Gigabyte's motherboard department has unveiled a number of minor innovations during Consumer Electronics Show 2013. Though brand-new chipsets for Intel and AMD processors are not due out until a refresh of the CPUs, which makes for a difficult show for the press and hardcore tech firms alike, Gigabyte is promoting the fact that many of its mid-range Intel-based boards are the only ones on the market to feature dual Thunderbolt ports.
Why should you care, you may ask. Well, Intel is set to release a driver later on this month that will enable the two Thunderbolt ports to drive a 4K screen from the two high-bandwidth outputs. At CES 2013, Gigabyte demonstrated a single board driving four full-HD screens, useful, it says, for digital-signage applications and so forth. There's a current wrinkle, however, as the two Thunderbolt outputs need to have an additional splitter to drive four separate screens, which costs around $70 on its own. Compare this with the native three outputs from modern AMD APUs and the four-screen, 4K output becomes a niche market.
Gigabyte is also investing in a new form factor called Thin mini-ITX. Driven by Intel through the provision of B75 and H77 chipsets, these small, low-profile boards are designed to be used in do-it-yourself all-in-one (AIO) PCs. Gigabyte demonstrated a B75 board inside a Mitac Maestro 770 chassis. We're not sure just how cost-effective building your own AIO will be, and, clearly, Intel and its partners need to ensure that Thin mini-ITX boards and associated chassis are widely available in the next few months... at decent prices.
Been waiting a while? Get Flash to see this player.
Here's Gigabyte's Colin Brix giving us a video run through of the features.