Sonnet Announces Thunderbolt 3 to PCIe Expansion Mac mini
Sonnet Technologies recently announced the xMac mini Server Thunderbolt 3 Edition, the updated version of its award-winning Thunderbolt-to-PCIe card expansion system and rackmount enclosure designed exclusively for Apple Mac mini computers. The xMac mini Server Thunderbolt 3 Edition features a dual-port Thunderbolt 3 interface that enables it to support the latest Mac mini computers, which now feature Thunderbolt 3 technology.
What It Does
Inside its custom 1U enclosure — designed for use in 19-inch server, equipment, and portable racks – the xMac mini Server Thunderbolt 3 Edition securely mounts a Mac mini computer and connects two PCIe card slots to the computer through one of its Thunderbolt 3 ports. These slots support one full-height, full-length, single-width PCIe card, plus one full-height, half-length card (with space for a daughter card). One USB-A port and a power button mounted on the front panel enable operation of the system without requiring access to the back of the computer. Additional panel-mount cables (HDMI, 10 Gigabit ethernet, and USB-A) connect ports on the computer to ports on the back of the xMac mini Server for convenient external cable connection. A power hub provides a single connection to a power outlet for the computer and the PCIe card expansion system, while a removable top lid provides easy access to the computer and installed cards.
Why It’s Important
For numerous applications, a Mac mini with Thunderbolt 3 ports has more than ample processing power, but the computer’s compact size limits its potential uses, especially in pro audio and video workflows. The xMac mini Server Thunderbolt 3 Edition was designed to address the computer’s limitations – a lack of PCIe slots for expansion cards that provide additional connectivity and functionality and no easy way to be securely mounted in a rack – and enable it to match the extensibility of a full-sized computer.
With a Mac mini mounted in the xMac mini Server, it can harness the power of professional audio interface cards such as the Avid® Pro Tools | HDX, pro video capture and transcoding cards, as well as SAS and SATA HBA, Fibre Channel, 10Gb Ethernet, and RAID controller PCIe cards, creating a workstation replacement in the process. Mounted in a rack, the xMac mini Server makes the computer road-ready, enveloping it in a rugged steel enclosure and employing firm rubber cushions to hold the computer in place during transport.
How It’s Unique
The xMac mini Server Thunderbolt 3 Edition is the only all-in-one solution available for securely rack-mounting a Mac mini with Thunderbolt 3 ports and connecting a Thunderbolt-to-PCIe card expansion system. Over the past seven years, this combination of elements has enabled thousands of users (using earlier-generation products) to incorporate Mac mini computers into workflows that would otherwise require much larger computers. This latest generation product enables users to exploit the latest Mac mini computers’ capabilities to their fullest.