 3 Display with built-in eGPU. Anticipation rose as Apple discontinued the 27" Thunderbolt Display in July 2016. The October "Hello Again" event brought new MacBook Pro laptops with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity but sadly Apple called it quits on making displays.

What's a Mac and eGPU enthusiast to do? Mounting a full size graphics card to the back of a display seemed reasonable enough. So I got after it.

What you're seeing is an RX 470 in an AKiTiO Thunder2 enclosure mounted on the back of an LG 34" ultrawide monitor through a VESA adapter. It took me some time to find the right VESA adapter for this purpose. The key was something with a slim profile that would also allow sliding in and out of place. This VideoSecu Ultra Thin VESA mount bracket was the perfect match.

I was ready to drill holes on the backside of the AKiTiO Thunder2 inner enclosure in order to make the VESA bracket work. I soon found out I didn't need to drill at all. The mounting holes for the Thunder2 boards go all the way to the backside. I was able to align the VESA bracket mounting holes to the two existing holes on the Thunder2. I also borrowed 2 mounting screws from the Thunder2 PCIe board.

Installing the other VESA bracket on the back of the LG monitor was no big deal. It's universal sizing and all went in nicely using the supplied mounting screws in the kit. Once these two steps were done, I could slide the AKiTiO Thunder2 in and out of this VESA carrier with ease. I put two more screws on top to secure this eGPU backpack in place.

The next step was to route the cables to the right components. I'm using a Dell DA-2 power brick connected to a modified cable to supply power to both the AKiTiO enclosure and the RX 470 graphics card. An Apple Thunderbolt 2 cable connects the eGPU to a mid 2011 Mac mini. Last but not least, a DisplayPort cable runs from the RX 470 to the LG monitor.

Similar to my earlier build using this Mac mini inside an AKiTiO Node with an R9 Fury Nitro, everything works as if the external graphics card was an integral component. As a matter of fact, I wrote this post as well as edited the photos and video on this machine.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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Barni
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March 5, 2017 10:24 am  

I am just writing on my blog how i get my Mac mini late 2012 working on 4K. But you theitsage topped all with your innovative construction. Thats an awesome job...

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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Barni
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March 5, 2017 10:56 am  

By the way... One small question... How do i get rid of the xxx in the system overview?

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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enjoy
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March 5, 2017 11:52 am  

@Barni, see https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/optional-step-modifying-gpu-name-to-correct-name/

ϟ AKiTiO Thunder2 + EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC Gaming (macOS Sierra 10.12.4 and Windows 10)
 MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Later 2013) 3.2GHz Quad Core Intel i7-4750HQ / 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 / 256GB SSD + 1TB
mini eGPUPCI Express vs. ThunderboltMac CAN gameGaming Laptops vs. MacBook Pro with eGPU


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Barni
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March 5, 2017 12:10 pm  

 THX enjoy. Works great. But i have to go thru this once again (put your RX 480 in instead of my RX 470 🙂 )

 

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
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March 6, 2017 3:40 pm  
Posted by: Barni

 THX enjoy. Works great. But i have to go thru this once again (put your RX 480 in instead of my RX 470 🙂 )

  

How's your Mac mini eGPU going? We'd love to benchmark from a quad-core Mac mini!

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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Barni
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March 6, 2017 6:02 pm  
Posted by: theitsage
Posted by: Barni

 THX enjoy. Works great. But i have to go thru this once again (put your RX 480 in instead of my RX 470 🙂 )

How's your Mac mini eGPU going? We'd love to benchmark from a quad-core Mac mini!

Hi Theitsage,

here what i benchmarked so far with GeekBench 4 and Heaven:

Because i am just looking for FCPX performance... Are there any tipps how to check or improve this?

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
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March 6, 2017 6:16 pm  

Thank you for posting those. Use Luxmark 3.1 to test OpenCL. Bruce X is another popular benchmark for FCP.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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Barni
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March 6, 2017 6:28 pm  
Posted by: theitsage 

Thank you for posting those. Use Luxmark 3.1 to test OpenCL. Bruce X is another popular benchmark for FCP.

Just used Luxmark 3.0 and got this:

Is rank 267 in there Top LuxBall HDR results...

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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Barni
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March 6, 2017 6:35 pm  
Posted by: theitsage

Thank you for posting those. Use Luxmark 3.1 to test OpenCL. Bruce X is another popular benchmark for FCPX

But i am happy for now that i am able to edit my DJI Mavic Pro 4K videos without the PROXY conversion.
And... As a side effect... I have a Dell P2715Q. It is awesome to watch 4K youtube demo clips on it 🙂   

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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kukkis
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March 6, 2017 9:14 pm  

To be happy with eGPU and to be able to use it for what you want is the main thing 🙂 That is good to know that RX470 8Gb nitro+ works with macOS 10.12.3 on TB2 macs.

I just tried again to make my RX470 to work with Thunder2 and Thunder3 together with my 2016 MBP but had no luck. AMD cars simply do not work in Thunder3 with TB3 macs with macOS 10.12.3. Installed back then my gtx970 to Thunder3 and got Luxmark score 12101 even though my cpu is just two core i5-6360U. Have to be satisfied to that as with out gtx970 the score was just 2308, so with eGPU it is over 5 times better now! Damn I wish I found I way to use my RX470 too as it seems to be a much better looking card, full enclosured with back plate and everything but I guess I will have to just sell it soon.

late-2016 13" MBP + [email protected] (AKiTiO Thunder3) + macOS 10.12.3


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Barni
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March 6, 2017 10:24 pm  
Posted by: kukkis 

To be happy with eGPU and to be able to use it for what you want is the main thing 🙂 That is good to know that RX470 8Gb nitro+ works with macOS 10.12.3 on TB2 macs.   

Just to clarify... Mac mini late 2012 only has TB1 🙁

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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kukkis
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March 7, 2017 8:28 am  

Aah, of course, TB1 it has but then that performance increase really is very good 🙂

late-2016 13" MBP + [email protected] (AKiTiO Thunder3) + macOS 10.12.3


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ikir
 ikir
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March 7, 2017 9:17 pm  

Great idea! Congratulations!!

eGPU.it | LG 34" 4K 34UC88 curved ultrawide display
MacBook Pro 2018 Touch Bar i7 quad-core 2.7Ghz - 16GB RAM - 512GB PCIe SSD --> my Mantiz Venus extreme mod with Sapphire Nitro+ RX Vega 64


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fireheadman
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April 17, 2017 11:06 pm  

Hello,  This is my first post to this forum.  I was drawn to this post and extremely interested.

I own a Mid 2011 MacMini.   Based on your setup, would you be to run 3 external monitors off your video card?  I see the card has the physical ports, but will the software support it?   I'm currently running a USB to DVI adapter and not impressed with the performance.    Also, if you have a link to the case/adapter you used to attach.

THanks


DAILY DRIVER: ⚡cMP 2010 (ⓄⓈ:DualBoot macOS 10.13.6/Windows 2016 [1803]) | ⒸⓅⓊ:3.47GHz Xeon X5690 (x12 core)
ⓇⒶⓂ:64GB 1333MHz DDR3 | ⓈⓈⒹ:1TB SSD (LiteON 512 -x4 - RAID1) w/Marvell Raid Controller | ⒼⓅⓊ: Nvidia GTX 1080 TI 11GB Founders Edition
⚡ Previous was MacMini 2011 w/AKiTiO Thunder2 | ⒼⓅⓊ:EVGA GTX 1060 3GB SC Gaming


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fireheadman
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theitsage
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April 17, 2017 11:56 pm  

@fireheadman I used the RX 470 in this setup because I like the look of this particular cooler. For your 3 monitor use, I'd recommend going with something like a GTX 1060 now that we have drivers for Nvidia Pascal cards.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use

eGPU enclosure buying guide

86 external GPU build guides


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fireheadman
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April 18, 2017 1:24 am  

that was quick! (thanks for the fast reply).

Good to know on the GTX 1060 card.    Unless Steam is working for OSX (Ghost Recon Wildlands), I will most likely use my setup for daily office/coding use with occasional gaming.  I recall from your other build thread (R9 Fury w/MacMini mid 2011) you mentioned the dual core 2.5Ghz cpu becomes a bottleneck.... I'm thinking the 1060 will look very nice on display, but I might be paying more for Horsepower I'll likely never see.   Although I did hear rumor of Apple maybe building a newer MacMini.  If the rumor comes to fruition, I'm hoping it has a couple of the thunderbolt 3 ports at the least and an i7 option.   That would compliment the 1060 very well.


DAILY DRIVER: ⚡cMP 2010 (ⓄⓈ:DualBoot macOS 10.13.6/Windows 2016 [1803]) | ⒸⓅⓊ:3.47GHz Xeon X5690 (x12 core)
ⓇⒶⓂ:64GB 1333MHz DDR3 | ⓈⓈⒹ:1TB SSD (LiteON 512 -x4 - RAID1) w/Marvell Raid Controller | ⒼⓅⓊ: Nvidia GTX 1080 TI 11GB Founders Edition
⚡ Previous was MacMini 2011 w/AKiTiO Thunder2 | ⒼⓅⓊ:EVGA GTX 1060 3GB SC Gaming


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