Unit was originally announced in spring 2013, delayed due to upgrades
Sonnet has finally started shipping the Echo 15+ Thunderbolt 2 Dock, which if first announced more than two years ago. In part, the delay was due to the announcement of Thunderbolt 2 shortly after Sonnet began accepting pre-orders, pushing the breakout box into 2014. From there, production issues have keep the unit off shelves until now, and the now-shipping dock offers four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, a FireWire 800 port, two 6Gb/s eSATA ports, and more.
Separation expected to cater more to Mac, professional users
Drive manufacturer Seagate has confirmed that it will stop offering Thunderbolt storage and adapters under its own brand name, and will instead leave Thunderbolt drives and storage options to the separate LaCie division, which it acquired in 2012.
Seagate's retiring of the USM connectors also likely signals the end of any drive compatibility with FireWire 800 as well, along with the option of connector interchangeability.
USB 3 external drive case
The simply-designed and easy-to-use Akitio SK-3501 drive case is a stackable, USB 3-supporting option for getting the best performance out of SATA hard drives (it also handles eSATA and Firewire 800). It uses its aluminum chassis to dissipate heat, meaning no noisy fan is required. Is it the best external case on the market? Can the average user get discs in and out of it easily? And can a simple drive case really boost transfer speeds (even ignoring the USB 3 connection)? We test and find the answers in our exclusive review.
New chipset delivers 300MB per second throughput
Other World Computing (OWC) has added the newest Oxford chipset to its Mercury Elite Pro Mini Quad Interface models. The new Oxford 944SE chipset offers faster data throughput, up to 300MB per second, with reduced power consumption and cooler operation. The aluminum enclosure cases offer a choice of FireWire 800 and 400, USB 2.0 and eSATA. The FireWire ports support daisy-chaining multiple drives, and provide bus-powered operation. The eSATA port can be used with FireWire bus-power as an option. The case is also offered in an add-your-own configuration.
Software, hardware reviews mostly positive
MacNN has reviewed four new products: CoverScout and SongGenie software from equinux, along with OWC's Elite-AL Pro mini and eSATA card. The Elite-AL Pro mini is a 2.5-inch disk drive running at 7200rpm with available capacities up to 1TB. The drive has ports for eSATA, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 connections, with eSATA tests revealing real-world speeds of 63MB/sec using the APIOTEK EXTREME Dual eSATA SATA I/II ExpressCard/34 adapter in a MacBook Pro circa 2006. The component adds two physical eSATA ports via the ExpressCard/34 port.
Deck styled for used with iMacs, Cinema Displays
Stardom has launched its latest storage device, theDeckRAID DR4. The new desktop system runs RAID 5 for a balance between speed and redundancy, while a quad-interface provides connections for eSATA, FireWire 800, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0. The eSATA port also supports port multiplication. The unit is hot-pluggable and recognized by both Mac and Windows without installing software. The deck can also be used as a boot drive via FireWire and USB 2.0 connections.
Adapter designed for Macs and PCs
Sonnet on Tuesday introduced the Allegro FireWire 800 PCI Express (PCIe) adapter card. The upgrade features Texas Instruments' XIO2213A FireWire 800 controller, along with three FW ports that support write speeds of up to 70MB/s. Power is provided for bus-powered external drives, audio interfaces, or other equipment, while plug-and-play compatibility automatically supports PCIe 1.1 and 2.0 slots. Users can also connect FireWire 400 devices using an adapter or adapter cable.
Drive burns Blu-ray discs at up to 12X speeds
Other World Computing on Tuesday announced that it is now offering a Mercury Pro external Blu-ray drive with a quad interface. Users can choose between USB 2.0, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, or eSATA connection methods. The company claims the Pioneer BDR-205 can reach burn speeds of up to 12X on Blu-ray discs, 16X with DVDs, 4X on DVD-DL media, and 40X for CDs.
On-the-Go portable drives reach 750GB
OWC has launched new 750GB notebook drive products. The new capacity drives arrive in bus-powered On-The-Go Pro models, with three connectivity options. The top-of-the-line triple interface offers FireWire 800/400 and USB 2.0 connections, while a dual-interface FireWire 400/USB 2.0 and a USB 2.0-only version are available for reduced pricing.