For those of you who don’t like DVI or HDMI for any reason, Thunderbolt might be right up your alley. The new connection standard appears in all Apple’s Macbooks and Intel has been trying to get the tech off the ground by including it in as many products as possible. ASUS wanted to differentiate their boards from the standard Z77 designs, so it put in support for Thunderbolt.
Thunderbolt wins over DVI and HDMI as the connection standard has a near-direct line to the processor and is very handy in systems that need one port to do everything. Thunderbolt can be used as an alternative to DisplayPort and in fact is actually backwards compatible with the DP standard connector. Thunderbolt has four PCI-Express lanes dedicated to it and is capable of 10Gb/s bi-directional communication.
Like DisplayPort, it can run up to six monitors off one daisy-chained cable and can even power them at the same time in upcoming revisiosn to the standard. It uses the same drivers as DisplayPort and can be embedded into most PCB designs that use DispayPort without much hassle. For those of you interested in multi-monitor setups, Thunderbolt support is certainly something you can look for in future.
Those of you interested in buying a new Z77 or H77 board for your build in time for the launch of Intel’s Ivy Bridge, have a good look at ASUS’ lineup: Maximus V Gene, P8Z77-V Deluxe, P8Z77-V Pro, P8Z77-V, Sabertooth Z77, P8H77-V, and P8H77-M Pro. For those of you interested in adding in Thunderbolt support to your existing setup, Intel should be releasing a PCI add-in card on the 27th of this month.
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