State of eGPU for Macs – Catalina 10.15 Update
 
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State of eGPU for Macs – Catalina 10.15 Update  

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FringeDivision
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Posted by: @itsage

@steve4332 @fringedivision @shad0wca7 @themadturtle11 I read a recent post from @joevt experiencing the same white screen issue with his 2018 Mac mini + RX 580 eGPU. He provided the connection details which may be helpful to those of us in the same boat. TB3 Port #3 causes this issue for him but Port #2 does not. These two ports belong to different TB3 Controllers. I also found last night my 2018 Mac mini can only provide Boot Selector screen through the eGPU-connected monitor when the connection is through TB3 Controller #1 [TB3 Port #3 & 4]. If I connect the eGPU through TB3 Controller #0 [TB3 Port #1 & 2], it's a black screen when I hold OPTION at boot. Test these different connection arrangements and see if we can find a workaround until Apple fixes Polaris drivers.

I just tested it with all 4 ports but it's the same problem with every port.. But thanks for the link!

Mac Mini 2018 - Sonnet eGFX Breakaway 350W - Sapphire RX570 Pulse 8GB


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joshtaylor
(@joshtaylor)
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Joined: 9 months ago
 
Posted by: @itsage

It should work fine. I have a 5,1 running Gigabyte RX 580 and upgrading from Mojave to Catalina went smoothly. Keep in mind the 2009 and 2010 Mac Pro do not have official support for Catalina. Therefore you need to do some prep work. The most important piece is Boot ROM version. The second essential piece is the macOS installer patcher from dosdude1.com.

Please forgive me, I don't know much about this process. When you say that I need Boot ROM version, what does that mean exactly? Thank you!

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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steve4332
(@steve4332)
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Joined: 1 year ago
 
Posted by: @fringedivision
Posted by: @itsage

@steve4332 @fringedivision @shad0wca7 @themadturtle11 I read a recent post from @joevt experiencing the same white screen issue with his 2018 Mac mini + RX 580 eGPU. He provided the connection details which may be helpful to those of us in the same boat. TB3 Port #3 causes this issue for him but Port #2 does not. These two ports belong to different TB3 Controllers. I also found last night my 2018 Mac mini can only provide Boot Selector screen through the eGPU-connected monitor when the connection is through TB3 Controller #1 [TB3 Port #3 & 4]. If I connect the eGPU through TB3 Controller #0 [TB3 Port #1 & 2], it's a black screen when I hold OPTION at boot. Test these different connection arrangements and see if we can find a workaround until Apple fixes Polaris drivers.

I just tested it with all 4 ports but it's the same problem with every port.. But thanks for the link!

Interestingly with the two left ports I see a progress bar under the Apple logo during boot and with the two right ports there is no progress bar only the Apple logo. Unfortunatelly the white screen of death is a constant - it happens with all four ports. 🙁

Apple Mac Mini 2018 + Zotac AMP Box Mini + Sapphire RX 570 ITX

 
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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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@steve4332

How is the display connected to the eGPU (HDMI/DP)? Does issue occur in either case?

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steve4332
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Posted by: @mac_editor

@steve4332

How is the display connected to the eGPU (HDMI/DP)? Does issue occur in either case?

With HDMI attached the screen turns white briefly and then goes black and blanks out, the display goes to sleep. The eGPU spins up to 100%. The same happens with all 4 ports.

With DP attached the screen turns white and remains white. The eGPU spins up to 100%. The same happens with all 4 ports.

Before the screen turns white I see a few magenta lines appear on the top section of the screen for less than half a second (both HDMI and DP).

Either with HDMI or DP the left two ports produce a progress bar upon boot and the right two ports don't. The preboot Apple logo appears in all four ports.

My bootrom version is 1037.0.78.0.0 (iBridge: 17.16.10572.0.0,0)

 

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mac_editor
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Posted by: @steve4332

Before the screen turns white I see a few magenta lines appear on the top section of the screen for less than half a second (both HDMI and DP).

Thanks for the detailed response. This happens on my MBP for Vega as well, after which all is well.

Sadly all this sounds like a firmware issue. Apple really messed up the Catalina launch for 2018 mini. 

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steve4332
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@mac_editor

However: if I connect a second display to the iGPU HDMI port, the boot screen appears on the HDMI display (the firmware seems to prefer it to eGPU) and the eGPU display is sleeping during boot. In this case the login screen appears normally on the eGPU (since in the OS this is selected as primary display) and there is no white screen of death! This is not a very practical setup however (I don't have a need for a secondary display permanently connected to iGPU).

This post was modified 9 months ago

Apple Mac Mini 2018 + Zotac AMP Box Mini + Sapphire RX 570 ITX

 
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itsage
(@itsage)
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Joined: 4 years ago
 

@steve4332 That's a good point. I believe both @joevt and I have a smaller monitor connects to the iGPU. In my setup, the Boot Selector remains visible through the eGPU-connected monitor. What if you connect both HDMI and DisplayPort to your monitor? HDMI from iGPU and DisplayPort from eGPU. In Windows we can easily set to show one monitor only, I'm not sure if there's an easy way to choose only eGPU screen in macOS.

 

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steve4332
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Posted by: @itsage

@steve4332 That's a good point. I believe both @joevt and I have a smaller monitor connects to the iGPU. In my setup, the Boot Selector remains visible through the eGPU-connected monitor. What if you connect both HDMI and DisplayPort to your monitor? HDMI from iGPU and DisplayPort from eGPU. In Windows we can easily set to show one monitor only, I'm not sure if there's an easy way to choose only eGPU screen in macOS.

 

I tried this. Unfortunatelly there is no way to disable a secondary display in MacOS. You can set it to mirror, but that affects resolutions and if I mirror the eGPU to iGPU it will result in a constant memcopy over TB3 and slows down the system considerably.

This finding however might be an indication that the white screen of death is related to the presence of the boot logo. If there is no boot logo (for whatever reason), then there is no white screen of death. @joevt 's finding seems to reinforce this.

The difference between the left and right two ports are interesting. I don't know how is it possible that for @joevt the port selection affects the white screen of death issue, on Vega it affects the presence of the preboot screen and in my case why is it that on the left two ports have progress bar while the other two don't.

This whole issue might indicate that probably as a cost saving initiative Apple hired a monkey to do the firmware coding for the 2018 Mac Mini. The monkey accomplishes this task by punching his keyboard in a random manner while giving out wild cries demanding more bananas. * Smile

 

* If the mentioned coder reads this comment, I would like to clarify that this comment of mine is meant to be humorous and of course I hold every firmware programmer in high regard and I consider the Mac Mini firmware to be the pinnacle of the science of coding! 😉

Apple Mac Mini 2018 + Zotac AMP Box Mini + Sapphire RX 570 ITX

 
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mac_editor
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

@steve4332

This would essentially indicate that the eGPU bootscreen support is still work-in-progress. Otherwise Apple would have updated their document regarding Mac mini eGPU support here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208544

Notable though is that their recommendation for Mac mini only applies if FileVault is on, but white screen issue occurs even without FileVault. Hopefully we see a resolution by 10.15.3 at least. Typically around the .4 release Apple plans to bring some more significant under-the-hood changes (and sometimes these changes are split between the .4 and .5 releases).

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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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