eGPU and Mac crypto mining

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SteveW928
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eGPU and Mac crypto mining

Post by SteveW928 »

I have a 2018 Mac mini (6-core i7) with a Blackmagic eGPU (AMD RX580).

So far, I've been completely unsuccessful getting anything mining on it. I've tried several of the apps and several command line miners, but nothing seems to be able to see the eGPU. I've also tried Parallels/Windows, and like your articles note, that doesn't work either.

What brought me to this site via search was the following article:
*macOS Cryptocurrency Software Miner List 2021*
where it says:
"At this time, you can only use NHOS (Nicehash OS) to mine from eGPUs on Apple Macs."

Well, I've tried that too, with no luck. I can't get my Mac to boot from the flash drive (which I've tried making a few different ways), and for which Nicehash support/forum seems to have no ideas either. What I can't discern is if anyone is actually doing this, or if it should work 'in theory'. I've run across lots of people saying eGPUs should work, but this was the first line I've run across that seems to indicated it has been done.

I turned off the boot protection and the methods seem in line with other articles I've read about creating a bootable USB flash drive (ie. Ubuntu instructions, etc.), but I just (after picking the EFI Boot) end up on a black screen with some white text... like about 2 paragraphs worth that doesn't make any sense and it just sits there (it doesn't look like it has anything to do with NHOS, and I tried TinyCore unix directly and same screen.

I'd *love* to get my eGPU mining away, especially if it could somehow be done while I'm running MacOS. But, that seems unlikely, so I'm down the path of Linux boot like NHOS (which I could run overnight plus some other times). I'll also consider BootCamp, though I'm not 100% sure that would actually work either, as the eGPU aspect seems iffy even on Windows.

Any ideas? Thanks!
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macminergod
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Re: eGPU and Mac crypto mining

Post by macminergod »

eGPU's do work. Please paste or copy the output of the messages you are getting after choosing the boot. Does it look like it want's input?
While I haven't tested NiceOS on Mac, it should work. Would like to get a guide here for this setup.

Also I've seen online a few using eGPU's with BootCamp and NiceHash. I did this with my RX a couple years ago. Here's a link for how to configure it https://becomethesolution.com/blogs/mac ... -pure-egpu
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SteveW928
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Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:43 am
Location: Victoria, BC

Re: eGPU and Mac crypto mining

Post by SteveW928 »

I'll try to boot again tomorrow and take a photo. No, it doesn't allow any input, it's just froze.
Yeah, I figured it should work, but for some reason, it just won't boot. I was expecting maybe it wouldn't see the eGPU as being the issue I'd have to solve, but instead, I never even made it that far.

So... I decided to try the BootCamp route. I went and bought a 500 GB Samsung T7 SSD, and then proceeded to spend a couple days trying to get it going, with little luck either. I'm running Mojave yet, so I'm not sure I can follow all the instructions in that link. I tried a number of threads and techniques I found on egpu.io but nothing has worked so far. That said, I was running current windows, not 1903 or 1909, etc. (Tonight, I tried swapping the pci.sys and now I can't get back into Windows at all, it just freezes (so I'll have to create a boot thumb drive or something, or just start over.)

It's becoming quiet the little project, but I appreciate the resources. I sure wish there were a way *while* MacOS was running! But, I think I'll eventually get the BootCamp worked out, and can use that for some gaming as well once I get it going. I had it working back in early 2019 for some Revit courses I took, and it worked fine until one day Windows forced an update. Luckily, I had pulled a Parallels VM copy a few weeks earlier, so I ended up deleting the BootCamp partition and just using Parallels.

What's crazy is the forums are full of Windows laptop users having issues as well, so it isn't just a Mac thing. I can't believe Microsoft messed it up like this. Getting it going back on 1809 (I think) my first time was tricky, but relatively straight forward. This time, I actually thought it was going to go better during the install, as it showed up, took the drivers, etc. It just won't boot! Lot of fun (not). :lol:
SteveW928
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Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:43 am
Location: Victoria, BC

Re: eGPU and Mac crypto mining

Post by SteveW928 »

Here's a screenshot of the NiceHash OS boot attempt...
It just sits forever like this, doesn't allow any interaction, etc.
NHOS Boot Issue
NHOS Boot Issue (185.68 KiB) Viewed 2456 times
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macminergod
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Re: eGPU and Mac crypto mining

Post by macminergod »

Thanks, not sure but based on the failures it would seem something isn't starting right. I have a Mini and will try the same on it and let you know where I get. This week.
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macminergod
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Re: eGPU and Mac crypto mining

Post by macminergod »

I tried NiceHash OS on my Mac Mini Intel (2018) and MacBook Pro 16" (2019) running macOS Catalina 10.15.7 and I'm getting the same results as you, see below. I updated to the latest Nice Hash OS available as of this post. I also will try on my MacBook Air M1, which has a harder time booting from USB or external drive since macOS Big Sur. It looks like you get a bash prompt, but I can't input anything. I am not sure if the hardware is unsupported or if it's in fact looking for an eGPU. Based on the messages, it may also be due to a failed wifi network - wl_ioctl: dhd_wl_ioctl_cmd failed however I never saw the devices connect to my WiFi. Also, I disabled Secure Boot (No Security) and Allowed: allow booting from external or removable media. Hopefully can get some more time coming weeks to troubleshoot more.

I'd suggest you:

1. Verify your WiFi network SSID is correct
2. Try connecting your eGPU if you didn't already, I don't have one to test with right now.



NiceHash OS Mac Mini (2018) Intel:

Nicehash Os Mac Mini Boot Up
Nicehash Os Mac Mini Boot Up (265.29 KiB) Viewed 2430 times
dhd_bus_dump_dar_registers: DAR not supported for corev(16) < 24
dhd_but_hostready: Ring Hostready:1
Attach flowrings pool for 40 rings
dhd_send_d2h_ringcreate ringid: 3 idx: 46 max_h2h: 43
dhd_bus_handle_mb_data: Failed to send DS-ACK, host_active_cnt is 1
dhd_prot_process_d2h_ring_create_complete ring create Response status = 0 ring 3, id 0xffc
info buffer post after ring create
wl_ioctl: dhd_wl_ioctl_cmd failed. cmd 263, ret -14 ifdx = 0
wl_iovar wlIoctl failed. name sky_override, ret -14
dhd_bus_start_phase2: SKU override fails, err=-14

wlc_ver_major 5, wlc_ver_minor 0dhd_sync_with_dongle: GET_REVINFO device 0x4464, vendor 0x14e4, chipnum 0x4364
dhd_sync_with_dingle: GET RxBuf post FAILED, use default 1920
Firmware version = w10: Mar 4 2020 14:54:35 version 9.30.397.0.32.5.48 FWID 01-600a4e75

Release FW, Set PM=2 mpc=1
wl_ioctl: dhd_wl_ioctl failed. cmd 262, ret -23 ifdx = 0
wl_iovar wlIoctl failed. name event_log_max_setsL 29 err: -23
dhd_preinit_ioctls: event_log_max_sets: 29 err: -23
dhd_preinit_ioctls: Disabled Rx A-MSDU
dhd_rx_event: scan complete




NiceHash OS MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) Intel:

Nicehash Os Macbook Pro 16 Boot Up
Nicehash Os Macbook Pro 16 Boot Up (244.16 KiB) Viewed 2430 times

dhd_bus_hostready : Read PCICMD Reg: 0x00100006
dhd_bus_dump_dar_registers: DAR not supported for corev(16) < 24
dhd_but_hostready: Ring Hostready:1
Attach flowrings pool for 40 rings
dhd_send_d2h_ringcreate ringid: 3 idx: 46 max_h2h: 43
dhd_bus_handle_mb_data: Failed to send DS-ACK, host_active_cnt is 1
dhd_prot_process_d2h_ring_create_complete ring create Response status = 0 ring 3, id 0xffc
info buffer post after ring create
wl_ioctl: dhd_wl_ioctl_cmd failed. cmd 263, ret -14 ifdx = 0
wl_iovar wlIoctl failed. name sky_override, ret -14
dhd_bus_start_phase2: SKU override fails, err=-14

wlc_ver_major 5, wlc_ver_minor 0dhd_sync_with_dongle: GET_REVINFO device 0x4464, vendor 0x14e4, chipnum 0x4364
dhd_sync_with_dingle: GET RxBuf post FAILED, use default 1920
Firmware version = w10: Mar 4 2020 15:02:03 version 9.30.397.0.32.5.48 FWID 01-9a3af6ee

Release FW, Set PM=2 mpc=1
wl_ioctl: dhd_wl_ioctl failed. cmd 262, ret -23 ifdx = 0
wl_iovar wlIoctl failed. name event_log_max_setsL 29 err: -23
dhd_preinit_ioctls: event_log_max_sets: 29 err: -23
dhd_preinit_ioctls: Disabled Rx A-MSDU
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SteveW928
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Location: Victoria, BC

Re: eGPU and Mac crypto mining

Post by SteveW928 »

Thanks for giving it a try and confirming it isn't just me/my setup. I also had both boot protections disabled. I'm connected to Ethernet, but I'm not sure how it would have all the appropriate drivers. Maybe that mini/minimal type Unix has all the basic drivers? I'm just a bit surprised in how it got stuck. I was expecting it to get a bit further than that.
SteveW928
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Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:43 am
Location: Victoria, BC

Re: eGPU and Mac crypto mining

Post by SteveW928 »

Just to update the thread... I finally got my Mac and eGPU mining, but running Windows via Bootcamp.

I probably spent 30-40 hours trying before success (and MANY installs!). I ended up going back to Windows 10 1809 (which I originally had running years back).

This might be specific to my eGPU (Blackmagic eGPU) as others seem to have gotten newer versions of Windows running with the same GPU (AMD RX580) in eGPU cases. But, those are 'off the shelf' GPUs just running via Thunderbolt. My understanding is the AMD card used in the Blackmagic is custom and based on the RX580, but probably falls under some non-standard category when it comes to the installer software detecting it (especially with some odd Windows changes post-1809).

Anything newer than 1809, and I'm dealing with Error 12 (which has to do with interrupts and memory addresses and failure of Windows to allocate them, etc... I feel like I'm back in the late 1980s!). I wasn't able to resolve that with any of the threads on egpu.io site (as others were). So, I decided to give it a final try with 1809, and it pretty much just booted, even more easily than I remember back in 2018.

One trick, is that it doesn't show up in Windows, until a driver is installed (which I think might be a good thing). I basically installed 1809 via Bootcamp with the eGPU NOT connected (HDMI into the port on the mini). I then ran DDU (which uninstalls any GPU drivers) via safe mode 2x and then a final time with restart.

Once that was up and running, I hot-plugged the eGPU. Then I installed BootCampDrivers modded drivers**, which seem to install no matter if the GPU can be 'seen' or properly detected, or not. (The AMD drivers always fail with some error, as they 'see' the card and can't detect it properly, or can't see it, etc.).

** The key here, for me, is to run just the driver install, not the whole package (which seems to fail). I did this by:
Packages -> Drivers -> Display -> WT6A_INF -> right-click the .inf file. The name varies depending on version. (it will take a while and eventually you'll get a dialog asking if you'd like to install... then after a while again, you'll get a 'success' message, both of which might appear behind other windows if you leave them open... they did for me, which made me think it wasn't doing anything... be patient and look!)

Then, instead of a restart, do a shut-down. Switch the HDMI from the mini to the Blackmagic (or eGPU). Then start up. It might do some stuff, make Windows 'detection' noises, etc. and could take between like 2 to 5 minutes. Again, be patient! But, the Windows screen should appear. If not (again, after like 5+ minutes), power down the mini (press, hold, the power button) and try again. (back in late 2018, I had to do this like 3x, but now, it worked the first time... and I re-tried this process a couple of times with different driver versions)

Then (and this is important, as you're probably excited now that you have a working system), run the BootCampDrivers installer again and install the rest of the package (w/o the default factory reset!). You want it to just install the rest of the stuff we skipped when we picked that .inf file above (which I assume only installed the driver). If you don't do this, your eGPU/GPU will work, but can act really funky. (For example, mine would randomly just spin-up the fans to max for no good reason, and who knows what else it was doing wrong.)

Anyway, I'm now experimenting with mining. I've figured out the trick of putting the AMD eGPU into 'compute mode', which raised my Ethereum mining from like 6 MH/s to around 22 MH/s (which still seems low, but I've done no other optimization). The other thing that threw me initially, is that I wasn't seeing any GPU activity in the monitor. But, turns out Ethereum mining pretty much only uses the RAM, not the GPU-cores. (You can actually run a dual-miner which *also* runs another GPU-core intensive coin alongside Ethereum. I haven't tried this yet... and I guess it only ads some fairly small % income increase after the increased power consumption, but I might experiment at some point.)

Anyway, hope this helps someone out there. I'd still *really* like to mine *while* running MacOS, but we'll probably not see that until we get a miner optimized for the new Apple Silicon Macs, assuming that ever happens. When we get the more powerful models and an optimized miner, I'm guessing Mac-mining could become a pretty real thing for some reasonable income (hopefully that wouldn't make Mac prices do what GPU prices have done :lol: ).
SteveW928
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Re: eGPU and Mac crypto mining

Post by SteveW928 »

Oh, I should also note that I resisted re-trying Windows 10 1809 for a long time, as Microsoft isn't updating it any longer, and I was led to believe a number of things weren't going to run on it. But, to my surprise, the mining stuff all runs, Minecraft installs and runs (from the Windows store), etc. so I'm pretty happy just staying here for now. I've disabled updates (using GPEdit) which is what killed my initial setup (a forced Windows update).

I need to find a good utility to move/reinstall Windows 'clones' (like I have on MacOS with SuperDuper!) and then I can experiment a bit with moving my install to that external SSD (I had no luck with that, but haven't tried it with 1809 yet). My understanding is that using that external SSD introduces more challenges, and with all the trouble I was having, I didn't need MORE challenges.

I'd like to get onto a newer version of Windows, but I'm not sure if that is possible, at least for now. I'll keep trying (once I get the capability to non-destructively experiment) with each new Windows release, in hopes. (I haven't tried 21H1 yet, for example, but haven't heard an increase in success stories either.)

My experimenting also confirms what I'd long thought, that (at least with my hardware) this is 100% a Microsoft problem. I've been able to run different version of the AMD driver, and my MacOS has been the same all along (Mojave in my case, as I'm not upgrading yet... which *might* help me run with newer Windows). There is something different between Windows 1809 and newer that is hostile to eGPUs like mine. And, from reading thousands of threads over at egpu.io, it seems post-1903, a lot more eGPUs don't work properly (that did in the past). Whatever Microsoft did, I hope they eventually fix it, but given it has now been YEARS, don't hold your breath!
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macminergod
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Re: eGPU and Mac crypto mining

Post by macminergod »

Thanks for the incredible write up Steve. Any chance you could attach some screenshots with your eGPU connected and working in Windows along with your crypto mining results from the apps? That would be great if you could when you get time
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