Sonnet announces Thunderbolt ExpressCard/34 adapter

Sonnet announces Thunderbolt ExpressCard/34 adapter

Summary: The company last week announced another in its forthcoming set of Thunderbolt adapters for the market, its Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter. The device will ship in October.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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The company last week announced another in its forthcoming set of Thunderbolt adapters for the market, its Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter. The device will ship in October for a steep $149.95 price tag.

This Echo adapter will certainly appeal to owners of previous models of MacBook Pro, which came with an integrated ExpressCard/34 slot. The latest Mid 2011 MBP models "replaced" the card slot with the speedy ThunderBolt port, which could be used to connect adapters, even though there were very very few devices on the market at launch. Of course, now there are many other Macs with Thunderbolt ports including MacBook Air, Mac mini, and iMacs.

I, like a good number of other MacBook Pro owners, have a ExpressCard/34 adapter for an external eSATA storage system, so the forthcoming arrival of the Sonnet adapter is welcome news. The storage device has USB 2.0 ports on it, which can be used when necessary, but the eSATA performance is preferable. The price-point of the device seems high, but what can one do with a new technology, that's currently only on Apple units, and is necessary to support legacy devices?

The company said the Echo adapter will support hot plugging and swapping of ExpressCard/34 cards. It won't come with a cable.

The Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter supports Sonnet ExpressCard adapters ranging from CompactFlash and SDXC UHS-I Card readers to FireWire 800, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and select eSATA adapters. It also supports ExpressCard adapters supplied with specialty devices like Sonnet’s new line of Qio professional media readers, and the AJA io Express.

Topic: Hardware

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5 comments
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  • Having direct access to the PCI bus makes for some potentially...

    Having direct access to the PCI bus makes for some potentially exciting peripherals. Sonnet (and others) have announced external double-wide PCI Express boxes so you can add a desktop video card to something like a MacBook.

    The options are near limitless.
    olePigeon
    • RE: Sonnet announces Thunderbolt ExpressCard/34 adapter

      @olePigeon Yes, and that is what the detractors or those who think this is a competitor for USB 3.0 keep getting wrong. Thunderbolt can be USB 3.0 with an adapter...and so much more!
      hjenkins1
  • RE: Sonnet announces Thunderbolt ExpressCard/34 adapter

    doh..thought this was something for the thunderbolt phone. i am surprised apple hasnt changed the name yet since HTC has the patent and name trademarked before apple concieved it. It will be another fail like firewire.
    Fletchguy
  • RE: Sonnet announces Thunderbolt ExpressCard/34 adapter

    This still sucks compared to the total capability of Thunderbolt. Expresscard has a maximum of 2.5 gbit/sec transfer rates (1x PCI).

    I perused a number of reviews on esata and USB 3.0 expresscard adapters, and the real life performance of the adapters is worse than the 2.5gbit/s implies. They top out around 105Mbyte/second.

    This is only about 25% more than the top speed for Firewire 800, and about half of what USB 3.0 is good for in the real world.

    It just isn't worth it to shell out $150 for an express cardd adapter to get marginal gains in performance vs FW 800. When are we going to see the real deal 10 gigabit stuff, or at least something that can match up to USB 3.0, without having to shell out 4 digit sums of cash????
    shady28
  • Overpriced

    This is great and all, until you start pricing things out. Rather then selling this adapter at a more reasonable 80 dollars or so, the $150 price tag is a no-go for me once I add the $50 thunderbolt cable and $80 dollar plug-in card. Total cost? $280.

    There's only a few key reasons for a pro to go through the trouble of adding eSata or USB 3 through such a means, and that is for RAID-based storage. Firewire 800 is already fast enough for more basic single disk needs of the masses. The problem with Sonnet's solution is that, at $280, I still have to go buy my eSata RAID. And once it's all said and done, you've probably just spent $6 to 700 dollars or more.

    A FAR BETTER cost solution is to hold out for the Hitachi Thunderbolt G-Drive 4TB RAID, coming out this November. As long as Hitachi keeps the price of that within the $400+ range, they will sell to pros like hotcakes (Sorry LaCie, but I don't trust your reliability, ala little big disk). Another reason the Thunderbolt Hitachi RAID is the superior solution is that all of your Thunderbolt equipped Macs can simply daisychain to the raid.
    icreate@...