The mLink Chassis turns half-length PCI Express cards into external Thunderbolt-connected devices, but it comes at a serious price.
mLogic has announced that it is to begin shipping its mLink PCIe to Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis in June, providing a means for laptop and small form factor users to access hardware previously restricted to desktop systems.
As the name suggests, the mLink Chassis is an external casing which provides a PCI Express slot and a pair of Thunderbolt ports to turn any PCI Express card into an external device. The chassis support a single card apiece, but the paired ports mean they can be daisy-chained for up to six cards into a single system.
There are, unfortunately, restrictions: while mLogic claims that graphics cards are supported, the chassis only has room for half-length cards. As a result, the most powerful hardware - and, by extension, the hardware laptop users are most likely to want to add in to their systems - simply won't fit into the device.
Despite that, mLogic is keen to point out the potential of its creation: PCI Express-based HD video capture cards, RAID controllers, solid-state drives, 10GbE network and fibre-channel host bus adapters are all available in half-length formats, opening up an impressive world of peripheral joy for previously bereft laptop users.
Sadly, such functionality comes at a not-inconsiderable price. While mLogic has yet to confirm UK availability and pricing, the company has given a US recommended retail price of a whopping $399.99 (around £253 excluding taxes.)
That eye-raising price tag is perhaps unsurprising when you learn of mLogic's target market: video editing professionals with high-end MacBook Pro laptops who need high-speed access to storage, networking or video capture devices. For the rest of the world, however, mLogic's creation is likely to remain out of reach for quite some time.