• Overview
  • Technical Specifications
  • Accessories
  • Configuration Ideas


xMac mini Server (previous generations) are sold out and replaced by revised product (XMAC-MS-A).

Mac mini with Thunderbolt Technology

Transform a Mac mini with Thunderbolt Technology into an Enterprise Class Rack Mount Server!

In many applications, a Mac mini or Mac mini with OS X® Server with Thunderbolt technology can easily take the place of a full size server, but the size and form factor can limit its potential. Most importantly, it doesn't provide slots for PCIe expansion cards to increase its functionality and connectivity. Sonnet's xMac mini Server and xMac mini Server 2H PCIe 2.0 expansion systems/1U rackmount enclosures address these issues and expand a Mac mini's potential in a big way.

Starting with our popular RackMac mini 1U rackmount enclosure as a template, we created a specially designed 1U rack enclosure that securely holds a Mac mini(1) firmly in place and delivers strategic airflow cooling. Then, inspired by the demand for our Echo Express line of Thunderbolt-to-PCIe expansion systems, we added two PCIe 2.0 expansion slots (with a 100W power supply and fans) that connect to the Mac mini via its Thunderbolt port, included a central power hub for the Mac mini and PCIe cards,(1) and finished by adding an additional Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining to other Thunderbolt devices. For added convenience, the front panel provides a USB 3.0 port and a power button. The PCIe expansion slots power on and off in unison with the Mac mini. To support a wider range of popular mobile racks, carts and portable rack-bags, both the updated xMac mini Server and the xMac mini Server 2H are less than 16" deep.

Key Features

Adds Connectivity and Capabilities to Mac mini—Connects two PCIe 2.0 slots via Thunderbolt technology to the Mac mini, supports high performance expansion cards

Server Room Ready—1U rackmount enclosure with user-replaceable power supply and fans, built-in cable management features

Diverse PCIe Card Support—Supports Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, pro video capture and playout, SAS/SATA RAID controllers, pro audio, and other PCIe cards

Supports Thunderbolt Expansion—Enables daisy chain connection of additional Thunderbolt technology devices through second Thunderbolt port

Front Panel Operation—Front panel power button activates power switch on Mac mini; USB 3.0 port enables connection of keyboard, mouse, thumb drive, etc.

Rear Panel Connectivity—Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and HDMI ports are mounted at the rear of the chassis for easy connectivity

Energy Efficient—Variable-speed fans automatically adjust to the unique needs of each configuration, and the auto power on/off feature ensures there is no energy wasted with cards powered on when the system is off

Shadow

An xMac mini Server combines the usefulness of Sonnet's RackMac mini 1U rackmount enclosure with the functionality of an Echo Express Thunderbolt-to-PCIe expansion system to enable you to transform your Mac mini with Thunderbolt technology from a simple server to something much more. Imagine the possibilities!

Thunderbolt
Thunderbolt Expansion
A second Thunderbolt port allows daisy chaining of additional Thunderbolt Technology-enabled peripherals.
PCIe Card
Supports Wide Range of PCIe Cards
Supports Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, pro video capture and playout, SAS/SATA RAID controllers, pro audio, and other PCIe cards.
Connectivity
Two PCIe Slots + Latest Connectivity
Two PCIe slots provide diverse expandability; front panel USB 3.0 port enables easy USB peripheral connections while the rear panel features convenient interfacing of Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and HDMI cables.
Energy Efficient
Air Cooled & Energy Efficient
Variable-speed fans automatically adjust to the unique needs of each configuration; energy saver power on/off feature ensures there is no energy wasted with PCIe cards powered on when the system is off.
Power
Central Power Hub
A central power hub for the computer and power supply for the PCIe slots provides energy for everything with one power cord.
Less Than 16" Deep
Built to Rack and Go
Latest xMac mini Server models are less than 16" deep—the perfect depth for a wide range of popular mobile racks, carts, and portable rack-bags.

Two Models to Choose From

Sonnet offers two xMac mini Server models—the updated original xMac mini Server, and the xMac mini Server 2H—choose the one that best suits your needs:

Number 1xMac mini Server (New and Improved)
The updated xMac mini Server supports one full-height, full-length card plus one low-profile, half-length card. What if you need to install a PCIe card that includes a daughter card, like the ones included with RME's HDSPe MADI FX card, Blackmagic Design's DeckLink 4K Extreme, and the Lynx AES16e-50? The updated xMac mini Server includes an easy to install mounting bracket that allows you to securely mount the daughter card inside the chassis with the main card installed in the full length card slot, leaving the second PCIe slot open for another PCIe card. On its rear panel, this model also includes mounting holes for two BNC connectors, typically used for HD/SDI output from cards like the RED Rocket.

Number 2xMac mini Server 2H
The xMac mini Server 2H supports two half-length, full-height PCIe cards, which means most Thunderbolt-compatible cards are supported. This model is perfect for users who do not need the space offered in the xMac mini Server to install a full-length card, and for users who want to install two full-height cards.

Built for Future Expansion

xMac mini Servers allow easy access to their PCIe slots and the computer's ports; simply loosen two thumbscrews and slide the top cover off. Once inside, installing PCIe expansion cards is easy. An included Thunderbolt cable plugs in between your Mac mini and one of the xMac mini Server's Thunderbolt ports, which link the PCIe slots to the computer. An xMac mini Server's second Thunderbolt port allows daisy chaining of additional Thunderbolt Technology-enabled peripherals such as additional PCIe expansion, pro video breakout boxes, video capture and playback devices, audio interfaces, and more.

Add Professional PCIe Cards to Your Mac mini

xMac mini Server as a metadata controller for Xsan? Yes, you can. xMac mini Server as an ingest station for uncompressed HD video? Absolutely. xMac mini server as a pro audio plug-in server? Sure! Choose one of the two xMac mini Server models to fit the cards you need. These Sonnet solutions enable you to expand your Mac mini's capabilities in ways you never imagined; click the Configuration Ideas tab for a few concepts. For PCIe card compatibility information, see our PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart for a list of cards(4) that have been tested to be recognized over a Thunderbolt connection and compatible with Thunderbolt technology requirements.

Smart Design Inside and Out

xMac mini Server Mechanical DrawingAn xMac mini Server has numerous thoughtful design touches. The power supply and fans are user-replaceable. The front panel USB 3.0 port connects to the back of the Mac mini, enabling you to connect a keyboard, mouse, or thumb drive to the computer without having to access its ports from the back. Other Mac mini interface ports are extended to the back of the chassis and mounted on the rear panel for convenient interfacing of Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and HDMI cables. A through-hole on the back panel allows you to route other cables to the computer or the internal connections on an installed card. An xMac mini Server's power switch turns the computer on and off without the need for you to reach around back, and the PCIe slots are powered on/off with the Mac mini for maximum energy savings. An opening in the front panel allows the Mac mini's power indicator to shine through. There's a central power hub for the computer and power supply for the PCIe slots, enabling you to power everything with one power cord. A locking bracket for the Thunderbolt cables and holes for cable ties enable you to secure all cables, keeping them tidy while avoiding accidental disconnects. Threaded holes in the side of the enclosure match up with Sonnet's Rack Slide Sets, which provide you an easy way to pull out your xMac mini Server to access what's inside.

Rack Slide Set

Stays Cool

Fan AirflowVariable-speed fans automatically ensure any installed PCIe cards stay "chill" and the enclosure stays as quiet as possible. The standard fans chosen for use in xMac mini servers are well suited for cooling all compatible PCIe cards, ensuring even hot-running cards remain cool in the most demanding work environments.

Extra Quiet Option

If the lowest noise possible is your ultimate goal, there's an optional Quiet Fan Module(1)(2) available that is suitable for use with cool-running PCIe cards, including most pro audio, video capture & processing, and many other cards. Because the module's fans spin more slowly and move less air than the standard fan module, this option is not recommended for use with SAS HBA and RAID controllers, Fibre Channel, or 10 Gigabit Ethernet cards. The Quiet Fan Module is user-installed, and replaces the standard fan module in your xMac mini Server.

Quiet Fan Kit

Sonnet Thunderbolt Expansion Partners

Sonnet works closely with the following partners to ensure Thunderbolt compatibility for their products. See the PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart for an up-to-date list of products that have passed Thunderbolt compatibility testing with Sonnet products.


AdobeAJAAppleATTOAvidBlack Magic DesignBlueFish 444CalDigitExaSANFocusriteFusion ioLynx Studio TechnologyMatroxMyricomREDRMESiennaSmall TreeSoftron Media ServicesSolid State LogicStorageDNATandberg DataTolis GroupTools On AirUniversal Audio

 


 Mac mini, PCIe cards, and cables shown in photos that are not included with xMac mini Servers are shown for illustration purposes; items sold separately.
See Technical Specifications Tab for footnotes
Part No.  
XMAC-MS Discontinued; replaced by revised product (XMAC-MS-A)
XMAC-MS-2H Discontinued; replaced by revised product (XMAC-MS-A)
Hardware  
Warranty 5-year
xMac mini Server Dimensions
(WxDxH)

19 x 15.8 x 1.72 in. (48.3 x 39.7 x 4.4 cm)

Weight

15 lbs (6.8 kg)

External Connectors
  • Two Thunderbolt (one open, one used)
  • One RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet port extension
  • Three USB 3.0 ports (one front mount and 2 rear mount)
  • One HDMI port extension
Expansion Slots
  • One x16 (x4 mode) PCIe 2.0
  • One x8 (x4 mode) PCIe 2.0
PCIe Cards Supported (xMac mini Server)
  • One full-length, full-height, x16 PCIe 2.0 card

  • One half-length, low-profile, x8 PCIe 2.0 card(3)
  • PCIe 1.1 cards also supported
PCIe Cards Supported (xMac mini Server 2H)
  • One half-length, full-height, x16 PCIe 2.0 card

  • One half-length, full-height, x8 PCIe 2.0 card
  • PCIe 1.1 cards also supported
Compatible PCIe Cards(4) Up-to-date PCIe cards listed on our supporting PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart
Power Supply

Universal 100W, 100-240V AC, 50-60 Hz

Operating Temperature

+32º F to +95º F (0º C to +35º C)

RoHS Compliant Yes

Package Contents
(xMac mini Server)

  • xMac mini Server with power cord, assembled
  • Daughter card mounting bracket
  • Documentation

Note: Mac mini and PCIe cards sold separately

Package Contents
(xMac mini Server 2H)

  • xMac mini Server with power cord, assembled
  • Documentation

Note: Mac mini and PCIe cards sold separately

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compatibility

Mac mini or Mac mini with OS X Server, with a Thunderbolt port

OS X 10.6.8+

OS X Server and OS X Mavericks compatible

PCIe Card Compatibility

For up-to-date PCIe card compatibility see our PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart


Technical Notes

  1. Mac mini, PCIe cards, and Quiet Fan Kit sold separately.
  2. Not recommended for use with SAS HBA and RAID controllers, Fibre Channel, or 10 Gigabit Ethernet cards.
  3. Requires use of half-height bracket.
  4. Compatibility requires the installation of Thunderbolt technology-aware drivers, available from the manufacturer. See our supporting PCIe Card Thunderbolt Compatibility Chart for a list of up-to-date compatible PCIe cards.


Specifications subject to change without notice.


Mac Logo PCI Express LogoroHS Logo

xMac mini Server Accessories Part No. Description
Fusion Rack Slide Set Rack Slide Set (17.5-21") FUS-RSS-P Rack Mount Sliding Rail Kit (17.5-21" rack)
Rack Slide Set (23-26.5") FUS-RSS-S Rack Mount Sliding Rail Kit (23-26.5" rack)
Rack Slide Set (27-30.5") FUS-RSS Rack Mount Sliding Rail Kit (27-30.5" rack)
Rack Slide Set (29-32.5") FUS-RSS-L Rack Mount Sliding Rail Kit (29-32.5" rack)
xMac mini Server Quiet Fan Kit xMac mini Server Quiet Fan Module(2) XMFAN-Q Quiet replacement fan for all xMac mini Server models
xMac mini Server USB 3.0 Replacement Cables Kit xMac mini Server USB 3.0 Cables Replacement Kit XMCBL-3USB3 USB 3.0 replacement cables kit for previous generation xMac mini Server systems with USB 2.0 cables

Scenario 1

Metadata Controller

The xMac mini Server can transform a Mac mini into a full-function metadata controller for an Xsan 2 setup, or into a metaSAN metadata master.

With the installation of:

  1. A Sonnet Gigabit Ethernet adapter card plugged into the integrated, half-length PCIe 2.0 slot

  2. An Apple or ATTO Fibre Channel Adapter card plugged into the full-length PCIe 2.0 slot

Scenario 1 Illustration
Racking up a second xMac mini setup as described above provides two redundant metadata controllers that occupy a total of just 2U of rack space and cost a fraction of available alternatives.

Scenario 2

Large-Capacity RAID Storage Served to More Users

xMac mini Server can transform a Mac mini Server into more robust server with high-capacity RAID storage connected.

With the addition of:

  1. A Gigabit (Sonnet Gigabit Ethernet Pro) or 10GigE adapter card plugged into the half-length PCIe 2.0 slot

  2. A 4-port Sonnet Tempo SATA E4 Pro eSATA controller card plugged into the full-length PCIe 2.0 slot, with up to four Fusion™ R400QR5 1U rackmount storage systems connected, each chassis with up to 12TB of usable storage in protected RAID 5 mode (total of up to 48TB)

Scenario 2 IllustrationTake full advantage of the SATA storage and Ethernet bandwidth using Mac OS® X Server’s powerful services such as managed-access file sharing, built-in calendar, mail, podcasting, VPN, and Web server capabilities, or use FileMaker® Pro server to host your FileMaker Pro databases. 250MB/sec SATA storage can be served at 250MB/sec to users.

Number 1 Number 1

Scenario 3

Unlimited-Capacity Shared RAID Storage for a Large Workgroup

The xMac mini Server can enable you to deploy virtually unlimited RAID-protected shared storage across a larger network.

With the installation of:

  1. A high-performance SAS/SATA RAID controller (like ATTO R680), connected to a storage system like Sonnet’s Fusion RX1600RAID

  2. A 10 Gigabit Ethernet card installed in a second slot

Scenario 3 Illustration
This setup will serve the large storage pool to a RAID workgroup with an aggregate speed of up to 750 MB/sec of storage speed and agregate network access speeds of up to 425 MB/sec.

 

 

Scenario 4

Video Ingest Station

xMac mini Server can transform a Mac mini Server into a video ingest station for Avid® and Final Cut® suites.

With the addition of:

  1. A high-performance video capture card (like RED ROCKET, BlackMagic DeckLink, or AJA Kona) plugged into the full-length PCIe 2.0 slot

  2. A SAS controller card (such as ATTO H680) installed in a second slot connecting one SAS port to nearline rack mount RAID storage and the second SAS port to LTO-5 rackmount tape backup.

Scenario 4 Illustration