Blackmagic Adds a "Pro" eGPU
Only a few short months after its first eGPU, Blackmagic has added a new "eGPU Pro."
We are fans of the Blackmagic eGPU. No, it doesn't speed up every task, and some tasks that are CPU-heavy will run at precisely the same speed with or without the extra hardware, but for GPU intensive tasks (which includes a lot of popular filmmaking tasks such as rendering certain codecs, many plugins, and noise correction), it is a huge boon. It also, let's not forget, offers HDMI and USB output ports and the ability to charge your laptop, letting it serve effectively as a breakout box and cutting down the list of items you might need to bring to set.
The new Pro is very similar to the original, though it upgrades from a Radeon 580 to an RX 56 card. Both cards feature 8GB of RAM, but user benchmarks report that many users are getting up to a 50% speed bump out of the RX 56. This could be really exciting (who wouldn't want a 60-minute render to happen in 40 minutes instead?), but of course, extensive testing will be needed to see if the same results folks get in gaming also apply to filmmakers.
The price also bumps quite a bit, from $699 to $1199, meaning that the original will remain an attractive option for many users who want a power increase for less cost.
The timing of the release is no accident, as Apple also released three new hardware devices today that all have some appeal to pros. Particularly interesting is the idea of combining an affordable (and function key enabled!) MacBook Air with the eGPU pro. You have a lightweight, "I can write anywhere" laptop that turns into a pretty powerful desktop workstation by plugging in a single cable. Apple clearly believes this might be a use case for some and included a slide with the Air and an eGPU paired together at the press event.
Frustratingly, the HDMI output still seems to only extend the desktop and it doesn't offer "mini monitor" style functionality with a clean video output for monitoring or an SDI port. That truly would have made this a "pro" device.
Coming in late November from Apple.com for $1199.
- Compatible with any Thunderbolt 3–enabled Mac
- Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics processor with 8GB of HBM2 memory
- 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports, 4x USB 3 ports
- HDMI 2.0 port (desktop extension only, does not work as color grading preview)
- 85W power delivery for charging, will power Macbook Pro 15" Retina
- Height: 11.59 inches (29.44 cm), Length: 6.96 inches (17.68 cm), Width: 6.96 inches (17.68 cm)
- Weight: 9.92 pounds (4.5 kg)