Falcon Ridge Will Double Thunderbolt Bandwidth to 20Gbps

Subject: General Tech | July 25, 2012 - 10:19 AM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, falcon ridge, thunderbolt controller, displayport 1.2, optical cable, redwood ridge, haswell

Intel’s Thunderbolt technology came to the Windows PC side of the computer market in a big way with high end desktop motherboards and add-in cards. The current generation “Cactus Ridge” Thunderbolt controller is able to offer up to 10Gbps of bi-directional bandwidth with either two or four PCI Express lanes as well as a DisplayPort connection that does not interfere with file transfer bandwidth. In 2014, that bandwidth may double to 20Gbps with a new Falcon Ridge controller.

With current-gen tech, Thunderbolt is based on using copper cables and electronics on either end of the cable. Right now, the cables are still fairly expensive at $50, but with new vendors the prices will hopefully go down soon. Next year we should see the Cactus Ridge successor Redwood Ridge. According to DigiTimes, this Thunderbolt controller will add support for DisplayPort 1.2 but will otherwise be very similar with 10Gbps and copper cables.  It is slated for a 2013 release, and a release coinciding with Intel’s Haswell processors and motherboards sounds logical.

Will Falcon Ridge finally give us optical-based Thunderbolt at retail?

In 2014 we will reportedly see the release of a fourth-generation Thunderbolt controller called Falcon Ridge that will offer up to 20Gbps of bi-directional bandwidth. While the cables will likely be even more expensive, I’m excited to see Thunderbolt progressing as it is a high performance transfer medium for professionals and enthusiasts. One thing that is not clear is whether Intel will be able to get DisplayPort + 20Gbps bi-directional bandwidth from copper cables. With Falcon Ridge we may well see the company finally make the move to optical cabling, which would return Thunderbolt to its initially-planned roots.

What would you do with the extra bandwidth provided by Falcon Ridge?

If you haven’t already, please check out our Thunderbolt coverage.

Source: DigiTimes

ASUS' new flagship, the P8Z77-V Premium

Subject: Motherboards | July 12, 2012 - 06:50 PM |
Tagged: asus, p8z77-v premium, thunderbolt

As we mentioned on the PC Perspective Podcast ASUS has a new ultra high end motherboard on the market, the P8Z77-V Premium for the low price of $440.  There are four PCIe 3.0 16x slots, capable of running two cards at full speed or four at 8x speeds as well as a pair of PCIe 2.0 1x slots.  There are a half dozen of both flavours of USB ports and SATA 6Gbps ports as well as SATA2 and eSATA ports but the big connectivity feature is Thunderbolt.  The feature set is almost endless, up to and including an onboard 32GB SSD and it seems that the only thing this board cannot do much better than the competition is overclock.  That is not to say you cannot overclock this board, only that the overclocking potential was lower than other Z77 boards from ASUS that [H]ard|OCP tested.  If you can afford the price, you will not find a more impressive Z77 motherboard on the market.


"It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the "Premium" moniker on any ASUS boards. ASUS reserves this for boards with truly premium features that set these apart from the rest of the product line. The end result is usually a complex product with more features than most people will ever need. Let's find out just how premium the P8Z77-V Premium truly is."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:


Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #209 - Thunderbolt on Windows, Western Digital Red Drives, a passively cooled GTX 680 and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2012 - 01:35 PM |
Tagged: WD, ThunderFX, thunderbolt, ssd, red, podcast, Intel, gtx 680, gpu, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #209 - 07/12/2012

Join us this week as we talk about Thunderbolt Performance on Windows, the new Western Digital Red Hard Drives, a passively cooled GTX 680 and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

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 RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:15:06

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. Quakecon - we need Tshirt ideas!!
  6. 00:05:45 Thunderbolt Performance on Windows with ASUS P8Z77-V Premium
  7. 00:17 Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 Motherboard Review
  8. 00:18:30 AMD, Vishera and Beyond!
  9. 00:26:45 HP Envy 14 Spectre Review
  10. 00:28:30 Western Digital Red 3TB NAS HDD Review
  11. 00:41:51 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  12. 00:42:45 Passively cooled GTX 680 anyone?
  13. 00:45:45 Windows 8 Pro will run you $39
  14. 00:50:00 Overclocking makes your system less stable...duhhh
  15. 00:57:00 ASUS and Gigabyte raise warranty times
  16. 00:58:30 Mid-range Kepler rumors
  17. 01:03:03 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: ThunderboltEX from ASUS
    2. Jeremy: I like this Lenovo X220 work stuck me with
    3. Josh: Like I need another time sink
    4. Allyn: WD Red
  18. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  19. http://pcper.com/podcast
  20. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  21. Closing

​For those of you that prefer the video version, see below:

GIGABYTE Launches World’s First Fully Certified Dual Port Thunderbolt Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | July 5, 2012 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, thunderbolt, Z77X-UP5 TH, Z77X-UP4 TH, Z77MX-D3H TH, ultra durable 5

Double Thunderbolt, what does it mean?  It means that properly set up, the two Thunderbolt ports can power up to 12 devices and 2 digital displays simultaneously, with a third display possible from a dedicated video out port on your motherboards header.  Both Thunderbolt ports offer a bi-directional 10Gbps data pipeline that includes both PCIe and DisplayPort traffic, which can be intelligently shared by the devices attached to the interface.  Gigabyte is offering three models of motherboard with this feature, in addition to their standard additional features such as UltraDurable components, which you can read about below.


Taipei, Taiwan, July 5th, 2012 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today announced the latest GIGABYTE 7 series motherboards, the very first to offer fully certified dual onboard Thunderbolt™ ports. Capable of connecting up to 12 devices plus 3 digital displays simultaneously, with breathtaking data transfer speeds that can transfer 1TB of data in only five minutes, GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ motherboards offer the fastest connection interface ever on the desktop PC.

GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ motherboards allow users to daisy chain up to 12 devices simultaneously via an incredible bi-directional 10Gbps data pipeline that includes both PCIe and DisplayPort traffic. GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ motherboards redefine desktop PC connectivity to make it far easier to connect multiple high speed storage devices and HD displays to your PC than ever before.


“It’s easy to see how our unique dual port Thunderbolt implementation simply offers more,” commented Henry Kao, Vice President of GIGABYTE Motherboard Business Unit. “We’re the only motherboard vendor currently offering DIY PC builders the absolute maximum in terms of device connectivity.”

“Thunderbolt technology represents a leap in performance and simplicity for media creators and entertainment enthusiasts,” says Jason Ziller, Intel’s director of Thunderbolt marketing. “We are pleased to be working with GIGABYTE as they bring the first dual Thunderbolt port motherboard to market. It’s a great example of what Thunderbolt makes possible.”

GIGABYTE Dual Thunderbolt™ motherboards open up a wealth of new possibilities regarding high-performance storage devices. GIGABYTE has worked closely with several leading device partners, including Promise® Technology, LaCie, BlackMagic, Western Digital, Seagate, Elgato, CalDigit and cable manufacturer Sumitomo:

“Working with GIGABYTE has been very exciting,” said Kosta Panagos, Director of Creative Marketing, at CalDigit. “GIGABYTE’s new line of Intel 7 series motherboards featuring dual Thunderbolt ports, will usher in a new era of flexibility to the PC platform. It is also a perfect match with CalDigit's new T1 and T2 Thunderbolt drives which provide professional level performance on all platforms at consumer prices, a feat that was previously unattainable, thanks to GIGABYTE and Thunderbolt technology.”


“GIGABYTE’s new dual port Thunderbolt motherboards are an exciting innovation, giving incredible performance and are perfect for video and film professionals using Thunderbolt and the PC,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “Customers using our wide range of Thunderbolt devices will now be able to choose to work in whatever format they need, giving them the flexibility to build whatever production and post production workflow they need.”

"In line with GIGABYTE and its dual on board Thunderbolt ports, WD's My Book® Thunderbolt™ Duo offers dual Thunderbolt ports for amazing creative flexibility while allowing daisy-chaining of up to six My Book Thunderbolt Duo drives or other high performance peripherals for fast and efficient workflow," said Craig Davis, Director Sales & Marketing, Retail Division, Western Digital Asia Pacific & Japan Region.

“Thunderbolt technology is a fantastic way to deliver both data and display via one interface. It provides unparalleled performance and plenty of flexibility,” said Leo Paskin, Product Marketing Manager at Seagate. “With the ability to daisy chain up to 12 devices on GIGABYTE’s new dual port Thunderbolt motherboards, you can turn a desktop PC into a central device hub by plugging in a single cable!"

“As the first Intel certified cable vendor, Sumitomo is delighted to see GIGABYTE bring the first dual port Thunderbolt motherboard to market, creating the ultimate connectivity for desktop PCs, commented Motoi Matsuo. “These new Thunderbolt motherboards are also the perfect fit for Sumitomo’s exclusive high speed 20m optical cables.”

"Thanks to their dual Thunderbolt™ ports, Gigabyte's new 7 series motherboards deliver unbeatable flexibility", says Adam Steinberg, Vice President Marketing at Elgato. "The unique dual port feature enables users to combine multiple portable Thunderbolt™ devices like the powerful Elgato Thunderbolt™ SSD."

“LaCie is pleased to see GIGABYTE announce Thunderbolt technology on their lasted motherboards,” said Erwan Girard, Professional Business Unit Manager, LaCie. “The time is now for demanding PC users, especially digital content creators, to experience the unprecedented speeds and advantages enabled by Thunderbolt Technology. The desire for computers and peripherals to keep up with their work flow is a concern of the past.”

Dual Thunderbolt™ - Fast, Flexible and Simple Connectivity for your Motherboard
GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ motherboards are the first to be certified by Intel featuring dual Thunderbolt™ ports directly on the motherboard back panel I/O, with each Thunderbolt™ port supporting a maximum data transfer speeds with simultaneous bi-directional data transfer at speeds of up to 10Gbps - this means you can transfer a full HD 1080p movie in under 30 seconds.

GIGABYTE’s dual port Thunderbolt™ implementation ensures the absolute maximum potential connectivity, with support to connect up to 12 individual devices simultaneously, with each port offering full 10Gbps bandwidth.

Thunderbolt™ combines both DisplayPort and PCI Express protocols over a single cable so that users can connect a multitude of device types in tandem with HD streaming video and 8-channel audio, simultaneously in one specially developed cable. Users can also enjoy improved flexibility by ‘daisy-chaining’ several devices while still enjoying low latency and industry-leading data transfer speeds.

GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ Motherboards Models
Dual Thunderbolt™ Ports are featured on the following GIGABYTE motherboard models:


Source: Gigabyte

Podcast #208 - AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHZ Edition, Intel Core i5-3470, our Blindfolded APU build and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2012 - 05:18 PM |
Tagged: Vertex 4, thunderbolt, ssd, podcast, nvidia, i5-3470, hd7970, blindfolded, APU, 7970 ghz edition

PC Perspective Podcast #208 - 06/28/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHZ Edition, Intel Core i5-3470, our Blindfolded APU build and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

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 RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:05:24

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:42 AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition
  6. 0:09:10 Live Review Recap: AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition
  7. 0:10:30 Silverstone Crown Series CW02 case review
  8. 0:13:50 Intel Core i5-3470 IVB Review
  9. 0:21:11 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  10. 0:22:05 Live Video Recap: AMD Llano APU Blindfolded Build
  11. 0:25:50 ASUS ROG Matrix HD 7970 coming soon
  12. 0:30:00 Sandia Cooler Prototype
  13. 0:39:50 Dell Ubuntu Notebooks
  14. 0:43:40 Can a 12-core ARM cluster hit critical mass?
  15. 0:48:20 Google announces Nexus 7 tablet powered by Tegra 3
  16. 0:55:55 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Thunderbolt on Windows Article coming tomorrow!!
    2. Jeremy: Core i7 3770K is a compute per watt monster
    3. Josh: Good PS for general use and excellent price
    4. Allyn: OCZ Vertex 4 FW
  17. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  18. http://pcper.com/podcast
  19. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  20. Closing

Manufacturer: ASUS

An overview of Thunderbolt Technology

The promise of Thunderbolt connectivity has been around for a couple of years now. Today, Thunderbolt is finally finding its way to the PC platform in the form of motherboards from ASUS and MSI. First unveiled as "Light Peak" at the Intel Developer Forum in 2009, the technology started out as a way to connect multiple devices to a system over a fiber optic cable (hence the 'light' in the name), though the final products have changed the implementation slightly.


The first prototype implementations actually used a USB-style connection and interface. It further required fiber optic cables. When it was renamed to Thunderbolt and then released in conjunction with a new lineup of Apple MacBook laptops, not only did the physical interface move to a mini-DisplayPort connection but the cable was made to use copper rather than fiber. Without diving too far into the reasons and benefits of either direction, the fact is that the copper cables allow for modest power transfer and are much cheaper than fiber optic variants would be.


Thunderbolt's base technology remains the same, however. It is a transfer standard that allows for 10 Gbps of bandwidth for each channel (bi-directional) and concurrently supports both data and display connections. The actual interface for the data path is based on PCI Express and connected devices actually appear to Windows as if they are internally connected to the system which can offer some interesting benefits – and headaches – for hardware developers. The display connection uses the DisplayPort standard and can be used along with the data connection without affecting bandwidth levels or performance.  


For current Intel processor implementations, the Thunderbolt connection is supported by a separate controller chip on the motherboard (or a riser card) – and some routing is required for correct usage. The Thunderbolt controller does not actually include a graphics controller, so it must be fed an output from another graphics processor, obviously in this case directly from the Ivy Bridge / Sandy Bridge processors. In theory, these could be from other controllers, but with the ubiquitous nature of integrated processor graphics on IVB and SNB processors, this is going to be the implementation going forward according to motherboard and system designers. 

Continue reading our review of Thunderbolt on Windows and the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium!!

Acer's Thunderbolt capable Win8 tablets

Subject: Mobile | June 11, 2012 - 02:22 PM |
Tagged: iconia w700, iconia w510, acer, tablet, thunderbolt, win8

AnandTech checked out Acer's two new tablets, the Iconia W700 and W510, both of which are designed for Windows 8.  The W700 is the more impressive of the two for a number of reasons but the best feature has to be the ThunderBolt port, which allows this tablet to function as much more than a Tablet and might actually provide a decent excuse to use Cloud computing.  It is a little large to be held and carried around for a long time, but with the possibility of a low voltage Ivy Bridge processor running the tablet some space must be devoted to spread the heat.  The W510 is smaller and comes with an optional keyboard dock and you can check up on its specs as well as more on the W700 in this article at AnandTech.


"My first meeting of Computex wasn't a meeting at all, rather it was Acer's press conference a day before the show officially started. In its press conference, Acer introduced a top to bottom lineup of touch enabled Windows 8 devices."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:



Source: AnandTech

Computex: Gigabyte Shows Off Thunderbolt Motherboard and Peripherals

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | June 5, 2012 - 08:04 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, motherboard, gigabyte, ga-z77x-up5 th, computex

Intel’s 10Gbps copper-based Thunderbolt technology is big at this year’s Computex show, and Gigabyte was not shy about showing off their Thunderbolt hardware. Not to be outdone by the Intel booth, Gigabyte had on display a Thunderbolt motherboard and no less than 13 pieces of Thunderbolt hardware!


The motherboard in question is Gigabyte’s GA-Z77X-UP5 TH which is an ATX form factor board that supports Intel Ivy Bridge processors, dual UEFI BIOS technology, SLI and CrossFireX multi-GPU setups, four DDR3 DIMM slots, six SATA 6Gbps ports, three PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, and a single legacy PCI slot. It also, of course, features a Thunderbolt port.


The list of Thunderbolt-enabled peripherals was impressive – they only seemed to be missing Thunderbolt docks. The full list of devices is available in the table below, but Gigabyte had the Apple Thunderbolt display, several Thunderbolt external hard drives, a Thunderbolt SSD, Thunderbolt-equipped RAIDed NAS boxes from several vendors, and the active Thunderbolt cables themselves (from Sumitomo Electric).

Vendor Model name Category
Apple Thunderbolt Display Display
Blackmagic design UltraStudio 3D Video editing
Blackmagic design Intensity Extreme Video editing
CalDigit T1 Storage
elgato Thunderbold SSD Storage
LaCie 2Big Storage
LaCie eSATA Hub Thunderbolt Hub
Promise Technology, Inc Pegasus R6 Storage
Seagate GoFlex ThunderBolt Adapter HDD Adapter
Seagate GoFlex Desk ThunderBolt Adapter HDD Adapter
Sonnos Sonnet ECHO ExpressCard ExpressCard
Sumitomo Electric Thunderbolt Cable Cable
Western Digital My Book Thunderbolt Drive Storage

Although Thunderbolt is going to be a niche connection (mostly due to expense of cables and components vs the “good enough” and much cheaper USB 3.0 standard) for the foreseeable future, Computex 2012 is trying its best to drive home the idea that Thunderbolt is not going away. There are definitely more Thunderbolt devices than I had originally predicted to show up at the show in Taipei.

Source: Gigabyte

ASUS preps ThunderboltEX add-in card for Z77 and H77 motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Displays | June 4, 2012 - 09:30 PM |
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.

ASUS_ThunderboltEX Card_2.jpg

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.

ASUS_ThunderboltEX Card_5.jpg

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.

ASUS_ThunderboltEX Card_4.jpg

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!

Source: ASUS

Gigabyte shows motherboard with dual Thunderbolt outputs on-board

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | June 4, 2012 - 04:14 PM |
Tagged: computex, gigabyte, Z77, thunderbolt, Z77X-UP5 TH

Anandtech has the scoop on a new motherboard being shown at Computex this week from Gigabyte that features not just Thunderbolt support, not just a single Thunderbolt port but DUAL Thunderbolt connections.  The Z77X-UP5 TH is the first such PC platform to offer support for four channels of the new connectivity technology.


Image source: Anandtech.com

Both ports can run at the full 10 Gbps speeds thanks to the inclusion of a PLX PCI Express bridge chip so bandwidth restrictions shouldn't be a concern.  We don't know the pricing or availability of this new board quite yet but Gigabyte is finally jumping into the world of Thunderbolt after the MSI and ASUS announcements last month.  

Hit up the Anandtech link above for more photos of this board! 

Source: Anandtech