It was only in June that Intel finalized Thunderbolt 2, the second generation of their data interconnet technology, with Intel promising it would enter production by the end of the year. In keeping with that promise, Asus has announced the first Thunderbolt 2-certified motherboard, the Z87-Deluxe/Quad.
Like its name might suggest, the Z87-Deluxe/Quad is a premium motherboard with a Z87 chipset for use with Intel's Haswell processors. But the key feature here is two Thunderbolt 2 ports capable of up to 20 Gbit/s transfers, significantly faster than what you can get out of either the eight USB 3.0 ports or eight USB 2.0 ports included on the motherboard.
The two Thunderbolt 2 ports, combined with an additional HDMI port, can power three 4K monitors simultaneously without a discrete graphics card. Although this is technically possible on the Z87-Deluxe/Quad, you'll probably want some serious GPU power to drive all those pixels at once, especially for gaming and other 3D tasks.
Other features of this motherboard include three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, ten SATA 6 Gbps ports, four RAM slots, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and Wi-Fi 802.11ac. In the box, Asus are also chucking in their NFC Express accessory, allowing you to communicate between your PC and mobile devices or NFC tags by simply tapping them against the unit.
Asus aren't saying at the moment how much the Z87-Deluxe/Quad will cost or when it'll reach store shelves, but expect it to be expensive. Their Z87-Deluxe/Dual, already on the market for those who want just Thunderbolt 1 support, costs $350, so expect this new model to set you at least the same or even a bit more.
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