ASRock Z77 Extreme6/TB4 Motherboard Offers Thunderbolt with Discrete Graphics

Subject: Motherboards | December 11, 2012 - 10:34 PM |
Tagged: asrock, thunderbolt, Z77

Over the past 6 months or so we have seen most motherboard vendors release a Z77 option with support for the latest Thunderbolt connectivity option.  I did some initial testing on the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium motherboard and found that Thunderbolt was indeed impressive in terms of performance though it remained expensive and had a few hang ups. 

One of those was the need to use integrated graphics when utilizing the DisplayPort pass through of the connection.  Lucid was the first company to offer a solution thanks to their Virtu MVP software solution and GPU virtualization technology.  I tested that and it worked pretty well, allow us to utilize the power of your discrete GPU with a monitor connected through Thunderbolt on the motherboard.

Well ASRock has a new motherboard out, the Z77 Extreme6/TB4, that promises to allow you to use discrete graphics by simply utilizing a DisplayPort connection on the graphics card itself. 

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Besides offering a pair of Thunderbolt connections, the motherboard claims to be the "world's only Thunderbolt motherboard supporting discrete VGA card via Thunderbolt port."

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Essentially ASRock is taking the DP connection from the discrete graphics card, taking it into the motherboard through a DisplayPort input connection and then sending that back out the motherboard Thunderbolt header.  More than likely this is simple electrical pass through and there isn't much or any logic going on to "trick" the system.  It also raises concerns that the motherboard and display solution won't be officially approved by Intel.  (We are all, after all, still waiting to see the ASUS ThunderboltEX to hit the market...)

Hopefully we'll get one of these new boards in soon to see for ourselves!


Source: ASRock

December 12, 2012 | 12:02 PM - Posted by D1RTYD1Z619

Just buy a freakin adapter!

December 12, 2012 | 01:13 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

What adapter?

December 13, 2012 | 10:23 AM - Posted by collie (not verified)

OK, this is one of those "Please Tell me I'm wrong" posts, but what is the point of this. To my understanding there is no advantage to connecting a monitor through thunderbolt, other than daisy chaining other devices through it. Couldn't you just not spend the extra cash on a thunderbolt enabled monitor and start your chain with the next device? Am I wrong, is the a response time reduction or more bandwidth, or ANY reason to run your graphics card through the motherboard rather than directly to the monitor?

December 14, 2012 | 04:49 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Thunderbolt is for storage at this point. No performance gain over DP for monitors - especially when the TB port is just laundering what is actually a DP connection. No good support for networking - just like USB which could never be used for serious networks.

Basically, keep your monitors DisplayPort and get six of 'em to stick in an EyeFinity array, for the same price as just two or three Thunderbolt monitors.

And, use that Thunderbolt only for storage, and only on non-ASUS boards where there's actually a performance gain (ASUS's USB3 ports are faster than most Thunderbolt NAS can keep up with).

Networks? Install a 10GbE card or a four-port 1GigE card. Don't waste your time trying to use TB as a network interface.

January 1, 2013 | 11:28 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

please tell me what gain will you have with this setup an what is the benefit of a thunderbolt monitor thanks

January 1, 2013 | 11:42 AM - Posted by ducenyc

can you tell me the benefit of having this setup an why would we need a thunderbolt monitor whats the performance gain. thanks

July 29, 2013 | 03:00 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The benefit of this is that it would allow you to use the PC with an Apple Thunderbolt Display. There are a lot of Mac users that are anxious for this, because they want to build a Windows gaming box and use their existing expen$ive Apple monitor with it.

August 25, 2013 | 04:42 PM - Posted by Sedare (not verified)

Will this work around work with the Asus Deluxe/Dual MOBO for Haswell?

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