Apple on Thursday quietly announced the availability of several new products, including refreshed MacBook Pro models for 2018, and some stylish new accessories to outfit them. In addition, the company announced it will begin selling an all-new external graphics processor (eGPU) exclusively via its online store.
Designed for the ultimate optimization of graphics performance on the company’s MacBook and MacBook Pro computers, the device dubbed Blackmagic eGPU represents a bold, collaborative effort between Cupertino and Cinema hardware/software company, Blackmagic.
Featuring a small, light and aesthetically pleasing design, the $699 Blackmagic eGPU was physically designed and developed jointly by Apple and Blackmagic, while the unit’s internals comprise the latest in AMD’s mobile eGPU architecture — specifically, the Radeon Pro 580 GPU boasting a total 8 GB of RAM.
Powerful yet pint-sized, Apple is flaunting that its Blackmagic eGPU is powerful enough to provide up to 2.8x faster performance on its latest 15-inch MacBook Pro models, as well as up to 8x faster performance on its 13-inch variants.
“Get desktop-class graphics performance on your MacBook Pro with the Blackmagic eGPU,” Apple said in its official press release.
“Featuring the Radeon Pro 580 graphics processor, the Blackmagic eGPU is built to make any Mac with Thunderbolt 3 ports a graphics powerhouse. Enjoy super-smooth gaming, accelerate graphics-intensive pro app workflows, and enable VR experiences or content creation. Built-in I/O connections drive a Thunderbolt 3 display, support multiple accessories, and charge your MacBook Pro at the same time.”
As noted in Apple’s statement, the Blackmagic eGPU features two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a total of four USB 3 ports, and one HDMI 2.0 port for connecting multimedia devices. The unit is also capable of dichotomously supplying 85W of power to a connected MacBook Pro via a single Thunderbolt 3 cable, Apple says.
Interestingly, Blackmagic’s eGPU is the first of such devices offered by Apple that’s fully capable of supporting and driving LG’s UltraFine 5K HD monitor, which the company unequivocally recommends to anyone using an eGPU with their MacBook Pro.
It’s unclear if this model is user upgradeable, however the unit’s highly-refined and aesthetically good-looking unibody design make it appear that wouldn’t be the case. Even still, just entertaining the technology onboard relative to its reasonable $699 asking price, the Blackmagic eGPU offers an ample boost to MacBook Pro’s base GPU performance — all in a quiet, portable, and versatile unit that won’t break the bank.