New Mac Mini plus Nvidia eGPU viable Workstation?


Oh I see… ! As in many times in life, I was wrong :slight_smile: it’s better you were right though…
Good to have the full 40 , that means I can daizy chain more cards.

Konstantinos D


Be aware that even if your eGPU is using full TB3 bandwidth you may experience limitation on the computer side, check if every port on your laptop support full speed(this depends by the PCIe lanes available from the CPU).
That being said, in general the bandwidth required by GPU renderer is very limited and should affects mostly the loading time of the scene, so you should be fine even using several cards.
BTW its very good to know that daisy chain works also with GPU, this open a great number of possibility. An eGPU enclosure cost money for sure but this way you can add far more cards compared to a traditional tower and still maintain a system quite and cool(when not using all of the GPU), and even portable like in your case.


Yes, exactly! So much opportunity/scalability etc with this modular system, it’s hard to go back to internal gpus… fortunately my MacBook Pro 2018 supports the full speed on the ports so I should be fine . I’ll run tests when I get all the cards too see how many egpus one tb port can handle before we start seeing degradation in performance. I also hope the new Mac pros ( whenever they arrive) have even more full speed tb ports.
Interesting times…

Konstantinos D


I hope the Mac Pro does too, and that nVidia drivers for the RTX series and Mojave support comes with it!


Ok I have an update!
I received the 3 akitio node pros and one 1080ti’s, waiting for more. I have good news and bad news.
The bad: I cannot mix 2 different architecture Gpu’s. No matter which configuration, it only recognizes the one you plug in first, in my case, the titan x’s ( maxwell ), or the 1080 ti ( pascal). This needs further investigation and maybe is solvable with a tweak, the gurus at should know.
The good: I can daizy chain the 3 titan x’s just fine on one port! This gives me a theoretical 3 egpu’s per port 12 in total, maybe even more who knows. I’ve got just 20 less points in octanebench by doing that , no big drop, 430 for the 3 titans instead of 450 could be just a marginal difference. I am now expecting 5 more 1080 ti’s for a octanebench of around 1300 with the 6x 1080 ti’s. Around 1750 if I find a way to connect the Titan x’s!!
So in a nutshell yes, I find that a viable workstation even with the Mac mini . I just hope that they release Nvidia drivers in the future for Mojave and they don’t drop support altogether otherwise I’ll have to stay in high Sierra forever… (the OS not the place :wink: )

Konstantinos D


Really exciting to read this. Thank you for sharing your experiences.


Once you’ve got it all running the way you want, can you make us a video/screen capture showing how Octane performs?


Yes, once I get all the cards and everything running,I’ll do that.

Konstantinos D


Can’t wait, Konstantinos, thanks for keeping us all in the loop! :slight_smile:


Yeah the chaining aspect is interesting. I would’ve guessed on a single TB3 port you quickly run into a diminishing returns situation given that each TB3 chipset (each pairing of TB3 host ports) only has 4 PCIe lanes. At least I believe so based on the Intel literature I’ve read.

Pink I probably missed this somewhere but did you revert the 2018 mini back to 10.13.x to get this setup working, given the lack of 10.14 NVIDIA drivers? Guessing you also used one of the solutions. I had some luck prior to 10.14 using their EFI solution with 10x0 generation cards and 2018 MBP.


Yes, I had to unfortunately, Mojave is a no go for now, I just hope that we’ll see a surprise and the new Mac pros will include Nvidia cards natively, or it could go the other way and we’ll never see them, who knows.

Konstantinos D


Hey PiNkFlUiD, really interesting to hear what you’re doing with your setup…

You mentioned you’re using Akitio Node Pro… I was wondering whether you think daisy chaining would work if you were to connect say a Sonnet Breakaway to the Akitio Node, or whether all eGPU boxes need be of the same type…?

… just asking 'cause I was thinking of getting a second box, the Akitio, but my current box is a Sonnet, so I was asking myself whether I’d be able to daisy chain them …

Switch to PC?

I don’t see why it wouldn’t work if they can be connected. My logic is that you could daisy chain up to 6 devices not 6 identical devices, but please don’t take my word for it , I’ve been wrong before…

Konstantinos D


Yes, in theory you can daisy chain any TB peripheral no matter what you plug in(eGPU, display, DAS or other).
That being said I’ve never tried this by my self using eGPU so there’s a chance it won’t work.
Better to ask on eGPU specialized forum or be prepared to return your device if not supported.


Thanks for sharing all your info! You would have a beast on your hands if all the cards work.

Do you have a thread on I’d love to follow your progress there too.


Just an update… I tried daisy chaining my Sonnet box to my Akitio Node Pro and for me it hasn’t worked, it just crashes the Mac every time… Not too much of a big deal for me as I can still use one of the other spare TB3 ports in the iMac pro, but for future expandability it would be good to find out why this doesn’t work… Is it the script or is it the combination of different egpu boxes ??? Who knows.

The positive is that I’ve got 2x 1080Tis up and running tho’


Ok after some long wait l’ve got everything.
The bad news is that there is a limit of 4 egpus for the new MacBook Pro with touchbar 2018. So I’m left with two egpus out. The good news is that 4 work just fine so I’ve got 4x1080ti’s with an octanebench of 820. Not bad. I’ve got 5 more egpus though that are not used and I’m thinking of getting a small Mac mini to use the four as a slave. I’m just waiting for any clues from apple regarding the new Mac pros and their nvidia support going forward. If both suck then I’ll probably go back to PC for my 3d and use the Mac for music software and fun. I hope they surprise us positively.

Konstantinos D


not bad octane bench result, the average for 4 x 1080tis seems to be around 860 so you are up there with the PC brigade


That’s the only way to ensure the full 20gb bandwidth. with a passive cable. Longer passive cables will drop down to 10gb… or you need an active cable and they get pricey.


Yes, you definitely need the active expensive tb3 cables…