Believe it or not you can use Thunderbolt 3 on some AMD Ryzen PCs

Best answer: Yes, but right now, there are only a couple of motherboards that support both AMD CPUs and the Thunderbolt 3 standard. These are the ASRock Phantom Gaming ITX TB3 for Ryzen and the Gigabyte Designare TRX40 for the Threadripper platform.

Extremely rare, not impossible

Thunderbolt has been an Intel project going back many years, and in the earlier days, its most prominent use was by Apple. Thunderbolt 3 was the big coming of age for Windows PCs, though, with the use of a USB-C port opening it up to a new world of machines.

But if you’re not using an Intel-powered machine, more than likely, you won’t have Thunderbolt 3. But there are exceptions, and right now, you can build a PC based on either AMD’s Ryzen or Threadripper CPUs and have Thunderbolt 3. But you can’t be picky. In each case, you have one choice, and they’re certainly not the most affordable.

ITX or Workstation

If you’re building a Ryzen system, then you’ll be needing the ASRock Phantom Gaming ITX TB3 motherboard. This mini ITX board is something of a Frankenstein, not just because it carries Thunderbolt 3 certification, but because it also sacrifices the traditional AMD cooler mounting system in favor of Intel’s. This is mostly down to the space available, but it’s a pretty incredible creation.

The Phantom Gaming ITX TB3 also supports Wi-Fi 6 with an included antenna, and as it carries the AMD X570 chipset, you also get super-fast PCIe 4. ITX motherboards are inherently limited by their size, but if you’re looking for Thunderbolt connectivity, this is the one. The USB-C port on the motherboard doubles as both USB 3.2 and Thunderbolt 3.

If you’re building something a bit more workstation-oriented, then you’ll be looking for the Gigabyte TRX40 Designare, a motherboard for Threadripper systems that also supports Thunderbolt 3. The implementation is a little less elegant than on the ASRock but still effective.

Gigabyte bundles its GC-Titan Ridge PCIe expansion card with the motherboard, which opens up access to the Thunderbolt 3 connection. And as with the X570 platform, you also get PCIe 4 support as well as Wi-Fi 6 here, too.

One cable, exceptional power

The advantage to Thunderbolt 3 is the incredible bandwidth that’s possible down one single cable. Besides super-fast data transfers, you can hook up accessories such as docks, external high-res displays, external GPUs, and even daisy chain together up to 6 devices.

It’s still extremely limited in support for AMD users, but hopefully, as time passes, more will get the certification and make it possible.

The Unicorn

ASRock Phantom Gaming ITX TB3

The only way to build a Ryzen PC with Thunderbolt 3

This mini ITX motherboard supports Thunderbolt 3, Wi-Fi 6 and is a perfect heart for a small, yet extremely powerful AMD Ryzen PC.

Workstation power

Gigabyte TRX40 Designare

Combining the power of Threadripper and Thunderbolt 3

The Designare comes bundled with a PCIe expansion card that unlocks Thunderbolt 3 to pair with the latest generation Threadripper CPUs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *