Sonnet Technologies 2009 NAB Show Preview

Booth SL13307

Company Background:

Sonnet Technologies Inc. of Irvine, Calif. is a leader in providing local storage systems for professional users of Macintosh®, Windows®, and UNIX® systems in the film, video, and broadcast industries. Since its founding in 1986, Sonnet has pioneered and brought to market innovative solutions that enhance the performance and connectivity of Macintosh and industry-standard computers. Today, the company is a world-leading computer hardware upgrade company with a product line featuring a range of high-performance, cost-effective, and reliable storage solutions, as well as a variety of performance-extending upgrade cards. More information is available at

New Products at the 2009 NAB Show:

Fusion™ DX800RAID Storage System

The new Sonnet Fusion™ DX800RAID is a high-performance eight-drive RAID SATA storage system with a built-in SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) expander that enables up to 16 eight-drive enclosures to connect to a single Sonnet RAID controller. While offering fast, easy, cost-effective expansion of storage capacity without concern for the number of available PCI Express slots, a single Fusion DX800RAID also provides the speed required for working with uncompressed 10-bit 1080 HD video streams and the data security and monitoring critical in a large RAID system. With its eight drives formatted as a RAID 5 group, a Fusion DX800RAID yields impressive read and write file transfer speeds of up to 680 MB/sec and 640 MB/sec, respectively.

Within its compact eight-drive enclosure, the Fusion DX800RAID — both the complete system and the expansion chassis — features eight preinstalled, preformatted (Mac® OS) 3.5-inch RAID/Enterprise edition hard-drive modules. Both models are available in 4TB, 6TB, and 8TB configurations. Support for both RAID 5 and RAID 6 formatting provides failsafe protection in the event of single- or double-drive failure, respectively, thus maintaining the high level of data security suitable for large RAID volumes. The reliability of the Fusion DX800RAID is further supported by SES (SCSI Enclosure Services) 2.0 compliance, a feature more commonly found on large enterprise storage systems, and enhanced S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) data reporting for each hard drive installed in the system. Integrated into the Fusion DX800RAID, SES functionality provides enhanced real-time monitoring and reporting of drive, power supply, and temperature status, all conveyed to the user through utilities application screens and the illumination of conveniently placed LEDs on the enclosure. S.M.A.R.T. data criteria can be used to notify the user of an impending drive failure, thus enabling the user to minimize downtime as a result.


Fusion™ F3 RAID Storage System

The Fusion™ F3 is a versatile hardware RAID storage system that encloses a pair of high-performance 3.5-inch SATA drives to create 1TB, 2TB, or 3TB configurations in a stylish aluminum and steel case that fits equally well in recording studios, high-end A/V racks, mobile television trucks, and desktop or portable video editing systems. Each of the Fusion F3’s drives is mounted side by side on its own multi-point shock isolation sled to virtually eliminate vibration-related problems such as cross-coupled vibration — a potential source of soft-error-induced skipped frames in video capture and playback. The rack-mountable Fusion F3 measures 1U high, a half-rack wide, and just 14.25 inches deep and boasts all the features demanded by audio and video professionals. It is fast, rugged, and whisper-quiet and offers the flexibility of a quad interface and the convenience of an integrated power supply.

The Fusion F3 can be configured to be fast (RAID 0), safe (RAID 1), or JBOD (Just a Bunch of Drives), and its OS independence enables use with virtually any computer or device. The system’s quad interface provides the user with an eSATA interface for maximum speed, FireWire® 800 for medium speed, and FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 for flexibility. Connected via eSATA and its drives initialized as a RAID 0 set, the Sonnet Fusion F3 can sustain read/write transfer rates of up to 200 MB/sec, fast enough to support multiple streams of compressed video editing. Dual temperature-controlled fans with automatic failover further ensure system reliability.


Tempo® SATA Pro ExpressCard/34

Delivering the highest data transfer throughput of any SATA controller for notebook users, Sonnet’s Tempo® SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 is ideal for video capture in the field, studio, or office. This Sonnet-exclusive SATA card supports sustained data transfers at up to 200 MB/sec, 140 percent as fast as Sonnet’s standard-performance Tempo SATA card (and other popular two-port eSATA adapters) for notebook computers. With this exceptional throughput, the Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 supports more simultaneous video streams during playback, and enables faster file transfers for content of any kind.

Based on Sonnet’s acclaimed Tempo SATA E4P SATA host controller for desktop computers, the Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 enables users to connect up to 10 SATA hard drives to any compatible notebook computer with an ExpressCard/34 or ExpressCard/54 slot. When used in combination with storage systems featuring two or more drives, the Sonnet card delivers significant gains in read and write data transfer speeds, with remarkably higher throughput than FireWire®, USB, and even earlier-generation eSATA ExpressCard adapters.


Pro Dual CompactFlash® (CF) Adapter ExpressCard/34

Designed with the needs of digital photographers and videographers in mind, Sonnet’s Pro Dual CompactFlash® (CF) Adapter ExpressCard/34 enables users to transfer files concurrently from two CF memory cards to a MacBook® Pro computer on location or in the field, studio, or office. Small enough to fit easily into a gear bag, this unique dual-slot CF memory card adapter accepts two Type I (flash memory) cards or a combination of one Type I and one Type II (hard drive) card. Thus, rather than swap individual cards out of the adapter, the user can transfer data from two cards concurrently in a significantly more convenient and efficient workflow that requires less transfer time and leaves more time for shooting.

The Sonnet adapter supports at full speed the fastest available CF memory cards and future CF cards up to 886x. Because the Pro Dual CompactFlash Adapter ExpressCard/34 uses the 2.5-Gbps PCI Express interface incorporated into ExpressCard® slots, it delivers performance superior to that of adapters that depend on the ExpressCard slot’s USB 2.0 interface. The adapter supports UDMA6 transfer modes with sustained data transfers up to 133 MB/sec.


Existing Products Highlighted at the 2009 NAB Show:

Fusion™ F2 1TB Portable Storage System

The Fusion™ F2 portable 2-drive RAID SATA storage system, the smallest member of Sonnet’s flagship line of storage products, provides 1TB of storage in a package slightly larger than two stacked CD cases. Fusion F2 delivers speed, reliability, and convenience for on-location video capture or remote use when grid power is unavailable. The system’s two 500GB/5400 rpm 2.5-inch drives are mounted side by side in a rugged aluminum enclosure, ensuring secure storage in a low-profile design measuring just 5.9 inches by 6.2 inches by 0.72 inches. Internally, Fusion F2’s drives are individually shock-isolated, virtually eliminating cross-coupled vibration, which, unchecked, can induce soft errors—a potential source of skipped frames in video capture and playback. Fusion F2 is cool, quiet, and energy-efficient; the side-by-side drive placement increases the metal case’s cooling surface area, thereby eliminating the need for a fan.

Sonnet’s Fusion F2 features two eSATA data connections, draws its power from a computer’s FireWire® port or an optional power adapter, and is designed for use with the Sonnet Tempo™ SATA ExpressCard/34 host adapter for MacBook® Pro and PC notebooks. With its drives formatted as a RAID 0 set, Fusion F2 delivers remarkable performance with sustained data transfer rates of up to 153 MB/sec write and 143 MB/sec read (nearly twice as fast as a pair of FireWire 800 drives) and supports professional content capture in conjunction with AJA® Video Systems’ Io HD.

Fusion F2 is ideal for use on location as well as the office, offering flexibility and interoperability to support Mac OS® X, Windows® Vista, Windows XP Professional, and Linux. It is compatible with capture cards from AJA, Blackmagic Design, Matrox, and Bluefish444, and works with all mainstream media editing applications including Apple® Final Cut Pro®, and Adobe® Premiere® Pro CS3.


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