Review: Blackmagic eGPU Pro - is it worth $1200?

Review: Blackmagic eGPU Pro – is it worth $1200?

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Full review: The $1199 Blackmagic eGPU with RX Vega 56 isn’t for everyone. It’s aimed at creative professionals who demand a quiet, powerful, easy-to-use external graphics solution. Should you consider it?

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– Blackmagic eGPU Pro from Apple:
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is the Blackmagic EGP you Pro a worthy upgrade to the original version better yet is it worth 1,200 bucks check out our full video right now thanks for watching nine-to-five Mack be sure to thumbs up click the subscribe button and then enable notifications with the bill icon so you won't miss any upcoming videos how's it going ladies and gentlemen boys and girls this is Jeff Benjamin with nine-to-five Mack by now I'm sure you all know how obsessed I am with EGP use I love the concept of any GPU I love being able to supercharge your Mac externally and that's what this Blackmagic a GPU pro aims to do and this is really geared towards creative professionals but gamers can use it too those who want to use VR headsets can use it too so really it has a whole bunch of different applications and there's a lot of use cases for this black magic a GPU Pro but obviously given the $1200 price point it's aimed at the higher end it is the pro version of the Blackmagic EGP you whereas the normal version sells for $700 this one comes at a $500 premium over the original is it worth the extra cost first of all why does it cost more but we're going to discuss that throughout the entirety of this video so let's go ahead and get it out of the box and guess what underneath that a GPU you find another box and in this box you're gonna have your power cord and easy ro point five meter Thunderbolt 3 cable so here's your power cord here's your Thunderbolt 3 cable and here's both this is the Blackmagic a GPU Pro and you can tell if you've ever seen the original you can tell it's exactly the same design you have the aluminum octagon exterior you have the exhaust vent at the top and it's comprised of a single piece of aluminum excellent design on the bottom you have your stand and you have that little LED right smack in the middle to tell you when the device is on so how can you tell the difference between the original and the e GPU Pro as you may have guessed it's all about the I oh yes both black magic EGP you look almost identical but if you look closely at the i/o panel you'll see the difference between the two so on the left is the e GPU Pro on the right is the original version so can you spot the difference well obviously right you're looking at it you can see right there DisplayPort 1.4 comes to the Blackmagic a GPU Pro whereas a dedicated DisplayPort connection was absent on the original now while it's true you could use a EU SBC to display port adapter but most of those dongles are DisplayPort 1.2 which means you're going to be limited when it comes to connecting to a true 5k display at 60 Hertz so the Blackmagic logo was removed to accommodate that DisplayPort connection okay so now let's talk about what is probably most important to a lot of people noise how loud does the EGP pro get in relation to the original here's the original and when really pushing the GPU with that heaven benchmark you saw it get close to 40 a weighted decibels so now let's do the same thing on the pro hardware so we're gonna push the GPU again with that heaven benchmark and you can see it gets as high as around 45 a weighted decibel so it is louder than the original but just barely and it's way quieter than any other GPU on the market outside of the original Blackmagic EGP you now here's something interesting that I notice when you plug in the original Blackmagic EGP you and you don't connect a Thunderbolt 3 cable to it it stays off right like most external graphics boxes but when I connected Thunderbolt 3 cable from my MacBook Air you'll notice the fans spin up and you can see the fans and put that light behind it so you can see the fans spin up like that all right normal operation just which you would expect from an external graphics box and when you unplug the Thunder both wreak able the fans stop Alpi it slowly all right now on the Blackmagic EGP you Pro notice what happens when you plug it in even without the Thunderbolt 3 cable connected the fans power up so that's a little different than what I'm used to but the good news is that the fans will automatically shut down after a period of time so they don't run indefinitely meaning it's not going to needlessly waste power now like the previous version you still have your 4 USB 3.1 chin 1 ports and you have 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports and Blackmagic is again using Intel's Titan Ridge Thunderbolt 3 controller and this presents the key advantage of being able to connect directly to a Thunderbolt 3 enabled display like the LG Ultra find 5k display in my case I'm connecting directly to LG's ultra wide 5k 2k display which is more like 4.5 K but nonetheless it works it looks great it runs at 60 Hertz it's a super simple setup if you have an LG ultra fine 5k display this is one of the primary selling points of either the Blackmagic EGP U or the e GPU Pro but as I was stating earlier now you have built-in DisplayPort 1.4 so this means I can connect a display port connection go directly to that 5k 2k display and run it at full native 50 120 by 2160 resolution at 60 Hertz with just that one cable and such an addition to the e GPU Pro definitely ups its value in my eyes now let's talk about performance because that's the real reason you would want to upgrade to the e GPU Pro I ran all the benchmarks using my 2018 Mac Mini which is the sixth core version check out that full review if you haven't already so I have a Thunderbolt 3 cable going from the Mac Mini to the EGP Pro and then I have a cable from the e GPU Pro going to this right here the LG ultra wide 5k 2k check out that review if you haven't seen it already ok so first of all I'm running heaven I have quality set to ultra 2 times anti-aliasing tessellation moderate 1920 by 1080 resolution so you can see the e GPU Pro definitely beats the original Blackmagic GPU but even comes within striking distance of that Vega 64 custom-built with my razor corax using the same settings for Union Valley and you can see the Blackmagic EGP Pro comes awfully close to the RX of Vega 64 make no mistake the Vega 64 is faster but not by much in these tests okay so we're running Cinebench and here are the results you can see the e GPU Pro much faster than the original close to the RX Vega 64 so now let's run a few real-world tests here is Final Cut Pro Tem we're just doing a 4k export using compressor settings the e GPU Pro exports faster than the original and not that much lower than the Vega 64 so here is Adobe Premiere Pro the same thing the e GPU Pro puts up some respectable numbers for this very effects-heavy timeline that I'm using to test with now of course it would be ridiculous if I didn't include DaVinci Resolve because Blackmagic makes that software it's a fantastic NLE with so many different features but more so than any other app you need discrete graphics to work effectively in DaVinci Resolve look at that difference between the integrated graphics and all the discrete GPU so it doesn't really matter as long as you have some discrete graphics you'll be good in DaVinci Resolve obviously the e GPU Pro does better than the original now here's something interesting the e GPU Pro and Geekbench 4 actually performs better than both the original and the rx Vegas 64 custom built that I have and I've heard others report the same thing I'm not sure if it's a bug or a driver thing needless to say I'm going to be performing more testing and here in graphics bench mat oh I ran several off-screen tests and it's pretty much the same story with the e GP Pro in in Lux Park you see a huge difference between the Blackmagic EGP pro with the Vega 56 in the Blackmagic EGP you with the Radeon Pro 580 and there's a pretty big gulf between the Vega 64 as well now although the vega 56 inside the cheapy perot performs pretty well for games I definitely would not recommend purchasing this $1200 graphics enclosure for gaming purposes even though black magic has people gaming on its advertising on the box this thing really isn't aimed at gamers at all you can't upgrade the e GPU inside you're stuck with an Rx Vega 56 for the life of the device gamers enjoy upgrading their GPUs and you can't do that with this device stick to something you can upgrade like the sonnet graphics breakaway box that way when AMD releases its new powerful Mac compatible GPU or if a miracle happens in Nvidia and Apple kiss and make up you'll be happy because you just simply pull out the old GPU put in the new GPU and you're good now if you'd like to see more videos about the Blackmagic a GPU Pro perhaps something like the MacBook Air and accelerating content on its internal display let me know leave the thumbs up let me know down below in the comments if you'd like to see that now I hope that little rant about gaming isn't discouraging because I'm not disparaging the Blackmagic a GPU pro at all actually I think it's a pretty good device but it's clearly aimed at a specific audience so what's the deal should you buy it should you not well let's talk about it the Blackmagic a GPU pro is squarely aimed at creative professionals it's aimed squarely at those who don't want to finagle with custom a GPU setups and are willing to pay a premium price and a non upgradable package for the privilege another thing to consider is that this device is just downright beautiful its well-designed it looks good on a desktop it's not an eyesore and if you're researching such a device you probably care about ambient noise you probably hate those loud GPU fans you don't have to worry about that with this and although the pro version is slightly louder than its predecessor when under load its barely audible and here's the real kicker if you're connecting your Mac Mini or your laptop to an LG ultra fine 5k display this unit along with its predecessor are the only ways to drive this LG ultra fine 5k display via that single Thunderbolt 3 connection and that's going to give you excellent graphics performance at full native resolution smooth 60 Hertz so no the Blackmagic EGP pro isn't for everyone but it is a substantial upgrade over its predecessor and if you have the unique circumstances to wear such a product is very useful in your workflow I think you'll consider this upgrade well worth it be sure to read our full post over at 905 Mac for more details and check out our instagram page for more coverage of the Blackmagic EGP you pro let me know what you think in the comments this is Jeff with nine-to-five Mack

33 Replies to “Review: Blackmagic eGPU Pro – is it worth $1200?”

  1. 9to5Mac

    Thanks for watching! Would you guys and gals consider using an eGPU with your Mac? Why or why not? Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I'll try to get to them. You can also reach out on IG and Twitter.

  2. Michael Costa

    How does Lightroom Classic 2019 run using this and a 5K iMac 2017 w highest processor? Right now Lightroom is incredibly slow, having to wait 2-3 seconds after adjusting color, adding actions for each and every shot bogs down my workflow and something like this would be incredible for it.

  3. Lou Perez


    I just received mine.

    Ran Geekbench 4 with Macbook Air (Late 2018):
    – MacBook Air (Late 2018) AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 Metal Mac OS X 64-bit 160515

    Even faster on Windows 10:
    – HP Spectre x360 Convertible 15-bl0XX Radeon RX Vega OpenCL Windows 64-bit 177684

  4. Richard Graham

    great product, but a 4-500% markup on the card inside it… aluminum isn't that expensive, I'm pretty sure they could make that case for the $700 price tag of the standard model and still make a hefty profit (and sell A LOT more)

  5. Drew Flower

    What if you want to game and have the LG 5k UltraFine? Would this be the best option, or are there upgradable eGPUs that support the LG 5k?

  6. verstaerker

    thanks for the excellent review! There aren't any out for the Pro version.
    How quite is it compared to the non-Pro version when idle or in low usage ? What is about that coil whine issue i'm reading here and there?

  7. Christophe Folio

    Hello people, we are a company associated with Apple. Our company is named Pear.
    We would like to introduce you our new product: a revolutionnary new USB type key exclusively made for the new Apple's Modular Mac Pro to come !
    The name of this new thech: The iplug !
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    $300 for the brand new USB 4 technology with 8 Gb of memory at an amaaaazing speeeeeed !
    You can have a 16Gb key for more $600 !
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    Donate, errr, do not forget that this product is not for everyone ! Only the professionals and high end users you are ! You guys who are really able to think different…
    You have to worship, errr, the work of the new chip inside this key has never been so far in terms of technology !
    By the way, the key will be soldered to the new Apple's computers for more ss$$ilence and you can have a one year garanty… if you add $500 when you order…

    OOOooops ! I should shut up or Apple or/and Blackmydic..errr Blackmagic will attack me for strategy and communication copying…
    o_o O_O

  8. Melih Ilker Güngör

    Here is the problem. If you insist upon the very idea of acquiring an eGPU with the huge expectancy of a huge achievement for getting higher performance and graphics, I need to clarify that it will cost a lot than you have expected since you also need a monitor. And it will cost a lot. eGPU itself will cost you $1200, and you also need to buy a monitor that will add an additional $200 at least. However, if you simply build a PC, it will cost you the same amount but you will achieve much more graphic performance since thermal limitations are way more than you can basically reach.

  9. Stefano Maruzzi

    Thanks for the review. I guess benefits for Lightroom and Photoshop are minimal/inexistent due to the lack of support of Metal in Adobe’s software. Correct?

  10. Breaking Elegance

    No you can buy all the parts to build a freakin hackintosh with a RX 580 and a core i7 8700k 16 gb ram GTFO of here vega 56 you can get for like $399 and throw it in your Hackintosh

  11. Nicholas Bogan

    I'd like to see the MacBook air performance with the egpu. I'm curious about the rendering speed difference between 2018 ipad pro and 2018 touch bar MacBook pro base model. I know there are many variables when comparing these quite different devices, interested on your take! Thanks.

  12. Phoenix Vengeance


    For $1200 I'd rather buy a whole new complete desktop system or an entry level 12-inch MacBook Pro.

  13. Michael G

    A review to see how the eGPU pro works with the MacBook Air would be great!

    Also, a comparison of the Vega 20 internal graphics vs the eGPU Pro would be useful to determine if an external graphics would be worth the investment vs performance.

    Either ways, love your content and keep it up!

  14. M M

    Issue with the Vega II release is give it a few months, and a Razer Core X and a Vega II will destroy the value of this price unless there is a severe price drop. I understand its a custom case, fit, and cooling system but the mark-up price is absolutely insane.

  15. Mohi Beyki

    the pricing is terrible, there are a very few people who would buy this, you have to be really peaky about noise and of course dont care about money

  16. Zenik Torres

    Price is outrageous. Apple has hobbled the internal graphics of the already expensive mac mini (partly to lack of case redesign), and offered the eGPU in its place. I hope this won't be a trend.

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