Rodney Dangerfield was a famous comedian who often lamented he got no respect. What does that have to do with technology? Well, you could consider integrated graphics the Rodney Dangerfield of technology. Integrated graphics have historically been laughably weak for any kind of real gaming, up until Intel announced Iris Pro. You can find Iris Pro graphics in Gigabyte's new Brix Pro system, which we captured on video at CES.
Buy a board or system today, add Thunderbolt support later
Intel is obviously geeked about its Thunderbolt interface, the question is, are you? Thunderbolt has made some strides since it was first introduced -- it's present on all Apple Mac systems, there are over 100 Thunderbolt devices available, and the first Thunderbolt 2 systems were unveiled last month -- but it's not as widely available as, say, USB. To further promote the interface, Intel came up with the idea of enabling PC makers to offer Thunderbolt upgradeable motherboards within desktops and workstation systems.
World's fastest thumb drive uses Thunderbolt, not USB 3.0.
At the Computex trade show in Taipei, Intel was showing off a prototype thumb drive that it claims is the fastest in the world. Intel can make that claim because unlike most other thumb-size flash drives, it plugs into a PC's Thunderbolt port rather than a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port. In true thumb drive fashion, it plugs in without the aid of a cable, giving users fast access to 128GB of flash storage.
PC users have been in a bit of a quandary about the new Thunderbolt interface from Intel. On the one hand, we’re all about maximum performance, so given its sizable speed advantage over USB 3.0, at least on paper, we’re eager to adopt it. On the other hand, there are three issues that have prevented us from jumping on the Thunderbolt bandwagon with both feet. The first is the fact that it debuted on the Apple platform. Granted, we’re a bit sensitive, but this just rubbed us the wrong way. Second, Thunderbolt doesn’t exist on LGA2011 due to a requirement for integrated graphics. And finally, we already have USB 3.0, so do we really need Thunderbolt? Sure, it’s twice as fast on paper (10Gb/s versus 5Gb/s), but will we see that benefit in the real world, and is it worth the cost? To help us answer all these nagging questions we snagged a very special hard drive, the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt, which has both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports, allowing us to test both interfaces back-to-back and make an apples-to-apples comparison.
Everything lately has been Haswell this and Haswell that, but that's not the only thing Intel's been cooking up. The Santa Clara chip maker announced an upgrade to its Thunderbolt technology that doubles the bandwidth of the previous spec and enables simultaneous 4K video transfer and display. Dubbed Thunderbolt 2, the new spec is already found on a more than a dozen new 4th Generation Intel Core processor-based products.
Intel’s long-awaited Thunderbolt has finally arrived on the PC after being exclusive to the Macintosh platform for more than a year. With its promise of 10Gb/s‑per‑channel throughput, what self-respecting power user wouldn’t opt for a Thunderbolt-based external backup solution? Well, before you get too excited, let’s compare T-bolt point-by-point with its natural competitor, USB 3.0. After all, there’s more to a technology than pure performance, as we found out.
It’s commonly understood that if you can run Thunderbolt, you probably also snack on Beluga caviar, wear a Patek Philippe watch, and vacation in a country only rich people know about: Grenyarnia.
Not so, actually. Thunderbolt apparently doesn’t require you to smash the piggy. This is no more apparent than with Gigabyte’s Z77X-UP4 TH. What the TH stands for we don’t know for sure, but we’re guessing it has some relation to Thunderbolt, which the Z77X-UP4 TH has in spades.
It’s hard to believe you can get a board with not one, but two Thunderbolt ports for under $200.
Feast your eyes on a quad-display setup running 4K Ultra HD.
Gigabyte earlier this week announced that it's dual-Thunderbolt boards are the first to implement the Intel Collage display technology. With a BIOS update and special driver, Intel Collage allows compatible boards to drive a 4K Ultra HD picture across four standard 1080p monitors. Maximum PC Deputy Editor Gordon Mah Ung stopped by Gigabyte's booth to see this technology first hand, and now you can too.
Dual Thunderbolt mainboards from Gigabyte implement Intel Collage display technology.
Gigabyte on Tuesday announced support for 4K display resolutions using multiple standard 1080p displays with intel Collage display technology. The new feature comes courtesy of a Intel driver update that Gigabyte claims needs to be individually implemented by motherboard companies before it's made available to end users. One of the key benefits is that a discrete graphics card isn't required.