No 4K 60Hz? Workaround to do up to 12K 60Hz on 2011, 2012 and 2014

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by giggles, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. giggles, Nov 6, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014

    giggles macrumors 6502

    Dec 15, 2012
    Use an external GPU ("eGPU") over Thunderbolt. I see no reasons for it not to work.

    Works on 2011, 2012 and 2014 Minis, just need a Thunderbolt port.

    2011 and 2012 thunderbolt1 is capped at 10Gbps.

    2014 thunderbolt2 (20Gbps) can leverage the full 16Gbps of the pcie2.0 4x interface to the thunderbolt controller.

    Difference should be negligible in non-gaming (or non-3D) workloads (and really, don't expect to do gaming in 12K with this setup). Still I find nicer to have TB2, so props to the 2014 Mini here.

    Full of guides here:

    A currently favorite setup is:
    - Akitio Thunder2 box
    - Gigabyte GV-N970IXOC-4GD (short gtx 970 to fit in the box, plenty of ports)
    - molex powered pcie 16x riser
    - silent PSU of your choice

    Roughly 600$ of a workaround.

    Notice how the aforementioned gpu has three Displayport 1.2 ports.
    Each port would drive a 4K display @60Hz in a "MST" fashion (single tile 4K 60Hz will only be possible with the upcoming DP 1.3 interface).
    There's also an HDMI 2.0 port, also capable of 4K @60Hz on monitors with HDMI 2.0.
    This is with GPUs available today, but 12 months from now you could easily have triple DP1.3 and drive even crazier configurations.

    This thread is basically for the "omg when 4K displays get cheaper, I'll be forever cut out of the 4K revolution if I buy a current Mini" crowd. No you won't. Not necessarily. Don't quote me on that (wasn't able to find any example of people doing it under OSX), but apparently 12K 60Hz is already possible, even with a 2011 Mini.

    By the way nMP (2013) can do 12K, but the third 4K display will be limited to 30Hz or limited color space because of HDMI 1.4. The upcoming nMP (2014) will fix that with HDMI 2.0.

    So a 2011 Mini with a 2014 eGPU can do 12K better than a 2013 nMP. Somehow.
  2. macaron95 macrumors regular

    May 5, 2014


    how much did all this hardware cost you ?
  3. Skibba macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2014
  4. macaron95 macrumors regular

    May 5, 2014
    sorry skipped that line


    price is not an issue, what is, is the mess on the desk for this setup

    it would remind of my earlier ages when i built my own PCs

    tons of bulky and noisy hardware :confused:

    too bad there is no enclosure with sufficient power supply
  5. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    I think I will wait for the Skylake update which should have all the ports included in a small quite box but that is a workaround for someone in a hurry to go 4K.

    I am loving that GTX 970 though. :)
  6. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    Do the drivers work in OS X?

    1300 for a decent Mini + 600 for that "box", plus the 4k display...
    Awfully close to the 5K iMac.
    IMO, if you need 4K, you can buy a nMPro.
    If you can't make a business-case for buying a nMPro, you don't really need it anyway and it's just "nice to have".
  7. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    I guess if your in a hurry for 4K and you have money to burn and you want to use a Mini for what ever reason then it's worth it and I think Yosemite has drivers for the GTX 970 and 980.

    Like I said earlier the Skylake Mini should have display port 1.3 and hdmi 2.0 to drive 4 or 5K displays and TVs at a much more reasonable price and more quite option.
  8. giggles thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 15, 2012
  9. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    I got it working on a 2014 Mini but it took some unique code.

    Have you seen another 2014 Mini with this working?
  10. giggles thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 15, 2012

Share This Page