xMac Mini Server
Connectivity & Capability Expander
PCIe 2.0 Expansion System 1U/Rackmount Enclosures for Mac Mini with Thunderbolt Port
Transform a Mac mini with Thunderbolt Technology into a Full-Fledged Expandable Rackmount Server!
Are you considering your options for a rack-mounted computer? Looking to replace an aging Xserve® system? For many applications, a Mac mini or Mac mini with OS X® Server with Thunderbolt technology has all the power necessary to allow it to function as a full size server. But by itself, the Mac mini's compact size and form factor can limit its potential. Most importantly, it does not provide slots for PCIe expansion cards necessary to increase its functionality and connectivity. Sonnet's award-winning xMac mini Server PCIe 2.0 expansion system/1U rackmount enclosure addresses these issues and expands a Mac mini's potential in a big way.
Starting with our popular RackMac mini 1U rackmount enclosure as a template, we created a specially-designed 1U rack enclosure to securely house your Mac mini(1), and provide it strategic airflow cooling. Then, inspired by the demand for our Echo™ Express line of Thunderbolt-to-PCIe card expansion systems, we added two PCIe 2.0 expansion slots (with integrated power supply and fans) that connect to the Mac mini via its Thunderbolt port, included a central power hub for the Mac mini and PCIe slots' power supply, and finished by adding an additional Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining to other Thunderbolt devices. For added convenience, the front panel provides a USB 3.0 port and a power button while other Mac mini interface ports are extended to the back of the chassis and mounted on the rear panel for convenient interfacing of Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and two USB 3.0 connections. The PCIe expansion slots power on and off in unison with the Mac mini. To support a wide range of popular mobile racks, carts and portable rack cases, the third generation xMac mini Server is just 17.75" deep.
Adds Connectivity and Capabilities to Mac mini—Connects two PCIe 2.0 slots via Thunderbolt technology to the Mac mini, supports high-performance expansion cards
Server Room Ready—1U rackmount enclosure with user-replaceable power supply and fans, built-in cable management features
Diverse PCIe Card Support—Supports Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, pro video capture and playout, SAS/SATA RAID controllers, pro audio, and other PCIe cards
Supports Thunderbolt Expansion—Enables daisy chain connection of additional Thunderbolt technology devices through second Thunderbolt port
Front Panel Operation—Front panel power button activates power switch on Mac mini; USB 3.0 port enables connection of keyboard, mouse, thumb drive, etc.
Power for High Performance PCIe Cards—Integrated 150W power supply provides plenty of power for any cards you install; auxiliary PCIe power connector enables use of power hungry cards such as the Avid Pro Tools|HDX or the RED ROCKET
Rear Panel Connectivity—Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and two USB 3.0 ports are mounted at the rear of the chassis for easy connectivity
Energy Efficient—Variable-speed fans automatically adjust to the unique needs of each configuration, and the auto power on/off feature ensures there is no energy wasted with cards powered on when the Mac mini is sleeping or off
xMac mini Server combines the utility of Sonnet's RackMac mini 1U rackmount enclosure with the functionality of an Echo Express Thunderbolt-to-PCIe card expansion system to enable you to transform your Mac mini with Thunderbolt technology from a simple server to something much more. Imagine the possibilities.
Two Thunderbolt PortsTwo PCIe SlotsPanel-Mount CablesPower HubUSB 3.0 PortPower ButtonAir Flow Management
for Optimized Cooling
Two BNC Connector Ports(Mac mini and PCIe cards sold separately)Power SupplyNew third-generation design combines the best features of previous models with support for one full-height, full-length card plus one full height, half-length card plus bracket for a daughter cardPausePlay
The second Thunderbolt port allows daisy chaining of additional Thunderbolt Technology-enabled peripherals. PCIe Card
Supports Wide Range of PCIe Cards
Supports Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, pro video capture and playout, SAS/SATA RAID controllers, pro audio, and other PCIe cards. Connectivity
Two PCIe Slots + Up-to-Date Connectivity
Two PCIe slots provide diverse expandability; front panel USB 3.0 port enables easy USB peripheral connections while the rear panel features convenient interfacing of Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, and two USB 3.0 cables.
Air Cooled & Energy Efficient
Variable-speed fans automatically adjust to the unique needs of each configuration; energy saver power on/off feature ensures there is no energy wasted with PCIe cards powered on when the system is off. Power
Central Power Hub
A central power hub for the computer and power supply for the PCIe slots provides energy for everything with one power cord. Less Than 18" Deep
Built to Rack and Go
The xMac mini Server is less than 18" deep, perfect for a wide range of popular mobile racks, carts, and portable rack cases.
A Great Design Made Better
With thousands of xMac mini Servers in daily use around the world, Sonnet has received great feedback from users, and we have updated this product with the features most important to them. This third generation xMac mini Server combines the best qualities of previous models and adds new features to make it the most capable model yet. The xMac mini server now supports one full-height, full-length card plus one full-height, half-length card. If you need to install a PCIe card that includes a daughter card, like the ones included with RME's HDSPe MADI FX card, Blackmagic Design's DeckLink 4K Extreme, and the Lynx AES16e-50, the supplied mounting bracket allows you to securely mount the daughter card inside the chassis next to the main card, leaving the second PCIe slot open for another PCIe card. The rear panel includes mounting holes for two BNC connectors used for HD/SDI output from cards like the RED ROCKET, or for MADI and word clock input and output from cards like the HDSPe MADI FX. A larger power supply plus an added auxiliary power connector enables this xMac mini server to support even more cards than before.
Built for Future Expansion
xMac mini Server PCIe Slots
The xMac mini Server provides you easy access to its PCIe slots and the computer's ports; simply loosen two thumbscrews and slide the top cover off. Once inside, installing PCIe expansion cards is easy. An included Thunderbolt cable connects your Mac mini to one of the xMac mini Server's Thunderbolt ports, linking the PCIe slots to the computer. The xMac mini Server's second Thunderbolt port allows daisy chaining of additional Thunderbolt peripherals such as additional PCIe expansion (like Sonnet's Echo Express III-R rackmount chassis), pro video breakout boxes, video capture and playback devices, audio I/O devices, and more.
xMac mini Server as a metadata controller for an Xsan® storage area network? Yes, you can. xMac mini Server as an ingest station for uncompressed HD video? Absolutely. xMac mini server as a virtual sound check, pro audio plug-in DAW and record rig? Sure! This Sonnet solution enables you to expand your Mac mini's capabilities in ways you never imagined; click the Configuration Ideas tab for a few concepts. For PCIe card compatibility information, see our PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart for a list of cards(2) that have been tested to be recognized over a Thunderbolt connection and compatible with Thunderbolt technology requirements.
Eye on the Future
Thunderbolt 20Gbps IconBoth the xMac mini Server and Mac mini computers available today feature 10Gb/s Thunderbolt technology. Apple has already started enhancing some of its computers with 20Gb/s Thunderbolt 2 technology, starting with the MacBook Pro® and the new Mac Pro®. With an eye on the future, we designed the third generation xMac mini Server to be easily upgradeable to Thunderbolt 2(3).
Smart Design Inside and Out
xMac mini Server Mechanical DrawingThe xMac mini Server has numerous thoughtful design touches. The power supply and fans are user-replaceable. The front panel USB 3.0 port connects to the Mac mini, enabling you to connect a keyboard, mouse, or thumb drive to the computer without having to access its ports from the back. Other Mac mini interface ports are extended to the back of the chassis and mounted on the rear panel for convenient interfacing of Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, and two USB 3.0 cables. A cable passthrough opening on the back panel allows you to route other cables to the computer or the internal connections on an installed card. One USB 3.0 port on the Mac mini is left available to connect a software license control dongle, such as the iLok, securely within the xMac's enclosure. The xMac mini Server's power switch turns the computer on and off without the need for you to reach around back, and the PCIe slots power on/off with the Mac mini for maximum energy savings. An opening in the front panel allows the Mac mini's power indicator to shine through. There is a central power hub for the computer and power supply for the PCIe slots, enabling you to power everything with one power cord. Sonnet includes an easy-to-install lock that secures Thunderbolt connectors(4) plugged into the xMac's Thunderbolt ports and prevents accidental cable disconnections. Holes for cable ties enable you to secure cables inside, keeping them tidy while avoiding accidental disconnects. Threaded holes in the side of the enclosure match up with Sonnet's Rack Slide Sets, which provide you an easy way to pull out your xMac mini Server to access what is inside.
Stays Cool and Very Quiet
Fan AirflowThe third generation xMac mini Server's design has been refined to deliver increased airflow over installed PCIe cards. This enables its four variable-speed fans to effectively cool the cards while operating at slower speeds, and as a result, reduced noise levels. The xMac mini Server is ideal for use with cool-running PCIe cards, including most pro audio, video capture & processing, and many other cards, yet is capable of keeping hot-running cards cool quietly in the most demanding work environments.
Power for High Performance PCIe Cards
The third generation xMac mini Server integrates a universal 150W power supply and includes an auxiliary PCIe power connector for cards that require supplementary power, such as the Avid® Pro Tools|HDX or the RED® ROCKET™. In short, there is plenty of power for any combination of compatible cards.
Sonnet works closely with the following partners to ensure Thunderbolt compatibility for their products. See the PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart for an up-to-date list of products that have passed Thunderbolt compatibility testing with Sonnet products.
xMac mini Server(1)
xMac mini Server Dimensions
19 x 17.75 x 1.72 in. (48.3 x 45.1 x 4.4 cm)
16 lbs (7.26 kg)
Two Thunderbolt (one open, one used)
One RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet port extension
Three USB 3.0 ports (one front mount and 2 rear mount)
One HDMI port extension
6-pin Mini-Fit Jr (provides auxiliary power for PCIe cards that require it)
One C-8 power
One x8 (x4 electrical) PCIe 2.0 half-length
One x16 (x4 electrical) PCIe 2.0 full-length
Compatible PCIe Cards(4)
Up-to-date PCIe cards listed on our supportingPCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart
Universal 150W, 90-260V AC, 50-60 Hz
+32º F to +95º F (0º C to +35º C)
xMac mini Server, assembled
0.5-meter Thunderbolt cable
Daughter card mounting bracket
Thunderbolt cable lock(4)
Note: Mac mini and PCIe cards sold separately
Mac mini or Mac mini with OS X Server (models produced from 2010-present, with Thunderbolt ports)
OS X 10.8.5+
OS X Server and OS X Mavericks compatible
PCIe Card Compatibility
For up-to-date PCIe card compatibility see our PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart
Mac mini and PCIe cards 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 list of up-to-date compatible PCIe cards.
Thunderbolt 2 upgrade exchange kit for xMac mini Server is planned to be available for purchase at a future date, subject to Apple/Intel certification. Upgrade is compatible only with third generation xMac mini Server (part no. XMAC-MS-A); older models not supported. This upgrade is NOT part of the Thunderbolt 2 upgrade program for Echo Express III-D, III-R, or SE II.
Thunderbolt cable lock compatible with Apple and Sonnet Thunderbolt cables. Not compatible with optical Thunderbolt cables.
Specifications subject to change without notice
| Stock code || SCs-xmaca|
| Brand || Sonnet|
| Series || xMAC|
| Model || XMAC-MS-A|
| Type || xMAC mini Server (for 1x PCIe card) - Thunderbolt 2|
| ROHS || Y|
| Date added || 22/01/2014|
XMAC-MS-A Spec Information
| Guarantee || 2yr|
| Rack size || 1|
| OS Support - Mac/OSX || OS X 10.6.8+|