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 modern 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-R is a pro-level, rackmount Thunderbolt™ 2 to PCIe card expansion system solves that issue, enabling you to connect three full-length PCIe cards to you computer at the same time through a single cable.
Through a simple Thunderbolt 2 connection, add 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-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.
Use multiple high-performance PCIe cards with any computer with a Thunderbolt 2 port.
Supports three full-height, single-width cards, or one double-width card plus one single-width card.
Full Thunderbolt 2 performance; backward compatible with 10Gbps Thunderbolt.
Every Thunderbolt compatible, non-GPU PCIe 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.
Two 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; daisy chain port provides 10W 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 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.
Echo Express III-R 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-R 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.
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 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 double the bandwidth for demanding applications.
The Echo Express III 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.
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.