Thunderbolt on Windows: ASUS P8Z77-V Premium, Pegasus R4 and an Apple Thunderbolt Display
Installation and Setup
One of the big selling points for Thunderbolt is its ease of installation and lack of required drivers for system integration. Because the Thunderbolt controller simply creates a hub for PCI Express, all the devices are seen as internally connected to the operating system.
And while that worked nearly flawlessly in my testing, the rest of the installation is pretty damn simple.
As mentioned earlier, the Thunderbolt cable is currently only being sold by Apple for around $50, and thus far none of the Thunderbolt devices are shipping them in the box, not even the $1100 Pegasus R4. Just be prepared for that little 'gotcha' and remember how awesome this will be later.
Once you have the cable connected to your devices (in our case the Pegasus R4) all you have to do is plug in the cable to your motherboard. The area that houses the IC on each end of the cable will actually get warm to the touch after some use though it does not ever get "hot" in my experience.
When attached Windows will detect new hardware, though in our case the "RAID Controller" showed up as not having been installed correctly. Based on my reading this is happening about 50% of the time with the Pegasus drives – others are finding that it will work and mount as a drive correctly the first time.
After simply pointing the device manager driver installer to the files sent along with the Pegasus R4 unit, the device is correctly recognized as a Promise Pegasus 6G RAID Controller and console. Keep in mind that Windows sees this EXTERNAL unit as an internal storage controller, just as you find your other third-party controllers installed on motherboards and through add-in PCIe cards.
This view shows the device manager when configured to show devices by connection rather than type: the tree system is very apparent here. In this image we actually have the Apple Thunderbolt Display connected and you can see the system correctly recognizing the integrated camera and Ethernet controller on it – though without drivers they can't be utilized in Windows just yet.
Once the driver for the R4 was installed, the drive showed up as a local array (not as any kind of network or attached device). This is great as it means application support and even certain backup applications (like Carbonite) will treat the external unit just like any other internal controller.
After the base installation was completed, I installed the new Promise WebPAM Pro software that allows you to manage and control the R4 and R6 units directly from a web browser. It was here that we were able to undo the RAID 5 array that shipped (after doing some initial testing) and set it to RAID 0 for speed testing – and eventually adding the SSDs.