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Oliver Peters
Hands on with BMD eGPU
on Aug 6, 2018 at 12:07:21 pm

For those contemplating this unit:

https://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/blackmagic-design-egpu/

https://www.provideocoalition.com/blackmagic-egpu-whats-it-really-going-to-...

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Scott Witthaus
Re: Hands on with BMD eGPU
on Aug 9, 2018 at 1:36:12 am

Good article. Thanks for sharing.

Scott Witthaus
Visual Storyteller - FCPX, Premiere
https://vimeo.com/channels/1322525
Managing Partner, Low Country Creative LLC
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Michael Gissing
Re: Hands on with BMD eGPU
on Aug 9, 2018 at 2:35:11 am
Last Edited By Michael Gissing on Aug 9, 2018 at 2:35:41 am

Yes good article, thanks Oliver. Curious that it's only available through the Apple app store. I wonder how many PC based laptop users might want to play with this for Resolve. I presume it would have some benefit for them as well. Of course anyone could purchase it via Apple but there might well be non Apple people who would prefer local distributors


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Oliver Peters
Re: Hands on with BMD eGPU
on Aug 9, 2018 at 12:08:39 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Aug 9, 2018 at 12:15:59 pm

Scott and Michael - thanks. I'm not sure about PCs and this unit. PCs, however, can make use of external GPUs, but I'm not sure of the process. People are doing that for DIY bitcoin-mining rigs and Resolve grading rigs. This particular unit was obviously developed in some sort of deal between BMD and Apple, hence the Apple Store tie in. Apple is also helping to promote it.

I have now had a chance to test out the system with an iMac Pro, 13" MBP and 15" MBP (both laptops are brand new 2018 models). In general, this (and other eGPUs) should not be viewed simply as a way to accelerate renders/exports. That entirely depends on the coding for each individual app. macOS enables it, but then it's up to the software developers.

The general objective of it seems to be to accelerate performance by offloading video processing when your laptop is connected to an external video display or second monitor, direct from the Mac. This would include stereo 360VR goggles. It's also why the promotion gives equal billing to 360VR goggles and gaming.

Run TB3 to the eGPU and then from the eGPU to the display and now it will accelerate playback performance to the display, rather than add any extra drag on the internal GPU. Hence the major bump for laptops, but less so for desktops that already have a more powerful internal GPU.

I would also add, that the recent MacBook Pros only come with TB3/USB-C style connectors. This means that you normally have to invest in a variety of adapters, dongles, or hubs/docks to connect the various peripherals that we all use daily. The BMD eGPU in particular offers some of these ports, thus saving you most of that money. Its TB3 connection can also power/charge the MBP. So hook everything to the eGPU and then a single TB3 cable to the MBP. Very neat installation. Moving the MBP from mobile to desktop operation becomes a matter of plugging one cable back in.

This is why I view these eGPUs as more of an "appliance" than simply a "render accelerator".

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Michael Gissing
Re: Hands on with BMD eGPU
on Aug 9, 2018 at 1:50:46 pm

Thanks for that extra detail Oliver. I'm guessing BM would make use of this GPU on PC & Linux versions of Resolve.

The Apple tie in is interesting. I wonder who initiated the product. It seems to suit Apple more than BM from my side of the fence. But it begs the question why didn't Apple just make it?


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Hands on with BMD eGPU
on Aug 9, 2018 at 3:06:07 pm

Just to add to the mix:

"Razer Core X with RX Vega 64 vs Blackmagic eGPU"

https://9to5mac.com/2018/08/02/2018-macbook-pro-amd-vega-64-egpu-video/


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Oliver Peters
Re: Hands on with BMD eGPU
on Aug 9, 2018 at 3:10:44 pm

[Andrew Kimery] ""Razer Core X with RX Vega 64 vs Blackmagic eGPU""

Yep, another good option. Except - double the price without any of the extra connectivity nor adequate power to also charge the laptop.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Hands on with BMD eGPU
on Aug 9, 2018 at 3:38:49 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Except - double the price without any of the extra connectivity nor adequate power to also charge the laptop."

Price is dependent on the GPU used though (in this case a more expensive GPU which got killed BM unit in terms of the performance), and you can upgrade down the road. Presumably the insane spike in GPU prices caused by cryptomining won't last forever so the cost difference will most likely shrink over time.

The BM unit being able to act like a 'hub' thanks to it's extra ports is certainly not a feature to gloss over.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Hands on with BMD eGPU
on Aug 9, 2018 at 3:50:45 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "Price is dependent on the GPU used though"

Understood. I'm sure that BMD probably did some research to back up this selection. After all, you are appealing to a subset of laptop users. If you drive the total system price up too far, then why not simply buy an iMac/iMac Pro? Most likely they feel that they are hitting a sweet spot.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Hands on with BMD eGPU
on Aug 9, 2018 at 4:33:09 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Understood. I'm sure that BMD probably did some research to back up this selection. After all, you are appealing to a subset of laptop users. If you drive the total system price up too far, then why not simply buy an iMac/iMac Pro? Most likely they feel that they are hitting a sweet spot."

I think the eGPU market is going to grow to be more than just a subset of laptop users. Especially on the Apple side where sealed box systems are becoming the norm. For example, in 2020 if you need more 'oomph' out of your 2017 iMac Pro you can just plug in an eGPU.

The BMD unit is $700 and uses a Radeon Pro 580. For about the same price you can get a Radeon Pro 580 and a Razer Core X enclosure to put it in. Or you can get a Razer Core X v.2 for $200 more and get ports similar to the BMD unit. Down the road instead of having to buy a whole new BMD unit (assuming they will release new models) you just have to buy a new GPU. The Razer units are also PC and Mac compatible where as the BMD unit is advertised as Mac only.

I know BMD was trying to hit a sweet spot but I don't think it's going to age well as the as the eGPU becomes more mainstream/mature and competition increases. Unless of course Apple blocks all 'unapproved' eGPUs and you suddenly have a super small selection of Mac compatible eGPU units that are all priced artificially high compared to their PC counterparts.


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