This is excellent news for recording studios, post-production houses, and all creative professionals. Both new Sonnet systems enable users of Mac computers equipped with 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, such as the new MacBook Pro, to take advantage of Thunderbolt 3's 2750 MB/s of PCI Express bandwidth to support more fully even the most demanding, highest-performance adapter cards.
"Our Echo Express III-D and Echo Express III-R have become the industry standard for power users needing to connect up to three full-size PCIe cards to their Thunderbolt-enabled computers," says Robert Farnsworth, CEO of Sonnet Technologies. "We're pleased to add these two models to our growing roster of Thunderbolt 3 expansion systems that deliver blazing-fast 40Gbps performance — double the performance of Thunderbolt 2."
Echo Express III-D and Echo Express III-R Thunderbolt 3 Editions provide one x16 and two x8 PCIe 3.0 slots to support three full-length, full-height, single-width PCIe cards. The III-D and III-R Thunderbolt 3 editions support the use of every Thunderbolt 3- and macOS-compatible PCIe card available, including professional video capture, audio interface, 16Gb and 8Gb Fibre Channel (FC), 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE), SAS and SATA HBA, and RAID controller cards.
A dual-port 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 interface, which offers double the bandwidth and connectivity of Thunderbolt 2, enables the Sonnet systems to support 4K video I/O cards at high frame rates, as well as other bandwidth-hungry cards. In addition to support for the most demanding, highest performance PCIe cards, the III-D and III-R Thunderbolt 3 editions offer support for connecting two 4K displays or one 5K display. For connected devices requiring extra power, 15 watts is provided to connected bus-powered devices through the Thunderbolt cable.
Both chassis feature a built-in universal 300-watt power supply with a 75-watt auxiliary power connector to support PCIe cards with higher power requirements. Also, the systems integrate two large ultra-quiet, temperature-controlled cooling fans to enable their use in noise-sensitive environments. In addition to providing extra space to install two 5.25-inch mobile rack devices within the same enclosure using one of Sonnet's Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kits, the III-R also features captive thumbscrews for easy card installation.
The Echo Express III-D — Thunderbolt 3 Edition (part number ECHO-EXP3FD-TB3), with a suggested retail price of $899, and the Echo Express III-R — Thunderbolt 3 Edition (part number ECHO-EXP3FR-TB3), with a suggested retail price of $999, are both expected to be available May 22, 2017.