Tom's Hardware by Andrew Ku
A year after its debut on Apple platforms, Thunderbolt is finally available for PCs. Both fast and scalable, the technology’s 10 Gb/s connectivity and potential for external graphics promises to inspire innovation. But is it ready for prime time?
Mac and PC users are never going to agree on which platform has the best operating system. But when it comes to hardware, though, the PC world has an undisputed advantage. We have a lot more choice when we pick our processors, graphics cards, and motherboards. If you're using a Mac, you have to wait for Apple to add driver support for the device you want (if it ever happens at all).
Thunderbolt violates the rule that PCs get the coolest technologies first. For almost a year, Mac users have been enjoying the Thunderbolt, which was developed by Intel, because of collaboration from Apple. Power users with PCs were forced to sit and wait, though a dearth of client devices made it more tolerable to watch the Mac guys get their hands wet with Thunderbolt.
MSI recently released the first available motherboard with Thunderbolt support, its Z77A-GD80, ending Apple’s monopoly on what could be considered the coolest interface since the original USB standard. The platform we received is essentially identical to the Z77A-GD65 we reviewed in Six $160-220 Z77 Motherboards, Benchmarked And Reviewed, aside from a 10 Gb/s Thunderbolt port on the rear I/O panel (replacing DVI output), along with a new 14-phase voltage regulator. read more...