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

Discussion in 'Articles' started by thelostswede, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. thelostswede

    thelostswede

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    Jul 30, 2012 at 4:22 PM #1
    thelostswede

    thelostswede

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    thunderbolt.jpg 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.
     
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  2. shingletoon

    shingletoon

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    Jul 30, 2012 at 5:52 PM #2
    shingletoon

    shingletoon

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    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!
     
  3. thelostswede

    thelostswede

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    Jul 30, 2012 at 5:53 PM #3
    thelostswede

    thelostswede

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    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.
     
  4. Sankyou

    Sankyou

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    Jul 30, 2012 at 6:28 PM #4
    Sankyou

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    Oops just read the other reply and mine was worthless...
     
  5. phocion

    phocion

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    Jul 30, 2012 at 11:07 PM #5
    phocion

    phocion

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    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.
     
  6. Wibbler

    Wibbler

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    Jul 31, 2012 at 9:57 AM #6
    Wibbler

    Wibbler

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    That's disappointing news, indeed. Thanks for heads-up.
     
  7. Solidww

    Solidww

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    Jul 31, 2012 at 7:17 PM #7
    Solidww

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    Glad Gigabyte is certified and works in OSX.
     
  8. thelostswede

    thelostswede

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    Aug 1, 2012 at 7:59 AM #8
    thelostswede

    thelostswede

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    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.
     
  9. andrec

    andrec

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    Aug 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM #9
    andrec

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    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.
     
  10. andrec

    andrec

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    Aug 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM #10
    andrec

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    and this could also be the reason MacPro is delayed.
     

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