news type c usb 3 1 comes to asrock x99 z97 boards
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Type-C USB 3.1 comes to ASRock X99, Z97 boards

ASRock is the latest motherboard maker to adopt USB 3.1—and it claims to be the “first in the world” to offer reversible Type-C connectivity. The firm is rolling out the next-gen interface on a couple of Extreme6 motherboards for Intel processors.


Source: ASRock

The X99 Extreme6/3.1 features a single Type-C port in its rear cluster. On top of that, ASRock throws in a separate PCIe add-in card with dual Type-A connectors. The add-in card appears to be fueled by a separate USB 3.1 controller, likely the ASMedia ASM1142. ASRock’s press release isn’t specific about the exact configuration.

Instead of splitting SuperSpeed+ connectivity between separate solutions, the Z97 Extreme6/3.1 sticks to a single add-in card. This one has both connector types, so it’s a little different from the “A+A” card that ships with the X99 board:

Note the different auxiliary power jacks; one is a four-pin floppy connector, while the other is standard Molex. ASRock says the ports can push 3A, which is good for 15W of 5V power.

The cards look identical apart from their internal and external connectors. Don’t get too excited about the physical x4 connectors, though. The ASM1142 is the only USB 3.1 solution we’ve seen, and it’s limited to a Gen2 x2 connection.

0 responses to “Type-C USB 3.1 comes to ASRock X99, Z97 boards

  1. True but he was only joking. I actually made a similar comment but changed it because I thought I was being a killjoy. 🙂

  2. One Type-C port on the rear port cluster and another on a bundled PCIe card. I don’t see any issues about that but couldn’t they just put both Type-C ports on the rear port cluster instead? And it’s not like we’re talking about a new USB spec here; only the physical connector has changed. USB 3.0 controllers that support 4 ports are pretty common these days and boards with many USB 3.0 ports are as common as the common cold these days.

  3. Remember PCIe is a serial bus, everything has to be point-to-point. So to do so would require all the spare slots be piped into a PCIe switch. This adds a fair amount of cost and complexity to the layout design, which is why PLX chips are typically only found on the more expensive boards.

    You CAN find boards as you describe such as the XPowerAC or Extreme9, but you have to pay extra to get them because of it.

  4. Not sure what you’re getting at here. The existing Type A connector is non-reversible by nature, so a new connector was required pretty much by definition.

  5. They should have just made the USB Type A connector reversible instead of making a whole new connector.

  6. Dear god this! 100x this!

    Cannot tell you how many times a PS/2 keyboard has saved me!

    Also do not expect PS/2 to go anywhere anytime soon. They are still extremely prevalent in the commercial / datacenter world. Especially for rack mounted equipment.

    Interrupt driven keyboards ftw!

  7. A PS2 keyboard is still operating on a reserved IRQ and is a failsafe where a USB bus still has to enumerate. If you have some device that is having a conflict with the USB controller (or you accidentally disable USB) you still will have a BIOS level device that can be used to fix the issue.

    Then there is also devices that can still utilize the keyboard port such as a KVM switch or copy protection dongles.

  8. any sata 3 or usb 3 addon cards have some type of sata power or floppy power. its been like this for a while. havent seen any addon cards of this type that use old school molex. and chances are, when you buy the card, they usually give you a conversion cable.

  9. Hey, at least we finally got rid of legacy PCI slots! (I am as baffled as you are that PS/2 ports are still hanging on. Must be to keep those IBM Model M fans happy and/or for people who want more than 6-key + modifiers rollover…)

  10. Yea, should either have made 3.0 reversible, or made 3.1 (and all future versions) ONLY reversible. None of this “there is a reversible port, but also a standard USB port, to confuse people”.
    If people want backwards compatibility, USB 3.0 ports will be around a very very long time (Hell this brand new, “extreme” high end x99 motherboard still has a PS/2 port, VGA port and two USB 2.0 Internal headers).

  11. Are they selling these cards separately? Because they totally should. Will move much higher volumes than the motherboards they’re bundled with.

  12. To be fair, the idea of reversible USB connectors had been around for at least a year or two before Lightning…struck.

  13. I wish there were more x4 slots (and make them open ended), instead turf a bunch of useless x1 slots. My USB 3 card and RAID cards both require PCI-e x4 slots to be fully utilized. An open ended x1 slot is pretty useless as the x1 slot isn’t all that great maintaining contact with cards in the first place.

  14. They probably didn’t want to re-spin the motherboard design to accommodate the extra components. Looks like there’s quite a bit of crap on those adapter cards.

    Edit: You could also argue that most people aren’t going to use those x4 PCIe slots anyway, since pretty much everything else is integrated on the motherboard these days. Might as well use ’em for something!

  15. The floppy power connector is there to supplement the power requirements of USB 3+ charging and device disconnects are avoided because of a low power situation.

  16. Weird. Killing a PCI-E slot for 2 USB ports? Floppy power connector? Is this 1998? Why not put it on a motherboard header and include a front panel box with 4 ports?

  17. Now how about getting your USB consortium to come up with a peer to peer USB 3.1 protocol. The old USB peer to peer protocol tops out at USB 2.

  18. What I get a kick out of is that when Lightning debuted and one of it’s features was a reversible connector, the USB fanboys went “meh, I have no issues with USB plugs, I can plug them in just fine.” and then when a reversible USB connector is announced they are crying “hallelujah!”.

  19. My main gripe with the type C connector is that they should’ve rolled it out at the same time as USB 3.0. There are *way* too many different types of USB connectors/cables now. And the USB 3.0 micro connector just screams “ugly hack job”.

  20. I think you’re thinking of lightning connectors as the USB Standard is developed by the USB Implementers Forum.

  21. Apple had to invent the reversible USB plugs. Does that speak volumes about the intelligence of Apple fanbois?

  22. Been seeing lots of news about these new USB ports hitting motherboards these days. Why is it even newsworthy?