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X99 Extreme 4 and Thunderbolt

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    Posted: 08 Oct 2015 at 9:25am
Hi all,

I have an X99 Extreme 4 build and I have installed an Asus ThunderboltEX II/DUAL Thunderbolt Adapter. I have installed it in the PCIE3 Slot and connected it to the Thunderbolt AIC Connector. I have also enabled the Thunderbolt in the BIOS and I have tried both Unique ID and Legacy Mode.

I have installed the Intel Thunderbolt Software but when I plug a Firewire 800 External drive in any of the connectors available at the back of the Asus Adapter I do not get any Windows Chime and it does not seem to recognize the drive, even though it is powering it up.

Can someone please shed some light for me and explain what I am doing wrong? What else do I need to do to get this adapter to work? I have not tried driving my monitor with it, so I do not have any cables connected between the Video Card and the Thunderbolt Card.

I look forward to your advice.

Thanks,
Adri
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Oct 2015 at 1:16pm
Originally posted by adric adric wrote:

Hi all,

I have an X99 Extreme 4 build and I have installed an Asus ThunderboltEX II/DUAL Thunderbolt Adapter. I have installed it in the PCIE3 Slot and connected it to the Thunderbolt AIC Connector. I have also enabled the Thunderbolt in the BIOS and I have tried both Unique ID and Legacy Mode.

I have installed the Intel Thunderbolt Software but when I plug a Firewire 800 External drive in any of the connectors available at the back of the Asus Adapter I do not get any Windows Chime and it does not seem to recognize the drive, even though it is powering it up.

Can someone please shed some light for me and explain what I am doing wrong? What else do I need to do to get this adapter to work? I have not tried driving my monitor with it, so I do not have any cables connected between the Video Card and the Thunderbolt Card.

I look forward to your advice.

Thanks,
Adri


Given your description, which may be leaving out details, and after I checked the manual for the Thunderbolt adapter card you have, it seems you are doing at least one thing wrong, and possibly several other things wrong, sorry to say.

Link to the manual below from the Support page of the Asus adapter card I found by searching on the name of the card you provided in your post:

http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/Accessory/ThunderboltEX_II_DUAL
/e9391_thunderboltEX_II_dual_ug_for_web_only.pdf

In the manual Asus lists their boards that are compatible. One is a Z87 board, and two are Z97 chipset boards. Not one X99 board is listed, not a good sign.

Next, the card is meant to be used in a PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, although it only uses four PCIe 2.0 lanes. The manual does not explain why it states a PCIe 2.0 slot, but the actual reason is the PCIe 2.0 lanes are provided by the chipset on the board. PCIe 3.0 lanes are provided by the CPU. So the routing of the PCIe lanes is different between the two, and the Thunderbolt card must be used in a PCIe 2.0 slot which is connected to the chipset.

You're using the PCIE3 slot, which is a PCIe 3.0 connection through the CPU. You should be using the PCIE2 slot, which is a PCIe 2.0 interface connected to the chipset on your board.

You have not connected either of the cables to the DisplayPort out connections on the card apparently. If those are only needed for the video signal  to be sent to a monitor, that is not clear in the manual, but I would hope that is the only reason to have those cables connected.

The only usable outputs on the card are the two Thunderbolt II outputs. In your post you said you tried to use it with a Firewire 800 External drive. Does that device have a Thunderbolt input or output? If it is only a Firewire device, how can that be connected to a Thunderbolt device?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Oct 2015 at 8:25pm
Hi Parsec and thank you for your very detailed feedback.

If you check on the Asrock website page for my motherboard the Asus ThunderboltEX II card is specifically listed as compatible, though it does not specify if just the single or dual as well.

In the Asrock manual for my board it says to install in the PCIE3. Strangely enough I have read a few posts on other motherboard where people were able to make it work on the smaller PCIE slot. In my case this would be slot 4. I have not tried yet though. Also I cannot use PCIE2, as you suggest, as my Video Card makes it physically impossible to use this slot.

Do you think I could try slot 4 or 5 ?

As far as the connection to a Firewire 800 External drive is concerned, I am using a Thunderbolt to Firewire 800 adaptor cable. I have tested this setup by connecting it to a MacBook Pro Thunderbolt port and the Drive works perfectly, so I assume it should also work on my Asrock X99 PC once the Thunderbolt card will work, if I can get it to! :)

In regard to the Thunderbolt connection cables to the Videocard, on my Video Card there is a Thunderbolt connector, I suppose I could connect this to one of the Asus Card thunderbolt larger ports, but I would have thought this is only needed if I wanted to drive a monitor via Thunderbolt. I am not sure though and this aspect right now is less important to me, as I mainly wanted to use the external drive right now.

If you have any other suggestions or advice I would really appreciate your feedback. Also if you have any other queries, please do not hesitate to ask.

Thanks again,
Adri


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2015 at 12:54am
I can't find anything in the manual about using the PCIE3 slot for a Thunderbolt card.

The Overview page of your board shows a single Thunderbolt card in the PCIE5 slot, which is connected to the CPU's PCIe 3.0 lanes, so I guess I'm wrong about the need for the card to be connected to the chipset. I was just going by the Thunderbolt card's manual, which said to use it in a PCIe 2.0 lane slot.

You should be able to use the PCIE5 slot, as it has the same type of connection (to the CPU) as the the PCIE3 slot.

The PCIE4 slot is a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot, which won't work with the Thunderbolt card.

How the Thunderbolt input on the MacBook Pro is routed internally, I have no idea.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2015 at 8:51am
Hi Parsec and thank you again for your help.

Unfortunately I cannot use the PCIE5, as I use a M.2 drive and the board manual says that in this configuration the PCIE5 is disabled! :(

The PCIE2 seems to be the right one to use, but there does not seem to be enough space to fit the card. I am wondering if I should move the Videocard to PCIE3 and see if this allows me to then move the Thunderbolt card to PCIE2. I might give this a go.

The fitting in PCIE3 is something that I read in this thread.

http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-2607786/asrock-x99-professional-install-thunderbolt-aic-card.html#16767695

I understand that this thread was about a different x99 model board than mine, but I wondered whether this would have also have applied to mine. Interestingly enough, in this thread there is a comment of someone who has succeeded to use the single version of the Asus card in my exact board. I have asked him what slot he installed it in, but I have yet not heard back. Also interesting that he mentions about having to start the PC with the Thunderbolt device plugged in and switched on to be recognized!

Thanks again,
Adri
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2015 at 9:57am
Bingo! :)

Ok, I have moved the Videocard in PCIE3 and the Thunderbolt Asus adapter in PCIE2 and it is now recognizing the Thunderbolt device! :)

I now have a different issue though ...... I am sure this is not related to the Board and Adapter setup though.

In the Manage Approved Thunderbolt Devices I get the following:

Vendor: Apple. Inc.
Name: Thunderbolt to Firewire Adapter
Thunderbolt Certified for PC: No
Connected: Yes

When I plugged in the Firewire 800 drive via the Thunderbolt to Firewire Adapter, I get the Windows chime and a dialogue asking me if I want to approve this device or not, even though it is not Certified for PC. I accepted, but I cannot access the drive! :(

I will look more into this to see if there is a way to make this work, however I feel quite confident that if I was using a Goflex Thunderbolt interface to access the drive this would work fine.

Parsec thank you again for pointing me in the right direction, the PCIE 2.0 slot!

Thanks mate,
Adri
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2015 at 2:04pm
Great, glad it is working for you! Handshake

I had a feeling given what I've read that the chipset was involved in the use of the Thunderbolt connection. Still, I may be wrong about that, it may simply be the PCIe 2.0 interface that is required.

You could manually set one of the PCIe 3.0 lanes to "Gen 2" (PCIe 2.0) in the Chipset configuration screen in the UEFI/BIOS, in case that is necessary for the Thunderbolt card. That might allow you to move the card to another PCIe slot.

Is the external drive a product made by or for Apple products? If so, that may be the problem. Or is that a type of security feature related to the pass-through capability of Thunderbolt? I read the driver for the Thunderbolt card should be installed before the card itself is installed, for some reason.

Thanks for letting me know the PCIe 2.0 slot/lanes worked for you. Thumbs Up
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