• Asus' Thunderbolt add-in card, ASRock's Thunderbolt motherboard don't pass certification


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    Published on 07-30-2012 12:22 PM by
    We have some bad news for you today, at least if you were hoping to use a discrete graphics card combined with Thunderbolt for your CustoMac. Via the grapevine we’ve heard that both Asus and ASRock has been denied Thunderbolt certification by Intel for their external pass-through solution which would’ve allowed a discrete graphics card to be used in combination with Thunderbolt.

    Intel is currently the sole manufacturer and certifier of Thunderbolt controllers and as such, if you don’t meet or exceed Intel’s specification, then you won’t get certified and in turn, your product can’t carry the Thunderbolt logo. In this case it appears to be more of a political issue than an actual concern about Asus and ASRock not meeting Intel’s standard, as Intel is clearly using Thunderbolt as a means of pushing its integrated graphics solution.

    In a Windows environment, currently the only approved method of interfacing a discrete graphics card with the Thunderbolt ports on a motherboard – be it in a notebook or a desktop – is by using graphics switching software such as LucidLogix’s VirtuMVP software or Nvidia’s and AMD’s proprietary solutions used in notebooks. This way the graphics signal is fed from the discrete card via the internal PCI Express bus, rather than via an external DisplayPort cable, as is the case in Asus’ and ASRock’s implementations which Intel now has declined as not meeting the Thunderbolt standard.

    This is at least so far bad news for CustoMac users, as either solution would’ve made it much simpler to use a discrete graphics card with the Thunderbolt/mini DisplayPort connectors on the motherboards. It will be interesting to see if the two companies can make some kind of deal with Intel to allow this implementation in the future, or if they’ll simply ignore the certification process and still sell their products, although the latter option doesn’t seem all that likely.

    We will follow this topic closely and see how things develop, but we can’t see Intel letting up on its strict certification process any time soon, as the company wants you to use their graphics over a discrete card, despite the relatively poor performance that Intel’s HD graphics offer compared to a discrete card.
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. shingletoon's Avatar
      shingletoon -
      Thanks, but i am a little confused. Does this only apply to ASUS and ASRock motherboards or all motherboards with thunderbolt, like the new gigabyte models? I have been looking forward to thunderbolt options for my first build and just wanted to get clarity on the issue before diving in. thanks!
    1. thelostswede's Avatar
      thelostswede -
      Quote Originally Posted by shingletoon View Post
      Thanks, but i am a little confused. Does this only apply to ASUS and ASRock motherboards or all motherboards with thunderbolt, like the new gigabyte models? I have been looking forward to thunderbolt options for my first build and just wanted to get clarity on the issue before diving in. thanks!
      It doesn't apply to Asus' motherboards with on-board Thunderbolt, nor to any other brands of motherboard.

      The issue is that Asus' Thunderbolt card and ASRock's Thunderbolt motherboard uses an external cable to connect a discrete graphics cards DisplayPort connector via an input connector on either the card or the motherboard which connects the display signal from the graphics card to the Thunderbolt chip. This is not something Intel is at least currently allowing for and as such the two companies were turned down for certification.
    1. Sankyou's Avatar
      Sankyou -
      Quote Originally Posted by shingletoon View Post
      Thanks, but i am a little confused. Does this only apply to ASUS and ASRock motherboards or all motherboards with thunderbolt, like the new gigabyte models? I have been looking forward to thunderbolt options for my first build and just wanted to get clarity on the issue before diving in. thanks!
      Oops just read the other reply and mine was worthless...
    1. phocion's Avatar
      phocion -
      Quote Originally Posted by shingletoon View Post
      Thanks, but i am a little confused. Does this only apply to ASUS and ASRock motherboards or all motherboards with thunderbolt, like the new gigabyte models? I have been looking forward to thunderbolt options for my first build and just wanted to get clarity on the issue before diving in. thanks!
      Basically it means that if you want to use a Thunderbolt display with a Hackintosh anytime soon, you'll be forced to use Intel's relatively wimpy integrated graphics.

      Trying to find a silver lining: the closing of these doors may actually crack open a door for folks with the other Thunderbolt motherboards, as it provides some extra incentive to find/create a software switching solution that will work. I would not bet on it, however.
    1. Wibbler's Avatar
      Wibbler -
      That's disappointing news, indeed. Thanks for heads-up.
    1. Solidww's Avatar
      Solidww -
      Glad Gigabyte is certified and works in OSX.
    1. thelostswede's Avatar
      thelostswede -
      Quote Originally Posted by Solidww View Post
      Glad Gigabyte is certified and works in OSX.
      Asus is also certified alongside MSI and of course Intel, but these are all single port boards with the Thunderbolt chip connecting directly to the Intel GPU for graphics. The specific issue here has to do with the ability to connect the DisplayPort feed from a discrete graphics card to work as the GPU in a Thunderbolt setup, rather than having to rely on Intel's comparably poor integrated graphics.
    1. andrec's Avatar
      andrec -
      so, as I understand, nobody besides intel could push graphics through the thunderbolt pipe. we are to expect that
      graphic cards with thunderbolt port will not allow access to PCI? damn these stupid proprietary rules.

      imho, it is more of a licensing issue, rather than hardware.
    1. andrec's Avatar
      andrec -
      and this could also be the reason MacPro is delayed.
    1. tom.humphrey's Avatar
      tom.humphrey -
      I'm glad I just changed my mobo then.
    1. pechspilz's Avatar
      pechspilz -
      Quote Originally Posted by andrec View Post
      and this could also be the reason MacPro is delayed.
      That's EXACTLY what I was thinking. No Mac Pro until this is resolved.
    1. RumRogerz's Avatar
      RumRogerz -
      Excuse any ignorance on my behalf - I just started reading into this technology a few nights ago - If ASRock and Asus were denied cert - how did Gigabyte fair? It seems from my reading up that Gigabyte mobo's are generally favoured for hackintosh's (not all of them of course). Can any of the recently released Gigabyte mobo's support integrated and discrete graphics switching? It seems that Apple already has that implemented in most of their higher end laptops and maybe even the imacs (not entirely sure about that tbh), so I could only imagine that a compromise or something close to it will be achieved for us in the near future (im just pulling stuff out of my butt)
    1. thelostswede's Avatar
      thelostswede -
      Quote Originally Posted by andrec View Post
      so, as I understand, nobody besides intel could push graphics through the thunderbolt pipe. we are to expect that
      graphic cards with thunderbolt port will not allow access to PCI? damn these stupid proprietary rules.

      imho, it is more of a licensing issue, rather than hardware.
      Not quite, but Intel will only allow discrete graphics cards to do it via the PCI Express bus, so either it's wired up that way internally (notebook, all-in-one) or you have to use a software like VirtuMVP in Windows which takes the display output from the graphics card and pushes it over the PCI Express bus to the Thunderbolt controller.
    1. thelostswede's Avatar
      thelostswede -
      Quote Originally Posted by RumRogerz View Post
      Excuse any ignorance on my behalf - I just started reading into this technology a few nights ago - If ASRock and Asus were denied cert - how did Gigabyte fair? It seems from my reading up that Gigabyte mobo's are generally favoured for hackintosh's (not all of them of course). Can any of the recently released Gigabyte mobo's support integrated and discrete graphics switching? It seems that Apple already has that implemented in most of their higher end laptops and maybe even the imacs (not entirely sure about that tbh), so I could only imagine that a compromise or something close to it will be achieved for us in the near future (im just pulling stuff out of my butt)
      The issue is related to two specific products, all available Thunderbolt motherboards are certified.
      As for OS X, there's currently no way that we can feed the discrete graphics card signal out through the Thunderbolt ports.
      However, as I mentioned in my reply above, VirtuMVP allows it to be done in Windows.
      Apple has their own solution and as they don't have any systems with add-in discrete graphics cards that also features Thunderbolt, Apple's solution might not be adaptable to our needs.
    1. deleteurself's Avatar
      deleteurself -
      Quote Originally Posted by andrec View Post
      so, as I understand, nobody besides intel could push graphics through the thunderbolt pipe. we are to expect that
      graphic cards with thunderbolt port will not allow access to PCI? damn these stupid proprietary rules.

      imho, it is more of a licensing issue, rather than hardware.


      Help, I have ordered an Asus G55vw for the thunderbolt port. Only certain models have a thunderbolt sticker that per gamers republic said it is a legit thunderbolt port. I'm really confused is this not accurate as I need to use the laptop for processing uncompressed HD footage for an upcoming shoot, and need to sort this ..
      This is from the Republic of Gamers site in... What you are sauing is that the port is not a true thunderbolt port and is there a work around via a laptop or i have to go get a MAC but where do the Mac technology also become false?
      Please help? my shoot soon and need to cancel my order ..i don't know, thanx
      The G55VW Gets Intel Thunderbolt

      G Series Laptops · 08 Jun, 2012 · 6,968 views
      · written by MarshallR · ROG HQ

      82







      Good news everyone! The G55VW has been given the thumbs up for its Intel Thunderbolt upgrade and is good to go! They will be available from July in select regions, complementing the standard G55′s already on the market.
      The G55VW design doesn’t change across all models, as Thunderbolt is provided via the mini-DisplayPort. If you’re unfamiliar with what Thunderbolt can do, the hardware can daisy-chain up to seven high-performance devices on its 10Gbps cable and still includes enough space to carry display data for additional DisplayPort monitors along the way.
      Please see this thread if you have further questions about G55s with Thunderbolt.
    1. PJALM's Avatar
      PJALM -
      That's really disappointing. I have the ASUS ThunderboltEX Dual and it works great. Intel needs to loosen up and allow companies to do this or less and less people are gonna even want to go near it.