COme on man, you know a PLX8606 bridge is used, how else would anyone do it? You need one lane for any NIC or even Intel PHY, Audio Codec like ALC898 doesn't need a lane, but a creative IC like CA202K or CA0132 needs a lane. Then USB 3.0 controllers use a lane, an extra marvell controller uses a lane. I think they perhaps feed the PLX8606 which is a 6 port PCI-E IC which can take 1 input and give 4 or 5 output ports, or take in 2 and gie out 4 which is what GB is using. That would give them two more device connections like for PCI-E 1x slots or extra SATA or USB3. But also In any case you only need 4 PCI-E links, GB doesn't take them from the CPU, that would be suicide(who would buy a Z77 board with less than 16X lanes for the CPU?) and not needed. At the demo at computex they used those RAID controllers with a lot of drives, i think those devices are very expensive. I am unsure how well thunderbolt will do, i am sure some MAC users will like them.