Apple teams with Black Magic Design on eGPU for new MacBook Pros
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Apple has partnered with Black Magic Design on a new eGPU enclosure that has been designed to work with all Thunderbolt 3-equipped MacBook models, including its new MacBook Pro range. The new eGPU is fitted with a hardwired AMD Radeon Pro 580 desktop GPU with 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. The device also acts as a Thunderbolt 3 dock with up to 85W of downstream power to help keep connected MacBooks charged.
According to the Australian digital photography and video company, the new Blackmagic eGPU (as it is officially known), offers 256-bit memory bandwidth and 36 discrete compute units for 5.5 teraflops of processing power. This is good for generating a fill rate of 38.4 textured pixels per second. It also supports Apple's Metal API for maximising compute and gaming performance.
Black Magic Design says that it delivers up to 7x the performance on DaVinci Resolve 15 when compared with the standard graphics performance of a 13-inch MacBook Pro from 2016, and up 2x the perfomance when compared with a 15-inch MacBook Pro from 2015. This raises question marks as to its utility for the latest 15-inch MacBook Pros with updated AMD Radeon Pro 555X GPU or Radeon Pro 560X Polaris-based architecture.
The Blackmagic eGPU also acts as a Thunderbolt 3 dock for connected MacBook Pros. It offers two Thunderbolt 3 ports, four USB 3.1 ports and one HDMI 2.0 port for monitoring over 4K (likely at no more than 30Hz, although this is not clear in the marketing). The Blackmagic eGPU is retailing exclusively through Apple for US$699.