Echo Express III-D
Upgradeable to 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Icon
Echo Express III-D

Echo Express III-D

3-slot Thunderbolt 2 desktop expansion system for PCIe cards

Connect Three Full-length PCIe Cards to Computers with Thunderbolt 2 Ports

For pros working in the creative fields, a computer’s processing power alone is not enough to get the job done. Prime examples include notebook and all-in-one desktop computers that lack PCIe expansion slots necessary to support specialty cards that connect pro video and audio inputs, transcode data, and connect to high-speed storage and networks. Sonnet’s Echo™ Express III-D is a pro-level desktop Thunderbolt™ 2 to PCIe card expansion system that enables you to connect three full-length PCIe cards at the same time to your computer through a single cable.

Echo Express III-D with MacBook Pro
PCIe Card Connected to Thunderbolt Computer

Thunderbolt 2 Connectivity

Through a simple Thunderbolt 2 cable, connect professional PCIe cards (three full-height, single-width cards, or one double-width card plus one single-width card) including video capture, audio interface, SAS or SATA HBA, 16Gb or 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, and RAID controllers.

Media Composer • Pro Tools

The Echo Express III-D is Avid qualified. It has been tested and approved for use with Pro Tools HD 12 software, and is qualified by the Avid Audio group for use with Pro Tools HDX and HD Native systems and separately qualified by the Avid Video group for use with Media Composer / Symphony with many current and older Mac computers with Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 2 ports. See the Avid website for details on Pro Tools System Requirements and Compatibility and Media Composer System Requirements.

Key Features

PCIe Card Icon

Connect PCIe Cards

Use multiple high-performance PCIe cards with any computer with a Thunderbolt 2 port.

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Three PCIe 2.0 Slots

Supports three full-height, single-width cards, or one double-width card plus one single-width card.

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20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 Interface

Full Thunderbolt 2 performance; backward compatible with 10Gbps Thunderbolt.

Performance Icon

Pro Performance

Every Thunderbolt compatible, non-GPU PCIe card supported regardless of length or height.

Thunderbolt 2 Ports Icon

Two Thunderbolt 2 Ports

One port connects to computer; second port supports daisy-chaining of up to five additional Thunderbolt peripheral devices.

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Remarkably Quiet

Two large temperature-controlled, variable-speed fans automatically and quietly cool the cards.

Energy Saver Icon

Energy Saver Mode

Powers on/off automatically with the computer.

Rugged Icon

Rugged Aluminum Housing

Provides robust and secure protection.

Power Icon

Integrated Power Supply

Integrated 300W power supply with 75W auxiliary power; daisy chain port supports up to 10W of power to connected peripherals.

Free Lifetime Tech Support
PCIe Cards

Every Thunderbolt Compatible, Non-GPU PCIe Card Supported

Echo Express III-D supports three single-width, full-length PCIe cards, or one double-width, full-length card plus one single-width card, enabling it to support every Thunderbolt 2 compatible, non-GPU PCIe 1.1, PCIe 2.0, and PCIe 3.0 card available. Do you have a card in mind but aren’t sure it’s compatible? We’ve put together a list in our supporting PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart (PDF). There you’ll find cards identified as conforming to Thunderbolt technology requirements, and organized by fit and power compatibility with specific expansion system.

Echo Express III-D Icon

Smart Design Inside and Out

Aluminum Enclosure. Auto Power On/Off.

Echo Express III-D 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. Since Echo Express products automatically power on and off with your computer, there is no power switch on the chassis, ensuring you don’t waste energy by forgetting to turn it off.

Three PCIe 2.0 Slots, No Compromise

Sonnet’s Echo Express III-D supports three full-size PCIe cards, up to 12.28 inches (full-length) long. The III-D 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. Even with all that power, the III-D is enviro-friendly; it automatically powers on or off whenever the connected computer powers on (or wakes), or powers off or sleeps, respectively.

Power Icons
Echo Express III-D (Thunderbolt 3 Edition) Interior View
x16 and x18 PCIe Cards Icon

Echo Express III-D features one x16 plus two x8 PCIe slots for versatile card support

1. Three PCIe 2.0 slots
2. 75W auxiliary power connector
3. 300W power supply

Echo Express III-D Open
BNC Connector Cables

RED ROCKET Supporter. Designed for BNC Connector Cables.

Sonnet designed the Echo Express III-D to accommodate the RED ROCKET or RED ROCKET-X and its BNC connector bracket (for HD-SDI output) card/bracket pair in a single slot. This Echo chassis includes two BNC connector mounting holes, enabling the installation of the card in one slot and its BNC connectors in the chassis’ mounting holes, leaving the two remaining slots open without the need to install the BNC connector bracket that would normally occupy a valuable PCIe slot.

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Quiet Operator

Echo Express III-D is designed to be ultra-quiet so that it can be comfortably used in noise-sensitive environments. Its two large, slow-spinning fans, enhanced with computer-modeled airflow management, ensure that even hot-running cards 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, you don’t have to guess which speed setting to select, and there’s no need for tools to change settings.
Thunderbolt 2 Cable with ThunderLok

Included at No Extra Charge

Thunderbolt 2 Cable. ThunderLok.

Sonnet includes a 1-meter Thunderbolt 2 cable and a Sonnet ThunderLok Thunderbolt connector retainer clip(1) to prevent 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.

ThunderLok Connection

20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 Interface

Echo Express III-D features 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 which provides ample bandwidth for many of the most demanding, highest performance PCIe cards, and incorporates support for the DisplayPort 1.2 protocol which enables video streaming to a 4K video monitor. While the III-D delivers maximum performance when connected to a computer with Thunderbolt 2 ports, it is also fully compatible with computers with 10Gbps Thunderbolt, supporting most cards at full-performance.

Thunderbolt 2 Port

Thunderbolt 2 – Bandwidth. Performance. Versatility.

The original 10Gbps Thunderbolt interface provided breakthrough bandwidth for external expansion, more than sufficient to support the maximum performance of most PCIe cards. However, some high bandwidth adapters such as the RED ROCKET, 16Gb Fibre Channel cards, multi-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet cards, and other bandwidth-hungry cards require more than 10Gbps. Thunderbolt 2 removes this barrier by providing more bandwidth for demanding applications.

Thunderbolt 2 Port
Thunderbolt 2 Speed Comparison Chart

Thunderbolt 3 Upgrade Options

If you already purchased an Echo Express III-D, Sonnet offers a Thunderbolt 3 upgrade card – the upgrade is as simple as switching a PCIe card in the chassis.

If you’re in the market for a Thunderbolt 3 to PCIe card expansion system, the Echo Express III-D (Thunderbolt 3 Edition) is also available.

Thunderbolt 3 Upgrade Card

Rackmount Version Available

Echo Express III is available in two versions, the III-D (desktop) and III-R (rackmount), to suit your workflow needs. The III-R mounts in a rack space 2U tall, and is only 16 inches deep, making it perfect for use in a wide range of popular mobile racks, carts, and rack cases, and in server rooms as well. The III-R even saves space for other equipment—with an optional Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kit, you can install one or two mobile rack devices in the III-R’s rack enclosure.

Echo Express III-R
See Tech Specs for footnotes.
Product specifications and information subject to change without notice. Computer hardware and accessories featured in photos that are not included with product are shown for illustration purposes; items sold separately.

Echo Express III-D