The ports that you see on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet play a pivotal role. Instead, our beloved gadgets are incomplete without ports when it comes to functionality. They help charge, display, sync, and connect devices. They prove to be a medium of communication between one or two devices. However, in this pool of ports, one port that is packed with versatility is the USB-C™ port. Further, complementing and resembling with USB-C™ is Thunderbolt™ 3. This similarity leaves many puzzled wondering about the difference between Thunderbolt™ 3 and USB-C™.
Therefore, through this blog, we are going to highlight about Thunderbolt™ 3, USB-C™, and are these ports alike. But before we dig in, let’s quickly browse through their history.
Brief history of Thunderbolt
Before grabbing eyeballs as ‘Thunderbolt’, this hardware interface developed by Intel in collaboration with Apple went by the name of ‘Light Peak.’ Developed and marketed in 2011, it was expected to function over optical fibers. Soon, the bigwig Apple and Intel realized their aim of having speedy connectivity. Interestingly, it was achievable with the help of copper cables because it resulted in lesser cost. Soon it was conceptualized and that’s when it dawned upon the bigwig to register the technology’s name as Thunderbolt.
The initial versions were Thunderbolt 1 and 2, which had the same connector as Mini DisplayPort. They ably connected external peripherals at a very higher data rate. Besides, Thunderbolt technology helps access high-speed and high-resolution media by blending in PCI Express (PCIe) and DisplayPort (DP). Above all, you can daisy chain up to six peripherals through one connector.
However, when Thunderbolt™ 3 came in, it changed the face of this interface. It bore a resemblance to the USB-C™ connector. It is faster, better, and more efficient than any of the older versions. Thunderbolt™ 3 goes one step ahead by flaunting a travel rate of 40Gbps, which is exhilarating in every manner. It boasts the capability of supporting a resolution of 4K and 5K along with video and audio output. Besides, it helps juice up your devices as well!
Brief history of USB-C
Conceptualized by USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the USB Type-C saw the light in August 2014. Fondly called USB-C™, it successfully superseded Micro USB ports and USB-A ports. It reflects dominance in the USB domain because of its array of functionality and the most prominent being its orientation. There is no side to plug this cable because you can do it in either way. Today, USB-C™ has become ubiquitous for transferring data, display, and even charging batteries.
Now that you are well-versed with basics. Let’s dive deeper into the core topic – is Thunderbolt™ 3 the same as USB-C™?
What is the difference between Thunderbolt™ 3 and USB-C™?
- Data transfer speed
Data transfer rate plays a pivotal role in various modern businesses like gaming as it helps in the smooth functioning of tedious tasks like online streaming. Higher the data transfer rate, the better the performance. Moreover, when it comes to Thunderbolt™ 3, it is overwhelming as it supports a data transfer rate of 40Gbps when USB-C™ sticks to 10Gbps.
One can only imagine how fast data is transferred from one network to other!
- Resolution support
It goes without saying that both the ports support enthralling resolution standards. However, is Thunderbolt™ 3 the same as USB-C™ when it comes to resolution? Absolutely not, because Thunderbolt™ 3 exhibits top-notch display standards! When USB-C™ supports one 4K display, Thunderbolt™ 3 supports two 4K displays and one 5K display. More pixels and more crystal clear the picture quality.
However, USB-C™ has an “Alt mode,” also known as “Alternate Mode,” with which you can directly connect to a DisplayPort, HDMI, or VGA monitor without any additional adapter.
When it comes to compatibility, there are striking differences between them both! Thunderbolt™ 3 flaunts all the abilities of USB-C™ and is compatible with that port. However, USB-C™ lacks the functionality of Thunderbolt™ 3 despite having the same design. If you wish to connect USB-C™ with Thunderbolt™ 3, it will ensue but with restrictions.
A crucial point when highlighting the physical difference between Thunderbolt™ 3 and USB-C™ is the icon. Thunderbolt™ 3 has a lightning bolt icon, whereas USB-C™ has no icon whatsoever. As both have the same type of connectors, this icon helps in differentiating.
- Power delivery
Interestingly, both ports exhibit the same Power Delivery of 100W. This capability ably helps in charging your devices, including a laptop.
Despite flaunting same Power delivery and connector type, Thunderbolt™ 3 maintains its top position because of its exhilarating speed, superlative video quality, as well as performance. More and more machines, modern laptops, are assimilating it, as Thunderbolt™ 3 is backward compatible with USB-C™. And this popularity has led to the conception of Thunderbolt 4.
What is a Thunderbolt 4 interface?
As the name suggests, Thunderbolt 4 is the latest version of Thunderbolt. This interface capably powers, transfers data and transmits video signals to an external monitor. The data transfer speed has been maintained to 40Gbps as it was in Thunderbolt™ 3, but the minimum data requirements of PCIe have amplified from 16Gbps to 32Gbps. With this, external PCIe devices like external graphics can witness a measurable boost in transfer rates and performance.
Alongside this, the display standards are enhanced wherein it supports two 4K displays and one 8K display. Most importantly, if your machine is connected to Thunderbolt 4 dock, then you can wake your computer from sleep simply by touching the mouse or keyboard. Above all, the security standards are revised with VT-d based DMA protection, which helps curtail security threats from external devices by evaluating proper permissions. Interestingly, Thunderbolt 4 is compliant with USB-4 as well!
We believe that we have successfully highlighted the difference between Thunderbolt™ 3 and USB-C™. Further, if you are keen on buying the best Thunderbolt™ 3 products, then Cadyce has your back!
Best Thunderbolt™ 3 products from Cadyce
Thunderbolt™ 3 to Dual HDMI Adapter (CA-T3HD) is a boon for creative nerds like gamers, graphic designers, engineers, architects to boost their productivity. The reason being the addition of two 4K HDMI monitors to your Mac or computer having a Thunderbolt™ 3 port. Besides, it amplifies your overall experience with avant-garde display, screen modes, bus-powered technology, along with ‘plug and play’ feature.
Thunderbolt™ 3 to Dual DisplayPort™ (CA-T3DP) is meant for workaholics who are always on a spree of multitasking. Along with Thunderbolt™ 3, CA-T3DP is a top-seller as it connects two independent DisplayPort™ monitors of 4K resolution. Besides, if you are adding one display, then cherish 5K picture quality. CA-T3DP is a treat for professionals as they experience a crystal clear picture quality.
When it comes to a docking station, Cadyce won’t let you down because it has a plethora of efficient products to offer. One of them is the Thunderbolt™ 3 HDMI Docking Station (CA-T3HDD). It enhances the efficiency of your laptop by offering a variety of ports. And all this, using a single cable. With resolution support up to 8K, breathtaking visual is guaranteed, while add-on features make it an irresistible buy!
- CA- T3DPD
With the addition of new gadgets, we need a variety of ports as well. That’s when the docking station comes to your rescue, and with Thunderbolt™ 3 ports, then it is the icing on the cake. Further, to enrich this mesmerizing experience, choose Thunderbolt™ 3 DisplayPort™ Docking Station (CA- T3DPD) that will supplement functionality on all parameters.
Now you know the one-stop destination for the best Thunderbolt™ 3 products. So, wait no more, make your first buy, and become a part of this widespread global family. Cadyce is a place where service is at your doorstep and every query tackled with diligence.
For more details, please visit us.cadyce.com
Check out our Facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/Cadyce
Twitter page- https://twitter.com/cadyceinc