On the back of our USB 3.1 performance coverage, as well as seeing some motherboards in the flesh at CES, other manufacturers are now announcing their USB 3.1 implementations. ASRock distributed a press release today confirming that they will be launching a couple of interesting USB 3.1 devices. Up first are the USB 3.1 PCIe cards, capable of either two Type-A ports or a combination of Type-A and Type-C.

These cards look to be PCIe 2.0 x2 cards, giving the 10 Gbps needed to saturate a USB 3.1 port. It is worth noting then that the combined throughput of two ports on one card will be 10 Gbps, rather than 10 Gbps on each.  Interestingly each card seems to have a power requirement – on the dual Type-A card there is a 4-pin molex whereas on the combo card there is a 4-pin custom/floppy sized connector. The power connectors on each card allow each port to provide up to 3 amps at 5V, giving 15W charging a possibility. (Unfortunately dreams of 100W charging are still in the air at the moment, as it requires a power delivery design to step up 12V to 20V at 5A, as well as providing a 100W source though a power connector.)

ASRock will be providing these cards as bundles in two models – the Z97 Extreme6/3.1 and the X99 Extreme6/3.1. The Z97 model will come with the combination A+C card whereas the X99 will come with two Type-A because the board will already come with a Type-C onboard.

This means that the X99 Extreme6/3.1, with the PCIe card installed, should be capable of three USB 3.1 devices being attached. All we have to wait for now is USB 3.1 devices to actually come to market. In that respect it might be worth considering that buying these now will require waiting for the rest of the industry to catch up.

ASRock did not distribute any pricing or launch window information as this was a global press release, but I would imagine within the next month to see something on the shelves. I have had a Skype message offering a board for review, so they must be near-final.

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  • R3MF - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    more spare PCIe (3.0), for USB 3.1/TypeC and M.2/NVME was the main reason why i went X99/5820k rather than X97x4790k. Reply
  • junky77 - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    lol, the graphics on this thing is like a blast from the past Reply
  • A5 - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    The blatant taking of a Boeing 787 graphic is pretty funny. Reply
  • Grizzlebee - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    Also, the blatant misuse of the word "faster" by marketing, as always. Reply
  • repoman27 - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    "These cards look to be PCIe 2.0 x2 cards, giving the 10 Gbps needed to saturate a USB 3.1 port."

    Unfortunately, it's nothing more than the oversubscribed back end we typically see with discrete controllers. The physical layer gross bitrate for USB 3.1 is 9.697 Gbit/s (10 Gbit/s with 128b/132b encoding), whereas a PCIe 2.0 x2 link is only 8 Gbit/s (2x 5 Gbit/s with 8b/10b encoding). So before you even get to protocol overhead, a single USB 3.1 port is more than capable of saturating a PCIe 2.0 x2 back end.

    We'll probably have to wait for Cannonlake to see what USB 3.1 is truly capable of.
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    Net not gross. Reply
  • brookheather - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    Looks more like a PCIe x4 card similar to a high end storage card. Reply
  • R3MF - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    agreed, looks like a 4x card to me. Reply
  • repoman27 - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    It may be an x4 card physically, but I'm pretty sure that Asmedia controller is only x2, and there only appears to be a single controller unless there's another one on the other side of the card. Is physical / mechanical PCIe x2 even a thing? Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    You are correct. It's an PCIE x2 controller with USB 3.1 2 ports. Reply

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