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Best 5 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Cards (reviewed in January 2020)

Best 5 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Cards (reviewed in January 2020)

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Additional Top 5 Thunderbolt 3 cards are now available to integrate this advanced technology into your computer.

Thunderbolt 3 is currently the best connection standard. Whether you’re a gamer, a professional content editor or any computer user, you can take advantage of this advanced technology.

The theoretical data rate of 40 Gbps, the loop-through connection, two 4K displays at 60 Hz and the support for eGPU are some of the reasons why TB3 is superior.

Thunderbolt 3 appears mainly in high-end laptops. Only a few motherboards support Thunderbolt 3. However, there is a solution that allows you to enjoy the benefits of this technology on a conventional motherboard: the Thunderbolt 3 PCIecard.

The Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card is an add-on card that uses the PCIe x4 slot on the motherboard to support the Thunderbolt 3 immediately. It is preferable to use a system that does not support Thunderbolt 3 by default. You can get up to two Thunderbolt 3 ports and other slots, depending on the type of card.

Things to consider when purchasing a Thunderbolt 3 PCIecard

Not all motherboards support this type of expansion card. Always visit the manufacturer’s website to view compatible motherboards. Below is a short buying guide on what to look out for when buying a Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card:

PCI slot Express

As the name suggests, the TB3 card is connected to your motherboard via a PCI Express slot. You need at least one free PCIe x4 slot to connect the card to your system. On some motherboards the card can be connected to the PCI Express x8/x16 slot.

 

All TB3 expansion cards are supplied with a system connection. The cable connects the card to the motherboard via the Thunderbolt header. All motherboards compatible with Thunderbolt 3 expansion cards must have a slot of this type. Without this unit, you cannot turn on Thunderbolt 3 even after plugging it into a PCI Express slot.

If you buy a Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card, make sure the motherboard has a Thunderbolt lock and a PCIex4 lock.

Power supply

One of the reasons we love Thunderbolt so much is the power supply. The RfP is a mandatory requirement for all owners of lightning conductors. Most of the additional cards offer 36 watts of power, some up to 100 watts.

Apart from these three factors, there is not much difference in performance, as both achieve the same thing. It is up to you and your budget to decide which one is best for you.

So, without a doubt, here are the best Thunderbolt 3 PCIe cards on the market:

1. Gigabyte GC-Titan Ridge – best lightning rod 3 PCIe cards total

Gigabyte GC-Titan Ridge is our best choice for the best TB3 expansion card. It has better characteristics than all the maps presented in this cycle. Titan Ridge is a certified Intel Thunderbolt 3 expansion card. You can easily upgrade to TB3 without updating your entire system.

One of the best features of this chip is its support of the PD3.0 standard. It has an output power of 100 W through the Thunderbolt connector. That’s enough to charge the devices.

GC-Titan Ridge is compatible with all Gigabyte Thunderbolt 3 header motherboards. However, it can also work with some non-Gigabyte motherboards that have TB3 headers and BIOS support, such as ASRock and Asus cards. Regardless of the type of motherboard, a BIOS update is required.

The only disadvantage of installing this extra card is the BIOS configuration. Most users have asked questions during the installation. However, there are many online tutorials available if you encounter such problems. The documentation on the map on the Gigabyte website is all you need for a successful integration.

Communication

GC-Titan Ridge option cards come with an excellent selection of ports. On board you will find two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4 and two Mini DisplayPort slots.

3 Thunderbolt connections allow up to 12 Thunderbolt devices to be connected in series. Six devices in each port. You do not need an external docking station unless you are a very experienced user.

The internal connections consist of two PCIe power connectors, a USB connector, a J1 speaker head and a PCIe x4 interface.

Accessories

The Titan Ridge card comes with four cables. Two Mini DisplayPort cables, one THB-C connection cable and one USB 2.0/11 connection cable. The THB-C pin cable connects to the Thunderbolt (THB-C) pin heads on the board and the motherboard, and the USB cable connects to the USB connector on the Titan Ridge board and the F-USB connector on the motherboard.

To use the Thunderbolt or DisplayPort for video, disconnect the inputs from the video card. Connect the Mini-DP cables to the two Titan Ridge Mini-DisplayPort and DisplayPort connectors on your graphics card. DisplayPort in Gigabytes GC-Titan Ridge supports exceptional 8K video bandwidth

Note that the board can only support two displays at the same time. Only two TB3 ports or one TB3 with DisplayPort can be used simultaneously.

OUR TARGET

The Gigabyte GC-Titan Ridge is the best AIC Thunderbolt 3 adapter you can use to integrate Thunderbolt into your PC. It has two TB3 ports with an additional DisplayPort. The loopback function allows you to connect external monitors, external SSD drives, eGPUs and other devices. The card has 100 watts of power, making it the best of the other cards. If your sign has the required specifications, the titanium comb should be your first choice.

PROS

  • 2 Thunderbolt 3 connections
  • Daisy chain connection of up to 12 units
  • Excellent power 100W
  • Wide range of compatible motherboards
  • DisplayPort 8K
  • Works with a two-way valve

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  • No HDMI connection
  • Including installation procedures

 

2. Asus ThunderboltEX 3 – Improved lightning resistance 3 Alternative PCIe card

Best 5 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Cards (reviewed in January 2020) Best 5 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Cards (reviewed in January 2020)

Asus ThunderboltEX 3 is another excellent Asus Thunderbolt 3 expansion board. The card has a USB 3.1 type A port and a Thunderbolt 3 port for an amazing 40 Gbps transfer rate.

This expansion card is available in a lower price range than the Gigabyte GC-Titan Ridge, but you’ll have to do with 36W of power and different ports.

Asus ThunderboltEX works best with pre-installed Thunderbolt 3 motherboards. It is also compatible with several motherboards that include the Thunderbolt tip, such as the Dell Precision 3620.

Communication

Asus ThunderboltEX 3 comes with three external connectors. Thunderbolt 3 connector, USB 3.1 type A connector and Mini DisplayPort. The TB3 connector supports fast external drives, loopback of up to 6 devices, 10 Gigabit network connections and 4K UHD displays, including LG’s high-end UltraFine. You can always connect the Thunderbolt 3 docking station if you need more connections.

The main advantage of this additional card is an additional USB 3.1 port that offers backward compatibility with USB 2.0 devices.

The internal ports contain a Thunderbolt 3 header and a PCI Express 3.0 x4 interface connected to the PCI Express (x16/x8/x4) slot on the motherboard.

Accessories

Asus ThunderboltEX 3 comes with two cables: a Mini DisplayPort cable and a TB cable.

  • The Mini-DP cable connects the graphics output of the integrated graphics card to the Mini-DisplayPort of the additional ThunderboltEX 3 card.
  • The TB cable connects the Thunderbolt 3 header of the PCIe card to the header of the motherboard.

After successfully connecting the Asus ThunderboltEX 3 card to the motherboard, you will need to update your BIOS settings to activate the Thunderbolt 3. Asus ThunderboltEX 3 is the easiest card to install and configure.

OUR TARGET

Asus ThunderboltEX 3 is another excellent addition to Thunderbolt 3 which is available at a much lower price than Asus ThunderboltEX 3. The card offers all the features of Thunderbolt 3 for your PC within budget. Although it has only one TB3 connector, you can connect six devices in series or use the docking station for additional connectivity. An additional USB 3.1 port is available for other devices. This is an excellent card, especially if you want to use high quality monitors.

PROS

  • USB 3.1 type A connection included
  • Affordable
  • Many compatible monitors
  • Easy installation
  • Thunderbolt 3 Full Zipper Specification
  • 36W power supply unit

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  • No HDMI or DisplayPort output terminal
  • There are other, more effective options

 

3. ASRock Thunderbolt 3 AIC – Best Thunderbolt 3 PCIeCard

Best 5 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Cards (reviewed in January 2020) Best 5 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Cards (reviewed in January 2020)

The Asrock Thunderbolt 3 AIC is an excellent Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card from ASRock. It comes with excellent specifications to justify the price.

ASRock is one of the leading manufacturers of computer motherboards. This extra card is another of their best features to take full advantage of the latest Thunderbolt 3 technology.

Asrock’s Thunderbolt 3 AIC supports Power Delivery 2.0 with up to 36W. It is not the best PD output on the market, but it can help you power most devices.

The card is compatible with most motherboards that have a Thunderbolt header and a PCI Express slot. Although the best option is an ASRock motherboard, this PCIe card has been successfully tested with other motherboards of different brands such as Asus.

Communication

ASRock Thunderbolt 3 AIC is superior in port selection. It has two Thunderbolt 3 ports plus a DisplayPort and a Mini-DisplayPort for video output from your motherboard’s graphics card.

Thunderbolt 3 ports offer an impressive 40 Gbps data transfer. You can connect one 5K screen with a 60 Hz refresh rate or two 4K screens with a 60 Hz refresh rate. Two TB3 ports make it possible to connect up to 12 Thunderbolt 3 devices with a serial connection.

Two internal slots allow you to connect the card to your motherboard: the Thunderbolt header and the PCIe x4 interface. You can also use other PCI Express slots, x16/x8, depending on the motherboard used.

Accessories

Like most other Thunderbolt 3 PCIe cards, ASRock Thunderbolt 3 AIC comes with one system patch cable and two additional DisplayPort cables. The system connection cable connects the Thunderbolt header of the ASRock AIC adapter with the header of the motherboard.

The TB3 ports can only provide video output if you connect the card to your graphics card. You should be willing to donate at least one or two DisplayPorts for your GPU if you use two monitors.

The whole installation process is simple and uncomplicated. Update your BIOS settings accordingly and enjoy the unlimited possibilities of Thunderbolt 3.

OUR TARGET

ASRock Thunderbolt 3 PCIe is one of the best expansion cards from a famous company. The board is equipped with two 36W Thunderbolt 3 ports, loop-through connection, high-resolution displays and connections to other expansion units such as TB3 and eGPU docking stations. The card offers excellent value for money.

PROS

  • Great importance
  • 2 Thunderbolt 3 connections
  • Easy installation
  • Wide range of compatible motherboards
  • 36 W charger

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  • Low output power
  • No HDMI connection

 

4. Gigabyte GC-Alpine Ridge – cheap Thunderbolt 3 PCIeCard

Best 5 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Cards (reviewed in January 2020) Best 5 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Cards (reviewed in January 2020)

Gigabyte GC-Alpine Ridge is the cheapest Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card we have researched so far. It offers competitive specifications that compete with the most expensive expansion cards.

Adding Thunderbolt 3 to the system requires no arm or leg costs. Alpine Ridge is the best choice when it comes to making a profitable transition to Thunderbolt 3.

The card supports PD 2.0 with an output power of up to 36 W for the load. It is compatible with most motherboards that contain the Thunderbolt header. However, Gigabyte recommends linking the card to Gigabyte motherboards.

Gigabyte has a list of all compatible motherboards on its website. You can also download the drivers and files required to install the optional Alpine Ridge card.

Communication

Alpine Ridge offers greater connection flexibility with two Thunderbolt 3 sockets and an optional HDMI connection.

Thunderbolt 3 ports support two 4K displays at 60 Hz or one 5K display. Up to twelve Thunderbolt 3 devices can be connected in series via two TB3 ports. Enabling an HDMI connection is critical as some monitors only support HDMI inputs.

The card contains a Thunderbolt header (5-pin J1 header) and a PCIe x4 interface for connection to the motherboard. So your motherboard must have two slots to take full advantage of this extra cost. Other connectors include two mini-display slots (DP IN) that connect to your integrated graphics card.

Accessories

The card comes with three cables. Two Mini-DisplayPort cables and one system connection cable (THB_C header). The THB_C header connects the Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt header to the motherboard header. Use the Mini DisplayPort cables to connect the card to the DisplayPorts on your motherboard. Update your system BIOS after a successful installation to take full advantage of Thunderbolt 3

However, the card supports two displays at the same time as a Gigabyte GC-Titan Ridge. You can use the serial connection of more than two monitors on one port.

OUR TARGET

The Gigabyte GC-Alpine Ridge is the cheapest Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card in our country, but like other cards it offers interesting possibilities. Two Thunderbolt 3 connectors and an HDMI connector make it very versatile. You can connect many devices while enjoying a 40 Gbps, high-resolution display. For most users who want to implement TB3, this is an excellent purchase.

PROS

  • Cheap and affordable
  • 2 Thunderbolt 3 connections
  • Daisy circuit capacity for up to twelve components
  • 36W power supply unit
  • Built-in HDMI connection

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  • An even weaker power supply
  • A fairly complex installation process

 

5. Sonnet Thunderbolt – Thunderbolt 3 PCIe AIC Upgrade Cards for Echo Express

Best 5 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Cards (reviewed in January 2020) Best 5 Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Cards (reviewed in January 2020)

The Sonnet Thunderbolt Upgrade Card is a unique Thunderbolt 3 add-on card that can be used to upgrade Sonnet Echo Express Thunderbolt 2 systems.

This Sonnet Thunderbolt update card differs from the other PCIe cards in this review because it only connects to the Echo Express expansion unit, not to the motherboard.

The card is compatible with Echo Express III-D and Echo Express III-R (Thunderbolt 2 edition). Other Sonnet Thunderbolt cards are compatible with various Sonnet expansion systems and the xMac mini server. Note : This PCIe card is not connected to a computer motherboard.

Communication

The Sonnet Thunderbolt upgrade card comes with two 3 Thunderbolt connectors. One TB3 is connected to a computer and the other port can be used to connect up to five devices in series or to connect two 4K 60Hz displays or one 5K 60Hz display.

Accessories

The Sonnet Thunderbolt update card comes with two Thunderbolt 3 cables. It is the only PCIe expansion card that provides Thunderbolt cables for connectivity.

The installation process is simple and requires no cables. Replace the Thunderbolt 2 interface card in Echo Express with this extra Thunderbolt 3 card via a PCI Express slot. With Thunderbolt 3, you can increase the transfer speed from 20 Gbps to an amazing 40 Gbps in just a few steps.

OUR TARGET

The Sonnet Thunderbolt Upgrade Card offers a unique opportunity to upgrade your Echo Express Thunderbolt 2 system to the advanced Thunderbolt 3 level. Tb3 offers more flexibility and higher transmission speeds than Tb2. With data speeds ranging from 40 Gbps to dual 4K screens, you can do even more with 3 Echo Express Thunderbolt units.

PROS

  • 2 Thunderbolt 3 connections
  • Daisy chains of up to five devices
  • Direct installation procedure. There’s no need for cables.
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 cables included
  • Works with most Echo Express expansion boxes

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  • Does not work with computer motherboards
  • No USB, HDMI or DisplayPort
  • No food specification

 

Bottom row

The PCIe lock in Thunderbolt 3 allows you to integrate Thunderbolt 3 technology into your PC without having to upgrade to an entirely new system. All TB3 add-on cards presented in this document achieve the same goal when implementing Thunderbolt 3.

The main differences are the number of Thunderbolt 3 connections, the power supply and other connections such as DisplayPort and HDMI, which are included. We have tried to consider different maps for different needs, from budget to options with an optimal price-quality ratio.

Here is the step-by-step procedure for installing a Thunderbolt PCIe card:

  1. Insert the card into the PCIe x4 expansion slot. Depending on the motherboard, an expansion card may be inserted into the PCI Express x8/x16 slot in some cases.
  2. Connect the supplied system patch cable to the Thunderbolt connector on the motherboard and to the Thunderbolt connector on the motherboard.
  3. Update the BIOS of your motherboard with the latest version. Restart the BIOS and turn on Thunderbolt 3.
  4. Connect the DisplayPort or Mini-DisplayPort cable to the (mini)DisplayPort of the TB3 PCIe card on the built-in graphics card. You can connect an external monitor via Thunderbolt ports and enjoy high-resolution images.

Please note that some cards such as the Gigabyte Titan Ridge come with many cables. Download a manual from their website for easy installation.

 

 

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