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An Exclusive Device Mac mini + Nvidia RTX 2080 Review

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Let’s just be real the 2018 Mac Mini plus a GeForce r tx 2080. That seems like a very odd it is but if you already own a 2018 Mac Mini and you don’t want to buy a dedicated gaming machine then this combination is pretty interesting. Okay, so let’s get started here is the GeForce r tx 2080. From a VGA special shout out to our friends over at EA VGA for providing this card for testing purposes. Appreciate that. As you can see I got a little bit ahead of myself there already had the card taken out of the box because I was just so excited to try this out, so this card has three DisplayPort attached you have an HDMI connection and USB type C Port.

 So plenty of i o there. Here’s the of the car, the backplate. Here is the top of the card. So we’re going to pair this a VGA GeForce r tx 2080 with the Mac Mini, we’re going to join them together and make this thing work in a Windows environment. But first, we need to place the card in an external graphics chassis with Thunderbolt 3 chose the Razer Core x because it’s large enough to accommodate the three slot wide. RT x 2080 is not really large enough, but it’s forgiving enough, I guess I should say that it’s forgiving enough to where it can fit in. Okay, and I can still access the IO.

 So there we go. All of the other external graphics chasse ease that I have access to the akitio node pro the sonnet II graphics breakaway box would not accommodate this card at all. Like I said it is a fit, but you can see, you can still access all the pertinent IO on the of the card. the Mac Mini and the display connection. So I have the LG ultra wide 5k 2k display attached directly to the Mac Mini with an HDMI cable you need to do this you need to bypass that egpu because Mac OS Mojave does not support Nvidia GPUs at all. So you won’t even be able to see your max display if you try to connect through that egpu. So you need that direct connection from your Mac Mini. And you can find that link here. And you can find a link down below in the description. I will say that Apple does not officially support egpus in Windows boot camp environments. But what we found is that egpus work in boot camp on a 2018 Mac Mini. Of course Apple could change this at time at their own discretion.

But why using egpu Anyway, why not just use the graphics card in the Mac Mini? Well, here’s why. Yeah, it’s horrible. That’s why the graphics card the integrated graphics in the 2018. Mac Mini is pathetic. And that’s the reason you’re going to definitely need an E GPU if you want to do Windows gaming on your Mac Mini because it’s using the Intel HD Graphics 630 integrated GPU, which is just abysmal in performance, but that’s why I was so high on the 2018 Mac Mini in our review, because of the Thunderbolt three IO. It allows you to connect with a single cable to an external graphics chassis, like the Razer Core x with that RT x 2080.

 And bypass that horrible integrated GPU. So you can have much better performance by connecting to an external graphics box like this with a single cable, just like that, so when I fire it up, there we go. And now the GPU in the chassis. Let’s get an up close and personal look at it. There we go.

The E VGA g force, want to see GTX RT x 2080. Inside there, looking nice. Alright, windows recognize that we’ve connected a new display adapter it’s going to go through, it’s going to try to install all the drivers grab all the drivers to download those. So what we can do, we can go to Device Manager and open up Windows update and you can see where it is found the Nvidia GPU in and it’s downloading the necessary display drivers there. Now we’re still going to need to go out and download the updated drivers from Nvidia’s website but you can just let windows do its thing here. If you look at Device Manager, NVIDIA GeForce art tx 2080 now is going to ask us to restart but what I like to do is I like to just shut down and then disconnect the HDMI cable and connect the display Port cable.

And then we’re going to connect the display Port cable to our display remove the HDMI cable. So again, we’re bypassing the Mac minis integrated graphics and using the external graphics. So we need to change our display to display Port for the input. And there we go. Now we’re good to go. Now it’s time to boot up our Mac Mini powered by that Nvidia r tx 2080 GPU. Let’s see what happens. This display is a little little finicky at times. But I find if I wait a second, there we go. We’re almost there. Here we go. All right. So here we are with our Mac Mini driven by that RT x 2080. Now we of course want to verify that that is the Case. I would hope so since we disconnected that HDMI cable. But here we go just to make us feel good.

 We have that NVIDIA GeForce r tx 2080 under Device Manager, no exclamation Points or question marks of that, then we want to go out to Nvidia’s website, download the latest drivers we’re going to select GeForce the RT x 20 series and we have the we don’t have that ti Wish we have the TI but we have the 2018 we’re going to search for downloaded. All right in, I’ll speed through a fate of the tutorial because you know, it takes a while to download things and install drivers and stuff like that. So I’m going to show it to you. But, we have sped this up quite a bit to get through it quickly possible. I’m going to choose Nvidia graphics driver did detect the GPU so when select express in the next, so now I’m really going to speed this up because I’m tired of waiting, and you guys probably are. So is done.

I ahve restarted in here we are in immediately, you can tell there’s a big difference in performance just by looking at the frame of this heaven benchmark. Not only that, but it’s running at 3440 by 1440. So much higher than the original resolution that I had it set at. And it’s still getting close to 90 frames per second on average. In two times anti aliasing, similar performance can be noted on the unigine. Valley benchmark , we’re using ultra quality settings in 3440 by 1440 resolution. And you can see a super smooth 92 frames per second on average.

So this is painting a pretty good photo of what games may be like we start running them on this externally souped up 2018 Mac Mini that would otherwise not even be able to even step in the direction of this type of performance without that external GPU. Now here’s another potential problem, this Mac Mini doesn’t have a lot of storage space. So what I’ve done is I’ve attached this one terabyte SSD that has faster storage Thunderbolt three than the internal storage in the Mac Mini.

 Now this machine has four Thunderbolt three ports, with two ports per Thunderbolt three bus. So you have bus zero, these two ports on the left in buss one the two ports on the right, so you want to make sure you don’t connect to the same bus that your egpu is related to. So I want to use those right two ports when connecting this external storage that’s going to provide you with the best performance in the least amount of potential issues. All right, so we have that external storage attached. Like I said, this external SSD is faster than the Base amount of storage in the 2018 Mac Mini, which is only 128 gigabytes. So not enough space to store large games and things of that nature, especially when you think that you already have Mac OS installed there. So what I’m doing here in steam, you can set your library to use an external drive.

 And I’m using that one terabyte SSD that we attached. So that’s where I’m saving all my game downloads, and I make sure that I have past performance for those. Now I’m connecting an Xbox controller Xbox wireless controller. So you just turn that on click Add Device and then click. And it’s paired like that. super simple, super easy. So what do we have now? We have a bonafide windows gaming machine, just like that. So let’s go ahead and test Rocket League first because we’re running this at 5120 by 2160 native resolution of this LG ultra wide 5k 2k display. Yes again, we’re running this game at 5120 By 2160 with the highest settings, and you can see, it’s silky smooth. Now I’m not naive. I know Rocket League isn’t the demanding gaming title out there.

But the sheer amount of resolution is nonetheless impressive when you think you are getting at the ultra, or the highest settings with rocket Li here. So I was super impressed by that. I don’t know about you guys, what do you guys think thumbs up if you’re impressed. But let’s talk about a demand like Forza Horizon four, this is running at 3440 by 1440. ultra settings. And you can see it plays. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely playable and would only get better you drop the resolution down a little bit. But even with such a high resolution, and even with those high settings configured the game, you can see, it’s still very, very much playable. And I was impressed by this. I don’t know about you guys. But I was impressed.

Again, this is a Mac Mini a 2018 Mac Mini. And you can see 60 frames per second. And it’s hovering around middle 50s to 60. Somewhere around. You can see here the results 54 frames per second average. Pretty good pending the configuration is Project CARS to a title known for demanding. Definitely not smooth but still playable 3440 by 1440 at high settings, you’d have to play around with the settings here to get this just right. And then last but not least, you have arc and this title was without a difficulty the most challenging to get working smoothly. While still looking Okay, probably would have benefited to drop the settings down one more notch or drop the resolution to make it a little bit smoother. But, I was impressed by the Mac minis performance. So we’ll conclude with these echoing in my Mac mini review. This is the Versatile Mac that Apple has in its repertoire. It is not a gaming machine.

Let’s be clear, but it can perform a Windows gaming machine and a very competent one. As you saw. To be clear, I would not buy a 2018 Mac Mini with gaming in mind. However, if you already own a 2018 Mac Mini for Mac OS and you want to get more out of it, then why not? Let me know what you think down below in the comments.

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