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2018 Mac Mini for eGPU
 

2018 Mac Mini for eGPU  

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itsage
(@itsage)
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Yes many times over the years. Boot Camp drivers for the 2018 MacBook Pros were a few days after retail availability. Now that I think of it, the Internet Recovery installer for the 2018 MacBook Pro was not ready either. It took at least a week IIRC. I ran into serious issues with Secure Boot and Apple T2 protection when trying to test @goalque‘s EFI Boot Manager. It’s best not to partition/erase the internal drive in Recovery mode, all Macs with T2 chip have their hard drive encrypted from the factory.

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expensivefruit
(@expensivefruit)
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I have some (conflicting), potentially bad news.

I went to the Apple store today to see if I could get to the bottom of this thunderbolt controller question. The Apple 'genius' I spoke to said he didn't have all the answers and would relay my questions to someone at the back of the shop, then come back to me with those answers - not a great way of making any investigation, so I kept it very simple: "how many thunderbolt controllers are there in the new Mac mini?" I asked. The 'genius' comes back out and tells me that his colleague replied "Why does he want to know that? There is one controller, but tell him he can run multiple 5K screens, if he wants". When this information was conveyed, I brought up (rather humorously) the main webpage for the mac mini on one of their computers, which clearly states that you can only connect ONE 5K screen via thunderbolt and another 4K screen via HDMI. He seemed to stumble when I pushed him on this, but he tried to reassure me that, despite there being only one controller, there is a "new technology" that enables a "virtual process" (these were his exact words) whereby each thunderbolt port maintains the maximum bandwidth of the thunderbolt 3 protocol. I obviously couldn't believe what I was hearing, because all of this information clearly conflicts with what is written on their web page, even though what is written on the webpage would be consistent with there being only one thunderbolt controller! I eventually excused myself and said to him I'd wait until the Mac mini launches and there's more information.

TLDR: Apple 'Genius' confirmed there is only one thunderbolt controller on new mac mini but that you'd still be able to run multiple 5K screens (due to new technology and a "virtual process"), even though their webpage says otherwise.

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DanHC
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@expensivefruit

Virtual Process of getting fired from Apple as a Genius.

'Can't innovate anymore, my ass'

 

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itsage
(@itsage)
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I’m surprised none of the Mac mini reviewers had mentioned Thunderbolt 3 ports and number of controllers. You can see this quickly in System Information » Thunderbolt tree. Multiple controller configuration will have a number after Thunderbolt Bus.

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joevt
(@joevt)
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Posted by: itsage

I'm surprised none of the Mac mini reviewers had mentioned Thunderbolt 3 ports and number of controllers. You can see this quickly in System Information » Thunderbolt tree. Multiple controller configuration will have a number after Thunderbolt Bus.

Maybe because the number is unchanged from the expected, i.e. one controller per two Thunderbolt ports, but more likely the reviewer is not the type to note such details. We'll find out soon, mine should be arriving tomorrow.

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itsage
(@itsage)
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I searched on Twitter and found confirmation the 2018 Mac mini has two Thunderbolt 3 controllers as we knew it should. AppleInsiders seems to be more interested in publishing articles to get clicks rather than providing accurate information.

https://twitter.com/marcoarment/status/1059871309000253440

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expensivefruit
(@expensivefruit)
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@itsage great find! Turns out those Apple 'Geniuses' aren't very deserving of their titles, although I suppose most of us knew this already.

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Eric.van
(@eric-van)
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Joined: 11 months ago
 

I ordered the 2018 Mac mini $1099 model with the 6-core i5 processor and 256GB SSD.  With all the thunderbolt 3 ports it's basically a modular Mac with a lot of future upgrade potential aside from the CPU. My uses are gaming in Windows and daily use with media (Lightroom) in macOS. 

My current built out is as follows:

  • $1,099 2018 Mac mini (BHphoto - no tax)
  • $389 GIGABYTE Radeon RX 580 Gaming Box eGPU (Apple plays nice with AMD)
  • $124 CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8G) DDR4
  • $113 SAMSUNG T5 500GB External SSD USB 3.1 (fast enough to store games files and Lightroom database)
  • $23 iFixit Essential Electronics Toolkit (for the TR6 Torx security screw and Spudger to access and upgrade the RAM
  • $20 Cable Matter 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 cable w/ 100W charging (reviewers say the Gigabyte cable included with the eGPU isn't reliable so might as well rule it out

Grand Total is $1,768. Not a steal but for the modularity and upgrade potential it's not bad. Obviously this is assuming you want/need macOS. I'm hoping for reasonable frame rates gaming in Windows with a 1440p external display and 4k in macOS. The future potential should easily get me 5 years assuming the following upgrades which will become more affordable in the future.

  • 64GB of RAM
  • Faster external SSD offering near interval drive performance - 2000MB/s read/right (Samsung X5 but cheaper in a few years)
  • Upgrade card in GIGABYTE eGPU or buy a new eGPU
  • Cooling pad to deal with any thermal issues? (Tom's Hardware said it kept below <80 degrees Celsius under heavy load so probably not needed)

I'll post my experience and impressions when I get everything setup. Any ideas?

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expensivefruit
(@expensivefruit)
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I have some bad news for everyone. It seems that upgrading the RAM on the new mac mini is a complete headache. Apple have designed it in such a way so that you have to go to them if you want the RAM upgraded. Unlike the previous version, it is not directly accessible once you remove the lid. Skip to 7:55 in this video if you want to see why this is the case.

Edit: In case you can't watch the video, Apple have done 3 things. First, there is no clear way to open the lid although it's actually not that difficult. If you manage to get the lid off, you are faced with a cage that needs unscrewing. Once you get this off, you will notice that the RAM is now caged and the screws are presumably underneath, which you can't access because the fan is in the way. Vintage Apple. 

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itsage
(@itsage)
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RAM slot placement looks odd in the visuals Apple provided on stage. They are right on top of the CPU and at an angle. First step is to remove the large cooling fan. The metal memory shield comes out next. If you have a pointy angle tweezer, you can attempt pushing the tab in the right/hidden side. Otherwise the PSU may have to go. Then the whole logic board block will have to come out in order to access the RAM modules.

This is not surprising given the way Apple has been building their products lately. The first generation Mac mini was fairly hard to get to the RAM slots. You needed a putty knife to extract the bottom block away from the top cover. The current design (since 2010) requires a logic board removal tool. There are two anchors where this tool would push against to free the logic board. You can replicate this tool with two thin screw drivers.

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johnjkle
(@johnjkle)
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Joined: 10 months ago
 

Long time lurker, first time poster but I wanted to register to let people know what my experience has been with the Mac Mini - which I received about an hour ago.

My set up is as follows:

Mac Mini 2018, 3.2Ghz i7 8700B 6-core

16GB RAM
512GB SSD

Razer Core X eGPU

MSI Nvidia 1080

Cable Matters 40Gbps Thunderbolt Cable

As soon as I got the Mac, I installed Windows via Boot Camp, downloading the latest ISO from Microsoft, no issues at all.

I have a 1080p 10" monitor connected to the Mac's HDMI port directly, while the eGPU is connected to my Alienware 3418DW...

Once I booted into Windows and installed the Boot Camp software, I connected the eGPU to the port furthest away from the HDMI port (next to the Ethernet port). Almost instant BSOD, failure in ks.sys. Rebooted, tried again. This time the eGPU was found, Basic Display Adapter with a Code 31, drivers not installed (as expected). I searched for drivers automatically via Device Manager, 1080 was recognized and started installing. BSOD again, ks.sys once again. Rebooted but...

This time my Alienware monitor came alive as soon as I got to the Windows login screen! The eGPU is now connected to the Thunderbolt port closest to the HDMI port on the Mac. And then I noticed something interesting...

I can only fully boot with my eGPU connected on startup (not hot plug it after Windows starts). Checking Device Manager again, the Intel 630 GFX is completely missing now (not even shown as an unknown device, it's just not there?). So all display is now routed through the eGPU and GTX 1080... 

I then installed Geforce Experience and installed the latest Nvidia Drivers - all good and everything seems to continue to work... Have to install 3DMark now and start running tests to see if it's stable or crashes but it does seem promising so far, I don't really care about losing the Intel GFX while booted into Windows, since all I want  to use it for is gaming, via the eGPU.

I'll post more findings here as I test things further but if anyone has any specific questions, please let me know and I'll do my best to test things ASAP.

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itsage
(@itsage)
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@johnjkle Welcome aboard and thank you for sharing your experience with the 2018 Mac mini! From what you described the Mac mini behaves similar to a 2018 MacBook Pro 13″. This is definitely good news for people who are interested in using the Mac mini with an external graphics card. Also good to hear Boot Camp drivers are ready on launch day.

Can you download HWiNFO64 to show the PCI connections? Here’s an example of what HWiNFO64 expanded view looks like [2018 13″ MacBook Pro]. Thank you!

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cconnection
(@cconnection)
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Joined: 11 months ago
 

Nice! Thanks for sharing the egpu info!

I have found first pictures from somebody who installed ram by himself and posted some pictures of the process. Have a look on the second last post here: 
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/is-ram-upgradeable-in-the-mac-mini.2150796/page-16

You have to remove the fan, pull out the logic board and remove the ram cage to swap the ram.

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johnjkle
(@johnjkle)
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@itsage - sure thing, here it is.

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itsage
(@itsage)
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@johnjkle Thank you for the HWiNFO screen cap. As we predicted, Apple system designers attached the two Titan Ridge Thunderbolt 3 controllers directly to the CPU. The 2018 Mac mini was built with eGPU in mind. Enjoy!

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johnjkle
(@johnjkle)
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Nice :). 

Yeah so far things are working smoothly enough - I am noticing some wonkiness with the USB ports (I mean the USB A ports) - I have a powered 7 port hub connected to one of those ports and only 2 ports on the hub seem to work at all... I ended up connecting a second, USB C hub to one of the TB ports to get my additional peripherals connected - still need to look into this more.

Performance in 3D Mark seems decent, the scores are quite close to what my 1080 gets when connected internally, on my desktop (which is still running an i7 4770K), while the CPU scores seem quite improved (as expected). Going to install Steam and try some real life gaming later on today.

And with that, I'll stop spamming this thread but like I said in my original post, if anyone has any specific questions, let me know and I'll try to answer them as soon as I can.

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Eric.van
(@eric-van)
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Joined: 11 months ago
 

Setup on macOS side and working on Boot Camp. Super simple plug & play in Mojave. Adobe Lightroom detects and utilized the eGPU as well.

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(@bernie_yee)
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Hi, are you able to run a Firestrike benchmark as well? Thanks. I am interested in the graphics score.

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johnjkle
(@johnjkle)
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@bernie_yee - here's the FireStrike score (though I forgot to turn off G-Sync, I'll check if it has any impact and edit this if needed, otherwise leave it as is):

 

Edit: ran it again with G-Sync off, everything was a bit higher but within the margin of error IMO, ~ 200 points in most sections.

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mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
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Posted by: itsage

@johnjkle Thank you for the HWiNFO screen cap. As we predicted, Apple system designers attached the two Titan Ridge Thunderbolt 3 controllers directly to the CPU. The 2018 Mac mini was built with eGPU in mind. Enjoy!

Apple from two years ago would have marketed this as a pro machine haha. It seems they are realizing what pro really means to consumers. Next up the Mac Pro.

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(@bernie_yee)
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Posted by: johnjkle

@bernie_yee - here's the FireStrike score (though I forgot to turn off G-Sync, I'll check if it has any impact and edit this if needed, otherwise leave it as is):

Yes, if you could please re-run it with it turned off, that would be great. Which MSI model do you have by the way? Is it a reference blower one or a custom model?

From what I can see so far, I think the way Apple has the TB3 lanes routed to the CPU is resulting in higher graphics scores. You have 17,177 with GSYNC on, but the Aorus Gaming Box 1080 for example only gets 15,834 according to Notebookcheck.  https://www.notebookcheck.net/Aorus-GTX-1080-Gaming-Box-Review.301562.0.html

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johnjkle
(@johnjkle)
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@bernie_yee - scores with G-Sync off:

MacMiniFireStrikeGSyncOff

My 1080 is the MSI Gaming X (open air, not blower style):  https://ca.msi.com/Graphics-card/GeForce-GTX-1080-GAMING-X-8G.html

Hoping to get an RTX 2080 Ti down the line but might have to sell a kidney, Nvidia's prices have officially gotten more ridiculous than Apple's somehow :).

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jdstephens
(@jdstephens)
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Posted by: itsage

@johnjkle Thank you for the HWiNFO screen cap. As we predicted, Apple system designers attached the two Titan Ridge Thunderbolt 3 controllers directly to the CPU. The 2018 Mac mini was built with eGPU in mind. Enjoy!

So does this mean I can run two eGPUs and a 5k monitor at the same time?

A program like davinci resolve would make use of the multiple eGPUs

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Eightarmedpet
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jerry Kansai
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Posted by: Bernie Yee
Posted by: johnjkle

@bernie_yee - here's the FireStrike score (though I forgot to turn off G-Sync, I'll check if it has any impact and edit this if needed, otherwise leave it as is):

Yes, if you could please re-run it with it turned off, that would be great. Which MSI model do you have by the way? Is it a reference blower one or a custom model?

From what I can see so far, I think the way Apple has the TB3 lanes routed to the CPU is resulting in higher graphics scores. You have 17,177 with GSYNC on, but the Aorus Gaming Box 1080 for example only gets 15,834 according to Notebookcheck.  https://www.notebookcheck.net/Aorus-GTX-1080-Gaming-Box-Review.301562.0.html

@Bernie Yee Graphics score depends also on host TB3 architecture, I think this Mac mini is similar with MacBook Pro, directly connected to cpu which brings better graphics performance. On that notebookcheck review, tester used xps 15, it’s similar with Blade with dGPU I believe, through pch go to cpu, I get also lower graphics score on 1080 egpu with Blade 14.
https://www.3dmark.com/3dm/25152569
https://www.3dmark.com/3dm/25152926

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johnjkle
(@johnjkle)
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I also would think that the slightly poorer performance on the Aorus is because of the card used, which is a mini GTX 1080, single fan design - my full size MSI is probably clocked higher so that may account for some of the discrepancy too.

 

Didn't do too much gaming tonight, just played some Division @ 3440*1440, Ultra settings and it was buttery smooth :). Pretty happy so far (the Mac's fans don't seem to ramp up much either) but still have to test with some more modern titles.

 

Overall, things look good - I always wanted a setup like this when Mac Minis where first introduced. Very cool to finally see it happening.

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expensivefruit
(@expensivefruit)
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@johnjkle thank you for all the updates, it all sounds really promising. Please keep us in the loop!

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jerry Kansai
(@joi_kansai)
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Posted by: johnjkle

I also would think that the slightly poorer performance on the Aorus is because of the card used, which is a mini GTX 1080, single fan design - my full size MSI is probably clocked higher so that may account for some of the discrepancy too.

 

Didn't do too much gaming tonight, just played some Division @ 3440*1440, Ultra settings and it was buttery smooth :). Pretty happy so far (the Mac's fans don't seem to ramp up much either) but still have to test with some more modern titles.

 

Overall, things look good - I always wanted a setup like this when Mac Minis where first introduced. Very cool to finally see it happening.

Division is one of cpu and gpu demanding game till now, if it works fine on that resolution it’ll be fine on most nowadays triple A titles imo. About graphics performance, yes it may also depend on the cooling and cpu clock beside TB3 route design. Btw I’m curious about cpu temperature, how high they are?
Edit: I think I see some thermal throttling here, since the cpu, 8700B should be better than 8750H, physical score should be better on higher 4,6g boost cpu. It means if you can address that per software tweak or maybe if Apple address it like on MacBook Pro 15 2018 it’ll give even better performance.
here is physical score on 3Dmark Firestrike and timespy 8750H from my current setting.
https://www.3dmark.com/spy/4662360
https://www.3dmark.com/fs/16420889

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DanHC
(@danhc)
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Posted by: itsage

@johnjkle Thank you for the HWiNFO screen cap. As we predicted, Apple system designers attached the two Titan Ridge Thunderbolt 3 controllers directly to the CPU. The 2018 Mac mini was built with eGPU in mind. Enjoy!

@itsage

At this stage, I have no doubt that it has two controller, but when I read the HWiNFO thing (which I don't how to interpret it). I have few questions and would appreciate your answers, thanks in advance.

1. Look at the tree diagram (don’t know if I should read it this way), all I see is a single TB switch under the PCI-E x4 controller.... then four more TB switch  underneath it which one of them has the GTX 1080. So what I can see in the diagram that indicates that it has two actual TB controller?

2. Assuming it has two TB controller, wouldn’t it still be capped by the maximum bandwidth for all of it being only connected to a single PCI-E x4 to the CPU as seen in the diagram?

3. The chart shows one Alpine Ridge switch at the top, then four Titan Ridge switch at the bottom, what’s going on here? Alpine Ridge and Titan Ridge together?

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johnjkle
(@johnjkle)
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Posted by: Joikansai

 

Btw I’m curious about cpu temperature, how high they are?

Edit: I think I see some thermal throttling here, since the cpu, 8700B should be better than 8750H, physical score should be better on higher 4,6g boost cpu. It means if you can address that per software tweak or maybe if Apple address it like on MacBook Pro 15 2018 it’ll give even better performance.

Yeah, there is definitely thermal throttling going on - fired up the Division for about 30 minutes, this is what I end up seeing:

MacMiniTemps

I'll have to experiment a bit with under volting or ramping up the fans through software, they don't really seem to come on at full blast a lot TBH. Will probably have more time to experiment over the weekend. Performance was still consistently good though and CPU usage tends to be 25-40% in game (always seems to spike during loading screens for whatever reason).

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(@anethema)
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I'd love to see some thermal testing. That is the main thing holding me back.

Like try a prime95 small fft load. Instant throttle? What about realbench? And ya undervolting and manual fan control would be awesome to see.

Great info!

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DanHC
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Late 2018 Mac mini Teardown.

 

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jerry Kansai
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Posted by: johnjkle
Posted by: Joikansai

 

Btw I’m curious about cpu temperature, how high they are?

Edit: I think I see some thermal throttling here, since the cpu, 8700B should be better than 8750H, physical score should be better on higher 4,6g boost cpu. It means if you can address that per software tweak or maybe if Apple address it like on MacBook Pro 15 2018 it’ll give even better performance.

Yeah, there is definitely thermal throttling going on - fired up the Division for about 30 minutes, this is what I end up seeing:

MacMiniTemps

I'll have to experiment a bit with under volting or ramping up the fans through software, they don't really seem to come on at full blast a lot TBH. Will probably have more time to experiment over the weekend. Performance was still consistently good though and CPU usage tends to be 25-40% in game (always seems to spike during loading screens for whatever reason).

I would recommend intensively monitoring the temperature while on gaming using MSI afterburner or evga precision x on screen display. It’s bad for parts around that and the device if you’re often on that temperature area especially in a compact form device. How about repasting it with better compound like kryonaut if you have any experience or maybe limiting turbo boost or core clock through throttlestop is worth to try imo.

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MacBook Pro 13 mid 2012 i5 3210M 12gb ddr3 1600mhz 500GB HDD
Razer Core V2 rtx 2070 Black 2040mhz Boost clock
Previous setting: rtx 2080ti Asus Turbo, rtx 2080 xc gaming, rtx 2080 Fe, Zotac Mini 1080ti, Evga 1080 FTW2 gaming.
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joevt
(@joevt)
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I connected some Thunderbolt devices. Here's a tree:

pcitree.sh
#=========================================================================================
┬[0000:00]
├─00:00.0                 #                [8086:3e10] [0600] (rev 07) Host bridge: Intel Corporation Device
├┬00:01.0-[01]            # g2x8 > g1x0    [8086:1901] [0604] (rev 07) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v5/E3-1500 v5/6th Gen Core Processor PCIe Controller (x16)
├┬00:01.1-[83-ff]         # g3x4           [8086:1905] [0604] (rev 07) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v5/E3-1500 v5/6th Gen Core Processor PCIe Controller (x8)
│└┬83:00.0-[84-ff]        # g3x4           [8086:1578] [0604] (rev 06) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Alpine Ridge 4C 2015]
│ ├┬84:00.0-[86]          # g1x4           [8086:15ea] [0604] (rev 06) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Titan Ridge 4C 2018]
│ │└─86:00.0              # g1x4           [8086:15eb] [0880] (rev 06) System peripheral: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 NHI [Titan Ridge 4C 2018]
│ ├┬84:01.0-[bd-ca]       # g1x4           [8086:15ea] [0604] (rev 06) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Titan Ridge 4C 2018]
│ │└┬bd:00.0-[be-ca]      # g1x4           [8086:1578] [0604] PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Alpine Ridge 4C 2015]
│ │ ├┬be:01.0-[bf-c9]     # g3x4           [8086:1578] [0604] PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Alpine Ridge 4C 2015]
│ │ │└┬bf:00.0-[c0-c9]    # g3x4           [10b5:8724] [0604] (rev ca) PCI bridge: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8724 24-Lane, 6-Port PCI Express Gen 3 (8 GT/s) Switch, 19 x 19mm FCBGA
│ │ │ ├┬c0:00.0-[c2-c7]   # g3x8           [10b5:8724] [0604] (rev ca) PCI bridge: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8724 24-Lane, 6-Port PCI Express Gen 3 (8 GT/s) Switch, 19 x 19mm FCBGA
│ │ │ │└┬c2:00.0-[c3-c7]  # g3x16 > g3x8   [10b5:8732] [0604] (rev ca) PCI bridge: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8732 32-lane, 8-Port PCI Express Gen 3 (8.0 GT/s) Switch
│ │ │ │ ├┬c3:08.0-[c7]    # g3x4 > g1x0    [10b5:8732] [0604] (rev ca) PCI bridge: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8732 32-lane, 8-Port PCI Express Gen 3 (8.0 GT/s) Switch
│ │ │ │ ├┬c3:09.0-[c6]    # g3x4 > g1x0    [10b5:8732] [0604] (rev ca) PCI bridge: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8732 32-lane, 8-Port PCI Express Gen 3 (8.0 GT/s) Switch
│ │ │ │ ├┬c3:0a.0-[c5]    # g3x4 > g1x0    [10b5:8732] [0604] (rev ca) PCI bridge: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8732 32-lane, 8-Port PCI Express Gen 3 (8.0 GT/s) Switch
│ │ │ │ └┬c3:0b.0-[c4]    # g3x4 > g1x0    [10b5:8732] [0604] (rev ca) PCI bridge: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8732 32-lane, 8-Port PCI Express Gen 3 (8.0 GT/s) Switch
│ │ │ ├┬c0:01.0-[c9]      # g3x8 > g1x4    [10b5:8724] [0604] (rev ca) PCI bridge: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8724 24-Lane, 6-Port PCI Express Gen 3 (8 GT/s) Switch, 19 x 19mm FCBGA
│ │ │ │└─c9:00.0          # g3x4 > g1x4    [144d:a804] [0108] Non-Volatile memory controller: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd NVMe SSD Controller SM961/PM961
│ │ │ ├┬c0:08.0-[c1]      # g3x8 > g1x0    [10b5:8724] [0604] (rev ca) PCI bridge: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8724 24-Lane, 6-Port PCI Express Gen 3 (8 GT/s) Switch, 19 x 19mm FCBGA
│ │ │ └┬c0:09.0-[c8]      # g3x4 > g1x4    [10b5:8724] [0604] (rev ca) PCI bridge: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8724 24-Lane, 6-Port PCI Express Gen 3 (8 GT/s) Switch, 19 x 19mm FCBGA
│ │ │  └─c8:00.0          # g3x4 > g1x4    [144d:a802] [0108] (rev 01) Non-Volatile memory controller: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd NVMe SSD Controller SM951/PM951
│ │ └┬be:04.0-[ca]        # g1x4           [8086:1578] [0604] PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Alpine Ridge 4C 2015]
│ ├┬84:02.0-[85]          # g1x4           [8086:15ea] [0604] (rev 06) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Titan Ridge 4C 2018]
│ │└─85:00.0              # g1x4           [8086:15ec] [0c03] (rev 06) USB controller: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 USB Controller [Titan Ridge 4C 2018]
│ └┬84:04.0-[87]          # g1x4           [8086:15ea] [0604] (rev 06) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Titan Ridge 4C 2018]
├┬00:01.2-[05-82]         # g3x4           [8086:1909] [0604] (rev 07) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v5/E3-1500 v5/6th Gen Core Processor PCIe Controller (x4)
│└┬05:00.0-[06-82]        # g3x4           [8086:1578] [0604] (rev 06) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Alpine Ridge 4C 2015]
│ ├┬06:00.0-[08]          # g1x4           [8086:15ea] [0604] (rev 06) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Titan Ridge 4C 2018]
│ │└─08:00.0              # g1x4           [8086:15eb] [0880] (rev 06) System peripheral: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 NHI [Titan Ridge 4C 2018]
│ ├┬06:01.0-[45-4b]       # g1x4           [8086:15ea] [0604] (rev 06) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Titan Ridge 4C 2018]
│ │└┬45:00.0-[46-4b]      # g1x4           [8086:1578] [0604] PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Alpine Ridge 4C 2015]
│ │ ├┬46:01.0-[47]        # g3x4           [8086:1578] [0604] PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Alpine Ridge 4C 2015]
│ │ │└─47:00.0            # g3x4           [144d:a804] [0108] Non-Volatile memory controller: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd NVMe SSD Controller SM961/PM961
│ │ └┬46:04.0-[48-4b]     # g1x4           [8086:1578] [0604] PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Alpine Ridge 4C 2015]
│ │  └┬48:00.0-[49-4b]    # g1x4           [8086:1578] [0604] PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Alpine Ridge 4C 2015]
│ │   ├┬49:01.0-[4a]      # g3x4           [8086:1578] [0604] PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Alpine Ridge 4C 2015]
│ │   │└─4a:00.0          # g3x4           [144d:a804] [0108] Non-Volatile memory controller: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd NVMe SSD Controller SM961/PM961
│ │   └┬49:04.0-[4b]      # g1x4           [8086:1578] [0604] PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Alpine Ridge 4C 2015]
│ ├┬06:02.0-[07]          # g1x1 > g1x4    [8086:15ea] [0604] (rev 06) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Titan Ridge 4C 2018]
│ └┬06:04.0-[0b]          # g1x4           [8086:15ea] [0604] (rev 06) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Titan Ridge 4C 2018]
├─00:02.0                 # g0x0           [8086:3e9b] [0300] VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Device
├─00:12.0                 #                [8086:a379] [1180] (rev 10) Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH Thermal Controller
├─00:14.0                 #                [8086:a36d] [0c03] (rev 10) USB controller: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH USB 3.1 xHCI Host Controller
├─00:14.2                 #                [8086:a36f] [0500] (rev 10) RAM memory: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH Shared SRAM
├─00:16.0                 #                [8086:a360] [0780] (rev 10) Communication controller: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH HECI Controller
├┬00:1b.0-[02]            # g3x4           [8086:a340] [0604] (rev f0) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH PCI Express Root Port #17
│├─02:00.0                # g3x4           [106b:2005] [0180] (rev 01) Mass storage controller: Apple Inc. ANS2 NVMe Controller
│├─02:00.1                # g3x4           [106b:1801] [0000] (rev 01) Non-VGA unclassified device: Apple Inc. Device
│├─02:00.2                # g3x4           [106b:1802] [0000] (rev 01) Non-VGA unclassified device: Apple Inc. Device
│└─02:00.3                # g3x4           [106b:1803] [0401] (rev 01) Multimedia audio controller: Apple Inc. Device
├┬00:1c.0-[03]            # g1x1           [8086:a338] [0604] (rev f0) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH PCI Express Root Port #1
│└─03:00.0                # g1x1           [14e4:4464] [0280] (rev 03) Network controller: Broadcom Inc. and subsidiaries Device
├┬00:1c.1-[04]            # g1x1           [8086:a339] [0604] (rev f0) PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH PCI Express Root Port #2
│└─04:00.0                # g1x1           [14e4:1686] [0200] (rev 01) Ethernet controller: Broadcom Inc. and subsidiaries NetXtreme BCM57766 Gigabit Ethernet PCIe
├─00:1e.0                 #                [8086:a328] [0780] (rev 10) Communication controller: Intel Corporation Device
├─00:1f.0                 #                [8086:a30e] [0601] (rev 10) ISA bridge: Intel Corporation Device
├─00:1f.3                 #                [8086:a348] [0403] (rev 10) Audio device: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH cAVS
├─00:1f.4                 #                [8086:a323] [0c05] (rev 10) SMBus: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH SMBus Controller
└─00:1f.5                 #                [8086:a324] [0c80] (rev 10) Serial bus controller: Intel Corporation Cannon Lake PCH SPI Controller


Devices and notes:

00:01.0: CPU lanes x16 port (unused - this seems to mean that only x8 of the x16 CPU lanes are used?)
00:01.1: CPU lanes x8 (only used as x4 because 00:01.2 is also used)

83: Titan Ridge #1
86: Titan Ridge NHI (appears only when Thunderbolt device is connected)
84:01: Titan Ridge Port 1
bd: Sonnet Echo Express III-D
c0:00: Middle slot of III-D
c2: Amfeltec gen 3 M.2 Carrier (unpopulated)
c0:01: Left slot of III-D
c9: Samsung 960 Pro
c0:09: Right slot of III-D
c8: Samsung 950 Pro
85: Titan Ridge USB Controller (super speed only; appears only when a USB device is connected)
84:04: Titan Ridge Port 2 (populated by a USB 2.0 device)

00:01.2 CPU lanes x4

05: Titan Ridge #2
08: Titan Ridge NHI (appears only when Thunderbolt device is connected)
06:01: Titan Ridge Port 3
45: OWC Helios
46:01: OWC Helios slot
47: Samsung 960 Pro
46:04: OWC Helios Downstream Thunderbolt port
48: Sonnet Echo Express SE I
49:01: OWC Mercury Helios 3 slot
4a: Samsung 960 Pro
49:04: OWC Mercury Helios Downstream Thunderbolt port (no connection)
07: Titan Ridge USB Controller (super speed only; not visible because no USB device is connected)
06:04: Titan Ridge Port 4
0b: Startech Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DisplayPort adapter (not visible because it contains no PCI devices)
00:02: Intel UHD Graphics 630
00:14: PCH USB 3.1 xHCI Host Controller - four of the High Speed ports are used to support USB 2.0 in the Titan Ridge ports.

More notes:

DisplayPort signals:

All Thunderbolt ports can output one DisplayPort signal (or two DisplayPort signals over Thunderbolt) but only two total for all 4 ports. So I guess there's some kind of MUX that delivers the two DisplayPorts from the CPU to two of the four Titan Ridge inputs depending on what is connected. The third DisplayPort from the CPU goes to a DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 converter (should verify this by viewing DPCD in Linux). It would have been nicer if the MUX had 3 DisplayPort inputs and could direct them to 3 of the 5 ports, so that 3 DisplayPort displays could be connected instead of an HDMI 2.0 display.

Titan Ridge bandwidth:

Each controller has a dedicated PCIe 3.0 x4 link to the CPU. I was able to achieve up to 4857 MB/s by connecting one Samsung NVMe SSD 960 Pro to one port of each controller. With one 960 Pro per port of a single controller, I was able to achieve up to 2852 MB/s on the first controller and only 2533 MB/s on the second controller (worse than a single NVMe...). I used SoftRaid 5.7.2. It reported way too many errors while I was trying to initialize the NVMe's and create the RAID volumes. This did not happen when I did the same previously with a GC-TITAN RIDGE in a Hackintosh.

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


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expensivefruit
(@expensivefruit)
Eminent Member
Joined: 11 months ago
 

Thermal throttling could be a dealbreaker for me. One of the reasons I've been leaning towards the Mac Mini and not a new MacBook pro is because of the thermal throttling issues on the mini. Maybe there's a firmware bug and Apple will eventually fix it in an update?

Whatever the case, I found a video here of some guy who built a base with a fan to cool his old Mac Mini and reported 30-40 C drop in temperature. It's a bit of a workaround solution, but if it does the job, why not? 

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


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DanHC
(@danhc)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
 

@joevt

You are my hero, it removes all doubts. I have now decided to grab my mac mini now.

One question? Do you think the two USB 3.0 port at the right has anything to do with the TB controller? Or are they wired to another PCI-Bus?

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


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