Friday, November 30th 2012

Sonnet Debuts Echo Express II Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis for PCI Express Cards

Sonnet today announced the Echo Express II, the newest member of the company's popular Echo family of Thunderbolt expansion chassis for PCIe cards. Featuring two PCIe slots, the new Thunderbolt-to-PCIe expansion chassis enables the use of a wide variety of high-performance PCI Express cards, originally designed for use in desktop computers, with any computer equipped with a Thunderbolt port.

The Echo Express II was designed for users needing a compact solution to connect two PCIe cards to their computers, and supports the majority of Thunderbolt-compatible PCIe cards. Based on the original Echo Express expansion chassis, the Echo Express II adds a second slot to support two half-length (up to 7.25 inches long), full-height, single-width PCIe 2.0 x16 cards. Like its siblings, the Echo Express II expansion chassis has dual Thunderbolt ports to support daisy chaining of devices.


The new Echo chassis includes three temperature-controlled, variable-speed fans for cooling the cards and the chassis' components, and a universal 100W internal power supply. This Sonnet solution also conserves energy by powering on and off with the computer to which it's attached.

The Echo Express II enables iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers equipped with a Thunderbolt port to use Thunderbolt-compatible professional video capture, audio interface, SAS and SATA HBA, 8 Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gb Ethernet, and RAID controller cards. The list of compatible cards is available on Sonnet's website and is continually expanding as more cards are tested and certified. Like the other models in the Echo family, the Echo Express II was designed, engineered, and built by Sonnet in California. The system is backed with Sonnet's Pro 5-year warranty.

"Feedback from our customers on the Echo Express line has been overwhelmingly positive. These products have been integrated into the workflows of many creative professionals, with users discovering new applications every day," said Robert Farnsworth, CEO of Sonnet Technologies. "Similar to the Echo Express Pro, the Echo Express II was designed to accommodate the needs of users requiring two slots for expansion cards, but not the extra length afforded by the Echo Express Pro's longer design."

The Echo Express II (part number ECHO-EXP2H) is now available for USD $699. More information on the product and compatible PCIe expansion cards is available at http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpresschassis.html.
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10 Comments on Sonnet Debuts Echo Express II Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis for PCI Express Cards

#2
freaksavior
To infinity ... and beyond!
That's sexy! :cool:
Posted on Reply
#3
dwade
by: TRWOV
GPUs?
If possible, I won't ever settle for desktop PCs. Give me a x86 tablet and I'll turn it into gaming beast.:toast:
Posted on Reply
#4
NC37
Wow Sonnet is still in business. Seemed like all the Mac upgrade makers vanished when Apple switched to x86. Guess they live on making stuff like this. Sonnet was really popular with a general user who knew squat about the inside of their Mac, but alienated by the power user/enthusiast. They wouldn't allow you to overclock. In fact they took huge strides to make sure people couldn't ever attempt overclocking even by solder/etc.

I got into more than a few argument sessions on the old MacWorld forums with Sonnet people back in my Mac days. MW gave Sonnet free reign over their upgrade forum and they were blasting clockers, flashers, and everyone who even tried to get more performance out of their Mac without using a Sonnet upgrade. Had people there practically scared to death about touching anything inside their Macs. Then they charged more for the same product you could get elsewhere under the premise theirs had less hassles.

Terrible company, glad I never supported them.
Posted on Reply
#5
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
Sonnet had a good upgrade deal for 233Mhz G3 to 400Mhz G4 for the beige desktop G3 back when I used to use a G3 so I can't complain. All upgrades that I've gotten in the past were pretty good, from CPU upgrades to expansion cards. Just keep in mind that this is pretty easy to do as ThunderBolt is just a multiplexed signal with a mix of PCI-E, DisplayPort and power on the side. The cable you buy for ThunderBolt matters too because the signal is mux'ed and de-mux'ed on the cable (the cable in fact has two mux and two demux in it since the signal coming out of the port is actually different than the signal transmitted over the wire, but by the time it get demuxed at the other end, it's back to the way it was before it entered. It's a pretty nifty idea if you ask me.
Posted on Reply
#6
phanbuey
It would be cool if it supported GPUs... but those also need specific power requirements - it doesnt really talk about the power limit of the cards that it is using
Posted on Reply
#7
Jizzler
by: phanbuey
It would be cool if it supported GPUs... but those also need specific power requirements - it doesnt really talk about the power limit of the cards that it is using


Could get an Express Pro, wire up a 6-pin PCIe power cable to the PS, and then use an HD7850 or GTX 660.

Will it work? Possibly... someone buy one and find out :) It won't be me, these expansion units are $600-$800.
Posted on Reply
#8
SonnetTech
Upgrade Cards

by: NC37
Wow Sonnet is still in business. Seemed like all the Mac upgrade makers vanished when Apple switched to x86. Guess they live on making stuff like this. Sonnet was really popular with a general user who knew squat about the inside of their Mac, but alienated by the power user/enthusiast. They wouldn't allow you to overclock. In fact they took huge strides to make sure people couldn't ever attempt overclocking even by solder/etc.

I got into more than a few argument sessions on the old MacWorld forums with Sonnet people back in my Mac days. MW gave Sonnet free reign over their upgrade forum and they were blasting clockers, flashers, and everyone who even tried to get more performance out of their Mac without using a Sonnet upgrade. Had people there practically scared to death about touching anything inside their Macs. Then they charged more for the same product you could get elsewhere under the premise theirs had less hassles.

Terrible company, glad I never supported them.
Hi,

Yes, the company's product line transition over the last decade from processor upgrades to expansion cards, storage solutions, and Thunderbolt expansion. In the development of products, Sonnet works closely with technology manufacturers to ensure compliance with engineering specifications. In the case of processor upgrades and working with Motorola, there are fault tolerances by pushing processors too far that can cause instability. Overclocking was frowned upon by Motorola. Our products did have less hassle due the fact we looked at the overall system stability for the end-user.

With in-house software and hardware engineers, we are able to provide a level of support to ensure system compatibility and stability. For those who wished to overlock and push their systems, other options were available on the market. For most end-users looking to upgrade the inside of their computer, it was a scary proposition to crack open the case and see the electrical components of their machines. We strove to provide the best ease of use/performance/stability of upgrade products.

In regards to Thunderbolt products, the same approach is taken. We work directly with Apple, Intel and third-party developers to ensure the best performance/compatibility.
Posted on Reply
#9
Shihabyooo
by: dwade
If possible, I won't ever settle for desktop PCs. Give me a x86 tablet and I'll turn it into gaming beast.:toast:
And then came along Crysis 3.
Posted on Reply
#10
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: SonnetTech
Hi,

Yes, the company's product line transition over the last decade from processor upgrades to expansion cards, storage solutions, and Thunderbolt expansion. In the development of products, Sonnet works closely with technology manufacturers to ensure compliance with engineering specifications. In the case of processor upgrades and working with Motorola, there are fault tolerances by pushing processors too far that can cause instability. Overclocking was frowned upon by Motorola. Our products did have less hassle due the fact we looked at the overall system stability for the end-user.

With in-house software and hardware engineers, we are able to provide a level of support to ensure system compatibility and stability. For those who wished to overlock and push their systems, other options were available on the market. For most end-users looking to upgrade the inside of their computer, it was a scary proposition to crack open the case and see the electrical components of their machines. We strove to provide the best ease of use/performance/stability of upgrade products.

In regards to Thunderbolt products, the same approach is taken. We work directly with Apple, Intel and third-party developers to ensure the best performance/compatibility.
You guys saved me a lot of money back when I used Mac exclusively. I am glad to see you guys are keeping up with the times and are still around. I was surprised to see your name and iomega on the TPU front page in the past few months.
Posted on Reply