ASUS give AM3+ boards Thunderbolt support
Ryan Martin / 5 years ago
The lack of Thunderbolt support on the AM3+ platform has now been fixed by ASUS. At Computex 2012 ASUS has been showing off 990FX AM3+motherboards with Thunderbolt connectivity. The “New” motherboards are simply old boards with added Thunderbolt support, these include the Crosshair V Formula-Z (990FX + SB950), M5A99FX PRO R2.0 (990FX + SB950), Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 (990FX + SB950) and M5A99X EVO R2.0 (990FX + SB950). What all these motherboards have in common, is a header labeled “TB_HEADER,” which connects them to ASUS’ Thunderbolt EX add-on card.
The ASUS Thunderbolt EX card is driven by Intel’s Cactus Ridge 2C Thunderbolt controller. The TB_HEADER is a low-level connection between the motherboard and the add-on card, which transacts power state, signaling, and device hot-plugging events to the system BIOS.Some of ASUS’ recent 7-series LGA1155 motherboards can be retrofitted with Thunderbolt the same way, and feature the same header. The card has a nice EMI shield running the entire length of its PCB. Its rear panel has one full-size DisplayPort, which is actually an input from your graphics card, and one Thunderbolt + mini-DP output.