Intel’s Thunderbolt technology is a way of connecting the PCI-Express BUS to an external apparatus. The technology is kept on a tight leash and usually only Intel and Apple products have access to such an upgrade.
AMD computers seem like are going to get Thunderbolt after all is ASUS reportedly will have it their way. Intel and Apple are the two companies that collaborated on Thunderbolt, and this is the fastest external connect technology widely available now. For those that need a reminder – yes, Thunderbolt is faster than USB 3.0. Thunderbolt’s maximum rated connection speed is 20 Gigabits per second, but most devices out now support only 10 Gigabits per second. USB 3.0 is rated at 5 Gigabits, but the costs of implementing this technology are way smaller than those of trying to implement Intel’s Thunderbolt.
ASUS has shown a bunch of AM3+ mainboard at this year’s Computex show and they reportedly have included a Thunderbolt head on each such motherboard that will work with the company’s ThunderboltEX expansion card. The TB_HEADER is present on ASUS’ upcoming ROG Crosshair V Formula-Z (C5F revision), the mainstream M5A99FX PRO R2.0 and M5A99X EVO R2.0 and on the Sabertooth 990FX R2.0. The expansion card requires a PCI-Express slot x4 and it most likely uses an Intel Cactus Ridge 2C host router. This card will provide the user with a single Thunderbolt port. Other cards using Intel Cactus Ridge 4C will allow for two Thunderbolt ports, but it’s not the case here.
ASUS’ ThunderboltEX expansion card also comes with a DisplayPort. It’s quite a pity AMD hasn’t developed and offered a controller with their alternative “Lightning Bolt” technology that they’ve displayed at CES this year.