DIY eGPU for Mac Mini 2012 OSX

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by entzoe05, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. entzoe05, Sep 6, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2014

    entzoe05 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    #1
    Hi guys. Just wanted to share my experience on DIY eGPU Implementation using Mac Mini 2012.

    I was able to run steam games on OSX. My setup is AkiTio Thunder 2, GTX 770 4GB Classified, ASUS Gaming Monitor, Thunderbolt Display and PSU.

    Here's the detail of my setup and guide.

    HARDWARE CONFIGURATION

    • Apple Mac Mini 2012 16GB with Intel HD 4000
    • AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box
    • Corsair CX750 M
    • EVGA GeForce GTX 770 4GB
    • 2x Thunderbolt Cable
    • HDMI
    • SWEX
    • Monitor (ASUS VG248QE / Apple Thunderbolt Display)

    PREPARATION

    Step 1 (Note: eGPU setup should be all disconnected)

    Step 2
    • Download and install a modded NVIDIA Web driver
    • Usually, NVIDIA's official Web driver will do a system check. Official web driver can only be installed on MacPro 2008, 2009, 2010. If you are using a iMac or Mac Mini or MacBook Pro, you can't even install. But Modified Web driver avoids the system check. Modded Web driver file name is ModdedWebDriver-334.01.02f02.pkg.
    • File mirror: https://app.box.com/s/wa2tblhb4y5dtd3fgh1z

    Step 3
    • Modify the following KEXT files from your Terminal and look for sections beginning with CFBundleIdentifier and add just before , the two following lines

      <key>IOPCITunnelCompatible</key>
      <true/>


    KEXT Files to edit
    /System/Library/Extensions/NVDAStartup.kext
    /System/Library/Extensions/IONDRVSupport.kext
    /System/Library/Extensions/AppleHDA.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleHDAController.kext​

    • Every time you upgrade your OS you need to modify these KEXT files
    • Finally, clear the cache by issuing the following commandsudo kextcache -system-caches and shutdown your OS.
    • Warning: The following procedure at your own risk. Please be sure to take a backup in case of emergency.

    Step 4 (Setup and connect your eGPU. I am using EVGA GeForce GTX 770 4GB Classified)
    • In my case, I have the following setup;
    • GPU card is connected to AkiTio PCI-e slot without the PCIe riser. AkiTio is powered by its supplied power adaptor
    • GPU card is powered with PSU thru its two 8 pins
    • Connect your AkiTio and Mini using Thunderbolt Cable
    • Connect your GPU and Monitor using DVI, Display Port or HDMI cable
    • BONUS: I have an existing Apple ThunderBolt Display, I was able to mirror my display. I connected my TB display to the extra TB port on AkiTio


    A BIG Thank you to the following
    • maxserve blog: (MacOSX 10.9.4 edition) How to recognize GPGPU via Thunderbolt external PCIe Box at MacOSX
    • A Thunderbolt GPU on a Mac : How-to | Le journal du lapin
    • goalque
    • nando4

    Results
    • I no longer experience the kernel panic in my previous setup. I am not sure if its with the GPU card that I previously used (760). It appears that this time this is stable compared from my previous setup using PCI-e riser.
    • I can play better games on Steam

    PHOTOS and Video


    https://flic.kr/p/p6hb1r
    https://flic.kr/p/oP3pdR
    http://flic.kr/p/p6vsuo
    http://flic.kr/p/oP3pdR

    https://vimeo.com/104886425

    BENCHMARK
    https://flic.kr/p/p4HDXL
    https://flic.kr/p/p4HD3Q

    Enjoy!
     
  2. entzoe05 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    #2
    Performance

    Although I was able to perform those benchmarks from UniEngine and Cinebench, how would I be able to verify if I am really utilizing the performance of my eGPU compare to a Mac Pro or MBPr?
     
  3. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Location:
    Arizona
    #3
    Nice work. It's always good to see someone doing interesting things with his mini.
     
  4. mattspace macrumors 6502a

    mattspace

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #4
    these really interest me - the ability to drive 3 large monitors, without using usb adapters looks achievable again.

    and of course the flight of fancy that ensues is that with Yosemite and a potential nMM, that this becomes a supported way of doing things, even if it's for the mini only (like the external superdrive being limited to machines that never shipped with an optical) - the limitations of a GPU over thunderbolt mean it's unlikely to ever directly compete with the nMP as a solution, and Apple could stick with lower end Intel graphics to keep the machine cost down.

    Does anyone happen to know if the port / channel aggregation that TB2 has would mean that an external GPU could feasibly have 8 lanes available?
     
  5. romrp macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2013
    #5
    Dude, I liked very much your idea, but I guess it is not fancy at all. For this box you would need a half length video card. I got the same mini you have, but I'd put a 256 Gb SSD as primary. The lack of a good video card limits me sometimes, but spending another $450 in this... maybe an iMac would be in order... Well thanks for the experience, all the best, RomRP
     
  6. entzoe05 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    #6
    iMac vs eGPU


    You have a point. But here's the run down cost of the eGPU setup which is around $1600. And you have the ability to upgrade the GPU anytime.

    1. 770 4GB - 400$
    2. AkiTio - 225$
    3. PSU - 50$
    4. Monitor - 100-300$
    5. Mac Mini - 799$

    Then if you have a MacBook you can also use the eGPU :)

    While the entry level iMac (i5) is around 1800-1900.

    But yeah, this is fun :)
     
  7. nando4 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2009
    #7
  8. dylin macrumors 6502a

    dylin

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #8
    Great stuff :) happy to see something like this actually work out well.
     
  9. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #9
    I think you better use LuxMark to check the performance, which is less CPU dependent, and much more accurate.
     
  10. Jig3n macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2012
  11. entzoe05 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    #11
    output to Cinema display

    Hey, I have a question. Do you think with my eGPU setup, I would be able to output my display from my GPU 770 to Apple Cinema Display?

    I will be using a female mini display port adapter to Display Port.
     
  12. entzoe05 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    #12
    Mac Mini / Macbook Pro 2011 OSX eGPU with Apple Cinema Display

    Hey guys, I have another implementation of eGPU for my Mac Mini and guess what... an old 2011 MBP 13-inch. This time I tried using the Sonnet III-D TB enclosure. I had the AkiTio Thunder2 previously.

    I returned my ASUS gaming monitor and settled for a refurbished Apple Cinema Display :)

    Here's the video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiBFe3yc2Xk

    Here's the implementation and benchmarks

    http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-...0ti@10gbps-tb1-sonnet-iii-d-osx-10-9-4-a.html
     
  13. entzoe05 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    #13
    LuxMark test result

    Hi, here's my LuxMark result for my GTX 780 Ti


    1641 - Sala Medium Benchmark (488k triangles)
    6903 - LuxBall Sky (262k triangles)
     
  14. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #14
    Your card's performance is normal.
     
  15. dylin macrumors 6502a

    dylin

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #15
    Was it just as simple as plugging in the cable and installing the Drivers from NVIDIA and that was all?
     
  16. entzoe05 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    #16
    Yes. Now, It makes my eGPU as a docking station for all my Thunderbolt Mac (Mini and MBP) machines
     
  17. dylin macrumors 6502a

    dylin

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #17
    Thanks. Not to sound incredibly nooby, but do i still have to modify kexts files or will i be good to go if i just use a video card that is compatible with OSX out of the box?
     
  18. entzoe05 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    #18
    You still need to modify the KEXT files. I thought of creating an installer for this :)
     
  19. mattspace macrumors 6502a

    mattspace

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #19
    Could you provide a bit more detail about the external power supply - is that necessary because the thunderbolt chassis doesn't supply enough juice for the card?
     
  20. entzoe05 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    #20

    Correct. Yes you need an extra PSU to power the GPU thru the it's 6/8 pin. In this case the AkiTio has only 75W which is not enough to power the GPU itself.

    For the Sonnet III-D, it's built-in 300W PSU can power the GPU too. Someone solder a 6/8pin cable to the chassis' power source. You can find it below.

    http://forum.techinferno.com/diy-e-...tan@10gbps-tb1-sonnet-iii-d-osx-10-9-4-a.html


    I didn't try doing the above as I am not an electrician, and don't have the courage to do it :)
     
  21. i101 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2013
    #21
    Is this setup possible without a 2nd Monitor? Mac Mini 2012 + Thunderbolt Display only?
     
  22. entzoe05, Sep 20, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2014

    entzoe05 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    #22
    You need another monitor because you can't output the display from the GPU card to TB display.

    I bought a refurbished Apple Cinema Display and use a mini/display port adapter to connect to GPU. Then my Thunderbolt Display is connected to the extra TB port in the chassis.

    However, if you choose your TB display as the main display over the Cinema display, the HD4000 GPU will kick in.

    Hope that helps!
     
  23. i101 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2013
    #23
    Thanks for the info. A 2nd Display is no Option for me. I am regretting the Thunderbolt Display purchase more and more.
     
  24. mattspace macrumors 6502a

    mattspace

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #24
    Some more questions, cause this is a fascinating development...

    Is this a case of the TB display specifically not working with the ports plus adapters the card you're using offers, or are you saying that you can't have the eGPU as the only monitor(s) on the system?

    For example, if the card supports 2 displays, could you just have 2 displays plugged into the card, and nothing running from the built in graphics?

    cheers,
     
  25. entzoe05 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    #25

    Yes you can output multiple display from the card. What he was asking was for the Thunderbolt Display. You can still use the TB display (connected to the extra TB port). However, if you make TB display as your primary display or you do extended display, internal graphics kicks in, while if you do mirroring, the eGPU will kicks in.


    Check this image that I posted from another forum;

    http://forum.techinferno.com/attachments/diy-e-gpu-projects/12457d1410019457-untitled-3.jpg


    (sorry for my english)
     

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