When you're talking the Z77 chipset, one thing springs to mind first and foremost: Ivy Bridge. Intel's upcoming CPU isn't the only newcomer to the game, though, as Z77 is the first Intel desktop chipset to support the company's high-speed Thunderbolt interface -- assuming a Thunderbolt controller is on the mobo, of course. Most of Asus' Z77/H77 'boards have lacked an integrated controller, but it looks like Thunderbolt compatibility is coming thanks to an upcoming expansion card.
Asus told VR-Zone that the majority of the company's H77/Z77 retail mobos will be able to accommodate the Thunderbolt expansion card, which is set to launch on the 27th of this month. It's no freebie, though; you'll have to lay out an unspecified amount of cash to acquire a Thunderbolt controller card. Once you have one in hand, it'll hook up to the TB_HEADER pictured above.