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Is my Thunderbolt Display utterly useless with an eGPU?
 

Is my Thunderbolt Display utterly useless with an eGPU?  

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artemisworks
(@artemisworks)
New Member
Joined: 11 months ago
 

Hi everyone,
When the Mac Mini 2018 came out, I rushed out to buy it on the first day, thinking that it was the answer to my problems with being unable to play decent games on my Mac at home. I thought the support for an eGPU would be the answer to my problems.
I bought a Sonnet eGPU breakaway box (350W) and an AMD Radeon RX 570 card which arrived in the post. 
I can connect my Mac Mini to the Sonnet eGPU using the Thunderbolt 3 cable, but I have an Apple Thunderbolt display that I've been using for years now. It only has a Thunderbolt 2 connection, and I've been using it with my new Mini with a Thunderbolt 3-2 adapter.
However I soon realised that to connect my new graphics card (Display Port, HDMI outputs) to my monitor, I was stuck... 
I should have done a bit more research before rushing out to buy new gear in my excitement, I'm new to eGPUs and clearly have bitten off more than I can chew here! 
Is there no other solution for me apart from buying a new monitor?

Apologies if this has been asked before.

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


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jangoloti
(@jangoloti)
Trusted Member
Joined: 12 months ago
 

Look for replies in the forum, you do not have to change your display.

Mac Mini 2012 and 2018 i7, Mac book Pro 2016 15" with TB, eGPU Galax/KFA2


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Both macOS and W10 have an select GPU on an app by app basis, you lost some performance due to your monitor not being directly connected, but it does still work.

However, those TB2 Apple displays are old now, while they do look nice a cheapish LG screen will give you a much better screen these days.

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


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artemisworks
(@artemisworks)
New Member
Joined: 11 months ago
 

Thank you, so does this mean that I can just hook up the eGPU via Thunderbolt 3 to my Mac Mini and it will work...albeit sub-optimally?

I will eventually have to look into getting a different display, but it seemed like a waste of a nice monitor that's still going strong after quite a few years. That's why I was hoping not to have to replace it so soon.

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


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padams35
(@padams35)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Correct. I'm observing ~15% FPS penalty @ 60fps for connecting directly to the mini vs to the card in the eGPU. (Using TB3->TB2 eGPU. Penalty is also roughly proportional to frame rate: ie: only ~7.5% @ 30fps)

Note: if you connect the display directly to the Mini but use an eGPU you will also need to tell relevant applications to prefer the eGPU instead of defaulting to the iGPU directly driving the display. (Right click on application -> Get Info -> check 'Prefer External GPU')

2011 iMac w/ Sierra, 2015 MacBook Air w/ HS, 2018 Mac Mini w/ Mojave
One eGPU for them all: AKiTiO Thunder 2 w/ RX 460 + 120W PSU


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