If someone sent out invitations to Intel's Thunderbolt party, consider MSI as having received one, hence the release of the company's Z77A-GD80 mainboard that was first introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year. Built around Intel's Z77 chipset with support for 22nm (Ivy Bridge) processors, the Z77A-GD80 is one of a handful of Thunderbolt-equipped motherboards making their debut today.
"With Thunderbolt, external device connectivity problems faced by high-end users are alleviated such as: poor data transfer rates, every device requiring an independent connection port, and transfer speed dropping low when sending and receiving files simultaneously due to lack of bandwidth, etc," MSI explains. "The all new Thunderbolt transfer technology provides an extremely large bi-direction 10Gbps bandwidth, which allows simultaneous connection of high resolution monitors, storage devices and even a graphics card."
Don't worry if you favor USB 3.0 to Thunderbolt, you'll find two of those on the rear, along with four USB 2.0 ports, plus a few more of each via headers on the mainboard. Other features include MSI's Military Class III components, UEFI BIOS, SATA 6Gbps ports, PCI Express Gen 3, Nvidia SLI and AMD Crossfire support, and other odds and ends.
MSI didn't announce a price or specify when the Z77A-GD80 will find its way onto store shelves.