How to Use External GPU with Older Mac Mini


hey welcome back to the channel all
right so one of the easiest ways to improve the graphical performance of a
Mac is to use an external GPU now the problem with that is that apple only
officially supports macs with Thunderbolt 3 connections and not those
with Thunderbolt 2 but there is a way to get that working and that’s what I’m
going to show you today everything I show you is going to apply
to just about anything with the Thunderbolt 2 port be it a Mac Mini and
iMac or MacBook Pro but today I’m going to show you how to use an external GPU on an older Mac Mini,
so here we go. alright now Before we jump into the tutorial I just
want to make it clear I’m not gonna be doing benchmarking or anything like this
to show you the improvements if that’s something you want to see leave a
comment down below and I’m happy to do a before and after video on some games and
some video editing even some 3d programs if you want to see that now there’s four
things you’re gonna need to make this work on the hardware side not including
the computer I love links down in the description to
all four of these but you’re gonna need the e GPU enclosure I use the sonnet EDF
X breakaway box it’s 200 bucks on Amazon it’s a really really solid breakaway box
it’s Thunderbolt 3 and I would definitely recommend if you don’t get
this one that you get an enclosure with Thunderbolt 3 don’t get the Thunderbolt
2 enclosure because then you’re kind of limiting yourself with the Thunderbolt 3
enclosure you’re kind of future proofing yourself a little bit the next thing
you’re going to need is that video card that goes inside that a GPU enclosure
I’ll have a link down in the description that takes you out to a site from Apple
that shows you all the officially supported video cards for EGP use now
the method I’m going to show you today allows for some additional cards that
aren’t on that list but if you want to stay official check out that link use
one of those cards I’ll be using a radiant rx 470 for today’s tutorial the
next thing you’re gonna need because this is a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure is
you’re gonna need a Thunderbolt 3-2 thought of all to adapt there I’ve tried
a whole bunch of them and the only one that I’ve gotten to work is the one from
Apple so if you know of another one that works please leave that down in the
comment section especially if it’s a little bit cheaper than that Apple one
so we can all save a few bucks then after that the last thing you’re going
to need is the Thunderbolt 2 cable that goes from that adapter into the back of
your Mac Mini or your iMac or your MacBook Pro
whatever Thunderbolt 2 device you’re using and then you are ready to go on to
the software side so let’s check that out right now all right so we got the
GPU put in the enclosure everything hooked up and we are here on the desktop
the first thing I want to do is show you what happens if we don’t run in a script
and just try to run it right now so I’m going to plug the Thunderbolt 2 into the
back of the Mac Mini here let it start up and we can see it starts up and
normal but it’s not showing any GPU and that is the problem because this is a
unsupported Mac it’s got a Thunderbolt 2 and even though we have a support of GPU
in a supported GPU enclosure it’s not a supported Mac so we have to run a script
called purge Wrangler on here to get this to work so I’m gonna unplug this
Thunderbolt 2 and this is the purge Wrangler Wrangler page its github page
I’ll have a link down in the description that’ll take you out there so you here
read through this if you want but once you’re on this page you just take the
text in the installation section copy that and paste it into a terminal window
I’m gonna paste that and execute it and this is going to download the script and
execute it you’re gonna have to type in your password and it’s gonna run through
now it’ll take a few seconds I’ve run this on my computer before it’ll take a
little bit longer for you but once it comes up really the only things you have
to worry about are the AMD GPU and the NVIDIA GPU don’t worry about the rest of
this stuff if you use in Mojave use an AMD GPU because Mojave does not have web
drivers for NVIDIA GPUs yet so just to be safe use AMD GPU and like I said use
that a supported card list that I linked down below to use a card that’s
supported I’m using the rx 470 so I’m going to select AMD it’s gonna start
running through it and basically what this is going to do is it’s going to
trick the system into thinking we have a supported Mac so we’re gonna go ahead
and hit yes we’re going to enable this TI 82 and let it run this is going to
run for just a few minutes and then when it’s done we’ll go ahead and restart our
system and give that external GPU or try again alright so
we’re all done we’re gonna go back to the main menu here quit out and restart
the system and I’ll be back when it’s restarted all right so here we are we
are freshly restarted after installing purge Wrangler and I’m gonna go ahead
and plug in that external GPU again and see what happens the second it should
pop up here and there it is it’s switching over because it detected our
GPU and if we take a look we can see that we have the AMD Radeon rx4 70 at
this point we can just yank out that HDMI cable from the back of our Mac and
everything go run off the external GPU giving us much better performance and
applications and games 3d apps video editing all that kind of good stuff so
there you go that is how to use an eGPU on an older Mac Mini or iMac or MacBook
Pro anything with a thunderbolt tube connection this should work that script
works great I’ve been using this after you get it all set up you can even
restart and it still uses the e GPU you don’t have to run that command every
time and it vastly improves the game performance again if you want to see a
dedicated video on that showing you some before and after leave a comment down
below I’m happy to do a video for you on that and hopefully you found this useful
and informative if you did please give it a thumbs up if you really liked it
and you haven’t subscribed yet please consider doing so and come see me on
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with them and I will see you in the next video

100 thoughts on “How to Use External GPU with Older Mac Mini

  1. Oh wow, I didn’t even realize you could use eGPUs on an older Mac Mini. I’d definitely use an eGPU if I ever got a MacBook Pro but I have an Nvidia card so it wouldn’t work that easily lol. Excellent video!

  2. This annoys me. Both Apple and Microshaft deliberately stop older machines from using newer stuff on older hardware.
    Great find.

  3. I’m getting the Apple iMac 14,4. Do you still think it’s worth it in 2019? I want to also use it for my YouTube channel and light gaming like minecraft and sims. Do you think I made a good choice or should I have spent the extra on something newer?

  4. Thx for the vid. Wondering if I need to use a second monitor to get the egpu performance on an iMac or does the egpu drive the iMac screen? Cinebench?

  5. Hi! I'm running a 2012 15" retina MacBook pro with Thunderbolt 2 on Mojave, is there a way a to use it with an AMD GPU card over Mojave, I'm worried about the SIP disable, it's possible to do it in Mojave too? Thanks!

  6. Great video ! I think I will do eGpu with an old mac mini thats someone give to me for free .
    If you can do some benchmark on Blender rendering thats will be great 🙂
    And also is this setup can work on a windows 10 bootcamp partition ?

    Thank you

  7. hi great video topic thanks. can the video output directly from egpu gfx card to monitors for both mac mini 14 & 18? thx

  8. So, the eGPU will then drive an iMac’s internal monitor properly? (sorry if already asked). You did mention this could be done with an iMac.

  9. hi i have a mac mini late 2014 in macos high sierra and got sonnet box with msi armor amd rx580 8g oc just wondering if this gonna work for me and pls can you sent me the script if possible tnx…appreciate the hepl…

  10. This video has been very helpful. However, I ran into a issue, where my flight simulator still using the integrate GPU and not the AMD RX 580. Is there a way to default to the AMD RX 580 only under Mac mini setting?

  11. this question might be unrelated for the topic of this tutorial but im interested in knowing if the adapter used in this video may be used to connect a thunderbolt 3 ssd external drive to a 2015 macbook pro thunderbolt 2?. Possibly using the ssd drive to boot from?

  12. Could I do this with Windows (booted natively, bootcamp)?
    "Late 2013 27" iMac" with an Nvidia card
    (I just wana get me Oculus Rift cv1 to work. I splashed out, and just cant get it to work; considering an eGPU.)
    Thanks

  13. Hi, thank you for making this video that is really very useful, I wanted to ask you, do you think you can also use 8gb video cards like the rx 590? Even if it's thunderbolt 2? One last thing, do you think that in the future Apple will make official use of egpu on thunderbolt 2? Thanks for everything

  14. My MacMini was one of those where Apple were sloppy with the GPU heatsink – so it fried 🙁
    Now… would it be possible to do the entire install of OS, disable SIP, run script, enable eGPU… without having a GPU to start with? Can it all be done in target disk mode? Or in a different host system, then swap the HD into the stricken MacMini? Am I dreaming after having too much cheese? Thank you!

  15. Hi there, I have a mac book pro (late 2012 Retina) Imac (27 inch Late 2012) will this set up for both my mac?

  16. Thanks a ton for this video, I was hesitant to pull the trigger on an eGPU for my 2013 Mac Pro and this helped. I am now up and running and it appears to have breathe new life into the system.

  17. hi i tried doing this on a macbook pro 2013 but as soon as I plugged in the egpu mac went black and showed an error they call panic restart i believe. any thoughts on that?

  18. Hi, do you think is possible to connect an Nvida card instead of AMD? with your configuration? Do you think it could be a problem using Mojave an Nvidia cards?

  19. Hey. I need help. I did everything in this vid but i don’t get it to work. The egpu box doesn’t even gives me a light. I have checked the power supply and it is working, my GPUs works fine with other systems. Is there something I can’t do?

  20. Anyone know what pink lines on power up and not being able to get to the login screen is. Is the problem The GPU? if so would an external solve the problem. thanks for any help. (Mac Mini 2012)

  21. Hi ! Thanks a lot for your video, do you know if this could work with OS X Sierra ?
    I have a 2014 MBP and had a really bad experience with Mojave, so I downgraded and would like to stay on Sierra…

  22. Hi, Great video! Learned a lot. I have a late-2012 Mac Mini (i7, 16GB, 1TB Fusion) and am hesitating between two portable eGPUs: 1) Gigabyte RX 580 Gaming Box, and 2) Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck Radeon RX 570. Do you think either of these will work with the method you describe here? And if so, do you recommend 1) Gaming Box or 2) Breakaway Puck?

    I'm looking at these purely for their portability. I'm trying to use Davinci Resolve and it's just painful as it stands, hence I began to look into eGPUs, in hopes of this salvaging my Mac Mini for a few more years, as it's a perfectly good machine otherwise.

    Any insights appreciated. Thanks so much.

  23. I have a mac mini late 2014 thunderbolt 2 model with a bootcamp installation of Window 10. Will the eGPU system also accelerate the graphics for Windows??

  24. Hello I have disabled SIP but after the purge wrangler script all I get back is "Unsupported/Invalid version of Thunderbolt detected." any recommendation on what would fix this?

  25. Amazing video thank you very much, this has swayed me to getting one, as I love my after effects and fcp but I need more video power.
    One thing you said about taking the hdmi out confuses me. Do you connect an hdmi from the egpu to the tv. As that is how my Mac mini is connected.

    Though I also want to know if I get the Luma display that streams my Mac to my new iPad Pro, will this work as well with the egpu or will it be too much for my poor little mini Mac 🙂

  26. After using this script for a few weeks, if you’re using Resolve to do cinematic color grading, I highly recommend NOT using this script.

    The performance gains aren’t worth it and I can’t figure out how to uninstall. Now my onboard Nvidia drivers won’t come back on, my HDMI port is disabled, and the computer is no longer functioning correctly (black screen) even after following the uninstall prompts. Bummer.

    2015 MacBook Pro 15 inch… any help would be greatly appreciate.

  27. Hi Eevnos,

    I’ve made a follow along tutorial for Purge Wrangler. Let me know if you’re interested in a collaboration or video together!

    https://youtu.be/VjaBSviiIXY

  28. @Eevnos
    Great thanks for your video. Work excellent on my Mac mini 2012 i7, AMD XFX RX Vega 64 and Akitio Node. Used the apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter, apple Thunderbolt cable. It doesn't work at first but after applied force to plug the Thunderbolt cable at the back of Mac mini again. It works perfectly! Fantastic!

  29. I am following your steps but using a Razer Core X enclosure with a Radeon RX580. every time I plug in the eGPU, my laptop screen goes black and says it rebooted due to an error… It doesnt allow Purge to finish the setup… any ideas?

  30. So if I do this on an iMac does that mean I need a separate displayor can I just leave it plugged into the iMac via thunderbolt and still get that performance from the graphics card

  31. Great video! I have a 2012 mac mini and am having problems video editing through FCP. I am thinking of upgrading the ram, and using the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck Radeon RX 570. Will your advice work for me to use that slightly different GPU with my older mac mini (late 2012)?

  32. Hello. Im looking at buying the Razer Core X Chroma with Saphire Radeon 64, With the adapters for thunderbolt 2 on my MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014), do you think it could work?

  33. I don't know why but afeter a few hours I turned off my macbook pro and when I wanted to restart it it stays in the loading screen, I don't know if it was the script but there's always that risk with this things….

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