CHIPMAKER Intel has launched a Thunderbolt equipped version of its DZ77 motherboard, the DZ77RE-75K.
Intel's DZ77 range of motherboards featuring the Z77 Panther Point chipset was announced a few weeks before the chipmaker launched its Ivy Bridge processors, and now Intel is fleshing out its Z77 range by making use of the Thunderbolt support in the Z77 chipset. The firm's DZ77RE-75K motherboard has onboard Thunderbolt and touchscreen support.
Intel's DZ77RE-75K motherboard is standard Z77 fare, with support for Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge LGA1155 processors. Intel has stuck with four DIMM sockets, eight USB3 ports - half of which are internal - four SATA3 ports and four SATA2 ports. Curiously for a consumer mainboard, Intel has included two gigabit Ethernet sockets and there's an HDMI output should a processor chip with a graphics core be installed.
As for Intel's headline Thunderbolt support, there's a single connector that provides 10Gbit/s full-duplex bandwidth supporting device daisy chaining.
Apple was given a year's head start with Thunderbolt but Intel and other board partners are looking to next month's Computex trade show to really push the interface to consumers. While Asus and MSI were the first to shoot out of the gate with Z77 motherboards that offer Thunderbolt, Intel's DZ77RE-75K shows that the firm will use its desktop Z77 Panther Point chipset to push the interface on desktops as well as laptops.
As Intel and its partners put out Thunderbolt motherboards, the onus is now on hard drive makers to reduce the prices of drives that use the interface. There's no doubt that Intel's Thunderbolt interface is a big step up from USB3 when it comes to lightning fast bulk data transfer, but if external hard drive prices remain sky-high then punters will likely continue to put up with slower data transfer rates. µ