February 27, 2011

Speedy Sonnet Qio card reader

The Sonnet Technologies' Qio media reader/writer allows users to transfer files to edit stations or RAID storage many times faster than with USB 2.0 or FireWire devices.

Qio connects to workstations through a PCI Express bus interface allowing high-speed transfers with aggregate bandwidth of up to 210MB per second and supports Sony SxS, Panasonic P2, Compact Flash, SD(HC) and SDXC cards. It has two slots for each card format (SDHC shares with SxS) and can transfer data from two cards simultaneously.

It will improve transfer speeds for camera users who need to back up on location, as one single device can import files from up to six cards at a time.

"Sometimes it takes a practical device such as Qio to make the most out of breakthrough technologies. There's no doubt that tapeless recording and file-based editing are revolutionary, but there's an irritating bottleneck - getting data from the cameras to the editor quickly and safely. Qio is a really elegant solution," claimed Allan Leonardsen, Director of Holdan, its UK distributor.

Card data can also be transferred directly onto a RAID storage unit, using Qio's eSATA controller. Its four eSATA ports enable users to connect two Sonnet Fusion F2 portable RAID units, four Sonnet Fusion D400QR5 4-drive RAID 5 systems, or any other drive with an eSATA interface. This allows backing up to large-scale secure storage instead of laptops.

Qio also functions as a PCI Express bus expansion system, giving an instant upgrade to laptops. Its SxS and P2 slots accept ExpressCard/34 adapters and CardBus cards, respectively, enabling users to expand their system with WiFi, FireWire, USB or Gigabit Ethernet.

It measures 15x15.7x3.1cm and is compatible with external battery packs with an XLR 4-pin power connector. It is Mac only, with a PC version to follow, and lists at £725. No word yet on whether there will also be a Thunderbolt version.

By David Fox

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