• 4.0 out of 5 stars

    It works but.....

    • Written by Mark R from Spalding

    I bought this to go with a new i7 Mac Mini linked up to a 4k 32" 4K monitor.
    Whilst most of my use is general web browsing, I do sometimes spend time with applications like Lightroom for photos and Resolve for Video so the addition of the eGPU meant I had a much needed boost on the odd occasions I needed better graphics performance than offered out of the box with the Mac Mini. apps like iMovie with 4K video did run just fine with the built in graphics BTW so if your needs are simple video taken with your iPhone at 4K, don't be put off by the internal Intel HD630 graphics.
    So I have run various tests with various applications and there is no question, this makes a huge difference when a GPU is needed to accomplish various tasks so it really does do what it claims.
    I did also look at the roll your own solutions buying a Sonnet enclosure and fitting a graphics card inside. The argument for that is you can upgrade the GPU later.
    The problem here is that you can't just but the base spec enclosure as it would not have a big enough PSU to run say a Vega64 later on if you did upgrade so buying an enclosure with a big enough PSU for future upgrades and a Radeon 580 today costs A LOT more than the Black Magic device on day one. On top of that, the other external GPUs have many many fans on them and are very noisy. The Black Magic is silent at all times. In my nice quiet office, this matters.
    So I therefore have an eGPU that is cheaper than an upgradable and quiet. Sure I can't just swap out the graphics card at a later date but I am sure many iMac users will tell you they don't loose sleep on that count either (think about it). If you want a machine you can upgrade each year as new games come out, perhaps a Mac isn't the right machine for you in the first place.
    So why only 4 stars?
    I wanted to place the Black Magic eGPU inline between my Mac Mini and monitor. In MACOS you can configure individual applications to use the eGPU but you have to do each one individually. If the eGPU is inline with the primary then everything uses it plus traffic doesn't have to leave the mac, go to the eGPU, travel back to the Mac and then output on a different port (HDMI or ThunderBolt).
    THIS CONFIGURATION IS NOT SUPPORTED ON THE MAC MINI! This titbit of info is buried on a support page deep on the Apple website.
    Because of the T2 chip, you can't have the eGPU inline at boot. It gets locked out.
    The solution from Apple is to either switch off File Vault (hard drive encryption) on the Mac OR boot the Mac with the monitor plugged straight into the back and then unplug the display from the Mac and plug it into the eGPU instead once you are logged in which means reaching behind the machines every time you boot the Mac and swapping the cable. A total pain and when I tried this, the output often maxed out at 4K 30Hz not the 4K 60Hz I normally get. With the eGPU inline the performance is even better but in real life, that is not a convenient setup and Apple is all about convenience isn't it? I don't want to be messing around swapping cables after every reboot.
    So in conclusion (because this is a very long review now), this thing does what it claims, is no more expensive than other solutions and makes a big difference to "some" applications but could be even better is Apple sorted out a couple of niggles.

    24 of 24 people found this useful

  • 4.0 out of 5 stars

    Four stars...your milage may vary.

    • Written by Rod C from Newport

    Connecting to a 2018 13" MBP and a Samsung 4K TV over HDMI. Set up is very easy. Not had too long to tweak the display settings but it scales well. (Not quite as good as Win 10 but that was after a lot of messing around. I'm sure with more time I'll have it spot on.) The thing is silent. At first I thought it was noisy but I then realised that was another device...turned that off and there wasn't even a whisper from the eGPU. It's Space Gray but not an exact match. It's close enough but doesn't look identical. Games aren't great. Tried Left 4 Dead on max settings at 1920 x 1080 and it still occasionally dipped below 60FPS. More modern games or higher res are probably not options but a bit of light gaming to take a break is possible. If you're not aiming for high spec gaming though this functions brilliantly as a light gaming machine, a charger to power my MBP, a hub to connect up my external drives for data and media on the TV and allow a full size keyboard and mouse for when working at home. It does exactly what I want it to do without additional devices and allows some gaming. For all of that it's a reasonable price.

    36 of 40 people found this useful