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.