Sonnet shipping Echo Express III-D, III-R, and SE II Expansion Chassis
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Sonnet shipping Echo Express III-D, III-R, and SE II Expansion Chassis

Sonnet Technologies says its Echo Express III-D (desktop), Echo Express III-R (rackmount), and Echo Express SE II (desktop) Thunderbolt -to-PCI Express (PCIe) card expansion chassis are the first devices of their kind to ship with 20 Gb/sec Thunderbolt 2 interfaces.

These models, which are now shipping, are the newest members of Sonnet's award-winning Echo Express family of expansion products that enable any Mac equipped with Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt ports to interface with a wide variety of high-performance PCIe cards originally designed only for use in desktop computers. 

The Echo Express III-D (pictured), Echo Express III-R, and Echo Express SE II incorporate Thunderbolt 2 technology, which delivers twice the throughput of 10 Gb/sec Thunderbolt. The new expansion chassis support every kind of Thunderbolt-compatible PCIe card available — enabling the use of professional video capture, audio interface, 16Gb and 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, SAS and SATA HBA, and RAID controller cards with Thunderbolt-enabled iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers.

Plus, the Sonnet systems' dual Thunderbolt 2 ports support full-bandwidth connectivity with Thunderbolt 2-equipped host computers, full backward compatibility with 10 Gb/sec Thunderbolt-equipped computers and devices, and daisy-chaining of other Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt devices. 

Designed for users needing an optimum solution for connecting three PCIe cards to their computers, both the Echo Express III-D and Echo Express III-R provide one x16 and two x8 PCIe slots to support three full-length, full-height, single-width PCIe cards. Both chassis feature a built-in universal 300W power supply with a 75W auxiliary power connector to support PCIe cards with higher power requirements.

The companion Echo Express III-R Mobile Rack Kit enables users to install one or two mobile rack-form-factor devices inside the Echo Express III-R chassis. Peripherals such as LTO tape drives, 2.5-inch SSD or HDD drives, 3.5-inch drives, Blu-ray burners, and memory card readers can be installed into the kit and connected to the PCIe cards installed in the chassis, saving rack space for other equipment. 

The Echo Express SE II was designed for users needing a simple way to connect two adapter cards to their computers. It supports all but long Thunderbolt-compatible PCIe cards. It weighs 3.7 pounds and measures 6.5 inches wide by 11 inches long by 4.6 inches tall.

The new chassis supports two half-length (up to 7.75 inches long), full-height PCIe 2.0 x8 cards and provides an additional space for a daughter card. Some specialty cards, such as RME's HDSPe MADI FX card, Blackmagic Design's DeckLink 4K Extreme, and the Lynx Studio Technology AES16e-50, include a daughter card that mates with and provides additional external connections to the main card. The Echo Express SE II provides the slot space and mounting support for an adjacent daughter card without sacrificing an entire PCIe slot.
The Echo Express III-D (part number ECHO-EXP3F-D) has a suggested retail price of US$979. The Echo Express III-R (part number ECHO-EXP3F-R) has a suggested retail price of $1,199. The Echo Express III-R Mobile Rack Kit (part number ECHO-EXP3FR-MRM) has a suggested retail price of $199. The Echo Express SE II (part number ECHO-EXP-SE2) has a suggested retail price of $499. Go to for details.

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