updated 07:05 pm EST, Thu December 15, 2011
Can turn Thunderbolt into many other port types
After originally announcing the product in August, Sonnet Technologies has finally made the Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter available for purchase. The device converts a Thunderbolt port into an ExpressCard slot, which in turn allows a wide variety of connector types to be available for Macs, from CompactFlash to Firewire to eSATA.
The unit allows for hot-plugging and hot-swapping ExpressCard adapters, and supports up to five gigabit per second throughput (2.5 gigabit per second in both directions) thanks to its PCI Express 2.0 technology. The Thunderbolt adapter fully supports Sonnet ExpressCard adapters from CompactFlash to Firewire 800, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2 and USB 3.0 and even certain eSATA adapters. The device works with all TB-equipped Macs, including the iMac, Mac mini, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
The adapter can even support speciality devices such as the AJA io Express, though the company cautioned that the device does not yet support SxS memory cards from Sony. It says Sony must write an updated driver (which should be a simple matter) that is Thunderbolt-aware, but that if it does so the cards should work at full speed.
The Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter can connect directly to a TB-equipped computer or at the end of a Thunderbolt chain. The unit sells for $150.