The best portable, mini desktop and all-in-one computers feature powerful CPUs and include high-performance Thunderbolt™ ports to support peripherals. But they lack the PCIe expansion slots creative pros need to install specialty adapter cards that enable their workflows by adding video and audio inputs, transcoding data, and connecting to high-speed shared storage and networks. Sonnet has a solution—the Echo™ III Rackmount—a professional Thunderbolt to PCIe card expansion system. Via a single cable, connect three (up to) full-length (12.28 inches long) PCIe cards at the same time to your Mac®, Windows®, or Linux® computer with Thunderbolt 4 or Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Echo III Rackmount supports every Thunderbolt compatible, non-GPU PCIe 1.1/2.0/3.0 card available including video capture and transcoding; audio DSP; 6Gb or 12Gb SAS or SATA host bus adapter; 10Gb or 25Gb Ethernet; SSD storage; and other specialty types to your system.
Do you have a card in mind but aren’t sure it’s compatible? We’ve put together a compatibility list that identifies cards conforming to Thunderbolt technology requirements, and organized by fit and power compatibility with specific expansion systems.
At the flick of a switch, the Avid qualified Echo III Rackmount system is instantly optimized to support up to three Pro Tools | HDX PCIe cards, with no extra parts necessary! This chassis has been tested and is qualified by Avid Audio group for use with Avid Pro Tools HD 2020 software, and Avid Pro Tools HDX and HD Native systems.
Avid Pro Tools | HDX cards sold separately
Sonnet makes it easy to integrate a complete 2- or 3-card Pro Tools | HDX system and a Mac mini® in just 4U of rack space. With the rugged 1U RackMac mini rackmount enclosure plus the 2U Echo III Rackmount you can combine the power of HDX with any Avid Pro Tools hardware I/O for a complete system, including the exciting Pro Tools | MTRX Studio all-in-one audio interface.
Avid Pro Tools | MTRX Studio, Sonnet RackMac mini, PCIe cards, and mobile rack kit sold separately
Echo III Rackmount is separately qualified by the Avid Video group for use with Avid Media Composer/Symphony with many current and older Mac computers with Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 2 ports.
Connects up to three high-performance non-GPU PCIe cards to your computer lacking expansion slots via a Thunderbolt 3 cable.
Every Thunderbolt compatible, non-GPU card supported regardless of length or height.
HDX compatibility mode enables use of up to three Pro Tools | HDX PCIe cards with no additional parts needed.
One x16 plus two x8 slots support three full-height, single-width cards, or one double-width card plus one single-width card.
Integrated 400W power supply with 75W auxiliary power. Saves energy by powering on/off automatically with the computer.
Dual temperature-controlled, variable-speed Noctua fans rated at 17dBA automatically and quietly cool the cards.
Offers 2750 MB/s of PCIe bandwidth for the installed cards(1).
One port connects to computer; second port supports daisy-chaining of up to five additional Thunderbolt peripheral devices.
Provides robust and secure protection in server and DIT racks; space for an additional DuoModo Module (sold separately).
The Echo III Rackmount features one x16 and two x8 PCIe 3.0 slots(1), enabling it to support a wide variety of cards at the same time. It integrates a universal 400W power supply, plus a 75W auxiliary power connector to support especially power-hungry non-GPU cards, including the Avid Pro Tools | HDX. The Echo III was designed without a power switch, because it powers on and off automatically with the connected computer, saving energy in the long run. With no power switch, you can’t forget to turn off the system!
The Echo III Rackmount mounts in a rack space 2U tall, and is only 16.5 inches deep, making it ideal for use in a wide range of popular mobile racks, carts, and rack cases, and in server rooms as well. Its enclosure is formed of heavy-duty steel to provide secure mounting for the Echo III module and protection for the PCIe cards installed inside, and to support maximum airflow for cooling, regardless of where you install it in a rack.
The Echo III Rackmount’s included adjustable rackmount extension rails enable the 2U enclosure to be installed securely in a variety of racks from 16 to 24 inches deep.
Featuring dual Noctua fans, the Echo III Rackmount is designed to deliver ultra-quiet operation so that it can be comfortably used in noise-sensitive environments. Rated at 17.1dBA—below the 20dBA ceiling prescribed for use in recording and broadcast studios—the fans spread their noise spectrum to minimize any single frequency’s impact. To further ensure negligible noise levels, the fans are temperature-controlled, automatically speeding up and slowing down smoothly as needed, and the enclosure is engineered to optimize airflow over the installed cards to effectively and efficiently cool the system.
Sonnet includes a 0.7-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable that supports Thunderbolt's full 40Gbps bandwidth, and is fully compatible with Thunderbolt 4 computers. Sonnet also provides a ThunderLok™ 3 Thunderbolt connector retainer clip(2) that prevents accidental cable disconnections—just slide it over one end of the cable, and then plug in the connector and secure it to the chassis by turning a thumbscrew. Because of its unique design, ThunderLok remains on the cable so it won’t get lost when not in use.
Whether noisy PCIe card fans make it impractical to use the Echo III Rackmount in a noise-sensitive environment, or because securing it in another room is required, you may find it necessary to put some space between the chassis and computer. No problem! Thunderbolt 3 optical cables (sold separately), available in lengths from 5 to 50 meters, enable you to locate your equipment where you need and connect the pieces without loss of functionality. These thin, lightweight, and tough fiber optic cables are easy to route, and support high-speed data transmission equal to copper Thunderbolt cables.
The Echo III Rackmount features a 40Gbps Thunderbolt interface(3)(4) that delivers up to 2750 MB/s of PCIe bandwidth, enabling it to support 4K video capture and processing cards at high frame rates, multiple audio DSPs, and 25GbE and dual-port 10GbE network cards at full performance.
The Echo III Rackmount is fully compatible with Thunderbolt 4 computers and was purposely designed with a Thunderbolt 3 controller and its four lanes of PCIe (not available in a Thunderbolt 4 peripheral) to achieve maximum performance. Learn more about the performance benefits of Thunderbolt 3 over Thunderbolt 4.
also compatible with M1 Macs
see tech specs for details
No Thunderbolt 3? No problem—the Echo III Desktop is also compatible with Macs with Thunderbolt 2 ports when used with the bi-directional Apple® Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter and a Thunderbolt cable (both sold separately).
Choose between the Echo III Rackmount and Echo III Desktop to suit your workflow needs. The Echo III Desktop is wrapped in a rugged, yet lightweight aluminum outer shell, resulting in a system light enough to carry without weighing you down, yet sturdy enough to securely protect the installed PCIe cards.
The Echo III Rackmount is part of Sonnet’s DuoModo™ family of modular Thunderbolt expansion systems comprised of three interchangeable expansion modules — the Echo III module (included in Echo III Desktop and Rackmount systems), an eGPU card system, and a Mac mini® mounting system with integrated 40Gbps Thunderbolt storage dock — and three enclosures (dual-module desktop and rackmount housings, and a single-module desktop housing). You can add any one of the modules to the extra space in the Echo III Rackmount enclosure to create your ideal expansion system! Does your workflow fit neatly in one box? If not, you’ll appreciate DuoModo systems’ modular design. Sonnet offers separate desktop and rackmount enclosures so you can remove the Echo III module from the enclosure you’re using and install it another one.Learn More ›