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Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Thunderbolt Ready 9-series motherboards Appear At Computex

At this year's Computex show, Thunderbolt 2 technology is making news as PC motherboard OEMs are expanding Thunderbolt availability on a number of new Intel 9-series motherboards via the Thunderbolt Ready program and Thunderbolt 2 add-in cards.

As part of Intel's desktop overclocking event on the first night of Computex, the company held a 4K content creation workflow demonstration based on Thunderbolt 2.

Thunderbolt 2 offers width speeds up to 20Gbps, supports DisplayPort 1.2, allows users to daisy-chain as many as six devices.

Another aspect of the new 9-series motherboards that are launching is that many of them work in conjunction with Thunderbolt 2 add-in cards, under a program that Intel launched called Thunderbolt Ready. A motherboard can be called Thunderbolt Ready when it has a GPIO (general purpose I/O) header on the motherboard, the appropriate BIOS software update, and has been certified to work with a Thunderbolt 2 add-in card. Over the next few months Intel expects to see over 40 Thunderbolt Ready motherboards launched into the market from Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, ASRock, and others.

Lexar introduced at Computex two new Thunderbolt 2 products, the Lexar Professional Workflow HR2 and Lexar Professional Workflow CR2. The Lexar Professional Workflow HR2 is a four-bay reader hub for individual card readers and offers users a very fast way to download photo and video files from cards of multiple formats concurrently. When paired with the Lexar Professional Workflow CR2, a CFast 2.0 Thunderbolt 2 reader, users will experience download speeds up to 4x faster than USB 3.0. Or if you need to download many cards at once, multiple readers can be daisy-chained together.

One of the more interesting products now shipping with Thunderbolt 2 is the 34" WQHD Thunderbolt monitor from LG. The 34-inch monitor takes advantage of the newest trend 21:9 displays as well as UltraWide QHD resolution (3440 x 1440) and superior color management features. A host of connectivity options such as Thunderbolt 2 allow professionals to tailor the monitor to their specific needs. And with its support for Thunderbolt 2, the 34UM95 provides transfer speeds up to 20Gbps.

At its core, Thunderbolt technology is all about connectivity, and the recent announcement of Thunderbolt Networking is a great example. Thunderbolt Networking (soon to be available on Thunderbolt 2 systems) is a new way to connect two PCs, or a PC and a Mac, together via a standard Thunderbolt cable, providing 10GbE throughput. Thunderbolt dongles are another category that carries this theme forward, and at Computex, Intel showcased two new Kanex Thunderbolt dual- port dongles, an eSATA + USB 3.0 and a Gigabit Ethernet + USB 3.0 connectivity option.

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