• Overview
  • Tech Specs
  • Accessories
  • Videos

Computers with Allegro USB-C 4port PCIe Cards

Transform a Mac mini® with Thunderbolt 3 Ports or an M1/M2 series Mac mini from a
Basic Computer to a Workstation!

For many applications, a Mac mini has all the processing power necessary to allow it to replace a full-sized desktop or workstation. But for pro audio and video users, the mini’s compact size can limit its potential—there are no slots for PCIe expansion cards needed to provide additional connectivity and functionality, and you need to securely rackmount the computer. Sonnet’s award-winning xMac™ mini Server addresses these issues and maximizes a Mac mini’s capabilities in a big way.

Inside its custom 1U enclosure(1), the xMac mini Server securely mounts your Mac mini, and connects two PCIe cards to the computer through one of its Thunderbolt 3 ports. A USB-A port and a power button mounted on the front panel allow the connection of a keyboard, mouse, thumb drive or other USB peripheral to, and the operation of the system without requiring access to the back of the computer. Additional panel-mount cables (HDMI, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, and USB-A) are included to connect the ports on the computer to ports on the back of the xMac mini Server for convenient external connection. Due to the active electronics at both ends of Thunderbolt cables, passthrough Thunderbolt ports are not possible, but an opening on the back panel enables you to easily route cables to the computer or the internal connections on an installed card.

Imagine The Possibilities...

Video Ingest Station. ProTools Multitrack Recording Rig. Metadata Controller.
Large-Capacity RAID Storage Server. Video wall server.

Connect two high-performance PCIe cards to transform your Mac mini from a simple computer to something much more.

Key Features

Adds Connectivity and Capabilities to Your Mac mini—Connects two high-performance PCIe 1.1, 2.0, or 3.0 expansion cards to the Mac mini

Diverse PCIe Card Support—Supports pro video capture and playout, pro audio, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel, SAS/SATA RAID controllers, and other PCIe cards

Server Room Ready—1U rackmount enclosure with user-replaceable fans, easy to remove lid, built-in cable management features

Makes Your Mac mini Road-Ready—Securely holds the computer and PCIe cards in place during transport, adding mobility to your Mac

Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports—One port used to connect to the computer; second port supports daisy-chaining of up to five additional Thunderbolt(2) peripheral devices to your computer, attaching a single USB(3) peripheral device, or connecting a 4K display.

Key Features

Rear Panel Connectivity, Front Panel Operation—Ethernet, HDMI and USB-A ports mounted at the rear of the chassis for easy connectivity; front panel power button activates power switch on Mac mini; illuminated USB-A port enables connection of keyboard, mouse, thumb drive, etc.

Power for High-Performance PCIe Cards—Integrated 150W power supply provides plenty of power for cards you install; auxiliary PCIe power connector enables use of power hungry non-GPU cards such as the Avid® Pro Tools|HDX or the RED® ROCKET-X™

Dual PCIe 2.0 Slots; Supports PCIe 1.1, 2.0, and 3.0 Cards

The xMac mini Server supports one full-height, full-length, single-width card, plus one full-height, half-length card. Plus, if you install a PCIe card that includes a daughter card (or interface connector bracket) like the ones included with RME’s HDSPe MADI FX card, Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G, and the Lynx AES16e-50, a supplied mounting bracket allows you to securely mount the daughter card inside the chassis next to the main card, leaving the xMac’s second PCIe slot open for another card.




xMac mini Server Thunderbolt 3 Edition with top cover opened

Expansion Made Easy

The xMac mini Server provides easy access to its PCIe slots and your computer’s ports; simply loosen two thumbscrews and then slide the top cover off. Once inside, installing PCIe cards and connecting cables to the computer are simple. The included Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) cable connects your Mac mini to one of the xMac mini Server’s Thunderbolt 3 ports, linking the PCIe slots to the computer. The xMac’s second Thunderbolt 3 port enables daisy chaining of additional Thunderbolt peripherals such as additional PCIe expansion (like Sonnet’s Echo Express III-R rackmount chassis), pro video breakout boxes, video capture and playback devices, audio I/O devices, and more.

Idea Enabler

Mac mini as an ingest station for uncompressed 4K video? Absolutely. Mac mini as a virtual sound check, pro audio plug-in DAW and record rig? Sure! xMac mini Server enables you to expand your Mac mini’s capabilities in ways you never imagined. For PCIe card compatibility information, see our PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart for a list of cards(4) that have been tested to be recognized over a Thunderbolt connection and compatible with Thunderbolt technology requirements.

PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart




Power for High-Performance PCIe Cards

The xMac mini Server integrates a universal 150W power supply and includes an auxiliary PCIe power connector for cards that require supplementary power, such as the Avid Pro Tools|HDX or the RED ROCKET. In short, there is plenty of power for any combination of compatible cards.

Thunderbolt 3 cable

40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 — The USB-C That Does It All

The xMac mini Server includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports; the first is used for connection to your computer, while the second supports daisy chaining of up to five additional Thunderbolt peripheral devices to a single port on your Intel based Mac mini or M1 mac mini(2). This Sonnet solution includes 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 support, meaning you can connect a USB device to the second Thunderbolt 3 port using the proper cable or adapter. There’s also full support for connecting a 4K display @ 60Hz. For connected peripherals requiring extra power, 15 watts is provided to connected bus-powered devices.

Thunderbolt 3 cable

Smart Design Inside and Out

The xMac mini Server has numerous thoughtful design touches. The fans are user-replaceable. The xMac mini Server’s power switch turns the computer on and off without the need for you to reach around back, and the PCIe slots power on/off with the Mac mini for energy savings. There’s a central power hub for the computer and the PCIe slot’s power supply, enabling you to power everything with one power cord. The front panel USB-A provides port provides a handy visual cue, lighting up when the computer is on.

Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) Cable and ThunderLok™ 3 Included
To connect your computer to the xMac mini Server, Sonnet includes a 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) cable. And, to prevent accidental cable disconnection which can lead to data loss, we include a Sonnet ThunderLok 3 Thunderbolt connector retainer clip(5) to secure the cable to the xMac. ThunderLok 3 is easy to install and use—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.

Thunderbolt 3 Cable and ThunderLok 3

Thunderbolt 4 Computers

Forward Compatible with Thunderbolt 4 Computers

Some customers prefer to connect a notebook or all-in-one computer to the xMac mini Server and it is fully compatible with Thunderbolt 4 computers. It 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.

Older Macs with Thunderbolt 2 Ports
Backward Compatible with Older Macs

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).


Sonnet Thunderbolt Expansion Partners

Sonnet works closely with the following partners to ensure Thunderbolt compatibility for their products. See the PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart for a list of products that have passed Thunderbolt compatibility testing with Sonnet products.

AdobeAJAAppleApogeeArecaATTOAudinateAvidBlack Magic DesignBlueFish 444CalDigitDeltacastExaSANFocusriteFusion ioHigh PointLynx Studio TechnologyMatroxMyricomNewer TechOWCREDRMESiennaSmall Tree Softron Media ServicesSolid State LogicStorageDNATandberg DataTolis GroupTools On AirUniversal Audio
Mac mini, PCIe cards, and cables shown in photos that are not included with xMac mini Server are shown for illustration purposes; items sold separately.
Part No.  
XMAC-MS-A-TB3 xMac mini Server(6)
Warranty 2-year
Form Factor 1U Rackmount Enclosure
Dimensions (WxDxH)

19 x 17.75 x 1.72 in. (48.3 x 45.1 x 4.4 cm)


16 lbs (7.26 kg)   

External Connectors
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports (one open, one used)
  • One RJ-45 Gigabit/10 Gigabit Ethernet port extension
  • Two USB-A port extensions (one front-mount and 1 rear-mount)
  • One HDMI port extension
Internal Connectors
  • 6-pin Mini-Fit Jr (provides auxiliary power for PCIe cards that require it)
  • One C-8 power
PCIe Expansion Slots
  • One x8 (x4 electrical) PCIe 2.0 half-length+
    (7.25 in.)
  • One x16 (x4 electrical) PCIe 2.0 full-length
Compatible PCIe Cards(3) PCIe cards listed on our supporting PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart and as specified by card manufacturers
Power Supply

Universal 150W, 90-260V AC, 50-60 Hz

Operating Temperature

0º C to 35º C (32º F to 95º F)

RoHS Compliant Yes

Package Contents

  • xMac mini Server (assembled)
  • Daughter card mounting bracket
  • 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) cable
  • Thunderbolt 3 cable lock(5)
  • Power cord
  • Documentation

Note: Mac mini and PCIe cards sold separately

Specifications subject to change without notice.






Mac mini (M2/M2 Pro)
macOS 13

Mac mini (M1)
macOS 11 - macOS 13

Mac mini (2018 Intel current version)
macOS 10.14.6 – macOS 13

Mac mini (Late 2014) with Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter and Thunderbolt 2 cable
OS X 10.10.5 – macOS 12

Mac mini (Late 2012) with Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter and Thunderbolt 2 cable
OS X 10.8.5 – macOS 10.15.7

PCIe Card Compatibility

For up-to-date PCIe card compatibility see our PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart

For maximum PCIe bandwidth, dedicate one Thunderbolt 3 bus on the computer to the PCIe expansion slots.

Technical Notes

  1. Metal enclosures can attenuate the Bluetooth signal from your Mac mini. Using an external adapter such as Sonnet’s Long-Range USB Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter (plugged into the USB port on the front of RackMac mini) can improve its performance.
  2. Second Thunderbolt 3 port supports Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 peripheral devices on Macs used with the Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter, sold separately.
  3. Second Thunderbolt 3 port supports USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gb) or Gen 2 (10Gb) devices when connected with proper cable or adapter (sold separately).
  4. Compatibility requires the installation of Thunderbolt technology-aware drivers, available from the manufacturer. See our supporting PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart for a partial list of compatible PCIe cards.
  5. ThunderLok 3 compatible specifically with Sonnet 0.5-meter and 0.7-meter Thunderbolt 3 cables; Sonnet 1- and 2-meter Thunderbolt 3 cables require ThunderLok 3L
  6. Mac mini and PCIe cards sold separately.

Mac Logo PCI Express LogoroHS Logo

xMac mini Server Accessories Part No. Description
ThunderLok 3L (2-Pack) ThunderLok 3L Thunderbolt Connector Retainer Clip (2-Pack) TB3-LOK2L Secures Sonnet 1- or 2-meter Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) active cables with ThunderLok 3L-compatible products; not compatible with Sonnet 0.5-meter or 0.7-meter Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) passive cables
ThunderLok 3 (2-Pack) ThunderLok 3 Thunderbolt Connector Retainer Clip (2-Pack) TB3-LOK2 Secures Sonnet 0.5-meter and 0.7-meter Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) passive cables with ThunderLok 3-compatible products; not compatible with Sonnet 1- or 2-meter Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) active cables
Thunderbolt 3 Cable Thunderbolt 3 Cable TCB-TB3-07M 0.7-meter Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) cable
HDX Power Cable Avid Pro Tools|HDX PCIe Card Power Adapter Cable TCB-HDXB Avid Pro Tools|HDX PCIe Card Power Adapter Cable for Echo Express III-D or III-R, xMac mini Server or Pro Server
xMac mini Server Quiet Fan Kit xMac mini Server Quiet Fan Module XMFAN-Q-A Replacement quiet fan kit for Thunderbolt 3 xMac mini Server (XMAC-MS-TB3) serial numbers beginning with A. XMAC-MS-TB3 serial numbers beginning with B (March 2020) or later, have the quiet fans installed at the factory.
Long-Range USB Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter Long-Range USB Bluetooth 4.0 Micro Adapter USB-BT4 Plugs into RackMac mini's front-panel USB port to enhance an installed computer's Bluetooth performance.



Product Quick Overview - xMac mini Server (1:47 mins)

Learn why Sonnet's Pro Products Rely on Thunderbolt 3 Technology for Maximum Performance (2:54 mins)

View More Sonnet VideosArrow