Kool Tools: Tango 3.0 PCIe
Sonnet's Tango 3.0 PCIe is a handy combination USB 3.0 and FireWire 800 PCIe adapter card. It offers a way to add USB 3.0 and FireWire 800 connectivity to Mac Pro and Windows computers with PCIe slots, and to Thunderbolt-to-PCI Express expansion chassis.
The Sonnet adapter can run bus-powered devices such as hard drives through each of its ports. It's also backward-compatible with USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 devices.
USB 3.0, which offers a tenfold increase in data transfer speeds over USB 2.0, has become a standard interface on Mac systems and most Windows PCs, as well as external storage devices. The iconic, but now discontinued, Mac Pro tower never included native USB 3.0 ports, and many perfectly functional PCs were built with only USB 2.0 ports. Users wanting to take advantage of the new fast interface have had to rely on third-party expansion cards. No longer.
The Sonnet adapter provides four USB 3.0 ports: two external USB 3.0 ports and a 20-pin header for two internal USB 3.0 ports. The internal ports support panel-mount connector kits (sold separately).
FireWire 800 established its success as an interface for storage devices and professional audio equipment. Although included for years as a standard feature on most Mac computers, it has rarely been included in Windows PCs. The Tango 3.0 PCIe provides Windows PC and Mac Pro users alike a simple way to add three FireWire 800 ports to any compatible computer with an open PCIe slot.
The Tango 3.0 PCIe adapter card is available at a suggested retail price of US$99. The card is compatible with Mac OS X 10.8.4 and higher and Windows 7 and 8. Go to www.sonnettech.com for more info.