Intel's Thunderbolt interface is frustratingly fast. The frustration comes from the fact that there just aren't many Thunderbolt devices out on the market today, not to mention that the vast majority of systems don't support the interface.

As a quick refresher a single Thunderbolt link supports 10Gbps of bandwidth in each direction for a total of 20Gbps per link. The Thunderbolt interface itself can carry both PCI Express and DisplayPort signals and you can daisy chain multiple devices together, all sharing the bandwidth of the interface. One potential usage model is for a notebook to connect to an external box offering PCIe slots. It's this usage model that Magma hopes to target with its ExpressBox 3T. 

The ExpressBox 3T features three PCIe 2.0 expansion slots in an external chassis. No word on the width of each slot (x4? x8? x16?). The box has an internal 220W power supply and there's no support for auxillary power connectors so you can forget about installing a beefy video card. 

Magma hasn't announced pricing or availability or any other details for that matter. I've been hearing that it's tough to get Thunderbolt projects off the ground because of a lack of cooperation from Intel. That may all change next year when Thunderbolt is going to be available as an option for Ivy Bridge platforms. Here's hoping that we'll see more of these boxes in the future, it may be the key to enabling notebook as a desktop usage models for gamers.

Source: Magma

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  • fredst - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    Thunderbolt is 10Gb/s per lane/each direction. Pci-e 2.x is 5Gb/s per lane/each direction. Ergo you cannot get over x2 PCI-e (2.x). (Note: Curren version of PCI-e is 3.0 which is 8Gb/s per lane/each direction and thus would allow a maximum of x1 PCI-e. Not sure if any gfx cards use the new 3.0 standard yet though) Reply
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  • dsumanik - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    Wow, well at least external gpu's are here.....but id say this one is Dead in the water....psu is barely adequate...and the kicker:

    $979 .... WITHOUT A THUNDERBOLT CABLE!!!!!!

    http://www.magma.com/thunderbolt

    OMFG are you kidding me at that price you cant include the cable?????

    As a $1000+ solution is magma targeting enterprise applications?. The problem is....why does the enterprise sectpr need this device, specifically, how many times have you been working on a server and said

    "damn i wish i had a few more pcie x8 slots"

    although it does happen sometimes, usually there is a way to reconfigure around it, iE buy a better RAID card/NIC with more ports etc. So I guess magma think that if you are the one percent of system admins that have a pcie slot shortage, ACTUALLY HAVE A SERVER WITH A THUNDERBOLT PORT...and think that paying 1000 dollars to solve the problem is a good deal...well magma has the "solution".

    So who is going to buy this?

    Macbook owners looking to play games?

    Unfortunately they can just buy a seperate PC/notebook for the same price that will perform better, and wont require you to purchase a $50 thunderbolt cable!

    Nice going magma, but in 6 months after the chinese industrial machine obliterates this product with a higher wattage PSU, included thunderbolt cable, and undercuts the price by 70%....well none of us will even remember your name.

    Magma would be better charge 2k-3k for it, the people willing to pull the trigger at 1k wont blink at that price either.
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