So a quick follow-up to my last post (my wanting a mini ITX motherboard with thunderbolt) it seems that Zotac might actually be working on one, but well, it’s Zotac, so it won’t have anywhere near the quality/polish, feature set, or reliability of a board like the Asus Maximus VI Impact.
While I’m musing on all of this, I suppose I should explain that I really don’t see my request being all that challenging, especially given the design of the current Impact motherboard, it’s already perfect for it:
- The Impact only exposes four of the six possible SATA III ports to the user. This is fine, now just ditch the stupid eSATA port, and switch the Z87 PCH to the 6/8/4 configuration (i.e. 6x USB 3.0, 8x pcie 2.0 lanes, 4x SATA III ports.)
- And next, configure those 8x pcie 2.0 lanes as follows:
- 1 lane to the integrated intel gigabit nic (required.)
- 1 lane to the mpcie side of the mCombo II card (e.g. wifi/bluetooth.)
- 2 lanes to the ngff/m.2 side of the mCombo II card for ~1GB/second SSD speeds.
- 4 lanes to a dual-port thunderbolt controller. Assuming everything intel has said about thunderbolt 2.0 is actually true, then four pcie 2.0 lanes should still be enough bandwidth to support falcon-ridge/thunderbolt 2.0, since it’s enough to support dual-port cactus-ridge/1.0 controllers.
- Lastly, re-arrange the back-panel to fit the dual thunderbolt ports. Since we’re removing the eSATA port, shift the remaining two USB 3.0 ports up to the height of the adjacent usb 2.0 port block, and stack the thunderbolt ports underneath.
Really that would be the perfect motherboard for a small form factor system.