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Thunderbolt Ready Program Lets You Add Thunderbolt Card to Your Motherboard

By - Source: Intel | B 27 comments

Now you don't have to buy a Thunderbolt-equipped motherboard to get Thunderbolt.

This week Intel announced plans for a new 'Thunderbolt ready' program that will allow users to add Thunderbolt to their PC with the addition of a simple card. The company is hoping the upgrade program will expand the footprint of Thunderbolt and is working with PC manufacturers to label motherboards 'Thunderbolt ready,' which means users without Thunderbolt can add it at a later date themselves.

 

Upgrading requires a GPIO header, but Intel promises the upgrade process is relatively easy. The Thunderbolt card slips right into a PCIe slot, and an included cable connects to the GPIO header. (You'll also need an available DP out connector from your mobo's processor graphics, or an external graphics card.)

"Since the beginning, 'Is there an add-in card for this?' has been one of the more popular questions asked of Thunderbolt," Intel wrote in a blog post.  "Today, the answer is an enthusiastic 'yes,' and the introduction of the Thunderbolt ready program will dramatically increase the availability of Thunderbolt technology, bringing 20Gbps bandwidth, data and display over a single cable, and daisy-chain connectivity of up to six devices, to a far larger range of users in the marketplace."

Intel has named Asus as the first partner in the Thunderbolt Ready program. Asus has developed the first Thunderbolt card, the Asus ThunderboltEX II, which will go along with the Asus Z87Z Pro and adds Thunderbolt 2. Other OEMs will launch Thunderbolt Ready cards, mobos, and desktops next year.

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  • 1 Hide
    dark_knight33 , November 15, 2013 12:25 PM
    That is without a doubt a silly, hacked together looking solution... Thunderbolt is *not* that important. How many motherboards have a GPIO pin header anyway? I suppose they couldn't have used a USB 2 header instead of GPIO, because that would have been embarrassing?
  • 5 Hide
    InvalidError , November 15, 2013 12:33 PM
    With USB3/3.1 for high-speed data, I can't say I'm in much of a hurry to get Thunderbolt... I'll get it when it eventually gets built into mainstream chipsets and becomes one more of those things available on the rear IO plate.

    Besides, Intel is still using the old DMI bus between the CPU and chipset so going through the x4 slot fed from the chipset could turn into a bottleneck before Thunderbolt gets a chance to flex its muscles. Intel needs to step that up a notch.
  • 0 Hide
    qlum , November 15, 2013 12:49 PM
    With my phone being the only usb 3 device I own, I doubt I will need thunderbolt anytime soon.
  • 0 Hide
    holyknight1121 , November 15, 2013 1:05 PM
    Yay, now you can finally enjoy Thunderbolt, for how much? I know it's not gonna be as fast but I think I'll be good with USB 3.0 if not 3.1.
  • 0 Hide
    RealBeast , November 15, 2013 2:29 PM
    Hello, note to Intel: worry more about improved USB 3 implementations, most of us don't care about a marginal standard connection no matter how good it might be.
  • 0 Hide
    awesomedude911 , November 15, 2013 2:58 PM
    its a good thing to have, but like most of the world im still using usb 2.0 and 3.0
  • 0 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , November 15, 2013 2:58 PM
    I'd heard about that ThunderboltEX card long ago. What happened to it?
  • 1 Hide
    RealBeast , November 15, 2013 3:04 PM
    Quote:
    its a good thing to have, but like most of the world im still using usb 2.0 and 3.0
    Me too, I would just like USB 2.0 and 3.0 to perform anywhere near the standard before we move on to something else. :) 

  • 3 Hide
    MANOFKRYPTONAK , November 15, 2013 5:26 PM
    Thunderbolt IS fast enough to accept a desktop GPU externally without a hit in performance. Buy a desktop with thunderbolt, or install this work around, also use a laptop with thunderbolt and you can use the same GPU with both machines, saves cash. THAT IS ONE AWESOME THING THAT THIS IS GOOD FOR...
  • 1 Hide
    f-14 , November 15, 2013 5:28 PM
    hey intel, how about a 5GHZ factory clocked quad core processor instead?
  • 0 Hide
    itsnotmeitsyou , November 15, 2013 6:24 PM
    as an IT pro, I will take every bit of transfer speed I can get. Imaging from USB3 is spotty and there are frequent errors. External SSD with thunderbolt is beautiful.
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , November 15, 2013 8:25 PM
    Quote:
    Thunderbolt IS fast enough to accept a desktop GPU externally without a hit in performance.

    The original Thunderbolt is only 20Gbps or equivalent to PCIe 2.0 x4. Many GPUs will start to bottleneck on that and the DMI bus between the CPU and chipset can barely handle that much so you get extra latency and potential bottlenecking there.
  • 1 Hide
    rohitbaran , November 15, 2013 8:42 PM
    Why the hell should I care about thundacrap when USB is right there and it is open too? Proprietary tech like thunderbolt should never be given a chance to establish a foothold in the market, or it just leads to stupid high prices.
  • 1 Hide
    ragenalien , November 15, 2013 9:17 PM
    You too can own this awesome transfer speed for the low low price of several hundreds of dollars.
  • 0 Hide
    Lord_Kitty , November 16, 2013 4:44 AM
    I wonder how many motherboards have GPIO but no Thunderbolt port.
  • -6 Hide
    TEAMSWITCHER , November 16, 2013 6:37 AM
    Can we please dispense with all the stupid comments about USB 2 and USB 3? Thunderbolt is capable of so, so much more. Apple is selling awesome thunderbolt monitors that use Thunderbolt for docking stations for all of their equally awesome MacBook computers. PC makers are stuck hopelessly using antiquated connectivity standards like USB and ugly proprietary docking station solutions.

    This is one area where I feel PC makers have completely dropped the ball. Every Apple laptop is equipped with a Thunderbolt port and almost no PC "ultra"-books have them. There is nothing "Ultra" about PC ultra books!!!! Especially considering that al MacBooks now have ultra-fast PCI Express SSD's as well. Why can't PC users have these things? Because PC users don''t want them! Why don't PC users want enhanced connectivity? Because they are stupid iHaters!
  • 2 Hide
    InvalidError , November 16, 2013 7:37 AM
    Quote:
    Why can't PC users have these things? Because PC users don''t want them! Why don't PC users want enhanced connectivity?

    I would say mostly because most people neither need them nor want to pay a premium for stuff they are unlikely to ever need. Having data and display in one cable may sound neat but there are plenty of people who don't feel like this is worth the $50-200 premium.

    Thunderbolt won't replace USB for my mouse, keyboard, tablet, phone, printer, scanner, headset, etc. and USB3 is already much faster than my external HDDs will ever need. USB is not going to go away any time soon with so many devices for which the extra cost, power and bandwidth make no sense.
  • 3 Hide
    nukemaster , November 16, 2013 4:33 PM
    Quote:
    Can we please dispense with all the stupid comments about USB 2 and USB 3? Thunderbolt is capable of so, so much more. Apple is selling awesome thunderbolt monitors that use Thunderbolt for docking stations for all of their equally awesome MacBook computers. PC makers are stuck hopelessly using antiquated connectivity standards like USB and ugly proprietary docking station solutions.

    This is one area where I feel PC makers have completely dropped the ball. Every Apple laptop is equipped with a Thunderbolt port and almost no PC "ultra"-books have them. There is nothing "Ultra" about PC ultra books!!!! Especially considering that al MacBooks now have ultra-fast PCI Express SSD's as well. Why can't PC users have these things? Because PC users don''t want them! Why don't PC users want enhanced connectivity? Because they are stupid iHaters!

    OR every mac has TB ports because Intel had a exclusive deal with them at first.

    If you want to release something that uses more expensive active cables(not that I think active cables are bad.) adds more overall cost do you ask acer or another maker who sells 300 dollar computers or do you ask the one of the companies that already knows how to get users to spend more to begin with?

    It is called business.

    Firewire was the same thing, cost more(and was superior to usb), but for most users did not add enough to be worth the entry price.

    When Apple sells a 300 dollar system for the average facebook user(a honest majority of users now do not use the internet for anything else) let me know.

    Do not take this wrong, they design some great machines, but like anything else, variety is always good and you get much more on the pc side of things. Some users want to pay lots of money for a computer to use for everything, others just want it for occasional use and do not need all these extras.
  • 3 Hide
    k7mm , November 16, 2013 6:43 PM
    Apple...where peripheral connections go to die.

    RIP
    Firewire
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , November 16, 2013 8:24 PM
    Quote:
    Apple...where peripheral connections go to die.

    RIP
    Firewire

    Sony is also partially to blame for that one since FireWire was an Apple-Sony collaboration.
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