After having my questions closed as off-topic on superuser.com, I'm trying my luck here:

I currently have an MSI X99S SLI Plus motherboard (5-6 years old) which I'd like to keep, but I'd like to add Thunderbolt 3 connectivity to my PC (mainly for connecting a modern low-latency audio interface).

  1. How can this be achieved, if it's even possible at all?
  2. If it is possible to use an adapter/add-on card with this motherboard (which has no TB3 connector), what are the downsides compared to a motherboard with built-in TB3 connectivity (stability/latency/driver-wise)?

Edit to make sure it's on-topic here:

I'm looking for a recommendation for a specific hardware product that will allow me to connect a TB3 external audio device to my PC, if such product exists.

  • Here, on the hardwarerecs, your task is to make your question looking for very clearly a hardware recommendation. I suggest to re-edit it looking to "with what could I connect X to Y".
    – peterh
    Feb 14 '20 at 13:41
  • @peterh-ReinstateMonica So it might be off-topic here because it's not clearly a hardware recommendation? LOL
    – herman
    Feb 14 '20 at 13:43
  • No-no! Here it is ontopic, but it is practical to make it more on-topic looking. It has no close votes (yet).
    – peterh
    Feb 14 '20 at 13:54

Unfortunately it does not appear that your board can support a TB3 add-in card. The reason for this is because it does not have a THB_C port.

MSI X99S SLI PLUS Specifications

Here are some examples of add-in cards that are compatible with motherboards that have a THB_C port:

  • I was afraid of this. I was hoping that some cards may exist that don't require the THB_C port. Is there a technical reason why this is not possible the same way that FireWire expansion cards exist without needing a specific connector on the MB?
    – herman
    Feb 14 '20 at 14:50
  • @herman Don't quote me on this, but I would imagine it would be due to the bandwidth of PCI-express lanes. PCI-Express 3.0's 8 GT/s bit rate is lower than the 40 GT/s bit rate of Thunderbolt 3, as is the 16 GT/s bit rate of the newer PCI-Express 4.0 on AMD's X570 boards (made for Zen 2).
    – Evan
    Feb 17 '20 at 16:42

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