Asus’ Z87-Deluxe/Quad is the first Thunderbolt 2 motherboard

Asus’ ultra-high-end Z87-Deluxe/Dual motherboard is pretty swanky. This $350 monster supports three-way graphics configs and boasts a staggering 10 6Gbps SATA ports and eight USB 3.0 connectors. It has wireless out the wazoo, including 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and even NFC. Dual GigE controllers? Check. There’s just one problem: the Thunderbolt implementation is so last year.

Well, good news. Asus has announced the Z87-Deluxe/Quad, which trades the first-gen Thunderbolt implementation of its predecessor for Intel’s latest interconnect hotness. Thunderbolt 2, as it’s known, combines the first-gen standard’s dual 10Gbps channels into a single, 20Gbps pipe. The gen-two spec calls for only one channel per port, so the interface’s aggregate bandwidth hasn’t increased. However, individual devices have access to twice the bandwidth, which is a nice boost.

Source: Asus

Thunderbolt 2 also adds support for 4K displays via DisplayPort 1.2. With two Thunderbolt ports onboard plus its own video outputs, the Z87-Deluxe/Quad can power three 4K monitors without the aid of a discrete graphics card. You will, of course, need some serious GPU horsepower to run games smoothly on a single 4K display, let alone a 25-megapixel surround config.

In the press release announcing the Quad, Asus VP and motherboard chief Joe Hsieh lauds the "tremendous amount" of compatibility testing that was undertaken to validate the board. The Z87-Deluxe/Quad is "the world’s first motherboard certified for Thunderbolt 2," he says.

The sort of people who buy uber mobos probably aren’t fazed by Thunderbolt’s high cable costs, but they might be disappointed by the relatively thin selection of Windows-compatible devices. Apart from the handful of 4K displays out there right now, I’m not aware of any other products that can take advantage of Thunderbolt 2’s fatter pipe. If you’re going to spend more than three bills on a motherboard, though, it should have the latest and greatest version of everything.

Asus claims the Deluxe/Quad is the first Thunderbolt 2 motherboard, but the press release doesn’t say when you’ll be able to buy one or how much it’ll cost. We’ve asked the company for clarification and will update this post when we get an answer.

Comments closed
    • neahcrow
    • 6 years ago

    Just got my hands on this today. I was pretty impressed. It will be nice to have for our 4K workflows.

    • floodo1
    • 6 years ago

    I’m so tired of the peanut gallery and their comments about USB3 v Thunderbolt. Not sure why ANYONE doesn’t like the concept of external PCI-E + DisplayPort in a single cable, other than cost.

      • Mr. Eco
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]...other than cost[/quote<] This is exactly the reason it fails.

    • fantastic
    • 6 years ago

    I remember paying that much for a motherboard. It was for a Pentium 90 with PCI v1. Good times. Good times.

    • albundy
    • 6 years ago

    been looking for an upgrade, but this one is a no go for me. I need a SPDIF coax out among other things so I’m not picky on the crab version used. The onboard wifi/BT is a nice big bonus. Too bad I have zero use for thunderbolt and not sure why intel is supporting a dead standard.

      • mganai
      • 6 years ago

      A future for external PCIe connectivity, perhaps?

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 6 years ago

    And my dad just bought a $30 Ethernet to Thunderbolt cable for my sister’s new Macbook Air laptop…

    Thunderbolt is too expensive compared to SATA, USB, or HDMI.

      • Deanjo
      • 6 years ago

      Considering a USB 3 to Gigabit adapter costs about the same (and does not perform as well) I’m not sure what your complaint about a $30 TB to Ethernet adapter is. That is actually a very fair price considering it has an Apple logo on it.

      • mganai
      • 6 years ago

      TB can do things those can’t.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 6 years ago

    I feel like TR needs to benchmark this bad boy. But you have to do it properly. 3x4K displays.

      • Airmantharp
      • 6 years ago

      Or bust.

      I’d love to see a bench house pick up 3x4k@60Hz and 5x1080p@120Hz as the ‘benchmark’ for gaming performance, on an Ivy-E platform with a decent overclock.

      Relate any and all products to their capability; even if they can only push one 4k panel at 5FPS, that tells us something, and generates a data-point that will put everything into perspective for the next half-decade or so.

    • pcgeek86
    • 6 years ago

    Finally …. 15 years later, we finally break into a new screen resolution? That took long enough.

    • ronch
    • 6 years ago

    Don’t really care much for an expensive, proprietary connectivity protocol such as Thunderbolt. I’d rather have a cheap, popular, universally compatible, and still high-performing connectivity protocol… and that’s USB 2.0/3.0. My board (MSI 990FXA-GD65) has no Firewire, eSATA or (drum roll) Thunderbolt ports, but it has 8 USB 2.0 ports and 2 USB 3.0 ports on the rear port cluster alone, plus 2 USB 2.0 ports out front. Can’t be happier.

      • Deanjo
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]universally compatible[/quote<] How are those PCI-e devices working on that USB?

        • cynan
        • 6 years ago

        And just how many external PCIe devices would you really be interested in for a desktop? That’s what the expansion slots on the board are for… For a laptop, Thunderbolt 2 is appealing because internal expansion is limited. Not so much for a desktop, IMO. USB 3.1 or SATAe, with their cheaper passive cables, are better suited for I/O and external storage on that front.

        Secondly, on board GPUs are generally reserved for lower end displays. Maybe in a couple of years there’ll be some budget desktop 4k displays. But for now, anyone getting an ASUS PQ321 or equivalent is almost certainly going to invest in at least some sort of discrete card.

        The Thunderbolt 2 spec is novel and cool and all, but I don’t see much of a draw for it on a desktop motherboard – at least not yet.

          • Deanjo
          • 6 years ago

          Right now I am using my TB expansion bay and hooks it up to the systems I need those devices on. One expansion bay can accommodate all my TB capable systems. I want that expandability on the laptop, I hook it up, I want it on the desktop, I hook it up, I need it on the Mac Mini, I hook it up. That is something that cannot be handled by just slapping a card into one system. The cards I have in it are for video capturing and mass storage.

        • ronch
        • 6 years ago

        No such thing as a [u<]completely[/u<] universally-compatible device. Never was any, probably never will be any. When I said 'universally-compatible', by that I meant that most devices out there use the USB standard: Printers, keyboards, mice, digital cameras, tablets, flash drives, etc. I can't think of a type of device that connects to a PC that does not offer USB compatibility (there may be a few, rare exceptions, of course). Thunderbolt may one day supplant USB but right now it's proprietary, expensive, and even if you have it chances are your friends don't so forget about letting anybody borrow your Thunderbolt-only flash drive or digital camera. USB is cheap, ubiquitous, and any device you buy probably can connect using it. Now isn't that 'universally compatible' in a sense as far as PC connectivity is concerned?

          • End User
          • 6 years ago

          You are getting to wound up thinking Thunderbolt is a competitor to USB. Intel believes USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt are complimentary. USB is great up to a point. Thunderbolt picks up the ball and keeps on running.

          I’m a fan of both. I love my USB 3.0 sticks and the cheap USB 3.0 case for my external SSD. I also love the fact that I have a display that delivers 2560×1440/giga ethernet/audio/FireWire/USB over one thin Thunderbolt cable to my MacBook Air.

      • End User
      • 6 years ago

      If you are happy with just 2 USB 3.0 ports then enough said. Why bother droning on about Thunderbolt 2. That is like criticizing a McLaren F1 when you drive a Crapolla.

        • ronch
        • 6 years ago

        I don’t even use my USB 3.0 ports because I don’t have any USB 3.0 devices. USB 2.0 works just fine for my keyboard, mouse, USB 2.0 external drive, and printer. By the time I actually have more USB 3.0 devices perhaps I’ll just slap on a USB 3.0 card for more ports. And no, not bashing TB, just drumming about how I’m perfectly fine with USB 2/3.

          • End User
          • 6 years ago

          “I don’t even use my USB 3.0 ports”

          Good grief!

        • Krogoth
        • 6 years ago

        The analogy would more like be Firewire 800 versus USB3. A niche interface that is overkill for the masses and support is going to be sparse as the standard Firewire/Thunderbolt 1 interfaces never expanded themselves beyond the professional niche. The masses don’t have the killer app that makes USB 2/3 woefully inadequate.

        Thunderbolt is inherently more expensive then USB, because it involves a more circuitry, tracing and shielding to ensure reliable data transfer at its rated speed. 10-100Gigabit Ethernet have the same issues over conductive metals. It starts to make more sense to go optical at thess speeds which is what Intel wanted to do with Lightpeak, but Intel chickened out at the last minute over concerns that cabling was too fragile. I can’t image the current copper versions are really that much durable against physical stress and trauma. I have seen too many UTP and USB cables bailing out, but nobody blinks an eye since they are so cheap to replace unless the UTP cable happens to be a critical backbone under a mess of other wiring.

      • slowriot
      • 6 years ago

      I assume there’s a greater point here than just telling other TR readers you don’t use USB 3 or TB?

      • floodo1
      • 6 years ago

      thunderbolt isnt a usb3 replacement

    • ronch
    • 6 years ago

    Double post.

    • SternHammer
    • 6 years ago

    The upcoming AMD Photonray with Kaveri APUs, is said to be twice as fast.. Kappa

      • NeelyCam
      • 6 years ago

      Photonray? Never heard of this… Links?

        • ronch
        • 6 years ago

        I think he was attempting a joke or sarcasm.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This