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Motherboards with Thunderbolt 4

pc-case

Thunderbolt technology is taking the tech space by storm. The thought of having one cable that meets all your needs is thrilling and what we all have been waiting to see. Thunderbolt 4 comes explicitly with the following outstanding features:

  • Flexibility: You can use a Thunderbolt 4 cable to power your laptop, transfer data between devices, and send video signals to an external monitor.
  • Bandwidth: Thunderbolt 4 ports transfer data with a speed of up to 40GB/s, enabling much faster data transfer between devices and connecting up to six Thunderbolt devices together.
  • Versatile Connectivity: Thunderbolt 4 ports support various connection standards, including USB, Display port, PCle, and previous versions of Thunderbolt.

The motherboard is an essential hardware component on a computer. It is where all parts and peripherals are attached. This post will give you a detailed guide on some of the best Motherboards with Thunderbolt 4 technology.

Comparison of the Motherboards with Thunderbolt 4

ImageProductDetailsCheck Price
Asus ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial on Amazon
Asus ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial Brand: Asus
Form Factor: EATX
Thunderbolt: Thunderbolt 4
Chipset: Z590
CPU:
CPU:
RAM: DDR4
RAM:
Memory:
Graphics Card Interface: PCI-Express 4.0 16x
Buy on Amazon
Asrock Z690 Taichi on Amazon
Asrock Z690 Taichi Brand: ASRock
Form Factor: ATX
Thunde: rbolt: Thunderbolt 4
Chipset: Z690
CPU:
CPU:
RAM: DDR5
RAM:
Memory:
Graphics Card Interface: PCI-Express 5.0 16x
Buy on Amazon
ROG Maximus Z690 Hero on Amazon
ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Brand: Asus
Form Factor: ATX
Thunderbolt: Thunderbolt 4
Chipset: Z690
CPU:
CPU:
RAM: DDR5
RAM:
Memory:
Graphics:
Buy on Amazon
MSI MEG Z590I Unify Gaming on Amazon
MSI MEG Z590I Unify Gaming Brand: MSI
Form Factor: mini-ITX
Thunderbolt: Thunderbolt 4
Chipset: Intel Z590
CPU:
CPU:
RAM: DDR4
RAM:
Memory:
Graphics:
Buy on Amazon
Asus ProArt B550 – Creator on Amazon
Asus ProArt B550 – Creator Brand: Asus
Form Factor: ATX
Thunderbolt: Thunderbolt 4
Chipset: B550
CPU:
CPU:
RAM: DDR4
RAM:
Memory:
Graphics:
Buy on Amazon
ROG Maximus XIII Hero on Amazon
ROG Maximus XIII Hero Brand: Asus
Form Factor: ATX
Thunderbolt: Thunderbolt 4
Chipset: B550
CPU:
CPU:
RAM: DDR4
RAM:
Memory:
Graphics:
Buy on Amazon
ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming on Amazon
ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Brand: Asus
Form Factor: mini-ATX
Thunderbolt: Thunderbolt 4
Chipset: Z590
CPU:
CPU:
RAM: DDR4
RAM:
Memory:
Graphics:
Buy on Amazon
MSI MEG Z590 ACE on Amazon
MSI MEG Z590 ACE Brand: MSI
Form Factor: ATX
Thunderbolt: Thunderbolt 4
Chipset: Z590
CPU:
CPU:
RAM: DDR4
RAM:
Memory:
Graphics:
Buy on Amazon

Motherboards with Thunderbolt 4 – Our Pick

1. Asus ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial

The Asus ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial is a full-size motherboard for high-end gaming rigs. It offers high-performance specifications thanks to its Z590 chipset and loads of power with 18+2 power stages.

The Extreme Glacial supports the 11th Generation Intel Core processor courtesy the LGA 1200 socket and multiple heatsinks to keep your computer cool. You also get plenty of high-speed connectivity options like Thunderbolt 4 ports, 10GbE, and 2.5GbE, ensuring superfast communications between networks and peripherals. The features also include:

  • Support for 11th Generation Intel Core Processor with the LGA 1200 socket.
  • Supports DDR4 RAM
  • 18+2 Power stages offer plenty of power.
  • Five M.2 expansion slots
  • Two Thunderbolt 4, Eight USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, HDMI, 10GbE, and 2.5GbE ethernet ports.
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
  • Integrated EK water block
  • 2 x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x16 and 1 x PCIe 3.0 x4 slots
  • AI Noise Cancelling, AI Overclocking, AI Cooling, and AI Networking

The Extreme Glacial comes with all the required kit, including the motherboard, Wi-Fi antenna, screw, tools, fan controllers, cables, and connectors. So, you are fully equipped for the installation process, and you can start just as soon as you are done unboxing the contents.

Our Take

The Asus Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial offers you loads of power and cooling to keep your high-performance specifications running at the output. Further, its EATX form factor gives you plenty of room to install all your high-end gaming components.

PROS
  • Gigabit Ethernet ports provide high-speed network connectivity.
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 offer wireless connectivity at high-speed.
  • Water-cooled heat dissipation keeps the motherboard cool.
  • AI features help to deliver a high-performance environment
  • Aura Sync RGB Lighting adds to the aesthetics of the motherboard
CONS
  • Expensive
  • No USB 2.0 ports to connect legacy devices.

2. ASRock Z690 Taichi

Next on the list is the ASRock Z690 Taichi board. It stands for “the Philosophy of infinite potential.” If you have the Z590 Taichi board, you will notice nothing has changed with the Z690. It still features two Thunderbolt 4 ports (Type-C), 2.5GBe LAN, Wi-Fi 6E, 3x M.2 sockets, a reliable thermal solution, and premium audio.

One of the drawbacks we found on this board is the number of USB ports available on the rear I/O. They are only six compared to other boards that support Intel 12th Gen Core, which has eight USB ports. Additionally, it only features three M.2 ports, while other boards have four. ASRock Z690 Taichi provides the utmost performance despite the few drawbacks mentioned, and overclocking was pretty straightforward. Some of the fantastic features you can expect to see on this board include:

  • An LGA 1700 CPU socket that supports Intel 12th Gen Core Processor.
  • Support for DDR5 RAM
  • Multiple Graphics output options: These include two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports and an HDMI port
  • Multiple connectivity options: These include two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports, 1 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (Type-C), 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 (Type A), 8 USB 3.2 Gen1 and 1 USB 3.2 Gen1 (independent).
  • 20 Phase power design
  • 3 M.2 slots: Two PCIe 4.0 x4 and One PCIe 4.0 x4

Inside the Z690 Taichi box, you will find several accessories to get you started quickly and fast without visiting your electronics shop. These include a SATA cable, a graphics card holder, a Wi-Fi antenna, a wireless Dongle USB racket, and more.

Our Take

This Alder Lake board comes with pretty impressive features. Two Thunderbolt 4 ports, overbuilt VRMs for reliable thermal solutions, Wi-Fi 6E, 2.5GbE Lan, and a unique appearance. The only drawback we found on this board is the inclusion of only three M.2 sockets compared to the processor support and its price range (around $699). However, if the low number of M.2 sockets is not a bother to you, the ASRock Z690 Taichi Alder lake board is worth a look.

PROS
  • The VRMs offer plenty of power.
  • Two Thunderbolt 4 ports offer high-speed data transfers
  • Wi-Fi 6E provides high-speed network connectivity
  • Support for DDR5 for enhanced multitasking
CONS
  • Few USB ports on the rear I/O to connect peripheral devices
  • Only three M.2 sockets limit expansion options of the motherboard

3. ROG Maximus Z690 Hero EVA

The ROG Maximus Hero EVA offers the latest Z690 chipset that gives you the newest PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 RAM support. Thus, you can kit out your computer to sport all the latest specifications, including a 12th Generation Alder Lake Intel Core processor.

The motherboard is built to deliver a high-performance computing rig. It offers 20+1 power stages with a 90A rating that provides adequate power to all the components, and the water-cooling system ensures your rig remains cool even at peak performance.

The ROG Maximus Z690 Hero EVA offers a great selection of ports for peripheral devices, but you will miss the 10GbE ethernet port for wired high-speed connectivity. Some of the key features of the motherboard include:

  • The LGA 1700 socket that supports the 12th Intel Core processors
  • Support for DDR5 RAM
  • 2 x PCIe 5.0 x16 slots and 1 x PCIe 4.0 x16 slot
  • Five M.2 slots to attach storage
  • Two Thunderbolt 4, Seven USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, Two USB-A 2.0, HDMI, S/PDIF and 2.5GbE
  • Five 3.5 jacks for external audio and microphones
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
  • AI Noise Cancelling, AI Overclocking, AI Cooling, and AI Networking

Like the ROG Extreme Glacial, the Z690 Hero EVA also comes with the entire installation kit, so you don’t have to run to the store to get tools and components.

Our Take

The Z690 chipset offers the best computing solution when you want high-performance specifications to tackle specialized computing needs. Sure, it is suitable for gaming also, but with limited gaming aesthetics, the focus remains on performance.

PROS
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 offer wireless connectivity at high-speed.
  • AI features help to deliver a high-performance environment
  • The 20+1 Power stages help provide adequate power to the CPU and GPU.
  • Five M.2 expansion slots offer plenty of expansion options.
CONS
  • No 10GbE Ethernet port
  • Expensive
  • Limited use other than high-performance gaming

4. MSI MEG Z590I Unify Gaming Motherboard

If you are looking forward to building a powerful gaming rig or a setup to carry out some resource-intensive tasks, the MSI MEG Z590I Unify Gaming Motherboard is the perfect option. Despite the small physical size, this board offers robust features you would find in most large motherboards. Some of the features include:

  • Frozr Heatsink Design with Zero Frozr Technology Heat-pipe cooling Design provides reliable cooling throughout the entire board and increases the surface area of heat dissipation.
  • M.2 Shield Frozr protects your M.2 SSDs from thermal throttling, ensuring they perform at their maximum.
  • Multilayer printed circuit (10-layer) enhances efficient power delivery and ensures the system runs in a stable environment.
  • A PCIe Steel armor protects your VGA cards from physical bending and electromagnetic interference.
  • Latest Wi-Fi 6E solution and 2.5G LAN
  • Dual Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • Twin M.2 connectors to hold your M.2 SSDs

From all the features mentioned above, it’s evident the MSI MEG Z590I is a full-featured motherboard loaded with the latest technology offering the utmost enhanced performance. The multiple connectivity options (audio, advanced LAN, USB, Thunderbolt 4, 2.5G LAN) makes the whole experience of interacting with this board stunning.

Our Take

The MSI MEG Z590I Unify is the best Z590 motherboard for overclocking. It can support DDR4, giving you a memory speed of 5333 MHz with up to 64 GB memory capacity. The inclusion of Thunderbolt ports is impressive and highly reduces the need for numerous cables to perform tasks like charging, video output, connecting devices, and data transfer. The motherboard is also compatible with Intel’s 10th and 11th Gen Core processors. The MSI team included many heat sinks and a comprehensive cooling system for reliable thermal solutions. Additionally, this board features Wi-Fi 6 and 2.5G LAN solutions. Therefore, the MSI MEG Z590I Unify Gaming Motherboard has your back if you do anything online.

PROS
  • Latest Wi-Fi 6 and 2.5G LAN solutions for high-speed internet connectivity
  • Thunderbolt 4 technology supports high-speed data transfers
  • A high-level cooling solution prevents the motherboard from overheating.
CONS
  • The board is thin and even seems to bend when carrying it around with the heat sink.

5. ASUS ProArt B550-Creator

As of writing this post, the Asus ProArt B550-Creator is the first AMD motherboard supporting Thunderbolt 4 technology. The ProArt B550-Creator motherboard gives incredible hardware to help imaginative experts and professionals accelerate their work processes. This board leverages the computing capacities of the most recent AMD Ryzen processors with comprehensive cooling mechanisms and lightning-quick networking, allowing you to make it faster and accomplish more. Some of the features you will find with this board include:

  • AM4 socket holds the AMD Ryzen 5000/ 4000G/ 3000 Series Desktop processors.
  • Multiple connectivity options: These include Dual Thunderbolt 4 ports (Type-C), DisplayPort v1.2 (output), HDMI v2.1, dual 2.5G onboard Ethernet, and USB 3.2 Gen 2.
  • Reliable performance with 12+2 power stages, durable capacitors, and high-quality alloy choke to avoid throttle.
  • Advanced Security: This is through the advanced USB port management and the ASUS Control Center Express software, which you can use to blocklist and Regedit on/off controls.

ASUS ProArt B550-Creator perfects the art of performance by combining a sleek design, comprehensive security measures, and the proven stability and reliability that ASUS motherboards are known for.

Our Take

ASUS ProArt, like the name suggests, this board is designed with the content creator in mind. It features two Thunderbolt 4 ports, dual M.2 sockets for your SSDs, a VRM that offers support for Ryzen 9 5950X, dual 2.5Gbe, and a classic design that fits most themes. The only major drawback we found with this board is the support of only two M.2 sockets, limiting the number of SSDs you can attach to your system. However, if you are looking for a motherboard that offers reliable performance with the inclusion of Thunderbolt 4 technology, the ASUS ProArt Creator is worth a look.

PROS
  • Two Thunderbolt 4 ports offer high-speed data transfers and peripheral connectivity
  • Dual 2.5GbE ports provide high-speed network connectivity
  • Integrated M.2 latches make it easy to install and M.2-enabled components.
CONS
  • Only two M.2 sockets limit the expansion options
  • No Wi-Fi included

6. Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero ATX Gaming Motherboard

The Stix Z590-I offers a compact mini-ITX form factor with Thunderbolt 4 and USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports. The compact form factor means you don’t get the luxury to kit out the motherboard to maximize the specifications, but you still get a powerful chipset for daily use.

The motherboard supports the 11th Generation Intel Core processor and DDR4 RAM. However, you only get two DIMM slots that limit RAM to 64GB and one PCIe 4.0 x16 slot for the GPU. The two M.2 (one each that supports PCIe 4.0 and PCIe 3.0) slots come with a backplate and heat sink.

The mini-ITX form factor also means there are limited ports for peripheral connectivity. The selection is disappointing and limited to one Thunderbolt 4, one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2, and an assortment of USB-A ports that lean toward USB 2.0 for peripheral connectivity. The other features include:

  • The LGA 1200 socket for 11th Generation Intel Core processors.
  • Support for up to 64GB DDR4 RAM.
  • One PCIe 4.0 x16 slot and two M.2 slots
  • Thunderbolt 4, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2, USB-A, HDMI 2.0, and 2.5GbE Ethernet.
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
  • AI Noise Cancelling, AI Overclocking, AI Cooling, and AI Networking
  • Heatsinks for VRM, M.2 slots, and plenty of headers to connect cooling fans.

Like all Asus ROG motherboards, the Strix Z590-I includes a kit for easy installation.

Our Take

The ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming is an economical option when you just need a Thunderbolt 4 port at any cost. The mini-ITX form factor means you only get one PCIe 4.0 and two DIMM slots for DDR4, limiting the RAM to 64GB. Hence, making the Strix Z590-I perfect when you need Thunderbolt 4 for your daily use PC.

PROS
  • AI features help to deliver a high-performance environment
  • Price
  • Plenty of heatsinks keep the motherboard from overheating
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 offer wireless connectivity at high-speed
  • Thunderbolt 4 and USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2 offer flexibility in connectivity options.
CONS
  • Over-reliance on USB 2.0 ports means you do not get enough USB-A 3.2 ports.
  • No 10GbE Ethernet port
  • No S/PDIF port for digital audio transmissions

8. MSI MEG Z590 ACE

The Z590 Ace is an excellent motherboard that offers the best value for money. It includes all the essential components that grant you a good set of specifications and offer multiple use cases for the PC.

The motherboard features an LGA 1200 socket to support the 11th Generation Intel Core processors. Thus, you get a tremendous value with the high-performance and mid-range specifications suitable for office and daily use.

The Z590 Ace also offers plenty of power with the 16+2+1 mirrored power arrangement with a 90A rating. This ensures your PC’s components have adequate power even at peak demand. Further, MSI ensures that the motherboard does not overheat by providing plenty of heatsinks and headers to install fans easily.

Surprisingly, the economical price does not mean the MSI has cut corners on its port offering. The I/O ports include Thunderbolt 4, mini-DisplayPort, HDMI, USB-A, S/PDIF, and a 2.5GbE port. You could be fussy and expect a 10GbE port, but considering the price point and the versatile offering, you would be expecting too much.

The MSI MEG Z590 also offers:

  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
  • Two PCIe 4.0 x16, one PCIe 3.0 x16, and one PCIe 3.0 x1 slot
  • One M.2 Gen 4 and Three M.2 Gen 3 slots
  • M.2 Shield Frozr, MSI’s most advanced SSD thermal solution
Our Take

The Z590 Ace offers the best value for money for Thunderbolt 4 motherboards. Its ATX form factor allows for convenient scalability, and its economical price makes it affordable for large offices.

PROS
  • Supports up to 128GB DDR4 RAM
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless connectivity
  • Plenty of expansion slots for GPU and internal SSD storage
  • Plenty of I/O ports to connect peripheral devices
  • Thunderbolt 4 at a budget price
CONS
  • No 10GbE Ethernet port
  • The Z590 chipset is old and hence has a limited life remaining.

Motherboards with Thunderbolt 4 – Our Buying Guide

Here are some critical points to keep in mind when buying a Motherboard with Thunderbolt 4

CPU

The latest Intel Core and AMD processors require the LGA 1700 and AM4 sockets, respectively. Hence, you must consider the motherboard that features these socket and offer top-of-line processor performance.

For Intel, the Z690 motherboard offers the LGA 1700 socket, but these motherboards are pricey and may not be the most cost-effective option. In comparison, the LGA 1200 socket with the 11th Generation Intel Core processor offers better value for money.

Unfortunately, AMD-enabled motherboards with Thunderbolt 4 are still playing catch up. Hence, the Asus ProArt B550 – Creator is your only bet.

RAM

The RAM market is filled with DDR4 and DDR5 RAM modules. While DDR5 RAM modules offer a considerable performance advantage over their DDR4 counterpart, DDR5 modules are expensive.

Hence, DDR4 compatible motherboards offer value, while DDR5 compatible chipsets provide unmatched performance.

Apart from the DDR4 Vs. DDR5 comparison, you must also consider how many DIMM (dual in-line memory module) slots the motherboard offers. Four slots will allow you to scale up RAM capacity to 128GB and would be ideal for high-performance gaming or other hardware-intensive operations.

Expansion Slots

PCIe 5.0 is gaining mainstream popularity fast, and this means that you will feel the need to upgrade your rig soon. The Z690 motherboards offer PCIe 5.0 and support the 12th Generation Intel Core processors and DDR5 RAM.

They further offer PCIe 5.0 expansion slots, which means your rig will be ready when PCIe 5.0 GPU starts hitting the market.

Ports and connectivity

A good port selection on the motherboard affects the connectivity of peripheral devices. Apart from the Thunderbolt 4 port, you must ensure your motherboard offers.

  • A DisplayPort or HDMI port to connect your monitor.
  • Plenty of USB-A 3.2 ports to connect devices such as printers, scanners, and flash drives.
  • Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired LANs.
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless internet and audio connectivity, respectively.
  • Plenty of audio jacks to connect the speaker and mics.

Form Factor

Motherboards are available in several form factors

E-ATX motherboards offer plenty of room to attach all the high-performance components and are ideal for gaming rigs.

ATX motherboards have a relatively smaller footprint, yet they offer plenty of expansion options making them ideal for office and home setups.

The mini-ITX motherboard offers a minimal footprint and is ideal for a setup where space is at a premium. The small footprint invariably also means that you get fewer expansion options, limiting the PC’s capabilities.

Motherboards with Thunderbolt 4 – Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Thunderbolt header on motherboards?

A Thunderbolt 4 header in an internal connector on the motherboard allows you to connect a Thunderbolt 4 add-in card. Usually, if a motherboard does not offer a Thunderbolt 4 port and claims to be a “Thunderbolt 4 Motherboard”, it provides a Thunderbolt 4 header.

Can I get an AMD-based Motherboard with Thunderbolt 4?

Yes, although there aren’t many options on the market that offer AMD and Thunderbolt 4. The Asus ProArt B550-Creator is the best, if not the only option.

Can I add Thunderbolt 4 to my existing motherboard?

You can use a Thunderbolt 4 add-on card and attach it to the motherboard. However, you must ensure that your motherboard offers the hardware requirements, including the suitable PCIe interface, the specified power connectors, or Thunderbolt 4 headers.

What is the ThunderboltEX 4?

The Asus ThundeboltEX 4 is a Thunderbolt 4 add-in card for Intel 500 series motherboards. You can expand your motherboard to offer Thunderbolt 4 ports using this card.

 

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