Developed in collaboration with Apple, this high-performance graphics processor was designed to enhance pro creative software for video editing, 3D gaming and VR on-set and in the studio.
For improved graphics performance and accelerated computing tasks when using Metal, OpenGL and OpenCL applications such as Final Cut X, Photoshop, Autodesk Maya and many more, the eGPU external graphics processor from Blackmagic Design surrounds a Radeon Pro 580 graphics processor with a single piece of extruded aluminum and anodized exterior shell.
Available exclusively via Apple at $699, the Blackmagic eGPU has been designed in collaboration with Apple to match the design of MacBook Pros. Compatible with 10.13.6 High Sierra or later operating systems, the Blackmagic eGPU is centered around the same Radeon Pro model as found in the found in the high end 2017 model of 27" iMac.
Just like the 27" iMac, it utilizes Apple’s latest Metal graphics technology for fast-access pipelines to processing. On the right rear, “ergonomically spaced” ins and outs are placed, including two Thunderbolt 3 ports.
A single Thunderbolt 3 cable will run 85W of power from the Blackmagic eGPU alongside 40Gb/s data to and from a connected laptop. Blackmagic says the eGPU is the first graphics processor compatible with Thunderbolt 3 displays, which are just starting to proliferate in the consumer sector, like the $1,299 Thunderbolt 3 LG Ultrafine 5K.
Supporting up to 38.4 billion textured pixels per second, the Blackmagic eGPU is also capable of outputting through LAN and HDMI at up to UHD and 4K DCI in 60fps. Two displays can be run together from the unit by using HDMI or USB-C.
On the left rear, there is a 4-port USB hub running 1.5A each for charging and running peripherals like monitors, keyboards, mouse and other external drives.
Providing up to 32 raster operational pipelines and 5.5 teraflops of processing power for effects and color corrections, internals offer 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, base clocking at 1200MHz, memory clocking at 1693MHz, 256-bit memory bus width, and memory bandwidth of 217 GB/s, as well as 36 seperate compute units for multi-processor streaming.
The thermal grill design is provided to assist the variable-speed fan in running more slowly at operation levels as low as 18dB, near that of a typical broadcast or recording studio. Bringing high-frame-rate edits and gaming to the road, the worldwide 100V/240V, 50/60Hz IEC power connector draws 315W. A LED at the base provides a soft pool of light denoting power.
The built-in GPU chip is not upgradeable, however. For more advanced broadcast or television needs, the eGPU is compatible with Blackmagic’s DeckLink and UltraStudio video products. The HDMI or SDI connections on Blackmagic Design DeckLink or UltraStudio products give accurate film and television colorspace, AV sync, genlock, deeper bit depths and synchronized playback for video outputs.
Blackmagic says their own DaVinci Resolve 15 should see increased performance for editing, real time effects and color corrections. Also supporting Apple’s Metal, DaVinci Resolve was updated this last April at NAB with lots of improvements to the UI, including built-in Fusion FX software for visual effects, plus new ADR, native audio-plugins, LUT-browser, titling templates, shared workflows, and stacked timelines.
The price remains free for basic version, while Resolve Studio costs $299. Resolve Studio adds HDR deliverables, stereoscopic, and collaborative workflows for studios. “The Blackmagic eGPU is the world’s first eGPU designed specifically for accelerating professional video workflows with DaVinci Resolve,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design, in the press release.
“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.”