While motherboards with faster Thunderbolt 2 ports onboard have been available since last fall, add-in cards to upgrade your existing Thunderbolt equipped motherboard to this new standard have been in short supply. Apparently Asus has had them ready for quite some time, but certification woes with Intel, who are behind the Thunderbolt standard, meant they couldn’t be released. At CES 2014, Asus finally showed us its first Intel-certified Thunderbolt 2 PCI-Express add-in card, the single-port ThunderboltEX II, designed to be used with select 8-series motherboards. The first board to be certified is the Asus Z87-Pro, which is what the card was shown plugged into at the show.
Asus also had a little demo station showing off the performance of Thunderbolt 2, and while it wasn’t actually running off the ThunderboltEX II, but off its Z-87 Deluxe/Quad that has Thunderbolt 2 onboard, it was still a pretty cool setup to demonstrate who fast Thunderbolt 2 can be in real-world conditions. In the video below Michael from ASUS walks us through the demo and also talks about the ThunderboltEX II card.
The ThunderboltEX II will be available early this year for $100, and will be compatible with selected ASUS 8-Series motherboards, and you can learn more about it on Asus’s site.