This week Asus introduced the very first motherboard sporting Intel’s
Thunderbolt 2 technology that provides up to 20 Gbit/s transfer speeds
to connected Thunderbolt devices. Called the Z87-Deluxe/Quad, it’s based
on the new Intel Z87 chipset and is ready for the latest Intel Core “Haswell” processors.
The first-generation Thunderbolt standard uses four separate transfer
channels: two upstream and two downstream, allowing for a maximum
transfer rate of 10 Gbit/s. However Thunderbolt 2, which was revealed
back in June, takes those same four channels and combines them into two
20 Gbit/s bi-directional channels, providing twice the bandwidth of the
latest USB 3.1 spec – four times than the mainstream USB 3.0 spec.
“Together with DisplayPort 1.2 support, Thunderbolt 2 enables
simultaneous delivery of extremely high-resolution video to the latest
4K/2K (4096 x 2160 and 3840×2160) displays while still offering
communication with other bandwidth-hungry devices such as hard drives,”
the company said. “Additionally, the ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad’s onboard HDMI
port means that it can drive a total of three 4K UHD displays at once.”
Asus said the new motherboard includes a number of exclusive Asus
technologies such as Dual Intelligent Processors 4 with 4-Way
Optimization, an easy-to-use tuning tool that, with a single click,
dynamically adjusts performance and cooling for reduced noise and
increased efficiency. The board also uses the easy-to-read UEFI BIOS so
that users can set up shortcuts and favorites for quick access to the
options they use most.
The new motherboard also arrives with the NFC Express accessory for
automating common PC tasks by simply tapping a supplied NFC tag or a
NFC-compatible device to the box. Thus, NFC can be used to log into
Windows, pass pictures and videos to and from NFC-enabled devices using
the free Wi-Fi GO & NFC Remote apps, and even launch multiple
applications to create a specific workflow. Users supposedly can even
remotely control the PC by tapping on the NFC Express box.
“Z87-Deluxe/Quad has been subjected to a tremendous amount of
compatibility, BIOS, as well as video/audio and other tests to verify
its quality and design,” said Joe Hsieh, ASUS Corporate Vice President
and General Manager of the Motherboard and Desktop System Business Unit.
“Being the world’s first certified motherboard for Thunderbolt 2
technology also means setting the standard for all of the upcoming
products, which is something that ASUS has always done.”
The motherboard specs include two Intel Thunderbolt 2 ports, one HDMI
port, four DIMM slots, three PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 slots, ten SATA 3 ports
(6 Gbit/s), eight USB 3.0 ports with USB 3.0 Boost, and eight USB 2.0
ports fitted for an ATX form factor.
Currently the actual release date and pricing is unknown, but Asus is selling the Z87-Deluxe/Dual version over on Newegg for $349.99 as a reference point.