Apple's $1,199 Blackmagic eGPU Pro Now Available for Purchase, Delivers Mid-January

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. solusla macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2013
    I would tend to agree that the Blackmagic Pro eGPU is overpriced relative to the non-pro, as the cost difference between the 580 and the Vega 56 doesn't seem worth a $500 price increase—perhaps $900–$1000 for the pro would have been more reasonable.

    It is also the only enclosure I've seen that can drive a 5k monitor and is exceptionally quiet, so it's really your only option if that happens to be your set up. Given how they had to engineer this to dissipate the heat without a whirring fan, I don't know how you could make this upgradable without sacrificing that.

    That said, Apple has long positioned itself as a premium/luxury brand and therefore charges a higher price for its wares than similarly spec'd competitors. It's like buying a Lexus instead of a Toyota. Is the engine really that different? No, but you get a better build, some amenities, better customer service, and a je ne sais quoi cachet for owning it. Where Apple has gotten itself into trouble recently is not delivering that premium experience for some its most demanding users—creative professionals and software developers.
  2. chainmailr, Dec 23, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018

    chainmailr macrumors member


    Nov 24, 2018
    California, USA
    The reason to buy the non-Apple PC (or the old Mac Pro) is you avoid the need for these really expensive custom solutions. On top of that, macOS only works well with a limited selection of GPUs, none of them Nvidia.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 24, 2018 ---
    Getting Apple's seal of approval is kind of a big deal. Any eGPU that isn't officially supported could randomly stop working some day for all we know, which did happen to the TB2 ones. Unless there's some new standard they officially support, which I haven't been able to find info on.
  3. JOBS-3:16 macrumors regular


    Jun 25, 2013
    How many years have you been saying this now? But wait...trillion dollar company. Oh yeah
  4. Colonel Blimp macrumors member

    Colonel Blimp

    Dec 1, 2016
    See this Apple Support document: Use an external graphics processor with your Mac.

    There are plenty of other eGPU cards and chassis that are officially supported (or at least officially recommended) by Apple.
  5. chainmailr, Dec 24, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2018

    chainmailr macrumors member


    Nov 24, 2018
    California, USA
    I know, but there are plenty that aren't, notably everything pre-TB3. They don't seem to indicate support for anything that's not recommended.

    I only bring this up because it's odd. Usually they publish a standard for others to conform to.
  6. norrismantooth macrumors regular

    Nov 29, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    The point everyone seems to be missing (or is understood but not said) is that Apple is going toward mobility and portability. A lot of what's in this external GPU aren't needed when you're at Starbucks checking Facebook and email. It significantly reduces size and weight, and makes the MacBook Pro (or iMac) a feasible travel device, with more capability than an iPad.. Apple has catered to all customer segments.
  7. tallscot macrumors regular


    Mar 30, 2002
    And I won’t buy that. I’ll buy a PC and use Davinci Resolve as my NLE before I buy another Mac Pro that doesn’t have slots.
  8. Jyby macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2011
    Why do you need a Mac Pro with slots? When Thunderbolt 4 will be plenty of low latency bandwidth?
  9. avguru1 macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2011
  10. Detnator macrumors regular


    Nov 25, 2011
    No, but you said “I’ve seen some bad deals from Apple but th8nk this may just be a winner of tha prize.”

    I think most rational people would find it difficult to interpret that any other way than that “tha prize” refers to “bad deals from Apple”.

    If we’re gonna be really technical, Kaibelf probably should have said “Apple did not price this” but generally the maker is the pricer (as is the case here) so his rebuttal that “Apple did not make this” seems reasonable.
  11. mellofello macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2011
    Apple should have bought AMD when they were cheap, and did to GPUs what the did to ARM processors with the Ax chips.
  12. mschmalenbach macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2008
    Thanks for the link!

    I have a Sonet 550W breakout with an XFX RX580 card - works very nice on my MBPr15.
    I also have a Razer Core X with an MSI Vega 56 card - not very happy on my Mac - my team members with Lenovo P50/P51 workstations will probably be fine.

    Not every GPU or breakout box is created equal, I guess!
  13. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    Well, Blackmagic is known for offering an insanely good value across their range, so in this case it’s easy to find the culprit.

    Fusion used to be 4-5K, now it’s free. Same for Resolve. Blackmagic cameras offer Alexa/RED features for under 5K.
  14. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
    Really? First Pocket Cinema Cameras were 30% more expensive for their feature set than competition at the time.
    I always thought them as a premium brand (not unlike Apple) that put effort in their design.
  15. LordVic macrumors 601

    Sep 7, 2011
    First, while Thunderbolt is great, it's not nearly as low latency as directly attached to the PCI-E slots themselves. And even if Latency is not the concern, Thunderbolt's maximum bandwidth is equivelant of 4 x PCI-E lanes. So while this offers up to 40Gbps, this is not quiet sufficient for a LOT devices that use 8x or 16x PCI-E lanes.

    While 40Gbps is great and will suit a lot of use cases. Storage expansion. mid range expansion. Basic GPU expansion for medium performance situations. But it doesn't replace the 8x and 16x PCI-e bandwidtht hat might be used by high performance devices that need far more. 16x PCI-E can handle up to a theoretical bandwidth of 100Gbps (almost 2.5x thunderbolt). and even 8x can handle approximately 50Gbps.

    So no, Thunderbolt 3 isn't the magic bullet that will get rid of all need for internal expansion especially if you want to add specialized equipment.
  16. Jyby macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2011
    You are aware that GPUs barely come close to saturating 8x PCI right? Thunderbolt 3 is more like 8x.. Its the latency that doesn't get you 100% performance on eGPU atm.
    But also Thunderbolt 4 is going to be much better so there really isn't a case for PCI slots anymore.. Especially if Thunderbolt 4 is optic- latency is lower if not the same as direct short runs of copper.. And I imagine throughput will be increased by a lot.
    So the argument for building in support for slots that people may not use (think off all the PCI slots on motherboards people don't even use).. sure its nice to have incase you want to expand (it has its limitations like thunderbolt in number of things you can add).. But USB-C is by far more flexible and reusable as opposed to PCI slots... It also has hot swap which PCI doe not easily support in any capacity.
  17. LordVic macrumors 601

    Sep 7, 2011
    What you're missing is that Thunderbolt IS PCI-E.

    as Thunderbolt gets faster so does internal PCI-E. And there are always going to be cases where 8x or 16x devices are necessary.

    EG, good luck running a 40gbps Network Adapter on Thunderbolt.

    There's a place for thunderbolt over PCI-E. your home gaming computer? Possibly. your day to day workstation? probably fine too. But to completely discount the benefits of PCI-E over Thunderbolt to fill your own narrative is disingenous. As I was very specific in my repsonse to you that Thunderbolt is NOT, especially currently the be-all-end-all port for devices that require far higher end bandwidth than a single Thunderbolt 3 device can handle.

    And that's what a lot of people defending Apple's move to Thunderbolt 3 ONLY over internal expansion fail to understand. There are unique cases where thunderbolt 3 is still insufficient. you can claim "but but Thunderbolt 4 fixes all that!", except it's missing the simple fact that there's no current Thunderbolt 4 devices / ports in the world right now.

    Also, even for GPU's, Thunderbolt 3 is great, but still not suitable for the high end. If you're looking to add a high end (2080, Titan etc) to an external enclosure, there is a performance loss. to an average person, this might be "ok", but to someone who wants the most performance out of their parts, it's not acceptable.

    Here are actual reports and statistics comparing eGPU performance and direct attached PCI-E of GPUs that outright disprove what you're saying about "good enough"

    So no. What you've overall said is pretty much incorrect.
  18. Jyby macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2011
    Thunderbolt is not PCI-E... Thunderbolt is a wrapper for protocols like PCI-E, USB, HDMI etc. It doesn't interface with the computer the same way PCI does.
    The only real issue affecting eGPUs is latency... They have enough bandwidth. Unless you are doing continous GPU calculations and returning the data back to the host computer like in Machine Learning (where latency is still more important), bandwidth has nothing to do with it.
    You're right Thunderbolt 4 doesn't exist yet ;) But when it does expect it to replace your PCI slots in the not so distant future.
    The only argument I see for PCI 3.0 over thunderbolt are RAM disks... Those need a lot of bandwidth and low latency... Everything else is auxiliary... Sending 15 GB of texture data to a eGPU takes less than 1 second... So you really don't need a lot of bandwidth between eGPU and host computer... unless you are constantly sending unique new bundles of 15 GB of textures, like some massive simulator wold (the matrix).. you will possibly come close to bandwidth issues in Thunderbolt 3 for eGPUs.
    Everything I said is pretty spot on btw
  19. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    The original Pocket camera (I owned one) shot RAW and PRORES which was pretty much unheard of at the time at that price point. Sensor size aside, it ran circles around other similarly priced cameras. They do put a lot of effort in their design, although their ergonomics often follow form.
  20. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
    5D MK3 also 2012 was able to shot 4K RAW video.
    Just saying i never considered BlackMagic as "affordable" in light of competition. Great value is relative. Probably great value, but still expensive
    --- Post Merged, Dec 27, 2018 ---
    afaik thunderbolt is essentially PCIe+display port, everything else is routed via the PCIe part of it.
    at least it used to be like that...
  21. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    Via MagicLantern, and not at launch (IIRC that came much later). It's just a photo camera that can take great video and the ergonomics of the 5D for a serious shooting with a big crew where some things are expected are just not good (for a small crew or a one-man band it's okay). Indeed, the BMPCC fell in a weird spot, but at the end of the day they are a replacement for cinema cameras (ie: Alexa, RED) when a larger camera doesn't fit or is at risk, they had the right sensor size to use 16mm cine lenses, etc...
  22. LordVic macrumors 601

    Sep 7, 2011

    so you agree with everything I said :p

    However, you're still trying to counter the facts that I linked to you in response where even for high end GPU gaming, there is a 10-30% performance loss going eGPU over internal.

    again, for someone running a 1060ti, trying to play mid range games at medium settings, and they just need a 30+ fps experience, eGPU is going to be fine.

    that user who is looking for the highest end performance. 144+fps at 1440p+ resolution is going to question why they are sacrificing even 10% of their performance JUST because the manufacturer opted for Thunderbolt 3 as their only real expansion solution.

    there's a reason why no "gamer" runs Mac for games. The hardware is inadequate and Apple hasn't done a thing to move that needle. eGPU will get some users. But it still does NOT solve the high end performance issues.

    continuing to argue that its "Good enough" is absolutely asinine. ANY loss of performance due to a bottleneck / latency of a specific technology is not acceptible when you're trying to get performance of your parts as close to 100% efficient as possible.
  23. Jyby macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2011
    The drop is due to latency not bandwidth. If they solve the latency issue there is no reason to use PCI in the future.
    Plus you only get 4-5 slots max most of the time... With thunderbolt you can daisy chain all day as long as your total bandwidth is not consumed.

    Ah the PC fanboy comes out in you ;) Now we know the real reason you argue for PCI slots... You like PCs man.
    And that is cool- I do too. But I'm telling ya- the days of custom building your own PC are numbered. Things are going to be adding with Thunderbolt... RAM will still exist and swappable CPUs. But motherboards and custom towers are dying...

    Linus Tech Tips might not be in existence in 10-20 years.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 28, 2018 ---
    Protocol Architecture.

    The Thunderbolt protocol wraps the application specific protocols and transports them over the wire.
    So you could have n number of application specific protocols- Thunderbolts goal is to wrap the messages of data up into a common transport mechanism and send them over the wire to the host- where the are decoded and handled like normal.
    Its actually pretty clever. It works a lot like the internet does- like sending packets of data no matter the structure of the data over the internet.

    It maybe help to look at the picture under Protocol Architecture from bottom up.
  24. LordVic macrumors 601

    Sep 7, 2011

    PC Gaming industry was a 36 BILLION dollar industry in 2017...

    you might really want to check your own biases at the door.

    you still have not actually countered a single point I've made. YES Thunderbolt 4 MAY resolve the bandwidth and latency issues for the extreme cases. BUT IT DOESN'T EXIST RIGHT NOW.

    I'm not talking about mythical computer direction in 10-20 years. I'm talking about right now. People who are making money with their machines. People who are gaming. people who use them for more than just facebook or iMessage.

    RIGHT NOW the best technology for the best performance is still internal PCI-E slots.

    I'm not sure why this is so hard for you to understand. your very argument is boiling down to "in the future thunderbolt will resolve these issues, so thunderbolt is the best technology today"... it's a stupid point to be trying to make as it doesn't reflect reality.

    So the only question is why do you keep repeating this nonsense if not to assuage your own bias and perception.

    As I've said time and time again in responses to you, with TODAYS standards, if you are looking for bleeding edge performance, than you will want internal expansion capabilities via direct PCI-E attached devices. This is factually true today no matter how amazing Thunderbolt 4 may be in the future.

    are the days of custom computer building obsolete? Today? No. in the future? Possibly. But you still keep trying to argue that the future is here now, when it's factually NOT. If you want to continue with your charade of an argument, so be it, won't be with me anymore since you're trying to ignore reality so that you can keep pushing factually incorrect statements for your own purposes (which I am not even goign to remotely begin to guess)
  25. ipponrg macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2008
    Twitch streamers say the opposite. Gamers love to show off their cases, their internals, and their numbers.

    Let’s say they start making everything a thunderbolt accessory. Someone will eventually fabricate a case that holds a mish mash of thunderbolt accessories (hard drives, vid cards, etc). No one wants to have random parts laying around ... which was the purpose of a computer case in the first place

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