MSI unveils Thunderbolt-equipped Z77 motherboard

Hot on the heels of Asus, which unveiled a similar motherboard yesterday, MSI has announced its first Thunderbolt-equipped mobo: the Z77A-GD80. Just like the Asus offerings, the board is based on Intel's Z77 Express chipset, and it delivers Thunderbolt connectivity through a Mini DisplayPort connector.

MSI says the Thunderbolt port offers 10Gbps of bi-directional bandwidth and supports "high resolution monitors, storage devices and even a graphics card." That last part is probably a reference to the external GPU prototype we saw at MSI's CES suite in January. Of course, external graphics probably aren't worth worrying about in this case, because the Z77A-GD80 sports a whopping three PCI Express x16 slots.

Other connectivity includes three PCIe x1 slots (so, there's no 32-bit PCI at all on this board), eight Serial ATA ports (half of which support 6Gbps transfer rates), and four USB 3.0 ports (two external and two via onboard connectors). MSI also touts the Z77A-GD80's "Military Class" components and its "proprietary one-second overclocking OC Genie II" feature.

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