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Intel Announces "Thunderbolt ready" Upgrade Program for Motherboards, PCs

Discussion in 'News' started by Cristian_25H, Nov 15, 2013.

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Do you have a use for Thunderbolt?

  1. Yes, already using it

    2 vote(s)
    6.9%
  2. Yes

    2 vote(s)
    6.9%
  3. No

    25 vote(s)
    86.2%
  1. Cristian_25H

    Cristian_25H News Poster

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    The past year has seen a flurry of Thunderbolt related activity. Already present on every current Apple Mac, Thunderbolt has continued to grow within PC circles. And the Thunderbolt ecosystem responded, with over 100 Thunderbolt devices now shipping and available, most certified for both Mac and PC. Thunderbolt makes new experiences possible and developers are seeking to take advantage of Thunderbolt's key benefits, including simultaneous data and display transfer, with speeds of up to 10 Gbps, and daisy-chain connectivity of up to six devices. Building upon that foundation, the first Thunderbolt 2 systems were introduced in October this year, with speeds up to 20 Gbps, and support for the DisplayPort 1.2 protocol. Thunderbolt is clearly the fastest, most versatile connection to your PC.

    Now we have a new announcement for you - an exciting new program to quickly expand the footprint of Thunderbolt for desktop and workstation users. This new initiative is called "Thunderbolt ready", and it enables PC manufacturers to offer Thunderbolt upgradeable motherboards within desktop and workstation computers. By using a Thunderbolt card, Thunderbolt's blazing fast speed and uncompressed video capabilities can now be added to any motherboard that includes a GPIO header (general purpose input/output header), so even if your system doesn't have Thunderbolt it is now possible to "upgrade" to it. Users that are interested in adding Thunderbolt 2 technology to an existing Thunderbolt ready system can combine a Thunderbolt card with a growing number of enabled motherboards, all identified by the use of the "Thunderbolt ready" moniker. The Thunderbolt ready program makes it simple to identify which components work together to upgrade your PC with Thunderbolt 2 capability.

    [​IMG]

    The addition of a Thunderbolt ready card to a PC is a simple and straight forward process. All a user needs to do is connect the Thunderbolt card into the designated PCIe slot, connect a cable to the GPIO header, and utilize an available DP (DisplayPort) out connector from the motherboard processor graphics, or an external graphics card, depending on the system. And since a Thunderbolt card comes with all the necessary cables, software, and instructions, upgrading is a breeze.

    The benefits of the Thunderbolt ready program are plain to see. If a user has a system with an existing Thunderbolt ready motherboard, all they will need to do is purchase the Thunderbolt card and follow the simple instructions for installation. For those looking to build a new system, the only requirement is to make sure both the Thunderbolt card and motherboard are Thunderbolt ready. Finally, for custom desktop resellers interested in expanding Thunderbolt within their available product mix, the number of potential motherboards that can be offered will increase dramatically.

    The initial participant in the Thunderbolt ready program is ASUS, and they have developed the first Thunderbolt card, the ASUS ThunderboltEX II, to go along with the first Thunderbolt ready motherboard, the ASUS Z87 Pro. The ThunderboltEX II is based on Thunderbolt 2 technology, and will be available in December 2013. ASUS is also planning for additional motherboards to be certified within the Thunderbolt ready program in 2014.

    "ASUS ThunderboltEX II is the first expansion card certified by Intel as a Thunderbolt 2 upgrade solution - and it gives users a simple, fast and flexible option to upgrade their existing hardware whenever they want," said Joe Hsieh, ASUS Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Motherboard and Desktop System Business Unit. "ASUS worked closely with Intel to ensure the best compatibility, quality and performance across ASUS 8-series Thunderbolt 2-ready motherboards."

    Other OEMs are following suit, and a growing number of Thunderbolt ready cards, motherboards, desktops, and workstations will become available in 2014.

    Since the beginning, "Is there an add-in card for this?" has been one of the more popular questions asked of Thunderbolt. Today, the answer is an enthusiastic "yes", and the introduction of the Thunderbolt ready program will dramatically increase the availability of Thunderbolt technology, bringing 20 Gbps bandwidth, data and display over a single cable, and daisy-chain connectivity of up to six devices, to a far larger range of users in the marketplace.
  2. Fourstaff

    Fourstaff Moderator Staff Member

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    Fastest, most versatile, refuses to support external GPU. Thunderbolt can crash and burn for all I care.
    hellrazor says thanks.
  3. james888

    james888

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    I can see possible use for it for professionals. What about us enthusiasts though. We usually are early adopters of new technology and I personally don't have any desire for thunderbolt.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  4. dwade

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    Thunderbolt 2 needs to take off on the mobile market much more than desktop. :banghead:
  5. Vinska

    Vinska

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
    Crunching for Team TPU
  6. theoneandonlymrk

    theoneandonlymrk

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    Thunderbolt 2 is quite possibly the worst thing intels made in years , broke from the start and clearly so expensive to add to a motherboard that Oems are not going to bother instead offering an add in card they can then double tap your wallet with , totally lame .
    NeoXF says thanks.
  7. Octavean

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    Perhaps people are forgetting that Asus made similar claims about the original proprietary Asus ThunderBoltEX PCIe add in card,...which never made it to market due to Intel's refusal to certify it. This was likely due to circumventing Intel video in the implementation which (would have) made Thunderbolt possible on even proprietary Asus AMD motherboards. We have little to no reason to think this iteration will make it to market either.

    The thing that confusing though is that Apple's new Mac Pro seems to have Thunderbolt II on a Xeon Ivy Bridge-E based system that probably doesn't have Intel video,....

    I have heard that Intel was working on their own version of an add in card which required motherboards be compliant though so I guess this is it.

    I am interested personally. Although IMO Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 is best suited and most needed by closed systems (mostly mobile) that have little to no expansion options otherwise. Desktop systems don't need anything like Thunderbolt for the most part because they already have easily accessible expansion via PCIe ports.

    Still IMO Asus needs to make good on their original Thunderbolt ready "TB_Header" motherboards and ThunderbboltEX card promises.

    People who don't want Thunderbolt / Thunderbolt 2 support need not worry about it though because chances are their motherboard doesn't support it anyway. If they ever get a Thunderbolt /2 ready motherboard (possibly due to standard GPIO proliferation) they need never implement it with an add in card. No big deal.

    It sounds like they are allowing the use of external graphics in some way:

    but I believe all versions of Thunderbolt allowed this in some way or another if I am not mistaken.
  8. magibeg

    magibeg

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    Thunderbolt came on my new laptop. No complaints at all.
  9. Octavean

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    Right and as I was saying Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 make a lot of sense on closed systems that have little to no expansion options open to them except for Thunderbolt. Its not a bad thing to have it on a desktop system but its just not necessary.
  10. Jorge

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    Intel is desperate as Thunderflop is a tech no one wants.
  11. Frick

    Frick Fishfaced Nincompoop

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    The cost seems to be the major downside. Massive potential for universal laptop docking stations, but there are almost none to be had.
  12. birdie

    birdie

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    The picture in the article makes zero sense.

    No it makes negative sense - who in the right mind would short circuit thunderbolt and USB ports? Such a configuration will probably not boot at all. :laugh:
  13. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    At work I was able to image a Macbook Air using Thunderbolt in 4 minutes for a 16Gb compressed image. 2 minutes to write, 2 minutes to verify. You can't say that isn't awesome.
  14. Octavean

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    I think some people don't quite get some of the issues with Thunderbolt deployment. While its true that Thunderbolt hasn't been widely adopted on the PC (yet has a presence on the Mac) its not a simple matter of tried and failed.

    The reality is that Intel has done quite a few things to impede / retard adoption / deployment of Thunderbolt. In other words Intel has gotten in their own way and they have done so from day one when it comes to Thunderbolt,....and they are still doing it,....

    Its probably more an issue of mismanagement then anything else.

    Thunderbolt is really just the PCIe BUS and DisplayPort both of which have been readily adopted by the industry for years now.
  15. HisDivineOrder

    HisDivineOrder

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    I remember when I bought my P8Z77-V, Asus was "the first of many" companies going to offer an upgrade card to Thunderbolt for a lot of boards.

    They were the only company to ever end up fielding such a board and it was not very available. Not ever.

    This is another desperate move on Intel's part to keep Thunderbolt from its destiny of being the next Firewire.

    Too late, though. It already is. The first warning sign should have been when they used Apple to field the standard for a year.
  16. tigger

    tigger I'm the only one

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    My board has a header on it for this. Depending on price, I would not mind trying it.

    [​IMG]
  17. theoneandonlymrk

    theoneandonlymrk

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    a heck of a lot of motherboards will have a gpio header, but im getting the vibe you need the sticker on the box still advising compatibility(they dont want amd chipsets running it:rolleyes:).

    probably so intel can charge a bit more for that chipset with an L at the end of its name, then obviously you have to do the hard work of fitting an add in card which has the Tbolt chip on it plus some balls and pointless cicuitry to run it and even more pointless shroude-idge all because there end to end cable price is off the chart funny and no one bar apple has really bought into it yet, what a surprise.
    Hate to say it but heck its true Amd's lighning port(i think thats what its called) kicks its ass in Every metric especially price (to Oem and to us).as is usb3+ imho
  18. Hood

    Hood

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    Good point - my P8Z77-V has the useless TB_Header, and even if the promised hardware had been available, I wouldn't have spent money on it.
  19. Assimilator

    Assimilator

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    The picture is connecting the TB card to the GPIO header. The USB 2.0 headers are farther to the right.
  20. Deadlyraver

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    Thunderbolt should be a technology for only servers and possibly workstations. Such setups rely on such data transfer speeds.
  21. Vinska

    Vinska

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    Except there are better and most importantly - much cheaper methods. So it is not very useful there, I'd say.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  22. Octavean

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    A lot of Asus Z77 series motherboards have the Thunderbolt "TB_Header" and to be honest the ASUS Z87 Pro board pictured above seems to have an identical "TB_Header". However, I wouldn't simply assume that older Z77 boards with their never released ThunderboltEX solution are fully compatable with the Intel GPIO compliant Z87 Pro and its newer generations ilk.

    Presumably something has changed and it might not just be the ThunderboltEX II card itself. So people may need a new Haswell Z87 ASUS Complaint motherboard with a new ThunderboltEX card for this to work,.....maybe. With any luck older ASUS Z77 motherboards will be supported but that's a wait and see proposition.

    What motherboard do you have?

    For what its worth, I believe the older ThunderboltEX card was cited as being on the order of ~$45 USD.
  23. tigger

    tigger I'm the only one

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    Asus maximus V gene
  24. DS

    DS

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    yes, we use thunderbolt on our workstations for video editing :rockout:
  25. buggalugs

    buggalugs

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    I have thunderbolt on my Z87 deluxe dual, but I haven't used it yet because I have no TB devices. I cant even install the drivers until I have a TB device connected.

    I think it has a future but like everything, when its cheaper companies will start to use it more.

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