Topic: Netstor PCIe Expansion for laptop and desktop computers

Netstor, a taiwanese hardware manufacturer, provide a solution for operating up to three PCIe cards (e.g. HDSPe MADI) in an external expansion case.
The TurboBox NA211A can be connected both to laptops with an ExpressCard interface card and to desktop computers with a PCIe interface card. Connection cables come in several lengths.

We have tested both ExpressCard and the PCIe variety. ExpressCard was tested with PC laptops, including my slightly outdated Acer Extensa. Operation with HDSPe MADI, RayDAT and AIO was flawless.

Furthermore, a test with two HDSPe MADI cards was performed on a current Mac Pro, both in OS X and Windows 7, using Reaper and Sequoia 11. Both platforms allowed recording of 128 audio tracks (24 bit, 48 kHz) with no apparent problems.

This expansion can turn a laptop into a multitrack recorder with channel counts that would otherwise not be achievable.

The Turbobox can be opened easily, and cards can be installed or removed without problems, allowing flexible setups.

A list of international distributors can be found here: http://www.netstor.com.tw/_06/06.php

NetStor Turbobox with two HDSPe MADI, one without expansion box, top cover removed

http://www.rme-audio.com/support/netst2.jpg

http://www.netstor.com.tw/upload_files/1303725646.jpghttp://www.netstor.com.tw/upload_files/1303725648.jpg

Re: Netstor PCIe Expansion for laptop and desktop computers

Nice looking device. The LD variant is interesting too, as above with 4x 2.5"SATA bays.  Lets hope they offer a Thunderbolt version too!

3

Re: Netstor PCIe Expansion for laptop and desktop computers

This unit is also used in the RME Lab. The photo shows one of its typical applications, extension of a not-so-hot Dell laptop via its ExpressCard slot. Astonishingly this works really well in terms of performance, both channel count and latency. 2 MADI cards plus one RayDAT have been tested successfully (64+64+36=164 channels!), recorded on either an internal SSD drive or an external hard drive via the eSATA port. Typically it is used with one MADI card and one RayDAT inside.

http://www.rme-audio.de/download/IMG_1644b.jpg

The ExpressCard sits extremely solid in the slot, which must be the case as the cable is both thick and not very flexible. There is no hotplugging, trying this immediately crashes Windows. Seems quite logical, it simply doesn't expect to have a PCIe controller being removed during operation, especially as it seems to think this is an internal one. :-)

This means connect first then boot, shutdown then remove.

http://www.rme-audio.de/download/IMG_1645b.jpg

The fan is low noise and often stays unnoticed even when sitting beside the unit.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: Netstor PCIe Expansion for laptop and desktop computers

I had a conversation with a guy from Netstor, they plan to make Thunderbolt interface version of their Turboboxes. That will be an excellent solution for a powerfull portable system.

This one, which can have four hard drive inside and three PCIe slots is interesting as well.

JM

Re: Netstor PCIe Expansion for laptop and desktop computers

Here's a Turbobox Mini sitting on top of a Mac Pro... It only has one PCIe slot, but two slot openings, so it is ideal to fit a MADI card plus expansion, a Raydat, or the HDSPe AES... Haven't really tested performance yet, but I would expect it to work as well as the fullsize box...

http://www.rme-audio.com/support/miniturbo.jpg

Re: Netstor PCIe Expansion for laptop and desktop computers

The above setup works well with 10.7, besides a certain sample rate change issue (delayed change). Playback as such is ok. Just transferred files and settings from 10.6 to a separate 10.7 partition and the HDSP driver works.

Re: Netstor PCIe Expansion for laptop and desktop computers

This should work with the Raydat yes?

Re: Netstor PCIe Expansion for laptop and desktop computers

Yes, sure.


Regards
Daniel Fuchs
RME

Re: Netstor PCIe Expansion for laptop and desktop computers

What happens with the PCIe devices in the box if you misplace the PCIe x4 target adapter into a different slot?

10

Re: Netstor PCIe Expansion for laptop and desktop computers

That one can not be changed to a different slot.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: Netstor PCIe Expansion for laptop and desktop computers

I work with a composer in LA and we have used both the smaller 3 slot and the larger 7 slot Nestor boxes running 2 raydat cards no problems at all (even when adding a UAD2 OCTO into the chassis as well as a esata I/O card.

Love their stuff, great company to deal with. They even can upgrade a PCI-e 3 slot to a Thunderbolt version for about $250 extra (We bought a coule of 3 slots then upgraded to 7 slots, so I'm taking one of the 3 slots and upgrading it for my Mac Book Pro).

So, no problems so far.

Now, I wonder if it will work with 3 RME Madi cards, the UAD-2 Octo, and the Esata.... any ideas RME?

George Leger III

Re: Netstor PCIe Expansion for laptop and desktop computers

Currently testing recording 390 channels (24/44) in Reaper (OSX 10.8.5) with no apparent problems. HDSPe MADI FX next to a Matrox PCI-Ex card hosting Madiface XT:
http://www.rme-audio.de/forum/viewtopic … 169#p92169