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Sonnet rolls out Thunderbolt PCIe 2.0 expansion chassis

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.

By Electronista Staff


  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2009


    seems a little steep

    $1295 for an empty chassis? Chassis, power supply (only for PCI boards?), Thunderbolt interface, and some fans. That's a lot of money for not that much. Am I missing some magical part like gold plated chassis handles?

  1. Hibernian56

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2011


    PCIe Connections to GPU

    Well if it allows connection to some nVidia Quatro cards, then $1250 makes sense. For that price you basically have quite a powerful rack mountable Mac suitable for graphics & render farms.

    But they seem to be tar getting storage only and not workstations.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    And for 1,300 bucks

    they should provide a freaking thunderbolt cable! What the heck?!

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