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Like Apple's Lightning ports, the USB-C connector has no up or down orientation. All Macs today support both Thunderbolt and USB-C. Nektek is a good name for USB-C charging cables and car chargers, and the USB-C Thunderbolt 3 cable is no different. If you want the full benefits of a Thunderbolt 3 connection, you'll need the right cable. Get the Latest Tech News Delivered Every Day, Speed: USB-C Is Catching Up to Thunderbolt, Compatibility: Thunderbolt Is More Versatile, How to Connect Your USB-C Mac to Older Peripherals, The 8 Best Thunderbolt 3 and 2 Docks of 2020. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product or service, we may be paid a fee by that merchant. Indeed, Thunderbolt 3 is a superset of USB-C; you can plug a USB-C-only device into a Thunderbolt 3 port on a computer, and it'll work just fine. 4.6 out of 5 stars 64. This breakout below from USB-IF shows how they look; reference the last two columns... That said, USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port labeling is inconsistent at best on modern PCs, especially laptops. Since you’ll need a Thunderbolt 3 cable to unlock all the capabilities of a Thunderbolt 3 port, a close read of the packaging materials is again in order. You’ll probably need to use some flavor of USB port, or a Thunderbolt port. The types and versions have evolved over the years like that of Thunderbolt. That's twice as fast as the 20Gbps maximum throughput speed of the fastest USB-C ports, and four times as fast as the original Thunderbolt interface. They have traditionally used different types of ports and cables; however, with the advent of USB-C, Thunderbolt and USB cables can utilize the same 24-pin oval port. Quantum Computing: A Bubble Ready to Burst? Thunderbolt 3 Cable 40Gpbs (USB-C to USB-C), Akoada 3.3ft 100W 5A USB 4.0 Type C Fast Charging Cable 5K 60hz,Compatible with USB 3.1 Gen 1 and 2, MacBook, Dell, Alienware 17, Chromebook,Hub Grey 4.5 out of 5 stars 65 But on laptops, desktops, and other devices, manufacturers don’t always offer labels that help you easily tell which is which. For creative pros working on a late-model Mac, all of which support Thunderbolt 3, it’s a no-brainer to buy a Thunderbolt 3 external drive to reduce the time spent waiting for data transfers to complete. Follow this Question. Thunderbolt 3 Cable 40Gpbs (USB-C to USB-C), Akoada 3.3ft 100W 5A USB 4.0 Type C Fast Charging Cable 5K 60hz,Compatible with USB 3.1 Gen 1 and 2, MacBook, Dell, Alienware 17, Chromebook,Hub Grey. USB and Thunderbolt (not to be confused with Lightning) are both protocols for transferring data and video. Thunderbolt 3 (USB‑C) Cable (0.8 m) View all Questions. Before we get to what Thunderbolt 3 can do compared to USB 3.1, let’s talk about what it looks like. 9% coupon applied at checkout Save 9% with coupon. Not cross-compatible with Thunderbolt (although they use the same ports). Available on all Apple computers and some PCs. (The specific USB-C port in question needs to support DisplayPort over USB.). Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. No. can be confusing if you have a late-model PC or Mac. For details, see this article. While most Windows computers now come with USB-C ports, not all PCs support Thunderbolt because Intel requires manufacturers to purchase a license. Look for the Thunderbolt logo to identify Thunderbolt-compatible hardware. Intel Thunderbolt 4 vs Thunderbolt 3: Differences. Thunderbolt 3 cables can work as regular USB-C cables, and vice versa. While USB 4 is capable of transfer speeds up to 40Gbps, older USB standards top out at about 10Gbps. However, the port on your device must have a Thunderbolt 3 chip in order to … On laptops that support charging their internal battery over USB-C, and that have a mix of USB-C-style connectors, some of which support Thunderbolt 3 and some that don’t, there’s often no difference between the ability of each port to charge the laptop's battery (though there are some exceptions). The same is true of USB-C on some other devices, such as Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3, whose USB-C ports don’t support Thunderbolt 3 but also go unmarked. When you plug a Thunderbolt cable into a USB-C port, it uses the USB protocol to transfer data. Your subscription has been confirmed. Follow him on Twitter @branttom. USB versions include USB 1.1, USB 2.0, USB 3.0., USB 3.1 Gen 1, and USB 3.1 Gen 2. In his spare time, he's written on topics as diverse as Borneo's rain forests, Middle Eastern airlines, and big data's role in presidential elections. Intel Core i5 vs. i7, How Fast Is Apple's M1 Chip? As a result, neither Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C is a clear winner. Video-output capabilities depend on the system, but some iMacs can now support dual 6K Apple Pro Display XDR external monitors connected via Thunderbolt 3 cables. Compared to Thunderbolt 2, it doubles the bandwidth to 40 Gbit/s (5 GB/s), allowing up to 4-lane PCIe 3.0 and 8-lane DisplayPort 1.2. The display of third-party trademarks and trade names on this site does not necessarily indicate any affiliation or the endorsement of PCMag. Apple was among the earliest adopters of Thunderbolt 3 for computers, and now these ports are available on all late-model Mac desktops and laptops. The USB-C connector was developed by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the group of companies that has developed, certified, and shepherded the USB standard over the years. Hey, I am wondering: using an original Apple USB C cable from my MacBook to use Sidecar on my iPad Pro, sometimes theres a missed frame like lag playing a Youtube video or similar. For example, a USB-C port that supports USB 3 will have much slower transfer speeds than Thunderbolt 3 or 4. Thunderbolt 3 has better performance than the USB-C when it comes to speed and display. Connect to older Thunderbolt devices with an adapter. There are many USB types and versions. So a single USB socket works for all devices and also provides power. Enter your email address to track this question and its answers. It's important to know, too, that your USB-C accessories and cables will work with a Thunderbolt 3 port. When it comes to speed and video quality Thunderbolt 3 gives a more excellent performance in comparison to USB C. Frankly saying, Thunderbolt 3 surpass USB C at some point, and there’s a chance that it will be adopted in future by the majority of people. A graduate of Middlebury College, Tom also has a master's degree in journalism and French Studies from New York University. Follow. Some Thunderbolt 3 cables have bolts of thunder emblazoned on their oval-shaped plugs, while some don’t. Some companies have been quick to take advantage of these capabilities. Type-C ports that support charging over the port ("USB-PD," or USB Power Delivery) may appear with the SS logo in a battery icon. USB-C cables work in Thunderbolt 3 ports, but they can't utilise the other transfer protocols and turn … In these cases, it will work, but the Thunderbolt 3 port on the laptop won’t make data transfers with the phone or drive any faster. $23.99 $ 23. Before that, he worked for PCMag's sister site, Computer Shopper, where he occasionally dunked waterproof hard drives in glasses of water. Basically, if you’re connecting a Thunderbolt 3 device to a Thunderbolt 3 device, this is the cable you want. USB-C now supports HDMI video output, but only Thunderbolt currently supports DisplayPort. Thunderbolt 3 has been significantly challenging g the most successful connection peripheral of the world. Compared with Apple USB-C Charge Cable The Apple USB-C Charge Cable is longer (2m) and also supports charging, but data-transfer speed is limited to 480Mbps (USB 2.0) and it doesn't support video. USB 3.2 Gen 2 is a passive technology that offers up to 20 Gbps. The Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) Cable performed no worse than the Anker USB-C Thunderbolt Cable in our testing, but it has a shorter warranty (one year) and costs more. Both use the same … In addition to supporting the USB-C protocol, so any Thunderbolt 3 cable can serve as a USB-C cable, it can transfer a lot more data and supports a variety of other transfer protocols. An adapter is required to transfer audio via USB-C, but Thunderbolt natively supports video and audio. Supports up to two 4K video displays or one 8K display. Here's how to tell them apart, plus crucial tips on which one is better for charging, data transfer, and other uses. However, if the USB-C port includes support for USB 4, then the performance difference will be much less noticeable. To see why, take the most basic capability of either port: charging a battery. More and more Windows PCs and peripherals are now coming with Thunderbolt 3 support, as well. Keep an eye on your inbox! Unlike Thunderbolt 3, USB-C requires a DAC to output audio, or a USB Type-C to HDMI cable, also known as HDMI Alt Mode—although Intel was at … You’ll find Thunderbolt 3 ports on many late-model premium ultraportable laptops, as well as a growing selection of external hard drives and expansion docks. The Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) cable has Thunderbolt logo on the sleeve of each connector. So, let's walk through the differences between these two interfaces, and explain which one you should use depending on which device you need to connect. In such cases, the only way to tell what port you’re looking at is to read the product description on the website or packaging, or check the documentation. Sometimes, you're left to guess. Connections with USB-C vs. Thunderbolt – USB-C not only powers the peripheral device but also charge the host device, allowing for bi-directional power. Line up the connector properly, and you never have to flip it over to plug it in; the "right way" is always up. In some cases, as mentioned, the port will just be unmarked, and the documentation for the device will be your best guide. In some cases, it can also transmit DisplayPort audio and video signals, letting you connect your device to an external monitor or TV. Think of USB-C as an evolution of the design of older boxy USB connectors (known as Type-A). 99. USB-C is backward compatible with USB 2 and later, and Thunderbolt is backward compatible with all other versions of Thunderbolt, although adapters may be required. Thunderbolt 4 and Thunder 3 use the same USB-C port. To tell the difference, Thunderbolt 3 ports, cables, and gear are typically … Thunderbolt 3 lets you transfer data at up to 40Gbps. USB-C is, by itself, just a form-factor for a connection. Thunderbolt, the chief competitor to USB-C, is being used to fix one of the standard's biggest problems: the absence of hubs and docks. Even the Thunderbolt cables and accessories are more expensive than the regular USB-C accessories. As noted above, Thunderbolt 3 ports on PCs are backward-compatible with USB-C devices. The thunderbolt 3 can present video content on two 4k displays and one 5k display. In those situations, there are usually clearly identifiable depictions of a bolt of thunder located next to the relevant ports. Not all USB-C cables support Thunderbolt 3 - some can only be used for power, or for other data protocols such as USB 3 / USB 3.1. However, Thunderbolt requires an adapter for HDMI. The same is true of cables. Our expert industry analysis and practical solutions help you make better buying decisions and get more from technology. Apollo Solo is a Thunderbolt 3 device and requires a Thunderbolt 3 cable. Outputs HD video and audio with adapters. This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. The Apple MacBook Pro, depending on the model, has as many as four Thunderbolt 3 ports, but none of them bears labels or identifying markings of any kind—you’re just supposed to know that they’re all Thunderbolt 3 ports. Not only can a Thunderbolt 3 port help you transfer data to and from a compliant external hard drive more quickly than a plain USB-C port, but it can also unlock additional capabilities for connecting external monitors and expansion docks. Indeed, Thunderbolt 3 is a superset of USB-C; you can plug a USB-C-only device into a Thunderbolt 3 port on a computer, and it'll work just fine. A USB-C port with support for Thunderbolt 3 means that a single cable is all you need to push power and transfer a large amount of information (such as video data for two or more 60Hz 4K external monitors) to and from a computer. Sidecar USB C cable vs Thunderbolt 3. Ultimately, if the history of interface evolution is any indication, they’ll both be replaced by a new standard in a few years—perhaps the fledgling USB4—and there will be a whole new set of differences to learn, and subtleties to unravel. To speed and display are both protocols for transferring data and video speed and display. ) don! Thunderbolt 3 ( USB‑C ) cable has Thunderbolt logo thunderbolt cable vs usb-c the sleeve each. Pcs are backward-compatible with USB-C devices device, allowing for bi-directional power %! Vs. Thunderbolt – USB-C not only powers the peripheral device but also charge the host device, for. To the relevant ports with Lightning ) are both protocols for transferring data and video,. 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