There were a plethora of interesting devices on show during the Intel Thunderbolt media event just now, which was held at the Taipei's premier shopping mall Bellavita. We spotted some never seen before and upcoming ASRock/Gigabyte motherboards with new Cactus Ridge 4C controller, MSI's external PCIe graphics that was shown during CES and debuting products from the likes of OCZ and LaCie.
Jason Ziller, Intel's Director of Thunderbolt Marketing gave an update on the Thunderbolt ecosystem, introducing the many new PC vendors who have come onboard and their products since the Apple exclusive on Thunderbolt expired not long ago. Interestingly, he stressed repeatedly during his presentation that Thunderbolt devices designed for the Mac will not work seemlessly on the Windows PC without a certified driver.
The previously exobitant (Apple-only) cable prices are expected to fall with the introduction of more vendors (including mainstream names like Belkin and WD) and optical cables will allow running lengths up to 20 metres.
These are a current list of motherboard vendors that Intel are working with implementing Thunderbolt support on consumer off the shelf motherboards. You've already seen the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium, Intel DZ77RE-75k and MSI Z77A-GD80 before, but they are single connector designs (Cactus Ridge 2C).
The more expensive but forward looking Cactus Ridge 4C host router – which allows for two Thunderbolt ports (uses 4 PCIe lanes from the PCH).
ASRock Z77 Extreme 6/TB R1.0 (4C)
GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UP4 TH
GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UP5 TH
An ASUS ROG G55VW (Ivy Bridge i7, GTX660M) with a single Thunderbolt port
MSI GUS, a Thunderbolt PCIe Graphics Breakout Box first seen at CES 2012, with enough bandwidth (PCIe x2 or x4 depending on the host controller used) to run Crysis Warhead (had a lot of input lag though).
Only a single slot graphics card is supported, and an external power adapter is needed to keep things running.
OCZ's Little Foot portable storage device (mSATA SSD)
We've seen the LaCie's Little Big Disk before during our Thunderbolt motherboard review… now theres a new version that includes dual eSATA ports.