Sonnet Shipping First New Thunderbolt 2 PCIe Expansion Chassis

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    [​IMG]


    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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    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
     
  2. macrumors 68000

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    #2
    Shame it doesn't actually complement the Mac Pro.
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    KindredMAC

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    #3
    Is that price for real???
    F-that...

    Don't see many of these moving...
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    4God

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    My Mac
    #4
    Does this mean I can add more GPU's to the new Mac Pro??? Can FCPX 10.1 handle 4 GPU's???
     
  5. macrumors member

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    #5
    These dont officially support Graphics Cards, right?

    I heard something about intel not approving external GPus andthen driver probs?
     
  6. macrumors 601

    macduke

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    #6
    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.
     
  7. macrumors member

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    #7
  8. macrumors regular

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    #8
    I had the same question

    That would be a shame, external graphics card could make a MBA even more appealing
     
  9. barkmonster, Jan 16, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014

    macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    #9
    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.
     
  10. macrumors regular

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    Mar 18, 2013
    #10
    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 :(
     
  11. macrumors 68020

    jayducharme

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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.
     
  12. macrumors newbie

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    #12
    You'd struggle to fit that in a MacBook Pro.
     
  13. macrumors newbie

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    #13
     
  14. macrumors 601

    ActionableMango

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    #14
    Why aren't graphics cards compatible?
     
  15. macrumors newbie

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    #15
    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.
     
  16. macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    #16
    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.
     
  17. macrumors regular

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    #17
    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.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Doubt it. Getting support for dual GPUs is going to be hard enough.

    ----------

    Is there a simple data on average bandwidth use for 1x, 2x, 3x, and 4x GPU setups?
     
  19. macrumors member

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    #19
    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...
     
  20. macrumors 68040

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    #20
    But, what if you plug in the card before you boot up the system? Then, hot swapping support wouldn't be needed?
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    jrlcopy

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    #21
    Only if you boot into windows can you use an external GPU.
     
  22. magbarn, Jan 16, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014

    macrumors 65816

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    #22
    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
     
  23. macrumors 604

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    #23
    I can see them selling a few to Pro Tools users who have spent thousands on PCIe cards.
     
  24. macrumors 68000

    Porco

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    #24
    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.

    Yeah, they should have made it look like a stormtrooper! :)
     
  25. macrumors regular

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    Mar 18, 2013
    #25
    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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