• Overview
  • Technical Specifications


Echo Express SE (ECHO-EXP-SE) is sold out and replaced by revised product (ECHO-EXP-SE2).

Echo Express SE Open with PCIe Card ShownPCIe 2.0 Cards Over Thunderbolt

Today's ultra-light notebooks, mini, and all-in-one desktop computers now have tremendous processing power, power that many people thought would only be possible in full-size desktop computers. Smaller in size and portable, they're very desirable. For many professionals, this processing power alone is not enough. You need an expansion slot to install specialty cards to connect various video and audio inputs, for processing data, and to connect to high-speed storage and networks. The problem is, only desktop computers (which aren't very portable) have slots, and currently available PCIe expansion for notebook computers has been very limited in performance—until now. If you've got a computer with Thunderbolt technology, then the Echo™ Express SE Thunderbolt™ Expansion Chassis for PCIe cards is exactly what you need.

Sonnet's Echo Express SE enables you to use a high-performance PCI Express® adapter card (sold separately) with any computer with a Thunderbolt port. Imagine using a compatible professional video capture, audio interface, SAS & SATA HBA, 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, or RAID controller card with your iMac®, Mac® mini, MacBook® Air or MacBook Pro; this Sonnet product makes it possible!

Key Features

Adds an Expansion Card Slot to Any Computer with a Thunderbolt Port—The Echo Express SE supports a single half-length (up to 6.6"), full-height, single-width, x8(1), PCIe 2.0 card

High Bandwidth—With Thunderbolt’s PCI Express performance and 10Gb/s of throughput on each of the two channels in both directions, the SE is perfect for special-purpose PCIe cards for video capture, audio interface, 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, digital audio, RAID control, and more

Two Thunderbolt Ports—Daisy chain up to six devices to a single port on the host computer

Temperature-Controlled Fan—Automatically operates slowly and quietly with cooler cards, provides better cooling for hot cards

Energy Saver Mode—Powers on/off automatically with the computer

Aluminum Housing—Portable protection for any environment


Echo Express SE Connected to Thundebolt Macs

PCIe Card Thunderbolt Chart


Echo Express SE Chassis PCIe Computer Cards

Thunderbolt LogoExpanding Outside the Box

Sonnet harnesses the potential of Thunderbolt technology to enable you to connect a high-performance PCIe expansion card to computers without expansion slots. Developed by Intel® and brought to market with technical collaboration from Apple®, Thunderbolt technology supports high-performance data services and high-resolution displays through a single, compact port. Based on PCI Express (PCIe) and DisplayPort technologies, Thunderbolt provides support for two channels on the same connector with 10 Gb/s of throughput per channel in both directions. Connected via a Thunderbolt cable (not included, sold separately), Echo Express SE carries the computer's PCIe channel to the slot and passes both PCIe and DisplayPort data through a second Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining other devices.

Echo Express DNA and Performance in a Smaller and Lighter Package

The Echo Express SE is small, light, and perfect for use in situations where the installed PCIe card doesn't require much space or a lot of power. Like its larger sibling, the Echo Express, the SE has a single slot, but uses a smaller enclosure that accommodates a half-length (up to 6.6" long), full-height, single-width, x8(1) PCIe 2.0 card. Do you have a card in mind but aren't sure which Echo Express you need? We've worked closely with PCIe card manufacturers to provide a list of compatible PCIe cards on our supporting PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart. The chart provides an up-to-date list of tested cards that are recognized over a Thunderbolt connection, compatible with Thunderbolt technology requirements, and that will physically fit the enclosure.

Echo Express SE with PCIe Cards


Aluminum Element SymbolSmart Design Inside and Out

Constructed of aluminum, the Echo Express SE's outer shell helps transfer heat away from the card and securely protects it inside. The enclosure is ventilated front and back, and a quiet, temperature-controlled fan (with no switches or jumpers to configure) automatically helps keep even the very hottest cards cool; when not needed, the fan slows down to a whisper so you can work without a lot of noise in the background. The Echo Express SE is enviro-friendly, powering on and off with your computer.

Echo Express SE Chassis Back Panel

Strong Link in the Chain

This Sonnet solution supports daisy chaining of additional Thunderbolt technology-enabled peripherals such as an additional Echo Express SE, the Apple® Thunderbolt Display, video capture devices, and data storage devices. For connected devices requiring bus power, 10 watts is provided through the daisy chain Thunderbolt port to peripherals.


PCIe cards and Thunderbolt cable shown in photos for illustration purposes; items not included with chassis

Sonnet Thunderbolt eNews Signup

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.

AdobeAJAAppleATTOAvidBlack Magic DesignBlueFish 444CalDigitExaSANFocusriteFusion ioLynx Studio TechnologyMatroxMyricomREDRMESiennaSmall TreeSoftron Media ServicesSolid State LogicStorageDNATandberg DataTolis GroupTools On AirUniversal Audio



Part No.  
ECHO-EXP-SE Discontinued; replaced by revised product (ECHO-EXP-SE2)
Warranty 1-year
Dimensions WxDxH: 5.7 x 8.8 x 2.9 in. (14.5 x 22.3 x 7.4 cm)

2.4 lbs. (1.1 kg)

External Connectors
  • Two Thunderbolt
  • 12V power
Expansion Slot(1) One x8 PCIe 2.0
PCIe Cards Supported(1) One half-length (up to 6.6" long), single-width, full-height x8 PCIe 2.0 card
Compatible PCIe Cards(4) Up-to-date PCIe cards listed on our supporting PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart
Power Adapter

PCIe Card Minimum Guaranteed Power

Input: 100-240V AC 1.6A, 50-60 Hz
Output: 12V@5.0A (60W)


Operating Temperature

0º C to 35º C (32º F to 95º F)

RoHS Compliant Yes
Package Contents
  • Echo Express SE chassis(2)
  • Universal power adapter
  • Power cord
  • User's guide

Note: PCIe cards and Thunderbolt cable sold separately








iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro with a Thunderbolt port

Mac OS X 10.6.8+

Mac OS X Server 10.6.8+

Mac OS X Server and OS X Mountain Lion compatible

PCIe Card Compatibility

For up-to-date PCIe card compatibility see our PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart

Technical Notes

  1. The PCIe slot will physically accommodate up to a x8 PCIe card, however the actual electrical bandwidth of Thunderbolt is x4.
  2. PCIe cards sold separately; requires Thunderbolt cable, available at the Sonnet Online Store or the Apple Store.
  3. Compatibility requires the installation of Thunderbolt technology-aware drivers, available from the manufacturer. See our supporting PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart for a list of up-to-date compatible PCIe cards.

Specifications subject to change without notice.

Mac Logo PCI Express LogoroHS Logo