Best way to run Windows games on a Mac + eGPU?
 
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Best way to run Windows games on a Mac + eGPU?  

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Leovinus
(@leovinus)
Eminent Member
Joined: 5 months ago
 

I've only ever run VirtualBox for my Windows needs so far, but as it is now I'd love to do some Windows gaming on the side for the titles where there is no Mac version. I'll divvy it up into two questions:

1) What is the most solid way of running Windows on Mac + eGPU?

and

2) I would prefer to run Windows on a partition off of an external SSD. Would this work equally well as potential method answered to question 1, or would it pose certain challenges that can be overcome with the right tools and knowledge?

P.s.

I don't quite know where to post this. But it's about desktop computing so... yea!

 

Rocking a Mac mini 2018/2020 i7-8700B 6C/12T with 32Gb RAM, and a PowerColor 5700 XT humming along in its Razer Core X.

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 [build link]  


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

@leovinus, Use Boot Camp Assistant and give the Windows partition 60GB. You can then install all games on an external SSD. The best Windows 10 version to use for eGPU is 1903 V1 ISO.

 

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

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,4C,B] + RX Vega 56 Nano @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Gigabyte Gaming Box) + macOS 11.0 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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Leovinus
(@leovinus)
Eminent Member
Joined: 5 months ago
 

You really are the guardian angel of eGPU's, aren't you? Thanks for the input!

The plan right now is to await Big Sur, make a clean install (had some issues early on and reinstalled Catalina a few times... lots of junk files taking up space and being a bother in partitions etc.), and then also get bootcamp and a NAS/HDD dock of some description. 

Until then I shall continue buying games on GOG as they come on sale, PC or Mac hehe.

Rocking a Mac mini 2018/2020 i7-8700B 6C/12T with 32Gb RAM, and a PowerColor 5700 XT humming along in its Razer Core X.

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 [build link]  


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@leovinus, he really is, and I wouldnt have a working set up if it wasnt for the great (real) mods on this site and the smart randoms who pop along every now and then and share magic work arounds.

The way I run windows is much the same as itsage suggested, small partition for W10 and games on an external. I often nuke my Windows partition as it loves to get corrupt/take up more space than it should.

You may need or want to use the EFI bootloader which can be stored on a small partition of your internal or maybe a cleaner way would be on a USB stick.

I really need to buy a mac Mini.

 

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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Leovinus
(@leovinus)
Eminent Member
Joined: 5 months ago
 

@eightarmedpet, I completely agree. It actually bothers me that I can't give back as it were. At most I can add to my posts if I've had a problem when it gets solved, so there is a searchable repository of knowledge for others with similar issues.

Couple of questions for what you mention:

Why does your Windows partition grow? Isn't there a way to limit the disk capacity?

And also, I skimmed through the guide @itsage wrote (working, so can't delve deep into it atm). Shouldn't it work without EFI if the GPU is always connected? Of course I might want to change that down the line, but maybe it can be added later?

 

Rocking a Mac mini 2018/2020 i7-8700B 6C/12T with 32Gb RAM, and a PowerColor 5700 XT humming along in its Razer Core X.

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 [build link]  


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@leovinus, I'm the same... I help out with visual design where/when I can but thats about it.

My windows partition grows because either...

  1. I don't know how to work windows
  2. Windows is a POS which constantly downloads additional bits and bobs and rarely cleans things up efficiently.

Reg EFI bootloader, I use it to keep my iGPU active for 5K TB3 monitor connection but you are right, for most its not needed (but it does help with error 12 too).

 

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
 

@leovinus, The 2018 Mac mini does work with an eGPU in Boot Camp without EFI boot loader. Only downside is no Intel iGPU so you won't see the boot up process. I use the EFI boot loader to see the boot screen as well as to keep iGPU activated for the USB-C monitor.

You already have a very nice setup running. My only recommendation is to improve cooling for the Mac mini. An idea is to cut a 120mm hole in the shelf surface and mount a cooling fan underneath. Here's a nice read on different thermal management approaches for the Mac mini people have tried.

 

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

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,4C,B] + RX Vega 56 Nano @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Gigabyte Gaming Box) + macOS 11.0 & Win10 2004 [build link]  


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Leovinus
(@leovinus)
Eminent Member
Joined: 5 months ago
 

@itsage, thanks! I do love it. The only thing so far I've done on my setup is to remove the "foot" of the Mac mini and raised it from its Satechi aluminum base for better airflow. But I have thought about adding a fan in future as per one of the threads you linked, though as yet I'm not bothered by it. I use Turbo Boost Switcher and Macs Fan Control with an aggressive fan curve.

I think I'll simply install the EFI thing as recommended in your in-depth guide.

 

 

Rocking a Mac mini 2018/2020 i7-8700B 6C/12T with 32Gb RAM, and a PowerColor 5700 XT humming along in its Razer Core X.

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 [build link]  


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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
Famed Member Moderator
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: @eightarmedpet

Windows is a POS which constantly downloads additional bits and bobs and rarely cleans things up efficiently.

Yep.

Problem: Windows eating up disk space progressively.

Microsoft: Creates disk cleanup utility.

Fix the cause rather than creating cures/patches/workarounds. This MS approach is notable throughout the OS.

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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Leovinus
(@leovinus)
Eminent Member
Joined: 5 months ago
 

@mac_editor, do you suppose it's because of the way the OS is architected? Windows suffers from a lot of historical decisions that didn't turn out well. For example, I recall reading an article way back about how the NT kernel basically works on an "allow all" logic at its core, PatchGuard and User Account Control being mitigations of inherent flaws that would need complete rearchitecting to fix. Breaking legacy compatibility. Something Microsoft has never been fond of doing. Creeping size for one reason or another wouldn't strike me as being "odd" in that context.

Would you guys say that 60GB locally is advisable because it leaves room to grow then (and swap space), with programs and games being installed externally?

 

Rocking a Mac mini 2018/2020 i7-8700B 6C/12T with 32Gb RAM, and a PowerColor 5700 XT humming along in its Razer Core X.

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 [build link]  


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