Hands on with the new Apple and Blackmagic Thunderbolt 3 eGPU

2

Comments

  • Reply 21 of 53
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,110member
    I love the concept of it, it just does strike me as odd about the inability to swap out the graphics card.  As far as I'm concerned, I would be buying the TB3 "Chassis" and installing my own GPU, or have Blackmagic allow me to choose from a bunch of graphics cards that are all current.

    I understand that graphics drivers are necessary, but perhaps when the Mac Pro comes out, assuming it's modular and will facilitate GPU swap, maybe they will have this ability later down the road.

    I would consider something like this if that ability was given.  When you think about it, a regular TB3 dock runs at least $300.  This incorporates that along with a GPU, so in essence that function is only $400 more.  Not a bad deal really.
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 22 of 53
    macxpress said:
    Pretty impressive despite any limitations.

    Now if only the 13" MBP was "REALLY PRO" and had 32GB of RAM! But we all know a real PRO needs 256GB now or maybe 1TB!

     :D 
    What Pro who does real Pro work buys a 13" laptop on any platform?
    A REAL PRO! Adds to the challenge!

    But seriously, there are jobs where having something small and light is a real advantage (journalist in a combat zone). Short of the 32GB Ram, I'm 99% happy with the new 13". I'm on a 2013 15" and I'm wondering how well the memory page swapping holds up. Max I use 24GB, mostly a lot of open apps and browser pages and sometimes a VM or two (not high load VMs).

    If the SSD speeds are to be believed and if Apple is using dual 256GB SSDs to get the speed, going with 16GB just might work for me.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 23 of 53

    sflocal said:
    macxpress said:
    Pretty impressive despite any limitations.

    Now if only the 13" MBP was "REALLY PRO" and had 32GB of RAM! But we all know a real PRO needs 256GB now or maybe 1TB!

     :D 
    What Pro who does real Pro work buys a 13" laptop on any platform?
    I would totally have bought the 13" MBP if it was on-par with the 15" version on everything else.  In my 2-cent opinion, the 13" and 15" machines should have the option of being exactly identical except for display size.

    I worked on a 13" for ages and needed the extra horsepower the 15" provided.  I'd still be on that 13" if it weren't for that.  It was a perfect travel size.  If I want more real-estate, I plug it into an external monitor which is what I currently do.

    My "pro" stuff is serious underwater photography and software coding, including running a few virtual machines from time-to-time.
    I agree. The CPU and RAM are important to me but the GPU is not. I'm fine with the integrated graphics. So if it's the same as the 15" but without the dGPU, that works for me. The IRIS is probably way better than the dGPU in my 2013 15" MBP and that's good enough for me.
  • Reply 24 of 53
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,871member
    sflocal said:
    macxpress said:
    Pretty impressive despite any limitations.

    Now if only the 13" MBP was "REALLY PRO" and had 32GB of RAM! But we all know a real PRO needs 256GB now or maybe 1TB!

     :D 
    What Pro who does real Pro work buys a 13" laptop on any platform?
    I would totally have bought the 13" MBP if it was on-par with the 15" version on everything else.  In my 2-cent opinion, the 13" and 15" machines should have the option of being exactly identical except for display size.

    I worked on a 13" for ages and needed the extra horsepower the 15" provided.  I'd still be on that 13" if it weren't for that.  It was a perfect travel size.  If I want more real-estate, I plug it into an external monitor which is what I currently do.

    My "pro" stuff is serious underwater photography and software coding, including running a few virtual machines from time-to-time.
    What do you do if you need extra screen space and need it when you're away? Do you carry around an external display too?
  • Reply 25 of 53
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,927member
    Shame.  If A12 Geekbench compute scores are to be believed Apple’s next GPU cores in a 16x configuration could match this performance and fit into 15” MBP power budget (32-cores would probably fit that budget).  I’m assuming Apple are holding back to entice the switch to iPad Pros.
  • Reply 26 of 53
    macxpress said:
    sflocal said:
    macxpress said:
    Pretty impressive despite any limitations.

    Now if only the 13" MBP was "REALLY PRO" and had 32GB of RAM! But we all know a real PRO needs 256GB now or maybe 1TB!

     :D 
    What Pro who does real Pro work buys a 13" laptop on any platform?
    I would totally have bought the 13" MBP if it was on-par with the 15" version on everything else.  In my 2-cent opinion, the 13" and 15" machines should have the option of being exactly identical except for display size.

    I worked on a 13" for ages and needed the extra horsepower the 15" provided.  I'd still be on that 13" if it weren't for that.  It was a perfect travel size.  If I want more real-estate, I plug it into an external monitor which is what I currently do.

    My "pro" stuff is serious underwater photography and software coding, including running a few virtual machines from time-to-time.
    What do you do if you need extra screen space and need it when you're away? Do you carry around an external display too?
    The actually difference in resolution isn't all that much different and I think a lot of people on the go can deal with that for a limited time.

    Also, if you're somewhere for an extended period of time, it's often easy to find a spare monitor for coding or whatever.

    The key is when you're back at base camp you can use TB to plug back into your setup, monitors, eGPU, RAIDs, etc,.
  • Reply 27 of 53
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,960member
    macxpress said:
    macxpress said:

    High quality design, space grey aluminum shell

    The Blackmagic's eGPU is dense, as compared to others AppleInsider has tested. The weight is about the same, but the unit is condensed, taking less desk real estate than the Mantiz or assorted Sonnet units.

    The top and bottom vents look to be plastic but are also well made, The body's space grey anodizing matches the MacBook Pro pro quite closely.

    The design is reminiscent of the 2013 Mac Pro with an intake vent at the bottom and an single large fan at the top. Unfortunately, also just like it, the eGPU lacks the ability to take an upgrade in the future.
    This alone would make me not want to buy this. Why would I spend $700 on something that will be outdated in a year or two and I can't put a different card inside it? It does have really nice features otherwise, but the lack of future upgradability would be a major sticking point for me. 
    My gamer buddies spend that much on a couple of high-end GPUs for their gaming rigs, and when it’s time to upgrade they’re out the 700 bucks. How’s this any different?
    Not everyone is a serious gamer either and is willing to spend $1800(s) on a new video card every single time it comes out. Thats how its different...

    Getting back to the point though...It would have helped if they didn't choose a POS video card to begin with. Then at least you could get something out of it for a while. 

    It's also funny how it was a major complaint of the current Mac Pro and now all of a sudden its okay. Go figure!

    Also, how long is it gonna be before Blackmagic decides to upgrade the GPU inside it as a new model? Is it 6 months? 12? 18? 24? Never? Now you're at the mercy of the manufacturer versus if you just allow for the unit to be upgraded, you're not. I don't see why some are against my argument here. You're not making any sense. 
    No, this is $700 for a specialized video card. Just like the 700 gamers spend on their cards. Your point was that price is too much for a specialized video card that must be replaced and I’m saying it isn’t. Gamers do it all the time. 

    Youre not making any sense. Who says you need to replace it the moment another comes out? Again, GPUs come out all the time, gamers don’t replace them every single time a new card comes out. But when they do, it’s not unusual to spend the same amount and think no more of it. 

    You won’t even get one, so I’m not sure why you’re complaining about it.
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 28 of 53
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,898administrator
    sflocal said:
    I love the concept of it, it just does strike me as odd about the inability to swap out the graphics card.  As far as I'm concerned, I would be buying the TB3 "Chassis" and installing my own GPU, or have Blackmagic allow me to choose from a bunch of graphics cards that are all current.

    I understand that graphics drivers are necessary, but perhaps when the Mac Pro comes out, assuming it's modular and will facilitate GPU swap, maybe they will have this ability later down the road.

    I would consider something like this if that ability was given.  When you think about it, a regular TB3 dock runs at least $300.  This incorporates that along with a GPU, so in essence that function is only $400 more.  Not a bad deal really.
    Nearly all the rest of the eGPU enclosures we've looked at have a PCI-E slot for a video card, and many have USB-A and Ethernet ports.. This is the first that will work with the LG 5K though.
  • Reply 29 of 53
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,871member
    macxpress said:
    macxpress said:

    High quality design, space grey aluminum shell

    The Blackmagic's eGPU is dense, as compared to others AppleInsider has tested. The weight is about the same, but the unit is condensed, taking less desk real estate than the Mantiz or assorted Sonnet units.

    The top and bottom vents look to be plastic but are also well made, The body's space grey anodizing matches the MacBook Pro pro quite closely.

    The design is reminiscent of the 2013 Mac Pro with an intake vent at the bottom and an single large fan at the top. Unfortunately, also just like it, the eGPU lacks the ability to take an upgrade in the future.
    This alone would make me not want to buy this. Why would I spend $700 on something that will be outdated in a year or two and I can't put a different card inside it? It does have really nice features otherwise, but the lack of future upgradability would be a major sticking point for me. 
    My gamer buddies spend that much on a couple of high-end GPUs for their gaming rigs, and when it’s time to upgrade they’re out the 700 bucks. How’s this any different?
    Not everyone is a serious gamer either and is willing to spend $1800(s) on a new video card every single time it comes out. Thats how its different...

    Getting back to the point though...It would have helped if they didn't choose a POS video card to begin with. Then at least you could get something out of it for a while. 

    It's also funny how it was a major complaint of the current Mac Pro and now all of a sudden its okay. Go figure!

    Also, how long is it gonna be before Blackmagic decides to upgrade the GPU inside it as a new model? Is it 6 months? 12? 18? 24? Never? Now you're at the mercy of the manufacturer versus if you just allow for the unit to be upgraded, you're not. I don't see why some are against my argument here. You're not making any sense. 
    No, this is $700 for a specialized video card. Just like the 700 gamers spend on their cards. Your point was that price is too much for a specialized video card that must be replaced and I’m saying it isn’t. Gamers do it all the time. 

    Youre not making any sense. Who says you need to replace it the moment another comes out? Again, GPUs come out all the time, gamers don’t replace them every single time a new card comes out. But when they do, it’s not unusual to spend the same amount and think no more of it. 

    You won’t even get one, so I’m not sure why you’re complaining about it.
    Thats right I won't get this particular one because you can't change the video card without buying the entire unit again. It's a stupid concept IMO. You're at the mercy of the manufacturer. And again, its a POS video card to begin with so its not really worth the $700 price tag and I seriously doubt they're giving you the enclosure for free and the $700 is the video card. They purposely chose a POS video card so they could keep the price low. 

    You're getting more than just the video card in this enclosure. I don't think you read the article. It would be a great concept had they chose to use a PCIe slot. This totally defeats the purpose of such an enclosure IMO. 
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 30 of 53
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,898administrator
    KITA said:
    Mike Wuerthele said:

    In reality, it isn't much, if any, of a limitation with the eGPU technology as a whole.
    I think that's the area where I disagree with you, or at least on our level of tolerance. 

    For example, if used for gaming or VR applications, a high end eGPU can see a massive loss in performance due the PCIe 3.0 x4 bottleneck in TB3.




    While this won't be the case for every application that uses an eGPU, it certainly outlines a weakness with the technology. I should also mention that the bandwidth will shrink even further if the eGPU is feeding back into the internal display.

    At the end of the day, it really depends on what the user's planning on doing, some applications might see very little degradation. I think as we see newer more powerful GPUs, this gap will only grow.
    I think you're right about tolerance. There's something not quite right about The Division benchmarks, though. I'm playing 4K right now in a runthrough with our own Malcolm Owen on a Vega 56 connected to an Intel NUC, and I have never seen the frame rate drop below 66. I'll delve into it a little more.
    edited July 2018 uniscape
  • Reply 31 of 53
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,871member
    sflocal said:
    macxpress said:
    Pretty impressive despite any limitations.

    Now if only the 13" MBP was "REALLY PRO" and had 32GB of RAM! But we all know a real PRO needs 256GB now or maybe 1TB!

     :D 
    What Pro who does real Pro work buys a 13" laptop on any platform?
    I would totally have bought the 13" MBP if it was on-par with the 15" version on everything else.  In my 2-cent opinion, the 13" and 15" machines should have the option of being exactly identical except for display size.

    I worked on a 13" for ages and needed the extra horsepower the 15" provided.  I'd still be on that 13" if it weren't for that.  It was a perfect travel size.  If I want more real-estate, I plug it into an external monitor which is what I currently do.

    My "pro" stuff is serious underwater photography and software coding, including running a few virtual machines from time-to-time.
    I can see your point with the portability though. It still boggles my mind that some want a 17" MBP. It's a lot of weight to lug around, even in today's world with today's designs and technology, or perhaps even tomorrows. If it works for you, thats all that matters. 
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 32 of 53
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,903member
    I think the reason this unit has a non-replaceable card is that it is designed and optimized for Macs (and other computers) running Blackmagic software. It is literally a thing someone can buy, plug in and start working with Resolve or Fusion immediately with little setup. That it can be used for other purposes is probably secondary to Blackmagic. The price reflects that Blackmagic is in the business of selling purpose designed software and hardware, manufactured in low volumes. They get to charge more for their stuff. They seem to update hardware fairly often, so I would think it likely that there will be new/updated versions of this device in a couple of years. Meanwhile, users of their eGPU and Blackmagic softwares will probably be quite happy to have this device. And will fine with updating it in a couple of years.  They will also get good support from Blackmagic for this device and their software which might not be true when using other cards/enclosures.

    This doesn't really seem like the best choice for people doing gaming or other types of Non-Blackmagic rendering/processing, when a faster card and cheaper enclosure can be had elsewhere.
    macxpressuniscape
  • Reply 33 of 53
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,871member
    welshdog said:
    I think the reason this unit has a non-replaceable card is that it is designed and optimized for Macs (and other computers) running Blackmagic software. It is literally a thing someone can buy, plug in and start working with Resolve or Fusion immediately with little setup. That it can be used for other purposes is probably secondary to Blackmagic. The price reflects that Blackmagic is in the business of selling purpose designed software and hardware, manufactured in low volumes. They get to charge more for their stuff. They seem to update hardware fairly often, so I would think it likely that there will be new/updated versions of this device in a couple of years. Meanwhile, users of their eGPU and Blackmagic softwares will probably be quite happy to have this device. And will fine with updating it in a couple of years.  They will also get good support from Blackmagic for this device and their software which might not be true when using other cards/enclosures.

    This doesn't really seem like the best choice for people doing gaming or other types of Non-Blackmagic rendering/processing, when a faster card and cheaper enclosure can be had elsewhere.
    I think you're pretty much spot on. Good thing is...this isn't the only option out there. 
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 34 of 53
    acentoniacentoni Posts: 3unconfirmed, member
    macxpress said:
    Pretty impressive despite any limitations.

    Now if only the 13" MBP was "REALLY PRO" and had 32GB of RAM! But we all know a real PRO needs 256GB now or maybe 1TB!

     :D 
    What Pro who does real Pro work buys a 13" laptop on any platform?
    Louis CK, despite being a creep, edited his entire FX television show on a 13” MBP. I’m aware of a friends in the industry who do the same thing. It’s not unheard of. 
  • Reply 35 of 53
    backstabbackstab Posts: 138member
    macxpress said:
    Pretty impressive despite any limitations.

    Now if only the 13" MBP was "REALLY PRO" and had 32GB of RAM! But we all know a real PRO needs 256GB now or maybe 1TB!

     :D 
    What Pro who does real Pro work buys a 13" laptop on any platform?
    Any pro with talent and competence.
  • Reply 36 of 53
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,871member
    backstab said:
    macxpress said:
    Pretty impressive despite any limitations.

    Now if only the 13" MBP was "REALLY PRO" and had 32GB of RAM! But we all know a real PRO needs 256GB now or maybe 1TB!

     :D 
    What Pro who does real Pro work buys a 13" laptop on any platform?
    Any pro with talent and competence.
    So the ones who own 15" MBP's are incompetent?
  • Reply 37 of 53
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,480member
    I stil wish for Apple to resurrect the Duo. It was the perfect Pro machine!
  • Reply 38 of 53
    arthargartharg Posts: 27member
    welshdog said:
    This doesn't really seem like the best choice for people doing gaming or other types of Non-Blackmagic rendering/processing, when a faster card and cheaper enclosure can be had elsewhere.
    What I really like about this enclosure is its quietness (as described here). I'm really sensitive to fan noise, so this unit would seem ideal. I'm not a gamer or renderer btw, I'm looking to this as extra oomph for numeric analysis and a TB3 dock in one. The only thing I'd really like to see added is Gigabit ethernet, but that's only a dongle away.

    I wonder: on a 2018 MacBook 15", are both the internal discrete GPU and the eGPU used concurrently? Could they be?
    cgWerks
  • Reply 39 of 53
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    Woah - check out that knife. Good for opening boxes, and fending off Windows users who try to touch your Mac.

    When on full load, is it quieter or louder than an iMac with 580? Thanks.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 40 of 53
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 760member
    If I want to upgrade, I want to upgrade to a card that's much faster compared to what I get with a high end iMac. The Nvidia ones blow the AMD ones out the water. Let's have one of those...
    At the time there when you need to upgrade there can be better option to sell your old MBP and get new with probably new Thunderbolt 4 and TB4 eGPU. But it may not of course.
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