ASUS' Thunderbolt EX Upgrade Card for 7-series Motherboardsby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 5, 2012 6:41 PM EST
Only two members of ASUS' Z77 stack feature integrated Thunderbolt support: the P8Z77-V Premium and the P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt. As the interface is still fairly new and the controllers still relatively expensive, ASUS didn't want to burden the price of all of its 7-series motherboards by adding Thunderbolt across the lineup. Recognizing the value in supporting the interface however, ASUS offers a Thunderbolt upgrade path for many of its other 7-series boards.
If your board is in the table above under the Thunderbolt/EX supported header, then you'll be able to find one of these TB Headers on your motherboard. ASUS will sell you a Thunderbolt EX card that plugs into a PCIe slot (it's a physical/electrical x4 device), connects to this header, and plugs into the DisplayPort output on your mothebroard. The expansion card features a single Thunderbolt port that you can use after completing the requisite steps. The card itself is home to a single port, dual-channel Cactus Ridge Thunderbolt controller. The external routing of DisplayPort is necessary to provide DP pass-through functionality via the Thunderbolt port, but it does admittedly take away from the clean single cable appeal of native Thunderbolt.
ASUS hasn't announced pricing of the upgrade yet but it gives users who really want Thunderbolt on their ASUS board a chance to have it.
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VectorZero - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - linkWould this card work with the DP output from a PCI graphics card? On the MSI onboard implementation Anand used Virtu to get video from the dGPU via the Tbolt output, at the cost of 2-5% processing and no SLI support. This could be a better option for output to a thunderbolt display.
ericloewe - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - linkThere shouldn't be a problem, and would certainly be an interesting setup.
NECyclone - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - linkInteresting. I just bought an ASUS P8Z77-V Pro and I certainly don't see a TB Header on it like there is one on the Deluxe shown in the pictures.
NECyclone - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - linkNever mind. Found it. It was cleverly disguised as a TB Header over by the System Panel Connector. :)
Pazz - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - linkI believe most of the models have it down by the system panel connector. My P8Z77-V has it there and most of the pics I've seen have it down there.
macmuchmore - Monday, February 4, 2013 - linkHey - we are now into 2013 and I STILL cannot find this card online. Does anyone know if it is possible to buy it yet? Thanks!
slimscraggle - Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - linkSo.... it's been over a year now.... could Anand find out if this card is ever coming out?
Lyda - Friday, July 5, 2013 - linkCan i use Asus thunderbolt Ex with my PC dell studio XPS 9100 for connect my thunderbolt storage drive
TinHat - Friday, March 21, 2014 - linkI see that Asus has quietly negated support for this built in Thunderbolt Header, as it is only supported in the BIOS of the newer Z87 premium boards.
What are they playing at?
All I can say is ifthey don't provide a BIOS update to support this feature on my motherboard I will NEVER buy their products again. I hate deceit for the purpose of profiteering.
markymerlion - Saturday, June 7, 2014 - linkI recently purchased the Asus Z97 Pro (Wifi-AC) MB and the Thunderboltex II card. The specs said it was compatible with my MB, however it didn't mention I need the 9pin to 5pin cable. The Z-97 deluxe has everything in one bundle. Has anyone been able to buy the 9pin to 5pin cable? I have been given the runaround by Asus for almost 2 weeks now and still not any closer to finding out how and where to purchase the adaptor. Any help would be appreciated