PCI Express® Expansion Chassis for Thunderbolt™ Technology
ExpressBox 3T provides an 'outside-the-box' solution for using PCIe® cards with Thunderbolt-equipped computers. High-performance work flows are possible by connecting a Thunderbolt equipped computer to a Magma ExpressBox 3T containing PCIe cards such as video capture, media transcoding, audio processing, and fast data storage. And because Thunderbolt is also based on DisplayPort technology, you can daisy chain a high-resolution display with your Magma ExpressBox 3T.
- Works with Thunderbolt equipped computers
- Three PCIe 2.0 expansion slots (Two x8 and One x4)
- Up to 10Gbps Thunderbolt connection
- 220W power supply with (2) 4-pin auxiliary connectors
- Daisy chain up to 6 Thunderbolt devices
Product Update - as of December 21, 2011
Since announcing ExpressBox 3T, Magma has received many inquiries about compatibility with popular pro audio and professional video solutions, external graphics support and a variety of other interesting configurations. Guided by this input, Magma engineers have been working with key partners and solution providers to test and validate interoperability. Magma will provide updated results of this ongoing work on this website.
In general interoperability with Windows is more straightforward than interoperability with MacOS. The MacOS driver for the PCIe card must be modified/updated to be ‘Thunderbolt Aware’. No changes to drivers are required for support under Windows.
In addition to testing interoperability, we have validated full Thunderbolt performance. For example, we have benchmarked full Thunderbolt bandwidth on a Mac Book Pro using OCZ Revo 3 PCIe SSD.
Testing is positive with Window 7 using Boot Camp. Magma ExpressBox 3T is recognized by Windows as a PCI Express switch and the slots are configured properly. So far, no special drivers have been required for Thunderbolt compatibility with Windows 7. As a general rule, if the PCIe card works in a workstation using Windows, it will most likely work with ExpressBox 3T, using Windows.
With this said, testing of graphics cards has been limited therefore we have little to report regarding external graphics except that we are seeing better support of external graphics using Windows compared to external graphics using MacOS. Stay tuned for further updates on graphics cards.
Mac OS X
For MacOS, a driver modification is required from the PCIe card provider. A MacOS driver that is “Thunderbolt Aware” is required so the PCIe hardware will be recognized by MacOS through Thunderbolt™ Technology. Magma is working with a comprehensive list of 3rd Party Development Partners to pre-qualify solutions while each company works towards providing Thunderbolt Aware drivers. As Thunderbolt Aware drivers are made available we will update this list.
There is an interoperability issue with MacOS using graphics (GPU) cards externally through Thunderbolt. Unfortunately, external graphics solutions for MacOS X do not work and we do not expect a resolution from Apple in the short term. We realize that external graphics support is a feature that many users want so we’ll let you know if this changes. For the time being our recommendation may be to run Windows using Boot Camp, but this is not yet confirmed as a working solution.
If external graphics is an important feature for you, please let us know by joining our interest list so we can keep you informed of developments.
Classic (Legacy) PCI Card Support
PCI and PCI-x cards do not work in ExpressBox 3T because ExpressBox 3T is intended for PCI Express cards only. Magma is currently not planning to develop a PCI version of ExpressBox 3T.
If you are a PCI card developer and interested in making your card compatible with Thunderbolt, please contact Magma to discuss a custom solution.
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Thunderbolt and the Thunderbolt logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.
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