2018 Mac Mini - Bootcamp Windows - Can't get eGPU to work
 
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2018 Mac Mini - Bootcamp Windows - Can't get eGPU to work  

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MacBowtie
(@macbowtie)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Hi,

I followed the Boot Camp Setup Guide from @itsage, but can not get my eGPU to work with Windows. (It works fine under MacOS Mojave 10.14.6, though in MacOS, I have to connect the eGPU after I'm logged in to my user account. If I connect the eGPU during startup, the machine boots to login screen (which I can see on my second screen, attached to USB-C), but the login either takes a VERY long time (2min for the last 20% of the white login process bar) and then the eGPU-screen stays black, or: the Mac restarts if I try to log in.

Hardware:

  • 2018 Mac Mini / XFX AMD RX580 / Akitio Node Pro
  • 2 screens attached:
    1) 19" via USB-C (2nd port to the left of HDMI port)
    2) 21" via MacMini's HDMI and eGPU DisplayPort (eGPU turned off, switch screen to Displayport after connecting eGPU to TB3 port next to ethernet port)

Anyway... back to Windows. This is what I've done:

  1. Installed Win10_1903_V1_English_x64.iso via Bootcamp (internal MacMini HD)
    (Once Boot Camp Assistant is ready to install: disconnect machine from internet. On my first attempt, my MacMini was connected via Ethernet – which caused a Windows auto-update)
    Once Windows and all Bootcamp drivers are installed: disable Windows auto update through Group Services
  2. Updated to Windows Build 18362.295
    Checked that the internal graphics show up as "Intel(R) UHD Graphics 630" in Device Manager. All good.
  3. Created EFI boot loader on USB-Stick
    Now: on to connecting the eGPU. I always connected it to the port next to the ethernet port, as recommended in some posts here on the forums.

    • Restart #1 (eGPU connected) -> EFI Boot -> Windows -> black screen
    • Restart #2 (eGPU disconnected) -> EFI Boot -> connect eGPU -> Windows -> infinite loop of "Windows logo appears briefly, then black screen"
  4. Uninstalled Radeon Pro drivers via DDU (using Safe Mode)
  5. Installed AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 (20.2.2-Mar5) --> missing Radeon GPU --> connected Radeon GPU --> restared AMD Radeon Adrenalin installer --> stuck at 66% for 1/2min, then both screens went from blue background to black background (task bar still visible) --> shortly after, the mouse pointer didn't move anymore
    This is where I wonder if I made a mistake. Should I maybe have restarted the machine via automate-eGPU EFI before installing the Radeon drivers?

    • Restart #3 (eGPU disconnected) -> Boot Manager -> connect eGPU -> EFI Boot -> Windows -> Windows logo appears briefly, then black screen, then back to permanent Windows logo (no spinning circle), restart after 1min of nothing happening
    • Restart #4 (eGPU disconnected) -> "Preparing automatic repair" -> black screen
    • Restart #5 (eGPU disconnected) -> Windows login -> connect eGPU -> mouse pointer moves, but I can't click anything -> mouse pointer has spinning wheel next to it, and after about 1/2min: both screens went from blue background to black background (one screen still showed the system clock, the other screen showed system clock AND task bar)

This is as far as I got. I haven't even experienced Error 12 yet...

The only other thing I could think of doing wrong (apart from the bit marked in red) is that maybe I should have kept Windows 1903-18362.30 instead of .295?

Could someone please help?

Many thanks!

2018 MacMini i7 / Mac OS Mojave / 4k iiyama screen


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MacBowtie
(@macbowtie)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Update:
I double-checked on my eGPU, and noticed that I was accidentally using the bosom-most Displayport, and the bottom TB3 connector. So I changed to the top TB3 connector and top DisplayPort. And.... IT WORKS. Well – at least somehow. I am now logged in to Windows, with a picture on my large screen coming from the eGPU. ("Display 2: Connected to Radeon RX 580 Series").
But... although the display settings tell me that I've got two screens attached, my 19" "Display 1" (connected to USB-C) screen stays black. Though for now, that is a minor problem.
Even if I pull the USB-C plug from the MacMini, Display Settings still claims I have two screens attached.
Oh, and my Bluetooth keyboard doesn't work in Windows anymore. Luckily I had my old G5 USB keyboard in the shed...

Update#2:
Turns out that Display 1 is "connected to Microsoft Basic Display Driver" – though when the eGPU was off, it was definitely showing as "Intel(R) UHD Graphics 630" in device manager.

Since I got the eGPU to work, I don't want to jinx things by installing the Intel graphics drivers manually (as recommended in the Bootcamp setup guide). I can start up with HDMI and eGPU-DisplayPort connected to the same screen, using HDMI for startup and then unplug HDMI after I'm logged in. And for gaming, I don't really need the second screen anyway.
What do you think? Is it safe to install the intel drivers manually?

2018 MacMini i7 / Mac OS Mojave / 4k iiyama screen


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MacBowtie
(@macbowtie)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

And another update.... (sorry, writing this as I go along)

The Windows partition is for gaming. So of course, the next thing I did was to install EA Origin. At least I tried. First the installer failed, so I updated the Visual C distributables from here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2977003/the-latest-supported-visual-c-downloads

On next restart, the eGPU didn't work anymore. Bad luck? Or is the updated the Visual C the source of the problem? I restarted without eGPU and am currently downloading a large game, so can't restart quite yet.

I did create a Restore point, though. But if the visual c is the cause (which I hope it isn't), then that would be a chicken-egg sort of problem: in order play EA games, I need to mess up the very Windows configuration that works with my eGPU.

Has anyone else had this problem? Options? Can I update to a later Windows version to make both EA Origin and the eGPU work?

 

2018 MacMini i7 / Mac OS Mojave / 4k iiyama screen


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MacBowtie
(@macbowtie)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Update:

Everything's working now. I don't know why Windows would crash upon startup with eGPU attached, but I just restarted without eGPU and without the EFI boot loader, and with one screen attached to HDMI. Then hotplugged the eGPU / pulled the HDMI cable. No crash, successfully started EA origins.

The only weird thing: the system still thinks I've got two screens attached. I can't get to the display settings, because when I open them they "zoom" open to the right of my existing screen / to the non-existing screen.

2018 MacMini i7 / Mac OS Mojave / 4k iiyama screen


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

@macbowtie, Good to hear you got the 2018 + eGPU working in Boot Camp. This particular Mac is a moving target following every macOS system update. Apple is fine-tuning the firmware to better support eGPU but at times things seem more regressive. At the moment, the most reliable Boot Camp procedure is to hot-plug the eGPU in Windows Desktop (need to be on 18362.30 to .295).

 

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

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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MacBowtie
(@macbowtie)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

Thank you @itsage

So, does that mean the EFI boot loader always needs to be used only once per machine? So once the eGPU is working, I can then delete/reformat the EFI boot loader USB stick?

2018 MacMini i7 / Mac OS Mojave / 4k iiyama screen


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

@macbowtie, It's up to the user. For a while I had great success with the modified apple_set_os v0.5 boot loader. I could leave the RX 5700 XT eGPU fully powered on and connected to switch between macOS and Windows without any interaction at boot. That doesn't work anymore for Windows since 10.15.4 system update. If there's one thing I've learned about eGPU in Boot Camp, it's unpredictable when there's a system update.

 

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

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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