Contribute
Register

ASUS ThunderboltEX 3 working with GIGABYTE G1 Gaming GA-Z170MX-Gaming 5

Joined
Sep 13, 2013
Messages
12
Motherboard
Dell Optiplex 3050 All in One
CPU
i5-7500T
Graphics
HD 630
Mac
MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
****Please note that this was tested with a series 100 motherboard. Some users have noted issues on series 200 motherboards. Check posts for details. Feel free to test this and post your findings in this thread in order to help other users.

Unfortunately I do not have the machine anymore. I had to bite the bullet and purchase a MBPr as I needed a portable machine for work commitments.

Unfortunately I can no longer support this thread due to the lack of the hardware!
You may find other members in the thread that can help you*****

The Asus ThunderboltEX 3 uses a 5 pin TB header cable. My Gigabyte board has a 5 pin TB Header. The Gigabyte Thunderbolt 3 card is currently almost impossible to source where I live. The Asus expansion card can be sourced easily in Europe.

I have read a lot of comments from people in the forums speculating that all manufacturers use different pin configurations. I decided to ignore these comments, take the plunge and experiment.


I hope that my findings help others with Gigabyte Micro ATX boards that feature a Thunderbolt Header that are unable to source the Gigabyte Thunderbolt 3...


My main hardware:
Gigabyte GAZ170-MX Gaming 5

Intel 600P 256Gb NVME

EVGA SSC GTX 970

32GB RAM

Native Apple Broadcom Wireless/Bluetooth


Asus ThunderboltEX 3


I have a micro ATX Gigabyte motherboard. I work for a Pro Audio company and for a long time I have really wanted to purchase a UAD Apollo Twin. For the purpose of this test I borrowed a Focusrite Claret 4 Thunderbolt Audio interface from work. This was used with an Apple Thunderbolt cable and an Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adaptor.


I installed the Thunderbolt 3 card by Asus. It is very important that you install it in PCIE X4, on this board this is the slot nearest the Thunderbolt header itself. Connect to the thunderbolt header. Boot into Bios, enable Thunderbolt, change to no security/legacy mode etc


I booted into windows, installed the drivers from the Asus ThunderboltEX 3 support page. Then rebooted again in windows. All along I had the Thunderbolt interface connected. I installed the drivers for the Focusrite Clarett. I had to hot plug the device in Windows after installing the drivers to get it recognised. I opened the Focusrite software/virtual mixer view, tested and confirmed that all is working.


I left the device connected and rebooted into MacOS. It is important to do this as MacOS on the Hackintosh does not support Hot Plugging. I downloaded the Drivers from Focusrite for the interface and rebooted back into MacOS for good measure. I selected the Interface in Sound and opened the mixer by Focusrite. I tested for many hours. Flawless system sound and sound in every major DAW.

Update: I am not using OsxAptioFix2Drv-free2000.efi as others have found necessary for Thunderbolt to work. I am also on the latest Bios for this MB which is F20


I can confirm that Thunderbolt is working with the Gigabyte motherboard with the Asus TB3 card.


I have since installed the same card on a friends machine with same MB and they confirm that the UAD audio interfaces are working.


I am due to purchase a Universal Audio Interface and begin extensive testing this week.

I have yet to test the card with throughput from my graphics card, I already own an LG 4K monitor so I'm not ready to invest in the LG/Apple 5K display. I do not see any reason that it should not work. If I can borrow this display or an Apple Thunderbolt display from one of my colleagues then I will test.

UPDATE: See post below. Although the Thunderbolt is working I have some issues with it disappearing every now and then in the BIOS. This is resolved after several reboots...
 

Attachments

Last edited:
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
82
Motherboard
GA-Z170MX-G5
CPU
i7-6700K
Graphics
GTX 980 Ti
Mac
iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Nice writeup man. It's good to see that all these thunderbolt controller cards from different manufacturers are intercompatible. Now if only we could get hot plugging to work on macOS...
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
Messages
12
Motherboard
Dell Optiplex 3050 All in One
CPU
i5-7500T
Graphics
HD 630
Mac
MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Hotplug would be cool. I read a few posts on here and other forums that seem to suggest that this may be resolved in future with an SSDT. Interestingly the New Macbook Pro uses the Intel JHL 6540 Thunderbolt controller. A lot of motherboards and this Thunderbolt card use the Intel DSL 6540 Thunderbolt controller. I know that AppleThunderboltNHI.kext is responsilble for hotplug on a Mac. I wonder if the first stage of fixing hotplug lays in looking at the device ID of the JHL 6540 on a Macbook Pro Late 2016?

Unfortunately I cannot guarantee that this card will work with the sabertooth z87. It would be worth a try though? I bought mine on Amazon with a 30 day return policy.

Had a few issues where Thunderbolt keeps disappearing in Bios every few reboots. At first I wondered if it was related to my NVME SSD and pcie lanes? My NVME is my main boot and I have my spare hard drives committed to other things at the moment so its hard to test.

It would be great if someone else without an M2 NVME ssd ends up testing to confirm.

Or potentially the Gigabyte Bios itself?

https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/...e-expansion-card-testing-thread.135959/page-6 #54

Which might be the reason that we haven't seen many of the Alpine Ridge cards from Gigabyte available for purchase. Perhaps they are working on a Bios update?

It does work fine once the OS is booted. However the Bios issue makes it a little unreliable for me as it sometimes means several reboots to get it working.

I am considering returning the card to be honest. For pro audio/music production I need Thunderbolt to be 100% reliable. At this stage it still seems a little too experimental for me. My curiosity got the best of me!

I just completed a build using an ATX GA Z170X Gaming 7 for a friend. A very similar board to my Matx GA Z170MX Gaming 5. However it has on board Thunderbolt 3 working (flawlessly) and 2 M2 slots for NVME. I am considering selling my current Motherboard and PC case to upgrade to this motherboard and a larger ATX case. Once I have sold these parts I could purchase the new ones for the difference in price that the ThunderboltEX 3 cost me
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 28, 2012
Messages
4
Motherboard
GA-z170x Gaming 3
CPU
6600k
Graphics
HD6770
Yep. Works perfect (ish) on my setup so far. Ga-zx170x gaming 3 , 6600k, thunderboltex 3 card , onboard graphics.
After several restarts haven't had the bios issue mentioned , but I am still on bios f7 and the m2 slots aren't being used.

So yes, I comfirm it works, Currently running an Apollo twin mkii via an Apple thunderbolt cable -> Apple thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter -> thunderboltex 3 card on a z170x gaming 3

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 4.24.45 AM.png
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 3, 2016
Messages
1
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
What do you guys think, would this asus th3 adapter work with my
GA-Z97X-UD3H motherboard? I would also go for new Apollo Twin MKII and just curious if i could find a way for thunderbolt in my hackintosh.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
Messages
12
Motherboard
Dell Optiplex 3050 All in One
CPU
i5-7500T
Graphics
HD 630
Mac
MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
What do you guys think, would this asus th3 adapter work with my
GA-Z97X-UD3H motherboard? I would also go for new Apollo Twin MKII and just curious if i could find a way for thunderbolt in my hackintosh.
I had a look on the specification page for your motherboard and could find no mention of a Thunderbolt header on the motherboard... do you know if it has one? The Thunderbolt expansion card requires this cabled connection along with being seated in a PCIe slot.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
Messages
12
Motherboard
Dell Optiplex 3050 All in One
CPU
i5-7500T
Graphics
HD 630
Mac
MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Yep. Works perfect (ish) on my setup so far. Ga-zx170x gaming 3 , 6600k, thunderboltex 3 card , onboard graphics.
After several restarts haven't had the bios issue mentioned , but I am still on bios f7 and the m2 slots aren't being used.

So yes, I comfirm it works, Currently running an Apollo twin mkii via an Apple thunderbolt cable -> Apple thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter -> thunderboltex 3 card on a z170x gaming 3

View attachment 239081
Cool. Glad to hear that it's up and running. I won't have an opportunity to test again for a while due to work commitments... As soon as I get some time I'm going to test without my NVME SSD as I now have a spare standard SSD and I would like to see if I can pinpoint the Bios issue any further
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
Messages
2
Nice work man. The reason I got the Gigabyte Gaming 6 was to get the Focusrite Clarette for music production. Did you just use the display port to on the Asus Thunderbolt card to connect your audio interface?
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
Messages
12
Motherboard
Dell Optiplex 3050 All in One
CPU
i5-7500T
Graphics
HD 630
Mac
MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Nice work man. The reason I got the Gigabyte Gaming 6 was to get the Focusrite Clarette for music production. Did you just use the display port to on the Asus Thunderbolt card to connect your audio interface?
You will need to pick up a Thunderbolt 3 (USB C) to Thunderbolt 2 adaptor from Apple. The price on these has been significantly reduced by Apple until the end of March, so try and grab one before then if you can! This goes into the Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) socket on the ThunderboltEX 3. You can then plug a standard Thunderbolt cable into this for the Clarett.

The ThunderboltEX 3 does have a DisplayPort... but this is for video input only. A cable is included with the TB card to feed this from your graphics card... I guess that this makes sense if you have a Thunderbolt Display and you want it in your TB chain, however I never used it
 
Top