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Thread: AsRock z97 Extreme 6 Thunderbolt Connector

  1. #1
    T.K.S is offline Junior Member
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    Default AsRock z97 Extreme 6 Thunderbolt Connector

    Hello,

    is it possible to use Asus ThunderboltEX II or EX II Dual with the connector of the AsRock Z97 Extreme 6 ?
    These are the only cards available in Germany. The MSI Thunderbolt-Plus from the compatibility list on the
    AsRock Z97 Extreme6 webpage is not listed anywhere.
    I read that all Thunderbolt AIC-cards are based on same Intel-design and so it should be possible ??
    Tom

  2. #2
    parsec's Avatar
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    Default Re: AsRock z97 Extreme 6 Thunderbolt Connector

    Good question, I don't know if those Asus cards will work.

    One main point is if the TB header on the ASRock and Asus boards is the same, hard to tell from the pictures of the Asus TB cards. I would think it should be a standard connector.

    I found this information about the Asus cards: ASUS ThunderboltEX II: What You Need To Know - Republic of Gamers

    One thing that might be a problem with the EX II Dual card is mentioned on the page above, which is:

    An updated BIOS that adds ThunderboltEX II enhancements

    Wait, I just found something that will not allow you to use the EX II cards on the ASRock board, from the same Asus page above:

    A PCI-Express 2.0 4x port connected to the PCH

    The PCH is the Z97 chipset, and your board does not have any PCI-Express 2.0 x4 slots. There is a PCI-E 2.0 X16 slot on the board, slot PCIE5, but the specs say the slot works in x2 mode:

    1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (PCIE5: x2 mode)

    So, it looks like the TB EXII cards won't work. A TB 10Gb/s card should work on your board, since it only needs a PCI-E x2 interface.

  3. #3
    T.K.S is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: AsRock z97 Extreme 6 Thunderbolt Connector

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    Good question, I don't know if those Asus cards will work.

    One main point is if the TB header on the ASRock and Asus boards is the same, hard to tell from the pictures of the Asus TB cards. I would think it should be a standard connector.

    I found this information about the Asus cards: ASUS ThunderboltEX II: What You Need To Know - Republic of Gamers

    One thing that might be a problem with the EX II Dual card is mentioned on the page above, which is:

    An updated BIOS that adds ThunderboltEX II enhancements

    Wait, I just found something that will not allow you to use the EX II cards on the ASRock board, from the same Asus page above:

    A PCI-Express 2.0 4x port connected to the PCH

    The PCH is the Z97 chipset, and your board does not have any PCI-Express 2.0 x4 slots. There is a PCI-E 2.0 X16 slot on the board, slot PCIE5, but the specs say the slot works in x2 mode:

    1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (PCIE5: x2 mode)

    So, it looks like the TB EXII cards won't work. A TB 10Gb/s card should work on your board, since it only needs a PCI-E x2 interface.
    Hello,
    i read this, but Asus definitely is naming the Z97-A as compatible on thei EX II page, also the Z97-Pro And Pro Wifi. But only the Pros have an PCI 2.0 16x (4x) slot the Z97A not, only 2x 3.0 (16X 8X) and 1x 2.0 (16x 2x) like the Asrock Extreme 6 !?!
    This is becoming more and more mysterious. My main problem is, only the ThunderboltEX II is available, found nothing else in Germany. The MSI card mentioned on theAsRock page
    is not mentioned anywhere on the net or i am just not finding it.

    Tom

  4. #4
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    Default Re: AsRock z97 Extreme 6 Thunderbolt Connector

    Google Fu, FWIW. YMMV

    https://thunderbolttechnology.net/pr...k-z97-extreme6

    Thunderbolt Version: Thunderbolt 2

    .......

    ASRock Z97 Extreme6 is a Thunderbolt™-certified motherboard, which supports Thunderbolt™ 2 technology and provides up to 20Gbps connections via the added-in card.
    Last edited by - wardog -; 08-02-2014 at 07:04 AM.
    #1 - Please, when seeking help, enter the make and model of ALL parts that your system is comprised of in your Signature, or at least the model #'s in your System Specs, then "Save' it.
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    Default Re: AsRock z97 Extreme 6 Thunderbolt Connector

    ASRock Z97 Extreme6 is a Thunderbolt™-certified motherboard, which supports Thunderbolt™ 2 technology and provides up to 20Gbps connections via the added-in card.

    I'm skeptical about the Thunderbolt 2 support on this board, which I have BTW.

    Again, the specs for the PCIe 2.0 lanes from the chipset:

    1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (PCIE5: x2 mode)
    2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 Slots


    If the PCIE5 slot will provide x4 mode if the two PCIe x1 slots are empty, the manual and specs say nothing about that, and there is nothing in the BIOS to configure those slots. Otherwise the PCIE5 slot is x2, and Thunderbolt 2 needs x4.

    The information page for the Z97 Extreme 6 board has nothing about Thunderbolt 2, and barely mentions Thunderbolt at all. We know that any newer feature like Thunderbolt 2 would be hyped in the marketing overview for this board like crazy, yet nothing is there.

    Regarding compatibility with those Asus cards (the MSI card does not seem to exist, in the USA at least), I finally found a decent picture of the connector for the Thunderbolt header used by the Asus cards:

    Name:  asus thunderbolt exii.jpg
Views: 1794
Size:  40.9 KB

    It's the cable on the left, which is a ten pin connector, two rows of five pins. The Thunderbolt header on our ASRock board is a single row, five pin connector. Does that matter? I don't know, but I image it does. Or at least it matters for functioning at 20Gb/s. The compatible Asus boards have ten pin headers.

    That may be the overall answer, the Asus card is compatible (maybe) but will operate at 10Gb/s. Once again the magic words in the spec posted above, "Up To", means the speed can be anything less than the maximum, such as 10Gb/s.

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    Default Re: AsRock z97 Extreme 6 Thunderbolt Connector

    More Google Fu for your consumption

    https://intel.activeevents.com/sf13/...STS001_100.pdf

    pg 11 reveals the TB chip part numbers and req'd specs !

    It's a good read for this thread
    #1 - Please, when seeking help, enter the make and model of ALL parts that your system is comprised of in your Signature, or at least the model #'s in your System Specs, then "Save' it.
    ____If you are overclocking, underclocking, or undervolting any parts, informing us of this and their values would prove beneficial in helping you.

    #2 - G.Skill RAM Configurator for your boardSamsung Memory for your boardLatest AMD Chipset Drivers/WindowsLatest AMD Graphics Drivers/WindowsLatest Intel Drivers

    #3 - Please use the PSU Calculator found HERE to determine if it might be the PSU causing issues. I do(Lifetime PRO ver.) and will mention so if it is marginal for your build.
    ____Consider your PSU to be the foundation from which all else is built upon. Anything built upon a weak foundation is poorly built.

    ASRock Z77 Extreme6, i7-3770K, 16GB F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR, Seasonic SS-660XP2 Platinum, On-die HD 4000, Corsair H80i, Antec Spot Cool, Fractal Design R4 Black Pearl w/Window
    Server 1: ASRock 990FX Extreme9, FX-8150, 32GB AE316G1601U2K, Seasonic X-750 Gold, IBM ServeRAID M1015 (IT Mode), PowerColor AX5450 1GBK3-SH, Corsair H80i, Antec Spot Cool, Fractal Design XL R2
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    parsec's Avatar
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    Default Re: AsRock z97 Extreme 6 Thunderbolt Connector

    Quote Originally Posted by - wardog - View Post
    More Google Fu for your consumption

    https://intel.activeevents.com/sf13/...STS001_100.pdf

    pg 11 reveals the TB chip part numbers and req'd specs !

    It's a good read for this thread
    Adobe complains about that file in Firefox, can't see squat.

  8. #8
    - wardog -'s Avatar
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    Default Re: AsRock z97 Extreme 6 Thunderbolt Connector

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    Adobe complains about that file in Firefox, can't see squat.
    It's not that hard to relocate:

    https://intel.activeevents.com/sf13/...ESSION_ID=1208
    #1 - Please, when seeking help, enter the make and model of ALL parts that your system is comprised of in your Signature, or at least the model #'s in your System Specs, then "Save' it.
    ____If you are overclocking, underclocking, or undervolting any parts, informing us of this and their values would prove beneficial in helping you.

    #2 - G.Skill RAM Configurator for your boardSamsung Memory for your boardLatest AMD Chipset Drivers/WindowsLatest AMD Graphics Drivers/WindowsLatest Intel Drivers

    #3 - Please use the PSU Calculator found HERE to determine if it might be the PSU causing issues. I do(Lifetime PRO ver.) and will mention so if it is marginal for your build.
    ____Consider your PSU to be the foundation from which all else is built upon. Anything built upon a weak foundation is poorly built.

    ASRock Z77 Extreme6, i7-3770K, 16GB F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR, Seasonic SS-660XP2 Platinum, On-die HD 4000, Corsair H80i, Antec Spot Cool, Fractal Design R4 Black Pearl w/Window
    Server 1: ASRock 990FX Extreme9, FX-8150, 32GB AE316G1601U2K, Seasonic X-750 Gold, IBM ServeRAID M1015 (IT Mode), PowerColor AX5450 1GBK3-SH, Corsair H80i, Antec Spot Cool, Fractal Design XL R2
    Server 2: ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+, A10-6800K, 16GB F3-17000CL11D-8GBXL, Seasonic X750 Gold, IBM ServeRAID M1015 (IT Mode), On-die HD 8670D, Corsair H80i, Antec Spot Cool, Fractal Design Arc Midi R2

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    parsec's Avatar
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    Default Re: AsRock z97 Extreme 6 Thunderbolt Connector

    Thanks, working now. Just being lazy...

  10. #10
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    Default Re: AsRock z97 Extreme 6 Thunderbolt Connector

    Quote Originally Posted by - wardog - View Post
    Well, I did learn a thing or two or three, one being that someone better start making these adapter cards if TB has any hope of being adopted. OTOH, these cards are a bit of a pain with the DisplayPort cable running from inside to outside the PC case, and the dual port card requires the mother board to have one DisplayPort and one mini DisplayPort connections on the IO panel, and both cables go inside the PC case.

    I can say I have not seen one indication that the Asus Thunderbolt cards will work with any mother boards other than several specific Asus boards. IMO, I would not assume these Asus cards (if you can even get one) will work in this ASRock board.

    I did find the answer to TKS's question about compatibility with the Asus boards that did not have PCIe 2.0 x4, this is the note about those boards:

    The maximum bandwidth of the PCIe 2.0 x16_3 slot on these supported
    motherboards is up to x2 mode only. The maximum bandwidth in x2 mode
    is 10 Gb/s.


    I also answered (sorta) my concern over the "ten pin" (actually nine pin) TB Header cable used on the two Thunderbolt cards, and the different headers on some boards:

    Use the bundled TB_Header converter with the TB_Header cable when
    connecting your ThunderboltEX II/DUAL card to the 5-pin TB_Header
    connectors of 9 series motherboards


    IMO, Thunderbolt has potential but needs to be made simple as Apple has with their use of it. If it's not dumbed-down to USB level, it won't get wide acceptance.

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