Targeting editors, VFX artists and colorists — especially users of DaVinci Resolve and its all-in-one toolkit — Blackmagic Design said it has started shipping the Blackmagic eGPU, an external graphics processor for MacBook Pros designed in collaboration with (and available exclusively through) Apple.
The eGPU is a freestanding extruded aluminum enclosure for an included Radeon Pro 580 GPU — the same GPU included in Apple’s high-end 27-inch iMac last year — with Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.1 connectivity. Need more graphics power? Resolve can take advantage of multiple Blackmagic eGPUs, though each one should be connected directly to the computer, not daisy-chained. And Blackmagic said it’s the first eGPU capable of supporting Thunderbolt 3 displays.
“The Blackmagic eGPU is the world’s first eGPU designed specifically for accelerating professional video workflows with DaVinci Resolve,” said Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty in a prepared statement. “It also adds the performance customers need for truly immersive, more realistic looking 3D game and VR experiences. Best of all, the Blackmagic eGPU gives you desktop=class graphics performance on a laptop computer.”
The Blackmagic eGPU’s Radeon Pro 580 has 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM and supports Apple’s Metal 3D-accelerated graphics framework. It also works as a docking hub for keyboards, mice, HDMI-connected displays or storage. The power supply provides an additional 85W of power via Thunderbolt 3 for charging or powering attached devices.
Blackmagic said the eGPU is designed to maximize airflow and heat dissipation, meaning it can run as quiet as 18 dB, depending on how fast its variable-speed fan is spinning. But that also means it’s not user upgradeable, so you won’t be able to change out the GPU in the future.
Blackmagic’s eGPU will work with Thunderbolt 3-based Apple computers running MacOS 10.13.5 or later, including MacBook Pro computers from 2016 and later, the 2017 iMac and the iMac Pro. It will not work via Thunderbolt 2.
As far as Windows goes, well, stay tuned. Blackmagic cited unspecified compatibility issues that will keep the eGPU from being used with Windows, though they company added, “We expect these limitations to be fixed in future updates from Windows computer vendors.”
The Blackmagic eGPU is now shipping for $699 from the Apple store and “selected” Apple retail outlets. Technical support will be provided through Blackmagic.