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Thunderbolt on motherboards?

kirkdickinson

Member
Oct 22, 2015
83
5
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I am starting to see more and more devices advertised as using the thunderbolt port. Even Monoprice is starting to sell thunderbolt devices. I see ads pop up all the time. I am going to do a build toward the end of this year and it sounds like a great interface port to have. I know that USB 3.1 and thunderbolt have the same connector and that 3.1 is basically a slower subset of thunderbolt.

I just popped onto NewEgg and picked Intel Motherboards and then selected my sole filter, "thunderbolt port". There are a whopping 5 boards available. Seriously? Since I will probably be doing a Z390 build, that narrows it down to one board with not many options.

Are the Thunderbolt expansion cards any good? Are there any gotchas using them? The ASUS thunderbolt cards on NewEgg don't have very high ratings and the HP thunderbolt card is $225.99.
 

vailr

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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There are at least two different Intel Thunderbolt controller chips: Alpine Ridge (older) & Titan Ridge (newer).
AFAIK, there is only one PCIe card with Titan Ridge:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GBZL93X
If buying new components, the Titan Ridge version controller would be the better choice, whether built-in port on the motherboard, or on a PCIe card.
Note: a Thunderbolt motherboard header is required for the Thunderbolt PCIe card to work properly.
 
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kirkdickinson

Member
Oct 22, 2015
83
5
71
There are at least two different Intel Thunderbolt controller chips: Alpine Ridge (older) & Titan Ridge (newer).
AFAIK, there is only one PCIe card with Titan Ridge:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GBZL93X
If buying new components, the Titan Ridge version controller would be the better choice, whether built-in port on the motherboard, or on a PCIe card.
Note: a Thunderbolt motherboard header is required for the Thunderbolt PCIe card to work properly.
Thanks,

I had it in my head to use a thunderbolt-3 external drive enclosure and go with a smaller case for my next build. There really isn't much available and I didn't see anything with a hot swap capability until the expensive RAID enclosures which is not what I need.

Cost wise, it sure looks cheaper to just get the big case, put in a hotswap enclosure and forget about the thunderbolt.
 

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