Subject: Graphics Cards | June 22, 2012 - 04:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tahiti, gpu, ASUS ROG, asus, amd, 7970
ASUS recently posted a few teaser photos of its upcoming Republic of Gamers branded 7970 graphics card. The Matrix HD 7970 is a three slot design with the company’s DirectCU II heatsink, dual fans, DIGI+ VRM, and (of course) AMD’s 7970 Tahiti GPU core. While likely not based on the higher-binned cores used in the new 7970 GHz Edition graphics cards, with the large cooler and extra power phases that ASUS is packing into this Matrix GPU it should overclock to similar levels of performance.
The card features fans, and a large dual slot cooler with the traditional red and black ROG theme. The ASUS and Matrix logos are etched into the side of the card as well. The PCB is black and further covered by a bracing plate to reinforce the PCB to support the weight of the cooler. On the front of the card, it houses an air vent, two DVI connectors, and four DisplayPort video outputs. On the back of the card are four buttons. Two of the buttons with plus and minus symbols let you adjust the core voltage in preset jumps. The Safe Mode button next to the minus button clears the overclocks from the BIOS and resets the card to default settings. Finally, the red button will spin the fan up to 100% to overclock the card as far as possible. They also have a bank of LEDs below the buttons that offer at-a-glance load monitoring (really only useful for those testing outside a case...). In the rear corner of the card is two eight pin PCI-E power connectors. Then, on the underside (top when installed in the case) of the graphics card’s PCB, ASUS has a VGA Hotwire port which allows the card to interface with the ASUS OC Key and Extreme edition motherboards (such as the Maximus V and Rampage IV Extreme). There are also voltage checking points.
Internals are somewhat similar to ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II, but with some aspects ratcheted up. The power phases, for example, have increased from 12 phases to 20 on the Matrix card. It continues to use the 7970 “Tahiti” GPU with 2048 shaders, 32 ROPs, and AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture. ASUS is packing 3GB of GDDR5 memory with a 384-bit memory interface. ASUS has stated that both the GPU core and memory will be overclocked from the factory. Unfortunately, they have not released any specific numbers. We will have to wait until the card is closer to the launch date for that information.
The ASUS ROG Matrix graphics card will be launching in Q3 of 2012. It will be aimed at extreme overclockers – especially those that are already using Republic of Gamers branded motherboards from ASUS. What do you think of this new card, especially now that AMD has launched its 7970 GHz Edition reference GPU? You can find more photos of the card over at the ASUS website.
Subject: Mobile | June 20, 2012 - 04:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, Zenbook UX31, ultrabook
ASUS has been paying attention to the complaints many people have about the resolution of ultrabooks and with the UX31 have provided an 11.6" 1600 x 900 LCD. The aluminium clad Ultrabook uses the Core i5-2557M and HD3000 graphics, 4GB DDR3 and a 256GB SSD in its thin and lightweight frame. Unfortunately Hardware Canucks ended up less than impressed with the chicklet style keyboard nor the track pad and they found issues with the WiFi as well. On the positive side the battery life was impressive as was the audio so do not dismiss this Ultrabook because of a few small issues.
"Mobile computing is quickly evolving with thinner, more versatile designs and no product better defines this focus than ASUS' new Zenbook series of Ultrabooks. The UX31 has been around for a while but it still represents the pinnacle of industrial design with a sleek body and even better looking specifications. But in an environment that's cluttered with lower priced competitors, this Ultrabook will be fighting an uphill battle for recognition. "
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- ASUS G75VW notebook @ Hardwareoverclock
- Samsung Series 9 15″ NP900X4C Ivy Bridge Ultrabook Overview and SSD Performance Analysis @ SSD Review
- Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook Review @ TechReviewSource
- Toshiba Portege Z930 @ The Inquirer
- AMD Trinity APU Reference Laptop Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Alienware M17x R4 Review (i7 3610QM/ AMD HD7970M) @ Kitguru
- HuntKey X-MAN 90W Universal Notebook Adapter Review @ NikKTech
- Apple MacBook Pro (15-Inch, Retina Display) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display hands-on preview @ Hardware.Info
- MacBook Air (Mid 2012) Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Ultrabooks vs. 13" MacBook Air: Is the Apple Tax Real? @ TechSpot
- Samsung Galaxy S3 Android Smartphone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Huawei Honor U8860 Android SmartPhone Review @ NikKTech
- Samsung Galaxy S III Review - AT&T and T-Mobile USA Variants @ AnandTech
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 13, 2012 - 09:03 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: trinity, spire, Silverstone, rosewill, nzxt, corsair, computex 2012, computex, asus, amd
The Tech Report found a few more Computex 2012 pictures to show off, including a teaser from NZXT of the previous Phantom model as the new model is still under NDA, no such problem for the case modders showing off at the Thermaltake booth nor for InWin and their new H-Frame case. Sticking with the cooling motif is this new fan from Spire which uses a new type of bearing to provide a longer life and Corsair's two new lineups of 120mm and 140mm fans, the AF series designed to maximize air flow through a case and the SF series for heatsinks and radiators which benefit more from the increased static pressure larger fan blades can provide. From Rosewill they spotted a silent PSU, SilverStone a SFX model perfect for an HTPC and big 1200W digitally controlled PSU from Corsair. Wrap up the tour with some bad news about the expected delay of Trinity on the desktop and some good news for audiophiles from ASUS' Xonar team.
"We've wrapped up our Computex coverage with another round of news. On tap: the PSUs and case mods that stood out at the show, new fans from Corsair and Spire, a chat with Asus' Xonar audio team, details on NZXT's next-generation Phantom enclosure, and word of a delay to AMD's desktop Trinity APU."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD and ARM joined by Imagination, TI, and MediaTek @ SemiAccurate
- AMD 2013 APUs To Include ARM Cortex-A5 Processor For TrustZone Capabilities @ AnandTech
- TSMC reiterates supply of 28nm chips to come close to demand in 4Q12 @ DigiTimes
- TSMC joins giant fab race @ The Register
- Open Rail, or, why didn’t we think of this? @ Hack a Day
- nstall Windows 8 from a USB Drive, Dual-boot with XP, Vista and 7 @ TechSpot
- Netgear ReadyNAS Duo v2 @ Legion Hardware
- Computex: Thunderbolt is coming, slowly for now @ Kitguru
Podcast #205 - News from Computex 2012! - Ultrabooks, Trinity Motherboards, New products from Corsair, and much more!
Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2012 - 03:21 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: trinity, ROG, PSU, podcast, nvidia, LAMD, Intel, corsair, computex, asus, amd, a85, 680M
PC Perspective Podcast #205 - 06/07/2012
Join us this week as we talk about all of the news from Computex 2012! - Ultrabooks, Trinity Motherboards, New products from Corsair, and much more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano
- 0:00:25 Introduction
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:03:15 MSI Radeon HD 7950 Review
- 0:10:00 ASUS Sabertooth X79 Review
- 0:11:10 DV Nation RAMRod system review
- 0:18:25 Samsung Series 5 Chromebook review
- 0:19:10 Intel Ultrabook Ivy Bridge reference review
- 0:21:00 AD BREAK
- 0:21:47 AMD loses monthly Catalyst updates
- 0:25:20 Ultrabooks
- 0:36:00 MAINGEAR 11-in gaming machine
- 0:37:00 Sandisk PCIe SSD competitor
- 0:42:00 Trinity / A85 Motherboards
- 0:45:30 ASUS says THEY have the overclocking record
- 0:46:30 Macbook coming with ultra high-res display?
- 0:51:00 Gigabyte X79S motherboard
- 0:53:00 LSI shows SF-2000 driving smaller flash
- 0:59:30 Corsair has...
- 1:05:30 NVIDIA wants discrete GPUs in Ultrabooks
- 1:07:30 NVIDIA shows GeForce GTX 680M GPU
- 1:11:00 ASUS MARS III dual GTX 680 card
- 1:13:00 3DMark for Windows 8 Screenshots
- 1:15:00 AMD releases Brazos 2.0
- 1:16:45 New ASUS ROG Gear
- 1:21:00 ASUS shows off beastly concept motherboards
- 1:24:10 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: Mobile | June 7, 2012 - 01:54 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wireless, gaming laptop, gaming, computex, ASUS ROG, asus, 802.11ac, 5GHz wifi
Earlier today we posted a couple of teaser photos showing off some of ASUS’ upcoming products. One of the devices was a gaming laptop called the ASUS G75. Engadget has managed to get their hands on some more information regarding a variant of the G75 – the G75VW. According to the site, the gaming laptop is rocking an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, GeForce GTX 670M, and DDR3 memory (known because of the CPU used). That hardware is then powering a 1080p display, which the GTX 670M should have no problem driving but is a bit depressing to see on a high end laptop of this size (approximately 17”). The real kicker though is in the wireless card that it is allegedly packing: an 802.11ac card.
The ASUS G75 gaming laptop
Engadget states that although the information sheet next to the laptop at ASUS’ Computex booth did not list any 802.11ac compatibility, wireless chip maker Broadcom (manufacturer of chips that are used in many wireless routers and NICs) has stated that it does in fact have an 802.11ac NIC in it. Senior Vice President Michael Hurlston told members of the press at Computex 2012 that the ASUS G75VW is the “World’s first 5G Wi-Fi laptop.” He further stated that the computer would be arriving in the hands of consumers “very shortly.”
Interesting stuff, and although the “5G Wi-Fi” – so called because it is the fifth generation of consumer grade Wi-Fi (though not the 5th gen if you count all iterations of the wireless 802.11 standards) – is not yet official and set in stone, it is very close and I would not be surprised to see the technology in a laptop like this particular ASUS at this point in the game.
And to think that I just got done upgrading my network to Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n about two months ago! Even so, I’m excited for the upcoming standard because I want to test its usefulness in getting live TV from my CableCARD tuner to the living room and Katy’s wireless laptop without stuttering – something even wireless N with MIMO can’t do with devices in the same room. So far, the only thing stable enough has been wired Cat5e Ethernet (both 100Mbps and 1000Mbps hardware seem to work without issues). And because it’s proving difficult to get a wired connection from the router to the TV (Xbox 360 used as Windows Media Extender), I’m ready to try out some 802.11ac stuff to see if it can really deliver on the increased bandwidth!
Subject: Motherboards | June 6, 2012 - 08:12 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: zeus, wolverine, power phase, motherboard, dual gpu, concept, computex, asus
ASUS has a history of showing off crazy high-end concept motherboards that are not likely to come to market but may help influence future motherboard products by getting the creative sparks of innovation flowing in engineers’ minds.
At this year’s Computex 2012, Asus showed off two concept motherboards that it is calling Zeus and Wolverine. While Zeus tackles Thunderbolt and integrated GPUs, Wolverine approaches the problem of getting clean power to the CPU by pushing the limits of the number of power phases that can be integrated into ATX-sized motherboards.
You will notice on the Zeus motherboard that the bottom of the board holds a bank of two 8 pin and two six pin power connectors. The two eight pin connectors are labeled VGA 1 and VGA 2 while the two six pin connectors are labeled VGA 3 and VGA 4 respectively. At first this seems like a regular X79 chipset (socket 2011) based motherboard with giant heatsinks for overclockers. After doing a double take (at least I did), you will notice that the board has no PCI-E connectors!
Instead, the board has a large heatsink, and under that heatsink are two GPUs in CrossFire configuration. Tech Power Up believes that the GPUs being used are two AMD 7800 “Pitcairn” series mobile graphics cards in CrossFire configuration. While the desktop variants are fairly low power, they would need active cooling or a larger heatsink, which I think is what lead them to consider that ASUS may be using mobile-class cards. Reportedly, ASUS did not create this board to suggest GPU integration, but to show off dual Thunderbolt ports on an X79 motherboard.
Connectivity on the board includes a socket 2011 CPU, eight DDR3 DIMM slots, ten SATA connectors, (and on the rear IO panel) a WiFi radio, eight USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, Gigabit LAN, 7.1 channel analog audio output, optical audio output, HDMI output, DisplayPort output, and two eSATA ports.
As far as the dual GPU integration goes, however... I don’t expect we’ll be seeing a move in the industry like this any time soon, at least not on high-end Enthusiast boards (though I could see an argument for small form factor (SFF) budget gaming systems from OEMs). Dedicated graphics card technology moves at such a rapid pace compared to motherboards that it is just not feasible to market a feature like this to enthusiasts. While they may keep the same motherboard for years, those same users will likely upgrade their graphics cards at least once to stay current. Further, with the cost of these high-end motherboards already approaching exorbitant, adding integrated GPUs that don’t mesh well with the purpose of a high end system pushes the cost higher and demand to a point that these boards just don’t seem realistic.
While Zeus was more of a powerhouse with a twist (albeit one that isn’t really feasible to market), the other motherboard – Wolverine – is a “because we can” board but one that could have an impact on the industry today. ASUS has taken its Digi+ digital power to the extreme by packing as many power phases as it could into an ATX form factor motherboard. In total, they managed to place 40 power phases onto the PCB – notice how the CPU socket had to be shifted to the right to make room!
Other features on the board include eight SATA connectors, four DIMM slots, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, LGA 1155 socket, and three PCI 3.0 x1 slots. On the rear the board features four USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports, a WiFi radio, Gigabit LAN, BIOS buttons, optical audio output, 7.1 channel analog audio output, and what looks like two eSATA ports.
Granted, I’m not suggesting that we will be seeing motherboards coming out with 40+ power phases anytime soon. I can see this influencing future designs, however. Even heavy overclockers (water and air cooling levels) don’t really /need/ 40 power phases but we could start seeing vendors put out boards with half of that and still have it be a big improvement.
What do you think of the two new ASUS concept motherboards? You can see more images of the boards over at AnandTech's gallery. Do you think they are on the right track? If not what areas do you think motherboard manufacturers need to improve?
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 6, 2012 - 05:33 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: motherboard, laptop, headsets, gaming, ASUS ROG, asus
Today we received a number of photos from ASUS that show off some upcoming hardware from their upcoming Republic of Gamers line. Except for the Xonar Phoebus (which has launched), the hardware in these photos is not yet released and ASUS has not revealed when it will be available for sale – or how much it will cost. Still, I can’t think of a better way to start the day than getting a glimpse of some shiny unreleased hardware – especially when I get to share it with you!
First up is a new Replublic of Gamers motherboard called the Maximus V Extreme. This board is similar to the mATX Maximus V GENE board that was announced recently, but the Extreme motherboard is full ATX.
While full specifications are unknown, from the photo you can see that the board has an LGA 1155 socket, making it compatible with the latest Intel Ivy Bridge processors. Further, it is sporting four DDR3 DIMM slots, five PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, and one PCI-E 3.0 x4 slots. Other features of the board include ASUS’ Extreme Engine Digi+ II digital power control technology, power and reset buttons on the board itself, voltage check points, Lucid Virtu MVP GPU virtualization technology, and AMD CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI support. The VRM area and southbridge area of the board is covered by large black and red heatsinks.
Rear IO includes five USB 2.0 ports (one to be used with ROG Connect), two USB 3.0 ports, an Intel-powered Gigabit LAN, HDMI, DisplayPort, optical audio output, PS/2 port, five analog audio outputs and a TOSLink connector. Additionally, the board features CMOS clear and reset buttons, a mini-PCIe + mSATA combo card, and a Republic of Gamers OC Key accessory. The OC Key plugs into the DVI port of the graphics card and provides an on-screen-display for overclocking information and voltage tweaking.
In addition to the ASUS Maximus V Extreme, the company is producing the Maximus V Forumula motherboard, which is then further available with or without the ThunderFX audio accessory. The Formula board is another socket 1155 board with a red and black color scheme that is ready for Ivy Bridge processors and multi-GPU setups (SLI or CrossFireX). The heatsinks on the formula are a little less beefy than those on the Maximus V Extreme, but the VRM heatsinks are ready to be integrated into a water cooling loop. Further features include four DDR3 DIMM slots, eight SATA connectors, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, three PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots, and a single PCI-E 3.0 x4 slot.
The board also features the SupremeFX integrated sound card (which has been isolated from the rest of the board by routing the wiring through its own PCB layer) and a mini-PCI-E + mSATA combo card. One version of the motherboard also comes with the SupremeFX accessory which you can see in the photo below.
Rear IO of the Maximus V Formula motherboard includes four USB 2.0 ports (one for ROG connect), four USB 3.0 ports, an eSATA port, DisplayPort, HDMI, Intel-powered Gigabit LAN, five analog audio jacks, two optical audio outputs, and CMOS clear and reset buttons.
The Maximus Extreme V Formula comes with a device called the ThunderFX that is a high end headphone amp and DAC offering 120dB SNR, and noise cancellation technology. The included GamEQ comes with three preset profiles but also offers you a wide range of options to tweak your sound to your own desires. There is also onboard audio in the form of the SupremeFX IV audio chipset which will keep those who prefer speakers more than happy with their audio quality.
You can also see that the large anodized aluminium heatsinks have barbs for you to include them in a watercooling loop so that all components on your motherboard can be cooled without resorting to fans to move air. GameFirst II is the name ASUS has given their networking software and it is designed to examine an prioritize packets to reduce lag and ping times. It comes with both an EZ Mode as well as offering advanced options for those who know what they are doing. As we have seen on other boards, the Maximus Extreme V Formula comes with a mPCIe Combo card with dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. This board is also shattering records in Super PI 32M, 3DMark05 and Heaven to name a few.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 5, 2012 - 12:59 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nvidia, mars 3, gtx 680, computex, asus
ASUS has created a graphics card that places two NVIDIA GTX 680 GPUs and 8GB of RAM on a single PCB cooled by three fans and a heatpipe-aided fin array. With three PCI-E power connectors and a dual slot design, you can bet that it will be expensive, large, and in charge (of your electric bill). (Even so, I still want one even if I have to get a new case :P).
ASUS is showing off a graphics card at Computex that is sure to be of interest to enthusiasts everywhere. The successor to their elusive Mars II (which we reviewed here), the new ASUS Mars III is a dual GPU graphics card utilizing two NVIDIA GTX 680 GPUs and a total of 8GB of GDDR5 memory on a single PCB. The dual slot card is cooled by three fans on an aluminum and heatpipe aided fin array. Around the back of the card are three eight pin PCI-E power connectors for up to 525watts of power! There is also a red button to the left of the connectors that spins the fans up to 100% for maximum overclocking. Towards the front is a single SLI connector (for up to 4-way SLI) along with three DVI ports and a mini-DisplayPort for video output.
In short, this graphics card is a total beast. Although we do not yet know clockspeeds or other specific details, you can expect the cards to be expensive and very fast. According to VR-Zone, the card being shown off at Computex 2012 is an engineering sample and the company is still working to refine the final design – particularly the cooler and PCB. You can find more photos of this massive card here.
Introduction and Features
Courtesy of ASUS
ASUS continues to optimize their hardware for the overclocking and PC gaming crowds, but they are also catering to a niche audience looking for ultra stable and durable PC components. ASUS's Sabertooth X79 motherboard is their one of their latest products to bear the TUF series label and sport customized hardware and thermal components as well as a desert camo color scheme to complete the military look. This $329 motherboard comes with a five-year warranty, digital power management system, rugged chokes, solid capacitors, and MOSFETs that have been certified through third party, military-grade testing.
Courtesy of ASUS
The Sabertooth X79 also comes with a host of other features to improve SSD caching and give users quad GPU support for CrossfireX and SLI graphics card configurations. This board also includes a unique UEFI BIOS and natively supports 2TB hard drives with 64-bit operating systems. The USB BIOS "Flashback" feature also helps new users update their motherboard BIOS without entering the BIOS. ASUS states that users can use any USB storage device with the latest BIOS, push the BIOS button located on the back I/O panel for three seconds, and the board will automatically update the BIOS using standby power. Very cool!
Courtesy of ASUS
The back I/O panel on the Sabertooth X79 is no slouch either as it gives users a healthy amount of USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and eSATA 6GB/s ports for greater performance and expandability options. They also added a small fan over the back I/O panel as part of their "TUF Thermal Armor" feature that will help cool and exhaust heat from ther motherboard out the back of the chassis. Let's move on to the rest of the Saberbooth X79's features where we will get our first out-of-the-box look at this motherboard.
Subject: Motherboards, Displays | June 4, 2012 - 09:30 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Z77, thunderboltex, thunderbolt, h77, computex, asus
Ever since we posted our series of videos with ASUS on the new Z77 chipset and the features ASUS was introducing on their P8Z77 lineup, we have had countless questions about the Thunderbolt header, the implementation and finally the required add-on card to enable it. Well thankfully at Computex this week ASUS is revealing the product that users of the P8Z77 motherboards will need to enable the Thunderbolt connection, the ASUS ThunderboltEX.
Even though we have already had some hands-on time with the new ASUS P8Z77-V Premium motherboard that integrates a Thunderbolt header on the board directly, the rest of the P8Z77-V line has a 9-pin header labeled "TB_header" that will allow users to purchase the ThunderboltEX card and enable the technology in their system. ASUS was the only company to really plan ahead for Thunderbolt technology across the entire series of Z77 motherboards and as such should enjoy the feature benefits of TB for some time.
The ThunderboltEX will plug into the bottom PCIe slot using up the x4 connection and will be required to use a header cable to connect to the TB_header shown above. This header serves a dual purpose - it allows the integrated graphics of the Ivy Bridge (and even discrete graphics) to pass through to the ThunderboltEX card and then out to either a Thunderbolt enabled display or a DisplayPort monitor in a daisy chain of devices. It also allows ASUS to make sure this card is ONLY used on their own lineup of motherboards - sorry, you won't be able to buy the ASUS ThunderboltEX and use it on your Gigabyte or MSI or even your non "TB_header" ASUS motherboard.
You will also have to install an included full-size DisplayPort cable from the output on the Z77 motherboard back panel to the full-size DP input on the ThunderboltEX itself. This allows the pass through of all the video data.
Once everything is configured, users will have a full speed 10 Gbps ready Thunderbolt connection to use with external storage, break out boxes and other accessories coming down the pipeline rapidly. ASUS claims this implementation will still support 6 daisy-chained devices with a seventh device as either a Thunderbolt or mini-DisplayPort monitor. Even better, hot plug support will still be enabled!
ASUS stands committed to the belief that motherboard design is not just about pure spec but ensuring a quality design and overall implementation. This is achieved through many means such as sensible layout, flexible I/O connectivity and robust control over parameters of operation. In addition foresight in design can play an important role. ASUS recently launched the world’s first certified native Thunderbolt motherboard with the P8Z77-V Premium. While the Premium leads the industry in respect to connectivity and overall functionality it carries a flagship price for its premium feature set. ASUS had kept this in mind along with thinking about how to best support the advanced new interconnect that is Thunderbolt. With this in mind ASUS is proud to unveil its exclusive Thunderbolt upgrade solution for its line of Z77 and H77 motherboards. The ThunderboltEX card is the first add-on card on the market enabling an easy way to upgrade ASUS motherboards with the latest I/O. This is proof in having foresight in design as compatible boards had to have a special TB header in place to support this upgrade.
Currently, the ThunderboltEX is awaiting Thunderbolt device certification and ASUS will obviously announce when that occurs.
Obviously this implementation of Thunderbolt is not as elegant as the one you will find on the ASUS Premium Z77 motherboard or the MSI Z77A-GD80, but it does enable other ASUS Z77 motherboard users to add the feature to their systems without REQUIRING to the cost up front to everyone. It does remind me a little bit of the first days of ATI CrossFire but I think most of you would agree that this solution is better than forcing users to buy a $450 motherboard.
I don't have any information on pricing or availability but you can be sure as soon as our questions are answered by ASUS we will update this post!
If you are looking for more information on Thunderbolt devices and performance, check out our stream of posts on the subject and take a look at the Thunderbolt / ASUS video below!