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MH01

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Original poster
Feb 11, 2008
12,107
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Hey guys,

As Apple has not released any hardware recently that would meet my gaming requirements, with the closest being the 5K iMac, but once your fully upgrade it, and put in the top end GPU, its still cannot perform at native resolution. I decided to get a PCI enclosure for my Mac Pro, that would give it 3x PCI slots over TB2. This also allowed me to test trying out a eGPU.

The enclosure is the Sonnet Echo Express 3. I got the rack unit, cause I got it for 50% off.

https://www.scan.co.uk/products/son...hunderbolt-2-expansion-chassis-for-pcie-cards

The reason I got the Sonnet was due to two factors, 1. its plug and play 2. its got a 300W PSU, no need to get and external PSU if you get an efficient GPU.

The GPU is the GTX 1070. I got this due is being considerably cheaper than the 1080, and also having the performance of a GTX 980ti, and it also means it will have no issues running in the Sonnet without an external PSU.

My initial plan was to get this up and running on my Mac Pro over TB2, as TB1 is bandwidth restricted . The problem is that the Mac Pro with its dual AMDs does not play nice in windows, and there are no GTX 1070 drivers for Mac yet. I did get a GTX Titan working over TB on OS X, though thats another topic, back to the mini.

Given the GTX 1070 was not going to work with the Mac Pro in Windows for now, I decided to try the mac mini. Ive read TB1 is restricted by bandwidth, and being frustrated with the mac pro setup, I thought what the heck, so I installed Win 10 on one of the drives.

Once the Windows was updated, I rebooted, plugged in the sonnet via TB and booted up windows, BOOM first go, the monitor goes on and the GTX 1070 is picked up...... install drivers, reboot, BOOM, we have win 10 with GTX 1070 running on a 2012 mac mini via TB.....everything smooth as.

SO.....how does a 2012 Mac Mini....an old champ perform over TB1.

Here are the Benchmarks, you can decide.

VR READY TEST

Screenshot_14.png


3DMark FireStrike 1.1

Screenshot_16.png


3DMark Sky Diver

Screenshot_18.png


3DMark Fire Strike Extreme 1.1

Screenshot_20.png


Ive installed only WOW so far, and its smooth as. I even ran it on my Dell 32 4K monitor and it holds 60PFS.

I really don't like gaming on the monitor though, I just need it to run smoothly on my 27" gaming monitor.

I am very surprised how well the Mac Mini with the GTX 1070 is fulfilling my gaming needs, it does not even get too hot....it very very impressive. I tried it briefly with my 2012 rMBP and the fans would go crazy, so did not bother with further testing.

If you have any questions or want me to run any benchmarks, just ask.
 

Crosscreek

macrumors 68030
Nov 19, 2013
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Aren't you limiting band width without TB 3? Egpu enclosures are very expensive right now but should come down in price as more computers become TB 3 capable and more manufacturers produce enclosures. People should beware of PSUs in enclosures that they are high quality otherwise you will end up with a fried expensive gpu.
 
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MH01

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Original poster
Feb 11, 2008
12,107
9,298
Aren't you limiting band width without TB 3? Egpu enclosures are very expensive right now but should come down in price as more computers become TB 3 capable and more manufacturers produce enclosures. People should beware of PSUs in enclosures that they are high quality otherwise you will end up with a fried expensive gpu.
Yeah. TB1 I think limits to about 80-85% potential of why rhe GPU is capable of.

Though a 2012 Mac mini, running a gtx 1070 at 80% blows away anything Apple offers gaming wise. Though not tested, it should be able to power VR.

The 300w PSU can run the GTX 1070 without problems, hence I choose it. I can also plug the GPU into a dedicated PSU no problem, but wanted a clean setup. Though spot on, make sure the PSU had plenty of headroom for the GPU, apart from the sonnet, I'm not aware of a built in PSU that can run a decent GPU

I'm really impressed with the gaming performance , Really have no reason to move on from my 2012 mini , it's proving a great gaming setup at the moment.
 
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Crosscreek

macrumors 68030
Nov 19, 2013
2,865
5,750
Margarittaville
I'm really impressed with the gaming performance , Really have no reason to move on from my 2012 mini , it's proving a great gaming setup at the moment.

Well you do have the best Mini Apple ever built.

But those days are gone and now it's glue, solder and low powered dual core cpu's.
 
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MH01

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Feb 11, 2008
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Well you do have the best Mini Apple ever built.

But those days are gone and now it's glue, solder and low powered dual core cpu's.

I know. It's so depressing . Hence why I got the enclosure as the HD3000 is the only thing that it lacks.

I'm really suprised how cool the Mac mini also runs
 
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Suture

macrumors 6502a
Feb 22, 2007
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188
NICE! Unfortunately those enclosures are still super pricey. But wow, nice performance boost there.
 
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MH01

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Original poster
Feb 11, 2008
12,107
9,298
NICE! Unfortunately those enclosures are still super pricey. But wow, nice performance boost there.

I completely agree . The good is is that they are becoming popular, and if PC manafacturers get on board it's a win for us Mac users . Right now its a costly exererise.
 
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