Blackmagic Design Announces eGPU Pro, Professional Version of Its Blackmagic eGPU, 22x Faster Performance Than Previous Model

Blackmagic Design has announced the Blackmagic eGPU Pro, a GPU power-boosted pro-level version of its recently released Blackmagic eGPU, with a Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics processor instead of the earlier model’s Radeon Pro 580 graphics card. 

As a result Blackmagic Design is claiming an up-to 22 times speed boost for graphics-intensive tasks such as photography and video editing with non-linear editing suites such as Blackmagic Design’s own DaVinci Resolve in both versions and Apple’s Final Cut Pro X. 

The Blackmagic eGPU Pro requires either a Thunderbolt 3-equipped MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, new Mac mini or an iMac or, presumably, an iMac Pro, all running macOS 10.14 Mojave for its updated support for external graphics processing units. 

The Blackmagic eGPU Pro provides two Thunderbolt 3 ports, four USB 3 ports, 85 watt power delivery and an HDMI 2.0 port as well as a DisplayPort 1.4 port to support up to two 5K monitors.

I began looking into eGPUs some time before the previous version of macOS supported it due to the demands on my late 2014 iMac Retina 5K 27-inch being made by increasingly larger stills and video files produced by ever-larger sensors and ever-growing quality capabilities of video files in particular.

Later today I will be attending a preview of Fujifilm’s GFX 50R rangefinder-style medium format camera and the 100 megapixel version of Fujifilm’s GFX 50S DSLR-style camera will be released in 2019.

A reasonable rule of thumb is that an average raw file from a 50 megapixel camera will weigh in at 100 megabytes before processing and an average raw file from a 100 megapixel camera will weigh in at 200 megabytes before raw conversion and image editing involving extra layers.

Blackmagic eGPU Pro

Such files not only add to demands on storage space; they also increase the draw on your computer’s internal graphics processing unit compared to, say, the 16 megapixel and 20 megapixel image files of my Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras and the 24 megapixel image files of my Fujifilm APS-C camera.

Medium format is attractive due to its larger sensors producing image quality that enlarges well to gallery exhibition print dimensions.

Then there is the question of the superb video footage produced by cameras like the Fujifilm X-T3, using settings like DCI 4K, 10-bit-4:2:2, All-Intra, 400 megabits per second and HEVC H.265.

Our iMac does not have native Thunderbolt 3 output but it may be able to make use of eGPUs with some sort of software hack and a Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt adapter.

The ‘Untitled’ home studio is well overdue for an upgrade to its portable computer capabilities, though, and a maxed-out version of the coming internal GPU-boosted MacBook Pro 15-inch series may be just the ticket.

If ever-bigger video and stills files continue to make serious demands on such machines’ internal GPUs, then eGPUs like the Blackmagic eGPU Pro are worth serious consideration.

I have yet to try out any eGPU, given none of our local Apple stores have one out of the box and set up in a working configuration, but the numbers in Blackmagic Design’s product page look encouraging.

Highlights, Blackmagic eGPU Pro

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Blackmagic Design Blackmagic eGPU Pro, I/O connectivity and power.
  • Compatible with any Thunderbolt 3–enabled Mac
  • Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics processor with 8GB of HBM2 memory
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Four USB 3 ports
  • HDMI 2.0 port
  • DisplayPort 1.4 port
  • 85W power delivery

Press Release

BLACKMAGIC DESIGNANNOUNCES BLACKMAGIC EGPU PRO

New model features blazingly fast AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 for up to 22x faster performance!

Fremont, CA – October 30, 2018 – Blackmagic Design today announced the Blackmagic eGPU Pro, an external graphics processor featuring the blazingly fast AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics processor. Designed to accelerate pro creative software such as DaVinci Resolve, 3D games and VR, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro delivers nearly twice the performance of the original Blackmagic eGPU model and up to 22x faster performance than the built-in graphics on a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The Blackmagic eGPU Pro features a built-in AMD Radeon RX Vega 56, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a new DisplayPort for connecting 5K displays, HDMI 2.0, 85W of charging power and four USB 3.1 connections. Designed in collaboration with Apple, the integrated design brings cutting-edge workstation-class graphics processing and computational acceleration to customers working in professional video, playing 3D games or using the latest virtual reality software.

The Blackmagic eGPU Pro will be available in November for only US$1,199 from apple.com.

The Blackmagic eGPU Pro features 8GB of HBM2 RAM, a massive 2048-bit memory interface with 410 gigabyte per second bandwidth, and 56 discreet compute units for up to 10.5 teraflops of processing power. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 can fill 94 billion textured pixels per second. In addition, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro supports Metal graphics technology from Apple, which provides near-direct access to the GPU for maximizing graphics and compute performance with games and applications.

With nearly 2x faster performance than the previous eGPU model, customers running DaVinci Resolve will get more realtime effects and color correction than ever before. That means they can spend more time exploring creative options and less time waiting. Customers running DaVinci Resolve on a 13-inch MacBook Pro will find that GPU-intensive operations, such as noise reduction, are up to 22x faster with the Blackmagic eGPU Pro. DaVinci Resolve 15 also supports multiple GPUs as well as Metal, so it’s the best way to get the full benefit of the Blackmagic eGPU Pro. Customers can download DaVinci Resolve 15 now free of charge from the Blackmagic Design website for the best editing, color correction, audio post and visual effects solution available.

For gamers and customers using VR software and headsets, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro delivers higher resolution images, higher frame rate gameplay, better lighting and more detailed textures for truly immersive experiences, even on a laptop computer. Plus, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro features a DisplayPort connection that can drive a 5K display.

The elegant, textured finish of the Blackmagic eGPU Pro is extruded from a single piece of aluminum and features a unique thermal cooling system that’s been designed to perfectly balance the airflow and dissipate heat more efficiently. The cooling system also enables extremely quiet operation, which is vital for those working in video production and audio engineering environments.

In addition to graphics and computational acceleration, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro is also the perfect docking hub for connecting devices such as keyboards, mice, Thunderbolt monitors, big screen HDMI televisions, 5K displays, VR headsets, high speed storage and more. It features two 40Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 connections, a built-in 4 port USB hub, DisplayPort and HDMI. Plus, the connections are ergonomically spaced, making it easy to connect and disconnect peripherals.

When it comes to power, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro has a built-in power supply that powers the GPU while also providing 85W of downstream power via Thunderbolt 3 for charging laptop computers and powering peripherals. The power supply works from 100V to 240V and features a standard IEC power connector so it can be used anywhere in the world.

“The new Blackmagic eGPU Pro is exciting because it delivers nearly twice the performance of the original model of the Blackmagic eGPU,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “Whether you’re editing and color grading professional video with DaVinci Resolve, playing 3D games or working in VR, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro gives you the latest cutting edge graphics performance and computational acceleration available. It simply makes everything faster and makes everything look better!”

AVAILABILITY AND PRICE

The Blackmagic eGPU Pro will be available in Novemeber for only US$1,199 from apple.com.

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Fstoppers: Fstoppers Reviews the BenQ SW320 and PV3200PT, Two Fantastic 4K Monitors

https://fstoppers.com/originals/fstoppers-reviews-benq-sw320-and-pv3200pt-two-fantastic-4k-monitors-267514

“For many photographers and videographers, editing and post-production are a vital part of the process. For this reason, it’s crucial to have an accurate and effective display to work on in order to produce the best results….”

Commentary

It has been a long time since I last came across a BenQ monitor in a store in either of the Australian cities in which I have lived, and I have never bought nor used one, so I cannot comment on their qualities for photography and video editing, nor their longevity, but I am willing to consider them and found this article a useful start to my research.

We often rely on two monitors here at the ‘Untitled’ home office, but some of them are ageing or failing, with yet another dying just the other day.

As a result we have sworn off Dell products for life and have been looking at other brands for our video and photo editing workstations as well as for more mundane tasks not demanding high-end monitors.

The two BenQ monitors covered in Fstoppers’ article look interesting but their lack of Thunderbolt connectivity means they are of limited interest for use with our Apple computers.

Will we upgrade our Windows PC to something more contemporary, and will either of these monitors play a part in that?

Or will we stick with Apple machines given the wide range of macOS software already in use here?

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benq_sw320_31.5-inch_4k_color_accurate_ips_monitor_02_1024px_80pc
Hockey puck controller on the BenQ SW320 31.5″ 16:9 4K Color Accurate IPS Monitor.

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  • BenQ PV3200PT 32″ 16:9 4K Video Editing IPS MonitorB&H
  • BenQ SW320 31.5″ 16:9 4K Color Accurate IPS MonitorB&H

Get Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic eGPU for Graphics Processing Lightyears Ahead

Apple’s computer operating system gained support for external graphics processing units aka eGPUs with macOS 10.13.4 and the race was on for third-party suppliers to release compatible units with few actually making an appearance in the local market. 

Meanwhile Apple was collaborating with Australian moviemaking production hardware powerhouse and video industry disruptor Blackmagic Design on the Blackmagic eGPU, and it was released to retail in Apple stores worldwide this week. 

I have yet to set eyes upon an actual Blackmagic eGPU in the flesh, as it were, as our closest Apple store does not carry them or have one on display but I am reliably informed one can be seen at our second closest Apple store and I plan on dropping in sometime this week to see and try.

An eGPU developed in close collaboration with the maker of the computers for which it has been designed to best support with the latest connectivity standards is hard to argue against.

Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic eGPU

Internal graphics processing units have been taking the load off central processing units for some years now, especially for graphics-intensive video production work and this latest development in external GPUs is an exciting one.

The Blackmagic eGPU makes a powerful companion to Apple’s latest iteration of its 15-inch MacBook Pro, ramping up its processing speed in the direction of the iMac Pro.

The Blackmagic eGPU is supported by macOS 10.13.6 High Sierra onwards.

Links

Image Credits

Header image by Carmel D. Morris.

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Wacom pen tablets are invaluable for video editing, photograph editing and graphics, and can save you from the ill effects of repetitive computer work.

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  • Apple iMac ProB&H
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  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • Blackmagic eGPU – not currently on sale at B&H, but I will add the link when it is on sale there.
  • LG 27MD5KB-B UltraFine 27″ 16:9 5K IPS MonitorB&H
  • LG 34WK95U 34″ 21:9 UltraWide 5K Nano IPS MonitorB&H
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Apple Releases Mid-2018 MacBook Pro Computers and Blasts Off Into the Future

Until the arrival of the iMac Pro in late 2017, Apple’s professional moviemaking and photography customers had been questioning the company’s loyalty to them and dedication to meeting their ever-growing high-end graphics computing needs, without unnecessary monkey work. 

Today’s release of the Coffee Lake sensor-equipped Mid-2018 MacBook Pro models in 13-inch and 15-inch versions along with the Apple/Blackmagic Design co-designed Blackmagic eGPU will further allay these concerns with a hardware combination approaching the iMac Pro in power and graphics processing speed. 

apple_macbook_pro_2018_04_1024px_80pc
Apple MacBook Pro Mid-2018

Next year’s long-awaited release of the re-imagined Mac Pro after the Mac Pro range was left languishing since late 2013’s “ash can” Macs will be icing on the cake for creatives and a necessity for production studios needing the ultimate in multi-teraflop processing power.

Meanwhile, the long hiatus until last year’s iMac Pro saw many visual storytelling professionals looking to pre-Coffee Lake 15-inch MacBook Pros for portability and as a stopgap until Apple radically revised its desktop offerings, beginning with the iMac Pro.

Hard choices though when knowing that Coffee Lake processors would eventually arrive in Apple’s portable offerings, but the decision of when and which production computer in which to invest has always been a vexing one, given the need to choose a model as future-proofed as possible.

Apple MacBook Pro Mid 2018

The Apple computers I have used have always productively outlived all our Windows PCs, and our two current Macs have had long, productive lives though one is nearing its end having endured daily production use since early 2011.

Those lives are about to be challenged by coming software and hardware support demands as well as exciting new standard in video and ever-larger raw files from ever-bigger image sensor-equipped stills cameras such as Fujifilm’s GFX 50S and the coming GFX 100S and GFX 50R.

Internal upgrades of older machines using Other World Computing’s excellent SSDs and doubling the RAM have their limitations in the face of contemporary graphics software’s reliance on graphics processing units (GPUs) so a new 15-inch MacBook Pro has been overdue, preferably attached to a Blackmagic eGPU in the studio and on-location.

Accessories for Apple’s MacBook Pro Mid 2018

The really big investment maximisation lesson I learned kong ago is to max out your production computer with RAM, internal storage, CPU and GPU power to cope with the ever-increasing demands off constantly-updating editing software.

Apple has clearly heeded this relentless tendency with the 15-inch MacBook Pro Mid-2018’s up to 6-core processors and 32GB of RAM, and a great choice of SSDs up to 4TB, obviating the need to connect external media drives when working on ambitious video and longterm photography projects.

Invest in a minimum of 1TB internal storage, 32GB of RAM, choose the highest specifications processor, add Thunderbolt external storage for media and scratch disk space, and cast an eye at LG’s excellent UltraFine and UltraWide 5K monitors, two of which the Mid-2018 MacBook Pro can easily handle.

Consider a Wacom pen tablet for fine selection control and to guard against wrist damage, add the Blackmagic eGPU, look at Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve Micro and Mini colour grading panels, and by doing so create a top-end editing workstation approaching the iMac Pro or coming Mac Pro in power and reliability.

Above all, do not aim low as it will only keep you down as your needs and ambitions change.

Those griping at the price of this versatility and power would do well to consider the past alternatives.

It is significant that Apple has begun collaborating with Blackmagic Design in the eGPU and hopefully other areas given Blackmagic Design CEO Grant Petty’s mission of “allowing the highest quality video to be affordable to everyone, so the post production and television industry can become a truly creative industry.”

When I first read that, I cast my mind back to the very first video editing workstation I clapped eyes on at a top London creative hotshop advertising agency costing, if my memory serves me right, some £100,000 for the hardware and software, barely affordable by the agency much less any creative of my acquaintance then.

The two photographers-turned-directors who had headhunted me for the agency relied on funky old-but-beautiful Super 16mm movie cameras but the cost of the video cameras of the time was astronomical compared to the price of current small cinema, video and hybrid mirrorless cameras.

With personal computers being the centre of our creative lives, it makes sense to spend some of the money saved on free and affordable production software and hardware on the beating heart of your production kit, making it last for years to come.

Speaking of which with Apple now doing right by its professional users on the hardware front, it is past time for the company to do right in video editing software by improving Final Cut Pro X’s audio capabilities now that Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve’s Fairlight audio page is putting it to shame.

Likewise Apple’s still-smarting 2015 abandonment of photography organizing and editing essential Aperture, was an almost shameful act still with no fully-featured direct replacement anywhere near the horizon whether by dint of third-party software makers or Apple Photos, its erstwhile in-house successor.

Links

Image Credits

Header image by Carmel D. Morris. Have you seen the Red Forest?

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Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K with 8Sinn camera cage, Scorpio handle and Canon CN-E 24mm T1.5 L F Cinema Prime Lens with EF-to-M43 adapter.

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  • Apple iMac ProB&H
  • Apple Mac ProB&H
  • Apple MacBook Pro Mid 2018B&H
  • Blackmagic Design camerasB&H
  • Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio (Activation Card)B&H
  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • Blackmagic eGPU – not currently on sale at B&H, but I will add the link when it is on sale there.
  • Canon EF Cinema Prime Lens Kit (14, 24, 35, 50, 85, 135mm)B&H
  • Fujifilm GFX 50SB&H
  • G-Technology G-Speed Shuttle Thunderbolt RAID ArraysB&H
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  • LG 34WK95U 34″ 21:9 UltraWide 5K Nano IPS MonitorB&H
  • Loupedeck + Photo Editing ConsoleB&H
  • Other World Computing (OWC)B&H – upgrade ageing Apple Macs with faster, larger internal drives and extra, faster memory.
  • WacomB&H

MacSales.com: 2017 iMac Pro Teardown + OWC Memory Upgrade Announcement

“We’re celebrating Apple’s latest iMac Pro with an teardown video! Join Mike and Matt as they teardown one of the fastest Macs ever made and reveal a look into what makes it work and the upgrade possibilities….”

Apple iMac Pro for graphics, special effects, photography and video editing.

Links

  • MacSales.com – Other World Computing’s aka OWC retail sales website
  • Macfixit Australia – Australian online retailer for OWC and other products

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  • Apple 27″ iMac Pro with Retina 5K Display (Late 2017)B&H

New iMac Pro Ready for Takeoff! Pre-Orders Available Now.

Apple is poised to release the first iterations of its high-end production-ready Apple iMac Pro, boasting the choice of 8, 10 or 18-core Xeon processors, turbo boost up to 4.5GHz, up to 42MB cache, up to 128GB RAM, up to 4TB SSD data storage and up to 3GB/s throughput with latest generation I/O including 4 x Thunderbolt 3 ports, 40Gb/s data transfer and 10GB Ethernet. 

Any version of the iMac Pro can form the basis of a multiple display graphics, photography or video workstation with the attachment of up to two RAID systems and two 5K displays via its four Thunderbolt 3 ports at rear, allowing you to work on a 44-million pixel machine.  

B&H Photo Video is now accepting pre-orders for a large number of iMac Pro configurations. 

 

iMac Pro Image Gallery

The first versions of the iMac Pro are apparently scheduled for ordering on December 14 in the northern hemisphere and orders apparently will be available from Friday, 15th December in Australia.

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Image Credits

The Last Jedi header image concept and quick hack by Carmel D. Morris. Official product photographs kindly supplied by Apple.

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Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Apple iMac ProB&H
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Just Landed: BizonBOX External Graphics Power to Take Your Photo and Video Editing to 4K and Beyond

Is editing slow on your Mac Book Pro or iMac? Add an external Graphics Processing Unit (eGPU)! Movie and television workstation maker Bizon has introduced the very first external Graphics Processing Unit card solution for Mac computers including current and older Mac Book Pro and iMac.

No, this is not an old Mac Pro tower. The BizonBOX 3 eGPU measures 36cm x 8cm x 20.5cm and travels comfortably with your Mac Book Pro.

The BizonBOX eGPU is available in two versions depending on the age of your Apple computer, BizonBOX 2S for machines made between 2011 and 2015, and BizonBOX 3, compatible with the Mac Book Pro 2016 and, hopefully, the Mac Book Pro 2017 when the overdue big beef-up MBP upgrade is finally here sometime later this year.

Apple, please give us 32GB RAM maximum in the next Mac Book Pro. A total of 16GB RAM just does not cut it and, frankly, I don’t care so much about the battery when I am editing video or big, fat stills. For that I will always plug into mains power in the studio or on location.

The relentless march of technology

When editing software developers discovered that graphics processing units’ floating point calculation capabilities could be used to radically speed up image and video editing, the writing was on the wall for dependence on non-upgradeable internal GPUs.

The inevitable occurred. Digital filmmaking and photography’s relentless march of press quickly led to 4K video, three-to-seven-bracket HDR photography, massive multi-stitch panoramas, immersive 360-degree VR video, 20MP to 50MP enthusiast through prosumer to professional stills cameras, and democratized Hollywood quality movie grading and editing with the free version of Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve.

Our computers’ CPUs and especially their graphics processing units are taking a beating and it is only going to get worse. For example, Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5 will soon be introducing consumer-accessible anamorphic 6K HEVC video recording via its 6K Photo feature, as UK Lumix Luminary Nick Driftwood has demonstrated.

Bigger, better, more demand on processing power

Moviemakers at all levels of the industry are acquiring, editing, storing and increasingly outputting at UHD 4K and DCI 4K. Editing proxies from 4K footage is becoming a standard practice but it is not the be-all and end-all.

Fujifilm’s GFX 50S camera has arrived, bringing more affordable medium format photography to a proportion of the masses, as it were, and with it 50MP files weighing in at almost 120MB with TIFFs exported from raw processors averaging a weight of over 300MB before heavy image editing begins.

Imagine merging three to seven of those into an HDR image via Macphun Aurora HDR 2017 and the size of the consequent .mpaur file and exported TIFF. Open the TIFF in sister photo editor Macphun Luminar and watch file size blow out yet again. Imagine what will happen when the Fujifilm GFX 100S arrives with a 100MP sensor and 200MB raw files.

ON1, Inc.’s ON1 Photo Raw 2017’s developer team has wisely chosen to send in-edit image display to the GPU instead of relying on the CPU, a trend I would like to see in more image editors, NLEs and color grading suites, but that bumps potential overload from CPUs over to GPUs.

Some photographers earning a livelihood from big sensor images and big blow-ups are in a snit about Apple’s current generation USB-C Mac Book Pro portable computers and have moved over to the dark side or have dipped their toes in and found WindowsWorld wanting.

A few multi-NLE video editors have expressed reservations about the way that Apple’s latest Mac Book pro seems to play so well with Final Cut Pro X but not with other non-linear editing suites. Has Apple been up to something nefarious, given how old the latest iMacs and Mac Pro computers are now, they ask.

Meanwhile professional users have been wondering whether and how much Apple is committed to its pro customers especially those of us working in video and photography, as reported by TechCrunch late December last year.

Investigating a modern editing set-up and workflow

I have had to suspend much-needed new hardware acquisitions at the moment, not by choice but circumstance given how bureaucracy, lawyers and soon-to-be-gone nasty neighbours have thrown several kinks in our plans to finance Untitled: Stories of Creativity Innovation, Success ourselves. Consequently, Untitled’s soft launch date has been extended indefinitely despite my desire to begin producing those stories in photo essay and short documentary form.

Meanwhile, I remain optimistic and continue to investigate my options for upgrading our current machines as well as essential future new purchases.

I am still making sense of the latest and coming I/O, USB-C, storage, workflow, Thunderbolt 3 and, with macOS Sierra supporting external GPUs like the BizonBOX as reported in a Frame.io blog entry on FCPX, how to support shortcomings in computers and their hardware with third party solutions.

In the light of all that and the uncertainty as to what Apple will be coming out with this year, knowing that a solution like BizonBOX 3 exists is a relief.

Links:

Image Credits:

Header image concept and design by Carmel D. Morris.