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Blackmagic Design Releases $699 eGPU for New MacBook Pros

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Apple's updated MacBook Pros haven't been released into the world all on their lonesome. The machines are accompanied by a new external GPU (eGPU) from Blackmagic Design, which makes hardware and software for creative professionals, to make sure they can handle GPU-intensive tasks.

The simply named Blackmagic eGPU costs $699 and comes equipped with Radeon Pro 580 graphics clocked at 1,200MHz. (AMD introduced the Radeon Pro 500 series in 2017 specifically for use in Apple products.) Blackmagic said the Radeon Pro 580 is equipped with 8GB of memory, a 256-bit memory bus width and a memory bandwidth of 217GB/s. That should be fine for photo and video editing, as well as gaming at 1080p.

The Blackmagic eGPU also boasts all the ports you'd expect. It has two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports with 85W host charging capabilities, four USB Type-A ports and one HDMI 2.0 port that supports 4K Ultra HD and 4K DCI resolutions at up to 60 fps, so you can hook up two additional displays if you'd like. The Blackmagic eGPU also features an internal 100 - 240V AC, 50/60Hz PSU with 315W power usage.

You'll need to have macOS High Sierra installed to use the Blackmagic eGPU. That's because High Sierra is the first version of macOS to support eGPUs; they weren't officially supported until that operating system was released in mid-2017. (Fitting that Apple only let people use eGPUs as soon as it started incorporating modern GPUs in its products, rather than forcing wannabe gamers to use Intel CPUs' integrated graphics.)

The Blackmagic eGPU is available exclusively through Apple's website and retail stores. It is shipping now, with in-store availability seemingly starting on July 16. The eGPU also comes with a 0.5m Thunderbolt 3 cable and is covered by a limited, one-year manufacturer's warranty.

  • dextermat
    One more dongle. Thanks!
    Reply
  • zodiacfml
    Quite surprising. Blackmagic is a Pro camera manufacturer, focusing on video.
    I don't see why a Macbook would need a more powerful discrete GPU for video work.
    Reply
  • redgarl
    Phhhh... 700$ for a RX580.... I guess that Apple users really do pay the stupid tax.
    Reply
  • velocityg4
    21135724 said:
    Quite surprising. Blackmagic is a Pro camera manufacturer, focusing on video.
    I don't see why a Macbook would need a more powerful discrete GPU for video work.

    I believe Apple has a lot of GPU integration in Final Cut and other apps via Metal 2.
    Reply
  • toadhammer
    2 thunderbolt ports is a pleasant surprise, and usually hard to find.
    Reply
  • Ken Snyder
    But correct me if i'm wrong but 2 is not enough is it? I mean 2 really means 1. One to connect it to your computer and one to do something else. It's basically just a passthrough. Also wondering for those of us driving 3 monitors (built-in and two external), is there no benefit to both monitors being plugged into the eGPU? Maybe that's not important but I'd have thought it would help.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    21135743 said:
    Phhhh... 700$ for a RX580.... I guess that Apple users really do pay the stupid tax.

    That's actually an RX580 Pro (not sure what the difference is), although yeah that does seem quite a bit steep for that.
    Reply
  • JonDol
    There are better eGPUs out there that come with a more powerful PSU, not necessarily bundled with a graphic card (which also means easy upgrade) and are not limited to one product only as the MacBookss here.
    Reply
  • Stephen_144
    Why not add an HDMI 2.1 compatible controller chip? This type of device can remain in operation for several laptops and desktops thus has a longer lifespan. In ~6months everything but HDMI 2.1 will be blah.
    Reply
  • genz
    21135724 said:
    Quite surprising. Blackmagic is a Pro camera manufacturer, focusing on video.
    I don't see why a Macbook would need a more powerful discrete GPU for video work.

    Because frankly, it's GPU performance is abysmal in 2018. Have you ever even contemplated how it would be to use Blackmagic RAW 4K footage on even a maxed out MBP?

    This is for the CUDA and openCL compute. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a headless unit with no Video outs, really.
    Reply