Mac Users Get a Boost of Speed with New Blackmagic eGPU

July 12, 2018 - By 

Get up to 8-times faster graphics performance on MacBook Pros with the new eGPU from Blackmagic Design.

Apple has been struggling to meet the demands on 3D artists and post-production professionals for quite a few years now. As you’ve increasingly heard the debate on this site on the benefits of switching to PC, the truth is many motion designers (especially freelancers) are still using Macs.

Now that debate will continue, but there is some good news for Mac users with the announcement of a new external GPU. Apple teamed up with Blackmagic Design (makers of Fusion, Resolve, URSA Mini, and countless other video production tools) to create an eGPU for increased processing speeds.

Image via Blackmagic.

The new eGPU is available now for $699 exclusively through Apple.

eGPU Specs:

  •  GPU – Radeon Pro 580
  • 8GB Memory
  • Compatible with OS X 10.13.5+
  • 2x Thunderbolt 3
  • 4x USB 3.1
  • 1x HDMI 2.0

Now given that this is an official Apple release, there are caveats, the big one being no support of NVIDIA GPUs. This is an all-in-one eGPU, so you can’t swap out the cards, and it’ll be tougher to upgrade going forward.

That said, this is a significant boost of much-needed speed for Mac users. Apple claims 2.8x faster graphics performance on the 15-inch MacBook Pro and up to 8x faster on the 13-inch.

You can read more about the Blackmagic eGPU here, or order one on Apple’s website.

Posted In:  News
19  comments
19 Comments
  • Would this use the computer’s internal gPUs to increase rendering speed, or could multiple eGPUs be attached / utilized by one system? Thanks for sharing!

    • That would depend on what sort of rendering you’re doing. The eGPU featured in this article only supports Radeon cards which are NOT supported by Octane, Redshift, or any other Nvidia dependant engines.

  • Alexander Safonov July 12, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    yeah I wonder if you could connect 2 of these and therefore get twice as much added graphics processing.

  • I am wondering, while you still can’t address an opencl gpu render software, who will use it for which softwate?
    Garbish attempt imo. 🙁

  • Unfortunately, MAC now let you pay more and more to start rendering!

    Unless all PC even Laptop the cheapest one comes with 1080 Tx GPU.

    I think This is a problem for MAC users in the future.

  • Awwww that’s cute.
    It’s a shame it’s useless to most people.
    The majority of 3d renderers can’t take advantage of it since it’s not CUDA, and OSX is binning OpenCL support.
    Davinci Resolve is the only application I can see for this. And who’s grading on a Macbook anyway?!
    I love Blackmagic Design and what they do but this could have been so much more!

  • It’s certainly nice… but yes, all of us over at egpu.io are still hopeful for official Nvidia support in some form…which is purely down to Apple… take a look if you haven’t already as there are some working solutions already for eGPU with NVidia….

  • Useless. Again Apple fails to recognise their (best) customers’ needs…
    It’s like Disney and Star Wars.
    They completely ignore their customers/fans, the people who made them what they are now. It’s so disappointing to witness. All these great companies fail after fail. Instead of providing a decent card inside your macbook, which should be upgradeable, they keep selling this crap. No Octane, No Redshift, then why buy it anyway? And don’t get me started about those power faillures on iMac, I have 2 Retina iMacs, BOTH after the warranty expired…yes. Power faillure. I have 2 Retina iMacs, BOTH!! Screen retention… WTF.
    I’m so happy with my custom build PC now.
    Those iMacs…expensive Netflix machines.

  • It’s not meant for 3D rendering.
    Sadly non of the eGPU support in MacOS really is or they would grow a pair and, to really serve all their customers, support NVIDIA as well.
    Blackmagic is a video company and DaVinci is already supporting Apples Metal. Apple itself is pushing hard on their pro software – Final Cut Pro X – where those GPUs are immensly beneficial to performance.

  • So would this increase Premiere render speeds? Or is it software specific?

  • “So would this increase Premiere render speeds? Or is it software specific?”

    Yes, very likely. Premiere and Media Encoder both.

  • Probably three times as expensive as any other external GPU solution.
    I bet Apple makes it happen, that this simple GPU addition will be a closed system like any other way too expensive trash they produce.

  • Yes. Adobe software can utilize AMD cards.

  • If the next iteration of pro render in R20 is advanced enough for production, then this Egpu might prove beneficial to some of us.

  • “If the next iteration of pro render in R20 is advanced enough for production, then this Egpu might prove beneficial to some of us.”

    well.. that’s the thing.. I have the feeling ProRender was implemented into Cinema mainly because it is not dependent on AMD or NVIDIA Hardware and it uses openCL which runs on all platforms on all GPUs. (allthough apparently better on AMDs cards)

    At WWDC Apple announced they would stop development on the openCL and openGL implementation in MacOS. They will focus on Metal, their own propriatary thing.

    Being MAXON I would be mad because they were betting on openCL to support their mac user base and now this.

    We will see how this turns out. I am on a windows machine right now but would love to go back to a mac for my main driver. And a new mac pro is coming out next year. I just feel like now the hardware is on the horizon the software will stop working…

  • I am very much interested in there being competition for GPU standards. However, this new split between CUDA on Windows and Linux and AMD on OSX is not what I mean. I abandoned Macs about three years ago and nothing to date has made me reconsider. I still use an iPad Pro and Iphone – Apple still seems to care about this customer base – but as far as 3D and yes, even video, are concerned I’m probably gone for good. If you only do video then this box looks fine, with a few annoying caveats (no CUDA plug-ins etc), but anyone who wants to do 3D is left out in the cold again. Well done to Blackmagic for creating this but my disappointment at finding out the box is only AMD was bitter because I’ve been burned so many times by Apple and their platform since 2013. I hope there’s some truth to the comment that Blackmagic is looking at CUDA, and if this comes to fruition (if!) then I may look again when speccing platforms for clients – but as I said, personally – I’m gone.

  • It sounds that this eGPU would NOT even support Apple’s own Metal Ray Tracing or Compute / Machine Learning coming to macOS soon. Just graphics the old way.

  • I don’t get this move, so happy to see external GFX, but really? Radeon?

  • Apple died when jobs did.
    All these funny “Ivy” attempts are ridicule without him.
    Time to face the music and buy a PC laptop again.

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