Gigabyte makes wide use of Intel's Alpine Ridge USB 3.1 controller chip on its H170 and Z170 motherboards, and that chip can double as a Thunderbolt 3 controller on boards with Intel's certification. It would appear that Thunderbolt 3 can be enabled on compatible mobos with nothing more than a firmware update, too, as Gigabyte is doing just that for three newly-Thunderbolt-certified boards. The company's GA-Z170X-Gaming G1, GA-Z170X-Gaming GT, and GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 mobos are all getting support for Intel's wonder-port.
As a refresher, Thunderbolt 3 offers up to 40Gbps of bandwidth through the USB Type-C port. In that guise, the port can drive dual 4K displays (or a single 5K panel) at 60Hz, and it can also provide four lanes of PCIe 3.0 connectivity to external devices. Owners who want to take advantage of that newly-unlocked bandwidth should visit the support pages for their boards to download the appropriate firmware update when it becomes available.
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