PCIe 2.0 Cards Over Thunderbolt
Today’s ultra-light notebooks, mini, and all-in-one desktop computers now have tremendous processing power—power that many people thought would only be possible in full-size desktop computers. Smaller in size and portable, they’re very desirable. For professionals in the creative fields, this processing power alone is not enough. You need expansion slots to install specialty cards to connect various video and audio inputs, for processing data, and to connect to high-speed storage and networks. The problem is, only desktop computers (which aren’t very portable) have expansion slots, and currently available PCI Express® expansion for notebook computers has been very limited in performance—until now.
Sonnet’s Echo Express Pro, Echo Express II, and Echo Express Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis for PCIe Cards make it possible to use full-size professional video capture, audio interface, SAS & SATA HBA, 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, and RAID controller PCIe cards with your iMac®, Mac® mini, MacBook® Air or MacBook Pro. A Sonnet Echo Express chassis allows you to expand outside the box.
Expanding Outside the Box
Sonnet harnessed the potential of Thunderbolt technology to enable you to connect high performance expansion cards to computers without expansion slots. Developed by Intel® and brought to market with technical collaboration from Apple®, Thunderbolt technology supports high-performance data services and high-resolution displays through a single, compact port. Based on PCI Express and DisplayPort technologies, Thunderbolt provides support for two channels on the same connector with 10 Gb/s of throughput per channel in both directions. Connected via a Thunderbolt cable, an Echo Expansion Chassis carries the computer’s PCIe channel to the PCIe slot(s) and passes both PCIe and DisplayPort data through a second Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining other devices.
Smart Design Inside and Out
Constructed of rugged extruded aluminum, the outer shell of the Echo Express helps transfer heat away from installed PCIe cards and securely protects them inside. To keeps things as compact as possible, universal power supplies are integrated inside the chassis so there’re no dangling power bricks. Echo Express Pro includes an integrated 150W universal power supply with a 75W auxiliary power connectorand power harness cable; Echo Express and Echo Express II include a built-in 100W universal power supply. The top cover slides off for quick access to the PCIe slots and installation of cards. Ventilated front and back panels plus quiet, temperature-controlled fans (with no switches or jumpers to configure) automatically help keep even the very hottest cards cool; when not needed, the fans slow down so you can work without as much noise in the background. Echo Express products are enviro-friendly, automatically powering on and off with your computer.
Echo Express Pro — Now with More Power for Cards That Need It
Most PCIe cards get all the power they need through the slot they’re installed in, but some cards need even more. These power-hungry cards get extra power by connecting to the computer’s power supply. The Echo Express Pro now features an auxiliary power connector that provides up to 75W of power, and includes a cable (6-pin Micro-Fit Jr. to 6-pin Mini-Fit Jr.) to connect between the chassis and the power connector found on many cards with extra power requirements. If you have an Avid® Pro Tools|HDX PCIe card, Sonnet also has a specifically designed power cable to accommodate up to two HDX cards.
Echo Express Pro now features an auxiliary power connector to plug in cards that require more power, like the Avid Pro Tools|HDX PCIe card. Shown with optional Pro Tools|HDX PCIe card power cable. Card and cable sold separately.
Connect Professional PCIe Cards—Use high-performance PCIe cards with Thunderbolt-equipped Mac desktop and notebook computers
Adds Expansion Card Slots to Any Computer with a Thunderbolt Port:
Echo Express Pro – Supports two standard width, full-length x16(1) PCIe 2.0 cards, or one double-width, full-length card
Echo Express II – Supports two half-length (up to 7.25″ long), full-height, single-width, x16(1) PCIe 2.0 cards (or one double-width card)
Echo Express – Supports one half-length (up to 7.75″ long), full-height, double-width, x16(1) PCIe 2.0 card
High Bandwidth—With Thunderbolt’s PCI Express performance and 10Gb/s of throughput on each of the two channels in both directions, Echo Express Expansion Chassis are perfect for special-purpose PCIe cards for video capture, audio interface, 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, digital audio, RAID control, and more
Power for Powerful Cards—Integrated 100W power supply (150W in Pro model with 75W auxiliary power connector)
Two Thunderbolt Ports—Daisy chain up to six devices to a single port on the host computer
Temperature-Controlled, Variable-Speed Fans—Operate slow and quiet with cooler cards, better cooling for hot cards
Energy Saver Mode—Powers on/off automatically with the computer
Integrated Universal Power Supply—Built-in power supply means no external power brick to dangle or loose
Rugged Aluminum Housing—Portable protection for any environment
An Echo Express Chassis for Every Card
One or two cards, different lengths, different requirements—there’s an Echo Express to meet your needs. The Echo Express Pro supports two standard width, full-length x16(1) PCIe 2.0 cards, or one double-width, full-length card. The Echo Express II supports two half-length (up to 7.25″ long), full-height, single-width, x16(1) PCIe 2.0 cards (or one double-width card) while the Echo Express supports one half-length (up to 7.75″ long), full-height, double-width, x16(1) PCIe 2.0 card. All three models support an I/O bracket.
Do you have a card in mind but aren’t sure which Echo Express you need? We’ve worked closely with expansion card manufacturers to provide a list of compatible PCIe cards on our supporting PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart. The chart provides an up-to-date list of cards that have been tested to be recognized over a Thunderbolt connection and compatible with Thunderbolt technology requirements.
Strong Link in the Chain
These Sonnet solutions support daisy chaining of additional Thunderbolt technology-enabled peripherals such as an additional Echo Express, the Apple® Thunderbolt Display, video capture devices, and data storage devices. For connected devices requiring extra power, 10 watts is provided through the daisy chain port to peripherals.
Learn more about Echo Express SE
Sonnet Thunderbolt Expansion Partners
Sonnet works closely with the following partners to ensure Thunderbolt compatibility for their products. See the PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart for an up-to-date list of products that have passed Thunderbolt compatibility testing with Sonnet products.
For more information about Sonnet solutions, or to place an order, call (310) 922-1631