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Zotac Z87 ITX with Thunderbolt coming soon

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Is it reasonable and even possible to expect add-on pci-e card for ITX boards that would bring TB capabilities to current boards?
In couple of years I might be interested in hooking up some graphics card over thunderbolt as an upgrade to my haswell mini rig. I hope I will just buy an TB expansion for the low profile pci-e I have available.
I think this topic is quite interesting and will start to be very relevant in the near future when things like TB GPUs appear on the market.
 

toleda

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No as this was already attempted and shot down by Intel. Intel will no approve anything that allows any GFX over TB except the iGPU.
Your Intel/TB statement is completely correct. Given Xeon E5s don't have IGPUs, Apple is doing something very interesting with the New Mac Pro.
 
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No as this was already attempted and shot down by Intel. Intel will no approve anything that allows any GFX over TB except the iGPU.
Uh... what? That makes no sense. Where'd you get that info from? Intel has no authority to bless or reject any particular Thunderbolt peripheral, and an external graphics adapter connected via Thunderbolt is most certainly possible. In fact, there are external PCIe chassis that connect via Thunderbolt, and people can (and have) put graphics cards in those chassis. They work at PCIe x4 at best so they take a performance hit, but they do work.

Also, built-in graphics over Thunderbolt isn't locked to the iGPU. Macbook Pros, iMacs, and other Apple products equipped with discrete GPUs are able to output over Thunderbolt (or rather, a Thunderbolt port reverted to mini DisplayPort) without any issue.

Rerouting the output of a graphics card connected over PCIe-x16 over a motherboard's built-in Thunderbolt/DisplayPort plug is a different story, and likely not possible any more than it would be to reroute the card's output over a motherboard's built-in VGA or DVI plugs.

That all aside, I don't think that was even the answer to the question which xochi was asking, which was whether it'd be possible to add Thunderbolt to a non-thunderbolt board via a PCIe expansion card. To that, I don't know. I'm sure there's some sort of technical hurdle preventing it otherwise somebody would have done it by now. Asus has come close in making one, but their expansion card relies on an additional connector that must be plugged onto the motherboard (which only certain Asus boards have) in addition to just plugging it into a PCIe slot.
 
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Uh... what? That makes no sense. Where'd you get that info from? Intel has no authority to bless or reject any particular Thunderbolt peripheral
Ummm they most certainly do, they own the patients to Thunderbolt as its their tech. Any Thunderbolt device requires Intel's certification. ASUS made the Thunderbolt EX card which was a TB addon card that worked with a select number of ASUS mootherboards. Intel would not certify it and ASUS had to cancel its production.

an external graphics adapter connected via Thunderbolt is most certainly possible. In fact, there are external PCIe chassis that connect via Thunderbolt, and people can (and have) put graphics cards in those chassis. They work at PCIe x4 at best so they take a performance hit, but they do work.
What does having a graphics card in an external TB chasis have to do with this, I am talking about graphics over TB which that is not. Would puting a graphics card in that external case allow a TB display to be used with it? No.

Also, built-in graphics over Thunderbolt isn't locked to the iGPU. Macbook Pros, iMacs, and other Apple products equipped with discrete GPUs are able to output over Thunderbolt (or rather, a Thunderbolt port reverted to mini DisplayPort) without any issue.
Apple helped co-develop TB its why it uses the Apple mDP connector. Of course Intel will approve Apple to do this.

That all aside, I don't think that was even the answer to the question which xochi was asking, which was whether it'd be possible to add Thunderbolt to a non-thunderbolt board via a PCIe expansion card. To that, I don't know. I'm sure there's some sort of technical hurdle preventing it otherwise somebody would have done it by now. Asus has come close in making one, but their expansion card relies on an additional connector that must be plugged onto the motherboard (which only certain Asus boards have) in addition to just plugging it into a PCIe slot.
Yes there are technical issues involved. The Thunderbolt controller chip needs access to the TB I/O lines from the cpu which are not present on the PCIe bus. ASUS overcame this by adding a special TB Header on certain motherboards which thier card used. No other motherboards have a TB Header.
 
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Since I am also on the lookout for a mini-ITX board w/ TB or TB2 too I thought I'd share this–I emailed Zotac support to get an ETA for the TB board, and they replied "at this time, Zotac has no plan for mass production". Well, let's hope another manufacturer sees the potential in this...

cheers
phil
 
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Since I am also on the lookout for a mini-ITX board w/ TB or TB2 too I thought I'd share this–I emailed Zotac support to get an ETA for the TB board, and they replied "at this time, Zotac has no plan for mass production". Well, let's hope another manufacturer sees the potential in this...

cheers
phil
Noooooooooooo!

That is so sad. This board has everything that I wanted for my next build and I was so excited when I first saw the photos of it. Fingers crossed that they change their mind, even for a limited release...
 
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Since I am also on the lookout for a mini-ITX board w/ TB or TB2 too I thought I'd share this–I emailed Zotac support to get an ETA for the TB board, and they replied "at this time, Zotac has no plan for mass production". Well, let's hope another manufacturer sees the potential in this...

cheers
phil
Yeah, I kinda saw the writing on the wall there myself. I think they probably changed their mind, thinking that there wasn't much market potential for it. Few really care about thunderbolt except the hackintosh crowd, plus the fact that the board got very little press at all probably was a bad sign. Or we can hope that they pulled it because Thunderbolt 2 is coming out, but... [shrug]
 
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Mini ITX and Micro ATX are a big difference. Mini ITX only has 1x PCIe slot where Micro ATX has 4, the case would be so empty and wasted with a Mini ITX board in there.
2_0_547.jpg

http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=187054

I guess it would look like this? :p

Mine also :p as I'm trying to build a Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI in Corsair 350D case w/ Corsair H60 or H100i

I guess the good part here is besides it does really look good, the case would be good for future upgrade thus saving you money if you plan for a bigger mobo. :p
 
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I'm looking for a similar mobo. It's a pity Zotac gave up the z87 itx mobo.

Up to now, the closest thing I can get is H87 itx with one thunderbolt from Gigabyte: http://b2b.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4699#ov

I'm afraid it's a thunderbolt v1 port with only 10GB bandwidth.

Other solutions like NUC with thunderbolt are also limited to 10GB thunderbolt 1.
 
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