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Sonnet Echo SE1 Review

Last Updated on July 26, 2021 by paularo

The Sonnet Echo SE1 is one of the cheapest and smallest enclosures out there that you can buy right now. the price of the enclosure is just $250 and it is even cheaper than the PowerColor Gaming Station. the brand made a number of compromises while creating this tiny beast that can improve the performance of your MacBook or any Ultrabook.

The weight and dimension of the Sonnet Echo SE1 make it one of the most portable eGPU. It comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports and it is one of the few enclosures that I have seen with this feature. The eGPU can accommodate a number of PCle cards but it has some limitations.

As long as your laptop has a thunderbolt 3 port this might be what you need to boost your laptop’s performance and play some intense graphic games.

In this comprehensive review, we will provide you with all the information you need to evaluate the Sonnet Echo SE1 as the best eGPU for you. read on for its key features as well as pointers for selecting the best eGPU for your Laptop.

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Why you need the Sonnet Echo SE1 for your laptop

Using a laptop without a GPU is a difficult task especially when you are into gaming or content creation like photo or video editing. A laptop that doesn’t have a GPU is only suitable for doing basic task and playing 3D games. It is not fast enough and if you start running intensive games and software’s on a laptop without GPU it will always crash.

If you care about speed then you won’t go after a laptop without a GPU. These types of laptops are only suitable for commercial and office works. Sometimes people often buy laptops with high-end specs and after a number of years the parts become outdated and worn out.

That’s where the Sonnet Echo SE1 comes in and it can help boost the performance of your old laptop. if your laptop has a thunderbolt 3 port then an external graphics enclosure can be used to increase the performance of your laptop. it will allow new and updated games run smoothly on your old laptop.

The eGPU technology is still in its early stages and it already works fine with most laptops. Most people like the comfort of moving their laptops around and with an eGPU you can plug in and run your task anywhere. You can unplug your laptop when you are done and move it where ever you want to.

You need the Sonnet Echo SE1 enclosure because it will power your laptop if you pair it with a very strong GPU.

Selecting the Best eGPU for your laptop

The design of the Sonnet Echo SE1 is commendable and it’s not the regular design we are used to. It has a horizontal shape not the vertical shape we are used to with most external enclosures.

The enclosure has a combination of metal and aluminum which makes it even more solid. We have some rubber feet’s that helps keep the enclosure firm when placed on a flat surface. There are two thunderbolts 3 ports at the back of the enclosure and that’s the only ports at the back.

The second port is used for daisy-chaining of up to five thunderbolt peripheral devices. the enclosure lacks other useful ports like a USB type A port and even the power switch. There is a vent at the back that allows air to flow inside and outside the eGPU.

At the front we have the Sonnet logo and four screws that need to be unscrewed before your open the box. The enclosure features an x8 PCIe slot and it supports one half-length, full-height, single or double width PCle card. the enclosure also includes 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 support you can connect a USB device to the second port using a proper cable or adapter.

Using the Sonnet Echo SE1 you can connect two 4K displays at 60Fps or a single display at 5K 60fps. It also has 15W power delivery for connected laptops. the enclosure will transfer data to your laptop at 40Gbps and that is very fast.

You can use a number of PCle cards inside the enclosure but they have to be 7.75 long and 4.38 wide. The enclosure is affordable at 250 US dollars hence the reason why we have a number of compromises. We have a fan inside the enclosure that is somehow loud.

The size and positioning of the fan is the main issue here and I feel with the space inside the enclosure the fan should have been bigger. Sonnet created an enclosure here for people that don’t want to really spend too much to buy an enclosure.

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6 key points for selecting the Sonnet Echo SE1 for your laptop

Affordable Price

The price of the Sonnet Echo SE1 is one of the major reasons why you might consider buying it. If you are in a tight budget and you want to improve the performance of your laptop then the Echo SE1 cost only $250. Although a number of compromises were made it can still give you some decent performance.

Dual Thunderbolt 3 Ports

The Sonnet Echo SE1 has two USB type C thunderbolt 3 ports the second port can be used to connect two 4k monitors and other peripherals. You use the second thunderbolt port to connect other devices. The main thunderbolt 3 port gives you the maximum 40Gbps speed while transferring data from the enclosure to your laptop.

Plug and Play

The eGPU supports plug and play the moment you connect it to your laptop it starts working automatically. There is no need to restart your laptop if you connect the Sonnet Echo SE1 to your laptop. this makes using the external enclosure fun and easy.

Supports All Types of PCle Cards

The enclosure is designed to house various types of PCle cards and you can even mount an additional daughter card to the enclosure. It can house PCle cards that come in different heights and widths. It looks small but it supports thunderbolt 3 PCle 3.0, PCle 2.0, and PCle 1.1. you can also cross check various forums like and reddit to get a list of all the compatible PCle cards.

Compact build

The enclosure has a compact and solid build at the same time it is one of the portable enclosures out there. It can easily be moved from one place to another because of its size. It has a metal and aluminum build. the rubber feet at the bottom makes it stand firm when placed on a desktop.

Cross Platform

The external enclosure works on both macOS and Windows which is great. we have some thousand-dollar enclosures that only work on either Windows or macOS only. This is an added advantage especially to those that use both operating systems every day. They can easily switch and still boost the performance of their laptops regardless of the operating system they are using.

A closer look at the Sonnet Echo SE1 Station

the external enclosure works with almost all the PCle cards that are available out there. We have half-length, and full-length cards that work inside the Sonnet Echo SE1. The enclosure also has room for extra daughter card after you install a PCle card inside the enclosure.

It also works well on both MacOS and Windows operating systems. the enclosure an be a significant boost to your laptop and you can edit videos and pictures with the Sonnet Echo SE1. When it comes to performance it largely depends on the PCIe card that you install inside the eGPU.

The higher you go the better performance you will get. If you want better performance you might check out the Razer core X or PowerColor Gaming station they are some of the cheapest eGPU’s available that are slightly priced ahead of the Sonnet Echo SE1.

The ports on this enclosure are not enough but if we consider the price we can let it slide. There is no power button on the enclosure so you only know it working when connected to your laptop. we can say much about the remarkable design and how Sonnet created a tiny box that gives you enough power to run graphic intense tasks on your laptop. it gets the job done but lacks some features that might be a deal-breaker to a lot of people.

About Sonnet Echo SE1 manufacturers

Sonnet have pioneered and brought to the market many innovative and award-winning products that enhance the performance of Mac, and Windows, and other industry standard computers. They are the leading providers of thunderbolt 3 to PCIe card expansion system. we manufacture products like External graphics (eGPU), pro media readers, docks and adapters, network, storage and more.

Sonnet Echo SE1 Product Specifications and Features

  • Dimension – 8.25 x 4 x 2.8 inches
  • Weight – 2.6 pounds
  • Operating System – Windows 10, and MacOS
  • Color Options – Black
  • Input & Output – Thunderbolt 3 Via type C                                                                               

Description of Sonnet Echo SE1

the echo SE1 thunderbolt 3 edition features an x8 PCle slot, and supports one half-length+, full height, single or double width PCle card. double width some pro video and audio interface cards, such as Blackmagic’s Designs DeckLink 4K Extreme, and RME’s HSPe MADI FX card.

The daughter card occupies the adjacent space without filling a PCle slot. The Echo SE1 has two thunderbolt 3 ports; the first connects to your computer, while the second supports daisy chaining of up to five additional thunderbolt peripherals devices to a single port on your computer.

Pros of the Sonnet Echo SE1

Affordability – The enclosure is one of the earliest enclosures developed by sonnet and it retails for $250 at the moment. there are some compromises that you might have to put up with if you decide to buy the Sonnet Echo SE1.

Compact build – as far as build is concern this is one of the eGPU that you can easily move from one place to another easily. It has metal and aluminum combination that makes it even more sturdy. It sits horizontally on any flat surface and the rubber feet’s makes it sit sturdy on any surface.

Easy to Use – the enclosure has plug and play feature the moment you connect it to your laptop it starts working automatically. No need to reboot your laptop after connecting it to the Sonnet Echo SE1.

Works on Mac and Windows laptops – the enclosures work well on both MacBook’s and windows laptops. some expensive external GPUs lack this particular feature.

Cons of the Sonnet Echo SE1

Lack of a Power Switch – the enclosure lacks a power switch and the only way you will know that the enclosure is working is if you connect it to your laptop. it doesn’t have a dedicated button where you can turn it on and off. This might be a deal breaker for some people a power switch is very important and I wonder why Sonnet didn’t include it here.

Lack of Ports – the Sonnet Echo SE1 lacks the necessary ports needed to make using it much more seamless. There are no USB type A ports or ethernet port every other connection has to come through the second thunderbolt 3 port.

Feels Cheap – if you see some premium looking external graphics enclosure you will know that the Sonnet Echo SE1 despite having a solid build quality still feels cheap. The architecture and design is too basic when compared with other enclosure that are close in price.


Can I use a GPU inside the Sonnet Echo SE1?

No, you can’t the enclosure only support some PCle cards you cannot use any type of graphics card inside the Sonnet Echo SE1.

How much power in Wattage is being sent to the PCIe lane?

The enclosure sends 25W of power to the PCle lane which can be sufficient for most of the PCIe cards that will fit into the Sonnet Echo SE1.

Can I use an x4 PCIe card in Sonnet Echo SE1?

Yes, you can even use an x8 PCIe card inside the Sonnet Echo SE1 and it will work just fine.

Rounding Up

In conclusion, the Sonnet Echo SE1 is lacking a number of important features that are required to make a decent enclosure.

The price of the enclosure is a big factor that allowed Sonnet to make the amount of compromises on the enclosure. Sonnet have other advanced graphics card enclosures that might be right for you if you can’t use the Echo SE1.

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