Question Is there a way to get Thunderbolt working on an AMD motherboard?

Macenstein

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Nov 19, 2015
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I am very interested in building a workstation with these new Threadrippers AMD announced today, but we use thunderbolt a lot in our current Mac setups, and I had heard Intel did not license Thuderbolt to AMD (despite claiming they would make Thunderbolt open source 2 years ago), so you can't get thunderbolt ports or add thunderbolt cards to AMD motherboards?

Is this true? On Reddit I was told the Asrock 570 currently support Thuderbolt (or there's a way to get it going?) and that likely the new boards for these new Threadrippers will have some boards with Thunderbolt support.

Is the ability to get Thunderbolt working on an AMD system a Motherboard thing, or is it something that needs to be built into the processor, so if it's not on the processor then it ain't happening?

Thanks.
 

jimmysmitty

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Thunderbolt is a feature that has to be added on the board to work. There is an ASRock ITX 570 board that has it built on.

However there is news that Thunderbolt 3 is going to become USB 4, especially since its royalty free, vastly faster than USB and supports more protocols natively than USB does all while using the Type-C connector.

So in the near future most likely AMD boards will also come with Thunderbolt. But for now the board has to have the feature to work.
 

jimmysmitty

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There are some huge caveats though:

*1: Only three TB3 devices can be detected.
*2 : Some USB 3.2 Type-C devices will cause system reboot after wake up from S3/S4.
*3 : Cannot light up the TB3 monitor after wake up from S3/S4, re-plug the cable is needed.
*4 : Does not support Thunderbolt 3 PCIe graphics card box
  1. TB can chain up to 7 devices natively
  2. That seems like a bad one
  3. Not bad just annoying
  4. Only major for laptops
It seems like a watered down version of TB honestly.

It is also only supported on ASRock boards, at least from that list.
 

Macenstein

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Cool, Thanks Calvin.

So that's an AM4, not for threadripper, but it gives me hope (although there seems to be a few issues with the computer going to sleep and not detecting the thunderbolt stuff on wake if I am reading that correctly).

But is that pretty much the 1 board out of dozens that has thuderbolt? so it's still exceedingly rare for AMD motherboards to have it, and when they do it's a bit wonky?
 

Macenstein

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Thunderbolt is a feature that has to be added on the board to work. There is an ASRock ITX 570 board that has it built on.

However there is news that Thunderbolt 3 is going to become USB 4, especially since its royalty free, vastly faster than USB and supports more protocols natively than USB does all while using the Type-C connector.

So in the near future most likely AMD boards will also come with Thunderbolt. But for now the board has to have the feature to work.
ok, so it's a motherboard-only thing? Nothing to do with the way AMD makes their chips?
why is it so hard to find an AMD board with it built in? Thanks
 

jimmysmitty

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Thunderbolt is basically an extension of PCIe and requires support for that to be built in. Most of the PCIe cards also have a TB Header thats required to be plugged into the board from the motherboard.

Its not like USB or other devices that you can plug into a slot and use.

ok, so it's a motherboard-only thing? Nothing to do with the way AMD makes their chips?
why is it so hard to find an AMD board with it built in? Thanks
Thunderbolt is an Intel designed product. It just recently became royalty free. AMD hasn't embraced it or added it to their design. I doubt we will see wide adoption for AMD until it becomes the USB 4 spec.
 
Nov 22, 2019
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Just migrated from Mac and got my AMD 3900x, x570 taichi with Asrock Thunderbolt AIC up and running with my LG 5 K Ultrafine at full 5k resolution as a second monitor. It is annoying that the monitor doesn't always wake up, but NBD. Ultimately so stoked that I didn't need to buy another inferior monitor, and can now use the LG Ultrafine across platforms. Hopefully Asrock's Threadripper boards will also have the header.
 

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