Sonnet Echo Express III-R Thunderbolt 3 Edition
3-Slot Thunderbolt 3 Expansion System for PCIe Cards
Connect Three Full-Length PCIe Cards to Any Mac with a Thunderbolt 3 Port
For pros working in the creative fields, a computer’s processing power alone is not enough to get the job done. A prime example is the latest MacBook Pro®, which, while offering great performance, lacks the PCIe expansion slots necessary to support specialty cards that connect pro video and audio inputs, transcode data, and connect to high-speed storage and networks. Instead of slots, these computers include ultra high-performance Thunderbolt 3 ports to support peripherals. Sonnet’s Echo™ Express III-R - Thunderbolt 3 Edition leverages the Thunderbolt 3 ports’ PCIe data to connect PCIe expansion slots outside of a computer. This desktop Thunderbolt-to-PCIe card expansion chassis enables you to connect three professional PCIe cards—including video capture, audio interface, SAS or SATA HBA, 16Gb or 8Gb Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, and RAID controllers—at the same time to any Mac with a Thunderbolt 3 port.
The Echo Express III-R - Thunderbolt 3 Edition features a 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 interface, which offers double the PCIe bandwidth and connectivity of Thunderbolt 2, and yields up to 2750 MB/s of bandwidth, enabling it to support 4K video capture and processing cards at high frame rates, and 16Gb FC cards and dual-port 10GbE cards at full performance(1)(2). With the ability to handle multiple demanding, highest performance PCIe cards, support for connecting two 4K displays @ 60Hz or one 5K display @ 60Hz(3), and support for a vast array of Thunderbolt(4) and USB(5) devices, Thunderbolt 3 is a leap forward in every way.
Connects Three Full-Length PCIe Cards to any Mac® With Thunderbolt™ 3 Ports—Use multiple high-performance PCIe cards at the same time
Three PCIe 3.0 Slots—Supports three full-height, single-width cards, or one double-width card plus one single-width card
40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Interface—Offers 2750 MB/s of PCIe bandwidth, doubling the performance of Thunderbolt 2
Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) Ports—One port used to connect to the computer; second port supports daisy-chaining of up to five additional Thunderbolt(4) peripheral devices to your computer, attaching a single USB(5) peripheral device, or connecting up to two 4K displays or one 5K display(3)
Remarkably Quiet—Large, temperature-controlled, variable-speed fans that automatically cool the cards, plus computer-modeled design that reduces airflow turbulence and velocity, combine to provide quieter cooling for all cards
Built-in Universal Power Supply—Integrated 300W power supply with 75W auxiliary power connector
Rugged Aluminum Housing—Provides robust and secure protection
Every Thunderbolt 3- and macOS-compatible Card Supported—Works with every Thunderbolt 3- and macOS compatible PCIe card, regardless of length or height
5-Year Warranty Included at No Extra Cost—No extra charge for a 5-year warranty
Thunderbolt Cable Included—Includes 1.0-meter Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) cable
Three PCIe 3.0 Slots, No Compromise
Sonnet’s Echo Express III-R - Thunderbolt 3 Edition supports three full-size PCIe cards, up to 12.28 inches (full-length) long. The III-R integrates a universal 300W power supply and includes a 75W PCIe power connector for cards that require supplementary power, such as the Avid® Pro Tools|HDX or the RED® ROCKET-X.
Even with all that power, the III-R is enviro-friendly; it automatically powers on or off whenever the connected computer powers on or wakes, or powers off or sleeps, respectively.
The USB C That Does It All
The Echo Express III-R - Thunderbolt 3 Edition includes two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports; the first is used for connection to your computer, while the second supports daisy chaining of up to five additional Thunderbolt peripheral devices to a single port on your computer(4). The III-R includes 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 support, meaning you can connect a USB device to the second port using the proper cable or adapter. The III-R also provides full support for connecting two 4K displays @ 60Hz or one 5K display @ 60Hz(3). For connected devices requiring extra power, 15 watts is provided to connected bus-powered devices.
All-Around Smart Design
The Echo Express III-R - Thunderbolt 3 Edition’s enclosure is formed of heavy-duty steel to provide secure mounting for the inner assembly and protection for the PCIe cards installed inside, and to support maximum airflow for cooling, regardless of where you install it in a rack.
Its two large, slow-spinning fans, enhanced with computer-modeled airflow management, ensure that even hot-running cards remain reliably cool without the need to install an extra PCIe blower card that would prevent the use of one of the three slots. Because the fans automatically speed up and slow down as needed, you don’t have to guess which speed setting to select, and there’s no need for tools to change settings. There is no power switch on the chassis, nor is one needed, because the III-R automatically powers on and off with your computer.
The III-R’s adjustable rackmount extension rails enable the chassis to be installed securely in a variety of racks from 16 to 24 inches deep (optional, extra-long extension rails that support installation in racks up to 32.5" deep are also available). Captive thumbscrews secure the inner assembly, enabling you to secure, release, and slide it out without the need of tools. Using an optional Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kit, you can install two 5.25-inch mobile rack devices (sold separately) in the III-R's enclosure without taking up additional rack space.
The Echo Express III-R - Thunderbolt 3 Edition’s operation is remarkably quiet—comfortably used in noise-sensitive environments, it is one of the quietest Echo systems. The natural convection of warm air through the PCIe cards is assisted by ultra-quiet, temperature-controlled, variable-speed fans, and vented out of the chassis with reduced air velocity and turbulence, resulting in little fan noise.
Every Thunderbolt 3 and MacOS Compatible PCIe Card Supported
The Echo Express III-D - Thunderbolt 3 Edition supports three single-width, full-length PCIe cards, or one double-width, full-length card plus one single-width card, enabling it to support every Thunderbolt 3- and macOS-compatible PCIe 1.1, PCIe 2.0, and PCIe 3.0 card available.
Echo Express III-R features two x8 plus one x16 PCIe slots for versatile card support
Designed for BNC Connector Cables
Echo Express III-R’s back panel has two BNC connector mounting holes, enabling the use of a RED ROCKET card without the need to install the BNC connector bracket that would normally occupy a valuable PCIe slot.
Do you have a card in mind but aren’t sure it’s compatible? We’ve worked closely with PCIe card manufacturers to provide a list of compatible cards on our supporting PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart. The chart provides a list of cards that have been tested to be recognized over a Thunderbolt connection and compatible with Thunderbolt technology requirements.
RED ROCKET Supporter
Sonnet designed the Echo Express III-R - Thunderbolt 3 Edition to accommodate the RED ROCKET or RED ROCKET-X and its BNC connector bracket (for HD-SDI output) card/bracket pair in a single slot. This Echo chassis includes two BNC connector mounting holes, enabling the installation of the card in one slot and its BNC connectors in the chassis’ mounting holes, leaving the two remaining slots open.
Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kits
Sonnet’s optional Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kits enable you to add more expansion devices to your rack without taking up additional rack space. The Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kit includes an internal 100W power supply inside to power the installed devices, a large internal fan to quietly and efficiently cool the expansion kit, and mounting hardware to secure the devices and the kit itself. Preconfigured kits include the mobile rack peripherals, PCIe card, and necessary cables; you provide drives as necessary.
5-Year Warranty Included at No Extra Cost
Why pay an additional 10–15% on top of the purchase price to extend the warranty period beyond one year? Sonnet backs the Echo Express III-R - Thunderbolt 3 Edition with its Pro 5-year warranty.
Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) Cable Included
To connect the Echo Express III-R - Thunderbolt 3 Edition to your computer, Sonnet includes a 1.0-meter Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) cable.
Desktop Version Available
The Echo Express III - Thunderbolt 3 Edition is available in two versions, the III-R (rackmount) and III-D (desktop), to suit your workflow needs. The III-D’s form factor is perfect for users who need their expansion system to support every size of Thunderbolt-compatible cards available, and be rugged and transportable.
Echo Express III-R - Thunderbolt 3 Edition Thunderbolt 3-to-PCIe Card Expansion System
Rackmount Thunderbolt 3-to-PCIe card expansion system
Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
6-pin Mini-Fit Jr (same type as on legacy Mac Pro motherboard; provides up to 75W of power for PCIe cards that require supplemental power)
One x16 mechanical (x8 electrical) PCIe 3.0
One x8 mechanical (x8 electrical) PCIe 3.0
One x8 mechanical (x4 electrical) PCIe 3.0
PCIe Cards Supported(8)
One full length, full-height, double-width PCIe card, plus one single-width card or
Three full length, full-height, single-width PCIe cards
Compatible PCIe Cards(8)
PCIe cards listed on our supporting PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart and as specified by card manufacturers
Universal 300W, 115-230V AC, 50-60 Hz(9)
0˚C to 35˚C (32˚F to 95˚F)
19 x 16 x 3.48 in. (48.26 x 40.6 x 8.85 cm)
19 lbs (8.6 kg)
Echo Express III-R - Thunderbolt 3 Edition Thunderbolt 3-to-PCIe Card Expansion System
Note: PCIe cards sold separately
Specifications subject to change without notice.
Mac with Thunderbolt 3 ports
Mac with a Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt port with an Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter
Not certified for Windows systems at this time.
PCIe Card Compatibility
For up-to-date PCIe card compatibility see our PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart
While the Echo Express III-R - Thunderbolt 3 Edition features a 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 interface, some computers equipped with Thunderbolt 3 use an implementation of Thunderbolt 3 technology that limits PCIe performance to 20Gbps. The MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) has this limitation in the two right-hand Thunderbolt 3 ports, while offering full performance from the left-hand ports.
Full performance requires the use of the included Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) cable, or other Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) cables; look for the Thunderbolt icon AND the number 3 on the connector housings to identify these cables.
One 4K monitor directly supported. Two 4K monitors requires either a 4K monitor with multi-stream transport support (DP out), or a Thunderbolt 3-to-Dual DisplayPort adapter. 5K monitor requires a Thunderbolt 3-to-Dual DisplayPort adapter. All Thunderbolt 3 Macs support two 4K monitors. Most Thunderbolt PCs support two 4K monitors.
Second Thunderbolt 3 port supports Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 peripheral devices on Macs used with the Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter, sold separately.
Second Thunderbolt 3 port supports USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gb) or Gen 2 (10Gb) devices when connected with proper cable or adapter (sold separately).
The Echo Express III-R - Thunderbolt 3 Edition provides 15 watts of upstream power.
PCIe cards and Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kit sold separately.
Compatibility requires the installation of Thunderbolt technology-aware drivers, available from the manufacturer. See our supporting PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart for a partial list of compatible PCIe cards. Check with card manufacturers for the latest Thunderbolt compatibility information.
Power supply will operate as low as 90VAC, with linear power deration from 300W @ 115VAC to 240W @ 90VAC.
1.0-meter Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) cable may slightly reduce performance of cards that depend on very high bandwidth, and is not compatible with ThunderLok 3.
ECHO-EXP3FR-TB3 Spec Information
| Form Factor / Drive Height || 48.26 x 40.6 x 8.85 cm|
| Guarantee || 5yr|
| Bays/Slots || 3|
| Rack size || 1|
| Weight (kg) || 15kg|
| Weight (bare) || 8.6kg|
| Watts || 300W|