ASUS Reveals ThunderboltEX 4 Expansion Card, Dual Type-C & Mini-DPby Gavin Bonshor on March 16, 2021 8:00 AM EST
Back in December, we reported that Intel's Maple Ridge Thunderbolt 4 controller was shipping to customers. We can now report that ASUS has unveiled a Thunderbolt 4 expansion card, the ASUS ThunderboltEX 4. It includes support for 100 W quick charging, includes a 40 Gbps bi-directional switch, and can support up to 8K ultra HD resolutions.
Since the launch of Intel's Z590 chipset on socket LGA1200, we've seen some of the more premium models featuring Intel's latest Maple Ridge Thunderbolt 4 controllers. This is primarily a feature we see on models looking to add functionality for content creators. Native Thunderbolt 4 is built into Intel Tiger Lake. Still, for motherboards without Thunderbolt capabilities, the ASUS ThunderboltEX 4 add-on card allows users to add Intel's latest Maple Ridge controller into existing systems.
ASUS hasn't unveiled a full list of technical specifications at the time of writing. Still, we cross-referenced the specifications we do know with Intel's JHL8540 Maple Ridge TB4 controller, and they match. The accessories include everything needed to get the ThunderboltEX 4 operational, which means users will require a PCIe 3.0 x4 (or PCIe 4.0 x2) and USB 2.0 motherboard header available, as well as a 6-pin PCIe 12 V ATX power cable free from the power supply.
Adding not just one port but a total of four, the ASUS ThunderboltEX 4 includes two Type-C and two mini-DisplayPort inputs, which allow for up to five devices to be daisy-chained. This includes up to three devices and two Thunderbolt monitors, or four devices and one monitor. The top Type-C port includes support for 100 Watt quick charging and can even power a compatible notebook, with the second Type-C port offering up to 27 Watts of quick charging capability. We should also note that the ThunderboltEX 4 can accommodate monitors with resolutions up to 8K due to conforming to DisplayPort 1.4.
At the time of writing, ASUS hasn't specified when the ThunderboltEX 4 expansion card will be available, nor how much it will cost.
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