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Sonnet Technologies yesterday launched its first Thunderbolt 3-to-PCIe card expansion systems for 2016 MacBook Pros, the Echo Express SEL -- Thunderbolt 3 Edition and the Echo Express SE I -- Thunderbolt 3 Edition.

The SEL and SE I are compact and lightweight single-slot expansion systems that differ only in size and enable users to take advantage of the Thunderbolt 3's 2,750 MB/s of PCI Express bandwidth to support high performance adapter cards.

echoexprsessel_selwithmacbookpro-800x320.jpg

The Echo Express SE I -- Thunderbolt 3 Edition weighs just 2.6 pounds and measures 5.6 inches wide by 8.6 inches deep by 3.5 inches tall, accommodating one-half length (up to 7.75 inches long), full-height, single-width PCIe 3.0 card with additional mounting space for a daughter card. With its Thunderbolt 3 interface, the SE I delivers ample bandwidth for the majority of Thunderbolt-compatible PCIe cards including pro video capture, digital audio interface, 6Gbps or 12Gbps SAS or SATA host bus adapters, 16Gb or 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, and RAID controller PCIe cards.

The Echo Express SEL -- Thunderbolt 3 Edition is the smallest and quietest Thunderbolt 3 chassis yet, measuring 4 inches wide by 8.25 inches long by 2.8 inches tall and weighing just 1.75 pounds. The SEL houses one low-profile, single-width PCIe 3.0 card, including the majority of the most popular Thunderbolt-compatible 16Gb and 8Gb Fibre Channel, 40 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 6Gbps or 12Gbps SAS and SATA host bus adapters, RAID controller cards, and even low-profile pro video capture cards like the BlueFish 444 Epoch 4K Neutron.
The Echo Express SE I and Echo Express SEL Thunderbolt 3 Editions feature dual 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 ports that support the daisy chaining of up to five additional Thunderbolt peripheral devices. Both models support backward compatibility for 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2- and 10Gbps Thunderbolt-equipped devices when connected via the Apple® Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter.

As an added benefit, the second Thunderbolt 3 port also supports a variety of displays and a multitude of USB 3.1, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 devices when connected with the proper cable, and also fully supports the DisplayPort 1.2 protocol, which enables streaming to one 4K display at 120Hz, or two 4K displays at 60Hz, or one 5K display at 60Hz.

The list of compatible PCIe cards is available on Sonnet's website. Sonnet is also offering Thunderbolt 3 upgrade cards for existing Thunderbolt 2 Echo Express SEL and SE I expansion systems, enabling those models with all the capabilities of the new Thunderbolt 3 Editions. 


Article Link: Sonnet Unveils Thunderbolt 3-to-PCIe Card Expansion Systems for 2016 MacBook Pros
 
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bsbeamer

macrumors 601
Sep 19, 2012
4,076
2,178
This is good news ahead of NAB where we'll likely see support (or custom solutions) for RED PCIe cards like the RED ROCKET and RED ROCKET X for Thunderbolt 3.

Support eGPU from Apple is badly needed. Integrated cards just do not deliver the type of performance required for many video editing and motion graphics tools.

Getting updated Mac Pro's out in the market should be a priority as well. Hopefully before NAB...
 

noone

macrumors regular
Feb 4, 2006
177
247
The dedicated graphics card is what kept me buying the MacBook Pro (and the 15-inch screen size). If they made a laptop with a 14-15 inch screen that I could plug into a dock/eGPU for the occasion that I want to run a game I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
 

DogHouseDub

macrumors 6502
Sep 19, 2007
472
1,079
SF
Another workaround for their PCIe-tethered Fusion RAID storage. Just stick a TB port on it already.
 

theitsage

Suspended
Aug 28, 2005
795
861
I guess still no GPU support? Apple is sleeping ZzzzZZzz

Can firms start getting on those e-GPU's please? That is the undeniable / exciting future!!!

This is good news ahead of NAB where we'll likely see support (or custom solutions) for RED PCIe cards like the RED ROCKET and RED ROCKET X for Thunderbolt 3.

Support eGPU from Apple is badly needed. Integrated cards just do not deliver the type of performance required for many video editing and motion graphics tools.

Getting updated Mac Pro's out in the market should be a priority as well. Hopefully before NAB...

Nice. Waiting for e-gpu though.

The dedicated graphics card is what kept me buying the MacBook Pro (and the 15-inch screen size). If they made a laptop with a 14-15 inch screen that I could plug into a dock/eGPU for the occasion that I want to run a game I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

This is useless with it being unable to plug a real GPU in.

If you want an eGPU enclosure, get the AKiTiO Node. I have been using one and it works with all Thunderbolt equipped Macs (oldest being a 2011 17" MacBook Pro) in both macOS and Windows - more info on eGPU for Mac.


2016-macbook-pro-akitio-node-gtx-980-ti-egpu-benchmark.jpg
 
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bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
7,882
5,461
Kentucky
You strike me as the kind of guy who programs using Notepad. In binary. In his spare time. Just because he can. :D

I'm not that bad, although I have friends who are :)

I'm probably one of the few people who here who has used IrDA in the past month. I have a decent sized collection of PowerBooks going back to the 500 series(I'm working on some 100 series ones) and IrDA often is an integral way of me getting files onto older 'Books. I can download files or use USB to transfer them onto a Lombard, Pismo, or VGA TiBook and then use IrDA to either get them directly onto the target computer(if so equipped) or put them on a Wallstreet as a "bridge" to do AppleTalk over serial. I have a SCSI adapter on the way, but without that AppleTalk is often my only way(or at least the most convenient way) to get files onto an older computer. I have PCMCIA USB and WiFi cards, but getting the extensions to make them work takes a bit of juggling.
 

Sylvan

macrumors regular
Apr 27, 2008
129
391
California
I mean, this is cool and, and I'm really not bashing it. It's good to have options. But for my money, if I needed this capability, I would have just purchased a desktop computer with PCIe expansion slots built-in. Oh yea, that's exactly what I did.
 
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MH01

Suspended
Feb 11, 2008
12,107
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If you want an eGPU enclosure, get the AKiTiO Node. I have been using one and it works with all Thunderbolt equipped Macs (oldest being a 2011 17" MacBook Pro) in both macOS and Windows - more info on eGPU for Mac.


2016-macbook-pro-akitio-node-gtx-980-ti-egpu-benchmark.jpg

This is good advice.

I have the sonnet express with is great if you want extra PCI slots, has three, size for some cards is an issue as is the PSU, can be used open though with an external PSU

Razer core: sweetest build of them all, though GPU sizes are an issue, some bigger cards are too tall with the power cables in, and the stupid thing is designed to run with the case on.....

The node even works with a hybrid GPU, very nice.

I gotta go modify some power connectors this weekend to get a 980ti classified to fit a core :(
 
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rdav

macrumors 6502
Mar 16, 2007
312
30
So/California.
It would be most helpful if Apple could provide macOS drivers for the very popular Nvidia Pascal series (1050,1060,1070,1080) GPUs, which were released over eight moons ago.

Eg. ** "Windows only support. No drivers for OS X available."
https://support.bizon-tech.com/hc/en-us/articles/210709729
http://www.macvidcards.com/blog/nvidia-pascal-10701080-osx-and-macvidcards

Also, [eGPU.io] mentions "No Metal/OpenGL acceleration with Thunder-3 under macOS 10.12.2." - So again, it would be great if Apple could step up and update!
https://egpu.io/thunderbolt-egpu-for-mac-2017-update-macos-sierra/
 
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Elijen

macrumors 6502
May 8, 2012
454
879
If you want an eGPU enclosure, get the AKiTiO Node. I have been using one and it works with all Thunderbolt equipped Macs (oldest being a 2011 17" MacBook Pro) in both macOS and Windows - more info on eGPU for Mac.
How good are those compared to a PC equipped with an equivalent GPU? I bet there must still be some drawbacks.
 

theitsage

Suspended
Aug 28, 2005
795
861
It would be most helpful if Apple could provide macOS drivers for the very popular Nvidia Pascal series (1050,1060,1070,1080) GPUs, which were released over eight moons ago.

Eg. ** "Windows only support. No drivers for OS X available."
https://support.bizon-tech.com/hc/en-us/articles/210709729
http://www.macvidcards.com/blog/nvidia-pascal-10701080-osx-and-macvidcards

Also, [eGPU.io] mentions "No Metal/OpenGL acceleration with Thunder-3 under macOS 10.12.2." - So again, it would be great if Apple could step up and update!
https://egpu.io/thunderbolt-egpu-for-mac-2017-update-macos-sierra/

Apple will not do a thing about it. Nvidia has been updating its Nvidia web drivers in a timely manner (following macOS updates). No luck with the Pascal GPU drivers in macOS though.
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How good are those compared to a PC equipped with an equivalent GPU? I bet there must still be some drawbacks.

The percentage of performance loss depends on the Thunderbolt connection and whether it's internal display or external display. At a minimum expect a 15% loss compared to the internal PCIe slot.
 
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