updated 02:05 am EDT, Wed June 6, 2012
xServe replacement and desktop breakout boxes debut the line
Peripheral maker Sonnet Technology has announced the imminent shipment of its trio of Thunderbolt PCIe expansion cases. The xMac mini server chassis mounts a (not included) Mac mini inside of a 1U tall case and provides two PCIe 2.0 slots for expansion. The Echo Express and Echo Express Pro are smaller cases intended to provide a single half-length or a pair of full-length PCIe 2.0 slots for any Thunderbolt equipped Macintosh computers.
The xMac mini server chassis provides a replacement solution for the now-extinct Apple xServe. Two PCIe 2.0 slots are provided, powered with a 100W power supply integrated into the case. A pair of Thunderbolt ports allow for daisy-chaining multiple devices or RAID cases downstream of the server. A USB port on the front panel allows for peripheral connection, allowing operation of the server without having routine rear-panel access. User-replaceable fans cool the entire case above and beyond the fans inside the Mac mini itself. The xMac mini server chassis costs $1,295, and does not include a Thunderbolt cable.
The Echo Express and Echo Express Pro are smaller aluminum desktop units. The standard Echo Express supports one half-length PCIe 2.0 x4 card up to 7.75 inches in length, and powers it with a 100W power supply. The Echo Express Pro holds a pair of standard width (or single double-width) PCIe x4 cards up to 14 inches long, and powered them with a 150W power supply. Two Thunderbolt ports are installed on the back of the case to continue a device chain. The Echo Express retails for $599, and the Echo Express Pro for $800. Thunderbolt cables are sold separately. All three products are expected to commence shipment on June 6.