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NAB 2014: Sonnet adds PCIe expansion to Mac Pro

April 8, 2014
NAB 2014: Sonnet adds PCIe expansion to Mac Pro
LAS VEGAS — At the 2014 NAB show, Sonnet Technologies (www.sonnettech.com) unveiled the xMac Pro Server Thunderbolt 2-to-PCI Express expansion system and 4U rackmount enclosure for new Mac Pro computers. The xMac Pro Server securely mounts the latest generation Mac Pro horizontally inside a specially designed modular enclosure that connects three PCIe 2.0 slots to the computer via Thunderbolt 2 technology. It also provides space to install additional equipment in two 5.25-inch mobile rack bays. 

By supporting every Thunderbolt-compatible PCIe card available, the xMac Pro Server enables audio-video professionals to use the high-performance PCIe cards they need with the latest Mac Pro, which on its own lacks PCIe expansion slots. Supported cards include pro audio, Ethernet, and Fibre Channel, as well as SAS/SATA RAID controllers, and video capture and editing cards. 

The xMac Pro Server’s heavy-duty steel outer enclosure provides secure mounting and protection for the Mac Pro, PCIe cards, and mobile rack devices installed inside. Occupying a 4U rack space (7 inches) and just 16 inches deep, this system is well suited for use in a wide range of applications. The computer, PCIe card expansion system, and mobile rack devices reside in separate modules to simplify setup and maintenance. To make the Mac Pro fully rack- and road-ready, Sonnet constructed a protective cocoon for the computer out of formed steel and lined it with soft-touch padding to hold the computer firmly in place while safeguarding its shiny finish. 

The xMac Pro Server’s PCIe card expansion system incorporates ultrafast 20 Gb/sec Thunderbolt 2 technology, providing sufficient throughput to support many of the highest-performing PCIe cards. The expansion system supports up to three full-length PCIe cards with one x16 and two x8 PCIe slots. Along with an integrated 300-watt power supply, the system includes a 75-watt PCIe power connector for cards that require supplementary power such as the Avid Pro Tools|HDX or the RED ROCKET-X cards.

The xMac Pro Server extends the Mac Pro’s Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and HDMI interfaces to panel-mounted connectors on the back of the unit for easy external cable connection, while a USB 3.0 interface and power switch are mounted on the front to enable the user to conveniently connect a USB peripheral and activate the computer’s power switch. The included Thunderbolt cable connects the Mac Pro to one of the xMac Pro Server’s two Thunderbolt 2 ports, and an included lock secures the Thunderbolt cables in place when connected to the expansion system.

With the optional Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kit, the xMac Pro Server provides space for additional expansion equipment. 

The xMac Pro Server has a suggested retail price of $1,499 and is expected to be available June 2. 

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