The CUBE desktop expansion enclosures offers a breadth of options
Mark Gunn, Onestopsystems.com

What do you do when an application you need to use requires a specialized PCIe card and your laptop or PC doesn’t have a slot to accommodate it? Expansion enclosures provide needed slots for application boards and connect easily to either your laptop or your PC or Workstation. While several desktop expansion enclosures have been introduced recently, no other has offered the breadth of options as ‘The CUBE’ family of expansion enclosures. This line of innovative products not only includes seven different sizes but each size offers a variety of options including the number and type of cards supported and either Thunderbolt or PCIe connectivity to the computer.

Thunderbolt connects an expansion enclosure to your Apple laptop or MAC workstation and is supported by some PC manufacturers as well. It makes data transfers to and from your computer at 10Gb/s and it also contains a 10Gb/s data port. PCIe expansion offers a range of bus speeds up to 128Gb/s. All CUBE enclosures support both Thunderbolt and PCIe expansion that connect to your computer through a cable furnished with all CUBE products.

The chart at the right shows a comparison of the different CUBE versions. The nanoCUBE, the smallest of the family, is ideal for adding a fast storage Flash card to your laptop to quickly download and temporarily store video or graphic data. The µCUBE is ideal for a laptop-user that requires a mid-size card up to 9.5” long. All enclosures offer a lightweight chassis with whisper-quiet operation. It’s also extremely easy to install a board into them. One screw retains a lightweight metal frame that easily slides out of the enclosure exposing the add-in card slot. Once the card is installed in the slot, the frame easily slides back into the enclosure and is secured. In intense rendering applications GPUs can reduce down time caused by the rendering process. ‘The CUBE’ enclosures offer multiple slots for single-wide and double-wide full-length cards like GPUs. While the CUBE can support one double-wide card, the CUBE2 supports two double-wide cards and one single-wide card, and the CUBE3 can support up to four double-wide cards. All models have ample power and cooling.

 

Product Size (HxLxW) Price PCIe card length Power # of Slots
nanoCUBE 6.6” x 8.4” x 2.3” $450 7.35" 36 W 1
µCUBE 9.7” x 11.0” x 2.5” $395 9.55" 84 W 1 or 2
µCUBE2 9.7” x 11.0” x 4.7” $695 9.55" 84 W 3
µCUBE3 9.7” x 11.0” x 6.9” $795 9.55" 84 W 5
CUBE 9.7” x 14.4” x 3.35” $595 13.25" 180 W 1 or 2
CUBE2 9.7” x 14.4” x 6.25” $895 13.25" 180 W 5
CUBE3 9.7” x 14.4” x 9.2” $1350 13.25" 180 W 8

 

 

Mobility is a huge advantage of expansion enclosures. Smaller and lighter than a Workstation, a laptop with an expansion enclosure can easily become mobile. The film industry, along with many others, uses laptops to download digital images and video on location. High-end digital cameras use software and boards to accelerate the download and transcode time from the cameras. These boards along with Flash memory boards for fast storage can be installed in The CUBE and then simply plugged into the laptop when required. A 3D rendering application operates at a much faster rate with multiple GPU’s.  Many of today’s high-end GPUs fully support  the PCIe x16 Gen3 bus.  Many of the PC’s or MAC Workstations today may only have one or two PCIe x16 Gen3 slots and even then they may not have the power or cooling to support these boards requiring 350 watts a piece. This is an ideal application for The CUBE that has the power and cooling to support these hot cards.

Today you can have access to the exact specialty boards your job requires and be completely mobile with The CUBE desktop expansion enclosures. This saves you having to lug around a bulky, noisy Workstation or rackmount enclosure. But more than that, it saves you time and money. You can now have immediate access to high-end boards that will reduce your down-time and you don’t have to invest in larger, more expensive computers to do the same job you can now do on your laptop. The CUBE, µCUBE and nanoCUBE expansion enclosures are lightweight, whisper-quiet, and are less expensive than other enclosures that are on the market today. You can easily order them on www.onestopsystems.com.