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Sonnet Technologies releases rackmount enclosure, xMac Pro Server

updated 07:18 pm EDT, Tue July 29, 2014

Server allows Mac Pros to be installed horizontally in a rack with additional devices

Sonnet Technologies announced that its rackmount system for the newest version of the Mac Pro is available starting today. The xMac Pro Server, features a Thunderbolt 2-to-PCI Express expansion system housed inside a custom 4U enclosure. A mobile expansion unit has also created, to allow additional options to be installed without taking up any more rack space.

The main part of the xMac Pro Server, which Sonnet calls the Computer Mounting Module, allows for cylindrical Mac Pros to be installed horizontally in a rack mount. The computer is put into "a protective steel cocoon" that contains padding on the inside to protect the exterior. It also contains two fans that are setup to manage airflow per specifications Apple laid out for the Mac Pro.

Ethernet, HDMI and USB 3.0 are extended to the back of the enclosure for easy access, without having to pull the Mac Pro over every time something needs to be changed. USB can also be accessed on the front of the enclosure through single USB 3.0 port. The xMac Pro Server utilizes tie-downs for the Thunderbolt cables, which Sonnet adds are necessary since panel-mount connectors don't exist.

Inside the enclosure, the expansion module uses Thunderbolt 2 to allow high throughput for a number of different applications. Sonnet states that it supports a number of full-length PCIe items, including video capture and editing cards, SAS/SATA RAID controllers, Ethernet and pro audio cards. Three PCIe 2.0 cards can be installed, with one in an x16 slot, while the the other two fill x8 slots. The enclosure also holds a 300-watt power supply with an auxiliary 75-watt PCIe connector.

"The xMac Pro Server builds on the success of our rack-mountable xMac mini Server and Echo Express III-R Thunderbolt 2-to-PCIe expansion products to provide much needed expansion capabilities for the latest Mac Pro, which on its own lacks storage expansion and PCIe slots," said Vice President of Sales and Marketing Greg LaPorte. "By supporting every Thunderbolt-compatible PCIe card available, the xMac Pro Server enables audio-video professionals to fully leverage their investment in the new Mac Pro and still use the high-performance PCIe cards they need."

Additional expansion options can be addressed if users need extra storage of 5.25-inch devices. The Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kit is offered in a basic edition that allows the installation of two 5.25-inch mobile rack devices in the enclosure. The devices are connected to the cards, which are installed the in PCIe slots in the main part of the enclosure. Sonnet offers preconfigured versions of the expansion, but consumers will still have to provide storage drives.

The XMac Pro Server starts shipping this week. Price for the rack unit is $1,500, while the mobile rack expansion costs $200. Preconfigured mobile rack kits range from $700 to $1,900.

by MacNN Staff



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