• Overview
  • Technical Specifications
  • Performance
  • Accessories
  • Reviews

CompactFlash to the Power of Four

4 CompactFlash Cards CompactFlash (CF) memory cards are rugged, offer high storage capacities, and can deliver fast data transfers; that's why HD camcorders from RED® and Canon®, as well as DSLR cameras from Canon and Nikon® use them. Even as the card specs have improved, moving ever-larger files from from cards to computer has remained mostly a low speed affair. If you have ever ingested files from CF cards, you know what we mean. Plug in the camera or a USB reader, grab a cup of coffee, and relax while all those gigabytes of data are transferred at around 30 MB/s. But what if you need faster transfers? Or want to ingest files from more than one card at a time? Sonnet's Qio CF4 is the answer to all of these questions.

This Sonnet pro media reader distills the feature set of the award-winning original Qio universal media reader, and is designed specifically for use with CF media cards. Providing a cost-effective, high-speed multi-slot alternative to stand-alone card readers for pro videographers and photographers alike, Qio CF4's four CF slots enable you to ingest files faster and more efficiently, with aggregate ingest speed up to 400 MB/sec., much faster than standard USB adapters are capable.

Key Features

Four Slots—Enables you to insert and ingest files from four cards at the same time

Fast—Delivers superior performance using PCI Express® 2.0 bus interface; available aggregate bandwidth of up to 400 MB/sec.

Choice of Interfaces—Qio CF4 package includes your choice of interface: PCI Express 2.0 card for desktops, ExpressCard/34 for notebooks, or Thunderbolt™ interface adapter kit* for any Mac with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port

Fast Aggregate Ingest Speed (four cards concurrently)—PCIe or Thunderbolt interface: 400MB/s; ExpressCard/34: 200MB/s

Mac and Windows Compatible—Qio CF4 works within your workflow, regardless the platform you've chosen; simply connect Qio CF4 to the appropriate interface card for your Mac or PC and you're good to go

Built-in SATA Connections—Connect media readers with an eSATA interface

Small and Rugged—Strong aluminum case measures just 5.9" x 6.2" x 1"

Security—Slot for Kensington® and similar security locks to secure the device and deter theft


Qio Interfaces

Choice of Interface

Qio CF4 is available with your choice of a PCIe interface card for either Mac or PC desktops, an ExpressCard/34 interface for both Mac and PC notebooks, or a Thunderbolt interface adapter* (with included Thunderbolt cable) for any Mac with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port. With the purchase of an additional Qio PCIe adapter card, ExpressCard/34 card, or Thunderbolt adapter, you can move your Qio from suite to suite, and then to location and back again without breaking a sweat. No matter where you use it, Qio CF4 will quickly become an essential tool in your workflow.

Mac and Windows Compatible

Mac & PC LogosSonnet's Qio offers Mac and PC cross-platform compatibility, extending its usefulness on location and in the studio with interface cards designed specifically to connect Qio to the platform of your choice. Whether you're using a Mac or PC desktop with PCIe slots, a MacBook Pro® or PC notebook with an ExpressCard slot, or any Mac with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port, Qio fits seamlessly into the development of your projects and demanding production workflows.

For example, install or connect your computer's appropriate Qio interface card or adapter and move Qio from a Mac (connected via a PCIe 2.0 interface card) to a Windows notebook (with a ExpressCard interface). Or, move your Qio between new and legacy Mac Pro systems by connecting to the new Thunderbolt Mac Pro (through Qio's Thunderbolt adapter kit*) and to an older PCIe slot Mac Pro (with a PCIe 2.0 interface card).

Flexible Power Options

AC Power IconAC Power
For desktop use, a universal 12V output AC power supply (with wall plugs for US, Japan, Europe, UK and Australia) is included.

Battery IconBattery Power
For battery-powered operation during field work, Sonnet's optional XLR 4-pin adapter cable interfaces Qio CF4 with an external battery pack, such as Tekkeon myPower ALL batteries at an 8-19V setting.

FireWire IconFireWire Bus Power
Alternatively, you can power the Qio CF4 by connecting it to a computer with a FireWire port with Sonnet's optional FireWire 400-to-3.5mm power cable.

Qio CF4 from Studio to On Location

Built for the Pro. Whether shooting on location with your notebook or editing footage or photos in the studio on your iMac®, Mac mini, or Mac Pro®, Qio CF4 conveniently connects to your system via an ExpressCard/34 or PCIe 2.0 interface card, or Thunderbolt interface, so your projects are always at hand.

6Gb/s SATA PCIe 2.0 Host Controller Inside

Qio CF4 includes two 6 Gb/s eSATA ports, perfect for connecting media readers with an eSATA interface, such as the RED STATION REDMAG 1.8" and 2.5".

Qio CF4 Connected to RED STATION REDMAG 1.8" Reader

Travel and Desktop Companion

Qio CF4 pro media reader is small—about the size of three stacked CD cases—and takes up so little space, you can use it just about anywhere. It's rugged, too—the robust aluminum case easily withstands heavy use. This pro media reader even incorporates a slot for Kensington and similar security locks to secure the device and deter theft.

Qio CF4 Front & Back Panels Overview


 *Qio Thunderbolt interface adapter not compatible with PCs.
Media cards, computers, and accessories shown in photos for illustration purposes; items sold separately.
Part No.  
Qio CF4 with PCIe Card Interface (For Mac/Windows)
QIO-CF4-PCIE Qio with PCIe 2.0 card interface for Mac
QIO-CF4-PCIE-W Qio with PCIe 2.0 card interface for Windows
Qio CF4 with ExpressCard/34 Card Interface (For Mac/Windows)
QIO-CF4-E34 Qio with ExpressCard/34 card interface for Mac and Windows
Qio CF4 with Thunderbolt Interface Kit (For Mac)

Qio with Thunderbolt interface kit for Macs with Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 ports

Warranty 2-year
Form Factor Qio media card reader
External Connectors
(Qio CF4 Enclosure)
  • Four CompactFlash (CF)
  • Two 6Gb/s eSATA
  • External PCIe 2.0 x1 18-pin
  • Two 12V power
Host Connector
(PCIe and ExpressCard Adapter Cards)
  • External PCIe x1 - 18
Host Connectors
(Thunderbolt Adapter)
  • Thunderbolt
Bus Interface PCI Express 2.0 x1
Supported Media Type I CompactFlash
External Media Readers Supported Two with eSATA interface, such as RED STATION REDMAG 1.8" or 2.5"
Firmware Flash-ROM upgradeable to latest firmware version
Hot Plug Qio CF4 Supported when connected via Thunderbolt
Dimensions WxDxH: 5.9 x 6.2 x 1 in. (14.9 x 15.7 x 2.5 cm)
Power 12V @ 3A input
12V @ 0.5A output to support Sonnet Fusion F2QR
Absolute Maximum Input Voltage 20V
RoHS Compliant Yes
Universal Package Contents
  • Qio CF4 Pro CompactFlash Media Reader
  • Universal 12V power supply with 10-foot cable
  • 1-meter external PCIe x1 interface cable
  • Documentation
Package Contents
  • PCIe 2.0 bus extender card
Package Contents
  • PCIe 2.0 bus extender ExpressCard/34
Package Contents
  • Thunderbolt interface adapter
  • 0.5-meter Thunderbolt cable


Specifications subject to change without notice.

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Mac Compatibility

OS X 10.6.8-10.11 compatible with:

Mac® with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port
Part No. QIO-TB

OS X® 10.6.8-10.9.5 compatible with:

Mac Pro® (with card slots)

MacBook® Pro (with an ExpressCard/34 slot)
Part No. QIO-E34

Windows Compatibility

Windows® 10, 8, 7, Vista®

Windows Server 2012, 2008 R2, Server 2008

PC desktop (with PCIe slots; i.e. - HP Z800 or Z820)


Mac Logo Windows LogoeSATA LogoExpressCard LogoCompactFlash Logo

roHS Logo

Simultaneous Ingest Aggregate Speed

System Mac Pro/Desktop PC Thunderbolt Computer Notebook Computer
Qio Interface PCIe Card Thunderbolt ExpressCard/34
1 x CF Card 120 MB/sec 120 MB/sec 110 MB/sec
2 x CF Cards 220 MB/sec 220 MB/sec 180 MB/sec
3 x CF Cards 320 MB/sec 320 MB/sec 200 MB/sec
4 x CF Cards 410 MB/sec 360 MB/sec 200 MB/sec
Qio CF4 Accessories Part No. Description
FireWire Power Cable FireWire 400-to-3.5mm Power Cable CABLE-PWR-P200S 1-meter FireWire 400 to 3.5mm power connector cable
XLR 4-pin DC Power Adapter Cable XLR 4-pin DC Power Adapter Cable QCB-XLR4 XLR 4-pin adapter cable
Sonnet PCIe Bus Extender ExpressCard/34 Adapter PCIe 2.0 Bus Extender ExpressCard/34 PCIE-E34 Spare ExpressCard/34 interface
Sonnet PCIe Bus Extender PCIe Adapter PCIe 2.0 Bus Extender Card PCIE-E2 Spare PCIe 2.0 interface card
Qio Thunderbolt Interface Adapter Kit Qio Thunderbolt Interface Adapter Kit (Mac only) QTB-IFK Thunderbolt interface adapter with PCIe and Thunderbolt cables


Sonnet Qio Review. Very, Very, Fast Offloads.
"I had heard about the QIO some time ago, so I approached Sonnet to see if I could borrow a unit to review. I was given the loan of a Sonnet QIO at NAB. I have been playing with it since then and you know what, it’s a great device. So what exactly is it? Well it is an extension box that allows you to connect a range of peripherals and flash memory cards to your computer via the PCI bus. The reason I wanted to borrow one was because the QIO is one of the few devices (the only device?) that allows you to connect SxS, Compact Flash and P2 cards to a computer using the high speed PCI bus with hot-swappable functionality…

This is one fast device. If you have lots of media to off-load and backup it’s going to save you a lot of time. If you are a production company that works with large volumes of solid state media it will pay for itself very quickly in saved man-hours. If your working in the field with a MacBook Pro the ability to connect both the media and eSATA devices at the same time makes the QIO a very interesting proposition. It is well constructed, simple to install and use, what more could you ask for."

DV Award

In Review: Sonnet Technologies Qio
"The Sonnet Technologies Qio answers one of the most significant questions posed by editors dealing with solid-state media: how do I copy the contents of the cards to my computer? And the Qio answers the question without any uncertainty…

Who needs the Qio? Any editor who deals with a variety of solid-state media. Nothing is worse than having a client drop off a P2 card and you have no way to read it. “Er, can I plug your camera into my computer so I can copy the contents of the card?” Or, “I know I have that little USB CF card reader somewhere around here…” And it’s not just for editors needing multiple formats. A solid piece of equipment to me is far preferable to an inexpensive card reader which might be slow and much more subject to failure when you need it most. The Qio is most useful to anyone who needs to extend the bus capability of their computer to additional storage and other compatible card-based devices.

The Qio represents the only product of its kind on the market and I am pleased to recommend it with great enthusiasm."

Creative Cow Rating

Fast Enough? Data-Driven Broadcast Infrastructure
"…The single most impressive ingest product that I saw was the Sonnet Technologies Qio, pronounced Cue-Eye-Oh. Using a single PCIe slot, it gives you two P2 readers, two Sony SxS readers, and two CF Card readers.

My first reaction was, "It takes up another card slot?!? What if you need a slot for a SATA card?" The Sonnet Qio also incorporates the well known E4P eSATA card - built right into the Qio! So in addition to everything else, you get four eSATA ports, all of which support port multiplication for your eSATA drives. Amazing!"

Studio Daily Rating

Review: Sonnet Qio
"As a solid-state card reader, the Qio accepts every kind of card your cameraman may hand you: P2 cards from Panasonic cameras, CompactFlash cards from digital SLRs or Red cameras, SxS cards from Sony, JVC cameras or Arri cameras, and SDHC cards (via an adapter) from everything else. This versatility is a big deal. As many folks move from tape to solid-state, they can buy one convenient reader that handles it all.

Not only does the Qio work with all of these card formats, but it accepts two of each card at a time — two P2 cards, two SxS cards, and so on. It’s like the Noah’s Arc of card readers, and that’s helpful if you’re shooting a lot of cards during the day, and want to copy two at a time. With two cards mounted, you don’t have to hover around your computer as it copies, waiting to slip in the next card. It’s a nice convenience, and no other card reader gives you dual-slotted options for so many media formats.

…[its] a great option for production houses, editors and DITs who have to make their way in this world of endless media formats."

Awards & Case Studies
Black Diamond Award 2010
DV Award of Excellence
Quote BubbleSee what reviewers and customers have to say about other Sonnet products in our News section under Product Reviews and Case Studies.

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