• Overview
  • Tech Specs
  • Performance
  • Accessories
  • Reviews

SxS to the Power of Three

4 CompactFlash Cards Sony’s popular XDCAM EX™ and ARRI ALEXA professional HD camcorders use high-performance SxS memory cards, which share the same interface and shape as ExpressCard®/34 adapter cards. This shared form factor and connector make ingesting footage from your SxS media a simple task in ExpressCard slot-equipped notebook computers—insert the card and go. If your computer doesn’t have an ExpressCard slot, you could just plug in the camera, grab a cup of coffee, and relax while all those gigabytes of data are transferred at around 30 MB/s. But what if you need faster transfers? Or want to ingest files from more than one card at a time? Sonnet’s Qio E3 is the answer to both of these questions.

This Sonnet pro media reader distills the feature set of the award-winning original Qio professional media reader and is designed specifically for use with SxS media cards. Providing a cost-effective, high-speed multi-slot alternative to stand-alone card readers for videographers and studios alike, Qio E3’s three SxS slots enable you to ingest files faster and more efficiently, with aggregate ingest speed up to 380 MB/sec.

Key Features

Versatile Support—Supports all Sony® SxS memory cards, and XQD cards (with adapter, sold separately)

Fast—Uses PCI Express® 2.0 bus interface to deliver superior performance; aggregate available bandwidth of 400 MB/sec.

Choice of Interfaces—Qio E3 package includes your choice of interface: PCI Express 2.0 card for desktop PCs; ExpressCard/34 for PC notebooks; or Thunderbolt™ interface adapter kit* for any Mac with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port, or Windows® PC with a Thunderbolt 2 port

SxS Aggregate Media Ingest Speed (3 cards concurrently)—PCIe or Thunderbolt interface: 380 MB/s; ExpressCard/34 interface: 200 MB/s

Mac and Windows Compatible—Qio E3 works within your workflow, regardless the platform you’ve chosen; simply connect Qio E3 to the appropriate interface card or adapter for your Mac or PC and you’re good to go

Built-in eSATA Connections—Connect external media readers with eSATA interfaces

Small and Rugged—Strong aluminum case measures just 5.9" x 6.2" x 1"

Easy to Secure—Slot for Kensington® and similar security locks to secure the device and deter theft


Qio Interfaces

Mac and Windows Compatible

Mac & PC LogosSonnet’s Qio E3 offers Mac and PC cross-platform compatibility, extending its usefulness on location and in the studio with an interface designed specifically to connect Qio E3 to the platform of your choice. Qio E3 is available with your choice of a PCIe interface card* for PC desktops; an ExpressCard/34 interface* for PC notebooks; or a Thunderbolt interface adapter (with included Thunderbolt cable) for any Mac with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port, or Windows PC with a Thunderbolt 2 port. With the purchase of an additional Qio PCIe adapter card, ExpressCard/34 card, or Thunderbolt interface kit, you can move your Qio E3 from PC desktop to notebook, and to a Mac or Windows computer with a Thunderbolt port without breaking a sweat. No matter where you use it, Qio E3 will quickly become an essential tool in your workflow.

Flexible Power Options

AC Power IconAC Power
For desktop use, a universal 12V output AC power supply (with wall plugs for US, Japan, Europe, UK and Australia) is included.

Battery IconBattery Power
For battery-powered operation during fieldwork, Sonnet’s optional XLR 4-pin adapter cable interfaces Qio E3 with an external battery pack, such as Tekkeon’s myPower ALL batteries at an 8-19V setting.

FireWire IconFireWire® Bus Power
Alternatively, you can power the Qio E3 by connecting it to a computer with a FireWire port with Sonnet’s optional FireWire 400-to-3.5mm power cable.

Qio E3 Workflow

Built for the Pro. Whether you are shooting on location with your PC notebook, or editing footage in the studio on your iMac®, Mac mini, Mac Pro®, or desktop PC, Qio E3 conveniently connects to your system via an ExpressCard/34 or PCIe 2.0 interface card, or Thunderbolt interface kit, so your projects are always at hand.

6Gb/s SATA PCIe 2.0 Host Controller Inside

Qio E3 includes two 6 Gb/s eSATA ports, perfect for connecting media readers with eSATA interfaces, such as the RED STATION REDMAG 1.8" and 2.5".

Qio E3 Connected to RED STATION REDMAG 1.8" Reader

Travel and Desktop Companion

Qio E3 pro media reader is small—about the size of three stacked CD cases—and takes up so little space, you can use it just about anywhere. It’s rugged, too—the robust aluminum case easily withstands heavy use. This pro media reader even incorporates a slot for Kensington and similar security locks to secure the device and deter theft.

Qio E3 Front & Back Panels Overview


 *Qio PCIe card and ExpressCard/34 adapter not compatible with OS X® after Version 10.9.5.
Media cards, computers, and accessories shown in photos for illustration purposes; items sold separately.
Part No.  
Qio (with PCIe Card Interface for Windows)
QIO-E3-PCIE-W Discontinued
Qio (with ExpressCard/34 Card Interface for Windows)
QIO-E3-E34 Discontinued
Qio (with Thunderbolt Interface Kit for Mac and Windows)

Warranty 2-year
Form Factor Qio media card reader
External Connectors
(Qio E3 Enclosure)
  • Three ExpressCard/34 (SxS)
  • Two eSATA 6GB/s
  • External PCIe 2.0 x1 18-pin
  • Two 12V power
Host Connectors
(PCIe and ExpressCard Adapter Cards)
External PCIe x1 - 18
Host Connector
(Thunderbolt Adapter)


Bus Interface PCI Express 2.0 x1
Supported Media
  • Sony SxS, SxS-1™ G1A, SxS Pro™, SxS Pro+
  • XQD using Sony XQD ExpressCard Adapter QDAEX1/SCI
External Media Readers Supported Two with eSATA interfaces, such as RED STATION REDMAG 1.8" or 2.5"
Firmware Flash-ROM upgradeable to latest firmware version
Hot Plug Qio E3 Supported when connected via Thunderbolt
Dimensions WxDxH: 5.9 x 6.2 x 1 in. (14.9 x 15.7 x 2.5 cm)
  • 12V @ 1.25A input
  • 12V @ 0.5A output to support Sonnet Fusion F2QR
Absolute Maximum Input Voltage 20V
RoHS Compliant Yes
Universal Package Contents
  • Qio E3 Pro SxS Media Reader
  • Universal 12V power supply with 10-foot cable
  • 1-meter external PCIe x1 interface cable
  • Documentation
Unique Package Contents
  • PCIe 2.0 bus extender card
Unique Package Contents
  • PCIe 2.0 bus extender ExpressCard/34
Unique Package Contents
  • Thunderbolt interface adapter
  • 0.5-meter Thunderbolt cable


Specifications subject to change without notice.

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Mac Compatibility

OS X 10.6.8-10.11 compatible with:

Mac with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port
Part No. QIO-E3-TB

OS X 10.6.8-10.11 compatible with:

Mac Pro® (with card slots)
Part No. QIO-E3-PCIE (discontinued)

MacBook® Pro (with an ExpressCard/34 slot)
Part No. QIO-E3-E34

Windows Compatibility

Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista®

Windows Server 2012, Server 2008 R2, Server 2008

PC desktop (with PCIe slots)
Part No. QIO-E3-PCIE-W

PC notebook (with an ExpressCard slot)
Part No. QIO-E3-E34

PC with Thunderbolt 2 ports
Part No. QIO-E3-TB


Mac Logo Windows LogoeSATA LogoExpressCard LogoSxS Logo

roHS Logo

Simultaneous Ingest Aggregate Speed

System Desktop PC Mac/PC with Thunderbolt Ports PC Notebook Computer
Qio Interface PCIe Card Thunderbolt ExpressCard/34
1 x SxS Pro+ Card 300 MB/sec 300 MB/sec 200 MB/sec
2 x SxS Pro+ Cards 380 MB/sec 380 MB/sec 200 MB/sec
3 x SxS Pro+ Cards 380 MB/sec 380 MB/sec 200 MB/sec
Qio E3 Accessories Part No. Description
FireWire Power Cable FireWire 400-to-3.5mm Power Cable CABLE-PWR-P200S 1-meter FireWire 400 to 3.5mm power connector cable
XLR 4-pin DC Power Adapter Cable XLR 4-pin DC Power Adapter Cable QCB-XLR4 XLR 4-pin adapter cable
Sonnet PCIe Bus Extender ExpressCard/34 Adapter PCIe 2.0 Bus Extender ExpressCard/34 (Windows Only) PCIE-E34 Spare ExpressCard/34 interface
Sonnet PCIe Bus Extender PCIe Adapter PCIe 2.0 Bus Extender Card (Windows Only) PCIE-E2-W Spare PCIe 2.0 interface card
Qio Thunderbolt Interface Adapter Kit Qio Thunderbolt Interface Kit Adapter Kit (Mac and Windows) QTB-IFK Thunderbolt interface adapter with PCIe and Thunderbolt cables


Sonnet Qio Review. Very, Very, Fast Offloads.
"I had heard about the QIO some time ago, so I approached Sonnet to see if I could borrow a unit to review. I was given the loan of a Sonnet QIO at NAB. I have been playing with it since then and you know what, it’s a great device. So what exactly is it? Well it is an extension box that allows you to connect a range of peripherals and flash memory cards to your computer via the PCI bus. The reason I wanted to borrow one was because the QIO is one of the few devices (the only device?) that allows you to connect SxS, Compact Flash and P2 cards to a computer using the high speed PCI bus with hot-swappable functionality…

This is one fast device. If you have lots of media to off-load and backup it’s going to save you a lot of time. If you are a production company that works with large volumes of solid state media it will pay for itself very quickly in saved man-hours. If your working in the field with a MacBook Pro the ability to connect both the media and eSATA devices at the same time makes the QIO a very interesting proposition. It is well constructed, simple to install and use, what more could you ask for."

DV Award

In Review: Sonnet Technologies Qio
"The Sonnet Technologies Qio answers one of the most significant questions posed by editors dealing with solid-state media: how do I copy the contents of the cards to my computer? And the Qio answers the question without any uncertainty…

Who needs the Qio? Any editor who deals with a variety of solid-state media. Nothing is worse than having a client drop off a P2 card and you have no way to read it. “Er, can I plug your camera into my computer so I can copy the contents of the card?” Or, “I know I have that little USB CF card reader somewhere around here…” And it’s not just for editors needing multiple formats. A solid piece of equipment to me is far preferable to an inexpensive card reader which might be slow and much more subject to failure when you need it most. The Qio is most useful to anyone who needs to extend the bus capability of their computer to additional storage and other compatible card-based devices.

The Qio represents the only product of its kind on the market and I am pleased to recommend it with great enthusiasm."

Creative Cow Rating

Fast Enough? Data-Driven Broadcast Infrastructure
"…The single most impressive ingest product that I saw was the Sonnet Technologies Qio, pronounced Cue-Eye-Oh. Using a single PCIe slot, it gives you two P2 readers, two Sony SxS readers, and two CF Card readers.

My first reaction was, "It takes up another card slot?!? What if you need a slot for a SATA card?" The Sonnet Qio also incorporates the well known E4P eSATA card - built right into the Qio! So in addition to everything else, you get four eSATA ports, all of which support port multiplication for your eSATA drives. Amazing!"

Studio Daily Rating

Review: Sonnet Qio
"As a solid-state card reader, the Qio accepts every kind of card your cameraman may hand you: P2 cards from Panasonic cameras, CompactFlash cards from digital SLRs or Red cameras, SxS cards from Sony, JVC cameras or Arri cameras, and SDHC cards (via an adapter) from everything else. This versatility is a big deal. As many folks move from tape to solid-state, they can buy one convenient reader that handles it all.

Not only does the Qio work with both of these card formats, but it accepts two of each card at a time — two P2 cards, two SxS cards, and so on. It’s like the Noah’s Arc of card readers, and that’s helpful if you’re shooting a lot of cards during the day, and want to copy two at a time. With two cards mounted, you don’t have to hover around your computer as it copies, waiting to slip in the next card. It’s a nice convenience, and no other card reader gives you dual-slotted options for so many media formats.

…[its] a great option for production houses, editors and DITs who have to make their way in this world of endless media formats."

Awards & Case Studies
Black Diamond Award 2010
DV Award of Excellence
Quote BubbleSee what reviewers and customers have to say about other Sonnet products in our News section under Product Reviews and Case Studies.

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