Wednesday, April 18th 2012

Select ASUS Z77/H77 Motherboards Get Thunderbolt Support

ASUS has plans to give several of its Z77 and H77 chipsets-based motherboards support for Thunderbolt I/O by means of an optional add-on card. Several of currently-launched ASUS 7-series chipset motherboards feature a header marked "TB_HEADER", which lets the motherboard interface with the Thunderbolt I/O add-on card. This header most likely transmits the motherboard's DisplayPort link (from the Flexible Display Interface) to the Thunderbolt I/O card. The card itself is likely based on Intel's 2-channel "Cactus Ridge" Thunderbolt controller, and connects to the system bus over PCI-Express 2.0 x4. ASUS motherboards supporting the optional Thunderbolt add-on card with the TB_HEADER include Maximus V Gene, P8Z77-V Deluxe, P8Z77-V Pro, P8Z77-V, Sabertooth Z77, P8H77-V, and P8H77-M Pro. The Thunderbolt I/O card should be available starting April 27.

Source: VR-Zone
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6 Comments on Select ASUS Z77/H77 Motherboards Get Thunderbolt Support

MeanBruce said:
Asus also stated yesterday that two more Z77 skus will be produced with native thunderbolt, on the board itself, one P8 series board and one ROG board. Hoping one of these skus is the Maximus 5 Extreme!
it wont be Maximus V formula for sure, as that board was already displayed at CeBit last month so its probably going to be Extreme board for sure. :rockout:
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Chaitanya said:
it wont be Maximus V formula for sure, as that board was already displayed at CeBit last month so its probably going to be Extreme board for sure. :rockout:
The M5Formula will have the TB header and add-in card, good information. Just wondering why they don't announce when the M5Extreme will be available? Both boards are so awesome just beyond belief at least for someone like me coming from an Intel X48board. Asus don't make me wait till September, I'm dyin' here!:D
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According to the interview video that MeanBruce linked to, there will actually be two versions of the ASUS Thunderbolt card. One will be a single port card and the other will be a dual port Thunderbolt card. So in theory there is the possibility that slightly different Thunderbolt controllers may be used for each card:

"Cactus Ridge" DSL3310 (2x lanes PCI Express bandwidth 2.1W)
"Cactus Ridge" DSL3510 (4x lanes PCI Express bandwidth 2.8W)

Or perhaps a different contorller,...

I like the concept design though. Asus was able to launch their Thunderbolt ready boards and have them readily available whereas other manufacturers such as MSI with their Z77A-GD80 native Thunderbolt board is missing in action. Integrating Thunderbolt on the board seems to increases the price and delay availability.

Also of note, if the manufacturer only offers one or two Thunderbolt native motherboard solutions then you’re locked in with the feature set of that board. Whereas with Asus you have a choice of price points and features across the line of Asus Thunderbolt supported motherboards.
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Octavean, I found that Asus-Intel background theme from the 2nd Asus video "black and white vinyl analog", it's super-dope!

…link below:

Asus repeatedly states the thunderbolt header is for moving the displayport signal thru the thunderbolt card and then to a display. Can it not also be used for connecting external drives to move data at tons of bandwidth, 10GB/s? Am I missing something?
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Oh cool, a TechPowerUp switch :p
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