Transform a Mac mini with Thunderbolt Technology into a Full-Fledged Expandable Rackmount Server!
Are you considering your options for a rack-mounted computer? Looking to replace an aging Xserve® system? For many applications, a Mac mini or Mac mini with OS X® Server with Thunderbolt technology has all the power necessary to allow it to function as a full size server. But by itself, the Mac mini's compact size and form factor can limit its potential. Most importantly, it does not provide slots for PCIe expansion cards necessary to increase its functionality and connectivity. Sonnet's award-winning xMac mini Server PCIe 2.0 expansion system/1U rackmount enclosure addresses these issues and expands a Mac mini's potential in a big way.
Starting with our popular RackMac mini 1U rackmount enclosure as a template, we created a specially-designed 1U rack enclosure to securely house your Mac mini(1), and provide it strategic airflow cooling. Then, inspired by the demand for our Echo™ Express line of Thunderbolt-to-PCIe card expansion systems, we added two PCIe 2.0 expansion slots (with integrated power supply and fans) that connect to the Mac mini via its Thunderbolt port, included a central power hub for the Mac mini and PCIe slots' power supply, and finished by adding an additional Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining to other Thunderbolt devices. For added convenience, the front panel provides a USB 3.0 port and a power button while other Mac mini interface ports are extended to the back of the chassis and mounted on the rear panel for convenient interfacing of Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and two USB 3.0 connections. The PCIe expansion slots power on and off in unison with the Mac mini. To support a wide range of popular mobile racks, carts and portable rack cases, the third generation xMac mini Server is just 17.75" deep.
A Great Design Made Better
with thousands of xMac mini Servers in daily use around the world, Sonnet has received great feedback from users, and we have updated this product with the features most important to them. This third generation xMac mini Server combines the best qualities of previous models and adds new features to make it the most capable model yet. The xMac mini server now supports one full-height, full-length card plus one full-height, half-length card. If you need to install a PCIe card that includes a daughter card, like the ones included with RME's HDSPe MADI FX card, Blackmagic Design's DeckLink 4K Extreme, and the Lynx AES16e-50, the supplied mounting bracket allows you to securely mount the daughter card inside the chassis next to the main card, leaving the second PCIe slot open for another PCIe card. The rear panel includes mounting holes for two BNC connectors used for HD/SDI output from cards like the RED ROCKET, or for MADI and word clock input and output from cards like the HDSPe MADI FX. A larger power supply plus an added auxiliary power connector enables this xMac mini server to support even more cards than before.
Smart Design Inside and Out
The xMac mini Server has numerous thoughtful design touches. The power supply and fans are user-replaceable. The front panel USB 3.0 port connects to the Mac mini, enabling you to connect a keyboard, mouse, or thumb drive to the computer without having to access its ports from the back. Other Mac mini interface ports are extended to the back of the chassis and mounted on the rear panel for convenient interfacing of Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, and two USB 3.0 cables. A cable passthrough opening on the back panel allows you to route other cables to the computer or the internal connections on an installed card. One USB 3.0 port on the Mac mini is left available to connect a software license control dongle, such as the iLok, securely within the xMac's enclosure. The xMac mini Server's power switch turns the computer on and off without the need for you to reach around back, and the PCIe slots power on/off with the Mac mini for maximum energy savings. An opening in the front panel allows the Mac mini's power indicator to shine through. There is a central power hub for the computer and power supply for the PCIe slots, enabling you to power everything with one power cord. Sonnet includes an easy-to-install lock that secures Thunderbolt connectors(4) plugged into the xMac's Thunderbolt ports and prevents accidental cable disconnections. Holes for cable ties enable you to secure cables inside, keeping them tidy while avoiding accidental disconnects. Threaded holes in the side of the enclosure match up with Sonnet's Rack Slide Sets, which provide you an easy way to pull out your xMac mini Server to access what is inside.
Built for Future Expansion
The xMac mini Server provides you easy access to its PCIe slots and the computer's ports; simply loosen two thumbscrews and slide the top cover off. Once inside, installing PCIe expansion cards is easy. An included Thunderbolt cable connects your Mac mini to one of the xMac mini Server's Thunderbolt ports, linking the PCIe slots to the computer. The xMac mini Server's second Thunderbolt port allows daisy chaining of additional Thunderbolt peripherals such as additional PCIe expansion (like Sonnet's Echo Express III-R rackmount chassis), pro video breakout boxes, video capture and playback devices, audio I/O devices, and more.
xMac mini Server as a metadata controller for an Xsan® storage area network? Yes, you can. xMac mini Server as an ingest station for uncompressed HD video? Absolutely. xMac mini server as a virtual sound check, pro audio plug-in DAW and record rig? Sure! This Sonnet solution enables you to expand your Mac mini's capabilities in ways you never imagined. For PCIe card compatibility information, see our PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart for a list of cards(2) that have been tested to be recognized over a Thunderbolt connection and compatible with Thunderbolt technology requirements.
Stays Cool and Very Quiet
The third generation xMac mini Server's design has been refined to deliver increased airflow over installed PCIe cards. This enables its four variable-speed fans to effectively cool the cards while operating at slower speeds, and as a result, reduced noise levels. The xMac mini Server is ideal for use with cool-running PCIe cards, including most pro audio, video capture & processing, and many other cards, yet is capable of keeping hot-running cards cool quietly in the most demanding work environments.