Sonnet Breakaway Puck 5500 XT / 5700 Portable Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Enclosure
Grab the firmware, apply it to a GC-TITAN RIDGE, then we have an alternative to the Blackmagic and Sonnet GPUs for Thunderbolt display connection. This was attempted before but I don't know if the DisplayPort inputs and Thunderbolt downstream port worked.
@joevt, This is an interesting solution to replicate internal DP routing for TB3 monitor output. Going by the screen captures in the linked post, I would guess the GC-TITAN-RIDGE will work as the main board of a custom TB3 enclosure. Like you said the unknown is how does the Blackmagic eGPU firmware mapping correlates to DP inputs and the secondary TB3 port. I will keep this project in mind when I have time to test the AIC with a Node Pro.
I have a question about the Blackmagic and Sonnet eGPUs with downstream Thunderbolt port. Is it possible for the downstream Thunderbolt port to carry more than two DisplayPort signals, two from the Mac and two from the eGPU? For this test, you need 3 or 4 displays where not more than one can be 4K (HBR2 link rate) and at least two need to be 1440p (HBR link rate) or smaller (RBR link rate). Each display needs to be connected to a different Thunderbolt device except the last Thunderbolt device can connect two displays. The OWC Thunderbolt 4 Hub can connect two displays and has a third Thunderbolt port for a downstream Thunderbolt device, but someone said the OWC Thunderbolt 4 Hub needs to be first in the chain (I haven't seen the evidence though) - which also means you can't chain Thunderbolt 4 Hubs - which seems like a strange and artificial limitation.
What is the benefit of being able to have more than two displays on a Thunderbolt chain? Probably none at the moment because in this case you can just connect the displays to the eGPUs so their bandwidth is not on the Thunderbolt chain. But's it's an interesting aspect of the Thunderbolt bus. In the future, maybe there could be a USB4 host with more than two DisplayPort inputs.
We got a RX 5700 and it did not last a week. The fan kept constantly going up to high revs and it was generating a lot of heat. It was not quiet at all. It was really annoying having the fan spin up every minute or so and then spin down.
Contacted Sonnet tech support and they said it was expected behaviour... but then this morning, the eGPU wouldn't even turn on. It gave up the ghost. Its gone. Tried connecting it with different Thunderbolt 3 cables, tried different USB-C ports, restarted the MacBook (reset the PRAM and SMC), tried a different electrical socket, and nothing.
We got lucky that it failed so quickly -- we got it at Amazon through the Sonnet company store, so we're within the return window, and its going back. We'll be getting the RX 5500 XT instead, and hope that its not as loud (and hot) as the RX 5700.
We got the eGPU because the MacBook Pro 16" with the 5500M is hot garbage when used with an external monitor:
Here's hoping the RX 5500 XT is an improvement.
@h0bbes_1182, That's disappointing. The Sonnet Breakaway Puck was built with cooling capacity for RX 560 to achieve smallest footprint and quiet operation. Asking it to handle an RX 5700 is really pushing too far imo.
@itsage, I actually ‘adore’ this device for it’s ability to ‘pack’ power of 5700 in this form factor, stay quite silent, and not overheat. I mean, it gets ‘pretty warm’ when you run some benchmarks, but nothing extreme as per my observations. I believe Sonnet has cut Total Max Power Limits W / A in FW quite a lot to achieve it.
Well, anyway - no luck for me with Puck 5700 in Bootcamp on MM 2018 (‘Code 12’ ext / ‘Code 43’ - loopback): https://egpu.io/forums/bootcamp/cold-boot-rx-5500-5700-xt-egpu-on-w10-2004-and-10-15-7/paged/3/#post-92880
You can find some macOS Catalina benchmarks on that thread as well.
@susurs, Thank you for sharing your experience with the RX 5700 Puck. I looked through the benchmarks you posted and the RX 5700 inside this Sonnet Breakaway Puck is limited to a lower TDP like you said. It performs on a very similar level as my RX 5600 XT ITX inside a VisionTek mini eGFX enclosure [build link].
I do think Puck 5500 XT/5700 is a much better option compared to Blackmagic eGPU/Pro for Thunderbolt 3 monitor output. Due to internal routing of DP streams for that unique TB3 monitor output, Boot Camp setup can be challenging. I would say to start fresh again with Windows 1903 V1 ISO (OS version 18362.30). Make sure to boot into Recovery first to disable Security Boot. Hot-plug the eGPU when Windows is fully loads and Auto-Update is disabled. Install Radeon driver version 20.4.2 for the best performance.
@itsage, Got it to work : )
P.S. Thank you for the encouragement to keep trying! : )
Just for a quick comparison of Pucks:
RX 570 seem to still be a very capable card for my needs : )
@susurs, To get HDMI monitor output from the Mac mini, the iGPU needs to stay activated. That means you'd need an EFI boot loader. I'd recommend the modified apple_set_os v0.5 that works well with Apple T2 Chip Macs. I read you're using a 20Gbps TB3 cable which will reduced the loopback performance significantly.
apple_set_os.efi and 2 GPUs enabled simultaneously on the system result in ‘Code 43’. However, I found some interesting developments yesterday regarding Hz, and other settings, booting: https://egpu.io/forums/bootcamp/cold-boot-rx-5500-5700-xt-egpu-on-w10-2004-and-10-15-7/paged/4/#post-93139
P.S. Regarding performance - Loopback mode itself gives some performance decreese (not a huge one), however, as far as I see - there seem to be really no noticeable impact (maybe marginal ~ few % ) from using 20Gbps link in general. However, I have to do more tests specifically on with loopback mode (on macOS as only that works in this mode currently to be able to compare). There might be some caps.