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Thunderbolt 2: Ready for Windows with the ASUS ThunderboltEX II

By: Tyler Bernath | Editorials in Storage | Posted: Apr 14, 2014 10:03 pm
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ASUS ThunderboltEX II

 

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In early January, ASUS released the ThunderboltEX II series of add-on cards; these cards are available in two models, the one you see above is the single port solution, and another labeled the ThunderboltEX II DUAL adds a second Thunderbolt 2 port.

 

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With the packaging out of the way, we can see just what comes with the EX II. Here we have the user guide with the Windows driver installation disc included. The card itself is only compatible with select motherboards from ASUS, including the Maximus VI Extreme, Sabertooth Z87, Z87 Plus, Z87-A, and the motherboard we were lucky enough to have sent over, the ASUS Z87 Pro.

 

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The ThunderboltEX II features a full PCIe 2.0 x4 interface with the Intel DSL5320 Thunderbolt 2 controller onboard. At the top of the card, you will find the Thunderbolt header that connects to the motherboards listed above, allowing the motherboard and card to communicate and swap timing information.

 

 

ASUS Z87 Pro Motherboard

 

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The ASUS Z87 Pro motherboard is a socket LGA1150 based motherboard ready for the latest fourth-gen Haswell CPUs from Intel. The motherboard has a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot second from the top in gold, with the first black slot being PCIe 3.0 x8 and the last slot coming from the Z87 chipset at PCIe 2.0 x4.

 

In addition to the internal PCIe connectivity, we have six SATA III ports in yellow that run natively on the Z87 chipset, with another two powered by the ASMedia 1061 controller.

 

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The rear I/O for the Z87 Pro features six USB 3.0 ports, 802.11AC wireless connectivity, and a full range of display connections. Additionally, we have Gigabit Ethernet powered by the Intel I217V and Audio powered by the Realtek ALC1150.

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