Apple’s updated MacBook Pros haven’t been released into the world all on their lonesome. The machines are accompanied by a new external GPU (eGPU) from Blackmagic Design, which makes hardware and software for creative professionals, to make sure they can handle GPU-intensive tasks.
The simply named Blackmagic eGPU costs $699 and comes equipped with Radeon Pro 580 graphics clocked at 1,200MHz. (AMD introduced the Radeon Pro 500 series in 2017 specifically for use in Apple products.) Blackmagic said the Radeon Pro 580 is equipped with 8GB of memory, a 256-bit memory bus width and a memory bandwidth of 217GB/s. That should be fine for photo and video editing, as well as gaming at 1080p.
The Blackmagic eGPU also boasts all the ports you’d expect. It has two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports with 85W host charging capabilities, four USB Type-A ports and one HDMI 2.0 port that supports 4K Ultra HD and 4K DCI resolutions at up to 60 fps, so you can hook up two additional displays if you’d like. The Blackmagic eGPU also features an internal 100 – 240V AC, 50/60Hz PSU with 315W power usage.
You’ll need to have macOS High Sierra installed to use the Blackmagic eGPU. That’s because High Sierra is the first version of macOS to support eGPUs; they weren’t officially supported until that operating system was released in mid-2017. (Fitting that Apple only let people use eGPUs as soon as it started incorporating modern GPUs in its products, rather than forcing wannabe gamers to use Intel CPUs’ integrated graphics.)
The Blackmagic eGPU is available exclusively through Apple’s website and retail stores. It is shipping now, with in-store availability seemingly starting on July 16. The eGPU also comes with a 0.5m Thunderbolt 3 cable and is covered by a limited, one-year manufacturer’s warranty.