• Overview
  • Technical Specifications
  • Performance
  • Accessories
  • Reviews

SxS to the Power of Three

4 CompactFlash Cards Sony’s popular XDCAM EX™ and Arri Alexa professional HD camcorders use high-performance SxS memory cards, which share the same interface and shape as ExpressCard®/34 adapter cards. This shared form factor and connector make ingesting footage from your SxS media a simple task in ExpressCard slot-equipped notebook computers—insert the card and go. If your computer doesn't have an ExpressCard slot, you could just plug in the camera or a specialized USB SxS 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 E3 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 SxS media cards. Providing a cost-effective, high-speed multi-slot alternative to stand-alone card readers for videographers and studios alike, Qio E3's three SxS slots enable you to ingest files faster and more efficiently, with aggregate ingest speed up to 300 MB/sec., much faster than standard USB adapters are capable.

Key Features

Versatile Support—Support for Sony® SxS, and PCIe-based ExpressCard/34 cards

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

Choice of Interfaces—Qio E3 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

SxS Aggregate Media Ingest Speed (3 cards concurrently)—PCIe or Thunderbolt interface: 400MB/s; ExpressCard/34 interface: 200MB/s

Mac and Windows Compatible—Qio E3 works within your workflow, regardless the platform you've chosen; simply connect Qio E3 to the appropriate interface card for your Mac or PC and you're good to go

Built-in SATA Connections—Connect external 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 E3 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 E3 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 E3 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 E3 by connecting it to a computer with a FireWire port with Sonnet's optional FireWire 400-to-3.5mm power cable.

Qio E3 Workflow

Built for the Pro. Whether shooting on location with your notebook, or editing footage in the studio on your iMac®, Mac mini, or Mac Pro®, Qio E3 conveniently connects to your system via an ExpressCard/34 or PCIe 2.0 interface card, or Thunderbolt interface kit, so your projects are always at hand.

6Gb/s SATA PCIe 2.0 Host Controller Inside

Qio E3 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 E3 Connected to RED STATION REDMAG 1.8" Reader

Travel and Desktop Companion

Qio E3 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 E3 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 with PCIe Card Interface
QIO-E3-PCIE (with PCIe 2.0 card interface for Mac)
QIO-E3-PCIE-W (with PCIe 2.0 card interface for Windows)
Qio with ExpressCard/34 Card Interface
QIO-E3-E34 (with ExpressCard/34 card interface for Mac and Windows)
Qio with Thunderbolt Interface Kit

(with Thunderbolt interface kit for Macs with Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 ports)

Warranty 2-year
Form Factor Qio media card reader
External Connectors
(Qio E3 Enclosure)
  • Three ExpressCard/34 (SxS)
  • Two eSATA 6GB/s
  • External PCIe 2.0 x1 18-pin
  • Two 12V power
Host Connectors
(PCIe and ExpressCard Adapter Cards)
External PCIe x1 - 18
Host Connectors
(Thunderbolt Adapter)


Bus Interface PCI Express 2.0 x1
Supported Media Sony SxS, SxS-1™, SxS Pro™, SxS Pro+
Supported ExpressCard/34 Cards
  • Sony SxS, SxS-1™, SxS Pro™, SxS Pro+
  • SanDisk SxS ExpressCard
  • SDHC/SDXC cards using a separate adapter
  • Sony MEAD-SD02 SD Card Adapter for XDCAM Series
  • XQD using Sony XQD ExpressCard Adapter
Thunderbolt Expansion Expands Sonnet Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter to three ExpressCard/34 slots(1)
Drives Supported Two (each of which can be hardware RAIDs of multiple drives)
Drives Type Supported Serial ATA
Firmware Flash-ROM upgradeable to latest firmware version
Hot Plug Qio E3 Supported in MacBook Pro
Dimensions WxDxH: 5.9 x 6.2 x 1 in. (14.9 x 15.7 x 2.5 cm)
Power 12V @ 1.25A input
12V @ 0.5A output to support Sonnet Fusion F2QR
Absolute Maximum Input Voltage 20V
RoHS Compliant Yes
Universal Package Contents
  • Qio E3 Pro SxS 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® 10.6.8-10.9.4

Mac Pro® (with card slots)
Order Part No. QIO-E3-PCIE

MacBook® Pro (with an ExpressCard/34 slot)
Order Part No. QIO-E3-E34

Mac with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port
Order Part No. QIO-E3-TB)

Windows Compatibility

Windows 8,  7, Vista®

Windows Server 2008 R2, Server 2008

PC desktop (with PCIe slots; i.e. - HP Z800 or Z820)
Order Part No. QIO-E3-PCIE-W

PC notebook (with an ExpressCard slot)
Order Part No. QIO-E3-E34

Technical Notes

  1. Supports only cards and devices compatible with Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter.


Mac Logo Windows LogoeSATA LogoExpressCard LogoSxS 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 SxS Pro+ Card 150 MB/sec 150 MB/sec 150 MB/sec
2 x SxS Pro+ Cards 300 MB/sec 250 MB/sec 200 MB/sec
3 x SxS Pro+ Cards 380 MB/sec 300 MB/sec 200 MB/sec
Qio E3 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 interface card
Qio Thunderbolt Interface Adapter Kit Qio Thunderbolt Interface Kit Adapter Kit 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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