Thunderbolt 3 Coming to Gigabyte Z170 Motherboards via a BIOS Update

Thunderbolt 3 is capable of 40Gbps via a USB Type-C connector and able to power dual 4K displays or a single 5K monitor at 60Hz. This astonishing amount of bandwidth is integrated into Intel’s Alpine Ridge USB 3.1 controller on the H170 and Z170 chipset. As a result, any motherboard passing Intel’s certification can theoretically access the enhanced speed. Although, it is in the hands of manufacturers to offer a software update to utilize this added functionality.

Gigabyte is providing a firmware update for the GA-Z170X-Gaming G1, GA-Z170X-Gaming GT, and GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 to offer the enhanced speeds. As a result, Gigabyte’s supported range is becoming quite comprehensive. It’s impressive to see such a quick reaction to the potential of Thunderbolt 3.0 and giving early adopters improved functionality. Whether any affordable consumer displays support Thunderbolt 3 is another topic for discussion. However, the interface could become essential in the future when displays surpass the 4K resolution.

Thunderbolt 3 contains 100w of charging power which might prove to be more useful for the average consumer. Whatever the case, I’m pleased to see motherboard partners offering firmware updates and adding more value to each z170 motherboard. Sadly, the 1151 CPUs are quite expensive at the moment which is limiting the amount of people upgrading from older sockets.

Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 TH is the First Thunderbolt 3 Certified Motherboard

Gigabyte proudly announced that they are bringing Thunderbolt 3 to the desktop PC by launching the GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH motherboard with support for the 6th Generation Intel Core processors, the first Intel Thunderbolt 3 certified of its kind.

The whole thing is powered by Intel’s own Thunderbolt controller and the Thunderbolt 3 protocol is available over two USB Type-C connectors on the back I/O of the GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH. The new protocol doubles up the bandwidth, allowing for up to 40Gbps per connection.

You can use that bandwidth to connect pretty much anything, as it natively supports both DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 3.1. When it comes to daisy-chaining devices, we get the same as on the Thunderbolt 2 connection: 6 per channel.  The available bandwidth is enough to drive two displays in 4K resolution at 60 FPS or one display in 5K resolution.

The Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 TH brings along all the other features you’ll want, such as Gigabit Ethernet, support for SLI and CrossFireX configuration, Ultra Durable PCIe one-piece metal shielded slots, and support for the latest NVMe protocols over the M.2 connector.

The GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH also features the long lifespan Durable Black solid capacitors that are rated for 10K hours and the exclusive GIGABYTE DualBIOS technology to protect your PC’s most crucial component.

Thunderbolt 3 Speed Is Capped on Apple’s 12-Inch MacBook

Apple wanted to bring revolutionary technology with its new super slim 12-inch MacBook and it did with the USB Type-C port. Unfortunately, those of you wanting to reach top speeds with Thunderbolt 3 will have to wait a bit longer, according to Intel.

Intel announced that its Thunderbolt 3 can transfer up to 40 Gbps, an enormous amount of data, but we won’t see that speed just yet. Though the company did make a smart move to merge the connectors with the USB Type-C protocol, we will only see it work at USB 3.0 speeds for now. This means only 5 Gbps transfer rates will apply when using Thunderbolt 3 on a USB Type-C connector, which is pretty disappointing.

However, this roadblock will not sit around forever. The Thunderbolt 3 speeds will be capped until manufacturers upgrade their controllers to support the enormous 40 Gbps transfer rates, so current MacBooks and even Google’s Pixel will just have to do with 5 Gbps speeds for now. In order to achieve top speeds, Thunderbolt 3 ports are still the best way and can be distinguished from normal USB Type-C connections by their proprietary Thunderbolt logo.

On the other hand, once proper controllers will be added to future MacBooks and other laptops, Thunderbolt 3 will make a huge difference. For example, Thunderbolt 3 is currently able to connect two 4K monitors simultaneously to a computer and is able to transfer a 4K movie in just 30 seconds. In addition, the Thunderbolt 3 is able to output up to 100 watts and is also able to handle 8K video with ease, so there’s a lot of potential in the tech.

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Intel Unveils Thunderbolt 3 on USB-C

Thunderbolt may soon go mainstream and ubiquitous. Intel has announced Thunderbolt 3 with a crucial new feature, USB Type-C connectors. Not only will Thunderbolt 3 use USB Type-C ports, it will also support the USB 3.1 protocol and provide up to 100W though the USB Power Delivery spec. Bandwidth has also doubled to 40Gbps and non-USB PD power delivery increased to 15W. Unfortunately, backwards compatibility with Thunderbolt 1 and 2 is not guan teed and requires an adapter.

Backed by Intel’s new controller, Alpine Ridge, Thunderbolt 3 utilizes either 4 PCIe 3 lanes to drive two ports or 2 PCIe 3 lanes to drive a single port. USB 3.1 support is baked into Alpine Ridge meaning all Thunderbolt 3 ports can connect to USB  devices as well. Up to 2 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 5K display,  again at 60Hz, can be driven with support for Display Port 1.2. 10Gb Ethernet can also run on Thunderbolt 3 as well.

Building in USB into Thunderbolt is for sure going to increase the chances of adoption. Instead of having to build separate USB and Thunderbolt ports, firms can just use Thunderbolt ports and support both protocols. Cost is reduced as well with only the controller to mainly worry about as normal Type-C cables will run Thunderbolt 3 just fine. It would not be surprising to see eventually see laptops with just 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports and maybe an extra Type-C port for larger models. The move to Type-C also means Thunderbolt can not move into smaller devices like phones and tablets. Thunderbolt may finally be the one port to rule them all, for those that pay for the controller of course.