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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:04 PM   #1
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Sonnet Shipping First New Thunderbolt 2 PCIe Expansion Chassis




Sonnet today announced the first Thunderbolt 2 expansion chassis, allowing owners of late 2013-era MacBook Pro and Mac Pro models to add two or three PCIe cards to their machines.

There are three new options, desktop and rack mount three-slot chassis, plus a two-slot desktop version.

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The Echo Express III-D, Echo Express III-R, and Echo Express SE II incorporate ultra-fast Thunderbolt 2 technology, which delivers twice the throughput of 10 Gb/sec Thunderbolt and provides sufficient bandwidth to support many of the highest-performance and most-demanding PCIe cards. The new expansion chassis support every kind of Thunderbolt-compatible PCIe card available -- enabling the use of professional video capture, audio interface, 16Gb and 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, SAS and SATA HBA, and RAID controller cards with Thunderbolt-enabled iMac®, Mac® mini, Mac Pro®, MacBook Air®, and MacBook Pro® computers. Plus, the Sonnet systems' dual Thunderbolt 2 ports support full-bandwidth connectivity with Thunderbolt 2-equipped host computers, full backward compatibility with 10 Gb/sec Thunderbolt-equipped computers and devices, and daisy-chaining of other Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt devices.
Customers who purchased Thunderbolt 1 equipped expansion chassis can get free upgrades to the Thunderbolt 2 version. All the Thunderbolt 2 chassis are fully backwards-compatible with older Thunderbolt equipped Macs.

The desktop three-slot version is available for $979, the rack mount three-slot is $1,199, and the two-slot desktop is $499.

Article Link: Sonnet Shipping First New Thunderbolt 2 PCIe Expansion Chassis
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:07 PM   #2
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Shame it doesn't actually complement the Mac Pro.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:08 PM   #3
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Is that price for real???
F-that...

Don't see many of these moving...
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:10 PM   #4
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Does this mean I can add more GPU's to the new Mac Pro??? Can FCPX 10.1 handle 4 GPU's???
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:11 PM   #5
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These dont officially support Graphics Cards, right?

I heard something about intel not approving external GPus andthen driver probs?
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:13 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by KindredMAC View Post
Is that price for real???
F-that...

Don't see many of these moving...
Again, these are for professionals.

--

I'm going to assume this can't handle higher-end video cards on PCI Express 3.0? Still not enough bandwidth.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:14 PM   #7
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It's not the first...Silverstone and ASUS just announced their XG2 external gpu solution on CES2014.



This is definitely to pricey.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:18 PM   #8
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I had the same question

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Originally Posted by eladnova View Post
These dont officially support Graphics Cards, right?

I heard something about intel not approving external GPus andthen driver probs?
That would be a shame, external graphics card could make a MBA even more appealing
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:19 PM   #9
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There's seems to be little information about the mobile rack add on.

What it costs, how you control the drives added to it. It's not clear if it's some kind of solution with SATA and power cable leaving the 3 PCIe slots free for other uses or if you need a SATA card with multiple internal connectors and it just provides drive bays and power.

In their suggested uses, it even shows a configuration with their own 4 port SATA card, yet all the ports are external. That makes no sense.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eladnova View Post
These dont officially support Graphics Cards, right?

I heard something about intel not approving external GPus andthen driver probs?
I've seen Thunderbolt GPU's in similair looking enclosures, but i have heard also that Intel doesn't like the external GPU idea, so I don't suspect that I want will work right out of the box...

the price...too much, sorry
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:20 PM   #11
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I'm glad that Sonnet is shipping something in the near future. I'm still waiting for word on their Echo 15. The last update they posted was in October. There are still so few options for versatile T-Bolt docks. Sonnet got this one right, but who knows when -- if ever -- it will ship.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:22 PM   #12
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You'd struggle to fit that in a MacBook Pro.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:22 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=MacRumors;18650209]Image

yeah not so much for this price you'd BETTER have an income to justify this cost (like editing booth or something). Thunderbolt 1 hasn't even became an affordable option for most and the peripherals are still super expensive. Thunderbolt just seems like it's meant for about 2% of Mac users. I know MANY creative types who don't even bother with it because of the cost of all the extras that you would benefit from by having but that's only high-end editors and whatnot. Definitely not for the general population at all.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
The new expansion chassis support every kind of Thunderbolt-compatible PCIe card available -- enabling the use of professional video capture, audio interface, 16Gb and 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, SAS and SATA HBA, and RAID controller cards with Thunderbolt-enabled iMac®, Mac® mini, Mac Pro®, MacBook Air®, and MacBook Pro® computers.
Why aren't graphics cards compatible?
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:23 PM   #15
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These aren't built for GPU's. Though they can work for a GPU.
The card has to have a thunderbolt-aware driver. (driver code has to specify the resources they require and support hot-plugging)

You might see someone use one to add in a Quadro or something to a Mac mini or iMac for high end GPU applications.

I work in the audio industry. People use them to add DSP processing cards to Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini. Usually Avid HDX cards. Sonnet and Magma both sell a lot of chassis to video people, they'll put a BlackMagic or other capture card in there, and sometimes a storage controller...then they have video ingest and a working drive in one box.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ActionableMango View Post
Why aren't graphics cards compatible?
There really should a Thunderbolt usage for beginners FAQ on here somewhere and if there is, it should be linked on every thunderbolt article for easy reference.

Thunderbolt2 offers 2 x 10Gbit/s channels combined. Thunderbolt offers them as seperate channels. Neither of those speeds offer anywhere near the bandwidth of a 16xPCie card and even then, most higher end GPUs are double-wide and need internal power. You'd end up using 2 slots for 1 card, leaving only 1 PCIe slot for other uses and then cripple the card with bandwidth that doesn't even come close to 4xPCIe.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:34 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by 4God View Post
Does this mean I can add more GPU's to the new Mac Pro??? Can FCPX 10.1 handle 4 GPU's???
Thunderbolt 2 certainly won't support PCIex16. It doesn't have the throughput.

Your GPU would have to be PCIex8, and you would need to somehow get driver support for it within OS X. In other words, no.

Maybe external GPUs will finally be viable when Thunderbolt 3 is released.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:37 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4God View Post
Does this mean I can add more GPU's to the new Mac Pro??? Can FCPX 10.1 handle 4 GPU's???
Doubt it. Getting support for dual GPUs is going to be hard enough.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by barkmonster View Post
There really should a Thunderbolt usage for beginners FAQ on here somewhere and if there is, it should be linked on every thunderbolt article for easy reference.

Thunderbolt2 offers 2 x 10Gbit/s channels combined. Thunderbolt offers them as seperate channels. Neither of those speeds offer anywhere near the bandwidth of a 16xPCie card and even then, most higher end GPUs are double-wide and need internal power. You'd end up using 2 slots for 1 card, leaving only 1 PCIe slot for other uses and then cripple the card with bandwidth that doesn't even come close to 4xPCIe.
Is there a simple data on average bandwidth use for 1x, 2x, 3x, and 4x GPU setups?
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:45 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by 4God View Post
Does this mean I can add more GPU's to the new Mac Pro??? Can FCPX 10.1 handle 4 GPU's???
Honestly, not really. There is a diminishing return do to the bandwidth. The more you add the lower bandwidth each card has available to it. Maybe if they hadn't dropped to 1 cpu and cutted bandwidth. Now if they released a dual cpu mac pro with twice the lanes and more bandwidth for TB2...
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:49 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by macrogeek View Post
These aren't built for GPU's. Though they can work for a GPU.
The card has to have a thunderbolt-aware driver. (driver code has to specify the resources they require and support hot-plugging)

You might see someone use one to add in a Quadro or something to a Mac mini or iMac for high end GPU applications.

I work in the audio industry. People use them to add DSP processing cards to Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini. Usually Avid HDX cards. Sonnet and Magma both sell a lot of chassis to video people, they'll put a BlackMagic or other capture card in there, and sometimes a storage controller...then they have video ingest and a working drive in one box.
But, what if you plug in the card before you boot up the system? Then, hot swapping support wouldn't be needed?
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:51 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by 4God View Post
Does this mean I can add more GPU's to the new Mac Pro??? Can FCPX 10.1 handle 4 GPU's???
Only if you boot into windows can you use an external GPU.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:55 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by barkmonster View Post
There really should a Thunderbolt usage for beginners FAQ on here somewhere and if there is, it should be linked on every thunderbolt article for easy reference.

Thunderbolt2 offers 2 x 10Gbit/s channels combined. Thunderbolt offers them as seperate channels. Neither of those speeds offer anywhere near the bandwidth of a 16xPCie card and even then, most higher end GPUs are double-wide and need internal power. You'd end up using 2 slots for 1 card, leaving only 1 PCIe slot for other uses and then cripple the card with bandwidth that doesn't even come close to 4xPCIe.
Doesn't TB2 support channel bonding? Even without bonding the channels you still have 10Gbit which approx equal to PCIeX4. There's been several benchmarks done on earlier GPU cards with different PCIeXx connections and unless you're gaming at 1024x768, the loss in fps from going from PCIeX16 down to PCIeX4 is minimal at higher resolutions. The lack of a TB2 to GPU adapter is purely political from Intel and possibly Apple's standpoint as the ability to plug in a GTX780 to upgrade your 2012 rMBP would keep upgrade dollars out of their hands as the lowliest i5 in rMBP is more than capable of driving a AMD 290 or Nvidia GTX 780

EDIT:
HERE
is a great article, looks like AMD cards take a smaller hit than Nvidia cards with <x16 PCIex
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Last edited by magbarn; Jan 16, 2014 at 06:00 PM.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 05:55 PM   #23
milo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KindredMAC View Post
Is that price for real???
F-that...

Don't see many of these moving...
I can see them selling a few to Pro Tools users who have spent thousands on PCIe cards.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 06:19 PM   #24
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If you have a mac with two TB ports, I don't really understand why one would buy the three-slot when you can get two of the two-slots for barely any more money… ?

Great that these exist though.

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Originally Posted by H2SO4 View Post
Shame it doesn't actually complement the Mac Pro.
Yeah, they should have made it look like a stormtrooper!
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 06:31 PM   #25
koulmj
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Originally Posted by BASTI51 View Post
It's not the first...Silverstone and ASUS just announced their XG2 external gpu solution on CES2014.



This is definitely to pricey.
I've seen silver prototypes on the web at other shows. There is some problem with rights and legal carp. YouTube has videos of this with working with a reduction in performance, but it's better than the 4000intergrated tech we have now...
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