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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  • DanNeely - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    PS, voltage drop is linear; meaning it's a much bigger issue for low voltage DC. To get 40A of 12V across a 2 foot long cable with only a 3% drop, you need an 8 gauge wire.

  • voicequal - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    If you review this, please test the number of concurrent USB devices that can be connected. The two ports are almost certainly supported by a single controller. Most USB3 controllers theoretically support 31 concurrent devices, but that burns up fast considering each USB3 hub consumes two device slots (one for USB2) and any USB3 hub over 4-ports is actually multiple 4-port hubs daisy chained together, consuming two slots each. There's also undocumented endpoint limits that prevent you from even reaching the 31 device max.
  • Devo2007 - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    Am I the only one who wishes Molex power connectors would just go away now? Even with a modular power supply, it generally means having several Molex connectors lying around just to plug in one or possibly two special devices (like these USB 3.1 cards)
  • DanNeely - Monday, February 16, 2015 - link

    You can buy adapters to power a device using 4pin molex connector from a 15pin sata one. What I really wish I had at times were a few single plug modular cables to make cable management easier when I only need to power one item in a particular location.

  • FlushedBubblyJock - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - link

    I want the power connectors and USB cables to all have handy attached caps, lest something short out, but when will that ever happen.
  • darkfalz - Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - link

    I'm not sure who really wants 100w throwing through their USB cable.
  • darkfalz - Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - link

    Flowing, even.
  • FlushedBubblyJock - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - link

    Powered boom boxes - or their gaming station running off the puter usb.
  • eanazag - Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - link

    The only reason I would want USB 3.1 right now is for the 15W charging. I don't need the full 100W charging in a desktop form factor yet. If you could get up to 60W on the desktop that would likely take care of most of my future needs.

    The enhanced power capabilities opens up a whole new range of devices.
  • FlushedBubblyJock - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - link

    Ummm... like ?

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