Sonnet Shipping First New Thunderbolt 2 PCIe Expansion Chassis

Sonnet today announced the first Thunderbolt 2 expansion chassis, allowing owners of late 2013-era MacBook Pro and Mac Pro models to add two or three PCIe cards to their machines.

There are three new options, desktop and rack mount three-slot chassis, plus a two-slot desktop version.

Sonnet Expansion Chassis

The Echo Express III-D, Echo Express III-R, and Echo Express SE II incorporate ultra-fast Thunderbolt 2 technology, which delivers twice the throughput of 10 Gb/sec Thunderbolt and provides sufficient bandwidth to support many of the highest-performance and most-demanding PCIe cards. 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.

Customers who purchased Thunderbolt 1 equipped expansion chassis can get free upgrades to the Thunderbolt 2 version. All the Thunderbolt 2 chassis are fully backwards-compatible with older Thunderbolt equipped Macs.

The desktop three-slot version is available for $979, the rack mount three-slot is $1,199, and the two-slot desktop is $499.

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Top Rated Comments

KindredMAC Avatar
135 months ago
Is that price for real???
F-that...

Don't see many of these moving...
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
barkmonster Avatar
135 months ago
Why aren't graphics cards compatible?

There really should a Thunderbolt usage for beginners FAQ on here somewhere and if there is, it should be linked on every thunderbolt article for easy reference.

Thunderbolt2 offers 2 x 10Gbit/s channels combined. Thunderbolt offers them as seperate channels. Neither of those speeds offer anywhere near the bandwidth of a 16xPCie card and even then, most higher end GPUs are double-wide and need internal power. You'd end up using 2 slots for 1 card, leaving only 1 PCIe slot for other uses and then cripple the card with bandwidth that doesn't even come close to 4xPCIe.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wikiverse Avatar
135 months ago
No, these are for professionals.

These aren't for home users and gamers.

The audience is defined by the price. Home users and gamers don't spend $1000 on PCI expansion slots.

The audience is defined by the need to use PCI cards and the purchase of a TB or TB2 equipped computer.

Price doesn't determine audience for any product. It that were true, college students wouldn't be carrying around rMBPs and the iPhone wouldn't be the top selling US handset with AT&T the biggest telco.

The idea that only a professional would buy expensive equipment is just wrong, along with the idea that home users and gamers are all poor and couldn't possibly be able to afford things they want.

Considering that most desktop PCs offer PCI expansion slots for free, and they are faster than TB2, a professional is more likely to invest in the product that gives maximum return for minimum outlay - in which case 'professionals' wouldn't be buying this product at all.

This is expensive because it is a niche product in terms of utility, not because 'professionals' are willing to pay the asking price.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Radiating Avatar
135 months ago
These dont officially support Graphics Cards, right?

I heard something about intel not approving external GPus andthen driver probs?

Graphics cards work fine in windows in every current mac except for the Mac mini , there is no OS X driver support yet. I was one of the few people who set up a geforce Titan over thunderbolt to a MacBook Pro when the last version first came out.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
imageWIS Avatar
135 months ago
Is that price for real???
F-that...

Don't see many of these moving...
That's the prob with Thunderbolt: the prices are astronomical UNLESS you are a corporation or very wealthy. The rest of us are SOL. :mad:
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
135 months ago
Is that price for real???
F-that...

Don't see many of these moving...

Again, these are for professionals.

--

I'm going to assume this can't handle higher-end video cards on PCI Express 3.0? Still not enough bandwidth.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)