Migrating from cMP to Mac mini 2018

Squuiid

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I’m considering selling my two 2010 cMPs and replacing them with a new 2018 Mac mini.

This will be a significant upgrade in many ways as well as being more power friendly and clearing a lot of space in my small home office.

I should be able to raise enough funds from the sale to purchase the following:

Mac mini 2018
  • 3.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz)
  • 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 (32GB upgrade from Amazon)
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • 10 Gigabit Ethernet

There are two areas where the mini is severely lacking however, storage and graphics and I’m very much hoping I can bring along some parts from my cMPs.
This is where I need your help.

Does anyone know how I can best use an RX 580 or GTX 1080 as well as a PCI 2.0 Amfeltec card with 4x M.2 AHCI SSDs over Thunderbolt 3?

This would allow me to significantly increase storage and continue to have high end graphics in the mini.
The idea is to use BootCamp for Windows gaming on the GTX 1080 and Amfeltec card, and perhaps use the RX 580 for macOS if possible.
If not I may have to ditch the 1080 and use the RX 580 for both OSes.

The Sonnet 650W eGPU enclosure looks great but how can I get the Amfeltec working as well? Is there a box that can do it all? If not is there anything out there that can achieve my goal?

I’d really appreciate any recommendations.
 
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Factionrider

macrumors member
Sep 15, 2008
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EGPU.io will have way more resources.

In short, it will all work but budget in an extra $300 per PCIe slot you need.

I wouldn’t do it though, PCIe over thunderbolt is great but untested in a lot of applications. Mainstream use and support is still a few years out.
 
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Chocomonsters

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May 22, 2007
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I suggest getting your self

tl;dr eGPU, TB3 PCIe case, USB 3.1 gen 2 enclosure, and TB3/USB-C dock. You are good to go...

1. eGPU without USB ports/ethernet. USB/ethernet hinders TB3 performance. Mac mini has 4 TB3 port already. Popular eGPU are Razor Core X, Sonnet 650, and Akitio Node. Depends on how sensitive you are to noise, eGPU units can be made near silent with case fan replacement and PSU replacement. Noctura case fan and 80+ platinum/titanium PSU are good options. You can use either NVIDIA or AMD for windows. Since RX 580 is under-powered for modern gaming, you should just stick with 1080. You can use 1080 for MacOS if you use High Sierra until web-driver for Mojave is available. Nvidia says they are just waiting Apple approval so hope it will be soon.

2. TB3 PCI express expansion chassis + PCIe NMVe adapter + NVMe SSD. Use this as time to upgrade to NVMe. Install Windows to external NVMe to take advantage of speed almost similar to Apple internal NVMe SSD drive. You will get 2,000 - 2,500 MB/s speed without thermal throttling like Samsung X5 or G-Drive mobile pro SSD portable drives.

Akitio Node Lite https://www.akitio.com/expansion/node-lite

PCIe NVMe adapter https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FU9JS94/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Samsung 970 EVO

3. Recycle your four M2 AHCI SSD with cheap USB 3.1 gen 2 external enclosure. Your M2 AHCI SSD will max out at less than 500 MB/s. So TB3 enclosure is a waste. USB 3.1 gen 2 external enclosures are very cheap and has 10 Gbps. You can use these M2 AHCI as DATA volume.

4. TB3 dock if you plan to add multiple TB3 devices. If not, get a cheaper USB-C dock.
 

Squuiid

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Original poster
Oct 31, 2006
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I suggest getting your self

tl;dr eGPU, TB3 PCIe case, USB 3.1 gen 2 enclosure, and TB3/USB-C dock. You are good to go...

1. eGPU without USB ports/ethernet. USB/ethernet hinders TB3 performance. Mac mini has 4 TB3 port already. Popular eGPU are Razor Core X, Sonnet 650, and Akitio Node. Depends on how sensitive you are to noise, eGPU units can be made near silent with case fan replacement and PSU replacement. Noctura case fan and 80+ platinum/titanium PSU are good options. You can use either NVIDIA or AMD for windows. Since RX 580 is under-powered for modern gaming, you should just stick with 1080. You can use 1080 for MacOS if you use High Sierra until web-driver for Mojave is available. Nvidia says they are just waiting Apple approval so hope it will be soon.

2. TB3 PCI express expansion chassis + PCIe NMVe adapter + NVMe SSD. Use this as time to upgrade to NVMe. Install Windows to external NVMe to take advantage of speed almost similar to Apple internal NVMe SSD drive. You will get 2,000 - 2,500 MB/s speed without thermal throttling like Samsung X5 or G-Drive mobile pro SSD portable drives.

Akitio Node Lite https://www.akitio.com/expansion/node-lite

PCIe NVMe adapter https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FU9JS94/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Samsung 970 EVO

3. Recycle your four M2 AHCI SSD with cheap USB 3.1 gen 2 external enclosure. Your M2 AHCI SSD will max out at less than 500 MB/s. So TB3 enclosure is a waste. USB 3.1 gen 2 external enclosures are very cheap and has 10 Gbps. You can use these M2 AHCI as DATA volume.

4. TB3 dock if you plan to add multiple TB3 devices. If not, get a cheaper USB-C dock.
Thanks for taking the time to reply but unfortunately this doesn’t really answer any of my questions and a lot of it is misinformed.
See here for what my Amfeltec does with AHCI drives:
http://barefeats.com/hard210.html

The mini comes with four TB3 ports and two USB 3.1 ports. Why would I need a hub?
 

MarkC426

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May 14, 2008
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Would a mini really be a step up?
Your cMP seems pretty nice spec, leaving as-is wouldn’t cost you a penny!
 

Squuiid

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Would a mini really be a step up?
Your cMP seems pretty nice spec, leaving as-is wouldn’t cost you a penny!
Agreed, it is nice spec, however it is more than likely that Mojave will be the last macOS to run on it.
I want to ensure that I have options going forward and sell my cMPs when they are actually worth something ;)

Unfortunately I highly doubt that I will be able to afford the new 2019 Mac Pro to replace them. The new mini seems like a good option and if I can re-provision my current graphics and storage I'd be very happy with it.

Having had another look at enclosures it looks like the Razer Core X is the best out there for eGPUs currently. https://egpu.io/razer-core-x-review-thick-juicy/

I just need to determine what I can stick the Amfeltec Squid PCIe 2.0 in and have it perform somewhat decently.
 
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Factionrider

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Sep 15, 2008
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Agreed, it is nice spec, however it is more than likely that Mojave will be the last macOS to run on it.
I want to ensure that I have options going forward and sell my cMPs when they are actually worth something ;)

Unfortunately I highly doubt that I will be able to afford the new 2019 Mac Pro to replace them. The new mini seems like a good option and if I can re-provision my current graphics and storage I'd be very happy with it.

Having had another look at enclosures it looks like the Razer Core X is the best out there for eGPUs currently. https://egpu.io/razer-core-x-review-thick-juicy/

I just need to determine what I can stick the Amfeltec Squid PCIe 2.0 in and have it perform somewhat decently.
Keep in mind that amfeltec squid will be limited by PCIe lanes. You’ve got 16 PCIe gen 2 lanes in the squid, going into four PCIe gen 3.

The step from 2 to 3 does nothing for speed as you’re limited by the smallest connection, so each SSD will get a single PCIe gen 3 lane.

All in all, it won’t be nearly as fast as plugging it into a 16x gen 2 slot.
 
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Bion1nc

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May 3, 2014
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Agreed, it is nice spec, however it is more than likely that Mojave will be the last macOS to run on it.
I want to ensure that I have options going forward and sell my cMPs when they are actually worth something ;)

Unfortunately I highly doubt that I will be able to afford the new 2019 Mac Pro to replace them. The new mini seems like a good option and if I can re-provision my current graphics and storage I'd be very happy with it.

Having had another look at enclosures it looks like the Razer Core X is the best out there for eGPUs currently. https://egpu.io/razer-core-x-review-thick-juicy/

I just need to determine what I can stick the Amfeltec Squid PCIe 2.0 in and have it perform somewhat decently.

There will be always a way to install the latest system on these cMP they are very capable machines and for years to come, but I wish you all the best with your new setups.
 
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Squuiid

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Keep in mind that amfeltec squid will be limited by PCIe lanes. You’ve got 16 PCIe gen 2 lanes in the squid, going into four PCIe gen 3.

The step from 2 to 3 does nothing for speed as you’re limited by the smallest connection, so each SSD will get a single PCIe gen 3 lane.

All in all, it won’t be nearly as fast as plugging it into a 16x gen 2 slot.
My understanding is that it would be the equivalent of an x8 PCIe 2.0 slot, so half the current speed.
Is that correct?
 

fhturner

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Nov 7, 2007
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The mini comes with four TB3 ports and two USB 3.1 ports. Why would I need a hub?
Just was thinking about this and decided to take a look to find out... Keep in mind that those four TB3 ports are split across two buses. So you'll want to make sure you get the eGPU and Amfeltec on separate buses (I'd assume left pair and right pair are grouped together), and try not to "crowd" them w/ any other high-bandwidth peripherals if possible.

Agreed, it is nice spec, however it is more than likely that Mojave will be the last macOS to run on it.
I doubt it. They could certainly change on a whim (they're Apple, they know best, after all...:rolleyes:), but since 10.8, they haven't slid that cutoff threshold forward on successive upgrades/years...always at least 2 years w/ same hardware. So we should have at least 10.15 for our MP5,1s, and if @dosdude1 and other "patchers" continue having success, maybe we can keep fighting the good fight with 10.16 and 10.17 as well! :p

I want to ensure that I have options going forward and sell my cMPs when they are actually worth something ;)

Unfortunately I highly doubt that I will be able to afford the new 2019 Mac Pro to replace them.
Why not sell one to capitalize on its current value before it depreciates further, then make do w/ the other and take a wait-and-see approach about MP7,1? I doubt your remaining 5,1 would drop more than, say, $300 between now and then...which is what you'll spend on the eGPU box alone.

My understanding is that it would be the equivalent of an x8 PCIe 2.0 slot, so half the current speed.
Is that correct?
Sounds right to me. PCIe 3.0 has very little encoding overhead compared to PCIe 2.0, and runs at 8GT/s compared to 5GT/s, so the net result is about twice the bandwidth per lane of 2.0. So 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes for TB3 should be equivalent to about 8 PCIe 2.0 lanes.
 

Factionrider

macrumors member
Sep 15, 2008
44
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My

My understanding is that it would be the equivalent of an x8 PCIe 2.0 slot, so half the current speed.
Is that correct?
Yes, however, the card in question is a bit of an outlier for compatibility.

Each m.2 port has access to four PCIe 2.0 lanes. To my knowledge, the squid does not dynamically assign PCIe lanes.

This means that further bottlenecking the drive in a 4x pcie 3.0 configuration means losing half the cards original throughput. I’m not even 100% sure you’d get 1 lane each in pcie 3.0, you may be limited by the pcie 2.0 overhead.
 
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PowerMike G5

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Oct 22, 2005
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Yes, however, the card in question is a bit of an outlier for compatibility.

Each m.2 port has access to four PCIe 2.0 lanes. To my knowledge, the squid does not dynamically assign PCIe lanes.

This means that further bottlenecking the drive in a 4x pcie 3.0 configuration means losing half the cards original throughput. I’m not even 100% sure you’d get 1 lane each in pcie 3.0, you may be limited by the pcie 2.0 overhead.
I have this card and you are correct. It does not dynamically assign PCIe lanes. It essentially splits a x16 slot into four x4 slots with equal bandwidth for each slot.
 
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orph

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i think you relay need to ask for help on EGPU.io im going to gess there's no easy option for 2x GPU + 4x M.2 SSD's
 
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Squuiid

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I have this card and you are correct. It does not dynamically assign PCIe lanes. It essentially splits a x16 slot into four x4 slots with equal bandwidth for each slot.
Ah, that’s what I feared. Yep, the Amfeltec is definitely not suited to TB3 then.

Best bet seems to go with a Sonnet 650 or Razer Core X with the GTX 1080 as I have no problem using Intel graphics on the Mac side, and then go with a larger internal Mac mini SSD and maybe one or two SM951 drives in a caddy, if such a thing exists?
Thanks.
 
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orph

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what kind of work do you do in osx to need drives that fast?

im asume the best/cheapest option might be something like replace your M.2 SSD with a different kind of TB storage solution or find some kind of case that will let you pack them in over as single TB cable @crjackson2134 solution works but also involves a both a High Point SSD7101-A & a PCI egpu box thing which is a pain.

on the EGPU.io there is a list of boxes you can use some (at least one) gives you the option of two PCI cards but they only have 2x pci link each (but i assume still a PCI3 link so 2x pci3= 4x pci2 so not a huge loss there just shame it's not dynamic as that might be a option for two GPU one box

if you do need the fast drives then maybe a better option is a hackintosh or wait for when the next macpro comes out in hope of PCI
i do see tho for pro use hack may not be an option for reliability

for me the macmins an option as iv only got one GPU and a USB3 card which i suspect is what most of us have but i can see it's not a option for any one with more advance needs

pps yes compared to the cmp PCI-2 it's not as bad as it sounds now i think about it, PCI-3 4x link is still a 8x PCI-2 link so not ideal but not bad compared to the cmp.
im still split if that shows the cmp in a good light or the macmin in a bad light :p

thinking about it more (and with my view point of trying to not spend extra £££ or get the cheapest fast option) if your happy to get your hands dirty a hack may be the only "good" option today or wait for the new macpro when it comes.

may still be valid to think about flipping one of your cmp now if thats what you plan to do with them. still dont know why im keeping my cmp3.1 i dont need it & it's only taking room but hay it's a thing
 
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AlexMaximus

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Aug 15, 2006
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I’m considering selling my two 2010 cMPs and replacing them with a new 2018 Mac mini.

This will be a significant upgrade in many ways as well as being more power friendly and clearing a lot of space in my small home office.

I should be able to raise enough funds from the sale to purchase the following:

Mac mini 2018
  • 3.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz)
  • 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 (32GB upgrade from Amazon)
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • 10 Gigabit Ethernet

There are two areas where the mini is severely lacking however, storage and graphics and I’m very much hoping I can bring along some parts from my cMPs.
This is where I need your help.

Does anyone know how I can best use an RX 580 or GTX 1080 as well as a PCI 2.0 Amfeltec card with 4x M.2 AHCI SSDs over Thunderbolt 3?

This would allow me to significantly increase storage and continue to have high end graphics in the mini.
The idea is to use BootCamp for Windows gaming on the GTX 1080 and Amfeltec card, and perhaps use the RX 580 for macOS if possible.
If not I may have to ditch the 1080 and use the RX 580 for both OSes.

The Sonnet 650W eGPU enclosure looks great but how can I get the Amfeltec working as well? Is there a box that can do it all? If not is there anything out there that can achieve my goal?

I’d really appreciate any recommendations.

Squuiid.. is this really you? You are telling me you want to leave the cMP camp and switch over to the mac mini forum? After all those years of fun upgrading, being an important contributor to the real Pro's?

Don't get dazzled by some political theoretical PileHigher&Deeper numbers and benchmarks that are designed to tell you, you have a shi&%$ty machine.
 
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Squuiid

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Well, I’ve done it. Just got a 2018 Mac mini.
Decided to skip the eGPU and just keep one of my cMPs for Windows, with the Amfeltec and GTX 1080. It really is still an excellent gaming machine despite the aging CPU.

Mac mini

• 3.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz)
• 32GB 2666MHz DDR4
• 1TB SSD storage
• Intel UHD Graphics 630
• 10 Gigabit Ethernet (Nbase-T Ethernet with support for 1Gb, 2.5Gb, 5Gb and 10Gb Ethernet using RJ‑45 connector)
• AppleCare

If anyone is London based and interested in 2 of my cMPs do PM me ;) Specs below...

Mac Pro 2010, 3.46GHz 6 Core, 48GB RAM, 512GB Apple PCIe SSD, Intel 10G Ethernet, Sapphire RX580 8GB, 4x USB 3, AC Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, Mojave

Mac Pro 2009 (5,1), 3.46GHz 8 Core, 48GB RAM, 256GB Apple PCIe SSD, Intel 10G Ethernet, Sapphire RX580 8GB, 4x USB 3, AC Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Mojave
 
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apolloa

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Oct 21, 2008
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Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
Agreed, it is nice spec, however it is more than likely that Mojave will be the last macOS to run on it.
I want to ensure that I have options going forward and sell my cMPs when they are actually worth something ;)

Unfortunately I highly doubt that I will be able to afford the new 2019 Mac Pro to replace them. The new mini seems like a good option and if I can re-provision my current graphics and storage I'd be very happy with it.

Having had another look at enclosures it looks like the Razer Core X is the best out there for eGPUs currently. https://egpu.io/razer-core-x-review-thick-juicy/

I just need to determine what I can stick the Amfeltec Squid PCIe 2.0 in and have it perform somewhat decently.
In regards to your GPU idea:


So it’ll work fine if it can handle an RTX2080! I believe you can get external PCI boxes, not sure who makes them though?
 

StellarVixen

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Mar 1, 2018
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In regards to your GPU idea:


So it’ll work fine if it can handle an RTX2080! I believe you can get external PCI boxes, not sure who makes them though?
That RTX 2080 is so much throttled by CPU, it seems.

RTX 2080 shall be able to pull out way more FPS in "Project Cars" than around 50fps@1440p. The guy in the video keeps saying "I am impressed", but I am borderline disappointed.


This GPU would probably fare better in other things than gaming, such as computations using the GPU only.
 

Squuiid

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Wanted to post an update to this having gone through with it and encountered some issues doing so.

If you need 10GbE in Boot Camp on the Mac mini 2018 forget about it. See here: Mac mini 2018 Aquantia 10GbE overheating in BootCamp
Not sure how I'm going to solve this as I don't have a spare TB3 port once I install the eGPU, and don't really want to spend money on an external Aquantia based Sonnet Solo 10GbE TB3 either.

I ended up putting the two SM951 512GB AHCI M.2 SSDs I pulled from my cMP into the following enclosures. They work great and I'm getting 2,450MB/s read and writes in Windows 10 using striping.
https://www.anandtech.com/show/13034/a-diy-portable-thunderbolt-3-ssd-with-the-tekq-rapide-and-sandisk-extreme-pro

I'm waiting for my eGPU to arrive but I ended up going with a Sonnet eGFX 350W for my GTX 1080 FE card. It was $199 delivered so it seemed like a no brainer despite being larger profile than the Asus XG Station Pro I was really after.
Will post a further update once I receive it.
If anyone has any ideas about the Aquantia 10GbE overheating issue I'd appreciate it ;)
 
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orph

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I'm relay interested in how it's going, what's it like using a mac min compared to the old cmp & performance and noise stock/egpu ?
 

eksu

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Hey Squuiid, wanted to see if you had any comparison of the mini + egpu vs the cMP for gaming as you mentioned. Do you have any insight on how it compares to the cMP or maybe some benchmarks in this regard?
 

Squuiid

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Hey Squuiid, wanted to see if you had any comparison of the mini + egpu vs the cMP for gaming as you mentioned. Do you have any insight on how it compares to the cMP or maybe some benchmarks in this regard?
I can’t remember the results but my 3DMark score in Windows using a GTX 1080 in an eGPU was better than on the cMP. Not hugely so but better by a decent margin. More than I thought it would be tbh.