Want to secure your precious Mac Pro into a rack? Then this is one way to do it with the new Sonnet xMac Pro Server. Want to expand with PCIe cards too? No problem. Want two Mac Pros in the same rack...

When the new Mac Pro was released, it probably made quite a few installation engineers start scratching their heads trying to work out how they would rack mount it in the machine room. 

The new Mac Pro is qualified to run on its side, and that's exactly the way Sonnet have securely mounted the Apple cylinder in their new xMac Pro Server.

At 4U high and just 16 inches deep, it's more than about just keeping the Mac Pro safe, it is all about expansion. For us editors, it means that multiple PCIe cards can be connected and activated once the Mac Pro starts. The mount will also be ideal for DITs who have a rolling trolley on set without having the problem of the Mac Pro rolling around itself!

sonnet xmac pro server nab

 

By supporting every Thunderbolt-compatible PCIe card available, the xMac Pro Server enables audio-video professionals to use the high-performance PCIe cards they need with the latest Mac Pro, which on its own lacks PCIe expansion slots. Supported cards include pro audio, Ethernet, and Fibre Channel, as well as SAS/SATA RAID controllers, and video capture and editing cards.

“With the success of our rackmountable xMac mini Server and Echo™ Express III-R Thunderbolt 2-to-PCIe expansion products, it was natural for us to properly address the need to efficiently rackmount the new Mac Pro and provide much-needed expansion capabilities,” said Robert Farnsworth, CEO of Sonnet Technologies. “Ever since the new Mac Pro was announced, our customers have been asking us for this product, and we believe they will be pleased with our solution.”

The xMac Pro Server’s heavy-duty steel outer enclosure provides secure mounting and protection for the Mac Pro, PCIe cards, and mobile rack devices installed inside. Occupying a 4U rack space (7 inches) and just 16 inches deep, this system is perfect for use in a wide range of popular mobile racks, carts, and rack cases, as well as in a server room. The computer, PCIe card expansion system, and mobile rack devices reside in separate modules to simplify setup and maintenance. To make the Mac Pro fully rack- and road-ready, Sonnet constructed a protective cocoon for the computer out of formed steel and lined it with soft-touch padding to hold the computer firmly in place while safeguarding its lustrous finish.

The xMac Pro Server’s PCIe card expansion system incorporates ultrafast 20 Gb/sec Thunderbolt 2 technology, providing sufficient throughput to support many of the highest-performing PCIe cards. The expansion system supports up to three full-length PCIe cards with one x16 and two x8 PCIe slots. Along with an integrated 300-watt power supply, the system includes a 75-watt PCIe power connector for cards that require supplementary power such as the Avid Pro Tools|HDX or the RED ROCKET-X cards.

Mounted on its side inside the xMac Pro Server, the Mac Pro is kept cool by a quiet and efficient cooling system with an airflow path that remains unchanged and unobstructed according to Apple’s specifications. The PCIe card expansion system’s two remarkably quiet, temperature-controlled, variable-speed fans manage airflow to ensure cool, reliable operation in noise-sensitive environments.

The xMac Pro Server extends the Mac Pro’s Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and HDMI interfaces to panel-mounted connectors on the back of the unit for easy external cable connection, while a USB 3.0 interface and power switch are mounted on the front to enable the user to conveniently connect a USB peripheral and activate the computer’s power switch. The included Thunderbolt cable connects the Mac Pro to one of the xMac Pro Server’s two Thunderbolt 2 ports, and an included lock secures the Thunderbolt cables in place when connected to the expansion system. These features make the xMac Pro Server ideal for use in both fixed and mobile applications.

With the optional Mobile Rack Device Mounting Kit, the xMac Pro Server provides space for additional expansion equipment. Users can install two 5.25-inch mobile rack devices in the outer enclosure and connect them easily to cards installed in the PCIe slots. Without taking up additional rack space, the kit supports a wide array of devices such as an internal LTO tape drive, four or eight swappable 2.5-inch SSDs, a Blu-ray burner, a Sonnet Qio™ MR pro universal media reader, or three swappable 3.5-inch hard disk drives. The kit easily installs into the xMac Pro Server’s enclosure, and an integrated 100-watt power supply inside the kit powers the installed devices while its internal fan works to keep the devices cool. Sonnet will also offer preconfigured kits that include the mobile rack devices, PCIe card, and necessary cables.

The xMac Pro Server from Sonnet will be priced at $1,499 and is expected to be available in June. There's also a basic model, without the connectivity, which will retail for $199. Want to mount two Mac Pros in the same rack? A extra mounting bracket will allow a second machine to sit alongside the first.