updated 01:45 am EDT, Fri August 26, 2011
Allows use of ExpressCard devices on Macs
While the market for Thunderbolt peripherals is far from mature, the versatile new connector found on iMacs, Mac minis, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models can be easily adapted to host a number of existing peripherals, expanding its usefulness. Sonnet Technologies has announced its Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter, enabling the use of ExpressCard peripherals and devices with Thunderbolt-equipped Macs. The adapter even enables other adapters via ExpressCard.
The ExpressCard connector itself allows a wide range of connections, with up to five gigabit per second throughput thanks to its PCI Express 2.0 technology. The Thunderbolt adapter fully supports Sonnet ExpressCard adapters from CompactFlash to Firewire 800, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2 and USB 3.0 and even certain eSATA adapters, offering iMac and Mac mini users in particular a remarkable range of expansion options.
Manufacturers who make adapters that are not yet compatible can add compatibility simply by writing a Thunderbolt driver, the company says. The adapter can connect directly to a computer, or at the end of a Thunderbolt daisy-chain.
The adapter can even support speciality devices such as the AJA io Express, and is compatible with all Macs and versions of OS X that support Thunderbolt ports. It should be available in October at a retail price of $150.