Bring magic to your desktop with a $699 external GPU for MacBook Pros, iMacs

blackmagic external graphics for mac packs radeon pro 580 2 egpu

Blackmagic Design teamed up with Apple to create an external graphics card enclosure with a built-in AMD Radeon Pro 580. Simply called the Blackmagic eGPU, it connects to Apple Mac devices via a Thunderbolt 3 port (40GBps) that support external graphics. It’s available now for $699 exclusively through Apple’s online shop and its brick-and-mortar stores scattered across the globe.

“Featuring an elegant, textured finish design, Blackmagic eGPU is extruded from a single piece of aluminum and features a unique thermal cooling system that’s been designed to perfectly balance the airflow and dissipate heat more efficiently,” Blackmagic says. “The cooling system also enables extremely quiet operation as low as 18dB, vital for those working in video production and audio engineering environments.”

AMD initially introduced the Radeon Pro 500 series with the latest 21.5- and 27-inch iMacs in June 2017. The Radeon Pro 580 is at the top of the five-card family packing 2,304 cores across 36 compute units with a base speed of 1,100MHz and a maximum speed of 1,200MHz. It includes 8GB of on-board GDDR5 video memory clocked at 1,695MHz, 144 texture mapping units, 32 render output units, and more.

As for the actual enclosure, it’s a beautiful device sporting a wrapped one-piece aluminum design with a machine anodized finish and a thermal grille mounted at the top. The enclosure stands on your desktop at 11.59 inches tall, 6.96 inches wide, and 6.96 inches deep. On the back you’ll find four USB-A ports (5Gbps), two Thunderbolt 3 ports (40Gbps), and an HDMI port supporting an external monitor up to a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution.

Also crammed into the enclosure is a 315-watt power supply that not only feeds the Radeon Pro 580 card but provides 85 watts of power through the Thunderbolt 3 ports to charge your connected, compatible Mac device. Right now, the only devices that support external graphics are the following (MacOS 10.13.5 High Sierra required):

  • MacBook Pro notebooks released in 2016 or later
  • iMac computers released in 2017 or later
  • iMac Pro released ion 2017 or later

Note that the external graphics unit does not work on older Mac devices using a Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3 adapter. There’s just not enough data bandwidth in Thunderbolt 2 (20Gbps) to handle an external graphics card, which typically either sits in a speedy PCI Express slot within a computer or is integrated directly onto the PC’s motherboard.

According to Blackmagic Design, you absolutely cannot upgrade the Radeon Pro 580 mounted inside, meaning you’ll be stuck with the now-older chip after the hefty $699 purchase. Blame the overall design that’s “optimized for quiet operation.” It’s not a simple stand-alone chassis with the card plugged into a slot, but instead features an integrated chip and cooling system that can’t be upgraded or swapped out.

Still, if you run into any problems, Blackmagic Design will provide technical support for an unspecified time. The device ships with a 12-month limited manufacturer’s warranty that you can read more about right here.

To purchase the $699 Blackmagic eGPU from Apple, head here. The company provides free two-day delivery if you can’t pick up the device from a brick-and-mortar location.

Product Review

Amid a new fleet of budget laptops, the ZenBook 13 sails where others sink

It’s never been truer that you don’t need to spend over a thousand bucks to buy a good laptop. The ZenBook 13 takes we’ve always loved about its predecessor and makes enough small refinements to keep it ahead of its competitors.

Is the Surface Pro 6 a sidestep, or does it blow away its predecessor?

How good is the new Surface Pro, and is it worth an upgrade? The best way to find out is to pit the Surface Pro 6 vs. Surface Pro 5 in a head to head that tests them both on performance, design, and portability.
Product Review

Don't bother with any other 2-in-1. The Surface Pro 6 is still the best

The Surface Pro been updated to its sixth generation, now coming dressed in black and packing a quad-core processor. Outside of that, you’ll have to dig a little deeper to see where Microsoft has made some truly noteworthy improvements.

Which is best: The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme or the 15-inch MacBook Pro?

To try and help nail down the best 15-inch laptops in the world, we compared the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme vs. MacBook Pro 15 in a head to head that looked at their power, design, and portability.

Core i9s and Threadrippers are all powerful, but should you go AMD or Intel?

The battle for the top prosumer CPUs in the world is on. In this head to head, we pit the Core i9 versus the Threadripper to see which is the best when it comes to maximizing multi-core performance on a single chip.

Despite serious security flaws, D-Link will (again) not patch some routers

D-Link revealed that it won't patch six router models despite warnings raised by a security researcher. The manufacturer, for the second time in a span of about a year, cited end-of-life policies for its decision to not act.
Product Review

Dell’s G3 Gaming laptop knows what gamers want, and what they can live without

Compromise and budget gaming laptops go hand-in-hand, but with the G3, Dell has figured out how to balance what gamers want with what they can live without.

Apple’s latest feature ensures MacOS apps are safer than ever

MacOS is mythically known for being more immune to viruses than Windows, but that doesn't mean there isn't room to make it safer. Apple is using an app notarization feature to protect users from downloading malicious apps.

There’s now proof that quantum computing is superior to the classical variety

For the first time in computer science history, researchers have tangibly demonstrated how a quantum computer is better than a classical computer. A quantum computer was able to solve a math problem that a classical PC cannot.

In 2018, the rivalry between AMD and Intel has become more interesting than ever

When it comes to selecting a CPU for your PC, there's no shortage of chips for you to choose from. With Ryzen, Threadripper, and Core i9 CPUs though, the AMD vs. Intel argument is muddier than ever.

Will Apple introduce a new MacBook at its Oct. 30 event? Here's everything we know

Whether it's called the MacBook Air or just the MacBook, Apple is highly rumored to introduce a new, affordable laptop in 2018. We discuss reports about upgrading displays, processors, sign-in features, and more.

Apple CEO demands Bloomberg retract its Chinese surveillance story

Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling on Bloomberg to retract a story alleging that Apple had purchased compromised servers that allowed the Chinese government to spy on Apple. Apple's investigation found no truth to the story.

Protect your digital identity with these four easy steps to online anonymity

You don't have to be a secret agent or a notorious hacktivist to care about anonymity. Consult this guide to learn tips, tricks, and best practices for staying anonymous and keeping your online activity private

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.