Irvine, California — Sonnet has added to its Echo Express line of Thunderbolt 2-to-PCIe expansion systems with the Echo Express SEL. Like the other members of the Echo Express line, the SEL enables the use of a wide variety of high-performance PCI Express (PCIe) cards — originally designed for use in desktop computers — with any Mac computer with a Thunderbolt port. The new model is the smallest and quietest Echo chassis yet, and supports one low-profile PCIe card. The Echo Express SEL is now available for $399.
The Sonnet Echo Express SEL incorporates ultra-fast Thunderbolt 2 technology, which delivers twice the bandwidth of Thunderbolt and provides sufficient throughput to support many of the highest-performing and most demanding PCIe cards. The new expansion chassis is ideally suited for use with high-bandwidth networking cards, host bus adapters, and storage interface cards, allowing them to connect with Thunderbolt-enabled iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers, as well as Mac Pro computers that lack PCIe expansion slots. Plus, the Echo Express SEL’s dual Thunderbolt 2 ports not only support full-bandwidth connectivity with 20 Gb/sec Thunderbolt 2-equipped host computers, but provide full backward compatibility with 10 Gb/sec Thunderbolt-equipped computers and devices, and support daisy-chaining of other Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt devices.
The Echo Express SEL supports low-profile, single-width PCIe 2.0 x8 cards. The majority of the most popular Thunderbolt-compatible 16Gb and 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, SAS and SATA host bus adapters, and RAID controller cards fall into this category, making the SEL a perfect match for users needing a discrete, quiet, and yet very fast PCIe chassis to connect one of these specialized interface cards to their computers. Thunderbolt 2 technology is essential for enabling many high-performance cards, such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet, to yield optimal performance over Thunderbolt. For example, in a test using Small Tree Communications’ dual-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet CAT6 Network Adapter with the Echo Express SEL, performance increased by 40 percent compared to the same card tested in a standard 10 Gb/sec Thunderbolt-to-PCIe chassis. The list of compatible PCIe cards is available on Sonnet’s website, and is continually expanding as more cards are tested and certified.
Measuring 4 inches wide by 8.4 inches long by 2.8 inches tall and weighing 1.75 pounds, the Echo Express SEL is compact and lightweight, yet its rugged aluminum case provides great protection for the installed card. The SEL features an ultra-quiet, temperature-controlled fan to help keep even warm cards cool. When not needed, the fan slows down to a whisper. The SEL is Sonnet’s quietest expansion chassis yet.
The Echo Express SEL ships with an 80W external power adapter, keeping the system’s energy usage low. The SEL also conserves energy by automatically powering on whenever the connected computer powers on or wakes, or powering off when the computer powers off or sleeps. Sonnet includes a cable locking mechanism that secures the Thunderbolt connectors and prevents accidental cable disconnects. Like the other models in the Echo Express family, the Echo Express SEL was designed, engineered, and built by Sonnet in California.