Mac Mini 2018 - A Hackintosher wishes to come aboard. Some questions on eGPU, Windows etc

SSD-GUY

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Original poster
Sep 20, 2012
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Hi all

I'm a long term Hackintosher that doesn't have time to build a new rig and install Mac OS, go through all the kexts etc. My current rig has been spluttering along however it will need upgrading in the near future, as both the Ivy Bridge class of processors are starting to show their age.

Therefore, I'm prepared to pay for the top-end Mac Mini with the i7 processor, however I will need to get an eGPU to make up for the internal iGPU in the Mac Mini. My questions are therefore:

  • If I get an eGPU with a Vega 64 to connect to 2x 4K 27" displays, can I use this successfully within MacOS without any problems?
  • Will dual booting into Windows to play games with the eGPU and monitors attached cause any problems?
  • What about dual booting into Windows with an eGPU, but the Windows installation is on an external TB3 or USB3 HDD as Apple's SSD prices are extortionate?
Thanks
 

bpd115

macrumors 6502a
Feb 4, 2003
809
42
Pennsylvania
Just set this up with a Radeon R580 and an i7 mini.

The eGPU is plug and play with MacOS. You won’t see the POST screens on the eGPU. If I plug in USB c I’ll see it. The monitor treats it like a different input from another source.

Windows is running fine from a USB C SSD I hooked up this weekend. I followed the guide on iMore. Had to install using a VM and Wintousb. Used the hdmi out on the mini with another monitor as my main monitor didn’t like the windows install until I had drivers installed.
 

SSD-GUY

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 20, 2012
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Interstellar
Just set this up with a Radeon R580 and an i7 mini.

The eGPU is plug and play with MacOS. You won’t see the POST screens on the eGPU. If I plug in USB c I’ll see it. The monitor treats it like a different input from another source.

Windows is running fine from a USB C SSD I hooked up this weekend. I followed the guide on iMore. Had to install using a VM and Wintousb. Used the hdmi out on the mini with another monitor as my main monitor didn’t like the windows install until I had drivers installed.
Thanks. So once the windows install was done, you were able to plug your monitor into the eGPU and then boot into windows with full support?

Any other problems?

Also, if there are no post-screens, how do I choose to boot into Windows instead of MacOS?
 
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nollimac

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Oct 10, 2013
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Hold down the option key on the keyboard while powering the computer on and you'll be presented with what OS would you like to boot.
 

djc6

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Aug 11, 2007
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But if there are no post-screens, how will I see what OS to boot from?
I don't have an eGPU, or multiple OSes.

But do your displays have multiple inputs? Maybe connect HDMI on mac mini for OS boot section, then switch inputs to eGPU.
 

bpd115

macrumors 6502a
Feb 4, 2003
809
42
Pennsylvania
Thanks. So once the windows install was done, you were able to plug your monitor into the eGPU and then boot into windows with full support?

Any other problems?

Also, if there are no post-screens, how do I choose to boot into Windows instead of MacOS?
Yep, once all the bootcamp drivers were installed, everything was good to go. I'll use the taskbar icon if I want to reboot into MacOS from windows or the choose startup disk in system preferences from MacOS to Windows. If I need to see the post screen, I'll just plug in the USB C cable I have connected to the monitor as well which is a slight pain.
 
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SSD-GUY

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Original poster
Sep 20, 2012
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Yep, once all the bootcamp drivers were installed, everything was good to go. I'll use the taskbar icon if I want to reboot into MacOS from windows or the choose startup disk in system preferences from MacOS to Windows. If I need to see the post screen, I'll just plug in the USB C cable I have connected to the monitor as well which is a slight pain.
Thinking about it, I've got a LG 27UD88 which has a plethora of connections at the back, so I can just keep a USB-C or HDMI connection spare in case I need post-screens.

Thanks guys. I'm gonna hold onto this rig and see if it performs with Catalina. If it doesn't then I'll get the 2018 Mac mini. If it does, I'll wait till the 2020/2021 Mac mini.
 

Squuiid

macrumors 65816
Oct 31, 2006
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Just set this up with a Radeon R580 and an i7 mini.

The eGPU is plug and play with MacOS. You won’t see the POST screens on the eGPU. If I plug in USB c I’ll see it. The monitor treats it like a different input from another source.

Windows is running fine from a USB C SSD I hooked up this weekend. I followed the guide on iMore. Had to install using a VM and Wintousb. Used the hdmi out on the mini with another monitor as my main monitor didn’t like the windows install until I had drivers installed.
Would you be able to post a link to the guide on iMore? It would be really helpful.
Thanks.
 

Machspeed007

macrumors newbie
Nov 8, 2018
12
5
Romania
I have the i3 mini coming from Windows and I like MacOS enough to not bother anymore with the Windows PC I also have.
I do occasionally game on the PC, it has a Ryzen 1700X, 32GB RAM and a nVidia 2080 video card. I also have a Radeon 390 in a box somewhere which I was thinking about converting to an eGPU for the mini.

However, if you are thinking about gaming on the mini (via Windows 10 bootcamp install), while possible, it would be suboptimal when compared to a windows pc because the CPUs in the mini will start to get hot and throttle. The CPUs are better than the ones found in laptops, but sill halfway there from a full powered custom gaming desktop. The eGPU also has the Thunderbolt overhead to deal with, so this will lower framerates further.
Don't get me wrong, the mac mini + egpu seems like a nice, small and silent gaming machine, and could very well be if you don't get your expectations too high.

What I am doing however, with my setup, is to stream from my gaming PC to the mac mini (or macbook pro) via Parsec or Steam Streaming. It works and it's completely silent if the PC is in another room. No need for bootcamp and windows installs for this.
This gets me to another point I want to make: gaming streaming services. Depending on your gaming habits, this would be an ideal solution for a mac user. No need for windows installs, no need for egpu, completely silent, no need for a top of the line mac configuration for this, works on any other mac/laptop you may have, no need to maintain a fully powered Windows PC. There's Geforce NOW on mac to try out and I will try Google's Stadia for sure.
 

bpd115

macrumors 6502a
Feb 4, 2003
809
42
Pennsylvania
Would you be able to post a link to the guide on iMore? It would be really helpful.
Thanks.
https://www.imore.com/how-install-windows-10-your-mac-mini-external-drive

Things to consider that aren't mentioned:
1) You need to disable the security from the T2 chip by booting into recovery. There's two sections, I just went for allow any OS and enabled booting from an external disk.

2) WintoUSB would only allow me to install Windows 10 Home without paying the 29.99 for the software. I simply installed Home without a key and once Windows was installed popped in a Windows 10 pro key to upgrade from home to pro.
 
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bpd115

macrumors 6502a
Feb 4, 2003
809
42
Pennsylvania
I have the i3 mini coming from Windows and I like MacOS enough to not bother anymore with the Windows PC I also have.
I do occasionally game on the PC, it has a Ryzen 1700X, 32GB RAM and a nVidia 2080 video card. I also have a Radeon 390 in a box somewhere which I was thinking about converting to an eGPU for the mini.

However, if you are thinking about gaming on the mini (via Windows 10 bootcamp install), while possible, it would be suboptimal when compared to a windows pc because the CPUs in the mini will start to get hot and throttle. The CPUs are better than the ones found in laptops, but sill halfway there from a full powered custom gaming desktop. The eGPU also has the Thunderbolt overhead to deal with, so this will lower framerates further.
Don't get me wrong, the mac mini + egpu seems like a nice, small and silent gaming machine, and could very well be if you don't get your expectations too high.

What I am doing however, with my setup, is to stream from my gaming PC to the mac mini (or macbook pro) via Parsec or Steam Streaming. It works and it's completely silent if the PC is in another room. No need for bootcamp and windows installs for this.
This gets me to another point I want to make: gaming streaming services. Depending on your gaming habits, this would be an ideal solution for a mac user. No need for windows installs, no need for egpu, completely silent, no need for a top of the line mac configuration for this, works on any other mac/laptop you may have, no need to maintain a fully powered Windows PC. There's Geforce NOW on mac to try out and I will try Google's Stadia for sure.

You have a higher end nVidia card and only occasionally game?

Regarding throttling, the CPUs in the 2018 Minis are rock solid and the cooling is good enough to where they'll turboboost up to 4.26Ghz (for the i7) and will settle in around 3.4-3.5Ghz when the temps rise. This is above the advertised base clock of 3.2Ghz.

You do lose a bit of performance from the eGPU (maybe 7-10%?) but the Mini + eGPU + Bootcamp is a solid solution and I've tried Apex Legends, Battlefront 2, Shadow Warrior 2 all running at maxed out settings on a RX580 in an eGPU to a 1440P Ultrawide.