ASUS Never Sold ThunderboltEX. Intel Has Bigger Plans?

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | August 18, 2013 - 12:22 AM |
Tagged: thunderboltex, thunderbolt

Thunderbolt has not exactly caught on for mainstream devices. Outside of media production, USB has a strong brand and carries less of a premium than Thunderbolt. Motherboard vendors and system builders can also more easily implement USB 3.0. Intel, according to VR-Zone, addresses this problem with a reference PCI Express x4 add-in card to be produced and marketed by select Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) partners.

The select partners are, according to current plans, ODMs with existing Thunderbolt motherboard designs.

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ASUS TB_Header Add-in Card, about 19 months ago

Thunderbolt is, basically, the marriage between PCIe and DisplayPort as an external interface. Motherboards can either ship with Thunderbolt ports or a header for non-existent add-in cards. These TB_Headers, on ASUS motherboards, are General Purpose I/O (GPIO) connections used for a fairly unclear task. Officially, they help facilitate a DisplayPort connection to the integrated GPU although they are required even if using DisplayPort pass-through. The card has been stuck in certification woes.

In the Intel's reference design plans, both a GPIO header and internal DisplayPort connection are required on motherboards wishing to support this add-in card. This ends the hope of current system owners wishing to upgrade most existing rigs.

This initiative more seems like an attempt to defer most of the cost of Thunderbolt implementation to a down-the-line upgrade option. I do feel bad for ASUS. They appear to have the problem solved over a year ago with a solution very similar to the one Intel is working on now. If certification were not an issue, they could have very well been first to market. Now it appears they will be in the first wave.

Source: VR-Zone

August 18, 2013 | 12:11 PM - Posted by MarkT (not verified)

Intel has only done ONE thing with Thunderbolt, made it a giant waste of time and effort.

August 18, 2013 | 05:15 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

but companies like asus could do so much with thunderbolt, be the first company to finally make an affordable external pcie express chassis for graphics cards, silverstones attempt looks great but is not for sale yet, and the bandwidth limitations & pcie 2 4x is not that much of a deal, look up other people's implementations, they do work fine providing heaps of graphics power to the lap top that was not there previously, even if the gfx is not being 100% utilized..

August 18, 2013 | 05:55 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Yeah the functionality of an external GPU dock outweighs its reduced bus bandwidth.

If GPUs start to incorporate serial processing units for mixed tasks, this could be even more relevant.

August 18, 2013 | 06:16 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

What about OCuLink with 32Gb per sec?

or dockport?

August 19, 2013 | 04:33 AM - Posted by Gadgety1 (not verified)

Great and succinct summary of Thunderbolt.

Somehow Thunderbolt seems to have gained traction with Apple. Personally I'd like my motherboards to have Thunderbolt because I can add outboard GPUs for rendering, and multiple fast external SSD storage. With portability becoming the norm, I could see Thunderbolt in Surface Pro tablets and similar X86 tablets, and their corresponding docks.

August 19, 2013 | 04:31 PM - Posted by OctaveanActually (not verified)

I'd really like to hear an official response directly from Asus and Intel on this.

Select Z87 motherboards have the same TB_Header as the Z77 pictured above and at a time when it seemed clear that the ThunderboltEX card would never ship. What is the thinking behind that?

October 10, 2013 | 05:49 PM - Posted by macmuchmore

I received official word from ASUS via newegg product review of my motherboard - this card will never be produced. I am VERY unhappy about it, as the only reason I did not get the ASUS P8Z77-V Pro TH motherboard was that ASUS advertised I would be able to add thunderbolt to my ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe motherboard with this card. I feel like I was lied to.

Manufacturer Response:
Dear Valued Customer,

Sorry to hear that you have been waiting for over a year for this product to be released. I have just checked why this hasn't been released and its because of licensing issues.

Doesn't look like this will ever be on the market.

If you have any questions or comments you can email me at which I reside in the U.S

ASUS strives to meet and exceeds our customer expectations within our warranty policy.



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