Adding Thunderbolt to Windows PC

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AdamGrossmanLG
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2017/09/19 07:31:01 (permalink)

Adding Thunderbolt to Windows PC

Hello Everyone,
 
I was looking to buy an Apollo audio interface.  They come with Thunderbolt ports and I need a Thunderbolt port on my Windows PC.  I looked around on the web and found very little information.   Is this possible?   I see there are a few Thunderbolt cards out there but it seems like they are only compatible with very few motherboards.
 
Was wondering if anyone has added Thunderbolt to their Windows PC or knows how?

Thanks!
Adam
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8 Replies Related Threads

    Jim Roseberry
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    Re: Adding Thunderbolt to Windows PC 2017/09/19 13:05:20 (permalink)
    If your motherboard specifically supports a Thunderbolt-3 Add-In-Card (specifically made for use with it), then yes... you can add that Thunderbolt-3 AIC and it'll work great.
     
    However, if your motherboard doesn't have a Thunderbolt-3 Add-In-Card that was specifically designed to work with it, the answer is no... you can't just pop in any Thunderbolt-3 Add-In-Card.
    The motherboard has to have the proper header... and the BIOS has to specifically support the Thunderbolt-3 AIC.
     
    Microsoft doesn't support "PCIe via Thunderbolt" with Thunderbolt-2 controllers... so those won't work for PCIe level performance.
     
    If your motherboard doesn't have a Thunderbolt-3 Add-In-Card available, the only option is to replace the motherboard.

    Best Regards,

    Jim Roseberry
    jim@studiocat.com
    www.studiocat.com
    #2
    wst3
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    Re: Adding Thunderbolt to Windows PC 2017/09/19 17:59:56 (permalink)
    Asking here so others might also benefit, if that's over the line feel free to tell me to go pound sand!
     
    I currently have an ASRock Z97 Extreme motherboard with an Intel i7-4790 CPU and 32 GB of DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) CL9 memory. I am using an Apollo Twin USB interface.
     
    For obvious reasons I want to keep as much of this system as possible, the CPU is no slouch, and if I need more memory I'll end up building a second "slave" machine.

    There is an ASRock (no strong preference for brand, except that it is working and I'm used to it) Fatal1ty Z97 Killer motherboard that still supports the LGA 1150 socket, and appears to support the I7-4790 CPU, it also supports my existing memory. And it has the Thunderbolt 3 AIC header. AHA! On top of that they also make a Thunderbolt AIC3 card. See where I'm headed?
     
    Are there any reasons to stay away from this motherboard? Known problems?
     
    Will this configuration work with an Apollo Thunderbolt interface (probably the 8 or 8p)?
     
    Thanks,
     
    Bill

    -- Bill
    Audio Enterprise
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    #3
    Jim Roseberry
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    Re: Adding Thunderbolt to Windows PC 2017/09/19 20:19:18 (permalink)
    Hi Bill,
     
    From the ASRock Website:
    http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Fatal1ty%20Z97%20Killer/
     
    Thunderbolt™ 2 Ready

    This motherboard has been certified with an ASUS ThunderboltEX II and is compatible with other third party Thunderbolt™ devices as well. With the Thunderbolt™ 2 Add-in-Card, it may support up to six daisy chained Thunderbolt™ devices up to 20 Gbps
     
    Thunderbolt-3 AICs were designed for Z170 chipset (and newer) motherboards
     

    Best Regards,

    Jim Roseberry
    jim@studiocat.com
    www.studiocat.com
    #4
    wst3
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    Re: Adding Thunderbolt to Windows PC 2017/09/21 18:53:30 (permalink)
    I figured it couldn't be quite that easy, the whole 2 vs 3 vs PCI vs USB-C vs godzilla thing continues to confuse me. I guess I need to do my homework for real. Sorry for the slow pitch!

    -- Bill
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF
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    Jim Roseberry
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    Re: Adding Thunderbolt to Windows PC 2017/09/21 19:54:37 (permalink)
    No worries at all!
    Thunderbolt-3 works well under Win10.
    Just have to read all the fine print...

    Best Regards,

    Jim Roseberry
    jim@studiocat.com
    www.studiocat.com
    #6
    kitekrazy1
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    Re: Adding Thunderbolt to Windows PC 2017/09/27 00:18:29 (permalink)
    wst3
    I figured it couldn't be quite that easy, the whole 2 vs 3 vs PCI vs USB-C vs godzilla thing continues to confuse me. I guess I need to do my homework for real. Sorry for the slow pitch!




     I have similar specs and avoid the idea of T-Bolt.  I don't think it will be a popular platform for Windows and most of it is pricey.  I wont need that kind of performance. I'd would just buy a RME Babyface and be done with it for me.

    Sonar Platinum, W7 Pro 32GB Ram, Intel i7 4790, AsRock Z97 Pro 4,  NVidia 750ti, AP2496
     
    Sonar Platinum, W7 Pro, 16GB Ram, AMD FX 6300, Gigabyte GA 970 -UD3 P, nVidia 9800GT, Guitar Port, Terratec EWX 2496
    #7
    wst3
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    Re: Adding Thunderbolt to Windows PC 2017/09/27 13:55:47 (permalink)
    kitekrazy1
     
    I have similar specs and avoid the idea of T-Bolt.  I don't think it will be a popular platform for Windows and most of it is pricey.  I wont need that kind of performance. I'd would just buy a RME Babyface and be done with it for me.

    Yeah, it is pricey, and it is not getting the traction it might, but at least MS finally recognizes it!

    As far as RME vs UAD, I've compared the two as audio interfaces and there are differences, but not enough to say one is better or worse (oh that life were that simple!) So that leave the plugins, and for what I'd spend to replace the UA plugins I could replace the RME route just won't work (not to mention some of the UA plugins simply have no equivalent native version yet).

    So for now I'll stick with USB3 and hope the nice folks at UA decide to add a USB3 port to their bigger interfaces.
     
    I do appreciate the thought.

    -- Bill
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF
    #8
    mudgel
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    Re: Adding Thunderbolt to Windows PC 2017/09/29 05:31:53 (permalink)
    I just bypassed the problem entirely and went with Waves and Digigrid.

    The hardware is compatible with anything, it runs its own very well written ASIO driver and the audio passes via standard Ethernet from you PC to any of the hardware in the system from IO to plugin DSP servers. So it takes the load of your native CPU. I can use a Digigrid server to do the Waves plugin processing. The front end of the Digigrid IO is no slouch either running the super duper cool preamps from the top line Digico SD series.

    I had already made a big commitment in Waves plugins, I have them all so even though this is not cheap it's very easy to setup and you can grow the system as you need. The only real draw back is cost for the hardware and that you need Waves plugins. Their Soundgrid plugin standard is open to all, but only a few of the high hitter plugin developers like Sonnox and Brainwork have come on board. I already mentioned cost but if you're looking at UAD hardware, cost clearly doesn't scare you.

    Mike V. (MUDGEL)

    STUDIO: Win 10 Pro x64, SPlat & CbB x64,
    PC: ASUS Z370-A, INTEL i7 8700k, 32GIG DDR4 2400, OC 4.7Ghz.
    Storage: 7 TB SATA III, 750GiG SSD & Samsung 500 Gig 960 EVO NVMe M.2.
    Monitors: Adam A7X, JBL 10” Sub.
    Audio I/O & DSP Server: DIGIGRID IOS & IOX.
    Screen: Raven MTi + 43" HD 4K TV Monitor.
    Keyboard Controller: Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88.
    #9
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