The TB_Header on Asus’ recently launched Z77 and H77 motherboard cause a lot of confusion at first, but once the company announced it was working on an add-in card that would allow users to upgrade these boards with Thunderbolt support, things became a lot clearer. At Computex the company was finally showing off its ThunderboltEX card, or at least its first card.
As you can see from the pictures, the TB_Header attaches to what appears to be an identical header on the card and this is apparently for GPIO signalling. Beyond that, the card needs to be fitted in a PCI Express x4 slot and it needs to be connected to a DisplayPort on either your graphics card or the motherboard.
The DisplayPort signal is muxed with the Thunderbolt data signal and then piped out via the Thunderbolt/mini DisplayPort connector on the ThunderboltEX card. Asus supplies the DisplayPort cable with the card as well as the internal cable. As far as we’re aware, the company is planning a two port version as well, although currently Intel isn’t quite ready to verify two-port Thunderbolt solutions, so it’s possible that Asus held back that product until Intel’s verification process is done.
Kitguru says: We’re still not sure about the pricing, but earlier reports has suggested that it should end up costing somewhere around US$40-50 which might just make this the most affordable way to get Thunderbolt support on a PC.