[Unboxing & Teardown] Blackmagic eGPU Radeon Pro 580 Thunderbolt 3 Enclosure
The BlackMagic eGPU just arrived in the mail. Apple's involvement with this enclosure shows in the packaging. It's very similar to unboxing the 2013 Mac Pro trashcan: black handle on top of the box and square footprint. This is the first retail eGPU box that displays the Mac logo up front. Top corner shows Thunderbolt 3 eGPU AMD-RX580. It's an inconsistency with other marketing materials that say the graphics card is a Radeon Pro 580.
Five main selling features shown on top of the box as well as the user manual: Thunderbolt 3, 85W USB-C Power Delivery, Ultra Quiet = 18dB, 4x USB 3.1 ports, and HDMI Monitor Output. They're actually missing the most crucial selling point, Thunderbolt 3 Monitor Output.
There's no other accessories other than the power cable and .5m Thunderbolt 3 cable. They are inside this small white box tucked neatly in the bottom foam block.
Top of the enclosure is a black plastic vent. Right underneath is a metal grille to prevent foreign objects falling into the fan blade. There's only one cooling fan (likely 140mm) drawing air out of the eGPU through the top. In the bottom, there's a plastic platform to raise the enclosure up to allow airflow. A single LED is located in the center of the bottom vent. No exposed screws of switches to be found. The four rubber feet hide four Torx-10 security screws.
I quickly opened it up to check the cooling system and PSU. It looks tricky to remove the entire core out of the enclosure. I will take my time tearing it down this weekend and share more internal component photos.
I personally think the design and materials of this eGPU match Alienware computers better than Macs. Here are a couple photos of the Blackmagic eGPU next to the nMP and Gigabyte RX 580 Gaming Box for scale.
I used @mac_editor's Purge-Wrangler script to pair with the 2013 Mac Pro trashcan. All is working well so far. I don't currently have a Thunderbolt 3 Mac to test so it will be paired with this nMP and a 2015 15" MacBook Pro. In Windows, I will use an Alienware 15 R3. AppleCare told me they need about a week to replace the top case on my 2016 15" MacBook Pro (stuck W key).
As can be seen in these screen captures, the Thunderbolt firmware version of this eGPU is 26.3. The four USB ports attach to a 3.1 gen 1 hub. I will be doing tests for a full review of this Blackmagic eGPU. Please let me know if I left out any information you’d like to know.
Update: Blackmagic eGPU review
Awesome, I like it very much.
keep us updated.
i’ve noticed Packaging states Pro 580 but also RX 580 on the top side. Maybe a typo.
Considering the RX 580 and Pro 580 are the same GPU (just that "Pro" is the iMac variant), I have to wonder if the decision to call this one a Radeon Pro 580 was a late decision Apple pushed Blackmagic into so it sounds fancier, haha.
Under Windows, Radeon Pro devices have unlocked drivers given better professional app performance compared to their Radeon counterparts. Though this eGPU isn't supported under bootcamp.
@nando4 I'm afraid so. I connected this Blackmagic eGPU to the Razer Blade Stealth and Radeon drivers could not identify the graphics card. Luckily there were drivers from previous setups so the eGPU was functional. When I tried to update the drivers to the latest version, it refused to proceed due to GPU identification error. I don't recommend this eGPU if you're planning on running Bootcamp.
As is typically with GPU inside a Mac, the Radeon 580 in this Blackmagic eGPU is clocked at 1200MHz. This is lower than the reference RX 480 that came out two years ago, clocked at 1266MHz. I ran GPU-Z, AIDA64, and HWiNFO64 to gather some specs. I also saved a dump of the ROM.
More bad new is how challenging this enclosure is to take apart. I managed to remove the internal block [PSU+GPU+cooler] from the shell. Both the top and bottom plastic vents have hidden Torx screws. Definitely not servicable at all. The power supply is a Mean Well EPP-400-12 with 400W output. What I found really interesting are these two mini-B USB ports.
That's it for tonight. I will separate the GPU and PSU from the block tomorrow.
Gutted Bootcamp is a bigger hurdle than usual....
2017 13" MacBook Pro Touch Bar
GTX1060 + AKiTiO Thunder3 + Win10
GTX1070 + Sonnet Breakaway Box + Win10
GTX1070 + Razer Core V1 + Win10
Vega 56 + Razer Core V1 + macOS + Win10
Vega 56 + Mantiz Venus + macOS + W10
15ef JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 Bridge [Titan Ridge DD 2018]15f0 JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 USB Controller [Titan Ridge DD 2018]
Maybe this USB thing is a feature of the DD type controller? 2C and 4C are for single and dual DisplayPort input controllers?
The product names in the pci ids database for Titan Ridge might be wrong. 2C might be JHL7340, 4C might be JHL7540, and DD might be JHL7440. The JHL7440 has been described as usable in docks or displays that can connect to a computer's Thunderbolt port or USB-C port. This new feature may explain how the USB in this eGPU works.