Asrock, a major maker of mainboards, has introduced its first motherboard with two Thunderbolt ports. The novelty is positioned for workstation users, who utilize high-end external storage devices, but may also be an important future-proof technology for those, who plan to use their PCs for a long time and expects Thunderbolt to become mainstream technology in the future.
Asrock’s Extreme6/TB4 mainboard is the world’s second mainboard with two independent Thunderbolt ports available in retail. Mainboards with two Thunderbolt ports let users to daisy chain up to twelve devices with TB ports simultaneously at 10Gb/s bi-directional speed per port as well as connect one display with mini-DisplayPort interface to every port. The solution supports 6 daisy-chained peripherals per Thunderbolt port with one display connected to the end of the chain.
The Z77 Extreme6/TB4 mainboard is compatible with Intel Core i-series “Sandy Bridge” and “Ivy Bridge” central processing units in LGA1155 form-factor. The platform features four DDR3 DIMM memory slots, two PCI Express 3.0 x16 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, IEEE1394/FireWire, eSATA, 8-channel audio, HDMI, DisplayPort and so on. The mainboard also sports premium gold caps, 8+4 power phase design, overclocking capabilities, Lucid Virtu MVP and so on. Pricing of the mainboard is unknown.
In a bid to concentrate on own-brand premium business, Asustek Computer spun-off Asrock as a subsidiary to make low-cost mainboards and other components back in 2002. Ten years later, Asrock not only managed to become the world’s third largest supplier of motherboards, but also started to offer unique solutions that are aimed at the high-end of the market. For example, even Asus itself does not offer a mainboard with two Thunderbolt ports, which signals that Asrock begins to address market segments that are addressed by the parent company.