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Sep 12, 2013

Gigabyte Motherboards with Thunderbolt 2.0 Released




Even though many people feel that Thunderbolt doesn't have much of a future, being a proprietary technology and all, motherboard producers are making a fuss each time they offer support for it, like Gigabyte has just done.

Well, fuss might be a strong word. After all, the only thing Gigabyte actually did was bring the Z87X-UD5 TH and Z87X-UD7 TH to IDF 2013. The Intel Developer Forum is taking place in San Francisco, California. Today is the last day actually. For those that need a short summary, Thunderbolt 2.0 is an interface that uses the DisplayPort standard and allows devices like screens and such to be daisy-chained. Its data transfer speed is of 20 Gbps, twice as high as that of USB 3.0 (that's right, USB 3.0 managed to jump a bit too, from 5 to 10 Gbps). Actually, the move to 20 Gbps was supposed to give people a reason to consider it worth getting on top of USB 3.0, but with the latter also evolving, that didn't pan out.

Nevertheless, Intel continues to promote the interface, resulting in OEM motherboards like the two we are examining here today. First off, the Z87X-UD7 TH has a 16-phase VRM with high-grade PowIRstage driver-MOSFETs, five PCI Express 3.0 slots (x16, x8 when more than three are used). A mechanism that bypasses the bridge chip exists (the Intel chipset can't handle all the slots alone) to give a single graphics card direct link to the CPU. Other specs include a VRM cooler with active air-cooled heatsink (has a coolant channel to make it part of the liquid cooling loop, if available), two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots, ten SATA 6 Gbps ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, onboard OC controls, manual multi-BIOS toggle, diagnostic LED and manual PCIe slot toggle.

Meanwhile, the Z87X-UD5 TH has three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, legacy PCI slot (one), two PCIe x1 slots, 8 SATA 6 Gbps ports, and one of each Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WLAN, and Bluetooth 4.0. The other perks are the same as above.

Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH
Image credits to Gigabyte

Gigabyte Z87X-UD5 TH
Image credits to Gigabyte

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