PCI Express Stories September 25, 2013

iFixit has taken a look at the newly-released generation iMacs, tearing down both the 21.5 inch and 27.5 inch variants. Although most of the internal structure is the same, which is to be expected given that the new iMacs have retained the same casing, there are some small differences.

iFixit points out that the 21.5 inch iMac now includes a Fusion Drive SSD bay as standard, improving future upgradeability prospects of the machine. With last year’s model, this expandability was only available if customers had specifically ordered the iMac with a Fusion Drive originally. As the new drives are now connected via PCIe, third-party drive makers should be able to make appropriate adapters to enable the addition of a second hard drive. Both the 21.5 inch and 27 inch models offer this unused PCIe Fusion Drive SSD port. A picture of the empty port is attached below.

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PCI Express Stories December 11, 2012

mLogic’s mLink Thunderbolt PCI Card expansion chassis now available for $399

You can now put a video card “in” your MacBook Air!

Back in September mLogic announced a new Thunderbolt peripheral, the mLink Thunderbolt expansion chassis for connecting PCIe cards, Fibre Channel and audio/video capture cards, 10GigE and more to Thunderbolt-equippred Macs. Today, mLogic announced that the $399 Thunderbolt mLink is finally in stock and available for immediate shipment from its website. There are a few competitors on the market, but mLogic is calling the mLink the lightest and smallest Thunderbolt expansion chassis at 2lbs and 8.1 x 2.75 x 5.9”. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Supports half-length, Thunderbolt-aware PCIe cards
  • Two high-performance 10Gbit/second Thunderbolt ports
  • Supports daisy-chaining of up to six Thunderbolt peripherals
  • Industry’s smallest (8.1 x 2.75 x 5.9”) and lightest (2lbs) Thunderbolt expansion chassis
  • Whisper quiet smart-blower for optimal cooling
  • Conserves energy by turning On/Off with the Mac

You can currently pick them up at B&H for $399 with tax in New York.

PCI Express Stories July 26, 2012

OWC launches Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis

OWC is launching a new PCIe Thunderbolt expansion chassis today that provides the ability to take advantage of any professional level performance PCIe adapters (half-length PCIe 2.0 card up to 6.5″) on Thunderbolt Macs:

Mercury Helios is fast and flexible with throughput up to 10Gb/s, and is the perfect solution to massively boost workflow productivity. It’s bootable with AHCI compliant cards and can daisy-chain up to six devices. Types of PCIe cards Helios can use include: Fibre Channel • 10Gb Ethernet • RAID controller • Video capture • Digital audio • Solid State Drive • SAS controllers such as the OWC Jupiter • and FireWire, USB 3.0, eSATA host adapter cards.

The Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis is available now for $399.95, and it is shipping from OWC in “7-10 days.” A full list of features and specs from OWC is below:

Features and Specifications

  • Use any half-length, single width, full height x1, x4 or x8 Thunderbolt compliant and AHCI compliant PCIe card
  • Expansion slots: One PCIe 2.0 x8 (x4 mode)
  • Connection interfaces: Two Thunderbolt ports
  • Daisy-chain up to six devices
  • Bootable with AHCI compliant cards
  • External case dimensions: 5.7 in (W) x 8.8 in (D) x 2.9 in (H)
  • Weighs 2.4 lbs (without card)
  • Ventilated quiet cooling with a variable speed fan
  • Automatically powers on/off with computer
  • Warranty: 3-year
  • Compatible with any computer that can support Thunderbolt technology

PCI Express Stories February 14, 2012

Giving a talk at Gerson Lehrman Group’s G+ community, the former EVP & FM of Mobile Platforms at Broadcom Scott Bibaud offered the above explanation about the benefits 802.11ac would bring to all devices. We have discussed Gigabit Wi-Fi before, but we did not really get a handle on when the new Wi-Fi standard would be hitting technology we now use. Apple is usually an early adopter of such technologies, but it is not likely—as you can hear above— that Apple’s next round of products will include this feature. Just think Airports and Macs at the end of this year, and iPad 4 /iPhone 6.

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PCI Express Stories February 13, 2012

From 9to5Toys.com:

Today only, Amazon offers the OCZ 90GB Agility 3 2.5″ Serial ATA 6Gb/s Internal SSD, model no. AGT3-25SAT3-90G, for $99.99 with free shipping. That’s the lowest total price we could find by $30. This Sandforce-controlled drive advertises 500MB/s+ read write times when connected to a SATA3 controller.

While OCZ’s drives are certainly fast, we’ve had a better experience with Samsung’s 830 series SATA3 SSDs which should soon be entering production on Apple’s MacBook Air/Pros.  The 128GB is listed at $199 while the 64GB variety is $109.

Update: previously mentioned rebate had expired last week.

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PCI Express Stories January 17, 2012

The easiest way to upgrade your Mac Pro’s everyday performance is to replace its slow internal hard drive units with pricier and much speedier solid-state storage (SSD), as it typically provides many times faster access times compared to HDDs and way greater sustained transfer rates. The problem is, you can only put flash storage inside the Pro’s hard drive bays that connect to the SATA interface.

Unfortunately, your super-fast SSD is limited to transfer rates of the Mac Pro’s SATA controller.

Enter OWC’s upcoming PCI Express-based SSD solution for Mac Pros, due for release “in the very near future.” Why does it matter? Well, for starters, it is a dream come true for the Hackintosh community. However, there is more to it than meets the eye…

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