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Thunderbolt 3 is quickly becoming one of the most commonly used physical data streaming and display connections and port types on modern computers, along with DisplayPort. Its high data streaming speeds, reliability, versatility are all huge advantages both to media professionals who need high transfer speeds for large files and consumers who demand easy connectivity for high-definition gaming, movies, and other media.
Below, we’ll explain all you need to know about Thunderbolt-3, including how it compares to other cutting-edge connectivity options, how it differs from Thunderbolt 1 and 2, and all the important stats you need about it.
Thunderbolt is the original brand name of the connection type developed by Intel in collaboration with Apple in 2011 as a next-generation high-speed data transfer technology, offering far higher transfer speeds and reliability than Firewire. Thunderbolt 1 and 2 supported transfer speeds of 20Gbps and was initially macOS-only.
Thunderbolt 3, introduced in 2015, is compatible with both macOS and Windows and is standard on newer Macs and increasingly common on PCs. It boasts a data transfer speed of 40Gbps and can use cable lengths of up to 100 feet, and uses the same connection type as the also-popular USB-C, but offers more speed and versatility.
But is it more popular than HDMI vs DVI for computer monitors? That’s the question on our minds.
Additionally, Thunderbolt 3 can be daisy-chained, so that multiple devices can be connected to a Thunderbolt 3 hub, which can then be connected to a single Thunderbolt 3 port on supported devices without speed loss, adding greatly to its versatility.
One aspect of Thunderbolt 3 that can confuse some users is the fact that it uses the same connection type as USB-C. While this is true, they’re not the same in terms of speed and capability.
Among the main differences are while Thunderbolt 3 transfers data at 40Gbps, USB-C generally uses the USB 3.1 standard of only 10Gbps, and while all Thunderbolt 3 cables offer bus-powered functionality, not all USB-C cables do.
Furthermore, Thunderbolt 3 supports high-resolution monitors and displays, and its daisy-chain capabilities allow for the easy setup of digital media and entertainment systems without a mess of cables.
Thunderbolt 3 transfers data at 40Gbps and is the fastest consumer connectivity option on the market
Thunderbolt 3 uses the same port type as USB-C
Thunderbolt 3 can transfer a standard-length 4k movie in less than 30 seconds