- Technical Specifications
- Configuration Ideas
Use Up to Three PCIe Cards with Computers Lacking Expansion Slots
Today's ultra-light notebooks, mini, and all-in-one desktop computers now have tremendous processing power–power that many thought would only be possible in full-size workstation or large desktop computers. Smaller in size and more portable, they're very desirable. For pros in the creative fields, processing power alone is not enough. A prime example is the new Mac Pro. Proven to be a processing powerhouse and packed with Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0 ports, it lacks the PCIe expansion slots necessary to install specialty cards to connect various video and audio inputs, for transcoding data, and to connect to high-speed storage and networks. With the Echo Express III-R, Sonnet has created a solution that leverages the paradigm shift enabled by Thunderbolt technology, allowing PCIe expansion slots to be connected outside a computer. This rackmount Thunderbolt-to-PCIe card expansion chassis makes it possible for you to connect three professional video capture, audio interface, SAS or SATA HBA, 16Gb or 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, and RAID controller PCIe cards to any Mac® with a Thunderbolt port.
Featuring 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 technology that provides sufficient bandwidth to support many of the highest performance and most demanding PCIe cards, the Echo Express III-R delivers maximum performance when connected to a computer with Thunderbolt 2. The III-R is also fully compatible with computers with 10Gbps Thunderbolt technology, supporting the majority of cards at full-performance.
Avid Qualified • Media Composer • Pro Tools
The Echo Express III-R is Avid qualified. It has been tested and approved for use with Pro Tools HD 11 software, and is qualified by the Avid Audio group or use with Pro Tools HDX and HD Native systems and separately qualified by the Avid Video group for use with Media Composer/Symphony with the new Mac Pro (Late 2013). See the AVID website for details on Pro Tools and Media Composer compatibility.
Provides PCIe Card Expansion—Use high-performance PCIe cards with Thunderbolt-equipped computers
Thunderbolt 2 Interface—Maximum performance with computers with Thunderbolt 2 technology, backward compatible with host computers and other devices equipped with 10Gbps Thunderbolt technology
Upgradeable—When available, upgrade to 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Technology with a replacement Thunderbolt interface card
Three PCIe Slots—Supports three full-length, full-height, single-width cards, or one double-width card plus one single-width card
Remarkably Quiet—Large, temperature-controlled, variable-speed fans that automatically cool the cards, plus computer-modeled design that reduces airflow turbulence and velocity, combine to provide quieter cooling for all cards
Integrated Universal Power Supply—Built-in 300W power supply with 75W auxiliary power connector
Rugged Steel Housing—Provides robust and secure protection for any environment
Every Thunderbolt-Compatible Card Supported—Works with every Thunderbolt-compatible PCIe card, regardless of length or height
AVID Qualified for Pro Tools|HDX & HD Native and Media Composer/Symphony
5-Year Warranty Included at No Extra Cost—No extra charge for full 5-year warranty
Thunderbolt Cable & Lock Included—Includes Thunderbolt cable and Thunderbolt cable lock to secure cable from accidental disconnections
Three Slots, No Compromise
Sonnet's Echo Express III-R supports three full-size PCIe cards, up to 12.28" (full-length). The III-R integrates a universal 300W power supply and includes a 75W PCIe power connector for cards that require supplementary power, such as the Avid® Pro Tools|HDX or the new RED® ROCKET-X. Even with all that power, the III-R is enviro-friendly; it automatically powers on or off whenever the connected computer powers on or wakes, or powers off or sleeps, respectively. The use of large, slow-spinning fans in the Echo Express III-R makes it a remarkably quiet operator. Two Thunderbolt ports support daisy chaining of up to six devices to a single port on your computer.
Built for Speed
20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 technology-equipped computers are here. The original 10Gbps Thunderbolt interface has provided breakthrough bandwidth for external expansion, more than sufficient to support the maximum performance of most PCIe cards. However, some high bandwidth cards such as the RED ROCKET, 16Gb Fibre Channel, multi-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet cards, or the use of other bandwidth-hungry cards require more than 10Gbps. Thunderbolt 2 removes this barrier by providing more bandwidth for demanding applications. The Echo Express III-R's Thunderbolt 2 interface takes full advantage of this increased bandwidth to ensure optimum performance from installed cards when the chassis is connected to a Thunderbolt 2-equipped computer. Need to connect to a computer equipped with 10Gbps Thunderbolt? No problem, the Echo Express III-R is fully compatible with earlier generation Thunderbolt computers as well.
Smart Design Inside and Out
Constructed of heavy-duty steel, the Echo Express III-R's enclosure not only provides secure mounting for the inner assembly and protection for the PCIe cards installed inside, but it supports maximum airflow for cooling, regardless of where it is installed in a rack. The fans are variable-speed and temperature-controlled, and the computer-modeled airflow management ensures that even hot-running cards and the chassis' components remain reliably cool without the need to install an extra PCIe blower card that would prevent the use of one of the three slots. Because the fans automatically speed up and slow down as needed, there is no guesswork in setting a switch position, and no need for tools to change fan speed settings. Since Echo Express products automatically power on and off with your computer, there is no power switch needed on the chassis. The III-R includes adjustable and removable rackmount extension rails that allow the chassis to be installed securely in a variety of racks from 16" to 24" deep. The III-R provides space for other equipment, too. Utilizing the optional Echo Express III-R Mobile Rack Kit, you can install two 5.25-inch form factor mobile rack devices (sold separately) in the III-R's enclosure without taking up additional rack space.
The Echo Express III-R was designed to be remarkably quiet so that it can be comfortably used in noise-sensitive environments and it is indeed the quietest Echo chassis yet. Its dual, ultra-quiet, temperature-controlled fans assist the natural convection of warm air through the PCIe cards. Echo Express III-R's fans vent warm air through custom Venturi openings with low form-drag grills, resulting in reduced air velocity, turbulence, and, consequently, fan noise.
Every Thunderbolt-Compatible Card Supported
The Echo Express III-R supports three standard width, full-length PCIe cards, or one double-width, full-length card plus one single-width card, enabling it to support every Thunderbolt-compatible card available. PCIe 1.1, PCIe 2.0, and PCIe 3.0 cards are supported. Do you have a card in mind but aren't sure it's compatible? We've worked closely with PCIe card manufacturers to provide a list of compatible PCIe cards on our supporting PCIeCard Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart. The chart provides an up-to-date list of cards that have been tested to be recognized over a Thunderbolt connection and compatible with Thunderbolt technology requirements.
RED ROCKET Supporter
If you're a RED ROCKET, or RED ROCKET-X user, you already know that the card normally takes up two PCIe slots—one for the card itself and another for the BNC connector bracket (for HD-SDI output). Sonnet designed the Echo Express III-R to accommodate the card/bracket pair in a single slot. This Echo chassis includes mounting holes designed specifically for the installation of two BNC connectors, enabling you to install the RED ROCKET card in one slot and its BNC connectors in the Echo chassis' mounting holes, leaving the two remaining slots open. The extra bandwidth afforded by the Thunderbolt 2 interface significantly doubles the ROCKET's throughput, too.
Designed for BNC Connector Cables—Echo Express III-R's back panel has two mounting holes for BNC connectors, allowing the use of a RED ROCKET card without the need for the BNC connector bracket that would normally occupy a valuable PCIe slot.
Thunderbolt Cable & Lock Included
Sonnet includes a Thunderbolt cable and lock that secures Thunderbolt connectors(3) in place plugged into the Echo chassis. It is easy to install and prevents accidental cable disconnections.
Desktop Version Available
The Echo Express III is available in two versions, the Echo Express III-D (desktop) and Echo Express III-R (rackmount), to suit your workflow needs. The III-D's form factor makes it easy to transport. The III-R mounts in a rack space 2U tall, and is just 16" deep, making it perfect for use in a wide range of popular mobile racks, carts, and rack cases, and server rooms as well.
Strong Link in the Chain
These Sonnet solutions support daisy chaining of additional Thunderbolt technology-enabled peripherals such as an additional Echo Express, the Apple® Thunderbolt Display, video capture devices, and data storage devices. For connected devices requiring extra power, 10 watts is provided through the daisy chain port to peripherals.
5-Year Warranty Included at No Extra Cost
There's no need for you to pay an additional 10–15% on top of the purchase price to extend the warranty period beyond one year—Sonnet backs the Echo Express III-R with its Pro 5-year warranty.
Sonnet Thunderbolt Expansion Partners
Sonnet works closely with the following partners to ensure Thunderbolt compatibility for their products. See the PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart for an up-to-date list of products that have passed Thunderbolt compatibility testing with Sonnet products.
PCIe cards and computer hardware shown in photos for illustration purposes; items sold separately.
See Technical Specifications Tab for footnotes
Mac® with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port
OS X® 10.8.5+
OS X Yosemite compatible
PC with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port(4)
Windows® 8, 7
PCIe Card Compatibility
For up-to-date PCIe card compatibility see our PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart
For maximum PCIe bandwidth when used with a Mac Pro (late 2013), dedicate one Thunderbolt 2 bus to the PCIe expansion slots. For more info see Sonnet's FAQ Article.
You've had your Mac Pro for a while and it's served you well. It's time for a new computer, but you're reluctant to invest in the new Mac Pro. You'd consider a new Mac mini (they're quite powerful), but what about the assorted PCIe cards and 3.5" hard drives you've invested in over the years and installed in your existing Mac Pro? Sonnet's RackMac mini, Echo Express III-R, and its sidekick Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kit loaded with a 3-bay drive enclosure will make the Mac mini work for you. Just mount your Mac mini and a SuperDrive into the RackMac mini; with your PCIe cards installed, connect an Echo Express III-R via Thunderbolt cable; transfer your 3.5" hard drives to the mobile rack drive enclosure and—voilà!
Now that the new Mac Pro has been announced, your decision about which computer to purchase to replace your existing Mac Pro may not be any easier. The new Mac Pro is powerful, beautiful, small, and very unlike previous models. With no space to install PCI Express cards or 3.5" hard drives, you can't just move things from one computer to the next…what to do? Sonnet's Echo Express III-R and its sidekick Mobile Rack Devicing Mounting Kit loaded with a 3-bay drive enclosure enables you to harness all the power the new Mac Pro offers while regaining the lost PCIe slots and drive bays. Just install your PCIe cards into the Echo Express III-R, connect the chassis to the Mac Pro via a single Thunderbolt cable, and then transfer your 3.5" hard drives to the mobile rack drive enclosure—your computer choice just became simpler!
For many audio professionals, when it comes to multitrack recording at 96K, there's nothing like a Pro Tools|HDX (1, 2 or 3) setup. Until now, the workflow always required a PC or Mac Pro—big, bulky, and sometimes very loud. Change the game and utilize a streamlined system with a new MacBook Pro (with Retina Display) as your DAW and directly connect it to Sonnet's Echo Express III-R with Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kit. If you have a lot of tracks to record and an HDX 3 setup is required, the Echo Express III has plenty of power (including an internal aux power cable) and cooling to support all three cards. Or, if you only need an HDX 2 set up, fill the third slot with a Sonnet Tempo SSD PCIe drive card (holds up to two SSDs) to deploy super fast Thunderbolt SSD storage right inside the Echo Express III-R. Mount additional back up storage in the Echo Express III-R Mobile Rack kit and do it all in a very small 3U 16" deep rack bag if required.
Sonnet Echo Express III-R with Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kit
LTO-6 tape drive
Four 2.5" SATA shuttle drives in enclosure
Sonnet Presto 10GbE card or 8Gb
Sonnet Tempo SSD Pro PCIe drive card with SSDs
ATTO ExpressSAS H680 (one SAS
New Mac Pro
Sonnet Echo Express III-R
Sonnet Echo Express III-R with Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kit
Sonnet Tempo SATA Pro 6Gb 4-Port card (for connecting 3.5" drives)
3-bay mobile rack 3.5" drive enclosure
Other PCIe cards such as 10Gb Ethernet or multi-port FireWire 800
DAW of choice – MacBook Pro,
Echo Express III-R
Echo Express III-R Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kit
3-bay (3.5") or 4-bay 2.5" mobile rack
Pro Tools|HDX card(s) 1, 2 or 3
Sonnet Tempo SSD PCIe drive card with high-speed 2.5" SSD drives
Mobile DIT carts carry everything from card readers and transcoding cards like the popular Red Rocket, to high-speed mezzanine storage, RAID arrays and LTO tape backup, but they are also large and cumbersome to transport. Our suggested alternative uses a Mac mini installed into an xMac mini Server, and racks it together with the Echo Express III-R and companion Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kit. With five PCIe cards connected to the computer, and space to install four shuttle drives or a Qio universal media reader plus an LTO-6 tape backup, you'll have fully loaded DIT station, all in a system that takes up just 3U of rack space.