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Sonnet debuts Echo 15-port Thunderbolt dock with optical

updated 04:21 pm EDT, Tue April 2, 2013

Coming this summer, features almost every kind of modern port

Accessory maker Sonnet Technologies has introduced a catch-all Thunderbolt dock that offers users just about any kind of connection they might want. The Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock, compatible with both Mac and Windows machines, offers a total of 15 ports and includes options for an optical DVD or Blu-ray DVD drive as well as a 2TB hard drive (or smaller SSD). The deluxe dock is expected to arrive by summer, but can be pre-ordered now for North American customers. The unit's drive bay can also be used for Time Machine backups.

The unit comes with four USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA port-multiplier ports coupled with two internal SATA ports (one port for the included optical drive and one 6Gb-per-sec port for a user-installable SSD or 3.5-inch HD), a pass-through Thunderbolt port (in addition to the TB connector port), an audio in port, headphone (and speaker), a microphone port, a Firewire 800 connector and Gigabit Ethernet along with the four USB ports. The unit also includes an 8x Superdrive (or an optional Blu-ray BD-ROM 8x optical drive along with Blu-ray software for OS X).

The idea behind the unit is to create a one-stop shop for any kind of connection users might need to routinely plug in or unplug, with more accessible ports than are found on the back of many Mac and Windows PC models. The entire unit is connected to the Mac (running 10.8.2 or higher) or PC (running Windows 7 or 8) by a single Thunderbolt cable, making it easy to detach if the computer needs to be moved or is a notebook unit. Thunderbolt ports are slowly becoming standard equipment on new Windows PC and units, and have been standard on most new Mac models for over a year. The Mac Pro is expected to gain Thunderbolt ports on its next revision, due sometime this year.

The unit also supports the addition of a standard HD or SSD drive for either backing up data or as a media library. The case can be used either horizontally or vertically to save space, and some USB 3.0 and audio connections are situation on the front of the device for items like microphones, headphones, cell phones (for charging) or USB thumb drives. It supports daisy-chaining Thunderbolt or a DisplayPort monitor as well as Firewire chaining.

With a standard optical drive included, the Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock will sell for $400. Replacing the DVD drive with Blu-ray will cost $50 more. A DVD drive model with an optional pre-installed 2TB HD costs $500, and the Blu-Ray version with 2TB HD will be $550. Models without preinstalled HDs will be available from both Sonnet and its affiliated resellers, while the preinstalled HD models will be exclusive to Sonnet's online store.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bdmarsh

    Junior Member

    Joined: 02-17-06

    almost thought it was april fools again

    almost didn't believe it, but it is listed on their store as "coming summer 2013". Not cheap, but does include quite a bit for that price.


    Professional Poster

    Joined: 02-23-00

    They fail to mention g the pass thru is capable of supporting a display, I'm betting that it isn't.

  1. blocktek

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-30-01

    comment title

    From Sonnet's site:

    Connecting a Display to the Dock

    The Thunderbolt port on your computer is essentially a Mini DisplayPort video connection that adds high speed PCIe for data. This means that there is a broad range of inexpensive adapters (sold separately) that can bridge between Mini DisplayPort and common display interface types. Display interface types that can be connected to your Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock via Thunderbolt include:

    Thunderbolt Display – Direct Connect
    Mini DisplayPort – Direct Connect
    HDMI – Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter
    DVI – Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter
    VGA – Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter
    Dual-Link DVI – Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-06-01

    Server Mini

    Now there's the way to server-up your HTPC mini. Ugly, but I'd still be very tempted to mate one of these to a low-end Mini in a closet in lieu of dangling a USB3 drive or three off of it; it would cover the optical drive, one hard drive, and toss in a couple of eSATA ports and an extra network interface.

  1. The Vicar

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-01-09


    Now THIS is what I've been waiting for on the Thunderbolt front! That's some good stuff, right there, and the price is pretty darn good for what you get.

  1. Mike Wuerthele

    Managing Editor

    Joined: 07-19-12

    I've sent an email asking if the eSATA ports are port-multiplier capable. I'll update the story when/if I get a response.

  1. reader50


    Joined: 06-01-00

    Looks like they are port-multiplier capable. Check the graphic at the bottom of the product page.
    [quote=product page](8) Two eSATA Ports - Connect single- and multi-drive storage systems with eSATA interfaces[/quote]

  1. Mike Wuerthele

    Managing Editor

    Joined: 07-19-12

    Aha! That's new from this afternoon when we wrote the story. Thanks!

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-06-01


    Assuming that that does really mean port multiplier (as opposed to those multi-drive arrays with hardware RAID that connect via a single eSATA port), that's a pretty big deal--this would mate very well with big. cheap JBOD arrays for RAID-Z or other software RAID option. Pretty cool.

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