Connect Three Full-length PCIe Cards to Computers with Thunderbolt 3 Ports
For pros working in the creative fields, a computer’s processing power alone is not enough to get the job done. A prime example is the latest MacBook Pro®, which, while offering great performance, lacks the 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. Instead of slots, these computers include high-performance Thunderbolt™ 3 ports to support peripherals. Sonnet’s Echo™ Express III-R (Thunderbolt 3 Edition) is a pro-level, rackmount Thunderbolt 3 to PCIe card expansion system that enables you to connect three full-length PCIe cards at the same time.
Through a simple Thunderbolt 3 connection, 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.
The Echo Express III-R (Thunderbolt3 Edition) 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 this Sonnet FAQ and the Avid website for ProTools System Requirements and Compatibility and MediaComposer System Requirements.
The Echo Express III-D (Thunderbolt 3 HDX Edition) chassis is Avid qualified, compatible and ready for use with up to three Pro Tools | HDX cards out of the box, no extra parts or special configuration necessary! If you are a Pro Tools | HDX user, this is the chassis to buy.
Use multiple high-performance PCIe cards with any computer with a Thunderbolt 3 port.
Supports three full-height, single-width cards, or one double-width card plus one single-width card.
Offers 2750 MB/s of PCIe bandwidth, doubling the performance of Thunderbolt 2.
Every Thunderbolt 3 compatible, non-GPU card supported regardless of length or height.
One port connects to computer; second port supports daisy-chaining of up to five additional Thunderbolt peripheral devices.
Temperature-controlled, variable-speed fans automatically and quietly cool cards.
Powers on/off automatically with the computer.
Provides robust and secure protection in server and DIT racks; optional expansion available with Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kits.
Integrated 300W power supply with 75W auxiliary power; Thunderbolt daisy chain port provides up to 15W of power to connected peripherals.
The Echo Express III-R 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 3 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.
Sonnet’s Echo Express III-R supports three full-size PCIe cards, up to 12.28 inches (full-length) long. The III-R 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-R is enviro-friendly; it automatically powers on or off whenever the connected computer powers on (or wakes), or powers off or sleeps, respectively.
1. 300W power supply
2. Three PCIe 3.0 slots
3. 75W auxiliary power connector
Captive thumbscrews enable quick and easy installation of PCIe cards and Mobile Rack Kit expansion devices inside the Echo Express III-R's enclosure
Sonnet designed the Echo Express III-R 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.
Sonnet includes a 0.7-meter Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) cable that, unlike some other cables, transfers data at Thunderbolt 3’s full 2750 MB/s bandwidth, and supports up to 100W of Power Delivery (PD). Sonnet also provides a ThunderLok 3 Thunderbolt connector retainer clip(1) 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.
Echo Express III-R (Thunderbolt 3 Edition) features a 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 interface, which offers double the PCIe bandwidth and connectivity of Thunderbolt 2, and yields up to 2750 MB/s of bandwidth, enabling it to support 4K video capture and processing cards at high frame rates, and 16Gb FC cards and dual-port 10GbE cards at full performance.(1)(2)
Echo Express III-R (Thunderbolt 3 Edition) includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports; the first connects it to your computer, while the second supports daisy chaining of up to five additional Thunderbolt peripheral devices to a single port on your computer. The III-R also includes 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 support, meaning you can connect a USB device to the second port using the proper cable or adapter. For connected peripherals requiring extra power, 15 watts is provided to connected bus-powered devices. With the ability to handle multiple demanding, high performance PCIe cards, support for connecting two 4K displays @ 60Hz or one 5K display @ 60H(3), and support for a vast array of Thunderbolt(4) and USB(5) devices, Thunderbolt 3 is a leap forward in every way.
Up to Twice the Performance of Thunderbolt 2
The Echo Express III (Thunderbolt 3 Edition) is available in two versions, the III-D (desktop) and III-R (rackmount), to suit your workflow needs. The III-D’s form factor is perfect for users who need their expansion system to support every size of Thunderbolt-compatible card available, and be rugged and transportable.