MSI reveals first USB4 expansion card, delivering 100W through USB-C


Recap: Computex 2023 exhibitors have showcased forward-looking prototypes covering various areas of personal technology, such as Wi-Fi, cooling, and displays. MSI’s exhibit featured an updated look at USB4 integration via PCIe, which could allow users to expand their charging and display connectivity options.

MSI revealed the world’s first USB-4 add-in board at Computex this week. The PCIe expansion card includes two DisplayPort connections and two USB-C outputs, one of which can deliver up to 100W of power. Although the company did not demonstrate the MS-4489 in action, it stated that the primary USB-C port can deliver fast charging.

The 100W power output should be sufficient to charge some laptops, not to mention smaller devices such as tablets or handheld gaming consoles. TechPowerUp got a good look at the card at the event, revealing that the second USB-C port delivers 27W.

Both ports can transfer data at a rate of 40Gb/s, the standard specification for USB4 1.0 and Thunderbolt 3. MSI confirmed to TechPowerUp that the MS-4489 uses the same host controller as Thunderbolt cards – ASMedia’s ASM4242.

Thunderbolt and USB4 have been closely linked since the debut of USB4 1.0, which is based on Thunderbolt 3. Last year, both standards showcased their next-generation specifications, which should at least double their transfer speeds. USB4 2.0 and the as-yet unnamed next-generation Thunderbolt can deliver 80Gb/s in both directions. However, the latter also has the option to transmit at 120Gb/s while receiving at 40Gb/s.

MSI’s new card receives power through a 6-pin connector, similar to a graphics card. Its physical PCIe slot is x8 but is only wired for x4. The high-power USB-C and DisplayPort connections should make the MS-4489 useful for those needing additional capacity for high-end display equipment.

Another notable product from the company at Computex is the new Prestige 16 laptop, which provides an early glimpse of Intel’s forthcoming Meteor Lake CPUs. While MSI did not specify which processor the system includes, it has 22 threads and could be the same processor that Intel showcased at the event.

Other bleeding-edge MSI exhibits include a new Z790 motherboard with Wi-Fi 7 support, a voice-changing application, a 6GB/s mesh router, new RTX 4060 Ti GPUs, a 49-inch 240Hz QD-OLED monitor (its resolution is unclear), and more. The company also showed off a PCIe 5.0 NVMe SSD that, like Adata’s new NeonStorm, manages 12/10GB/s read/write speeds and includes a gigantic heatsink.


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