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Asus Reveals USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C Front Panel Upgrade Kit

Asus revealed a new upgrade kit for desktops that will add USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C ports to any computer with a Z170-based motherboard and a free SATA Express port. The USB 3.1 UPD Panel is designed to fit into a spare optical drive bay and features two USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C plugs with up to the 10 Gb/s transfer rate.

Although they have the same speed rating, the two ports are slightly different. The port on the left features 100W of charging power delivered through two Molex connectors that hook up to the back of the card. The second port does not offer the power charging feature.

Asus said that setup is as simple as three easy steps: Simply insert the USB 3.1 UPD Panel into a free optical bay and secure it. Next, plug the included SATA Express cable in to the motherboard and the back of the UPD panel. Then plug in the two Molex cables for power. According to Asus, this is all that you need to do, but there is actually a driver that is included and will need to be installed.

If you don't have a free optical bay, or you have no use for front-mounted USB 3.1 but would like to have ports on the rear of your computer, the Asus USB 3.1 UPD Panel is ready to be taken apart as a DYI project. Inside the casing is a standard PCI-E board that can be removed and plugged into the motherboard directly. It is unclear if the SATA Express cable is needed in this configuration, but the Molex cables will likely be required for the power charging feature.

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  • firefoxx04
    Is there a USB limitation that prevents them from offering more ports? 5.25 inch pay is a bit big for just two USB ports.

    4 USB slots is what I would expect or maybe some SD card slots.

    The charging feature is cool. Some boards offer increased wattage to charge things quickly.
    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    looks to be a bandwidth limitation.. also it has 2 regular sata ports to suggest it will work on z87 and z97 boards as well.
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    Anyone feeling this is a solution in search of a problem? The article says this requires a Z170 board and SATA Express. Well, how many Z170 boards don't already have USB 3.1 on them?
    Reply
  • targetdrone
    Anyone feeling this is a solution in search of a problem? The article says this requires a Z170 board and SATA Express. Well, how many Z170 boards don't already have USB 3.1 on them?

    How many computer cases come with front panel type-c ports?
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    16500273 said:
    How many computer cases come with front panel type-c ports?
    Fair point. I'm not completely in love with type-C yet considering so few things are even available in it. And I do agree with firefoxx, considering this is using a whole 5.25" bay, I think it'd be worthwhile to get more than just two connectors. Throw in some card readers or maybe a HDD dock.
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    Anyone feeling this is a solution in search of a problem? The article says this requires a Z170 board and SATA Express. Well, how many Z170 boards don't already have USB 3.1 on them?

    Plus why is it ONLY Z170? Z97 users also have SATA express and thus we should be able to use this solution as well.
    Reply
  • MrAOK
    from what i've seen, there are already a number of z170 boards that have no usb 3.1 and the h170 board may not have it either. Newegg currently lists 44 z170 motherboards and says only 28 have usb 3.1
    Reply
  • basroil
    looks to be a bandwidth limitation.. also it has 2 regular sata ports to suggest it will work on z87 and z97 boards as well.

    It doesn't have "2 regular sata", it has one SATA Express. Same physical connectors (plus a bit) but it will NOT work with regular sata ports because the underlying communication is PCIe. It might work with other boards that use SATA Express, but it might not.
    Reply
  • brisa117
    I think this will have alot more applications when things start to be powered by the type-c ports -- cell phones, laptops, cameras. No one wants to reach around to the back of a tower just to charge their phone on a 3.1 connection.
    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    looks to be a bandwidth limitation.. also it has 2 regular sata ports to suggest it will work on z87 and z97 boards as well.

    It doesn't have "2 regular sata", it has one SATA Express. Same physical connectors (plus a bit) but it will NOT work with regular sata ports because the underlying communication is PCIe. It might work with other boards that use SATA Express, but it might not.

    sata express accepts two normal sata ports as well.. its backwards compatible.
    Reply