Blackmagic eGPU Turns MacBooks into Gaming Beasts

Windows PC owners have been enjoying the benefits of eGPUs for a while now. By bringing their own graphics card and plugging it into an enclosure, users gain the ability to transform an otherwise wimpy ultraportable into a viable gaming beast. And while there are some eGPUs that play nice with Macs, the selection has been rather slim.

That's about to change.

During Apple's press showcase for the new 2018 MacBook Pros, Blackmagic Design, a company known for its digital cinema products, unveiled its new eGPU. Priced at $699.99, the device houses an integrated AMD Radeon Pro 580 GPU with 8GB of RAM, which means you don't have to bring your own graphics card.

This AMD part is on a par with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. That means that the Blackmagic eGPU can support VR headsets (both for developing and consuming content), as well as play some of the more graphically-taxing PC games on the market.

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According to Apple, when paired with the eGPU, the revamped 13-inch MacBook Pro delivers 8 times the performance for the new 13-inch MacBook Pro and 2.8 times the performance for the new 15-incher. The enclosure features a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, 4 USB 3.1 ports and an HDMI ports.

Unlike other eGPUs that go for a horizontal design, the Blackmagic eGPU sports a vertical orientation. Boasting a space gray exterior, the device fits right in with Apple's design aesthetic. However, it's decidedly more gamer thanks to the massive vents along the top and bottom and the deep red lighting towards the emanating from the bottom. 

While Apple clearly has its eyes on the creative professional and engineering crowd, it's nice to see that companies like Blackmagic are making sure that MacBooks aren't all work and no play.

Photo Credit: Apple

Sherri L. Smith
Editor in Chief

Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.